The FIFA World Cup is back! With exciting matches and a lot of fanfare, if you’re looking forward to the games as much as we are, we suggest you start reading! Rhea Dhanbhoora & Dev Goswami tell you more
World Cup fans will understand when we say that this weekend is the start of a really exciting season. Having waited four years to watch countries play on such a large platform, the frenzy is understandable. With several big name players playing their last World Cup and surprising young stars waiting to carve their place in football history, here’s a quick guide to some exciting players and matches and where to get some great World Cup merchandise to get in the spirit of the game.
Matches To Watch Out For
It is possible that not all of us will be able to set our schedules around the World Cup dates and match timings. So, to make sure that you don’t miss the best of what the beautiful game (as the Brazilians call it) has to offer, mark your calendars for these exciting group stage matches, that you shouldn’t miss out on watching. The matches will be telecast on Sony Six.
Spain vs Netherlands
Are you having flashbacks from the 2010 World Cup final? So are we! You can’t miss watching the ageing Spain squad trying to prove that they still have what it takes to win the tournament. Those who watched the last World Cup final, will remember this match being hotly contested, with tempers flying, both on and off the pitch. Having won the 2008 Euro Cup, the 2010 World Cup and the 2012 Euro Cup, Spain is on a roll and will do everything it can to win this year
When June 14, 12.30am
England vs Italy
Group D includes teams (England, Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica) have an impressive seven World Cups between them — making all the matches in this group worth watching. But, the clash between the English and the Italians promises to be a thrilling one, with the traditionally defensive Italians trying to thwart England’s hunt for World Cup glory — something that the Three Lions have been chasing for a long, long time.
When June 15, 3.30am
Portugal vs Germany
Both countries are World Cup contenders and both, along with USA and Ghana, find a spot in the group of death. This match is one of the most anticipated ones in the group stages, partly because of Cristiano Ronaldo’s recent form, which has the ability to single-handedly take Portugal to the finals. At the same time, Germany have been playing some really good international football, making them one of the favourites at this year’s World Cup. This is a game you just
When June 16, 9.30pm
Brazil vs Mexico
The match between these two south-American nations is like the local derby of a national football league. Mexico and Brazil have always had tough matches with the results going Mexico’s way more often than you’d expect. Brazil’s coach, Luiz Felipe Scolari, himself acknowledged that Mexcio has always been a tough opponent for his team.
When June 18, 12.30am
USA’s games against Portugal and Germany
USA’s matches against both Portugal and Germany are a must-watch, not because the games promise fireworks, but due to the fact that the result of these games will determine which teams advance to the next round. So, you can expect the players from each team to give everything that they have to ensure that they win the game.
When June 23, 3.30am (vs Portugal) and June 26, 9.30pm (vs Germany)
5 World Cup Songs That You Should Know
Wondering why everyone is going gaga to the soundtrack this year? Here are a few World Cup songs you need to listen to, if you haven’t heard them already:
- We Are One (Ole Ola) (official song) by Pitbull, featuring Jennifer Lopez and Claudia Leitte
- Dar um Jeito (We Will Find a Way) Santana and Wyclef Jean, featuring Avicii and Alexandre Pires
- Tatu Bom de Bola (official mascot song) by Arlindo Cruz
- Vida by Ricky Martin, featuring Judika
- La La La (Brasil 2014) Shakira, featuring Carlinhos Brown
Watch These Stars
Rising stars are the USP of any World Cup and this one is no different. We’ve picked six stars that we can’t wait to see in action:
Raphael Varane: France
The Real Madrid centre-back is poised to become one of the younger stars of the tournament this year. With all of France waiting to see him shine, there’s a lot of pressure on the 21-year-old, but we’re hoping that the defender will add a little spunk to the French side.
James Rodriguez: Colombia
Whether you’re rooting for Colombia or not, you should be watching this 22-year-old star. Poised to become a pretty big name in football, he currently plays as right wing for AS Monaco, but we’re looking forward to seeing a few good games from him this World Cup.
