Are you passionate about your football team? When I say passion I mean passion as in suffering, from the Latin verb patī meaning to suffer. World cups are passionate milestones for many people, they leave indelible marks on the psyche, you remember who you were with, where you were and how your team suffered.
Like many England supporters I’ve suffered as the english media whips up false hope about the prospects of the squad every four years. “This year could be our chance”, and “we’ve got some really good players”, “remember 1966?”, “thirty years of hurt never stopped me dreaming” bla bla bla….
Passionate English suffering at the World Cup (1982-2014)
All this hope, passionately flies in the face of reason, cold facts and history:
- 1982 Spain: Eliminated without losing a game, too many draws.
- 1986 Mexico Lost to Argentina in the quarter finals thanks to Maradona’s Hand of God.
- 1990 Italy: Lost to West Germany in the semi-finals (penalties again).
- 1994 USA: World Cup? What World Cup? Who can we blame?
- 1998 France: Lost to Argentina in the first round (penalties again)
- 2002 Japan / Korea Lost to Brazil in the second round
- 2006 Germany : Lost to Portugal in the quarter finals (penalties again)
- 2010 South Africa Lost to Germany in the first round not enough running about probably .
- 2014 Brazil: More suffering predicted, 60% chance of getting through group stage, 3.5% chance of winning. (Update: Those odds were generous, as England came bottom of their group)
So if history [2,3] and mathematics (via predictwise) are anything to go by, there is (at the time of writing) a 96.5% chance that English suffering will continue and a 60% chance that the suffering will occur in the latter stages of the competition…
Wherever you are, whoever you support and whatever their chances, enjoy the inevitable suffering that comes with being passionate about zero-sum games like football. Life would be very boring without passion and suffering…
- Clemente FM, Couceiro MS, Martins FM, Ivanova MO, & Mendes R (2013). Activity profiles of soccer players during the 2010 World Cup. Journal of Human Kinetics, 38, 201-11 PMID: 24235995
- Graham McColl (2010) How to win the World Cup Bantam Press, ISBN: 0593066227
- Alex Bellos (2014) Futebol: The Brazilian Way of Life Bloomsbury Paperback ISBN: 0747561796