Grown men and women can get all dewy eyed and nostalic about watching World Cup football when they were children. So take this opportunity to hammer home some VERY IMPORTANT MESSAGES to your children through the beautiful game.
1. Money doesn't buy taste (or fashion sense)
Sure, footballers may drive expensive cars and live in vast mansions, but have you seen Neymar's hair? After 90 minutes of chasing a ball it looks like the dorsal fin of a sad whale.
2. Cheaters never prosper (except, sorry, maybe in football)
How do some footballers manage to walk during a stiff breeze when the slightest touch during a match causes them to spread eagle across the pitch? So, yes kids, that dive by Fred led to a penalty in Brazil's first match against Croatia. But just keep watching, and perhaps he'll get his comeuppance.
Some nicknames are good: Brazil's Givanildo Viera de Souza, for example, is called Hulk, due to his imposing physique and tendency to turn green when upset. Helbert Frederico, however, is simply known as Fred, which is a bit of a shame. So if you don't want to be known as Peabladder, don't say you need to go to the loo in the middle of the match.
4. The Offside Rule
The perfect chance to explain the offside rule to your child? ...or not, as you spend the entire 90 minutes trying to demonstrate it using Spider-Man figures, whilst he looks on in utter confusion.
5. Life's not fair
England's first match against Italy kicks off at 11pm. Sorry, it's way past your bedtime, and you can't stay up. Sorry...sometimes, life isn't fair.
6. Know who's boss
For those of us who don't have a thousand digital channels, the World Cup is an opportunity to watch football on TV more than once a day, every day, for a few weeks. And so I don't care if In The Night Garden is on, son, Daddy's in charge, and we're watching Mexico v Cameroon.
7. Good things come to those who wait (maybe, one day)
Let's face it, England probably won't win. There are people today who have never seen the Three Lions so much as get a sniff of a major trophy, and who never will. Being an England fan is a stark lesson in the art of patience.
See that, son? That's a centre CIRCLE. And those three players are passing the ball to each other in the shape of a TRIANGLE. And the ball is a SPHERE, and it gets kicked into the RECTANGULAR goal. We should watch football all the time, it's educational! What do you mean, you don't want to?
9. How to have a thick skin
Occasionally, in moments of weakness, I feel sorry for the referee. One poor decision against England and suddenly he's hated by 30,000 angry fans in the stadium and millions more outside. Give the man a break, he's only human, just the lowest kind of human. But make sure your children recognise that the referee only cries in secret, not when he's in front of everyone. Having a thick skin is a priceless skill for anyone to have.
10. How to cope with disappointment
"Mummy, why is Daddy crying?"
"England lost in the final."
"But that was two days ago."
"...I know, Peabladder...I know."
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