If you were anywhere near a TV Friday afternoon/evening, then you likely already know that the World Cup is in danger of falling behind in the all-important opening ceremonies arms race. The Busby Berkeley song and dance numbers are nice, but now they’re competing with pyrotechnics, stunt and wirework and the complete history of Western Civilization (minus all the bad parts). It’s time for the World Cup to up its game. Here are ten suggestions for how to do that in 2014 and beyond.
1. Borrow from the Olympics and start the 2014 tournament by telling the history of association football. Build a replica of London’s Freemason’s Tavern, where the Laws were codified, then have half of the participants leave in a huff to walk the Earth in exile until they arrive in England in time for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
2. As the host nation, the arrival of the game in Brazil will get its own special segment. As soon as Charles Miller steps off the steamship, the whole stadium will explode into a recreation of Carnival.
3. After the dancers are gone, one-up them by bringing on 800 freestyle jugglers to perform at the same time. These should be relatively easy to find in any given block of Rio de Janeiro.
4. Have a group of flying Pep Guardiolas defeat a giant inflatable Sepp Blatter.
5. Like all FIFA sponsored events, there will be a nod to the youth: a giant soccer ball will be rolled onto the center of the pitch, and after a pause, the soccer ball will begin to move, and it will be revealed that it is actually 500 child gymnasts who had linked together to create the ball.
6. Play up the fact that your tournament is the world’s greatest sporting event with tasteful montages from World Cups past. Highlight the game’s wonderful moments, the skill (Zidane’s headbutt in 2006), the beauty (highlights from the 1990 final), and the poetic (juxtaposing moments such as when the West Germans had their goal denied in the 1966 final with Lampard’s non-goal in 2010.)
7. A group of French actors will recreate, step-by-step, the final of the 1970 Final. When Carlos Alberto scores that famous goal, the entire 1970 Brazilian team will emerge to celebrate the goal.
8. An Oscars-style remembrance montage, featuring every famous Brazilian player who has passed on. Fat Ronaldo will be mistakenly put onto the montage.
9. Performance by U2.
10. Pele obviously gets to light the World Cup torch for the tournament in Brazil. In 2018, he and Diego Maradona will (finally) fight to the death to see who gets to do it. I’m thinking Kalashnikov’s at ten paces, in tribute to the host nation.