“You have to show up in the World Cup, and in the World Cup anything can happen.” Lionel Messi
With the 2018 FIFA World Cup starting on 14 June 2018, we’re reminded that Football/Soccer is one of the world’s great unifiers. Case in point: check out these world cup memories from international parents who grew up all over the world yet were brought together to watch the game and cheer on their teams! Here’s hoping you can make some magical memories of your own with your kiddos this football season, mama!
Click through the gallery for football watching memories from our readers from all over the world! And check out the full match schedule here.
Side note: Don’t plan a wedding during World Cup! Check out this video of an Argentine couple arguing over attending a wedding in the middle of the World Cup!
I grew up with two Argentine parents, but without ever living in Argentina myself, there are only a few tell-tale signs of my original roots – my love for dulce de leche, a good steak, and the World Cup! My dad and brother were completely obsessed and it was truly contagious. Football is such a source of pride and identity for Argentines and it doesn’t hurt that we have the best player in the world on our team. Ha! Seeing fans from all over the world wearing Argentina team shirts makes me really proud and I know that Argentina is an adopted favorite of many who love the sport and don’t have their own team in the game. So if you’re looking for a team to root for, join us! Argentina doesn’t get on the world stage very often and with Messi leading the way, we may stand a chance!
I grew up with my dad being a soccer player my whole life, so I eventually shared the same passion for the sport. I was really young when I first watched the World Cup in 2010! My dad and I both supported Brazil, and having little knowledge about soccer at that point of time, I just watched intently as my dad screamed whenever they scored a goal or shouted at the screen when the referee gave what he thought was a wrongful penalty. One of my fondest World Cup memories is of the period where the local chips brand, Twisties, were selling bags of chips containing little soccer jersey keychains of all the teams that were involved in the World Cup. I used to buy a bag of Twisties every day after school and remembered feeling super bummed whenever I got two of the same ones! It was a big thing in my school because my friends and I all collected and exchanged them with each other.
Though Brazil’s last win was in 2002, we’re still rooting for them this year! Go go Neymar and squad!
Growing up with a German national football crazy father meant that the TV in my household was often showing football matches. Having said that, it was only really the Footfall World Cup that caught my interest and got my patriotic blood flowing. I can remember staying up to watch the matches, pinning my Deutschland scarf near my bed and the general excitement of the World Cup. It’s a nail-biting and often exhilarating time – the goals, the drama, the penalty shootouts. This time I will get to experience it with my football loving son which will make it even more special. Only thing is that I realised to my shock and horror, that my son has renounced his German heritage and is supporting France in favour of his favourite player, Antoine Griezmann. Nevertheless I am sure it will be fun especially as I think I have better odds with the reigning champions! Can’t wait. #dieMannschaft
As someone who was born in Ireland, to Hong Kong Chinese parents, has spent his formative years growing up in the UK, is married to a Chinese national and is now living in Singapore, my country affiliation for national football has been diluted. I’d usually support Ireland, the country I spent the first 8 years of my life in but they unfortunately rarely qualify for football’s biggest stage these days. And don’t get me started on China/HK. So that leaves me with England.
Why Ireland over England? While I very vaguely remember Mexico 1986, my first real World Cup experience was 4 years later at the Italian World Cup. Ireland and England were in the same group. We had moved to England by this point and, with my Irish roots still very fresh, I had to be different and back the team that everyone else was against. The game finished in a draw but it was Ireland over England for me and that has never wavered.
While I “support” England when Ireland aren’t involved, it is definitely with less vigour than my club side, Liverpool. I’m much more of a club football fan than national football fan. So I will also be rooting for teams with Liverpool representation…Brazil, Egypt, Senegal…and given what happened in the recent final of the Champions League, where Liverpool lost in part to the dirty tactics of the Spanish national captain, I would love to see them get knocked out.
Growing up in Belgium, football has always been a part of my life. It’s part of the culture. From a very young age most of us have witnessed our fathers, brothers or uncles screaming and shouting in front of the TV. I don’t play, don’t have a favourite team and I don’t particularly like watching it BUT I do love the World Cup. The World Cup is very special, it’s exhilarating!
Belgium is notorious for producing some amazing football players and always manages to make it into the tournament so I can’t help but become crazy patriotic during the World Cup. As an expat that feeling is so special. I have been abroad for most of the World Cups and I love finding myself in a bar at the oddest hours cheering for my country’s team along with complete strangers. There is nothing more exciting than to watch a good football match with great players. The ups and downs it’s emotional!
So yes I am very much looking forward to this year’s “Mundial”! Go Red Devils!!
Soccer was admittedly not a huge part of my life growing up; they made us play it in elementary school and I hated having to run around. In fact I had such unpleasant memories that when it came time to choose a fall sport in middle school, I immediately opted for field hockey instead. And the U.S. Men’s National Team didn’t even make it out of the first round of the World Cup when we hosted in 1994.
But the Women’s Team? That’s a different story! I was just the right age to be inspired by the likes of superstars like Mia Hamm and Julie Foudy when I was growing up — even though they played a different sport, they showed that female athletes could earn every bit the fame and respect as men. And I cheered right along with the rest of the country when the U.S. women defeated China in the first ever Women’s World Cup in 1999. When Brandi Chastain scored the game-winner in the OT shootout, then immediately ripped her shirt off (just like a men’s player!) in exultation, the whole world was wowed by her muscles and strength. Female athletes in the U.S. (and all over the world, really) owe a great deal to the standard of excellence that our Women’s Soccer team set.
Of the 5 possible nations that are represented in our genetic makeup, 3 qualified which is still pretty cool! Wales impressively reached the Semi-Finals at Euro 2016, and Iceland got to the quarter-finals so I have faith and excitement this World Cup will be a brilliant tournament! We will be watching some of the Scandinavian matches at the Danish church so there should be an awesome atmosphere!
I have lots of great happy memories of watching the World Cup growing up. Lots of friends crowding around the TV at school and persuading teachers to skip lessons to see England power through at the beginning only to be knocked out through some painful penalties!
I discovered and fell in love with the World Cup late in life and boy it is INSANELY FUN! Back in 2010 I was lucky enough to experience how fans watched and cheered the semifinals in Seoul, and then later the finals in Beijing. The day after Spain won (Go Iniesta!), we went to the Spanish Pavillion at the Beijing Expo– and the whole pavilion just burst with immense pride, exhilaration, and celebration. Witnessing how the World Cup brought together people from all nationalities, backgrounds and beliefs and seeing them celebrate goals over beers, was just incredible. And who can forget that amazing little savant, Paul the Octopus who predicted Spain will win? Fun times!
Lead image sourced via Oxygene Mag