Ask me who will win World Cup? Don't bet on it

Ask me who will win World Cup? Don't bet on it

You may already know this, but I think it's worth repeating anyway: The apocalypse is coming.

In 11 days' time, to be exact.

On June 12, the World Cup will kick off in Brazil and zombies will roam large parts of the planet, in Singapore and other countries in football-crazy, sleep-deprived Asia.

Expect economies to suffer. A flatmate of mine is from Sao Paolo and she believes her country's economy will hibernate or worse, collapse.

"The World Cup is going to be terrible for Brazil," she told me recently - ironically while proudly parading her new Brazil football jersey. "No one will work. It's a one-month public holiday."

I'm not surprised. Everyone's brains collectively short-circuit during the World Cup.

Singaporeans will be extremely concerned about the fate of countries they have never stepped foot in, located thousands of kilometres away.

Many men will look at their doting wives and cherubic young children at home and think, "Bye, I'm going to watch TV for the next 30 days."

It will probably affect me as well. Not so much the ditching non-existent wife and children part, but I will very likely lose the ability to make sound judgment.

How else do I explain why I always take up wagers with friends during the World Cup?

Another invitation to join an informal pool arrived in my e-mail recently. I told my friend I'm thinking about skipping it this year.

After all, I almost never bet on anything, whether it's 4-D, Toto or the English Premier League. I've not stepped into Singapore's two casinos before. I don't even play mahjong.

I avoid these things partly because I know the odds of winning are not in my favour. And, by the way, I love winning.

But the World Cup messes with your brain. In fact, my understanding of football wagers began when, as a little kid watching his first World Cup in 1990, I wondered why the adults were all "eating half balls" like there was a shortage of fishballs at the market.

Subsequently I've made casual bets every four years, thinking that my experience following football generally and watching many World Cups should pay off.

It never does. I have a horrible track record in World Cup predictions.

Ahead of the 2002 World Cup, for instance, I wrote a whole article for a special pull-out for my university paper, expounding the merits of Thierry Henry and Gabriel Batistuta, before concluding that Argentina will pip France as favourites and lift its third World Cup.

Both countries were promptly knocked out in the first round.

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