This Summer, everyone will be talking about one of two things – either the World Cup, or Love Island.
Football has long been associated with masculinity. Men are beer-chugging, name-chanting football fans. That’s just how the world works.
But spare a thought for those men who don’t like football, who don’t find the prospect of watching men run around a field that interesting.
Normally they can get away with their lack of enthusiasm. They can avoid bustling pubs on a match-day, they can steer conversations towards something else. During the World Cup, however, football seems to be inescapable.
With that in mind, I decided to produce this little guide full of pointers so if you find yourself having to discuss the only thing that some men (myself included) will be talking about then you’ll be able to bullshit your way through…
VAR, or Video Assistant Referee, is always a good talking point. Basically, football is a little behind the times and has only just started to introduce video technology to help referees make correct decisions.
It’s controversial because, well, it doesn’t always work. Add to that the concerns that it might slow down the flow of the game, and it’s safe to say some football fans don’t want it.
They’ll be using it in the World Cup for the first time so it’s bound to come up in conversation at some point.
“Personally I think VAR could work well, as long as they use it efficiently and not for every minor decision.”
“I’m not sure about VAR to be honest. I can see the benefits but until the technology improves it’s going to make things worse.”
This is an obvious one. Every four years England fans convince themselves that they’re going to win. And then they don’t.
Now, however, it seems more of us are resigned to our fate as losers and approach the World Cup a little more tentatively. Even the players don’t seem too convinced about our chances.
You can basically take two sides to this – either you’re blindly optimistic, or crushingly realistic. Your choice.
“I’ve given up on England. I don’t think we have a chance. I reckon we’ll get out of our group and then it’s anyone’s guess.”
“I know we say this every time but we have a great group of young lads with something to prove. I think there could be a bit of an upset on the cards.”
Finally, you can’t talk to a football fan about the World Cup without them asking who you think is going to win. For a non-football fan that’s a real “deer-in-the-headlights” moment.
To be fair, there’s no runaway favourite this year but there’s always a few main contenders that you can band around.
Brazil are looking impressive with a great attacking squad, France have youth and pace on their side, Germany are as ruthlessly efficient as ever, and Spain have the experience.
Just choose one of these and stick with it, until they crash out of the competition and then you maintain you never said it in the first place.
“I’d say it’s quite close but I think France will edge it with their pace and youth in attack.”
“Spain have it in the bag. They might be older but they’re experienced and know how to win.”
So there we have it. A handy little guide for those of you who don’t like football but want to survive the next month or so.