This week - presuming I am spared until Thursday - I will have been alive for 13 World Cups.

Admittedly, I don't remember them all. I was just three when England won it at Wembley. Argentina 1978 is - Archie Gemmill apart (1) - mostly a blank (2). And my memories of 1994 in the US seem to have been obliterated but for the vision of Diana Ross's spectacular penalty miss in the opening ceremony. That is still seared into my skull. Wonder if she still wakes up screaming about it.

That apart though, it is the event I love more than any other in the sporting calendar. Even in these Fifa-inflated days of 32 teams and too many games.

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I have these World Cup moments that play again and again in my head. Diego's second goal against England in 1986, that Bergkamp goal late, late in the game against Argentina in 1998. And Gerry Armstrong's goal against Spain in 1982, possibly the only moment in my life when I think I may have spontaneously levitated.

Hopefully I'll gain some more in the next month, but it's a lonely vigil. Nobody else in the family has the slightest interest. Come Eurovision they're all sitting in the living room but when the football's on they drift off to Snapchat or whatever kids do these days. This is doubly depressing. Firstly, because I feel vaguely guilty about hogging the telly (3). And secondly because sometimes - possibly in the middle of Ivory Coast against Japan - I will look around to talk about the game and there will be nobody there.

In the past I had my dad - who was really a boxing fan but humoured me - and later my father-in-law to talk to. But they both went and died on me. Inconsiderate really.

I could go to the pub I suppose. But then I couldn't listen to the half-time analysis while making a pot of tea. And I don't like pubs. Never have. So I'll be spending the next month on my own, more or less. Oh, J or the kids might drift in now and then and see that's it's still 0-0 between Cameroon and Croatia after 84 minutes and decide on the whole they don't need to be in the room after all.

For the first time the other day I idly wondered how many more World Cups I might get to watch in my lifetime. Four? Five? Ten if I'm really, really lucky? That could be nearly a year spent sitting in a room watching the television.

That's a long time, isn't it? Probably not enough to see Northern Ireland win the thing, mind.

Or Scotland for that matter.


[1] And I'm not even a Scotland fan.

[2] I guess my mum didn't let me stay up. But I was 15. Maybe I just wasn't bothered.

[3] Though not guilty enough to turn it over.