28 June 2006

FIFA WM 2006 - Prologue

The 2006 Edition of the World Cup from Deustchland has just finished its 2nd stage or Round of 16 (as some might term it). Hence, I believe it is due time for me to post some of my musings on the matches thus far.

A bit of background, paraphrased from my favourite reference site, wikipedia:

The FIFA World Cup (sometimes called the football World Cup, the soccer World Cup, or just the World Cup), is an international football competition contested by the men's national football teams of member nations of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). FIFA is the sport's global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the first tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946, due to World War II. However, the event is often ongoing, as the qualifying rounds of the competition take place over the three years preceding the final rounds. The tournament's final phase, often called the "World Cup Finals" involves 32 national teams competing at several venues within the host nation or nations. The Finals are held over a period of about a month. The World Cup Finals is said to be the most widely-viewed sporting event in the world (statistical junkies: about 1.1 billion people watching the 2002 tournament final). On a separate note, FIFA also holds the Women's World Cup on a separate schedule.

Despite it being the most watched sporting event, believe it or not, while many others were glued in front of their TV set or cramming into a pub to see the curtain raiser match of Germany-Costa Rica, I was happily sitting in an almost empty cinema thinking isnt there anyone else interesting in watching the remake of the rise of Damien Thorn. It was only after the movie that I realized I missed the 1st game (which I wanted to see) as I heard the euphoria of a goal scored when I passed a pub screening the match. Bummer!

I also bungled my way into the 1st England match (big game here & I somehow got the timing wrong too). How did I found out I screw up the match timing? Well, at about 1515 that Saturday afternoon, I smsed my dear back in home country asking whether shes going to wake up for the game later that night there. Imagine my dohmoment when she replied my sms saying the England-Paraguay game was on then. I was cursing myself too. Knowing that most pub would be full by then, I smsed a friend who lives in London asking if he found the battery operated TV he has so that I can loan it from him to see games. No go on that front. :(

Luckily, I found out that BBC was video streaming the England-Paraguay match live over the internet & I got to see like the last 20 minutes of it. Apparently, BBC is video streaming over internet the games it has broadcasting rights over (The rights for the remaining matches are with ITV). These video streams are limited to UK users due to broadcasting rights issue with FIFA. However, BBCs Radio 5 Live broadcasts commentaries of all the matches. I also got to know a bit later that CBS (at the cafes plasma TV primarily) screens all matches that fall within the buildings opening hours That really saved me some cash as I will only need to go to pub for matches that I want to see but is not available video streaming, out of CBS opening hours or simply if I want to hang out with friends. However, if possible, I avoid going to the pubs for England matches due to the expected crowd. That has basically defined my World Cup Finals viewing experience & condemned me indoors for the period of nearly a month. Apparently, high street storessales are greatly affected & they are starting this years summer sales earlier (& having it over a longer period) to arrest this unhealthy development (for them).

To be continued

Till later, live long & prosper.

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