|Will the Hand of God Return?|
Stephen Brennan, a Brit, teacher, and soccer fanatic, will tell the World Cup's craziest moments over the next few days. This is the first installment.
Almost a century ago, during the first Christmas of the bloodbath that was World War I, war weary German and British soldiers climbed hesitantly out of their trenches and stumbled into no man's land. They shook hands, sang carols, lit each other's cigarettes, and, using helmets for goal posts and a bully beef can as a ball, they played a game of soccer. Briefly, the international language of the beautiful game trumped the violence of the battlefield. The next day they returned to their positions in the trenches, and resumed the mass slaughter of the Great War.
Starting today the world comes together to play soccer again, thankfully not on the battlefields of the Western Front, but in the spiritual home of football, Brazil. Yes, the greatest competition of the world's greatest sport is here - the World Cup.
203 nations attempted qualification; more countries than there are in the United Nations. Now, 32 from all corners of the globe converge to contest the finals, from the "Indomitable Lions" of Cameroon and the ""Samurai Blue"" of Japan, to the traditional power houses of Europe and South America.
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