Here we are again, my friends. The next month will be consumed with fun, football and watching my friend Andrew wince over a bet on the number of corners in a match. This World Cup will be a different one for me. Once I’d sat down in The Courtyard, I had a strange moment of realisation: The World Cup was here, and, for the first time, my dad and I weren’t in my front room watching it together. This, after all, is what the World Cup is all about: opening a beer and watching some rubbish match with the ones that you love.
But enough of that soppy lark. I was greeted to my seat by a swearing Robbie Williams and a traditionally naff performance for the opening ceremony of Russia 2018. In truth, whilst others were cringing, I was loving it. If opening ceremonies weren’t shit, the tournament wouldn’t be the same.
Onto the only match of the day. The Human Rights Abuse Derby between Russia and Saudi Arabia is not the ideal curtain-raiser but there is a strange phenomenon in the World Cup where the shitness of the teams involved become almost kitsch. It’s the World Cup, and I, along with everyone else, would watch a World Cup match even if it was San Marino vs American Samoa.
The match itself was poor for vast swathes, Saudi defenders slipped and faltered more than a Liverpool player on the cusp of winning a trophy (looking at you, Karius and Gerrard). The only quality players on the field had a great time against this shithousery they went up against. Ending 5-0, the match never looked in doubt for the Russians. Moment of the match was Cheryshev hitting an absolute peach of a half-volley with the outside of his boot to put the result beyond doubt in the 91st minute. A true and absolute banger from the former Madrid man. Closely followed by a great free kick from my man-of-the-match, Golovin with the last meaningful kick of the game.
But still, the highest quality seen on ITV was the level of concentrated corruption that was captured in the image of Gianni Infantino, Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia and Vladimir Putin all sitting together. More villains than Spider-Man 3 but far less shite.
But all these criticisms are extraneous. Whilst my enthusiasm for Christmas waned years ago, this level of excitement still, and will forever, get to me during the World Cup. The best month of the next four years has begun, pals. Strap yourselves in, because football is coming home (probably) and Nouse will be here every step of the way.