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Neil Humphreys
Thursday, Jun 5, 2014

Sports

Welcome to the world's biggest party

The New Paper | Neil Humphreys | Thursday, Jun 5, 2014

The World Cup stands alone. There is nothing like it. Little else comes close. The International Olympic Committee might argue otherwise, but their members are in the minority.

Only the World Cup does what it says on the trophy. It's a tournament for the world, a party for the entire planet. Everyone has a ticket. Everyone is invited.

The games, all 64 of them, are blind to race, colour, creed or culture. The doors are open to all. The special relationship is a reciprocal one. They provide the entertainment. You bring the dreams.

From the children of the Rio favelas to the kids on a Queenstown void deck, everyone participates. No one is excluded. The World Cup is a stage where there is truly a part for all.

From now until July 13, events will dictate the true owners of the game.

The World Cup will not belong to Sepp Blatter, Michel Platini or even shadowy Brazilian businessmen. It will belong to the starry-eyed kid from Bedok believing he's Lionel Messi just as much as it belongs to Messi himself.

The tournament is sporting democracy in its purest form. The games are shared by all. Only the ambition is unique intellectual property.

Your World Cup dreams are yours and yours alone.

Parties come and go, but the most memorable are always those where the outcome is unlikely, inexplicable; unforgettable. The World Cup 2014 promises to take us down a similarly unfamiliar, uncertain road to Rio.

Spain are the current kings of their castles, but their castles are all back in Europe. Their wars were waged on the more agreeable terrains of Austria and Switzerland, South Africa and Poland and Ukraine.

In Game of Thrones terms, they are heading beyond the wall into the great unknown. They proudly bare the banners of their Euro 2008 and Euro 2012 triumphs along with their global crown from 2010, but they march into a world of wildlings.

South Americans have stood firm on their territory since the tournament began in 1930. They dance exclusively to the Samba beat and the Europeans have always been awkwardly out of step.

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