South Africa 2010 Fifa World Cup Opens! By David Rawnsley – Cornwall Ontario – June 14, 2010

South Africa 2010 – FIFA World Cup

Cornwall ON – It has started. The Stanley Cup finishes and almost seamlessly we are into the World Cup. For the uninitiated that is like the Stanley Cup in the 208 countries that are competing for this trophy.

Can you imagine multiplying the Stanley Cup, which is watched by 1½ countries, Canada and a fraction of the USA, by two levels of magnitude – not ten times but at least a hundred times, that is the World Cup.

Many Canadians are totally oblivious to it but not our young people, no, they are totally alive to what is happening in South Africa. Football, soccer to us North Americans, is the number one participatory sport in Canada. It went past hockey some ten years ago and continues to grow in popularity. Plus, it is the world’s number one game, dwarfing such other contenders as rugby, baseball, basketball, and cricket.

However, Canada has not fared well when it comes to the beautiful game. One Gold Cup victory is the best the men have to show for themselves. The women, by comparison, are a top-ten team; the men cannot crack the top 32 and place us at the high table with the world’s greats. Unlike Australia and New Zealand, countries that Canada might compare herself to, we are not in South Africa to fly the Maple Leaf.

The next week or so is the “group stage” – eight groups of four, with each team playing the other. The top two in each group will advance and the other two will be on the plane back home. At this stage the strategy is to avoid losing. A tie provides a single point that might be crucial in the qualifying process. So, many teams are playing, not to win but to avoid losing. If they do happen to win then that is a bonus. So expect lots of ties, at least for the first few games. Not the best soccer but all that is necessary to progress to the “knock out stage”. This is when the last 16 play, one-game, winner-take-all, hockey. Then it gets a bit more exciting.

So, if like 50% of the viewers of the Weather Channel, you are largely uninterested in the World Cup. Wait a couple of weeks until we have made that last concentration. By then, I hope, I might have given you a couple of reasons to watch the World Cup.

David Rawnsley is President of the Char Lan Minor Soccer Association as well as Executive Director of FOSS, Friends of SD&SG Soccer and a district Referee, as well as co-founder of Char-Lan Women’s Soccer.

Soccer is his Passion, and we’re hoping to get several reports from him during the 2010 Fifa World Cup!

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