5 Things you Didn’t Know About the World Cup

The whole world loves a good soccer match. Whether you are a fan of the game who appreciates the constant back-and-forth action or someone who enjoys the wacky antics of the crazy fans, there are few people in the world who could resist getting caught up in the excitement. With the FIFA World Cup coming up, the soccer world is ramping up for one of the most anticipated athletic competitions in the world. While many of you are likely sports fans, I would be willing to bet there are a few things that many of you do not know
1. A True WORLD Champion
The NBA, MLB, and NFL all make a big to-do about crowning a world champion at the end of the season, yet almost all of the teams are based within the United States. Olympic competition has shown that the NBA is by far not the Mecca of basketball talent that it thinks it is. Of the last five Olympics, the U.S. Baseball team only made it to the Gold medal round once (and won the bronze twice). Over 200 teams compete for the right to go to the World Cup with 32 traveling to the host country for one month of intense competition. 200 countries! Now that sounds like a true world champ.

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2. A Technology First
How cool would it be if the action for an athletic competition was literally in your living room, but without the big ole mess that would result? This year’s World Cup is going to have a number of matches broadcast in 3D — that’s right folks, 3D. It will not mean much for the wide-angle shots that show a large portion of the field, but when the camera shoots up close it will be like the striker is kicking you instead of the ball.

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3. The History
Much of the action will take place at Ellis Park in Johannesburg. Roughly fifteen years ago the same stadium was the site of one of the most historic athletic events in history — the 1995 Rugby World Cup Finals. With the nation still torn apart  by racial hatred and war, there was little for Nelson Mandela to work with; the hatred was so intense on both sides of the struggle that the idea of cooperation was foreign. However, through the urging of Mandela and the leadership of the Springboks, the national rugby team, the nation was able to come together thanks to the power of sports. Oh, and the Springboks won the game against New Zealand, 15-12.

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4. A First
You would think that with a continent the size of Africa that there would have been at least one major athletic event over the years. While there have been some rather large competitions, there has yet to be anything the size of the World Cup to take place on African soil.

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5. Potential for Tragedy
In this day and age it sucks to think that an event meant to bring the world together in the spirit of competition could be subverted to cause pain and suffering. However, even though apartheid ended sometime ago, there are still extremist groups that are willing to do whatever it takes to get their point across. With the recent murder of radical extremist Eugene Terre’Blanche, founder of the group Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging, that group has said it would exact its revenge during the World Cup. Terrorist’s threats have also been unearthed. While the validity of them is at question since they were so openly posted, no threat goes without being investigated. With a nation already having an undercurrent of violence, the threat alone of terrorist’s action could be the boiling point. As much as the world loves a good tragedy…

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