Thursday, May 29, 2014

Printable schedules for the FIFA World Cup 2014

32 teams in 8 groups playing 64 matches over a month in 12 cities means that having a schedule close at hand is one of the key requirements to follow the FIFA World Cup. Ever since my first World Cup in 2002, I've been rather old-fashioned about printing out the schedules in colour and filling in the individual match results by hand. It is a tradition that reminds me how to use a pen while being oddly satisfying at the same time.

For this year's matches, I've listed below the schedules I've shortlisted for printing. I like schedules that are super colourful, fun and most importantly have the required spaces to fill in the names of winning countries after the group stage.

  1. This one is fun and colourful: (it's the one at the end of the page)
  2. As of now, this one's my current favourite:
  3. And the last option:
I'm still looking out for better options - as of now nothing's really come up to the standards of schedules from previous years.

As most of my day is spent at the computer, an online schedule is equally essential. Currently this seems to be the one of the better online schedules out there:

What's the big deal anyway?

I'll keep this simple. I could wax eloquent about the history, emotions, loyalties, alliances, rules, gravity-defying goals and the space-exploration style technology behind the design of the ball of football - but I'd rather pin my fascination on one point. Nothing brings (almost) the entire world together into a single unified viewing experience as the FIFA World Cup does. In my mind, I picture scenes in homes across hundreds of nations where people gather to watch beautiful football games and place their hopes and dreams in the hands of a few. I cannot imagine any other occasion when there are such numbers involved in a single activity. Each nation has their own special moments - the elections, the cricket world cup, the baseball world series, even the Olympics - but in comparison to the Football World Cup these still seem targeted towards specific segments of viewers.

The Football World Cup has a special place of honour in almost every country around the world - this year even in the US where the global game is considered a secondary sport to other national sporting pursuits. When I watch the Football World Cup, I understand what it would be like to be united as one species globally along with 500 million viewers (FIFA numbers for the previous cup final). It is the moment when I feel one with the rest of the globe in a way no amount of war, global warming concerns or political drama can ever achieve.