Only few hours and then it will start: the most important football event is about to kick off in the land of football, Brazil
Estonia, unfortunately, will not be there. However, all Estonian football fans will plan their life in order to be free when the WC game of their favourite (alternative) national team will be on stage.
They could be side by side with one of the many expats that work, live and enjoy Estonian football.
Either players (some of the 44 embedded in Premium Liiga), coaches or even fans.
We have met them and asked forecasts, impressions and memories connected to the World Cup.
All the people have been asked with all the same set of questions:
How far can your country go?
Who is the key-player?
Strong point and weak point.
Where will you watch your country’s games?
An anecdote/story of you and the World Cup.
In 'Part 1', we start with Group A and B favourites: the hosts, Brazil, and the titleholders, Spain.
Part 2 (Japan, England, Italy, France)
Part 3 (Bosnia-Hercegovina, Nigeria, Portugal, Germany) Saturday the 14th of June
Line-ups prepared by LineupBuilder.com/2014
BRAZIL: THE STRENGHT IS THE WHOLE TEAM, NOT ONLY NEYMAR
Getulio Fredo, Brazilian-born with Finnish passport and assistant coach at Kalju, is among those many of his country fellows who believe Brazil can go straight to the Maracana final on the 13th of July.
‘We can do it’ reassures Getulio ‘because we have a good team, we obviously play home and we have a lot of players with top-club experience like Thiago Silva at PSG, Marcelo at Real Madrid, Dani Alves at Barcelona and Fernandinho at Manchester City, just to name few’
When coming to a key-player, Getulio, from his coaching experience, gives a general view and picks up the whole squad instead of a single individual: ‘Everybody talk about Neymar’ how can we refute that? ‘But Felipao prefers to make his team play as a team above individualities’
In the light of that, there’s no doubt for Getulio that the strong point of Brazil will be the squad. And its coach, Felipe Scolari. He recounts a professional anecdote of the often difficult relationship between coaches and players: ‘once I had one player who all the time liked to give me advices’ recounts the 59-year-old coach ‘ - why we don’t play like this? Why you don’t field that player to play? - all the time he wanted to give advices. He was a very good player I must say, however he thought he was a coach too. One day when I spelled the names of the line-up for the next game and his name was not in the list. He came and asked me why he was not starting. I said – well, you will be in the bench beside me and show me what i need to do if the team win , you will be in the bench with me all the time - After that game he never gave me more advices and he was thinking only about playing’. An episode that recalls Felipao Scolari ‘threatening to kil’l Ronaldo and Rivaldo if they would have not passed the ball to each other (World Cup 2002). ‘Felipao will certainly once and again make his team play like team’ says confidently Getulio. ‘However, if you want me to name someone, then we have very good defenders as Dani Alves , Thiago Silva, David Luiz and Marcelo. Nonetheless, among them, the weak link is Dani Alves on the right side’ Why? ‘Because he likes to attack a lot, but he is very weak in defending, that was already one of the problems in Barcelona’.
Who could be the key then? ‘The midfield line. We have so many good players in this part of the field, players with a lot of quality, but we don’t know yet who will start , because the competition for the place is very high’. Getulio went on analysing the Brazil side: ‘In the forward line we have Neymar, Hulk and Fred - these guys have the quality and know how to score the goals. Our weak points can be Daniel Alves as mentioned and, additionally, Julio Cesar, the goalkeeper - in Brasil they don’t enjoy good reviews. However, Felipe Scolari trusts them’
Getulio has two options for watching the Brazil’s games: ‘either I will go to watch in Varblane (Tallinn’s Old Town bar owned by Nõmme Kalju’s president and entrepreneur – edit) together with Jorge (Rodrigues), Damiano (Quintieri) and Fabinho (Prates). Or with the Brazilian people living in Tallinn’
Born in 1954, Getulio is the one here with most of the World Cup memories available and having seen the ‘verdeoro’ winning all the five times (pentacampeao, five-time champions). However, one special memory is tied to his period in Finland, World Cup 2002 in Asia: ‘I was watching in the same place together with 100 Brazilians living in Finland. When the game ended and Brazil clinched their fifth title, we went celebrating in the Helsinki’s streets. Many Finns were cheering Brazil for the final and and they joined us. There were about 400 people in the streets.’ Will Estonians supporting Brazil beat that?
