People in Italy, the Netherlands, Chile and Ghana are watching the party in Russia from afar. For some, it is a painful experience.
Read the analysis from the four countries below;
Italians are not used to missing a World Cup. It is a surreal feeling and akin to living a daily nightmare, especially now the tournament is underway and providing so much entertainment and joy. Missing out, because of the crazy choices of Giampiero Ventura, the man who led Italy during the doomed qualifying campaign, hurts us all, the players included. Even now they talk about it. Even now it shocks and upsets them.
The World Cup is still a huge ratings success in Italy: the main stations talk about it 24 hours a day and go over every detail. The radio stations also cover the tournament continuously while the first pages of the newspapers feature the World Cup prominently. From the intriguing back stories to the great protagonists like Lionel Messi and Cristiam Ronaldo; the World Cup is the main topic of discussion in Italy.
Italian people love football and that will never change. We will never turn away from watching World Cup maches and even the less glamorous games at this tournament have set viewing records: there has never been a World Cup followed in Italy quite like this one.
Everyone is engrossed and the majority of football die-hards are supporting Argentina: the ties of lineage between Italy and South America remain strong. A sympathy of history. The rivalries with Germany and France are also rousing interest, while Croatia are popular among some here given many of their players are emplyed by Italian clubs.
A World Cup stops time: every four years you remember where you were when the matches were on, who you were with and what you were doing when your national team scored. I saw Italy win the World Cup in Germany and every match was an unforgettable moment. Losing the professional as well as human experience of seeing Italy at a World Cup hurts but, nevertheless, it remains a beautiful thing. Fabrizio Romano
For a second major tournament in a row we are not there, a second major tournament without orange-coloured squares, pubs, kindergartens, offices and viaducts. Are we used to it now? No. It still hurts and aches, especially when we see red fan zones in Flandres and Englishmen standing on tables in Newcastle, and while our pain has been somewhat eased by Germany’s early exist it was only a small consolation for the Dutch, especially as Germany isn’t as unpopular here as they were in 1988 when we finally beat them at their own place to win the European Championship.
We are not turning our head away from the World Cup, however. The matches in Russia are the best viewed television programmes in the country right now, though ratings have dropped compared to two years ago, during Euro 2016, and are nothing compared to Holland games at big tournaments.
Newspapers and websites remain filled with World Cup coverage thought not many sports journalists from Holland are actually to Russia and noticeable are the large number of programmes, online and TV, about Dutch Moroccans because of the five players in Morocco’s squad that were born and raised in Holland.
This is the first major tournament I have missed since Euro 2004 and it’s a strange experience not being in the stadiums and the training camps, smelling the atmosphere and seeing all the great colours that are worn with pride. But, like my compatriots, I’m still watching the World Cup; I love the games even though I do miss the party. Bart Vlietstra
When Chile were at the World Cups in South Africa and Brazil most of the national TV networks, radio stations and newspapers sent journalists to cover them – for this tournament, only two or three guys have been sent out while most networks are using correspondents based in Europe.
Everybody has a TV and everyone is watching the games but the passion is not the same without Chile. Saying that, there is passion against two ‘enemies’: Saudi Arabia and Argentina. Juan Antonio Pizzi, the Saudi manager, was the coach of Chile during the qualification campaign and many people here solely blame him for the country’s failure to reach Russia. Argentina, on the other hand, has been a rival since the two Copa America Cup finals and they have songs about Chile not going to the World Cup, so Chileans really want them out of the tournament.
My work consists of watching games and try to find a connection between them and Chile. So for instance, after México beat Germany 1-0, we remembered the 7-0 win Chile had against them in Centenario America Cup two years ago and how they went from that humiliation to this historic feat to beating the world champions.
It hurts to be watching a World Cup without Chile, especially considering this would have been a last chance for Gary Medel, Arturo Vidal and other members of the Golden Generation to perform on the biggest stage. The hurt is felt more in light of Germany’s elimination and the other big teams struggling – this could have been our World cup. Next time, maybe. Samuel Ferreiro
Years before Ghana made it to the World Cup for a first time, in 2006, the tournament dominated media coverage in the country. Ghana loves football and we make a big deal about the World Cup whether we’re there or not. It’s been the same this time around.
The Multimedia Group, Ghana’s biggest media conglomerate, acquired radio broadcast rights for the tournament - the first time it’s been done on such a scale in the country. Commentary for all 64 games is offered to listeners in English and Akan, the most widely spoken dialect here. Full online and social media coverage has become standard for many press houses, and TV coverage is at its busiest.
Ghanaian football fans have always had differing opinions, but the African agenda remains common when the World Cup is on. Support for the five teams from the continent in Russia has been high (making it a shame none of them have managed to qualify for the last 16) while it is not uncommon for many people to support a second teams, notably Brazil, Germany or Argentina. There is also a smattering of support for England here.
On a personal and professional level, the tournament has been a busy time. I am on live commentary duty almost every other day and my heavy presence on social media means I do not take a break, either. Gary Al-Smith
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