Tuesday, June 29, 2010

It would be easy to take cheap shots at England following their departure from the tournament. Well, luckily I've never been one to shirk accepting the easy jobs so here goes.


Ahead of the game, Capello's big decision centred around who would partner John Terry in the centre of defence. "Fabio ponders Terry partner" declared the BBC website's headline. It strikes me that, as long as Terry isn't pondering Fabio’s partner, the Italian can rest easy.

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For anyone who found themselves a little confused watching the Monday night game, I'd just like to offer the following clarification. The game was between Brazil and Chile and finished 3-0 for Brazil. The commentator sadly forgot to mention any of this due to his being in denial after Sunday, which resulted in him spending almost the entire 90 minutes hero-worshipping the English referee and the two English linesmen. Seems he thinks that the English officials are possibly the best at the tournament and have the potential to go all the way to the final!

Do they never fucking learn? What's going to happen when Howard Webb, like their last wonderful official, issues someone with three yellow cards and gets sent home? Will we suddenly hear about how it was some guy from Bolton that invented the vuvuzela, that Table Mountain, prior to a freak shifting of the Tectonic plates in 1923 was actually situated just outside Scunthorpe, or that Nelson Mandela was actually born in Wakefield, supported the Trinity, and was only relocated to a South African prison after breaching his ASBO?

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Actually, obsessive commentators aside, whether we should be happy at England's downfall is a debate that will probably go on forever, but the world clearly still needs educated about the geography and politics of the British Isles if the following snippet is anything to go by. I stumbled upon it on a Japanese website (don't ask) and it probably illustrates very effectively why we feel like we're banging our heads off a brick wall.

"I can still hear the Mexican sportscaster shouting in the radio for more than a minute — 'Dieguitooooo, Dieguitoooooo, Diego Armando Maradonaaaaaaa!' — after the Argentine soccer player scored his second goal against the British during the 1986 World Cup that Argentina would go on to win after beating West Germany in the final game.

He had good reason to shout. Diego Armando Maradona — now Argentina's coach at the World Cup in South Africa — had scored his second goal after dribbling past six British players (including the goalkeeper) in what is commonly called the The Goal of the Century."

All I can say is good luck to 'Japan & South Korea' in their game against Paraguay today.

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On what I've seen so far, I reckon it's actually the Argentinians who deserve to lift the cup a week on Sunday. It's not so much the individual skills of Messi and Tevez, or even the goalscoring exploits of Higuain. It's not even the way they're managing to produce the goods as a team. I think it's the fact that their players have to endure a snog off Maradona every time they enter the park, leave the park, score a goal etc. I mean there were a couple of times in '86 when I felt like giving him a manhug myself (a polite one with minimal actual contact obviously) but for the players putting up with his perpetual snogathon, they surely merit the reward of lifting the trophy at the end of it all. It must seem particularly odd to Sergio Aguero, who must by now be wondering if there was some sort of mix-up at the altar when he wed Maradona's daughter Giannina last year.

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The US also departed the tournament this weekend after their extra-time loss to Ghana. Bill Clinton was watching on, for some reason accompanied by Mick Jagger, the singer who is recognisable by his full pouting lips (oh, perhaps it's starting to make sense now). Speaking of which, I didn't see Monica anywhere around. Pity really, she'd have made short work of a vuvuzela. "I knew it was Bill's vuvuzela - it was average size but curved rather to the left."


The Undisputed

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