MUMBAI, MAY 16,
Defending champion Germany will not face the same pressure to win the 2018 football World Cup that South American nations will, according to Baichung Bhutia in a discussion about football’s biggest event, set to start in Russia next month.
One of the experts on the Sony Pictures Networks India panel for the event telecast, Bhutia said, “There is so much passion (for football) in South America. You know from history about Colombia, and the infamous Andres Escobar incident, that it is a very dangerous situation. Brazil and Argentina share a similar feeling. Whereas in Europe, people may be as passionate, but tend to understand defeat as well.”
Bhutia also hoped Argentina would succeed this time for the sake of Lionel Messi. “Russia 2018 may be his last World Cup and he deserves to go after winning a big title for his nation.”
Asked about the possibility of players like Mohammad Salah, in peak form for Liverpool, extending their performances to the World Cup, Bhutia felt the World Cup was a different ball game.
“Salah will be bear huge responsibility and expectations. It is unfair to compare Liverpool in club competitions and Egypt in the World Cup.
“The support system around him at Liverpool is different from playing for the national side. He might not get that kind of support. Salah will have to be really good to reproduce the kind of performance.
“Italy and Chile not playing is a strange feeling. Once the World Cup starts, we will find new teams which actually surprise bigger nations, the excitement won’t get affected by the absence of some teams. The game is bigger than everything else,” he added.
Bhutia was present for the launch by SPN of a build-up campaign in four languages, named ‘Meri Doosri Country’ featuring three films about Indian fans rooting for a World Cup team.
The first one is about a student from Pune in Goa rooting for Portugal, a Kerala couple supporting Brazil and a father-son duo in Bengal cheering for Argentina in continuation of a family tradition. The FIFA tournament will be telecast live on Sony channels.
MUMBAI, MAY 16,