Hello friends, football fans, and football dilettantes. Hello critics of corruption, “favela-clearing”, overspending on ostentatious global sporting events, immoderate displays of aggressive, national, and masculine identities, and the exploitation and abuse of the poor. However you feel about the World Cup, there is no denying its enormity, and its ability to enchant and attract people to TV sets at occasionally odd hours in various time zones across the world. The peak viewership during the 2010 World Cup was an estimated one billion people. Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, two countries from the former Yugoslavia, will compete in Brazil this year. The real interesting question for many of us watching teams from the Balkans compete in the World Cup is whether or not people from across the former Yugoslavia will be watching and cheering each other on, as they were pulling each other from the rooftops of flooded cities just last month — in the shameful absence of adequate state assistance.
Croatia vs Mexico
Final: Croatia 1, Mexico 3. Congrats to Mexico, congrats to everyone who cheered each other on, congrats to those of you who provided us all with such great entertainment and athleticism. From our friend Samir Beharic (@sambeharic) to you:@sambeharic:
Halftime: Someone is serious:
2300: So the two most exciting things about the first half: Mexican wrestling masks and Croatia’s coach. Right?
2200: To paraphrase the words of our friend Dario Cepo, “We’re about to find out who’s stronger: Our Lady of Medjugorje or Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe.”
Bosnia and Herzegovina vs Nigeria
Final: Nigeria 1, Bosnia 0.
Support from Rodrigo Nunez and his friends in the Bosnian community in Houston, Texas:
Cursed with bad referees. Nigeria 1, Bosnia 0.
1300 CET: We are back from our brief, disorienting trip to California, and plan to live blog tonight’s game, haggard and jet-lagged, from Odessa, Ukraine. We promise we aren’t trying to confuse you, but we have switched to CET time for our Balkan audience’s convenience. As usual, we’re asking our readers from the region and around the world to send us their World Cup watching pictures. We received quite a few last time, and will do our best to post the ones we didn’t get around to last time. You’re beautiful, and we’re thankful that the internet and football exist and allow us to watch all these games in live time together.
Read a bit about what’s going on in Nigeria, and understand how much this World Cup means for both countries.
Tonight’s game between BiH and Nigeria starts at midnight (CET). Check back for more World Cup coverage.
Friends from Rome, Italy cheering for Bosnia:
Bosnia and Herzegovina vs Argentina
Final: Argentina 2, Bosnia 1.
1655 PST: Argentina wins, but Bosnia looked pretty good. Bosnia didn’t make it easy for Argentina. And Vedad Ibisevic makes World Cup history by scoring the first ever goal for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
1645 PST: Bosnia scores! Bosnia – 1, Argentina – 2. They’re looking a bit more confident out there.
The Bosnians, though losing, are really good. Really good. #WorldCup
— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) June 15, 2014
1550: Important halftime facts. Bosnia’s Asmir Begović was named the most attractive player in the World Cup by Elle Magazine (USA). Examine the evidence:
1515 PST: From Rodrigo Nunez in Houston, Texas:
1503: Own goal. Argentina – 1, Bosnia – 0.
1500: Welcome to Bosnia and Herzegovina vs Argentina. This is Brcko, Bosnia and Herzegovina, right now:
Bosnia’s presence at the World Cup:
Not often one for emotional tweeting, but this is a huge deal and I am so proud. Idemo Zmajevi! #BIH
— Milana Knežević (@milanaknez) June 15, 2014
I’m going to enter my emotional meltdown zone now, everyone. Smoke ’em if you’ve got ’em, pray how you need to. #HajmoBosno
— Jasmin Mujanović (@JasminMuj) June 15, 2014
— SarajevoTimes (@SarajevoTimes) June 15, 2014
One of the biggest wins to take place during a World Cup was at the 1974 tournament in West Germany, when Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) was beaten 9-0 by Yugoslavia. The scoreboard was not big enough to display the names of all the goal scorers.
Croatia – Brazil
1455 PST: Final: Croatia – 1, Brazil – 3.
1450 PST: Roma players in the World Cup:
— Lazãr VanParijsiãnho (@LazarVP) June 12, 2014
1438 PST: “From New York’s only gay sports bar”
1433 PST: Cardiff, Wales for Croatia:
1430 PST: Penalty for Croatia, followed by a goal for Brazil. Croatia – 1, Brazil – 2
1412 PST: At least nine people have been killed doing construction work on FIFA stadiums in preparation of this year’s World Cup. The most recent worker was killed just three days ago, when a beam fell at the construction site of monorail line 17 in Sao Paulo. Two others were badly injured.
While spectators enjoy the games, protests continue outside. One group of protesters called the Homeless Workers Movement managed to win a small victory. Read an article about it in the LA Times by my former classmate Vincent Bevins.
1400 PST: Croatian Californians dressed for the game:
— Bosnians (@thebosnians) June 12, 2014
13:40 PST: Viewing party at KC Grad in Belgrade, Serbia for the Croatian match. Photos from Juan Pablo Delgado Berman.
13:31 PST: Brazil scores, match tied. Croatia 1, Brazil 1. Fireworks outside the stadium.
The sight of this must be pretty ‘nevjerovatno’ for Croatians. Leading Brazil in the World Cup opener in Sao Paolo! pic.twitter.com/wE09RDfEj4
— Rusty Woodger (@rustywoodger) June 12, 2014
1325 PST: Yugoslavia drew Brazil in the 1974 World Cup in West Germany.
1315 PST: Brazil’s first goal in this World Cup was an own goal. Ouch. Croatia 1 – Brazil – 0.