No stakes but high sentiments — this best describes India’s anticipation for the FIFA World Cup as the country’s football hubs paint themselves in the colors of Russia 2018 to continue a long-distance love affair with the ‘beautiful game’. World Cup is one of the most awaited events for India even though we don’t have our team playing there. But World Cup is also an event where a large no of fake football fans get caught while giving a public opinion on the event.
Shwetank Srivastava, a Mumbai based IT employee has been a great football follower for the last 10 years. I mean he has followed all the biggest football clubs. He supported Manchester United first, then Real Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona and even Leicester City in 2016 after they won the league in the 2015-16 season. Shwetank has club T-Shirts of almost all major clubs and becomes a fan of a particular club once it wins a major tournament. So it is a no-brainer that he won’t have a favorite team for the Fifa World Cup 2018. Yes, the team he thinks will win the world cup in Italy. Like Shwetank there are 30 % fans in India who think Italy will win the Cup after 12 years of last winning it in 2006.
The second most likable team in India is the Netherlands. 27 % of fans think the Netherlands will win it. Some may argue that these fans are fake football fans but to support a team which is not playing in the world cup requires a huge amount of courage and conviction. Shwetank, yesterday was seen buying the Italian national team jersey and will be supporting it full-fledged. As long as we have die-hard fans like him in India, the day is not far when India will play at the biggest event in Football.