It’s that time of year again (well that time of year that comes every four years) when everyone and their grandmother starts talking about the World Cup. For 6 beautiful weeks, the beautiful game is blasted at us from all angles and the world rejoices. Everyone will discuss their hot tips and their choices of who will win the competition. People that never give football a second thought will sit in front of the TV and question whether Algeria really needs that extra holding midfielder.

Lifetime memories are created during the World Cup for both participants and viewers. Ray Houghton’s goal in USA ’94 is one of my 7 remaining memories. I stayed up to watch every match of that World Cup and vowed to stay up until the early hours again for when it returned in France ’98. I wasn’t the brightest child.

Of course, only a select few can actually show the competition- but that doesn’t stop ESPN and Sky Sports proclaiming, “THE WORLD CUP IS HERE!” In reality, however, they have no footage and instead, Shaka Hislop and Jamie Redknapp will display their casual-formal wear and struggle to pronounce any of the non-English players’ names. Jamie will reliably inform us that, “The boy Chavez from Honduras has great prospects”, just because he can’t tell us who he plays for now. Anyone with a Panini sticker album is usually more versed than the World Cup commentators and more popular too.

England understandably, but annoyingly, are always the focal point in the build up to any major finals. They currently have a fullback problem because John Terry decided to try and give Wayne Bridge’s girlfriend some back problems. If it had been Colleen Rooney that he went after then England would have no chance whatsoever. However, if I have to hear one more person argue over who Rooney is more suited to play with, I will get his clone from the Lucozade ad and force him to play with himself! (There was no sexual meaning there but I bet Wazza would shag himself if given the chance).

The Irish are going to have the busiest time for a team not involved. We’ll have to divide our interest between the ever-hated English and the newly-hated French. We all know it was a handball and we all would’ve done the exact same as Thierry Henry. In fact, I would have not only grabbed the ball and thrown it in, I would have stabbed Paul McShane to try and get away with that too.

The build up always brings up the usual conversations of who will take the top prize. No-one ever predicts who will come third though and this is actually a more difficult art. Spain is the new safe bet, after decades of being the footballing equivalent of Jedward: popular but never really going to win any real competitions.

Germany by contrast are U2: no-one wants them to win but the bastards are always there at the end. For maybe the first time in history, Brazil isn’t the automatic favourite which could help to see them winning their sixth World Trophy (because it is not a physical cup).

One thing is for damn sure though, as the world comes together to watch the best of the best compete for the ultimate prize, we will all ask ourselves, “Who decided to put Maradonna in charge of a football team?” This is a man who has had gun, drug and responsibility problems throughout his entire life. Expect anything from Argentina. And I mean anything. Either Lionel Messi will set the world alight, or Maradonna will set Messi alight for improper hair temperament.

This World Trophy could be very interesting…