As a person who is apparently running a football blog, I am often asked, ‘So who do I support this World Cup?’ I must confess, I hadn’t formed specific loyalties before the World Cup, and so I probably just lost the moment. As an Indian fan, I don’t have any absolutes when it comes to country loyalties in football. Club loyalties are different, they get formed for the randomest reasons and are reinforced week in and week out. It’s ok with a club also in the sense that, every player there is a mercenary anyway (yes, I”m talking to you, Man Shitty fan) so there no reasons for the fans to have any reason for loyalty beyond the most tenuous.
Selecting a country to ‘support’ is a lot harder though. I would be nowehere close to generating the amount of feeling that North Korean player did when his national anthem was playing. It’s not even like Pakistan is playing, so I know which team should not win. My keen observations and astounding deductive abilities have however concluded the main parameters of how people do pick teams for the World Cup, based on conversations I’ve inevitably had over the last week:
The once-in-4-years football fan inevitable goes for Brazil. It’s like a simple Word Association – Charlie-Chaplin. Humpty-Dumpty. Pav-Bhaji. World Cup-Brazil. This is also the category into which the majority of the overenthusiastic media would fall, led by Headlines Today. After the one month, they’ll promptly go back into their stupor about football in general and let Indian football rot and languish in the pits that it is in.
Those who have been introduced to football in the past 3-4 years, and watched Spain simply dazzle their way to the European Championship. The Viva Espana group is also heavily media-backed, with most of the belligerent media types practically handing the cup to them, forgetting one very important point – they’re all 2 years older, and Torres has been through the Liverpool experience (sorry Scousers, couldn’t resist that).
Argentina! There are three types of people who go for the sky blues, each one with completely different reasoning. One group is the people in and related to my Spanish class. You’d think they’d all go for Spain, but nooo. Argentina is a far more popular country for the Spanish pop-culture expression. The second group is those who simply want to watch Maradona go at it. Especially in the late night games, and even more so if it falls on a weekend and there’s a party going on. The man is invaluable entertainment. Last, but definitely not the least is all the women out there going Oh Lionel! Popular fans in this category include Shakira, probably Maynati Langer and another football-watching lady friend of mine who claims that that he’s not the reason she supports Argentina. Apparently, it’s actually Higuain.
Then there’s us. The regular, league-following, emotionally-drained-through-a-season European football followers. Us types also usually go with team of favourite player and or league which we follow. But that simply can’t mean I can ‘support’ England – no way a team with wife-cheater, lumplard and Divie Me is getting any of my time. Of course, one can follow each player of our club across the various countries they play for, as brilliantly compiled here by our lastest contributor.
Which leaves us with the smaller subset even among us - the overthinking type like me who’s actually sat and written a four-point analysis of the subject like I’ve done above, and still watched the last Spain match and the last Argentina match and the last Ivory Coast match without the slightest bit of emotion. It’s not the same, watching as a fan of football rather than a football fan – a difference which has already been explored in this blog before. But I somehow like the lack of tension and blood pressure volatility that my body is subjected to everytime I watch United play. I mean, we fans have a tough season too, and we don’t get 120,000 Pounds a week to put up with it! Jogo Bonito
P.S: As a footnote, I must mention one other completely different kind of fan, summed up by the conversation below:
Him: Who’s winning?
Me: Do you know who’s even playing?
Him: No… is Uruguay playing?
Me: No man, they played yesterday, won 3-0.
Me: You’re an Uruguay fan? Why?
Him: Ya man… Why and all, I don’t know… I’ve just been