It’s just four months until the Fifa World Cup and around the country a flurry of activity is going on.
Beleaguered wives brace for the eternal battle of group stages versus family meals, pubs get ready to count their money, and the England team waits patiently to be knocked out in the quarter finals so they can return home with sorrow in their hearts…only to remember they live in massive houses and that money can’t buy you happiness, but it is far more comfortable to cry in a Lamborghini.
And so to the real business of the World Cup – the fact that it isn’t held in England , where the rain during the summer months is so abundant that many foreigners would be likely to request canoes as well as their obligatory lucrative snack food deals before they venture to dear old Blighty.
As far as World Cup winners go, they tend to emerge from prime cruise locations, so my only guess as to the origin of such magnificent sporting pedigree is that there is a direct correlation between quality of beaches and quality of football team.
In this vein, my proposed Blackpool beach redesign will have us storming the field just in time for Qatar in 2022. Palm trees might not thrive in the Lancashire climate, but at least we have some football stadiums.
Who are due to host a Fifa World Cup.
Brazil are the undisputed champions of World Cup bragging rights, having competed in every single tournament and won five – the highest of any country.
Not only are the samba infused footballers of Brazil World Cup legends, but they get to spend countless days honing their skills on some absolutely pristine beaches. In this South American paradise, football is not just a game – it’s a religion, and there’s no better church in which to worship than the golden sands of Rio de Janeiro.
With geographical wonders like Sugar Loaf mountain, and even Christ himself overlooking the spread of the city, you could argue they have god and nature on their side – along with freakishly tekkers endowed players who live, eat and breathe the beautiful game.
Feel sorry for Italy. At four World Cup wins they’re ever so close to matching the Brazilians in terms of tournament prowess, but who knows if they’ll ever top the South Americans for sheer international dominance.
In fact, don’t feel sorry for Italy, since they have some of the finest ports in the Mediterranean to their name. When they’re not too busy claiming ownership of one of the richest histories and cultures in Europe, they’re no doubt bragging about the fact that their country is blessed with Venice…and Rome…and Florence.
All in all, the renaissance aesthetic of many of Italy’s supreme cities makes them unbelievable places to visit. The artworks, the museums, the cathedrals…Venice, as an example, has more cultural landmarks in just St. Mark’s square than some cities have within their entire boundaries.
I could go on, but I won’t out of complete and utter bitterness. That and the fact they effectively dived to win the World Cup in 2006 (the 5th round game against Australia – look it up and we can wear matching tin foil hats)
You’d think a team that has Lionel Messi among their ranks would have won a fair few World Cups, but Argentina have to settle for just a couple of Jules Rimet trophies for their cabinet.
Not that they’ve done it without some ill-repute coming their way – Diego Maradona’s infamous anatomical mix-up remains a bitter point of contention for England fans – but at least they had some gorgeous locales to retreat to once the dust, and their presumed bribe to a cadre of very short-sighted linesmen, had been settled.
Thankfully, these days it’s less about the Hand of God and more about the Barrios of Buenos Aires. This cosmopolitan city somehow manages to be totally alien yet have a European-like air, attracting ex-pats from all over the world to settle there and add more and more cultures to Buenos Aires’ palette.
Perhaps the best thing about Buenos Aires is the sense of diversity – in both people and neighbourhoods. A few streets away from designer boutiques are outdoor farmer’s markets, and an odd mix of colonial architecture and trendy bars is the dominant theme. In short, both a luxury haven and a backpacker’s delight. The football isn’t bad either. When they’re playing fairly.
The most recent of the World Cup winners, with a single win in 2010. 0To put in the most simple of terms, imagine transplanting the Barcelona squad into an international team, and then adding in Fernando Torres. It’s the football equivalent of turning up to a boxing match with steel gloves and a machine gun in reserve.
As frightening their prowess might be (thank god England aren’t in the same group) the newest additions to the exclusive better-than-everyone-else-at-football club have a fine collection of destinations to their name.
Of course there’s Barcelona, the big daddy of European culture, where there’s in all likelihood a greater number of art museums than actual artists, Ibiza, birthplace of trance music and an odyssey of drunken beach-related regrets, and last but not least, the exquisite island of Tenerife, which has survived for a long time as the ideal place for families on the Spanish continent.
Each Spanish port has something unique to offer, and top it all off, it’s just a channel away from dear England. Who might definitely go out on penalties this year after a dubious refereeing decision. Bring on Brazil, unending summer hype and thoroughly expected defeat! I can’t wait.