World Cup Fever!


Screen Shot 2018-06-27 at 3.47.35 PMBy Jed Pitman

There are moments in history which are coupled with the question, “Where were you when…?”

I’m thinking of the assassination of JFK, the news that Princess Diana had died in a car crash in Paris, the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the USA and, if you are a bit younger, the day Jay Z and Beyonce got hitched.

For tens of millions of Mexicans and for many of those who have moved to this wonderful country, we can now add the moment – at approximately 10:35AM local time on Sunday, June 17, 2018 – when Hirving Lozano scored the winning goal for his country against the World Champions Germany in Moscow.

Luckily for me, someone was actually videoing the moment of myself, my hair dyed in the nation’s green, white and red colours (we struggled with the eagle) and donning a pale Mexican football shirt, jumping along with all of Huatulco, in excitement and uncountable joy at this magnificent moment.

Mexico’s own build up to the tournament had been somewhat indifferent, with their final warm-up match being a tame 2-0 defeat at the hands of Denmark just a week before their climactic victory over the tournament’s favourites. Indeed, just 12 months prior, also in Russia, El Tri, as they are known, were humbled by the Germans 4-1 in something called the Confederations Cup. Even the majority of Mexican supporters would not have dreamt of a win this time but thanks to some superb counter-attacking play and some nerve-jangling defensive work, they did it.

My career back in the UK before I changed course and ended up here in Huatulco, was largely in sports writing and broadcasting. I have watched hundreds upon hundreds of games over the years. In fact, my time off work became Busman’s Holidays, with me using my leisure time off to watch some game or other.

But, never before have my emotions been stretched as they were amongst locals and other ex pats at Ricky’s Bar in town. It will be a morning (and, as it turned out, an afternoon and evening) that I will never forget (actually, I don’t think I will ever remember the evening part).

My heart should be with England in the World Cup yet the following day I watched them defeat Tunisia and couldn’t really care less.

I realised how Mexican I have become – or at least want to be.

As I write this I am already counting down until the next game, second by second. By the time, this is published we will all know what will have happened.

Perhaps never will a moment of football in this country be repeated. After all, Mexicans jumping in jubilation after they scored in Moscow shook the ground hard enough to set off earthquake detectors. It was a shock in more than one way. The Institute of Geological and Atmospheric Investigations said that highly sensitive sensors registered tremors at two sites in Mexico City, seven seconds after Lozano’s goal.

Whether you like football or don’t care one jot about it, you have to admit that is fairly impressive and you too should always remember where you were when the Mexican people created their artificial quake.

Heaven knows what might happen if they move on to the quarter-finals (the dream at the outset) or even beyond. But, watch out if they do.

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World Cup by the numbers…

The 2014 World Cup generated $4.8 billion in revenue for FIFA compared to $2.2 billion in expenses. Over the four-year cycle, the event turned a $2.6 billion profit. FIFA made $2.4 billion in TV rights fees, $1.6 billion in sponsorships, and $527 million in ticket sales

Italian sculptor Silvio Gazzaniga, who said he is not a diehard football fan himself but does watch the World Cup final to see his trophy raised, designed the current trophy in 1971. At the time, the trophy cost about US$50,000. Today, the trophy is worth over US$10 million

In 2013, the average cost of a 30-second ad during the 2010 World Cup Final was $389,000. That number is still significantly less than the cost of a 30-second ad in the Super Bowl, which hovered around $4 million in Fox’s 2014 telecast of the game.

Brazil’s Pelé is the only player to have won three World Cup winners’ medals, with 20 other players who have won two World Cup medals. Cafu is the only player who has appeared in 3 World Cup finals (winning 2 of them).

Brazil have won five times, and they are the only team to have played in every tournament. The other World Cup winners are Germany and Italy, with four titles each; Argentina and inaugural winner Uruguay, with two titles each; and England, France and Spain, with one title each.

The estimated worldwide television audience for the 2018 World Cup is 3 billion.

Cost of contracts to kill stray dogs in the host cities ahead of the finals- 1.5 million USD

Estimated number of international tourists coming to Russia: 500,000


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