During the past month, 32 teams from around the globe came together in Brazil to thrill sports fans worldwide in the 20th FIFA World Cup soccer tournament. And today, it comes down to the final match between Germany and Argentina in Rio de Janeiro. The two teams are no strangers to World Cup victories, with five wins between them.
Following the host country’s crushing 7-1 loss to Germany in the semi-final, one may find it hard to believe that Brazil, with five championships, has won more World Cup titles than any other nation since the tournament’s inception in 1930. Spain, the champions of the last Cup in 2010, didn’t fare well at all this go-round, failing to advance beyond the 32-team round-robin.
The World Cup is the most widely watch sporting event on Earth, exceeding the viewership of the Olympics, the World Series, and even the Super Bowl. Although Team U.S.A. advanced only as far as the round of 16, their performance has resulted in a surge of the sport’s popularity in our country. Viewing parties in cities such as New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia drew crowds beyond organizers’ dreams. Major League Soccer games have seen a bump in attendance following enthusiasm over the Cup.
The game, of course, has been popular with the nation’s youth for decades. Training techniques have advanced, meaning the U.S. should be a contender in future World Cups to come. If your family includes young future soccer stars who show a unique gift for playing the game, The Ball Returning Soccer Trainer is a two-in-one net that lets a player spend more time perfecting his or her game and less time retrieving balls. When a ball is kicked into the center area, it follows an upward arc before it rebounds with spin and height, requiring the player to trap and control the ball before taking the next kick.
For backyard football fun, nothing beats The Giant 40″ Personalized Soccer Ball. At five times the size of a regulation soccer ball, this inflatable ball is suited for players of less gargantuan proportions. It can also be played with in the pool. Personalize it with a 25-character message printed on one of the panels.
Ultimately, in today’s final match the team that combines the unique gifts of scoring prowess and fancy footwork will prevail. And the whole world will be watching.