Guide to SKOPJE

A Blasé World Cup 2014 – Watching the games in Greece

These days, crowds around the globe are talking a lot about the World Cup 2014 in Brazil. So, I was asked what it is that Greeks feel about it. Just observing it all, and being a great fan of football myself, I can say they are rather blasé. This is a first!greece_brazil1_balkon3

All around Athens, in squares and parks and cafes and bars and eateries there is some kind of T.V. screen tuned on to the games, announcing matches and beer offers, ready to attract customers. One way or another, whether you like football or not, you are going to get flooded with information about the games, the national teams, the stars, the background, everything. But the mood stays hypotonic. Especially if you compare this with World Cup events of a decade ago.greece_brazil2_balkon3

Still, in any case, it is summertime, we need holidays, want to stay outdoors, have some fun and make some noise. The way I see it that’s the motive for watching the event. No matter if the Greek national team participates or that Greeks have always loved Latin American football.  It really boils down to the need for escapism; if possible together with your favorite friends. Moreover, there is (for some) the hope that we might actually get to see some good football after all (admittedly, the last World Cup has been a real disappointment). The media are reporting about anything of a possible interest to anyone. But somehow fail to do more than simply stating the obvious.

There are four repeated news topics failing to impress:

– Greek fans cannot make it to Brazil due to limited financial means (while, e.g. the Japanese have made it).

– A humorist list about the do’s and don’ts for watching football in general (making as much noise as possible, disturbing the neighborhood, stacking up the house with tons of beer, pizzas and souvlaki’s and so on).

– Brazilian immigrants living in Athens are watching the games in Athens.greece_brazil4_balkon3

– Greek immigrants living in Sao Paulo are watching the games in Sao Paulo.greece_brazil5_balkon3

Of course there is a hope that we see our team scoring more than a corner this time. But the T.V. is overdoing it. They are largely struck by the Gaulish Village Syndrom (see Asterix at the Olympics): “Greece could have won the match if…”

a) the weather were not too tropical

b) the stadium location were more convenient,

c) nutrition for the players were less exotic etc.

What would be totally unexpected is the Greek team winning the Cup! But this probability being very close to zero (ask any bookie) we continue to watch the games making noise, drinking beer, eating junk food, hoping Latin Americans perform their magic, with the T.V. criticizing the Brazilian climate.

The inconvenient time zone is not a problem. We continue to stay sleepless, go to work with tired eyes and drink more coffee than usual. And kids keep playing happily away!


Sophia Nikolaou