I’m so excited, the World Cup starts tonight! Now I know a lot of you are thinking it actually started last night, but this is Australia.
Depending on your nation of residence, fill up your beer cupboard (UK) or fridge (AUS) with your brew of choice, put your favourite chair in pole position and politely inform the rest of the family that for the next four weeks, at intermittent periods, the TV is yours.
Then prepare for the opening ceremony.
Watching the World Cup in the UK
It’s the opening game, the hosts Brazil are playing Croatia. Kick-off time is 9 o’clock in the evening.
The kids are in bed, it’s a perfect time to open the bar and pour yourself a pint before sitting down to watch the opening game in the world’s best sporting tournament.
Other games in the early rounds will kick-off at 5 PM, 8 PM and 11 PM with stage two games being played at 5 PM and 9 PM.
Couldn’t be better, could it?
Watching the World Cup in Australia
It’s the opening game, the hosts Brazil are playing Croatia. Kick-off time is 6 o’clock in the morning on the east coast; it’s an even more unforgiving 4 o’clock in the morning over in Perth.
Things can only get worse.
The only similarity we have with the UK is that for us, as well, the kids are in bed. Unfortunately, so is everybody else. Now I like beer whilst watching football, but not at 6 o’clock in the morning.
Call me a traditionalist, but I always like to have a little bit breakfast before hitting the bottle. Other kick-off times for us in the east will be 2 o’clock in the morning and 5 o’clock in the morning with the bulk of the games being at 2 AM and at 6 AM in the second phase.
So the only way to seriously enjoy this World Cup is going to be to record the games to watch later. Yes, timeshifting.
The World Cup on TV
It’s very pleasing to see that every single game will be shown live here on Australian Freeview TV on SBS. I have my digital recording technology, a PVR, set to record the games during these ridiculously early hours, although there is also a nightly one-hour show on SBS with the day’s highlights.
Because sometimes, just sometimes, it can be a little tricky to watch almost 6 hours of football in one day.
On top of that, each and every one of the day’s games is repeated throughout the day in slightly edited 90 minute programs. Very handy.
I noticed that in the UK the BBC and ITV are sharing coverage, which means that both of our countries will be enjoying free World Cup football again this year. The longer we can keep the World Cup away from pay-TV, the better.
Avoiding the scores
Unlike the English Premier League, the World Cup will get a lot of news coverage here, after all, Australia are in it as well. Avoiding the scores throughout the day is going to be tough.
So for the next few weeks I won’t be able to log on to any online newspapers, turn on any radios or watch any news on the TV until AFTER I’ve watched (up to) six hours of football each evening. Yes, to watch the World Cup in Australia without knowing the scores you need to detach yourself from the real world.
England’s first game against Italy is an 8 o’clock in the morning kick-off and a few of my friends are getting up at 6 AM to go to the Pig ‘n’ Whistle to watch it. The last time I got up at that sort of time in the morning ‘for pleasure’ was to go fishing when I was 15.
Even if I could drag my sorry backside out of bed in time to get there, I don’t think I’d find matchsticks strong enough to prop my eyes open for two hours. So I’ll be snuggled up in bed with my fingers in my ears.
It’s going to be a tough tournament, but I’m ready for it. Been ready for 48 years…