Pre-trip Pt I: Prologue

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South African fans during WC 2010 – Hussein Malla/Associated Press

World Cup is always special.

The first World Cup that I could recall was USA ’94. I was only 9 years old then but I could remember some stuff: a footballer was shot dead after scoring an own goal, Maradona was sent home after tested positive for drugs and Brazil won after penalties.

France ’98 was my first proper World Cup. I was already following European football by then and knew many of the stars. That Bergkamp’s wonder goal was probably the best that I had seen in a World Cup. I remembered watching the semi-final between Brazil and Netherlands (Ronaldo and Kluivert scored; Brazil won on penalties). The next day I overslept and missed my bus-stop on my way home from school.

Fast forward another 4 years and Japan/Korea 2002 was the best World Cup in my memory. France’s shock loss to Senegal in the opening match set the tone for the tournament. South Korea was Asia’s pride although admittedly they received many assistance from the referees. I also loved that World Cup because the matches were played in the afternoons and evenings and we wouldn’t need to stay up to watch them.

In contrast, I thought that Germany 2006 was a bit meh. My most lasting memories were Argentina’s goal against Serbia (25 passes?) and Zidane’s virtuoso performance versus Brazil. And of course not forgetting the infamous final act of Zidane’s career.

Spain’s tiki-taka captured the world’s imagination in South Africa in the 2010 edition. However, the most dramatic match must be Ghana’s defeat to Uruguay in the quarterfinal. Love him or hate him, Luis Suarez is definitely entertaining.

The idea of going to the World Cup was formed at the end of the last one. Nothing beats watching a match live and the tournament seemed like one giant party for the fans there.

This made me determined to get to Brazil in 2014 and luck would have it that I managed to secure a pair of tickets to not one but TWO group-stage matches.

Getting the tickets proved to be the easiest. Real planning would begin after that…

And the World Cup song:-

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