A Different Kind of World Cup

Germany may have been booted out early, suffering another unceremonious exit in the World Cup, but in Cebu, at least in the Winzier World Cup competition Germany came out on top, hours before Argentina and Lionel Messi sealed a date with destiny in the real World Cup.

THE GERMANY TEAM THAT WON. Members of Sheba FC, representing Germany in the Winzir World Cup at Dynamic Herb, pose with the trophy after winning the women’s division. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

Winzir and Dynamic Herb hosted a unique competition, one that I hope would be repeated in next year’s Women’s World Cup or in the next European Championships. Local teams picked their World Cup teams and represented them in a football festival. It’s something that I’ve always hope would happen in Cebu back in 2006, when I watched the first game of the World Cup with then Cebu Football Association president Jonathan Maximo. It’s a nice way to promote football in Cebu.

In the Winzir World Cup, the Netherlands beat England for the men’s title, and Germany beat Qatar for the women’s crown. Germany, in this case, is Sheba FC, which ended its 2022 campaign with a fitting crown. Skippered by Jelena Loren Soon, who was one of the PH representatives in Milo’s Road to Barcelona a few years back,

Cebu’s Germany team did what the 2014 champions couldn’t in Qatar, end its campaign with a smile. The other members of the team

are Celina Beatrice Salazar, Mish Tzishe Castanares, Trizza Mae Musni, May Ann Sollano, Jodi Marie banzon, rizamae Ugbaniel, Caetlean delos Santos, Leia Karina Cepeda, and Krystel Mae Longakit. The head coach is Sheba Castanares and the manager is John Zantino Soon.

I hope we could see more competitions like this, and not just in football. I hope basketball stakeholders can organize one for next year’s Fiba World Cup, which we will host.

It’s a nice way to localize a global event.

The event was capped with a live viewing of the final and seeing pictures of the throngs of fans who went there reminded me of the 2002 final, when it seems that all football fans in Cebu was at The Village to watch Germany vs. Brazil.

It was boisterous and fun and one side’s chant of “Deutschland!” was answered by a resounding “Brazil!” from the fans of Ronaldo, the one with the weird hairdo, not CR7.

Watching the World Cup with fellow fans is always a fun experience, that was why whenever I had a chance, I watched the games in a sports bar. I was with Japanese fans when the Blue Samurai shocked Germany. A night later, I saw South Koreans celebrate that 0-0 draw with Uruguay.

As for the final between France and Argentina, I’m still in such a high that I’ve spent the past day reading all about it instead of writing about what some consider is the greatest game of all time.

I got to watch the games thanks to TapGo TV and I think Pinoy fans are lucky it decided to take a risk by buying the broadcast rights for the Philippines. It was also through TapGo that I got to catch the AFF Championship last year, although I never got to see the end of that tournament because Odette crashed the party.

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