Why I Watch the World Cup
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First and foremost, I watch football.
Whether that be a relief or a warning to the reader is up to the individual reading this post. I was born and raised in a country that is football-insane, and I am an unapologetic fan of the sport.
Every four years brings on that one particular summer event that pays homage to what is possibly the world’s most popular sport: the FIFA World Cup. It is a month where malls are out of football jerseys and pretty much every imaginable social gathering is completely congested with football fans watching the game from big screen televisions. Between matches, timezones of one’s current location and the city where the football tournament is hosted are carefully calculated, the resulting value determining the amount of sleep they’re willing to lose for a match or the amount of hours of nap time they should take before matches. I admit participating in this chaos, and I love it.
Most of all, my love for football is triggered by the global outreach of the sport that resonates with me particularly due to my third cultured upbringing. Football is a great example of a third cultured sport. I have not yet seen of another sport that can gather such a huge following and collective spirit in so many corners of the world. Even though the teams are that of nations, it is a sport that goes above and beyond the exclusivity of nationalism. The underlying message behind the World Cup is the continuous effort to eradicate racism, and even for the nations whose teams did not qualify, it is a sport where many strangers converge in front of a television and instantly become comrades in the interest of a common support for a team.
Another Reason I Watch the World Cup
I have recently grown to appreciate the various aesthetic aspects of the World Cup. Preparing for a world-wide sporting event involves the effort from various disciplines, especially that of design. Promotional material, interpretative collateral, team uniforms, and even the stadiums are dependent on these creative minds. So in between matches, I’ve been scouring the internet for various World Cup-related material that I feel offer an interesting insight into designing for sports events — or at least caught my attention over the course of the season.
The World Cup Predicted by Section Design (Paul Butt)
This impressive infographic, called “The World Cup Predicted” is designed by Paul Butt of Section Design. It is a visualisation of the mathematical formula that tries to prove there is a closer relationship between a country’s performance in the World Cup and a country’s GDP, than a country’s performance and formation on the field. The graphic may not reflect the exact details of the remaining competing countries in current World Cup, but this publication design is both aesthetically pleasing and a refreshing look at team performance in this football tournament.
“The World Cup Predicted” was published on the June 2010 issue of WIRED UK.
South Africa 2010 Mosaics by Charis Tsevis
Visual designer Charis Tsevis of Tsevis Visual Design conducted a personal experiment to explore the use of patterns and mosaics inspired by African culture. He takes a particular look into the art of the South Ndebele people, who have very strong artistic roots.
The above two mosaic portraits are that of USA’s iconic player Landon Donovan and South African midfielder Steven Pienaar. Donovan’s portrait consists of a colour scheme inspired by the Ndebele mural house decorations, whereas the vibrant portrait of Pienaar proudly displays the colours of the South African flag. There are a lot more portraits of the same motif on Charis Tsevis’ Flickr photostream set, “South Africa 2010”.
2010 World Cup Radial Bracket Poster by Hyperakt (Deroy Peraza)
The designers at New York City-based studio Hyperakt made a poster to document the outcomes of this year’s participating teams. This poster is part of a creative funding initiative called Kickstarter, in order for the design to gain enough funding through donations for printing and distribution. Unsurprisingly, due to the global outreach of football — even among the design industry — the quota has been reached.
However, prior to printing, the poster design will continue to be updated based on the match outcomes. I assume the design has already been updated once. Towards, the end of June, the poster flanked the presumption that Argentina would bag the Cup. But due to their defeat of 4-0 against Germany last Saturday, more favour rests on Germany as champions this time around.
This project will be funded on July 25.
Spanish National Football Team’s New Away Kit
The Spanish National Football Team’s newly designed away kit has been creating a buzz among some World Cup fans online. Most of the reactions that I have read are quite strong, whether they be for or against the new design. My own reaction is not exempt of the same intensity, but I am definitely one of the people who is impressed by the new threads.
Designed by one of my favourite sports brands, Adidas, the away kit deviates from using the flag colours as dominating hues and instead uses dark blue with red and gold trimmings. The result is understated yet classic and regal, the long sleeves add a unique additional accent to the ensemble. I was immediately impressed when the Spanish team walked onto the field with this new uniform during their quarter-final match against Paraguay last weekend, and though not featured on this post, I am also a fan of the presentation kits worn by the benched players.
“Quest” Commercial by Coca Cola
Though not strictly design, I feel this needs to be included, too. Between halves in matches, I constantly see an advertisement called “Quest”, and am once again impressed by the giants that are Coca Cola. World Cup after World Cup they make successful advertisement campaigns, and this year’s production is phenomenal. I like the story behind it: a simple South African boy who comes to realises the value of his own potential in order to fulfill his dreams.
The animation of the commercial is exceptional, and the colour scheme chosen emphasises the warm and fuzzy yet encouraging underlying morale. But it’s precisely the type of feel-good I enjoy. (The commercial is available on YouTube.)
Six World Cup Days Left!
This coming Wednesday will be the match between Germany and Spain, and tonight — well, early Wednesday on my side of the world — will see the Netherlands and Uruguay go head to head. For tonight, I’m hoping the Netherlands emerges victorious, and for this Wednesday’s match, I’m torn between the two. I like both teams very much, but as I write this post, I am supporting Germany for this Wednesday, only because I am looking forward to seeing a Netherlands-Germany showdown for the World Cup finals. (Nothing like a match becoming both historical and political, no?) Nonetheless, I am very excited for what’s to happen as this tournament comes to a close.
What About You?
Do you watch football? If so, what teams do/did you support during this year’s World Cup?
(All images are credited to their respective owners. Click on any image to go to its source.)