Opinion

The World Cup is back

PHOTO/WILLIAM VOLCOV/BRAZIL PHOTO PRESS/BRAZIL PHOTO PRESS VÍA AFP - El Trofeo de la Copa Mundial de la FIFA se muestra en el terreno de juego en la final de la Copa Mundial de Qatar 2022 entre Argentina y Francia en el Estadio Lusail en Lusail, al norte de Doha, el 18 de diciembre de 2022
photo_camera PHOTO/WILLIAM VOLCOV/BRAZIL PHOTO PRESS/BRAZIL PHOTO PRESS VIA AFP - The FIFA World Cup Trophy is shown on the pitch at the Qatar 2022 World Cup final between Argentina and France at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha, on December 18, 2022

The year 1982. Spain. 

People vibrate. No mobile phones. No internet.  With radio journalists. 

Football in capital letters. All the greats come together in our country.  24 national teams. The FIFA World Cup takes place. Newspapers sell out at the newsstands. 

It began on 13 June. Saint Anthony's Day. Back then, this saint was celebrated in many homes. Those were different times, different circumstances, different generations. The same passions for a universal sport. The same rivalries. Friends gathered to watch the matches. Sometimes in the bar. The usual one, the one in the neighbourhood.

After a month of triumphs and defeats (the Spanish one came too soon), the final was played.  Italy won. Germany came second. It was better not to remember Spain's position.  The Italians, who were winning the cup for the third time, scored three goals while the Germans scored only one. I wanted whoever won to win. A friend of mine at the time did not. According to him, the Germans were better.  

When you play, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Life is a continuous game, a scenario of winners and losers. 

Quini, Santillana, Juanito, Gordillo... the truth is that the one I remember best from that time was López Ufarte, maybe he wasn't the best, but he was the most handsome. Is it right to say that? I don't know... It was an opinion shared by almost all my friends. The boys didn't think so. 

Memories that come back now, more than 40 years later, because the World Cup is also coming back to Spain. Decades that add up to years. And they are, and a lot of them, even if the bolero says that 20 years are nothing. 2030. That will be the date.

We are not going alone. We stretch out our hands. Or they reach out to us. To the right and to the left, or to the left and downwards, beyond this marvellous Mediterranean, so much ours, and so much theirs: Portugal and Morocco. A perfect trio. A three-way candidacy that has been approved. It is also true that it was the only one submitted. Does that really matter? 

But let us cross other seas. Other flights beyond. Where it all began. Where the first World Cup was held almost a century ago: Uruguay. The year was 1930. In tribute, there will be matches there too, and in Argentina and Paraguay. They will play the first match at home.  

In the end, everyone will be happy. It's very easy to spread happiness, even if it costs us so much. 

Will the Santiago Bernabeu be the venue for the final? Some are already looking towards Casablanca. And this has only just begun. 

This unexpected FIFA announcement gives more time to organise. Let's not make excuses later....  

We will see how the interests and internal conflicts are resolved. Since I was a child, I was taught that dirty linen should be washed at home. Well, we still have a handful of years ahead of us... and they will certainly not be short of surprises. The countdown begins. 

That 1982. How time flies, doesn't it, Naranjito?