Soup of This Day #381: We Will Find A Way
The view from inside Rio de Janeiro’s Estádio do Maracanã. It’s hard to see the slums from here – Photo: Leandro Neumann Ciuffo, 2013. Leandro Neumann Ciuffo is not affiliated with Longworth72. Image cropped by Longworth72.
The 2014 FIFA World Cup has started and I’m struggling to get involved.
Not because of the football, because that has been excellent. It almost always is in the early stages of a World Cup. Later, as it gets down to the knockout stages and the stakes are raised, the matches will ironically dull down, but for now the football is nominally worth losing sleep over.
I think though that I’ll take the snooze. FIFA is no longer just about the football and the World Cup has no grand or noble aims. Instead the whole reads like a greedy grab for more of everything. Which isn’t new but in Brazil this is being played out with a backdrop of many who have so little.
Perhaps I’m over-thinking this. Maybe I need to find a way to get pulled into the heady mix of a samba beat with an overlay of capitalism.
What I need are slogans. Punchy little sayings that encapsulate everything about life while saying little of meaning.
Here then is the Longworth72 crib notes on the 2014 FIFA World Cup, based around the official slogans of each of the participating 32 national teams…
Brazil – Brace yourselves! The Sixth is coming!
Way to manage the expectations Confederação Brasileira de Futebol. Everyone in Brazil is watching the Canarinho (Little Canary), even the statue, Christ the Redeemer. It’s eerie how it’s eyes follow a Brazilian player around the pitch.
Cameroon – A lion remains a lion.
Lions are cats and generally aren’t in to football. Also, if Cameron have always been lions then maybe they need to rethink that identity because in 6 attempts they’ve not won the World Cup.
Croatia – With fire in our hearts, for Croatia all as one!
Twice in the past Croatia have won FIFA’s ‘Best Mover’ award. The last time was 1998 though so I’d think about having somebody else carry your furniture around in 2014. Maybe it’s just heartburn but it could also be more serious.
Mexico – Always united, always Aztecas.
The Aztecs of Ancient Mexico played a ballgame called Ōllamaliztli, in which the players controlled the ball with their hips. In some versions of the game the captain of the losing team was decapitated. The modern Aztecs have kept the shimmy and while they don’t do beheadings any more, they are a danger on the pitch.
Australia – Socceroos: hopping our way into history!
In 1982 El Salvador set the record for the most goals conceded in a World Cup finals match, losing 1-10 to Hungary. History isn’t always kind.
Chile – Chi Chi Chi!, Le Le Le! Go Chile!
I’m not bitter about them beating the Socceroos – La Roja are a genuine and consistent threat on the football field. Their team slogan though only works if you spell it out with pompoms.
Netherlands – Real men wear orange.
Well, that settles it for anyone with gender identity questions. Are Holland gonna be cool though with themselves in their alternate blue kit? God only knows what manner of man wears blue, apart from those who played for Spain when they beat the orange-clad Holland in the 2010 World Cup decider.
Spain – Inside our hearts, the passion of a champion.
This could be problematic as only two nations have ever gone back-to-back in the World Cup. The other 17 times it’s been better to go in with the passion of not-being-a-champion.
Colombia – Here travels a nation, not just a team!
The squad is limited to just 23 though and none of them is the talismanic striker Radamel Falcao. Which might be awkward in the knockout stages.
Greece – Heroes play like Greeks.
Oedipus heroically saved Thebes by besting the riddling Sphinx but then accidentally hooked up with his mother, having earlier removed his father from the picture in a road-rage incident. Being a Greek hero can go either way.
Ivory Coast – Elephants charging towards Brazil!
I like elephants. They’ve got great footwork for a beast so large. I’ve always wondered though about why it’s called the ‘Ivory’ Coast? What? Oh… Awkward.
Japan – Samurai, the time has come to fight!
They’re aware that it’s football, right? No katanas allowed. Although there is little apparent danger – These Samurai have a sharp edge but not enough thrust through the midfield.
Costa Rica – My passion is football, my strength is my people, my pride is Costa Rica.
A brilliant sentiment. Unfortunately Los Ticos will do well to simply progress from Group D, even with a shock first-up win over Uruguay.
England – The dream of one team, the heartbeat of millions!!
And 1 penalty shoot-out loss, probably to Italy. Because that’s what almost always happens to England, the heartache of millions.
