I am writing this post in a cafe to watch the presentations for the host nations of the 2018 Fifa World Cup. I've just watched the Olympic Russian pole vaulter, Yelena Isinbayeva, declare that "actually, I love football!" I've always found something very unconvincing about when people say things like that. The rest of the Russian bid is actually very impressive compared to Belgium/Netherlands who seemed to take the whole thing as a joke, and Spain/Portugal who took the whole thing far too seriously. After the presentations it looks like it's England and Russia fighting it out. I pray to God England get it.
I am not going to pretend it isn't for purely selfish reasons. After the fantastic atmosphere that is going to be the 2014 world cup in Brazil, a true football loving nation, my claim that England provides a country with geniune history with and passion for the game falls flat on its face. It makes sense to go for a Russian bid that will bring the worlds biggest competition to a new part of the world, look at the wonder South Africa performed this year.
The fact we are the hosts of the 2012 Olympic games also tips the scales in favour of a fair result going to Russia. "Share and share alike" my Mum used to say when I played Power Rangers with my brother, the same goes for international sporting events.
There is also a quote from David Beckham that said that we should win the bid because we have the infrastructure and stadiums so that if we wanted to we could host the event next week. This may be true, but the event isn't going to be enxt week, and Russia is investing a huge amount in stadias and infrastructure. Ticket holders get free visas and ground travel between venues.
And lets be honest, the Tube really needs a revamp and our trains are always delayed by mushy leaves on the line.
One thing England can be proud of though, someone has taught Mr. Beckham to talk! He was quite eloquent in his presentation. Bravo.
So when I think about it, bugger it, we don't deserve it more than the Russians. But Fifa, please, for purely my own selfish, nationalistic reasons, please let the place of my birth host the world cup. It gives me an excuse to cry in public and climb on buildings in celebration.
POST RESULT EDIT:
Well, we lost. No doubt in my mind, England for 2018 and Australia for 2022 were the best contenders, but from the countries that Fifa has chosen it seems clear they want to promote the game in new regions and take football into new frontiers. This is important if football is to truly be considered a sport that brings together the world like no other. The world cup has been the glory of a very elite few countries, it is important that others are included.
Both Qatar and Russia will have a lot to loose if they bugger this up, the world will be relying on them. Let's hope they deliver.
I'm now going to try and forget we ever entered with a bowl of porridge, cup of Chinese medicine and some Radio 4.
In the mean time...
The Great Book of Chinglish, Entry 2.
"Oh my Lady Gaga!"
Root/ Following Gaga's rise to deity on the Asian continent, Chinese youth have replaced the Lord's name with that of our new figure of worship, Lady ride on my disco stick Gaga
Meaning/ "Oh my God", "Oh, my goodness", "Oh golly gosh!"
Mary: Did you hear that Russia are hosting the 2018 World Cup over England?
Da pi: Oh my Lady Gaga! I have links with the Mafia, I'm well in there with free tickets!
Notes: No joke, you will genuinely hear Chinese kids on the street saying this.