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Pique n' your interest

The World Cup runneth over



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And the drama extends both on and off the field.

Mere men become international legends overnight.

There is controversy over referee calls and fines for bad behaviour.

There is gossip swirling around the players, from their huge egos to their love lives.

And then there are the hooligans who accompany the sport wherever it goes.

Soccer's' pinnacle, the World Cup, is like a huge international soap opera unfolding on stage in nail biting seconds.

How could anyone think it was boring?

Why the World Cup sucks

By Andrew Mitchell

Soccer, like baseball, golf, bowling, and lawn darts, is a sport that is far more exciting to play than to watch. England beats Argentina 1-0 after a penalty shot. France and Uruguay battle to a 0-0 tie. Hardly what I would call exciting television. Luckily I have my official FIFA World Cup 2002 Toothpicks to pry my eyes open now and then to watch the highlights.

I know what the fans out there would say to me - three billion screaming soccer fans can't be wrong, and to watch what I say or I'm liable to get a kick in the teeth.

I've never found strength in numbers before, however, and I'm not about to succumb to the peer pressure now. Someone can have my space on the FIFA bandwagon - I won't be using it this year.

If Canada had qualified, I might be more inclined to watch a few more games out of pride, but right now the entire Canadian content in the World Cup can be summed up as Owen Hargreaves, a Calgarian playing for England by virtue of his grandfather, who was born in the U.K.

Much of my distaste for World Cup soccer has little to do with the sport itself.

I grew up in Toronto, widely regarded as the most multi-cultural city on the planet. More than 100 nationalities are represented within the population of four million, and over 45 languages are spoken.

Judging by what I've witnessed over the years, the World Cup is not a celebration of our cultural tossed salad, but rather a chance for every nation to rub our noses in their superiority.

Whatever team wins, you can expect traffic jams, honking and street celebrations that frequently turn into mini riots. And because of all the different countries represented in the city, that means these episodes are repeated almost every single night for the duration of the World Cup.

There were fights a few years ago between the Portugese and Brazilian communities, because the Portugese had the nerve to support the Brazilian team. Brazil being a former colony of Portugal, the Brazilians felt this was an attack on their nation's independence.