With the World Cup just around the corner, here's the student guide to watching the tournament in style!

It's now just over a month until one of the world’s greatest sporting events will commence. No, I'm not talking about the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow; instead I'm focusing on a slightly more glamorous location, namely Brazil (although I’m told Glasgow is a hot spot for A-list celebs in the summer…). On June 12th, the opening ceremony for the 2014 FIFA World Cup will take place, signifying the start of the tournament. Luckily for those who fell asleep during the Olympic opening ceremony, watching athletes from countries you didn’t know existed walk around, the World Cup equivalent is much shorter & is just an appetiser to the opening game. For most football fans, watching the 32 nations battle it out over the 31 days that follow is their idea of paradise. It is a constant & seemingly endless stream of football culminating with the final in Rio de Janeiro on July 13th

As university students, we are in a privileged position to enjoy everything the World Cup has to offer. Although our student loans may not quite manage to get us to Brazil to watch the action live, there are a number of things that benefit us. Firstly, the start of the tournament comes at an ideal time. There is no need to worry about how you are going to balance the strain of academic work with watching the mouth-watering clash between Iran and Nigeria. This is because, for most, it will come after a week of celebrating the freedom that finishing exams brings. Furthermore, the traditional student sleeping pattern of staying up late and sleeping in will not have to be broken as it will be perfectly in tune with the match timings. Due to the time difference, most days will see games kicking off at 5, 8 and 11 pm, leaving plenty of time to at least contemplate doing something productive with the day before thinking better of it and heading back to bed. Students were handed yet more reasons to be cheerful as the news spread that pubs would be allowed to stay open to show the late night England games. This gives a perfect opportunity to grab a few drinks with some people you haven’t seen too much of over the last few weeks while you have had your head buried in revision notes.  However if you choose to stay in and watch the footy in the comfort of your own accommodation, it is a cheap alternative to a night out and also could be a welcome break from the string of hangovers that have followed your final exam. And is it too optimistic to mention the possibility of a BBQ in the summer sun to partner the feast of football? Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself…

Above: England Fans Favourite (well...) Sepp Blatter drawing hosts Brazil into Group A

One of my favourite things about the World Cup is that everyone has an opinion; even those who don’t list football in their top hobbies tend to get involved. World Cup fever slowly builds and it is all too much for the DJ at your local nightclub who tries, and somehow manages to successfully incorporate a rendition of ‘Three Lions’ into his set. Flags are waved and your replica England shirt from Euro 2012, that is now ‘a bit snug’ to say the least, is worn almost every day. The result of the anticipation is a united, nationwide feeling of blind optimism at the start of England’s first group game, quickly followed by the general consensus that we are the worst team in tournament ninety minutes later! Then comes the all too familiar conversation about your Nan knowing more about the beautiful game than Adrian Chiles and Andy Townsend combined. Fortunately, by setting up a World Cup sweepstake, you get a chance to root for a second country. (Unless you experience the cruel misfortune of drawing England in that too!) This is a nice way of creating some friendly competition between your mates at uni and also gives you a chance to win back the fiver they ‘borrowed’ from you in the taxi a couple of months ago.

Above: As the tournament approaches, World Cup fever will strike the nation...

So all in all, the World Cup is shaping up quite nicely for us uni students. Even if it is likely to involve having to watch England struggle through at least three games, it offers a thrilling end to the uni year and kicks off the summer perfectly.


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