The politics of the World Cup and anything FIFA’s filthy money-grubbing hands touch always trouble me. And yet, I can’t help but get wildly excited every time the World Cup rolls around.

I get excited for the EUROs too. But the World Cup is bigger and even more thrilling. The best for me was certainly 2006. I colelcted the entire Panini sticker book, saw Brazil play Croatia in Olympiastadion Berlin, watched and blogged every single game (if I recall correctly), and then watched the final – when Italy beat France – in Circo Massimo in Rome, and partied well into the night with other jubilant Italian supporters.

Yes, you can damn well bet I was, and am, a fan of Italy.

They didn’t make it this year, and neither did the Netherlands (or Canada, for that matter), so I don’t have a particular horse in this year’s race, but I’m still eagerly awaiting kick-off of the opening game.

Not that Russia vs Iran is exactly a marquee matchup, but it indicates that for the next month, football fever reigns supreme!