Whatever your interest in the sport, so many people from totally different cultures and countries sharing a common interest - that is always special
Since as long as I can remember, it's been a part of my upbringing - from Argentina 1978 every 4 years to the present day, its provided some of the most memorable sporting moments I've witnessed. Each country has their own unique story to tell, and for England ever since that one iconic triumph at Wembley back in 1966, its largely been a tale of promise and hope along with plenty of heartbreak.
In line with the continuing theme of this blog, this year I want to look outside the pure sporting drama that will unfold and take a look ways in which we can make the most of this global coming together, and harness the true spirit of humanity and community at it's very best
Last night, I was priviledged to watch "Soccer Aid"
The brain child of UK pop superstar Robbie Williams, it features a charity match on behalf of UNICEF staged between England and the Rest of the World, with each team comprising of a number of celebrities, presenters, actors as well as a sprinkling of true footballing legends.
This year's match marked the 3rd running of the event, (previous versions in 2006 and 2008) and featured international greats like Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo and Ryan Giggs as well as homegrown English legends such as Shearer, Sheringham and David Seaman.
The oh so predictable eventual result that England lost on penalties was let's face it utterly irrelevant - the value of the funds raised, to buy the likes of simple Malaria Nets - it's simply priceless
Please take a look at the website at
https://socceraid.unicef.org.uk/ and make a donation if you can.
No doubt during the tournament the British tabloid press in particular will be looking to ride the wave of popular support and then find any angle they can to rip into the England team the moment things start to go wrong. Over paid and priviledged players that underperform - it's a very easy line of attack.
I wonder how many people out there are aware of the http://www.teamenglandfootballerscharity.com/ - I strongly suggest you take a look.
Bobby Moore the captain of that victorious 1966 team embodies the very essence of bravery and skill, and having tragically lost his life to cancer, it's truly inspiring to read about the foundation that lives on in his memory.
One final site I'd encourage you to take a look at is http://www.homelessworldcup.org/. This extraordinary annual gathering has been running since 2003, and the next one will be in Rio De Janeiro in September 2010 where 64 nations will be taking part.
As described on the website it "is an annual, international football tournament, uniting teams of people who are homeless and excluded to take a once in a lifetime opportunity to represent their country and change their lives forever. It has triggered and supports grass roots football projects in over 70 nations working with over 30,000 homeless and excluded people throughout the year.
The impact is consistently significant year on year with 73% of players changing their lives for the better by coming off drugs and alcohol, moving into jobs, education, homes, training, reuniting with families and even going on to become players and coaches for pro or semi-pro football teams.
You can also link up with the Homeless World Cup with social networking sites on Facebook, Myspace, Bebo, and Youtube, so please take a look and show your support.
Whichever nation finally gets to lift that golden globe on July 11th, we can all be winners if we get involved and give what we can.
Thanks for reading!