Why the World Cup is not all that bad

8 Jul 2014

I never was into football much. 
I am not even sure I understand the offside rule. 
I got to watch it because my husband likes to watch some matches once in a while (he is by no means a huge fan either). 
Some people do get ridiculously patriotic about it. I remember watching a Portugal-France match in Portugal and hiding myself as people shouted at the screen about some apparently bad referee decision. So, this is my take on why we still watch some it and interested in what is going on.

YES, the FIFA is a completely corrupted organisation and their workings, rules, decisions are biased and completely ridiculous.

YES, (most) footballers are paid way too much money (even though some do a little bit of good with that insane amount of money).

YES, football is linked to nationalism, by some, in a less than positive way.

YES, football is almost a doctrine, a cult to follow, for some.

YES, footballers are worse than little kids when it comes to faking injury and behaviour (biting!?).

YES, football has become a spectacle and TVs and fans can pay huge sums of money to attend or watch a match.

YES, football matches on TV can be boring when none of the teams want to get knocked out and no game is really played fairly.

YET, we are really enjoying the World Cup as a family this year. Living in a multicultural household has brought out an expected side to the story. Rather than rooting for our home team, we support more teams, learn about them.
LJ is too little to understand what it is all about. She didn't even know what football was until a few days ago. The World Cup has proved to be a fantastic learning experience for her:

BECAUSE LJ has learnt about countries and flags. There are flags everywhere around the city: on cars, hanging out windows, etc. And they are not just German flags, there are all sorts. Where we are we have seen a lot of Croatian, Italian, Bosnian and a few Swiss, Brazilian and French flags. It is a wonderful opportunity to learn about them and draw them!

Taking a flag to Kindergarten

BECAUSE we have tried some wonderful recipes. MKB is running a great project where a blog posts something about their country each time they play. I took part and posted about Portugal. Amongst these posts, there were some delicious recipes (like this West African drink).

BECAUSE we are learning about each country involved. Each time we mention a country, LJ asks us what animals there are in that country. When she asks about Australia, we are safe with kangaroos and crocodiles but when she asks about Bosnia, we sometimes struggle! We usually end up watching a couple of YouTube clips or looking at a book. This year she has also been learning with her kindergarten about different parts of the world (through a travelling stuffed monkey called Prof). Combined with the World Cup, this is such a great opportunity to learn about other countries. And it is not just her learning, we do too. For example, did you see this story about Japanese fans tidying up after themselves in the stadium.

BECAUSE we are discovering Brazil a little more. Both P and I have an on-going love affair with Brazil. We almost moved there a couple of years back. So we love reading stories about the country, its people and anything else connected to it. We are also trying to make sure LJ does not forget about her amazing trip there.

Curitiba, Brazil

BECAUSE I have connected with a lot more people on Twitter. Yes, when you tweet about the World Cup, you are bound to find someone else in your feed doing the same and it becomes very interesting.

BECAUSE we have connected with real life people near us too! You see all those flags on people's cars have led us to realise that in our block of flats, there is at least one other French family and one Portuguese one than we thought. We spotted cars with those flags in the car park and are now on the hunt for them!! Could we finally find some kids who speak Portuguese (a girl can dream!!).

BECAUSE it is really just a bit of fun and we really do not take ourselves too seriously when we wave a Portuguese flag in Kindergarten on a day where they play Germany!! Deep down, we do not really care who wins. It is just a GAME.

You may say we don't need football and the World Cup to do all this. That is right but it is a great opportunity we don't often get. It gives context to all these things and is much more fun that way.


  1. I totally agree! I was never a huge soccer fan (or sports fan in general), and while there are all of those terrible problems you mention, we have really been loving the World Cup this year! It is fun for all of us, and my son has been learning so much about the countries that are participating. Now whenever he hears about another place in the world, the first thing he asks is, Are they in the World Cup??

    1. It is not the games that are interesting to me (or not that much anyway). it is more about the culture behind it and the countries invovled.

  2. I really enjoyed this post. We are also not sports fans (AT ALL) but we have had so much fun watching the WM games this year. My boys have been rooting for Deutschland (natürlich) but same as your daughter have been thrilled to see so many flags around. Flags are one of their favorite things to spot when traveling, so it's been a treat to have our city decorated with so many different ones.

    1. thanks for your lovely comment. I knew I wasn't the only one.

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