London – VIJAY SHAH via WIL JONES, Joe and other sources
While yesterday’s 2-0 win by England over Sweden in Samara for the World Cup 2018 was a perfect example of largely orderly and civil sportsmanship, a group of the England team’s supporters have come in for heavy criticism for behaving quite the opposite, after they invaded an IKEA store in London and partied in a show bedroom, with several men jumping on a double bed meant for display to customers visiting the Swedish-owned homeware and furniture store.
In videos that has gone viral on social media, a group of half-naked men, swigging beer and in an exuberant mood after the victory that advanced England to the quarter-finals, can be seen converging just inside the entrance of an IKEA store in the Westfield Shopping Centre in Stratford, London. Chanting the football song “It’s Coming Home”, the men, largely in their twenties and thirties, are shown jumping up and down on the bed, while throwing around cushions and other items on display. In one clip a member of staff pleads with one of the fans to get down from the bed, while another, behind a till, shakes her head in disbelief.
While many on social media expressed surprise at the impromptu celebration-turned-vandalism/store invasion, others have condemned the fans in the IKEA store. One called for them to be named and shamed, and their identities turned over to IKEA and the city’s Metropolitan Police for civil damages and prosecution. They were also accused of bringing both England and football into disrepute and exhibiting hooligan-like behaviour. A small number of commentators however said that the men were merely having fun and that the negative reaction was overkill.
As of the time of publishing, IKEA’s UK retail division appeared to take the incident in their stride, commenting on one of the videos: “We are aware of a small group of fans celebrating the match result in one of our stores. Being both British and Swedish, we were on the edge of our seats during the game and we would like to say ‘grattis!’ (congratulations)”
This month, the football-crazy south American nation of Brazil will play host to one of the biggest sports showdowns of modern history, the FIFAWorld Cup. National teams from across the globe will converge on cities such as Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre and Manaus to clash in an epic battle to decide who will lift the World Cup and be crowned the greatest footballing nation of the next four years. With the dozens of teams taking part, hundreds of thousands of loyal supporters and intrigued television viewers will converge around big screens and big stadia to take in this mega spectacle that will not only celebrate the majesty of the beautiful game but also unite cultures, creeds and colours in a festival of footballing fun that cuts across seas, oceans and international boundaries.
The FIFA 2014 World Cup begins on the 12th June (next Thursday) in Brazil, the largest nation on the South American continent. It will be the 20th tournament of the World Cup series and the initial group matches will kick-off on the 12th June. The final between the remaining two teams will take place on the 13th July. It is the second time Brazil has played host to the Cup and the country was selected by the FIFA governing body virtually unchallenged in 2007, after organisers felt South America should play host this time round. Brazil last experienced national World Cup of this magnitude over half a century ago, in 1950.
National teams of thirty-one countries will arrive in Brazil to play a total of 64 matches across twelve of its biggest cities, which will use special goal-line technology for the first time ever in a World Cup tournament. The winner of the previous tournament held in South Africa, was Spain. However the reds-and-yellows may well be unseated by either the host nation or another great South American team such as Argentina. All of the previous tournaments that were held in the continent were won by teams from it.
In the run-up to the World Cup, FIFA announced that they will be holding a series of special parties, also known as the ‘Fan Fests’ in each of the twelve cities holding the various matches. As Brazilians do enjoy a good party and are wholehearted dedicated to their football, these events are expected to be highly popular with both local and visiting fans.
The 2014 World Cup is expected to be the most expensive in history. There have been numerous charged protests by people in Brazil who felt that the country had taken too much with hosting both the Cup and the Rio Olympics, especially in the cost of building new stadia, hotels and facilities. However many others think that the money is well spent in safeguarding Brazil’s enviable place in the football world stage and that the country will financially reap the rewards from the millions of dollars in sales, sponsorships and tourism that will come in the wake of the World Cup. The Brazilian government expect costs of $14 billion, while FIFA will spend $2 billion on staging the finals. The bill for building and renovating stadia is likely to be around $3.6 billion, including five new venues built especially for the matches. FIFA are aiming to sell 3,334,524 match tickets, of which 1.1 million will go on sale to the general public and the rest going to corporate sponsors, VIPs and FIFA personnel and team staff.
The distinctive trophy logo in the Brazilian flag colours of green and yellow is nicknamed ‘Inspiration’ and was created by designers with the marketing agency Africa, based in the host country. The design was based on a photograph of three victorious hands lifting the World Cup trophy to show Brazil’s warmhearted welcome to the world. FIFA’s official slogan for the tournament, which will appear along with the Inspiration logo on branded products like signage, souvenirs and tickets, will be “All in One Rhythm” (Portuguese: “Juntos num só ritmo“). The official mascot is an armadillo by the name of Fuleco. He belongs to a uniquely Brazilian subspecies of the creatures known as the ‘tatu-bola‘. When armadillos are threatened by predators they roll up into a protective ball, completely shielded by their armour of bony plates, which makes the armadillo a fitting mascot for this world-class football tournament. Fuleco’s name comes from the Portuguese words “futebol” (football) and “ecologia” (ecology), a way of combining the popularity of the sport in Brazil with the vital need to protect the nation’s unique wildlife and ecosystems. Two of the cities where matches are scheduled in located right in the middle of the Amazon rainforest – ‘the world’s lungs’.
The Half-Eaten Mind is officially supporting the England team for the FIFA World Cup 2014, with Brazil as the second supported team should England fail to make it to the finals. While England’s World Cup fortunes have not been as stellar as Brazil or Italy, they are a team that are at least ready to slog it out when facing the big boys. Despite last winning the World Cup in 1966, at the old Wembley Stadium, which was near London, England, we are a regular feature at tournaments. England has produced some continental-class, if not world-class players, and football is very much a religion here. We play hard, we play proud and we play with passion. Names like Wayne Rooney, David Beckham and Bobby Moore are revered by football fans not only in England, but across the world, as well as top flight English teams such as Manchester United and Arsenal.
The 2014 team blends experience with youth. Already in a previous friendly earlier this month against Peru, new player Daniel Sturridge has shown promising form, and it is hoped that Hodgson’s go-to squad of established playing talent will be strengthened and complimented by the injection of fresh blood, which will hopefully mean a faster, more possessive and ultimately more delivering England. Let’s wear those three lions with pride!!
To round up the Half-Eaten Mind unofficial World Cup Guide, here are three football anthems, two produced especially for this year’s Cup alongside the ultimate England football song and melodious stirrer of national pride, the mighty Three Lions song.
“We Are One – [Ole Ola]” – the official World Cup song for international release. This song was performed by rapper Pitbull alongside songstress Jennifer Lopez and Brazilian singer Claudia Leitte. The song was released through RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment. A really energetic song, infused with Brazilian passion, international flair and brimming with World Cup fever.
“The World is Ours” – the Cola-Cola WC campaign anthem. This song was sung mainly by David Correy alongside backing vocals by Rio percussion group Monobloco who also provide the samba rhythms, and was produced and written last year by Mario Caldato Jr & Rock Mafia
In homage to my country of birth and the determination, style and inspiration of those who proudly put on the shirt with the three lions badge, here is the anthem that has been sung along to by hundreds of thousands of fans since the late Nineties and which has passed into English football folklore. It is as inseparable to the English way of celebrating our team’s triumphs as big screen TVs, barbecues, cold beers and pub get-togethers.
“Three Lions ’98” – with comedians David Baddiel and Frank Skinner and the band The Lightning Seeds. The chart-topper was originally released by Sony Music Entertainment UK Limited in 1998.