After all this time, it's now less than 36 hours until the start of the World Cup! Always an exciting time, but none more so than now, as Australia are in the finals for the first time since 1974 - long (well, not that long) before I was even born. I can't really say I've been waiting my whole life for this, but I've certainly been waiting since at least last November. So for the next few weeks, I'm - mostly - turning my blog over to the World Cup. However, as I did with the November post, I'm not going to provide match analysis, or team profiles, or anything of that nature; there are literally thousands and thousands of sites which will be far more revealing than my biased and uninformed commentary (I've but a button for the FIFA site on the sidebar for the duration) so I won't add to the fray. As before, this will just be one fan's perspective of the action, far from where it is taking place.
And I am ready! I have Les Murray's Official Guide to The World Cup, and the SBS Official Guide to The World Cup (with a foreword and commentary by Les Murray). I've got DVDs profiling the teams and host cities. A poster of the Socceroos on my loungeroom wall. I even bought a new TV. You've seen electrical retailers advertising new TVs ahead of big events, but never thought anyone actually bought one? Well, I did. (Okay, okay. I wanted a new TV earlier this year anyway, tired at trying to make out the old set's postage-stamp sized screen. But I wanted a lot of other things too. It was the upcoming World Cup that settled my debate as to which purchase I actually made). So I can watch the matches in 51cm flat screen pleasure (not a huge TV I know but enough for my small lounge room). I'm buying a selection of international beers to drink during matches - just to fully get into the spirit of things, you understand. And I've purchased extra back-up batteries for my alarm clock.
The alarm clock is the kicker here; due to the time difference between Australia and Germany, most of the matches are on in the middle of the night. It will be a formidable test of endurance. I've done it before - during France '98, I watched about half of the 64 matches played. But I was 19 then. When you're that age you have energy to spare, energy to burn, energy to study all night, go to uni the next day, then go to work for a few hours, then go out all night. It's terrible when young people waste their money on drugs - they don't need them! Anyway, although no one ever asked me how I felt about it, I'm not 19 anymore. I get tired just thinking about what 19 year olds do. Being out at 11pm is a late night. Also, I will tire easily for the rest of my life anyway.
Nevertheless, I'm determined to see as many games as possible. All of the Australian group matches, obviously - I've arranged with work to have the three days after those games off, and will make further arrangements if we get through to the second round. But I'd also like to see all the top teams in action, and am especially looking forward to the Mexico v Portugal clash (Oh, I'll kill myself if Portugal doesn't win).
It's exciting to have your own nation in the tournament rather than having to pick another team you have no connection with to support, just to follow someone. In 1998, under the influence of all the Premier League I watched at the time, it was the English - and no, I didn't hate David Beckham for lashing out against Argentina. (Not when there are so many other good reasons to dislike him). In 2002, I have to admit I barely noticed the World Cup at all - due to the horrible mess that was my life during the first few years of the milennium, I was barely aware of anything going on in the outside world, apart from the news (that's why I'm so hopelessly out of touch with music and social trends now - it's such a lot to catch up on, and I'm too old anyway). But now, Australia are IN! Okay, in a way most of the players aren't really Australian at all - and I'm not referring to their ethnic backgrounds, just the fact that due to the fact they play overseas, most of them haven't spent more than a few weeks at a time here their whole adult lives'. But still! We shouldn't let that get in the way of national pride. Anyway, if they do well, at least the ticker tape parade will be in Australia, and that's the main thing.
Well, I'd better leave it for now - I don't want to collapse from exhaustion before a ball has even been kicked just typing this post. Tomorrow I'll be trying something new here - the Football Friday Follies! Now let's just hope I can find enough good links...