Hope keeps things alive

Lionel Messi

The World Cup has always been about hope and crushed dreams – just like any other major sport event. And it is not for the fainthearted.

As much as the footballers are involved in exhaustive training sessions, fans also have to put in a decent amount of training themselves.

It is not easy to keep up with the games what with the time difference, work and sleep, and interestingly this year it coincides with Hari Raya.

I imagine there are many out there enjoying rendang while with their mobile phones in their hands, keeping up with the matches. My husband and I are missing the rendang and lemang as we’re catching the matches live in Russia.

Such is the beauty of the World Cup. Some likened it to the Champions League but most argue it is nothing close, adding the World Cup involves patriotism and camaraderie between playing nations.

“It’s such a beautiful game. We get devastated and angry. We swear at the referee but at the end of the day we’ll take wefies and have drinks with fans of the teams that beat us. World Cup’s good like that,” said an Australian fan who was shattered after his team lost 2-1 to France on Saturday.

World Cup 2018
The atmosphere outside Kazan Arena before the France-Australia World Cup match yesterday. Image: Ayu Musa Kamal

Hope keeps things alive. Losing doesn’t mean all is lost.

‘Iceland ties Argentina but you can call it victory’ was the headline in the New York Times. Indeed it was.

Iceland a country with a population smaller than Seremban made it to the World Cup.

That in itself is enough of a victory and deserving of respect.

But no, the Norsemen managed a 1-1 draw against football giants Argentina. That was when the crowd went wild. Who cares what happens next.

It’s worthy to note what Iceland’s full-time dentist part-time coach Heimir Hallgrimsson had to say before the match against Argentina and its legendary player Lionel Messi: “I don’t have any magic formula. Everybody has tried everything against him and he always managed to score.”

Well Hallgrimsson, there you have it. Magical formula.

The Icelanders’ now famous Viking Clap is an anthem for those who dare to dream and a wake-up call for the complacent.

In Malaysia, Iceland’s performance is regarded as an inspiration.

Their success and determination make smaller countries like Malaysia not just hopeful but have faith that some time, some day our team too would be in one of the groups.

We can certainly hope.

There will be more inspiring moments I’m sure as there will also be disappointments and anti-climactic results.

While we are enjoying these superb international athletes prove their mettle, it may also be time to strategise and move forward to nurturing our local talents to becoming stars in line with the promise of #MalaysiaBaru.