We know you have celebrated, cried, and possibly lost sanity over the World Cup. It happens every four years; we get it, those 90 minutes become the most stressful but exciting part of your day; the whole world stops and all we hear is the goal shout. But here is the thing: we also get it if you do not understand any of this. I mean, why is this such a big deal? Is this not just a sport? Well, Yo Amo Barquisimeto is here to answer any question you may have or at least nine of them.
Let’s go for the Cup!
The World Cup is the most anticipated and beloved international football competition. The first FIFA World Cup was held in 1930, in Montevideo, Uruguay, thanks to the increasing popularity of the sport during the Olympic Games. The inaugural edition was contested only between thirteen teams invited by the organization. Since then, the World Cup has expanded through the years, until it reached its current format of 32 teams –which will expand further to include 42 by 2026– preceded by a two-year qualifying process, involving over 200 teams from around the world.
The championship has been celebrated every four years since the inaugural tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946, when it was not held due to World War II. The current champion is Germany, who won its fourth title at the 2014 tournament in Brazil.
Everybody talks about it, but you have no idea what it is? Okay, stay with us. FIFA stands for Fédération Internationale de Football Association, and it is the global administrative hub of soccer that aims to regulate and promote the sport worldwide. Of course, this includes running the biggest football event on planet Earth, the FIFA World Cup.
FIFA was founded in 1904, at the Rue Saint Honoré 229 in Paris, on May 21st, 1904, to oversee international competitions among the national associations of a few European countries; its membership now comprises 211 national associations. To clarify, FIFA does not control the rules of football (that being the responsibility of the International Football Association Board), but it is responsible for both the organization of several tournaments and their promotion, which generate revenue from sponsorship.
We know the teams, the groups, and now you will learn about the mascot. The design represents a characteristic feature of the host country. The first official World Cup Mascot was World Cup Willie in 1966; a lion, common symbol of the United Kingdom, wearing a Union Flag jersey with the words “World Cup.”
For Russia 2018, Zabivaka the wolf is the chosen one, taking over from Fuleco, the three-banded armadillo from the Brazil 2014 World Cup. The name “Zabivaka” means “the one who scores.” Graphic design student Ekaterina Bocharova created this year’s mascot and it was selected via an internet voting system in September 2016 in the FIFA platforms.
The World Cup ball has changed a lot over time, getting lighter and more technical in design; the sportswear giant Adidas is the one in charge of designing the official ball to be used during the tournament.
For Russia 2018, we got the Telstar 18. The design is a modern interpretation of the iconic 1970 Telstar ball, the first Adidas’s World Cup match ball, and also the first football with a black and white pattern. The Telstar 18 has six textured panels seamlessly glued together, in contrast to the original Telstar which had 32 panels.
Take a closer look at the World Cup intro, what does it remind you of? Maybe one of the greatest TV shows on HBO? Lots of fans are convinced it is a reference to the amazing “Game of Thrones” intro; in fact, some have used the FIFA images and combined them with the famous melody of the series, they match perfectly.
People’s favorites will not surprise you. The most popular teams are Germany, Brazil, France, Spain, and Argentina. Even if there have been a few surprises in the last couple of days, all of those are full of incredible talent, and each has won at least one World Cup.
Germany is the current World Cup champion, and some of the same players from 2014 are back for the Russia competition. Brazil has won 5 World Cups, the biggest winner in history, and they got one of the world’s best players: Neymar. France has a young and strong team, an example is Mbappé, who became the youngest French man to make the team for a World Cup, at just 19 years old.
As for Spain, La Roja won the World Cup in 2010, and the team is full of talented players hungry for another victory. Argentina, on the other hand, is recognized as one of the best teams in the world, its captain, Lionel Messi, is considered the best soccer player ever.
The World Cup is full of great and talented players; there is a reason why they classified in the first place. But since there are too many to name them all, we will mention a few names to have some basic knowledge.
We must start with the Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo and the Argentinian Lionel Messi. Each one has won the Ballon d’Or — the World’s Best Player Award — five times, meaning they have alternated for the title since 2008. Brazil’s Neymar is seen as the heir after the era of Ronaldo and Messi, being named the world’s third-best player in 2015 and 2017. For the French team, Antoine Griezmann was 2016’s third-best player and could lead his country to World Cup glory.
We cannot let out the ones that have saved their teams multiple times: the goalkeepers. Five keepers, in particular, stand out: Germany’s Manuel Neuer, Spain’s David De Gea, Costa Rica’s Keylor Navas, France’s Hugo Lloris, and Belgium’s Thibaut Courtois.
The official World Cup song is called “Live It Up,” and it is performed by Nicky Jam, Era Istrefi, and the all-time favorite, Will Smith. Diplo, the mastermind behind hits like “Lean On,” produced it. And even if it does not have very Russian vibes, we have to admit it is a pretty catchy beat, and we cannot complain when we have The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air singing again.
If you are curious, you can hear every official World Cup song since 1982.
The 2022 World Cup is taking place in Qatar. In 2010, FIFA awarded the 2022 World Cup to the Middle Eastern nation, and it will be the first time a Mideast country will host the tournament. The decision has caused controversy, thanks to Qatar’s authoritarian politics, the threat it presents to migrant workers who are building the World Cup facilities, and even the country’s weather.
FIFA has moved the World Cup to the winter season, due to the high temperatures of the Qatari summer, setting the final match for December 18, 2022, Qatar’s National Day. Why is this a big deal? We can explain: all modern World Cups have taken place during the summer, that way the event does not interfere with regular season schedules for professional soccer leagues in England, Spain, or elsewhere.
We hope Yo Amo Barquisimeto helped you understand a little bit more about the beauty of the World Cup; maybe now you will shout along with your friends when their teams win! The competition is still going, and anything can happen, who are you cheering for?
Instagram: Yo Amo Barquisimeto
Twitter: Yo Amo Barquisimeto