34 days, 2 hours, 57 minutes.
Just a touch over a month.
In just 34 days, the world will once again get the privilege of tuning into the greatest sporting event on earth. Perhaps it is because it only occurs every four years, or maybe it's because soccer is the most popular sport in the world. Even more understandably, it could be the huge presence of the world's largest and most influential countries. Whatever it is, the World Cup is an event that takes national pride to an unprecedented level not even the Olympics can mirror.
June 11 marks the beginning of matches in South Africa when the host nation takes on Mexico in Johannesburg, and already there is an electricity in the air.
Many natives are fastidiously preparing, anxious to show off their beautiful country. Thousands of individuals are eager to board the plane and depart for Africa, vuvuzuelas in hand. Millions more are tidying up their closets with the latest jersey, scarf, or flag for their most beloved team.
It is no wonder that the 2006 World Cup final was watched by 1 billion people worldwide.
This month-long tournament brings fellow countrymen together like no other event. It has the power to create timeless legends like Pele and Maradona, yet also possesses the capacity for heartbreak. It enriches relationships between father and son, yet can bring grown men to tears.
The hope and budding optimism preceding the World Cup is the stuff that inspires nations. In this tournament, no team can be discounted. No country can be overlooked. All are equal on the pitch.
As we count down the final weeks leading up to this event, take a moment to become immersed in this atmosphere. Enjoy the beauties of South Africa, and revel in the hundreds of different cultures that will be showcased.
There is no language barrier, social barrier, or economic barrier when it comes to the beautiful game.
The World Cup is above any sport. It is humanity at its finest: millions cheering their own nation, while showing respect to others.
This is the beginning of a series of articles I will be writing concerning the World Cup in South Africa. I intend to break down each group, identify my prospective winners, and predict their eventual outcomes in the knockout stages. Become a fan and stay tuned!