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Back of the net! The guide to watching the World Cup

Brasil 2014! Pic © FIFA. Words could not possibly express how excited we are about the start of the 2014 World Cup next week. Well, a few possibly could: they are ‘squeee’, ‘beer’ and ‘phone in sick’.

Even better than the World Cup itself – if such a thing were so – is watching the World Cup in the pub. Or indeed, any football, but the World Cup is something special. Did we already say ‘squeee’ and ‘phone in sick’?

We hope that the entire country joins us in our shenanigans, picking the underdog team always, organising a sweepstake at work and becoming knowledgeable about injuries of metatarsal.

Yet alas, some ‘World Cup drinkers’ can be inexperienced. This is because they only go to pubs on ‘special occasions’, much like inexperienced Christmas office party pub goers who start screeching after one glass of wine, singing after two, declaring their love for a colleague after three and are found crying in the toilets after four. Luckily, we have a few ‘watching football in the UK’ tips to enable you to hit the back of the net in style for Brasil 2014:

  • Pick a team and stick to it, expressing your support loudly with every goal, saved attempt at a goal and, towards the end of the match and several pints in, noisily applauding every move.
  • Likewise, be sure to loftily disparage any effort made by the opposing team, particularly by use of a potty mouth. Handy themes to consider here include slurs on a player’s looks, tabloid history or loudly proclaiming your granny could have put that in the back of the net (while blindfolded).
  • Special rules apply when one’s team scores: acceptable ways of showing your pleasure include pulling one’s top over one’s head and running around the bar, starting a ‘chant’ (chants should continue for at least five minutes) or doing what is known as ‘getting in the face of’ the opposing supporters and shouting ‘Who’s the daddy now then’. Conversely, if the opposing team scores, one should remain expressionless/affect an attitude of not caring, particularly when the opposing supporters use methods as detailed above.
  • Football-loving ladies can have spectacular fun playing on the stereotype of not being football fans by arming themselves with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the teams, players and previous tournaments. A casual ‘I knew England would underestimate Andrea Pirlo to their peril’ or ‘That reminds me of Nelinho’s curling shot past Dino Zoff in the third place play-off in Argentina 1978’ can produce a satisfying jaw drop from a certain type of experienced football fan, although care must be taken that he does not then become amorous (unless of course this is your intention. If so, carry on).

Enthusiastic celebration by Maradona Be fully aware of football clichés and sprinkle them liberally through your conversation (this is also known as being an ‘armchair manager)’. Examples include ‘It’s a funny old game’; ‘Football is a game of two halves’; ‘He just walked that one in,’ and mentioning David Beckham any time any player is preparing a free kick. (Bonus ‘football commentator’ points for mentioning 1966 at the start of any match, especially if England isn’t playing.)

It is Not Done to buy, listen to, sing or dance to whichever godawful tune the England squad/World Cup officials have come up with this time round. Even if drunk. The only acceptable melody, ever, for any World Cup is Nessun Dorma , from the glorious Italia 90, aka ‘The World Cup of Which They Should Make a Film’.

  • Food is not taken during football matches in pubs, apart from crisps, peanuts and pork scratchings. If one is in a pub that is still serving food when the match is on, one must go hungry rather than order a meal, as one will look and feel like a prat sitting down to a full plate while surrounded by a hundred or so standing shouting football fans. A ‘kebab’ is the traditional British method of assailing hunger after the pub closes.
  • If/once one’s team is ‘knocked out’ of the tournament, it is not considered sporting to then assume an attitude of indifference for the entire competition. This will make one look petty. One must ‘adopt’ another team to cheer on, and then another if necessary, all the way up to the final. Some fans choose to throw their support behind the team that knocked their own team out, labouring under a strange sense of fair play, but we consider this unnecessarily masochistic. (It is perfectly acceptable to stalk said team until they lose their last match, then celebrate their demise with great glee/pints.)

Where to watch

As our summer holidays blog pointed out, most holiday parks and campsites with a TV room or bar should be showing the action, as well as a festival or two ( Isle of Wight Festival , go to the top of the table. We’re still holding our thumbs that we can watch one of the quarter-finals after Iron Maiden at Sonisphere ).

Lodge at Camping Les Chouans Sites with kids’ clubs are likely to incorporate a World Cup themed event or two for mini footballers; if not, bring your own ball and introduce the youngsters to the quaint custom of ‘jumpers for goalposts’ ( takes no responsibility for shots that may or may not have hit the bar).

A couple of champion sites to get the ball rolling:

Perran Sands Holiday Park , Cornwall is showing all World Cup matches and will be laying on free football coaching for kids from trained instructors during the tournament. An electric pitch for a week starts from £168 in June.

Camping Les Chouans in Vendée is not only showing matches on its big screen, but has a World Cup special with 25% off lodges from 12 June – 5 July, starting from £33.98 for four people. Applause.

See also:

Family-friendly campsites and holiday parks

Sites with a TV room

Sites with a bar/clubhouse

Sites with a kids’ club

Pub campsites – guide and list

Less than a week to go! Predictions, if you have them, below. In the meantime, while away the last days by watching the 100 best World Cup moments , courtesy of the lovely Beeb.