Contrary to all the others here, we could ask this question only to a Brazilian: ‘Maracanazo’ – when Brasil lost to Uruguay in the 1950 home-organized World Cup.
Getulio was not even born, however he obviously knows about it and has heard a lot of stories. Do you think it can happen again? 'We all are scared that it could be happening again' confesses Getulio as any average Brazilian fan would 'however, it should be said that in 1950, all the Brazilian players were playing only in Brazil. The preparation was different from today. Today we have only four players based at home. The rest all play abroad.' What could be problem then? 'The pressure from the fans' 'la torcida', the 12th man, could turn against their heroes. 'They want a Brazil game to start already from two nil up. If Brazil do not score within the first 25 minutes of the game, the fans start booing. However, Brazilian team nowadays mentality is strong. So, if we reach the final, it will be very difficult for us to lose it.'
Bem-vindo ao Brasil!
SPAIN: FORGET THE 'FALSO NUEVE', THEY NEED A REAL STRIKER
We start our alternative guide with the title-holders, Spain through the words of Nicolas Tamargo, Tammeka Fans Coordinator.
Nicolas, as defensing Champion, is quite confident Spain can do the same as seen with the European Cup: reconfirming their supremacy.
'Well, we can definitely win it' breaks the Spaniard with no sort of superstitious understatement, however the group they have been drawn into (Netherlands, Chile and Australia). 'It's not the easiest, and we have to play a team from group A in the round of 16' which means only one word: Brazil. 'Considering how the Confederations Cup final went, I'm not sure how much I trust us to win that game. So, we'll see!'
Singling one key-player out of the Spain rich and skilled team, it is objectively an hard task for anyone, Nicolas included. 'We'll need Ramos to keep being the one from the last few months (and not the crazy "please give me another red card" Ramos he becomes sometimes), Alonso to keep form, and hopefully Koke or Cesc to show they can substitute an aging, slower Xavi. And of course, there's the doubt of how Costa will adapt to the Spanish team - if he does well, having a decent striker up front for a change should be quite helpful!' Any reference to Fernando Torres is purely a coincidence.
Spain means one expression in football: tiki-taka. The intricate net of passes that have featured most of the Spanish successes in recent years. The protagonist of that was the superb organization of the Spanish midfield. Nicolas is aware of that and hits at the middle of the park as the strongest point: 'our midfield is always the one to look at when talking about Spanish best quality. Cazorla, Mata and Silva would be absolute first XI players for most countries...for us they see most games from the bench.' Just to give an idea of how much quality Del Bosque can rely to.
''Up front is a different story' admits Nicolas, worried about who will score goals at the World Cup 'with an aging Villa who has been playing as a second striker and Torres being Torres. Hopefully the introduction of Costa (and his experience partnering with Villa at Atlético) will help there.'
The tiki-taka has, admittedly, transformed into an empy ball passing. Nicolas is aware of that and doesn't hide when looking at the weakest point: 'Spain have been moving from a team that passes the ball to go forward to a team that passes the ball to pass the ball'. Solution? 'Going back to playing with a real striker might help with that'
Nicolas is located in Tartu, a University which is a bustle of foreign students. However, he will start his WC on 'home soil': 'I will start watching games at my place, If we make it to a decent phase though I'll probably go watch the last games at a pub and hopefully have some other Spain fans around for that!' You bet!
As a fans coordinator of Tartu's main club, Nicolas has a 'schocking' confession. 'I have dark secret connected with World Cup' breaks Nicolas. 'I...actually kinda enjoyed the vuvuzelas. I definitely didn't think they were as annoying as pretty much everyone else said!'
Will we see vuvuzelas in Tamme Stadium? Nicolas tries to explain why he was impressed by the South African trumpets: 'it might or might not be related with the fact I was watching Spain winning, which as a kid raised in the "Spain fails in the quarter-finals" world was kind of a cultural shock in its own right. Yes, we had won the Euros, but that's not the same thing now, isn't it?'' . We couldn't agree the less.