So this is it! World cup fever reaches Barcelona! Was it really four years ago that the last competition rolled around? Days upon days of slumming in front of the television, telling yourself that this historic occasion is well worth skiving a couple of weeks off work for just because it doesn’t happen very often. (I mean you’d kick yourself if you missed Honduras vs Switzerland, right?).
But despite the silly nature of it all, I do genuinely get excited about the World Cup – and bizarrely even a little patriotic! Generally I think patriotism is one of the worst abstract concepts ever, shortly behind religion, whose principle use is to whip up uneducated idiots into an whirl of self righteous anger required to go and shoot at ‘dirty foreigners’ or excuse the general raping, pillaging and torturing of other ‘lesser nations’… but it’s kind of ok for football, provided you don’t get too carried away when ‘your’ team wins or loses. In fact without any notion of patriotism international football would be a mighty dull game. You’ve got to have a team to support! (And on that note apologies to the Welsh, Scottish and Irish who won’t be represented in South Africa in 2010… oh-so-sincere apologies, I should add;).
Actually as an avid Arsenal fan, not only do I have to go against my principles and become patriotic, but I also have to lay aside all my club rivalries and support cheating scousers like Gerrard and Rooney and filthy chavs like Terry, Ashley Cole and Ferdinand (ok, he’s injured but whatever). Sadly the England squad is, for the most part, a fairly despicable bunch of petty criminals who are also able to kick a ball round but for two or three weeks they have the chance to redeem themselves in my eyes (and that’s what will be really motivating them I’m sure) and be heroes. At least until the quarter finals when they lose again on penalties.
Of course now I’m in Barcelona I’ve got a firm eye on Spain’s World Cup credentials too and my my, they are purring like a cat who’s just finished a king-size tin of smoked-salmon flavoured Whiskas. They recently whipped Poland’s posteriors 6 to nothing and, with a team that is basically Barcelona FC plus Torres, Alonso, Casillas and Fabregas (the Arsenal player), they are rightly considered favourites for 2010 next to Brazil. Indeed they possess considerably more flair than Dunga’s Brazilian side… so the chance to see them out-Brazil Brazil will be worth the four-year wait alone!
Whilst I ramble on erratically about vaguely football related matters, our more practical amigos at Barcelona Life have cleverly started putting together a handy list of sports bars showing the World Cup in Barcelona. With the vast number of foreigners living in, and of course visiting, the city I expect pretty big crowds for any England, Germany, France or Holland matches in all of the Irish bars… and for the Spain games I’m sure every neighbourhood gaff from Poblenou to Poble Sec will be rammed. (How I’d love to watch Spain vs. England in a rough corner bar and shout my mouth off, but sadly this would probably drastically shorten my life expectancy!)
My amigo pointed me in the direction of this great calendar with all the start time etc!