Today is a big day being celebrated by millions of people around the world: the 2018 FIFA World Cup is beginning and the whole world is watching.
This is not just any other tournament; I just heard on NPR that 3 billion people are expected to watch the games that are being held in Russia over the next month. It is not only the biggest soccer tournament in the world; it is also one of the biggest shows that humanity has to offer: a total of 32 teams from around the globe will compete in 12 venues and 11 cities, in a total of 64 matches.
In general I’m not a big sports fan. But this is different because it is not just a sports event, it is a cultural one. The Cup unites the world and brings a smile to billions of people, regardless of race, religion, age, gender, income level, etc.
I’m from Argentina and I grew up in a country that loves fútbol. Every four years when there is a Copa Mundial the country stops, and people just watch football for hours. A certain dynamic takes place. I have a memory of an appliance store chain in Buenos Aires selling TV’s (those big ones from the 90’s), and many people watching through the glass windows while the game was taking place.
But this is not only happening in Argentina. The fever takes hold all around the world, and Google is honoring it with a Doodle series featuring artwork from artists in each of the 32 qualified nations. The Doodle will change every day to feature the teams that are playing.
How many times have I heard the question: Who do you think is better, Maradona or Pele? referring to the famous soccer players from Argentina and Brazil, two neighboring countries that are rivals in soccer.
The first time I realized the power of fútbol was in Israel in the 1980’s when I was a teenager trying to talk to a teenager from Ethiopia. I didn’t know Hebrew then. I said I was from Argentina. And he replied: Maradona!
This year people are excited about two great Ballon D’Or winners: Lionel Messi from Argentina and Christiano Ronaldo from Portugal. Each one has received a record five awards.
Recently soccer fans in Israel were very upset because the friendly game against the Argentinian national team was canceled and they missed their chance to see Messi playing.
If you want to watch it live in United States, Fox has the rights to the tournament in English, while Telemundo has the Spanish broadcasting rights. You can stream games at fuboTV.
My son is ready with his Messi shirt bought in Argentina, sent to him by his grandma.
I’m not a soccer expert but for fun a good final would be Argentina vs Brazil, or Argentina vs Portugal to see Messi and Ronaldo in the same match.
Here are some of the games. Enjoy! Watch! Share!
|THURSDAY, JUNE 14|
|Russia vs. Saudi Arabia||11 a.m. ET||Moscow||Fox and Telemundo|
|FRIDAY, JUNE 15|
|Egypt vs. Uruguay||8 a.m. ET||Yekaterinburg||FS1 and Telemundo|
|Morocco vs. Iran||11 a.m. ET||Saint Petersburg||Fox and Telemundo|
|Portugal vs. Spain||2 p.m. ET||Sochi||Fox and Telemundo|
|SATURDAY, JUNE 16|
|France vs. Australia||6 a.m. ET||Kazan||FS1 and Telemundo|
|Argentina vs. Iceland||10 a.m. ET||Moscow||Fox and Telemundo|
|Peru vs. Denmark||12 p.m. ET||Saransk||FS1 and Telemundo|
|Croatia vs. Nigeria||3 p.m. ET||Kaliningrad||FS1 and Telemundo|
|SUNDAY, JUNE 17|
|Costa Rica vs. Serbia||8 a.m. ET||Samara||Fox and Telemundo|
|Germany vs. Mexico||11 a.m. ET||Moscow||FS1 and Telemundo|
|Brazil vs. Switzerland||2 p.m. ET||Rostov||FS1 and Telemundo|
|MONDAY, JUNE 18|
|Sweden vs. South Korea||8 a.m. ET||Nizhny Novgorod||FS1 and Telemundo|
|Belgium vs. Panama||11 a.m. ET||Sochi||FS1 and Telemundo|
|Tunisia vs. England||2 p.m. ET||Volgograd||FS1 and Telemundo|
|TUESDAY, JUNE 19|
|Poland vs. Senegal||8 a.m. ET||Moscow||FS1 and Telemundo|
|Colombia vs. Japan||11 a.m. ET||Saransk||Fox and Telemundo|
|Russia vs. Egypt||2 p.m. ET||Saint Petersburg||Fox and Telemundo|
|WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20|
|Portugal vs. Morocco||8 a.m. ET||Moscow||FS1 and Telemundo|
|Uruguay vs. Saudi Arabia||11 a.m. ET||Rostov||Fox and Telemundo|
|Iran vs. Spain||2 p.m. ET||Kazan||Fox and Telemundo|
|THURSDAY, JUNE 21|
|France vs. Peru||8 a.m. ET||Yekaterinburg||FS1 and Telemundo|
|Denmark vs. Australia||11 a.m. ET||Samara||Fox and Telemundo|
|Argentina vs. Croatia||2 p.m. ET||Nizhny Novgorod||Fox and Telemundo|
|FRIDAY, JUNE 22|
|Brazil vs. Costa Rica||8 a.m. ET||Saint Petersburg||FS1 and Telemundo|
|Nigeria vs. Iceland||11 a.m. ET||Volgograd||Fox and Telemundo|
|Serbia vs. Switzerland||2 p.m. ET||Kaliningrad||Fox and Telemundo|
|SATURDAY, JUNE 23|
|Belgium vs. Tunisia||8 a.m. ET||Moscow||Fox and Telemundo|
|Germany vs. Sweden||11 a.m. ET||Sochi||Fox and Telemundo|
|South Korea vs. Mexico||2 p.m. ET||Rostov||Fox and Telemundo|
|SUNDAY, JUNE 24|
|England vs. Panama||8 a.m. ET||Nizhny Novgorod||FS1 and Telemundo|
|Japan vs. Senegal||11 a.m. ET||Yekaterinburg||Fox and Telemundo|
|Poland vs. Colombia||2 p.m. ET||Kazan||Fox and Telemundo|
|MONDAY, JUNE 25|
|Saudi Arabia vs. Egypt||10 a.m. ET||Volgograd||FS1 and NBC Universo|
|Uruguay vs. Russia||10 a.m. ET||Samara||Fox and Telemundo|
|Iran vs. Portugal||2 p.m. ET||Saransk||Fox and Telemundo|
|Spain vs. Morocco||2 p.m. ET||Kaliningrad||FS1 and NBC Universo|
|TUESDAY, JUNE 26|
|Australia vs. Peru||10 a.m. ET||Sochi||FS1 and Telemundo|
|Denmark vs. France||10 a.m. ET||Moscow||Fox and NBC Universo|
|Iceland vs. Croatia||2 p.m. ET||Rostov||FS1 and NBC Universo|
|Nigeria vs. Argentina||2 p.m. ET||Saint Petersburg||Fox and Telemundo|
|WEDNESDAY, JUNE 27|
|South Korea vs. Germany||10 a.m. ET||Kazan||FS1 and NBC Universo|
|Mexico vs. Sweden||10 a.m. ET||Yekaterinburg||Fox and Telemundo|
|Switzerland vs. Costa Rica||2 p.m. ET||Nizhny Novgorod||FS1 and NBC Universo|
|Serbia vs. Brazil||2 p.m. ET||Saint Petersburg||Fox and Telemundo|
|THURSDAY, JUNE 28|
|Japan vs. Poland||10 a.m. ET||Volgograd||FS1 and NBC Universo|
|Senegal vs. Colombia||10 a.m. ET||Samara||Fox and Telemundo|
|England vs. Belgium||2 p.m. ET||Kaliningrad||Fox and Telemundo|
|Panama vs. Tunisia||2 p.m. ET||Saransk||FS1 and NBC Universo|