The Big Kick-Off – The Weird And Wonderful To Watch Out For At The World Cup
On Thursday – once some suitably theatrical formalities are out of the way, of course – the whistle will blow for Russia and Saudi Arabia to begin the biggest sporting event of the summer. Brace yourselves, folks; World Cup 2018 is upon us!
We’ll be positively glued to the tournament for the coming month, with every game live on either RTÉ television (Virgin TV 101 & 102) or on the RTÉ Player – which you can find by hitting the On Demand button on your remote! Besides all the serious business though, there’s plenty more to watch out for; read on to discover some of the left-of-centre stories to keep an eye on…
CELEBRATE GOOD TIMES…
…come on! Yes, while the goals might be the main event there’s no doubt that a memorable reaction to finding the net can be just as remarkable. Whether it’s the Colombian side getting in the groove last time out, or Bebeto and chums sending a message back home to his newborn son back in 1994, we reckon the spontaneous ideas are the best – but with rumours that Dele Alli has stockpiled a few Fortnite-themed ideas for when England find the net, we’re intrigued to see what’ll be in store!
While the field shouldn’t be treated like a catwalk, we do enjoy seeing which side turns up in the hottest threads come kick-off. The dark blue of France’s effort is slick, the Peruvian number is deliciously retro, and the choice of an argyle pattern on Belgium’s is an altogether pleasant surprise. Let’s not kid ourselves though; it’s all about Nigeria. The jersey took about 5 minutes to sell out at the beginning of the month, with more than 3 million pre-orders worldwide. And yeah, we can see why…
AGE AIN’T NOTHING BUT A NUMBER
Making your World Cup debut is certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience – but nobody said when in your lifetime you should do it! At one end of the spectrum is the youngest player at this year’s tournament, Australian 19-year-old Daniel Arzani. The teenager stands in stark contrast to Egypt’s goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary, who could become the oldest player to ever play in the tournament at an incredible 45 – we’d call it a story he’ll tell his grandkids, but for all we know they might be there to watch!
WHO SAID MASCOT?
This furry fella above is Zabivaka, an anthropomorphic wolf who was voted as the official mascot for the tournament. We’re reliably informed that his name translates as ‘the one who scores’ in Russian, and he seems like a pleasant sort – even if some less-than-impressed commentators have remarked that he bears a resemblance to the ill-fated Poochie character from The Simpsons!
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Ready for The Pharaohs to take on The Green Falcons? Or The Red Tide taking on The Eagles of Carthage? Perhaps even the all-Lions battle between The Lions Of Persia and The Atlas Lions? If you don’t have a team for this World Cup, you could do worse than choosing one based on the awesome nicknames the sides are known by; from The Super Eagles to The Coffee Growers, you can definitely set yourself up with something fun to chant from the couch! (For the record, the teams above are Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Panama, Tunisia, Iran, Morocco, Nigeria and Colombia – what a collection!)
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