One of the biggest sporting events is coming soon. The World Cup! Brazil, which hosted the World Cup tournament in 1950, will have the second chance to host this international football (soccer) tournament in June. As several features or rules were introduced in previous World Cup tournaments, some new ones are also expected for the upcoming competition. Among them, the introduction of goal-line technology is the prominent one. In the 2010 World Cup, there was a controversy over the disallowed goal of Frank Lampard, an English football player. It was an obvious goal but the referee did not count it as a goal at that time. That has given a rise to employing goal-line technology and the technology will be introduced for the first time at this year’s World Cup to prevent further misjudgment of goals.
Starting on the 13th of June, the 2014 FIFA World Cup will kick off with an opening match between Brazil and Croatia. In this month-long event, 32 national teams will be competing for the trophy. The Korean national team is scheduled to play against Russia on the 18th of June, Algeria on the 23rd of June and Belgium on the 27th of June. Of course, there will be more Korean games if the Korean team advances to the next stages of the tournament such as the round-of-16 and further. On 8th of May, Myung-Bo Hong, the Korea national team manager, announced the squad list for the World Cup. “We are not the best team ever, but we will do our best to be one of the good teams,” Hong commented. However, there were some voices of concern with Hong’s selection. “I am a bit worried about the Korean team. In my opinion, the team’s defense is too vulnerable to providing solid defense since there are only few experienced defenders,” said a Kookminian majoring in English Literature. Regardless of the Korean team’s competence, there are some students who are desperately waiting for the start of the World Cup next month. “As I did in the past World Cups, I am going to have ‘Chi-Mac’ (an abridged term for a fried chicken meal and some beer) while watching the games on TV. Although the three group-stage matches of Korea will be broadcast at daybreak which is not the most appropriate time for having Chi-Mac, I do not want to miss out on the joy of this sporting event that happens every four years,” said a Kookminian majoring in Journalism.
Meanwhile, many Koreans can describe sharing of one common experience during the World Cup games. Since 2002, the World Cup has become a trigger to make people assemble in public areas, restaurants, or pubs and watch the broadcast of Korean World Cup games. This phenomenon is quite a special one for Korea and it is part of the modern Korean culture. “Since the broadcast time is around the rush hour, the crowd cheering for Red Devils at public places is not likely to be set up. However, I wish I could go to Yeongdong-daero (one of the popular public places to cheer for the Korean team) once again,” a student at Seokyung University said. But who knows? Maybe the places will be set up for crowd cheering. It will be too difficult to deny Koreans’ big interest in the World Cup.
While many people all around the world are eagerly anticipating the start of the Brazil-hosted World Cup, there are also some pessimistic views of the tournament. One of them is Brazil’s preparation of the games. According to FIFA, all arena construction should have been completed at least 3 months before the opening of the games. But, two football stadiums for the competition are currently being planned to open in the middle of May. Voicing its disappointment with the construction delay, the FIFA World Cup organizers criticized that Brazil did not in the least care about building the infrastructure for the games, but only cared about winning the trophy. Another major concern is related to domestic movements against the World Cup host. In some cities of Brazil, numerous citizens have actively protested against the government and angrily voiced their complaints. The rent prices in several areas near the World Cup stadium have gone up by almost double, making the rent not affordable to many people. Not only the rent problems, but there are problems with delayed payments to the World Cup stadium laborers. In this regard, domestic dissatisfaction can be seen as a serious matter.
Several concerns about this year’s World Cup games are being circulated in Brazil. Nevertheless, Brazil will somehow manage to resolve these problems like the way many other previous hosts of sporting events like the Beijing Olympic Games have done to overcome the similar difficult situation. So, be optimistic and ready for the exciting World Cup!