Generally, Americans don’t seem to care what or where or when the World Cup is. We’ve got our own sports that we like to pay attention to, and we’re content to let the rest of the world go crazy about what we call soccer and what everyone else calls football.
|Randall Munroe (of xkcd)'s sports cheat sheet.|
The World Cup is like the soccer Olympics. Every four years, various soccer-savvy countries compete to find out which of them is the best at the sport. America has never won, which may explain why those of us in the states tend to pretend the world famous tournament doesn’t exist.
|The Jules Rimet Trophy, featuring|
Nike, the goddess of victory
(photo by Reindertot, via wikipedia)
Aside from the prestige of being known as the best country in the world at playing the game, the winners of the World Cup get to take home the trophy. The coveted item was, until 1970, the Jules Rimet Trophy. However, following some thefts (from a public exhibition in England where it was on display), recoveries (by a dog who was just minding its own business, trying to dig a hole), and unauthorized production of replicas in 1966, FIFA commissioned a new one. And when Brazil won the 1970 World Cup, they were allowed to retain the original trophy forever.
On this day in history in 1983, the Jules Rimet Trophy was stolen from the Brazilian Football Confederation. It was never recovered. The next year, the Confederation had a replica made to keep on display in a more high security case. It is thought that the beautiful golden cup, with its lapis lazuli base, was melted into gold bars and sold. But since it was merely gold plated sterling silver, this is probably not the case.
In 2014, Brazil will host the twentieth FIFA World Cup. It is fitting that they should have the honor of hosting this momentous World Cup anniversary, since they won five times and have not missed a single tournament since its founding.
Perhaps Nike, the goddess of victory, will reemerge for the occasion.