World Cup Warm Up.

World Cup Warm Up.

Samuel Neve, Opinions Editor

What does Mercy know about the most popular sport in the world?

The World Cup is one of the biggest sporting events in the world and has been ever since the first tournament began in 1930. But does the United States really care about “the beautiful game?” Or would they rather sit through five hours of their version of “football” and all the commercials that come with it?

During the early years, The United States did enjoy relative success in the World Cup and came third in the first ever tournament that was held in Uruguay. After the war the national team went into a slump and didn’t qualify again until the 1990 World Cup held in Italy. Four years later, they qualified as hosts the competition was the best attended in history, with average attendance of nearly 69,000.The total attendance of nearly 3.6 million for the final tournament remains the highest in World Cup history, thanks to the large seating capacities the American stadiums provided for the spectators in comparison to the smaller venues of Europe and Latin America.

The 1994 World Cup was a huge boost in support for football in America and one of the conditions put forward by FIFA to allow the USA to host was the formation of the MLS in 1996, which is now becoming a more dominant league in the world.

The 2014 World Cup is going to be held in Brazil and begins on June 12, and this year is anticipated to be one of the tightest competitions in recent history. Although the hosts, Brazil are the favorites, many other teams will be hoping to life the trophy in Rio de Janeiro on July 13.

I asked a group of Americans who have some knowledge of football and a group of international students at Mercy College who have an extensive knowledge of the game about who they think will be the winners.
Out of all the Americans I spoke to, many of them favored the Spanish to triumph. The last three major international competitions have been won by the Spaniards, and this is why I think many Americans think they are going to win. Although Spain are one of the top seeded teams, due to recent form and a tricky draw in the group stages, with Chile and the Netherlands, this shows that the Americans don’t really pay much attention and keep themselves up to date in the soccer world.

Over half of the people I spoke to said that they had no interest in watching the tournament and one individual thought that the World Cup was for basketball.
I also spoke to another student of Mercy who said that he believed Spain will win and the only team in their way is The Netherlands, because they “caused Spain some trouble a while ago.” This student also didn’t realise that the current best player and one of the most famous, Cristiano Ronaldo, was Portuguese and didn’t correct me when I asked about Ronaldo playing for Spain.


The current favourites are Brazil, Germany and Argentina, and when I asked people in Britain and other international students at Mercy College who they thought was going to win, nobody said any other team than the favourites. They had taken into consideration the recent games and the squad selections and made an educated guess on who they believed would win.

The contrast to the Americans was highlighted in a recent survey of Twitter users by Twitter themselves. It showed that 90 percent of Twitter users in the UK will watch at least one World Cup game and 49 percent of all British people on Twitter plan to watch every England game and as many others as possible. The World Cup has always been a place to break through and show the world what you are really capable of an in the last few tournaments, younger players can show off their potential and this leads to them becoming some of the greatest players in the world today. Players such as Fernando Torres and Carlos Tevez showed their potential at the 2006 tournament in Germany and became two of the best Premier League strikers of the last 10 years.

On the other hand, the World Cup can almost be a place for some of the world greats to make a name for themselves. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are arguably two of the greatest players ever to have lived, yet neither of them have a World Cup winners medal in their trophy cabinet.

The World Cup is a time for football fans all over the world to come together and enjoy the spirit of the most popular sport in the world. Even fans in the United States can watch their home side play against the likes of Ghana, Germany and even Cristiano Ronaldo with his Portuguese side. This year Brazil are hoping to win a record sixth title and considering they are on home soil and have some of the best fans in the world, It’s going to be a tough ask to beat them.

And when Americans tune in for the finals, let’s hope they are not shocked to not see Spain sitting in the stands.

Ozil, Iniesta, Ronaldo, Neymar & Messi