Can you name the countries cheered on by the fans in each pic and work out what way I've organized them? Click the picture for a closer look - the answer is in the comments section.
Though the so-called mainstream media will have you thinking otherwise, I feel my little collage above fully captures the memory which will last the longest from the German World Cup extravaganza over the past month.
I will refer briefly to the head-butting incident. At first, I was relieved that such an action was not rewarded by ultimate victory. Then, I was disgusted that simple taunting actually could be. Now, I am relieved to hear that FIFA will be investigating what Materazzi supposedly said to Zidane – though in a way they have to, since “Kick Racism Out Of Football” is quite rightly one of their banner campaigns this weather.
As for the match itself, I thought the bloody thing kicked off at 8pm my time. I had it all organised – my kids were with me, and we were going to get a Chinese dinner from the take-away across the road. I ordered it at 7:15, and went to collect it fifteen minutes later, only to discover to my horror that not only did it start at 7 but I had missed two goals!
Alas the rest of the game was not to amount to much as a football contest, but considering what was at stake, it was tense right to the end. Taking the entire night’s action into account, even without Zizou’s folly, the Italians were worthy winners overall in my book. And I suppose if any outcome was going to make the third place playoff worthwhile, a German victory was just the thing.
But enough of such nonsense. This tournament went above and beyond what I expected it to be. My kids loved every minute, from the opening ceremony right up to Grosso’s final penalty in Berlin. They now know the flags and the location of 32 nations, and what’s more, they have a keen interest in the world’s most popular pastime.
And what about that support from the fans? Each and every nation proudly represented, and my picture only depicts the fans of those who actually qualified – thousands upon thousands of fans from the 167 nations who failed to reach the finals made the trip to the sporting mecca bearing their colours as well.
This four-yearly event is not just about some guys kicking a ball around a park. It’s not even about being proud of where you come from. I ask you – how else would countries like Mexico and Iran, or Togo and Switzerland come together but in a World Cup finals encounter? It is a celebration of humanity’s diversity more than anything else.
And what better place for diversity to be celebrated in the next instalment than in South Africa in 2010.
You can be sure I’ll be blogging every step of the way.
Pictures courtesy of www.bbc.co.uk