World Cup Soccer 2014

The Caribbean Is One Nation.

                                                              World Cup Soccer 2014

By Pachamama

Every time world cup soccer (football) comes around a plurality of the peoples on earth recall the glorious Brazilian teams of 1950's, 60's and early 70's. The Brazilian teams of Edson Arantes do Nascimento (Pele) and his band of magicians. Things are unlikely to be any different this year with the tournament being in what some consider the Holy See for soccer lovers with Pele as its eternal Pope. But this Brazilian team of 2014 is unlikely to repeat the dazzling brilliance of their forebears, even if they won the cup.

To a large extent it was the Brazilians who led the transformation of soccer from a slow physical game to the faster, more technical, tactical, precise, flowing and the easier to watch marketing product it has become. This product is now more diffused and the sources of competition Pele's Brazil had to counter are now more numerous, as the European leagues will show as they more and more rely on players from elsewhere.

The leagues now draw from a larger pool of African and Eastern European players as soccer continues to be the leading sport of the masses almost everywhere. We have seen young boys in the Ivory Coast playing barefooted in the streets and confined places. In Benin, we watched as half-naked youths with skills, courage and determination competed for time and space on over crowded and uneven fields. Some with boots, others without but where the individual is not only competing against known opponents but against his own teammates as well. This must have some implications for the wider society, no?.

The winner of the World of Soccer 2014 is most likely to be a country that has won before. A country that has a large population. A country with vast resources and a soccer infrastructure of the highest order. Of the 32 team in the finals, Germany, Russia, United States, Nigeria, Argentina, France, Italy, England, Netherlands and Brazil meet most of these limited criteria. Not all of them have won previously, of course, and a few lesser countries have, but the general tendency is for the winners to come from European or South American nations suggests a number of commonalities. But countries such as Uruguay won in 1930 and Portugal finished third in 1966 largely through the efforts of the Great Eusebio Da Silva Ferreira.

This year it shall be Portugal which will present Cristiano Ronaldo as the chief rival to His Holiness Leonard Messi of Argentina in a sub-plot for the crown of Pele, The Archangel, Himself. These intrigues have never really lived up to expectation. On some occasions others have emerged. The most likely scenario however is that neither pretender will see the face of God. The game is too popular. Everybody knows the tendencies of the key players. There is not to much difference in the physicality and skills levels of a much greater number of world players. It's now easier to mark strategic threats out of the game all together. And so on.

At the tactical level teams are more likely to sit back and defend with 9 or 10 men, hoping to score on the counter-attack, especially in the earlier rounds. The general application of these tactics is likely to lead to many boring games and a number of draws. But the main objective would be getting through to the next round, not satisfying the marketers or the viewers or spectators. This is our general forecast for World Cup of Soccer 2014. You may make your best guest as to which team will eventually win this 2014 World War of Attrition, we like to call soccer.

At a time when empires are crumbling and new pretenders are emerging the World Cup of Soccer 2014 may portend a very different New World Order. Soccer as a devise to prevent national military rivalry may indeed give a quantum leap to one of the BRICS (Brazil Russia India China) , if Brazil wins. Or maintain the Old World Order, if a European team wins. But for the tens of millions of poor Brazilians, World Cup of Soccer 2014 is unlikely to see any substantive change in their circumstances, any time soon. 

Pachamama is a social commentator         

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