Over the last six months, there has been only one topic on everybody’s mind. As the individual leagues wound down and Real Madrid achieved La Decima in the Champions League, fans all over the world turned their attention to Brazil.
The spiritual home of Football has been in the spotlight ever since it won the right to host the event. Fans and players have been eager to start playing and watching in stadiums that have been upgraded. For the players, they have known that they cannot get a more passionate crowd than the Brazilians. They know that they will feel the energy in the stadium as soon as the ball is kicked. However, the run up has not been so smooth.
Let us start with the blue boy of Real Madrid. Christiano Ronaldo has the eyes of the world on him. Yet playing for Portugal, he knows that they fall short of the quality afforded to him at the club level. The fact that he was injured in the warm up made his countrymen’s heart beat faster than usual. Luckily for them it was a niggle and he quickly recovered.
The same can be said of Liverpool’s goal scoring machine – Luis Suarez. He is in a much tougher position that Ronaldo. Uruguay is not the footballing powerhouse it once was. The fact that he was eager to lay his stamp on the world cup can be gauged from how hard he has fought to bounce back from injury. However, he is still not completely fit and this could diminish his impact on the tournament.
At the other end of the spectrum, you have Lionel Messi and Wayne Rooney. Two men who have played a huge part in their club’s fortunes. The very fact that both Barcelona and Manchester United struggled due to their fluctuating form was clear indication of the same. Yet, there has been very little chatter about Argentina and England. They have gone about their training with a minimum of fuss.
And then you have the Spanish Armada. Yes, football experts across the world, feel that the four men mentioned above will have to evoke the spirit of Maradona in 1986 to beat this formidable team. And they are not the only one. Germany and France though under-rated cannot be counted out. The same can be said of Brazil. With the home support and the eccentric genius of Neymar, they could do the impossible.
However, all this can be easily overshadowed with activities outside the field. The country’s poor infrastructure, incomplete stadiums, monstrous traffic jams and the threat of a strike could end up being the talking points. While people continue to throng the country from across the world, it’s time for the Football to take centre stage.