World Cup Survival Guide

It’s World Cup time again, but what if one partner hates football and the other loves it?

Photograph © shutterstock/OLJ Studio

Just in case you haven’t noticed, a very important event started on 12 June – yes it’s World Cup time again. If you and your partner both love football, chances are you have booked a month-long date on the sofa with matching vuvuzelas. But what if one partner hates football and the other loves it?

Football can bring out very strong emotions in people, from elation to anger, from a sense of belonging to sheer misery! To others, football is a boring game where 11 men kick a ball around a pitch for too long. We usually assume that men like football while women hate it, but this isn’t always the case.

If you are in a relationship and you both love the beautiful game, you may be planning which matches to watch. On the other hand, maybe you have heard enough about Theo Walcott missing out and whether Raheem Sterling will play. If you’re dreading the World Cup, here’s what to expect – plus some survival tips.

What to expect

The World Cup takes place in Brazil this time, which means some of the matches will be shown at odd times in the UK. You may find your other half sneaking out of bed in the early hours to tune in, or strategically working unusual hours to escape to the pub early. There are five African teams taking part – Algeria, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Cameroon and Ghana. So here’s how you can stay ahead of the game:


Names to drop: Madjid Bougherra, defender, used to play for Rangers but now plays for Lekhwiya Sports Club in Qatar. Striker Ishak Belfodil, who plays for Inter Milan, is a force to be reckoned with.

Ivory Coast:

Names to drop: Didier Drogba, the popular former Chelsea striker who now plays for Galatasaray, is a great goal scorer who won Chelsea the Champion’s League in 2012. Yaya Toure, the Man City midfielder, is the driving force of the Ivory Coast team. His brother Kolo is also part of the squad.


Names to drop: Victor Moses and John Obi Mikel – two more Chelsea players. Moses is currently on loan to Liverpool. Nigeria won the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations so the team has a lot to live up to.


Names to drop: Samuel Eto’o, the Chelsea wonder-scorer, who Manager Jose Mourinho controversially implied was an ‘old man’. Benoit Assou-Ekotto, the Spurs defender, and Alex Song, the former Arsenal defender.


Names to drop: Kevin-Prince Boateng – his brother Jerome plays for Germany, which is in the same group as Ghana, so look out for sibling rivalry on the pitch. Asamoah Gyan, the former Sunderland striker, now plays for Al Ain FC in the United Arab Emirates. He was the top scorer in the UAE League in 2013.


Names to drop: Wayne Rooney – arguably England’s best player, Rooney has produced some wonder goals over the years. Rumours abound that David Beckham might make an appearance –unlikely, but you might spot him watching the match.

If all this isn’t enough to tickle your football fancy, here are some survival tips:

How to survive the World Cup if there is no avoiding it:

  • Pick a team and watch all their matches – you may be pleasantly surprised to find you start to really support them and get into the competition as they progress, or feel miserable when they get knocked out.
  • Get a caxirola. The soundtrack to the last World Cup in South Africa was the noisy, bee-like vuvuzela. This year’s noise-maker of choice is called the caxirola. Designed especially for the World Cup, these little rattles are made from recycled plastic and make a much softer noise. They are, however, more likely to be hurled at players who miss penalties than the vuvuzela. Or at your partner if he won’t stop talking about football!
  • Fantasy Football – this is a great virtual game where you ‘go shopping’ for players, create your team and then get points for a goal or a clean sheet. Get a league together with your friends and club together for the winner’s prize. Search Google for ‘World Cup fantasy football’ to find a fantasy football game to suit you.
  • Learn the offside rule. It is quite impressive to be able to tell your man that you think Lionel Messi was offside and that the ref was bought.
  • Play goal celebration bingo – look out for handstands or T shirts being pulled up to display messages. The winner gets a prize – maybe an evening of watching soaps instead of football!
  • Spot the handsomest footballer. From Christiano Ronaldo to Didier Drogba, there will be some good looking players on the pitch this year. Have fun looking for your favourite.
  • If all else fails and the football is driving you up the wall, plan some evenings with your girlfriends, take up a new hobby such as yoga or try blogging about being a World Cup Widow. You may find you end up with an interest to rival your partner’s.

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Kerri has worked as a Health Trainer at Terrence Higgins Trust and is now their editor. She is particularly interested in the advances being made in HIV treatment and prevention. She also loves football, knitting and baking.

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