I remember quite a few things about the 2002 World Cup, the first to be held on Asian soil. And fittingly Japan was one of the nations that co-hosted the tournament along with South Korea. Shock of the tournament was defending champions France losing in the opening match to Senegal. Yes….to Senegal! Even more shocking they were eliminated at the group stage itself as they drew their next game against Uruguay and then lost to Denmark with the dubious dishonour of being chucked out of the world cup without even scoring a single goal!
The final saw Brazil win 2-0 over Germany – a match I watched in Trivandrum with a cousin who had traveled with me while we were staying at another cousin’s house along with some of the latter’s friends. We had whiskey, porottas and lamb curry with goat brains and fried eggs! But what I most remember of this particular World cup was the going to Calicut early in the morning with another cousin and our uncle to attend yet another uncle’s housewarming. On the way we pass through Malappuram as well and the entire district had football & world cup decorations, hoardings & posters all over the streets as well as effigies of famous players! Flags of Brazil, Argentina, Italy and Spain were all over the place as well. The same thing could be seen in the city of Calicut as well. After lunch at my uncle’s house a huge gathering of older folks – men & women in their 60s & 70s watched the Brazil vs England quarterfinal match and they were very knowledgeable about the game & players as well. That was a huge & pleasant surprise for me and my cousin as we don’t get to see that in the rest of the state.
Also that same world cup, I was watching a lot of games at my uncle’s house – just 2 houses next to where I lived back then – and my grandmother would join us in the afternoon and evenings to sit with us as we watched some of the matches. She was on medication (as well as being unwell she had also just lost a son less than a year ago) and liked sitting with us. It was fun and we would joke with her just to keep her in high spirits. That is a cherished memory that I am unlikely to ever forget.
2006 World cup held in Germany. The 18th World Cup was the least I had seen of a World Cup tournament since I was old enough to star watching the matches live. The reason is simple enough, work stood in the way and especially when I had a mix of day and night shifts. Still I did manage to watch quite a few games.
2010 was also a blur, mainly because I would be working most of the time that the games were on tv. I caught a few moments of the games at the office and some matches I would watch at home. I mostly remember not enjoying them too much as there was pressure at the office and I was concentrating mostly on that. I remember feeling mostly bored at some of the games and I cannot remember wanting a final to just end. It was terrible, the worst I can remember.
2014 – I was out of work for most of the year and hence I got to watch most of the games that I wanted to watch. Favourite moment of the tournament – and favourite of all time – is Germany thrashing Brazil (those eternal crybabies) 7-1. I so enjoyed that. In the final I didn’t mind who won for the first time ever. But – although the channel showing us the games did a great job in creating a long and entertaining tournament filled with experts of the games giving us their opinions and analysis, they did goof up by using typical Bollywood celebs and hosts.