The qualifying process for any given World Cup, traditionally, lasts two years. But if the past seven days have proven anything, it’s that for many people nothing matters but those crucial final games – assuming one’s nation remains in with a shout of course.
The shift in tone across England heading into the crucial games against Montenegro and Poland serves as a good example, especially against the backdrop of the qualifiers preceding it – or to be specific, the apparent apathy towards them from players and fans alike.
But if you want someone to really hammer home just how big that exact moment a team’s spot at Brazil 2014 is, you call upon the commentators.
Winning the latest Niall Quinn Award For Complete And Utter Failure To Hide Their Allegiance is the Mexican commentator covering Panama’s home tie against USA.
With Mexico losing 2-1 in Costa Rica and Panama on the verge of an impressive 2-1 win over the Americans, stoppage-time goals from Graham Zusi and Aron Johannsson gave the Mexicans the play-off spot.
— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) October 16, 2013
Heartbreak for Panama, but the commentator couldn’t care less.
His sentiments were unsurprisingly echoed by the Mexican newspapers the next morning, too (from @kaustin01):
Giving Mr. Mexico a run for his money were commentators for Bosnia, who secured a maiden World Cup place with a 1-0 win in Lithuania; Romania, who like Mexico kept their dreams alive via the play-offs by beating Estonia; and even a pundit covering World Cup holders Spain, despite their progress to defending their title in Brazil being somewhat of a formality even before their 2-0 win over Georgia clinched it.
See? Commentators get excited even in countries where success runs the risk of getting growing downright tedious…