SHILLONG, July 14 - The month-long carnival, the FIFA World Cup, is coming to a close and no event can be bigger than the finals itself in which a large section of people in football-crazy Meghalaya are supporting the underdog Croatia.
From politicians, bureaucrats, artists and the common men on the street, most seem to be having a soft corner for Croatia.
The World Cup not only brings together on the turf the best in the business every four years, but also tells stories of men who fought extreme conditions to reach the top of their game and people readily connect with them. The Croatians, the Icelandic team are just a few examples.
�As a Nation, Croatia faced lots of hardship. The stories of some of the players are inspiring. They have brought this fighting spirit on the field and competing with the top footballing nations. I would love to see them lift the World Cup,� Frederick Roy Kharkongor, Chief Electoral Officer said.
This sentiment is complimented by musician, Lou Majaw. �If Croatia wins it would balance out the gap,� he says. Similarly, former Home Minister, RG Lyngdoh says that he always had a �soft corner for underdogs. Let there be a new champion,� he cheered. Director General of Police, SB Singh too wants the underdog Croatia to win. �Let them win this time,� Singh said.
Taxi driver Bah Hep will be cheering for Croatia and honk his vehicle through the town if they win. Why? �They are fighters like me. They don�t give up. Even after being one goal down against England they fought hard and won. I like this kind of teams,� the cabbie said.
Psychologists have several theories why some of us or many love underdogs. One of the many theories being: many of us identify ourselves as underdogs and deep down have this feeling that we can achieve much more. Moreover, unexpected success gives more joy than the predictable ones, like France a strong team winning the World Cup again is okay, but a lower ranked Croatia wining is simply a fantastic news.
There are other theories which say that the issue of underdogs doing well also gives some of us an opportunity to address the, perceived or real, unfairness in this world and like Majaw said �balance� this unfairness to some extent.
Football World Cup has the largest viewership amongst all the sporting events in the world. This viewership would increase substantially on Sunday.
People across continents from different race, religion, communities, and languages would be taking sides and the better team between Croatia and France would lift the trophy.
On Sunday it�s not about Croatia or France, but as Pele described O Jogo Bonito or the Beautiful Game would be the winner by unifying people across the globe for one month, despite differences and that is one huge Goal successfully achieved.