FIFA World Cup 2018: A Non-Football Fan’s Perspective

FIFA World Cup 2018 is almost upon us and many out there, like myself, don’t follow the beautiful game, so here is how I survive the month full of balls, beers and broken dreams.

So it appears that football has once again been renewed for another season and we now find ourselves in the midst of one of the sport’s biggest spin-off shows of all time, sports answer to Young Sheldon, FIFA World Cup 2018. This global phenomenon is a magical and joyous time where a country lovingly unites in the hatred of other countries.

While beers and a fading national optimism soak through every street up and down the nation there is a minority of whom that do not follow football, which can be somewhat harrowing as multi-coloured shirts are everywhere and people start asking stressful questions like “Did you see the match last night?” and “Wasn’t that offside totally uncalled for?” My answer to both of these questions is simply “I know. Wayne Rooney isn’t as good as he used to be.” Then I look down at my phone in a hope that a Deliveroo driver turns up to whisk me away from the awkward situation.

A moment of slight butterflies

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the spectacle of the event and how passionate fans walk around with the nation’s flag painted on their robust stomachs like the country’s budget couldn’t cover purchasing an actual flag so used crazy Barry from the post room instead. Admittedly, there are moments in the past where slight butterflies have fluttered through my organs in excitement at the prospect of England actually getting further than the airport, however, that sadly does not last and I return to my blase outlook on the whole sport.

On a side note, being fairly pessimistic, to the point where I go out of my way to purposely find a darker narrative within cute kids TV shows so they can all come down to my sinister level, I struggle to see the hope in England achieving World Cup glory again. Right, that’s all your getting from me in terms of “deep conversation” about football. Back to your regular scheduled misery.

Other than the vague understanding of which countries are playing and that alcoholism is masked with the notion “Well it’s the World Cup! Why can’t I start drinking my lager at 8am and another can at 8:01?” this event is completely alien to me. My news feed is often inundated with news of who will be playing, what time games kick off and what the manager’s Spotify playlist is (the last one isn’t real but I’m guessing that exists somewhere and is probably just every football song ever produced and Stop Crying Your Heart Out by Oasis). Saying it’s hard to avoid is an understatement.

What is the best way to survive?

The World Cup, held this year in the most tolerant and forward thinking country (my lawyers told me to say) Russia, is going to be on until mid-July, so it’s best you know how to get through this time with some vague knowledge and not be chased through the streets by shirtless and intoxicated men, women and children who wouldn’t look out of place in a Danny Dyer documentary.

Here are few tips to keep you going:

  1. Get the basic information – Just glance at the news after every game so you have a basic understanding of a team’s performance and who is making it to each round. You never know when a conversation can break out between two football fans and you find yourself unable to join in with anything so spend this time trying to figure out what a Cardi B is.
  2. Avoid pubs on match days – With the information gained from tip one, use it as your way of strategically planning your trips out because if the weather is nice and football is on, you can guarantee a sea of people screaming at televisions in a hope that the teams and managers will hear them.
  3. Go shopping on match days – Using what you learned from tip two, you can use your cheat sheet to plan your trips to town. It will practically be like a ghost town, apart from the odd retail employee resenting everyone around them for having weekends off.

I hope this knowledge serves you well in your journey into the crazy world of FIFA World Cup 2018.

Let’s make Putin proud! He seems like a swell guy…

Go sports!