Ross Barkley: England
Will England ever get to shine at FIFA again? The debate is loud and varied, so let’s not get into that. One thing is for sure though — we’re expecting some great work from this 20-year-old Everton star. We’re hoping that the midfielder helps push England higher up the scale this tournament.
Miralem Pjanic: Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a team to watch anyway, as this is their first major tournament since they have become an independent nation. And, young Roma star, Miralem Pjanic, is finally seeing his moment in the sun with the team. Watch the 24-year-old midfielder kick up a storm
William Carvalho: Portugal
All eyes may be on superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, but don’t skip over the rest of the team without paying attention to midfielder William Carvalho. He may be only 22-years-old, but he’s already shone on the field in his defensive midfielder position and the buzz around him is pretty strong this year. Look forward to major clubs fighting over him if he proves his mettle at the World Cup!
Paul Pogba: France
The French side is serving up some surprises when it comes to their younger players. The 21-year-old Juventus player has already scored some impressive goals and helped win accolades for the club. The French would be a team to reckon with if he performs well.
Get The Schedule
With a vast difference between India and Brazil’s time zones, it will be difficult to figure out what match will be shown at what time. The fact that Brazil itself has three different time-zones makes it even more difficult. However, you can check out the World Time Zone website, where they have put up an interactive world map. Click on the match that you’d like to watch and it will display the time that the match will start in each country. You can access the map by going to this link: www.worldtimezone.com/time/fifa-time-map2014.php
Take A Tour
Even if you can’t make it to the stadiums this year and are watching the matches from the confines of your home, you don’t have to miss out on exploring the venues. As always, Google comes to the rescue with Google Maps’ virtual tours of all the stadiums that will be holding the matches. You will only be able to see the pitch and the stands, but that’s better than nothing, right?! So, log on to www.google.com/maps/views/streetview/brazils-world-cup-stadiums?gl=us
“For the World Cup this year, I’m really looking forward to some football action after the leagues are over. The music and flair of the tournament is always awesome, from the theme songs to the songs that each channel has for their broadcasts (I think the BBC got Stevie Wonder to do a song for their broadcasts during the World Cup). From a purely football aspect, I’m looking forward to seeing some new players perform and seeing how the clubs will splash big money to buy them in an interesting transfer season afterwards!”
— Ankit Arora (24), Versova
“With most of the matches going to be telecasted late at night, this World Cup will mean I’ll be going to work extremely sleepy on most days, but it’ll be worth it. The games I am most looking forward to are the ones between Germany and Portugal and England and Uruguay in the group stages. I am not supporting any team as such, but I have a soft spot for Germany.”
— Sameer Bharde (22), Santacruz
Know Your Mascot
The official mascot this year is Fuleco the Armadillo. The cute, three-banded animal is native to Brazil and was chosen since it is on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list, as a vulnerable animal. His message this year features environmental concerns.
Get Into The Spirit
Cheer for your favourite team in full gear as we tell you about some great football merchandise out there:
The Inner Passion
Don’t feel like dressing up to watch a game at home? You can still wear your love for football with these boxers from Jabong.com.
Price Rs 499
While they might not be country specific, you can root for your favourite footballer with these keychains from Printvenue.com
Price Rs 249
The Brazuca is the official match ball, designed by Adidas. The ball weighs 437g and has a water absorption rate of just 0.2%. The six-panelled ball has been specially tested in wind-tunnels and almost all the teams have given it a thumbs up. You can get your hands on the ball at Adidas showrooms across the city.
Price Rs 7,499.
The One, The Only One
Fabfurnish.com has a super cute range of cushion covers that sport major footballers.
Price Rs 395
The Red One
We absolute love this fiery red watch inspired by the Spanish team. Pick up this one from Ice Watches.
Price Rs 8,975
Defend Your Keys
Keep losing your keys? These name-tag keychain with great quotes will come in handy.
Price Rs 395
Want to get the original jerseys? Visit Adidas showrooms where you can buy jerseys of the teams that they sponsor.
Price Rs 3,599