Thursday, July 1, 2010

This year's World Cup has been a bit different for me. It's the first time that I'll have watched the entire tournament outside of the UK, on this occasion in Canada.

Having headed over to the States for the 94 tournament, I saw the group stages there but was back home in time for the second round matches.

It's been weird this time round but something I'll have to get used to.

For starters, my body clock is now a bit messed up and it's going to take a bit of getting back into my old swing of things! Having games starting at 4.30am, 7am and 11.30 am isn't the best on one hand, but great on the other as I've managed to work my whole work schedule around it and apart from just a handful of games, I've been able to see most of them in the comfort of my own armchair and big TV. You can't beat watching the games in your pants! It is weird though having your World Cup viewing for the day over by early afternoon. Kinda takes away the fun of having the guys round as well. Or maybe that's just me in my pants that does that.

The whole TV aspect itself has been different this time around as well, as it's my first World Cup in HD. It's been great but that's mainly because my provider's non HD channels are getting worst quality all the time. I wonder why. It has been great viewing though, at least picture quality wisem if not all the quality of matches, but I don't think my 2014 one will be viewed in 3D, unless I make the trip to Brazil in person!

I miss my interactive red button so much though. I totally took Sky's coverage and gizmos for granted. What I'd give to have them back now and the highlights and goals on the BBC red button stream. We don't really appreciate how far ahead in coverage of football that we are in the UK.

It's been nice to not have the English studio pundits bleating on endlessly, although I do have to admit to downloading the highlights to see the faces of them after England failed miserably once again. The downside to that though is that I actually miss having the banter and studio analysis and post match interviews. Not all the time, but particularly in shock and controversial games.

We've been getting no interviews and the action cuts back to brief and annoying studio blathering (yes, more annoying that Alan Shearer). The reason for that being that we have one of the most irritating bastards I've ever had the misfortune to have to mute on my tv - Nigel Reed.

Reed is an English pundit, very much in the old style, and with an accent that just sounds so unlike ANY English accent I've ever heard in my puff and sounds like he should be wrestling in the WWE. Or maybe it's just that I wish his head was being piledriven into the canvas time and time again.

What has been great to see is how a country that isn't even in the World Cup and isn't thought of by some as a footballing hotbed embraces the tournament so much. With such an immigrant population, people's heritages are coming out to the fore, cars are flying so many different competing countries (some with the Canadian flag as well) and the pubs are packed.

I've had so many people have discussions about who I think are going to win the World Cup. Then when I ask them back, they reply they don't know anything about football but knowing that I do, they just wanted to talk about it. It's great and probably explains why I've done one radio interview about the tournament so far, with another planned for next week. People just love talking about the World Cup.

So many workplaces, clubs and others are running World Cup pools as well. I don't seem to be winning any of them though. What's up with that! Just wait till the Argies do the business next Sunday though.

With only eight games now left, what are we all meant to do when it ends?!

I don't know where I'll be for the 2014 World Cup. Hopefully in Brazil cheering on Scotland, but if not, my armchair is always welcoming to my pants.


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