2018 is about to become all about the World Cup. Ok, there might be a gigantic mega-Marvel movie coming out first on the entertainment front, and maybe there’s some important geopolitical stuff going on. But a World Cup year is a World Cup year. Come mid-June (which will be here before we know it), the whole world, or much of it anyway, will be focused on 32 football teams competing in Russia.
Really, the event transcends sport. Yes, for those who aren’t fans, it’s still about a bunch of very fit individuals kicking a ball around and occasionally yelling at one another or ripping their shirts off in celebration. But really, the World Cup doubles as a major cultural event, and triples (if that’s a thing) as an incredible piece of entertainment. So for that reason we’re writing up a list of ways to get yourself excited for the action ahead.
10. Play FIFA
FIFA is one of the most popular video games on the planet, and it stands to reason that even people who aren’t serious football lovers enjoy it. Incidentally there may not be a better way to become a football lover. Playing FIFA is fun, and in the process you can get to know the players on national teams, and even where they play. You almost absorb the information the same way you can learn lines from a film or a favourite song after a while.
9. Read Up On Mohamed Salah
We happen to be heading into the World Cup with one of the better individual football stories in quite some time. Mohamed Salah, an Egyptian forward who plays for Liverpool in the Premier League, has elevated himself in stunningly quick fashion to become one of the best players in the world. He has Liverpool in surprise contention for the Champions League, he’ll make Egypt a team to watch in the Cup, and even Roy Keane – a prominent critic – says he’s deservedly nominated for some of football’s biggest awards (like the Ballon d’Or for the world’s best player in a given year).
8. Watch The Iceland Supporters
The Iceland supporters have something of a group Viking chant they use to spur on their team, which makes it better for all of us that Iceland made it into the field. They tend to be a surprisingly fun side to watch, and if their supporters show up in significant numbers, they’ll draw a lot of attention.
7. Listen To World Cup Anthems
One of the fun little details of the World Cup is that it tends to inspire anthems. Sometimes these are unofficial (as when U2’s “Magnificent” was used in online promos for the 2010 Cup in South Africa), but these days there’s also an official Coca Cola Anthem for the World Cup. This year’s goes to Jason Derulo and “Colors,” but you can also get yourself hyped up for the tournament by going back and listening to a playlist of past anthems.
6. Read A Tournament Guide
This may sound somewhat bland, but it’s a handy idea. There are actually guides out there specifically designed to help you find a team (or teams) to root for, if your own country isn’t involved in the action. Reading through these kinds of guides almost adds an element of drama or narrative to the whole event.
5. Find A Betting Platform
Betting on soccer may not be your thing, and it’s always a risk, but it’s quite a lot of fun with an event the size and scope of the World Cup. Online, the leading bookmakers are constantly battling to stay up-to-date, which for something like this means there will be odds updated regularly as well as likely some fun prop bets and things of that nature. Following along with this, or putting your own money on it, gives you a personal stake and one more way to have fun with the action.
4. Watch The 2014 Highlights
This might apply more to big football fans, but nothing quite gets you excited for the World Cup like watching highlights from the last one. Not only does it mean watching some thrilling football, it also serves as a reminder that these tournaments almost inevitably produce some truly spectacular moments. There’s a good chance you’ll wrap up a highlight reel wanting more.
3. Take A Look At The Venues
One of the most spectacular things about the World Cup, particularly these days, is how nations prepare to host it. There are always massive constructions and renovations to get a dozen or so stadiums ready to host the best teams in the world – not to mention droves of tourists. As expected the stadiums for Russia 2018 look incredible, and give you one more reason to tune in.
2. Get To Know The Stars
We mentioned Mohamed Salah already, but the World Cup is a tournament of stars, and reading up on a few of the headliners is another good way to get excited. Learning about the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Kylian Mbappé, among others, will only make you want to see them in action.
1. Pick A Team & Learn Its Roster!
This goes back to reading a Cup guide in a way, but if you don’t have your own country to root for, find a team that sounds fun, learn its roster, and hop aboard the bandwagon! It’s fun to have a rooting interest in the Cup, and everyone winds up favouring one team or another anyway. Of course, if your country is in the competition you should take this idea even further and really become a fan!