Since I was 6 years old I watched the World Cup, many could say that I am a true fan, but usually it is a passion that I live without showing off. In 1986, when Argentina played against Germany and won their second Cup, I remembered Maradona taking the Cup triumphantly, at that time Maradona was one of the good guys.
I also remembered Italia 90′, I was 10 years old, one of my favorite games was looking at the mirror and singing with a toothbrush the song of the World Cup. I used to singing this verse:
“Notti magiche, inseguendo un gol,
Sotto il cielo di un’estate italiana.
E negli occhi tuoi, voglia di vincere
Un’estate, un’avventura in più.” (Italian version)
That was for me one of the best songs that have been made for a WorldCup “Un’estate Italiana” made by the italian musician Giorgio Morode and for the American lyricist Tom Whitlock. I watched all the games, I did not miss the final, I never missed a final. Germany won his third cup, I was fan of Italy, but they got only the third place at that time.
Then came the 94 ‘World Cup, which was held in the United States, by that moment the north-americans realized the potential that a World Cup had in many economics aspects. USA perceived the World Cup as a massive power mobilization with an endless opportunities for business. I felt close to that Cup, not only because it was in America, but because Brazil won. I remembered having gone to Las Mercedes in Caracas, Venezuela, to dance samba and celebrate.
Then came the 98’World Cup in France. There “Les Blues”won their First Cup. France won 3-0 against Brazil. In that Cup Zinedine Zidane became famous, without imagining that later on he would be even more famous for other reasons; as for example, his famous hit head in the middle of a game against the Italian player Marco Materazzi. That happened at the World Cup in Germany 2006. Zidane became viral on social media like You Tube and even at that time some people made a reggaeton about “Zizu” and the hit head.
In 2002 came Korea-Japan and I remembered waking up at 3 am to watch the games in live time. That for me was the World Cup of David Beckham, he was the star, although England did not won everyone talked about the English team. That World Cup was also historic because it was a witness to the best Brazil team that ever played soccer so far, not in vain, they took the cup for the fifth time, being the country with the most cups won in its history.
In Germany 2006, the excitement was unprecedented, Italy, one of my favorite teams won the final and in penalties. That had never happened to Italy to win in penalties, it was historic and a giant celebration in the Italo-Venezuelan Club, in Caracas, where I was watching the game at that time. I still keep the shirt that I wore that day and it says of course “Italy”, honoring my ancestors, because my last name is Fanti from my Italian great-grandparents.
2010, I named it the Wakawaka World Cup, I called that way because the hit song of Shakira:Waka Waka. It was a World Cup of true passion. Shakira left De La Rua and became girlfriend with the famous Spaniard soccer player Omar Pique in the middle of the World Cup, they called it the waka rumor; Casillas the winning goalkeeper of the Spain team kissed on camera a reporter, Sara Carbonero, who turned out to be his sentimental partner. It was a World Championship with a lot of entertainment, including Cristiano Ronaldo in the package. I also baptized the World Cup “Hola”, for the gossip Spanish magazine Hola because Spaniards love gossip and Spain won for the first time in history a World Cup that year.
And with the wakawaka we went to the Brazil World Cup 2014. With a host team that gave pity to others, it was unforgettable the match that Germans won over Brazil 8-0 and then 7-0 because in the end they annulled a goal to Germany. In that match was embarrassing to see the Brazilians play. Germany, on the other hand, crowned and won its fourth cup, being the European country with the most cups in the world to its credit.
And we arrived at Russia 2018. Where the unimaginable happened, Italy did not qualify. Spain, Portugal and Brazil left, Germany and Argentina that were favorites teams went even before the round of 16. No Latin American country succeeded, nor any African.The United States did not even go to the World Cup, Mexico lost. It was a World Cup full of great emotions, where Russia with help went very far. But, just could not do it until the end.
Russia 2018 finished in a final with 2 championship teams. France vs.Croatia. In the first time France did not seem to deserve to be there. France was favored with a free kick and then with a totally unfair penalty, to the majority of the spectators it seemed unfair and among that group of spectators I included myself. Croatia gave the battle until the last minute. The second time came and France finally played and showed why it had arrived there. Demoralized Croatia continued to demonstrate incredible fortitude.
Two champions emerged, a victorious France that won the Cup for the second time in its history and then exactly after 10 years (remember that they won it in 1998) and a Croatia that won the hearts of the whole world, for its example of perseverance, to fighter through the end and for leaving a positive mark on history.
Soccer is part of my life, is part of your history too, soccer is part of the walk of our humanity. Congratulations to all those who fought for this Cup and we will see what happens in Qatar 2022. Remember that in soccer as in life, for the true goals you have to fight. Always someone lose and others win, the important thing is the crossing, it is the battle that makes you stronger and inspires you to be better.