The World Cup draw takes place, and we all gather around the television in the office armed with notebooks, calculators, online maps, and close to the telephone to book flights.
Brazil is quite a difficult country in which to cover a World Cup because of its vastness and the spread of locations for matches. If the reporters and photographers base themselves in Rio and fly out to cover games, they won’t be able to get back to Rio that same night, so will need accommodation at the match venue. The book of the accommodation, the internal flights and external flights to make sure we have all reporters in the right place at the right time is quite hellish. We want the chief reporter with England, but do we need an ancillary reporter based with England’s next opponents?
One of the things about being on a Sunday paper is that you have to throw stories forward much more than you do on a daily…especially if England’s games are midweek…covering a game which takes place on Tuesday in Sunday’s paper, when the daily papers have covered it all week is a bit pointless…we need something different, so we need to make sure we have reporters somewhere different – picking up interesting stories from across the tournament.
So, the draw begins, and there are ooohhs and ahhhss as England find themselves in a tough group – the first match is in the Amazon – a place they expressly said they didn’t want to play – and in their group are Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica. There are lots of platitudes like ‘well – if you want to win a World Cup you have to be able to beat everyone’ – but Greg Dyke’s decision to slice his hand across his throat to indicate how tough this is says it all.
We set about booking flights to the Amazon and wondering what the chances are of Luis Suarez retiring before the summer… The World Cup just got quite tough