Never is the power of football more obvious than every 4 years, when the World Cup seems to turn every competing nation into a crazed soup of exhilaration. Sports News is arguably never as exciting as when the FIFA announcements start rolling in. Even though American Football dominates sports channels in the States, not even the NFL can compare to the viewership and fandom of football fans. So what is it about this championship that seems to bewitch the entire planet?
For starters – patriotism. People see the World Cup as an expression of their cultural identity and they love nothing more than supporting their team, which represents their country. Every goal won is a matter of national pride and every loss is felt by the nation as a whole, who come together like never before, to triumph or commiseration. Football has a way of galvanising the masses into supporting their home countries in a way that can’t even be rivalled by the Olympics. Moreover, winning the bid to be the hosting country is considered a great honour and despite some controversial locations in the past, when it’s done right the power of football can transcend politics and lets people come together for the love of the sport and athletic achievement.
Unity is another wonderful thing about the World Cup that walks closely by the patriotic aspect. A key part of this is that football is very accessible. Many other sports, including American Football or Cricket, have much more complicated rules or longer game play. But even if you’ve never watched a game of football in your entire life, you already know the rules, which explains why it has become the most popular sport across the globe – you don’t need endless equipment or special facilities in order to play a game of football and so, it is universally loved. Even people that ordinarily have no interest in the game can’t help but get swept up in the World Cup mania. Also, because the England team selects players from different clubs, the usual internal rivalries within football are set aside, and we all come together to support the players, be they from Manchester City or Tottenham Hotspurs. Pubs, restaurants, homes, businesses all get decorated to stand by the team, with an easy and everyone-can-join-in topic of conversation that can get everyone involved. Football is such a powerful tool in bringing people together because it’s enjoyed by people from all walks of life and even the most cynical people can’t help but enjoy the wonderful buzz that spreads throughout the entire country.
The boost to the economy football provides also can’t be denied. Since the fans are literally in their millions, everything from travel to hotels to tickets to merchandise to, yes, alcohol, goes through the roof. People are willing to go across the globe and pay an extraordinary amount of money for the chance to see their teams play in the flesh. All the media coverage that surrounds football is also insane and in 2018 alone, the final between Croatia and France was watched by over 1 billion people. Yep, that’s billion with a ‘b’.
And let’s not forget the competitive drive and good old fashioned fun. Let’s just be honest, organised sports get people hot and bothered for a reason. They’re exciting, they’re exhilarating, they get your heart pumping whether you’re running on the field or watching on your sofa at home. Celebrating victory with your mates is something people will remember for years, just as they’ll value taking comfort in each other through bitter losses. The World Cup makes people stand together through thick and thin, so let’s clear our throats for the next one ‘cuz… it’s coming!