BY KUNLE SOLAJA.
It’s Coming Home’ is beginning to gain ground again. That was the theme song released in 1996 by English band The Lightning Seeds to mark the England football team’s hosting of that year’s European Championships.
It was the first major tournament being hosted after the historic 1966 World Cup. England lost in the semi finals to Germany in a penalty shootout. Gareth Southgate, the current England coach, missed his kick, leading to a newspaper headline: “England are out through Southgate”.
Southgate appears on a redemption mission. On his waste coat which has now become iconic at Russia is written: “It’s Coming Home”, a bold prediction, and possibly, determination to see England win the World Cup.
Sometimes, the World Cup offers more than just the game on the pitches. Occasionally, other games come up. Games of predictions also come up as the famed Octopus Paul of South Africa 2010 and the failed successors at Russia 2018.
Followers of the World Cup also engage in ‘Games of Numbers’. Consider for instance, Russia 2018 is the 21st edition of the World Cup and the 21st match of this edition was played on the 21st day of June when Denmark played 1-1 with Australia.
At the weekend, the numerals became more striking with the preponderance of figures six and seven when the quarter final matches were played on the sixth day of the seventh month – a sort of six and seven. The four quarter finals clashes are therefore a sort of 6 versus 7.
Half of the eight quarter finalists have six letters while the other four have seven letters. On sixth of July, France with six letters took on seven-lettered Uruguay. On the same day, Brazil which has six letters played against Belgium which has seven letters.
Honours were evenly shared between the six-lettered and seven lettered teams. France beat Uruguay and Belgium eliminated Brazil.
Those encounters were followed the next day with that of six-lettered Sweden losing to seven-lettered England while six lettered Russia lost seven-lettered Croatia on a day when seven – seven reigned supreme (July 7).
The game of numbers is getting stronger. The social media is awash with predictions that the numerals favour England.
With all the quarter-finalists having six and seven digit names and with each pairing producing 13 consider the under listed:
- Uruguay vs. France = 13 Letters
- Brazil vs. Belgium = 13 Letters
- England vs. Sweden = 13 Letters
- Russia vs. Croatia = 13 Letters
- Those games were played on 6th and 7th of July, 6+7 = 13
- When all the above figures are added up, the result is 52.
- It’s been 52 years since England won the World Cup in 1966.
- When 52 is divided by four (the number of years between each edition of the FIFA World Cup), the result is 13.
- It has been 13 editions of the World Cup since England last won! One can then understand why “Football is Coming Home”.