In any World Cup there are bound to
be games that are absolute yawners, while others are instant classics. The
classics have audiences around the globe nailed to their seats, regardless of
their allegiance. Even those who have no interest whatsoever in football (or
soccer, if you are so inclined) cannot help but watch. But what makes for a
classic game? There are a couple of elements that could, in the right
combination, make for a classic encounter.
Some encounters are bound to open
up old wounds time and time again. Whether simmering territorial disputes or
wars long gone, there are match-ups that will always stir the emotions. Take
any encounter between England and Germany as a prime example. English
supporters still gloat about their World Cup victory at home… in 1966.
However, with Germany having won the World Cup more often and more recently,
the cry reverberating around the stadium usually goes something like “Two World
Wars and one World Cup, England, England…”
Everyone loves to hate the
referees. Some calls are bad regardless of how you look at them, while others
are a matter of who you support in the game. However, the outcome of the World
Cup can occasionally hinge on one bad call and the resulting ‘What if’ discussions
can go on for decades after. One of the classic examples involves a goal
scored, or not scored, by England against Germany in the 1966 World Cup final,
although Germany probably got their own back in their most recent encounter.
If ever there is a game worth
watching, even if only for the play-acting, it is an encounter between two
Latin countries. The passion felt and shown for the beautiful game cannot be
matched by any other teams, and win or lose, tears are certain to flow. Then
again, the acting involved when trying to convince the referee that a foul was
committed against them can be truly laughable. Man up!
Football is not ice hockey. Fights
are pretty rare, but when they do happen they can elevate a game to classic
status very quickly. Take the 2006 World Cup final – although some may already
have forgotten the result, especially after Italy and France’s early exit from
the 2010 World Cup, the video of Zinadine Zidane head-butting Marco Materazzi
will live in infamy.