Hoje publico a opinião de Gintautas Reklys, adepto lituano de futebol.
Em vez do formato habitual de perguntas e respostas, o Gintautas optou pelo texto corrido.
Sabemos que a Lituânia não está presente no Mundial, mas nem por isso a opinião de um lituano passa a ser menos importante. É, aliás, relevante ficar a conhecer qual a perceção dos cidadãos de países que não estão na competição.
Only a few days left: reflections from Lithuania
The most popular game in the world, football, and the upcoming World Cup attracts and somehow touches or involves mostly everyone –watching games in the tribunes among fans, crowded bars or at least following online. However, in Lithuania, the country that claims to be the country of basketball, football is important as well, but only takes the second position in most of the people minds.
Even though the history of both, basketball and football, in Lithuania starts mostly at the same time – early 20’s, basketball national teams and clubs achieved much higher results. Lithuania managed to win the European Basketball Championship three times (1937, 1939 and 2003) as well as achieved many other victories in other leagues and championships. The Lithuanian football team was never qualified for European or World championships, probably most interesting games played by Lithuanian national team were friendly matches with Brazil in 1996 (3:1) when Ronaldo scored 3 goals and with Argentina in 1999 (0:0).
Edgaras Jankauskas, one of the best all times Lithuanian player, whilst with Porto made history as the first Lithuanian footballer to win the UEFA Champions League in 2004, is currently training FC “Trakai” back in Lithuania. “This is our level. If 2000 watchers is a lot, it’s a pleasure that they comes to our matches. It is said for hundreds of times, that Lithuanians prefers basketball. And our mission is to improve and to attract people to come to stadiums” – said E. Jankauskas.
The European Basketball Championship was held in Lithuania in 2011 for the second time (first time was in 1939), there were 90 matches played in 6 basketball arenas. Unfortunately, organizing international football matches in Lithuania causes much more headache, since there is no stadium in the whole country that fits UEFA criteria. The group match between Spain and Lithuania in 2011 was nearly cancelled due to the condition of the stadium in Kaunas, the second city of Lithuania. Media described it as “playing football in the field of potatoes”.
Despite that basketball attracts the biggest attention, the World Cup 2014 is also an important event for Lithuanians. Even a few weeks before the championship most of the bars started reservations, betting and discussing possible results is becoming a usual thing during mostly every dinner, a special fan area in the center of the capital Vilnius was established. Huge screens broadcasting all matches will attract thousands of fans. “We would like to bring to Lithuania at least some of the atmosphere of the championship, even if our team is not playing there. Football, unlike basketball, has a different audience – they are watching all matches of the championship, not only the games when Lithuania is playing” – said Linas Zareckas-Choras, founder of the fan zone.
According to online polls, favorite teams of the World Cup 2014 for Lithuanians are Brazil, Germany and Spain, and the players – Lionel Messi, Neymar, Christiano Ronaldo. However, in football nothing is clear until the final whistle. I believe, this Cup will bring lots of surprises and intrigues. There are many predictions made already, it will be really interesting to watch if it will become truth. At least one thing is clear – there will be plenty of nice moments, even if your country is not taking part in it.