The FIFA Men’s World Cup has been going for a few days now, but there are still many, many questions left unanswered about the world’s largest sporting event being played in one of the world’s smaller countries.
Let’s ask those questions, and figure out what answers may come over the following month. Here we go:
No sense beating around the bush – this will remain the biggest question of this tournament. Qatar is one of the 40 smallest countries in the world – a TSN commentator described it as about the size of Prince Edward Island, with a population similar to Montreal – and Qatar is not good at soccer, as evidenced by their performance in the opening match on Sunday.
There are also “numerous human rights concerns surrounding Qatar’s preparations for the 2022 World Cup,” according to a recent report published by Human Rights Watch. There are reports that migrant workers building the stadiums needed to host the tournament were kept in poor living conditions, and thousands died during the process.
And on the eve of the tournament the organizers forbade team captains from wearing rainbow armbands as a sign of inclusion. Small country indeed.
And – to cap it off – they announced two days before the tournament started that beer will not be sold at Qatar’s World Cup stadiums.
Outrageous. Everyone knows that high performance athletics goes hand-in-hand with beer. So how the heck did Qatar get to host the World Cup? I’ll tell you, but first you need to give me a suitcase full of cash.
Have you heard that song?
World Cups always have official songs, some of which become very popular. There’s a World Cup song that is very popular right now – if you know any kid that plays soccer, they no doubt are singing it – and it is also very unofficial. It’s called World Cup, and it’s by an American teenaged social media personality called IShowSpeed. It’s gotten more than 25 million YouTube views in a couple of weeks, which is pretty good when you consider the official World Cup song, not sung by a teenaged Twitcher, has about 40 million views in seven months.
And if you listen to World Cup by IShowSpeed and if it gets stuck in your head because of me you may also want to kill me. It’s terribly awesome, if you know what I mean. Ask the kids, find the song. Here's the link, if you dare.
Will Canada score?
By the time you’re reading this, we may already have an answer. Canada is scheduled to play Belgium today at 11 a.m. Vancouver time. If they score, it will be the first ever goal for Canada at a men’s World Cup. In three previous games, back when Bobby Lenarduzzi was playing for a plucky Canada squad, we scored zero goals. This team, however, has way more firepower (no offence, Bobby). The goal is coming.
Will Canada win a game?
After Belgium they get Morocco, then Croatia. Is there a win in there? I say, yes.
First they need to score a goal, though. That’s math.
Will Canada advance out of the group stage?
Asking this question just a few years ago would have made you sound crazy. Then again, if anyone a few years ago had suggested Canada would not only qualify for the 2022 World Cup, but they would finish ahead of CONCACAF powerhouses Mexico and U.S.A. to do so, they would have been laughed out of the barbershop. But that’s what Canada did during qualifying for 2022. This, clearly, is the most talented men’s national team the country has ever assembled. Can they make the playoffs? It will fun to find out. I hope.
Who will be the next Ronaldo or Messi?
Maybe a new star will be born? Or maybe it will be … Ronaldo! Or Messi! They’re still around. We’ll see if old legends die hard.
The games, no doubt, will provide excitement, even as it might be hard to get too excited over an event that seems forever on the verge of drowning in bribe money.
Who will win it all? Will you cheer? Will FIFA be embarrassed enough to never be so bold in its crookedness again? There are still many questions left to be answered.
So settle in, put on your favourite jersey and grab a beer. Unless, of course, you’re in Qatar.
Andy Prest is the assistant editor of the North Shore News. His lifestyle/humour column runs biweekly. firstname.lastname@example.org
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