Football has replaced the “Fight unto Death” of the Gladiators of the Roman Empire days or the Clash of the Titans from the Greek mythology. With the progression of human civilization through the centuries, such gory and gruesome fights have been discarded by the people and instead they have opted for different types of competitive sports to show off their physical prowess, and give vent to their killer instinct.
Among various types of sports, perhaps English football has become the most popular around the world. The Clash of the Titans has come down to intense chasing of a ball by 22 players (11 on each side) who give everything to send the ball through the goal post of the opponent. The 90 minute sport is watched by thousands of fans with nonstop hooting in support of each other’s team. The game used to be played in the past on uneven fields and in bare feet. Gradually, specially made leather boots became integral parts of the game. The ball itself, after going through stages of evolution, has taken its final shape. In the past, the ball used to be made of strong leather with a rubber bladder inside. The bladder used to be filled with air with the support of a pump. The present day football is a synthetic sphere that cannot be inflated once it loses the air inside. The days of the pump (many called them pumper) is over.
School football graduated to Club football, and over the decades, has become a well organised game requiring millions of dollars to pay players’ salary, transfer fee, public relations costs, manager’s fee, coaches’ fee and so on. Now, every four years we have the World Cup.
World Cup 2018: Jack the Giant Killer
The memory of the World Cup 2018 clashes and the fall of the giants is still fresh in our minds. By any standard, the Russian rendezvous was world class that brushed aside many speculations of the world football pundits. Many thought Russians would fumble in their attempts in holding the tournament smoothly. But the Russians came out with clean chit. The stadiums were perfect, hotel accommodations, food, drinks, commuting and law and order were even better than what many European or South American countries could offer. And last but not least, the inauguration and concluding ceremonies were delightful. Truly indeed, Russia showed to the world their ability and resolve in organizing the tournament of such colossal proportion.
The 2018 World Cup was full of surprises and upsets. The glaring features were the killing of the giants, and advent of new heroes, new giants. The golden era boys are about to replace the old heroes who will soon retire to bask in their past glory. Big teams like Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Spain and Uruguya left at the second phase. Most unexpectedly, England could not come to the finals. The rise of Croatia to this level had given immense pleasure to the country men. The final was also full of surprises. The penalty in favour of France is being widely debated. The free kick is also being discussed by the experts. And yet, the bottom line is: France took the trophy home. The giants will meet again in the arena in Qatar in 2022.
Here is a short take on FIFA World Cup: Source Internet
History of FIFA World Cup
“The FIFA World Cup was first held in 1930, when FIFA, the world’s football governing body, decided to stage an international men’s football tournament under the era of FIFA president Jules Rimet who put this idea in to place. The inaugural edition, held in 1930, was contested as a final tournament of only thirteen teams invited by the organization. Since then, the World Cup has experienced successive expansions and format remodeling to its current 32-team final tournament preceded by a two-year qualifying process, involving over 200 teams from around the world.
International football before 1930
“The first official international football match was played in 1872 in Glasgow between Scotland and England, although at this stage the sport was rarely played outside Great Britain.
By the Twentieth Century football had gained ground all around the world and national football associations were being founded. The first official international match outside the British Isles was played between Uruguay and Argentina in Montevideo in July 1902. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) was founded in Paris on 22 May 1904 – comprising football associations from France, Belgium (the preceding two teams having played their first international against each other earlier in the month), Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland, with Germany pledging to join.
As football began to increase in popularity, it was contested as an IOC-recognised Olympic sport at the 1900 and 1904 Summer Olympics, as well as at the 1906 Intercalated Games, before becoming an official FIFA-supervised Olympic competition at the 1908 Summer Olympics. Organised by England’s Football Association, the event was for amateur players only and was regarded suspiciously as a show rather than a competition. The England national amateur football team won the event in both 1908 and 1912.
“There was an attempt made by FIFA to organize an international football tournament between nations outside of the Olympic framework in 1906 and this took place in Switzerland. These were very early days for international football and the official history of FIFA describes the competition as having been a failure.
With the Olympic event continuing to be contested only between amateur teams, competitions involving professional teams also started to appear. The Torneo Internazionale Stampa Sportiva, held in Turin in 1908, was one of the first and the following year; Sir Thomas Lipton organised the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy, also held in Turin. Both tournaments were contested between individual clubs (not national teams), each one of which represented an entire nation. For this reason, neither was really a direct forerunner of the World Cup, but notwithstanding that, the Thomas Lipton Trophy is sometimes described as The First World Cup, at the expense of its less well-known Italian predecessor.
In 1914, FIFA agreed to recognise the Olympic tournament as a “world football championship for amateurs”, and took responsibility for organising the event. This led the way for the world’s first intercontinental football competition, at the 1920 Summer Olympics, won by Belgium. Uruguay won the tournaments in 1924 and 1928.
In 1928, FIFA made the decision to stage its own international tournament. The 1932 Summer Olympics, held in Los Angeles, did not plan to include football as part of the programme due to the low popularity of the sport in the United States. FIFA and the IOC also disagreed over the status of amateur players, and so football was dropped from the Games. FIFA president Jules Rimet thus set about organizing the inaugural World Cup tournament. With Uruguay now two-time official world champions and due to celebrate their centenary of independence in 1930, FIFA named Uruguay as the host country. The national associations of selected nations were invited to send a team, but the choice of Uruguay as a venue for the competition meant a long and costly trip across the Atlantic Ocean for European sides. No European country pledged to send a team until two months before the start of the competition. Rimet eventually persuaded teams from Belgium, France, Romania, Hungary and Yugoslavia to make the trip. In total, 13 nations took part – seven from South America, four from Europe and two from North America.
The first two World Cup matches took place simultaneously, and were won by France and the United States, who beat Mexico 4–1 and Belgium 3–0, respectively. The first goal in World Cup history was scored by Lucien Laurent of France. Four days later, the first World Cup hat-trick was achieved by Bert Patenaude of the U.S. in the Americans’ 3–0 win against Paraguay. In the final, Uruguay defeated Argentina 4–2 in front of a crowd of 93,000 people in Montevideo to become the first nation to win a World Cup.
The 1934 World Cup was hosted by Italy and was the first World Cup to include a qualification stage. Sixteen teams qualified for the tournament, a number which would be retained until the expansion of the finals tournament in 1982. Uruguay, the titleholders from 1930, still upset about the poor European attendance at their World Cup in 1930, boycotted the 1934 World Cup. Bolivia and Paraguay were also absent, allowing Argentina and Brazil to progress to the finals in Italy without having to play any qualifying matches. Egypt became the first African team to compete, but lost to Hungary in the first round. Italy won the tournament, becoming the first European team to do so.

Shahnoor Wahid