So it has begun: 32 days, 64 matches, 96 hours of play and hopefully no vuvuzelas. By the time you read this, the biggest football carnival ever to hit Brazil will be under way.
Yes, time has flashed by and the Fifa World Cup is back again. I am four years older and – ahem – wiser since the last tournament. However, only now do I realise my intention to have soccer avoidance strategies in place for this competition was forgotten shortly after the final whistle was blown in 2010. I hate to conform to stereotypes but there’s no option in this situation: I will be a football widow for the next four-and-a-bit weeks.
Given we are a nation obsessed with the game I’m not sure where my apathy stems from, however the football-free household I grew up in may be to blame. My parents did not dislike the sport but were disinterested in it, while my older brother was more obsessed with tennis. This meant I neatly managed to avoid watching a single match until the eve of my 18th birthday, when my then-boyfriend dragged me to the Suffolk Hotel to watch the Euro ’96 semi-final.
In truth, I did not have a clue what was going on but, because the romance was new and I wanted to impress the lad, I feigned interest and knowledge. The fact I possessed neither became alarmingly clear when I thought the ordeal was over at half-time (I should be so lucky) and then started cheering the German players during the penalty shoot-out.
It’s fair to say it was not the start of a love affair with the game, and the other romance did not last long either.
In more recent years my husband has done his best to educate me. I now know a fair bit about the beautiful game - mainly through osmosis due to its near-constant presence at home – and the off-side rule mostly makes sense. But the simple truth is I’m just not interested in football.
So the next month will see me relegated from the living room. Roll on July 14, when I will be allowed some (limited) control of the television remote once more.