Regional

Let the Games begin!

ON THE SPORTING EDGE

PAUL REID

Thursday, June 12, 2014    

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THE 2014 FIFA World Cup, the 'Greatest Show on Earth' gets underway today with hosts Brazil taking on Croatia in the opening game in Sao Paulo, and for the next month or so, productivity could fall as fans the world over follow their teams' fate.

Thirty-two of the best teams in the world from six geographic regions will battle to be crowned champions come July 13, also in Sao Paulo.

Bookmakers and most Jamaican football fans who claimed direct lineage to Brazil have installed their team as favourites to win a sixth title, and first since 2002.

Over the next month memories will be made that will last a life-time, new stars will rise, while old warriors will hang up their boots to make way for the new stars.

For the past week or so, I have being besieged by questions of which team will I be supporting, but the honest answer is that...I have not invested enough energy into settling on a team that I can say I know for sure will make a run at the last four.

Of course the usual 'suspects' are being touted- Brazil and their South American rivals Argentina; European super powers Spain, Germany and Holland are the favoured teams.

Then, there are those of us who are longing for the rise of the African continent, even if we know on a certain level that that might be a few World Cups away. This, however, won't stop us cheering for the Black Stars of Ghana, the Super Eagles of Nigeria or the Ivory Coast.

Now, while I think through which team I will support, I can say which teams I will not be supporting, even if they go all the way. I was never a fan of Brazil or Argentina (yes, call it what you will, it is what it is), England was lucky in 1966 and can't win the next five World Cups; still can't cheer for the USA and we can strike out all the eastern European countries as well and those

from Asia.

That whittles down my list to a handful. As a young boy growing up in the 1970s I fell in love with Holland's 'total football' with Johan Neeskens and Johan Cruyff and the ruthless efficiency of the (West) German teams.

Later the Italians captured my attention, and over the past three World Cups it has been hard to ignore the rise of African football to be a major force.

That still does not get me to selecting any one team, so I will just make sure I have enough food in the house and sit back and enjoy the spectacle.

May the best team win.

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