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Lithium's World Cup Preparation

Lithium Alumni (Retired)

Today, the World Cup starts in Russia with the hosts taking on Saudi Arabia in the opening match. This signals the start of a 4 week period during which my family will have to indulge me as I consume a vast amount of football on TV and become an expert on such vital matters as the Peruvian defensive line up and whether or not Anice Badri should be in the starting XI for Tunisia.

However, as a lifelong England fan I have very low expectations for our progress in the tournament and over the years I have developed a number of coping mechanisms that will distract from England’s performance whilst still allowing me to enjoy the spectacle.

 I am pleased to report that within the London office there are some kindred spirits so below is a guide to the UK Lithium teams World Cup preparation:

Office sweepstake

The office sweepstake (thanks for organising @LisaB!) is a staple for major sporting events and with only 32 countries involved in the tournament, this year we were oversubscribed.  I landed Saudi Arabia who are currently showing odds of 2000 to 1 😐 which roughly equates to the same odds of me being selected to play for England at the next world cup in Quatar 2022.  

But the good news is that in the Lithium version of the sweepstake there will also be prizes for the worst showing and biggest defeat, so I am hoping that Saudi Arabia get hammered by Uruguay on the 20th June.

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 For those less familiar, having purchased the Panini album you purchase the packs of stickers (players, team, logo photos) and put them in your album. If you get a duplicate you then build your pile of “swaps” and haggle with another collector for the stickers you need. Sticker fever is gathering pace in the office and negotiations are becoming more common which is good news because I have spent more money than is decent on new packs. Here are @MarieC and I mid-negotiation:

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This is key – you don’t want to agree to attend a BBQ or family gathering only to realise a crucial game is at the same time.  When England won the World Cup in 1966, my parents were at a wedding and I think my Dad held a grudge against that couple from then on.

Sadly I did not follow my own advice here for the group games and booked gig tickets for Englands opening match against Tunisia (a schoolboy error). So on the 18th June I found myself watching the 1st half on my phone outside the 02 with many other Pearl Jam fans with similar divided loyalties.


I will need to start scheduling my 2022 diary for the Quatar World Cup now.




Tags (3)
Khoros Expert

Scheduling story for you...

20 years ago Del (my now husband) invited me out on a date for the upcoming Friday 26th June. My answer (knowing the pub he mentioned did not have a big screen).... 'No, England are playing'

Our first 'date' was on Friday June 26th 1998 at my place watching the match (England vs. Columbia) with beers & pizza and all our friends 😄

I learned that night, Del has a tendency to cheer on whoever our opposition is. 

Lithium Alumni (Retired)

Its like something from a Jane Austen novel, @LisaB Smiley Wink

Lithium Alumni (Retired)


I did not follow my own advice and realised I had booked tickets to see Pearl Jam tonight whilst the England game is on Man Frustrated

Khoros Alumni (Retired)

Thank you for this article, Richard. I love stories about sports fanaticism, and hearing about the non-American examples certainly serves to wake me up that there are actually more things going on in life....outside of American baseball.

@LisaB - I had never heard that story. Beautiful!

Due to this article I now have a passing interest in watching the World Cup. Now, if only we could hear from some of the Bangalore folks about their Cricket fanaticism in a separate blog article, maybe I could be bothered to leave my MLB app from time to time to check out both the World Cup AND some cricket.

BTW - for those non-Americans who are not familiar with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the New York Yankees, and the Chicago Cubs; MLB is the league that they (and all other big league teams) play in. Major League Baseball lasts from April to September. Each of the 30 team plays 162 games in a season. This means that there are 2430 big league games played during the regular season. It is a statistician's delight. Rabid sports fans tend to like data, but baseball maniacs LOVEEEEEEEE data.

Oh, and Richard, tell Eddie and the boys that we say 'Hi' tonight when you get the chance.

Khoros Expert

@RichardW as I read your post I thought 'rookie mistake' until I got to Pearl Jam and realised I'm not sure I could chose between them, that's a tough one. 

Lithium Alumni (Retired)

@LisaB I think I got the best of both worlds in the end, I watched the first half outside the 02 and PJ rocked (they cancelled their gig last night as Eddie lost his voice so I am glad I went the first night!)

Khoros Alumni (Retired)

What's the latest on the sweepstakes, @RichardW

Khoros Expert

@KatherineC we're still in the group stages at the moment, although results so far have already confirmed some teams out, others in... including England woop!!! 🙂 


You can keep track of the group stage here -


We'll know by the end of the week all the teams who will be progressing and who they will play.