After a period of four years, the hallowed event of football celebration i.e. the FIFA football World Cup is back. The air is palpable with football fever, the fans are gripped with a frenzy regarding the fates of their favorite teams, and emotions are running high amid a deluge of tears of joy and sadness. Football is being discussed at every nook and corner, in public and private spaces, at restaurants and gyms, and at parks and office spaces. If you are a football fan, how would you enthusiastically discuss the ongoing World Cup with another fan? Read on!
Anirban: Joy dada! How are you?
Joydeep: Khoob bhalo! (A Bengali phrase that means ‘very good’) How are you Anirban?
Anirban: Great dada! Nowadays, the atmosphere is really electric in the city. Everyone is breathing and drinking football! No one is playing cricket.
Joydeep: I agree! The football World Cup has made everyone quite excited.
Anirban: Argentina could not qualify for the next round. I am feeling so sad for Lionel Messi.
Joydeep: That seemed a bit inevitable. He plays well with the Tiki-Taka style in Barcelona but his teammates in Argentina are not on the same level. Poor guy!
Anirban: Did you see the hat-trick by Cristiano Ronaldo against Spain? That was an incredible match!
Joydeep: It was! Ronaldo always performs well in the World Cup. Many are saying this is ample proof that he is better than Messi.
Anirban: Hmm. I don’t think so. Messi creates more chances than Ronaldo, who is more of a striker.
Joydeep: But a really good one.
Anirban: I agree. I was really scared that Germany, my favorite would also not qualify for the knockout stage. But holy hell, was that a match or what against Sweden! Tony Kroos netted a perfect one. That too in the dying seconds.
Joydeep: That was totally worth staying awake for. I was shouting and screaming once Germany made it 2-1. Hope we have more matches like that!
Anirban: Dada, what do you think about Belgium? They are playing really well, plus Lukaku seems really determined to see them through.
Joydeep: They are indeed very good. But it remains to be seen what they can do against some of the stronger teams.
Anirban: I have a question, by the way. How come countries like Saudi Arabia, Costa Rica or Serbia qualify for the World Cup while India couldn’t? Really want to see India in the World Cup.
Joydeep: India does not have enough exposure to international football. These teams might seem weak but can defeat India easily. That is the sad truth.
Anirban: Okay. Again, I have the same question, but this time for Netherlands and Italy. These two countries are like the giants of football. Why are they not playing this time?
Joydeep: That is because teams have to qualify from their respective federations. The African and Asian teams come under different federations so that’s why you see countries like Morocco, Egypt and Saudi Arabia qualifying while Netherlands and Italy couldn’t. They failed to top their groups and lost in their play-off matches during the qualifiers.
Anirban: Oh! That clears a lot of things up. Who do you think will win this time?
Joydeep: It has been a very unpredictable World Cup so far, with many underdogs playing extremely well. Who knows, maybe a dark horse could upstage some of the big league nations and spring a surprise!
Anirban: Yeah! That would be amazing. Fingers crossed for the knockout stage. Let’s see what happens!
Joydeep: Yes, let’s see. You should come over for the semi-final and final matches to my place. I am hosting a party and others will also be there. It will be fun!
Anirban: Wow! I will surely be there. Thanks for the invite.
Joydeep: Cheers! Catch you soon.
Anirban: Bye dada! May the best team win. Cya soon.
Hallowed- Greatly revered and respected
Palpable- So intense that it almost seems intangible
Deluge- A large amount of something
Every nook and corner (also every nook and cranny)- Every part of a place
Tiki-taka- A style of play involving highly accurate short passing and an emphasis on retaining possession of the ball.
Dark horse- A candidate or competitor about whom little is known but who unexpectedly wins or succeeds.