Today we launch our “Expert cheat sheet” series, which condenses nuanced, complicated subjects into ten easy-to-read bullet points (In Internet speak, we give you the tl;dr version). These are essentially a quick, easy way for you to sound knowledgable on topics in the news, or that are bound to come up in conversation. Today we give you ten key points about the ongoing FIFA worldcup which will ensure that you can hold your own on any conversation about the tournament - even if you haven’t watched a single game:
1. This is the first ever World Cup where both finalists from the previous edition (Italy and France) where knocked out in the first round. Out with the old kings, long live the new pretenders. Which leads us to point 2.
2. This is Italy’s worst performance at a World Cup ever. 2 draws, 1 loss, and the defending champions are out. This is the first time they have failed to win a game at the tournament, and the first time they finished bottom of their group.
3. You might be banking on Brazil winning again (no please, not again!) but mark this - they are the oldest squad in this World Cup, with an average age of 29 years and 3 months. In fact they are the oldest Brazil team ever to play at a World Cup. Watch out, those legs might soon run out of steam.
4. The name you should know - Messi, Messi, Messi. Even Maradona says he’s the next Maradona. The 23 year old Argentine forward is regarded as the best footballer in the world right now. Plays for Barcelona when he is not in the Argentine shirt. He runs the Leo Messi Foundation, which pays for education and healthcare for underprivileged children in Argentina.
5. Footballers are probably the fittest athletes in the world. Apart from all the pushing, shoving, sliding, jumping, heading, falling, a player runs an average of 10 kms per game, and can hit top speeds of upto 35 km/hr. That’s 100 metres in less than 11 seconds!
6. The German team is as consistent as clockwork. They have now reached the Quarterfinal stage of the World Cup 16 times out of the 18 they have participated in.
7. Ghana is the only team African team who have gone through the first round, and are now in the Quarterfinals - the third African team to do so in the history of the Cup.
8. Uruguay, the winners of the first World Cup in 1930 (and the 1950 edition) had to wait 40 years before they could make it to the Quarterfinals. They beat the former USSR in the 1970 Quarterfinal before disappearing from the world scene. This time they are back with a vengeance, led by their striker Diego Forlan.
9. Cameroon’s Rigobert Song made history in this World Cup - his World cup career has lasted him 16 years and 9 days, the longest serving player to take the field in 2010. He has been taking the field since 1994!
10. Well, the World Cup is being held in an African country for the first time. If you didn’t know that, just don’t enter into a conversation about the Cup. Walk away with dignity.