Italy – Let’s paint the Fifa World Cup dream blue.
Wait… Are you doing drugs Italy? I’m asking because you’re painting dreams. Either way, the Azzuri need to make time to knock out England, most likely via a penalty shoot-out. It is their destiny.
Uruguay – Three million dreams… Let’s go Uruguay.
A 2013 estimate had Uruguay’s population at 3,324,460. Let’s all take a moment to think then of the 324,460 fine Uruguayans who can’t or won’t dream of Luis Suárez doing something undeniably magical and/or irredeemably stupid.
Ecuador – One commitment, one passion, only one heart, this is for you Ecuador!
Registering for organ donation is a noble thing to do, although La Tri are unlikely to get killed by opponents on the pitch this World Cup. They have a solid squad that deserves respect.
France – Impossible is not a French word.
Neither is ‘taco’ or ‘radar’ so it’s not all upside when you limit your vocabulary. The latter is a problem because Les Bleus struggle to fly underneath it. Instead they tend to give the receiving station a Gallic nutting after it said nasty things about their sister.
Honduras – We are one country, one nation, five stars on the heart.
Five points would be better for the Hondurans. It could happen for Los Catrachos but they have no stars, let alone five of them, and so they’ll need a fair bit of that heart.
Switzerland – Final stop: 07-13-14 Maracana!
This is a very precise slogan. It’s like one of those fine timepiece movements and you can believe that the Swiss will make that appointment. Don’t be banking on seeing this youthful Swiss outfit playing the final though – They might just be there as spectators.
Argentina -Not just a team, we are a country.
This togetherness is reflected in their nickname, ‘Lionel Messi.’ It’s pure coincidence that this matches the actual name of star player Lionel Messi, who everybody would admit is the greatest ever if he could have a great World Cup for a change.
Bosnia and Herzegovina – Dragons in heart, dragons on the field!
Just like in Game of Thrones. And also as in GoT, the likeable Bosnia and Herzegovina may face an early defeat at the feet of the impish Lionel ‘Tyrion’ Messi.
Iran – Honour of Persia.
I’m not sure that football imparts honour. Regardless, this is bigger than Persia – Team Melli could be the highlight of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) contribution to this tournament.
Nigeria – Only together we can win.
And maybe not even then. The Super Eagles may well flock together but they’re ranked 45th in the world so will need some fortuitous thermals to attain great heights.
Germany – One nation, one team, one dream!
But not One Direction. Instead, the Germans are more Die Adler (The Eagles), with a band of harmonised midfielders playing football in the fast lane.
Ghana – Black Stars: here to illuminate Brazil.
Stars can brilliantly shine but they can also furiously implode. It’s not clear where on the Hertzsprung–Russell diagram of stellar evolution that Ghana sits.
Portugal – The past is history, the future is victory.
Yep, the past is definitely history and the future of this World Cup will end in victory. It’s just not clear whether it will be victory for Cristian Ronaldo and the Seleção.
United States – United by team, driven by passionfruit.
I added the ‘fruit’ bit, because otherwise it read like a bank slogan. I think it works, unlike actual passionfruit, which are ok atop a meringue but score far too few goals for my liking.
Algeria – Desert warriors in Brazil.
Does Brazil have deserts? Seems a little high in precipitation. The Fennec Foxes had a dry qualifying campaign and will flounder if the goals rain in at the other end.
Belgium – Expect the impossible!
Half of Belgium is French, the other half is Dutch. In spite of this they have recognised the word ‘impossible’ and aren’t wearing orange. They’re enigmatic, those Belgians.
Russia – No one can catch us.
A bold claim. Certainly, with a punchily aggressive offence and a rigidly conservative defence, nobody will catch the Russians thinking that homosexual people are really okay after all.
South Korea – Enjoy it, Reds!
This is either a wise strategem to keep the players grounded or an admission that they’re going to get belted. I think it’s the latter but I’m now expecting some ‘Caddyshack’-like antics along the way, only with football instead of golf.
And we’re done except for a final thought:
I probably should make a prediction on who will win this World Cup. I’ve thought a fair bit about this and I can conjure up a clear front-runner.
Yep, the incarnation of FIFA that has presided over the global game for the past 16 years, will be the big winner. Somebody give them a trophy.