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FIFA World Cup 2014: Of rags and of riches!

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This edition of the FIFA World Cup is a classic case of extremes. The pendulum has been swinging between qualities poles apart, a case in example being the glamourous and star-studded opening ceremony and the financial condition of Brazil. While there have been redefining moments of play on field, which include stunning goals and stupendous saves, there have been rather unbelieveable instances of players taking their pound of flesh with a lethal bite. While there have been unexpected countries dishing out stellar performances, there have been biggies like England and Spain, who bowed out in ungraceful exits.

Yes, this World Cup is a cup of upsets and extremes. It’s a cup of both the pauper and the prince; of rags and of riches. While there are players from countries that get business-class travel and 5-star accommodation, with the latest gadgets and finger-licking delicacies at their beck and call, there are some countries that think about their next pay cheque before they take field. Before you jump to conclusions and start doubting their intentions, take a look at the bigger picture. The Ghana team’s plight has opened a can of worms.

The players and members of staff are yet to be paid their dues, and the management has requested FIFA to pay in advance, the $8 million that the team is guaranteed to get, because it has survived to get to the knockout round. FIFA is considering the request made by the Ghana team, to clear the dues of the players who are sweating it out on the field to bring pride to the nation. The situation is so bad, that the players might go on strike, if the payments are not paid soon.

Now consider this: Jonas Eriksson is a referee in the ongoing World Cup. However, he’s a millionaire, who might as well put his feet up in the comfort of his home and catch the action on a high-end TV. But then, he chooses to be on field and run along with the players, sweat it out and earn a living. Eriksson, who’s been in this business for a good two decades now, doesn’t really have to toil this hard; there’s enough money sitting in his bank accounts to see him through the rest of his life. But then, he still does.

So, on one hand, you have a cash-strapped nation participating in the tourney, and on the other, a millionaire referee officiating. What serves as the binding thread however, is their love for soccer — one country continues taking the field despite lack of money, the other takes the field despite abundance of it. A case of extremes it is, but it also brings out people’s love for soccer, with money, or without it.

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