The FIFA World Cup, the quadrennial sports extravaganza, is all set to start from June 14.
Thirty two national football teams will passionately, patriotically participate in ‘the greatest sports spectacle’ on earth.
The football pundits and critics are analyzing the pros and cons on the strength and weaknesses of each top seeded team.
Mankind’s quest for entertainment is as old as humanity itself.
While the next one month promises to provide superlative display of football skill and associated entertainment, let us take a look at some of the rollicking jokes and fun associated with World Cup football.
One of the popular jokes that magnify the passion for World Cup soccer goes like this: ‘A football fan, Mr X, somehow, after a lot of effort, could finally manage a ticket at the FIFA, 2014 World Cup final. The entire stadium was jam packed with capacity crowd. Thousands of dejected spectators who could not get ticket were standing outside. Mr X saw that a seat was laying unoccupied next him. The surprised Mr X asked the man sitting next to the vacant seat if he had any idea about the unoccupied seat. The man politely told that the seat was meant for his wife. Both of them had been watching successive World Cup football finals, unfailingly, for the past 20 years. “This time too, I had bought the tickets. But, unfortunately, she has passed away”, the man told. Mr X asked the man that he could have brought someone else like his son or daughter to watch the match. The man coolly told, “Both my son and daughter are in the funeral procession now!”
The joke that became immensely popular after England football team’s humiliating exit at World Cup soccer tournament, 2014 goes as follows: ‘A seven-year-old boy, an orphan, used to be severely beaten by his uncle and aunt with whom he was staying. On the basis of complaints from the neighbours, the court had fixed a date of hearing. On the appointed day, the court had heard arguments and counter arguments to whom the poor boy is to be given custody. Then, the court had pronounced its judgment that the boy be given custody to the English football team because England football team cannot beat any one!!!’
Italy had hosted the World Cup, in 1934. The in-famous, Fascist dictator, Mussolini was then in the helm of affairs of Italy.
The night before the final between Italy and Czechoslovakia, Mussolini had invited the referee and two linesmen only for an exclusive dinner with him making a departure from the customary practice of inviting both the finalists and officials of the game.
Italy went on to win and lift the trophy by a margin of 2-1 victory in a game marred by a number of dubious decisions in favour of the host team!!!
The final match of local level football tournament was in progress. Both the local teams had huge, involved and excited supporters. So the organizers had appointed the toughest referee.
Hardly, the twenty minutes had passed when suddenly the referee blew the long whistle.
All were surprised. Then, players and crowd were more surprised to find the referee knelt down on his knee and praying !!!
Then, all saw a dead body being carried away by a group of pall bearers on the road adjacent to the field.
After the dead body crossed the field, the referee stood up and blew the whistle to resume the game.
Players from both teams went and told, “Sir, we all thought you to be a tough, merciless, no-nonsense fellow. Now, we are touched by your gesture to pay regards to a dead person.”
The referee coolly said, “Boys, my wife had always encouraged and inspired my passion for sports. It is due to her that I have earned my reputation as a referee. Four hours back, my wife passed away today, unfortunately!!!
Ganguly is a retired ACS officer and sports enthusiast. He can be reached at: [email protected]