Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Oh God, not more football? World Cup day 12

You know I'm supposed to be writing about television, Doctor Who, Mock the week and great documentaries on BBC 4 and Channel 4 , but I can't seem to make the time to watch much after all that football every day. I promise in the next few days to throw in some Coronation Street and of course review the John Lennon film on this Wednesday. Even my cooking has suffered to where I just throw stuff in a pan or a casserole and hope it tastes good and lasts a few days. My Father and my wife will have to wait till the day after the final before I'm back in with the pies, sauces and roasts they come to expect from me. Till then its mundane risottos and Thai chicken and  noodles for them

But as long as I was ever able to get away with it, every two years I take a month off from the rest of life to enjoy either the World Cup or Euro. And this year I get to do this in grand style. Got the match on telly and the laptop handy to obsess over it all with my whovian mates. Now you have to wonder what that's like. Are Who anoraks any different from the regular supporter in a pub or a park? Well on the surface no, they bang on about players , positions, reputations and have the same preconceived notions that drive their passions and team selections. Where they differ is the humour. Your regular supporter will make the usual puns, unflattering remarks and occasional play on words. Our little group have scaled the heights of wit and culture to include references to Vladimir Illych Lenin, beards, The Fabian society, Lord of the Rings,  the labour leadership race, philosophers, latin, various Doctor Who episodes , monsters, doctors, writers , Rassilon, Archimedes, Greek mythology, and of course Brian Blessed. Some of the humour is a bit low brow I will admit, but occasionally it is quote worthy and you will see it in more than a few blogs. In other cases we keep the fun to ourselves, as frankly it would be like telling advanced accounting jokes to a Vogon constructor fleet captain. And if Mick McCarthy or Adrian Chiles knew what we were saying about them!...Our worst(or best) material is the "spirit of the moment stuff" where we use place names, countries and players to construct complex attempts at double entendre sentences. You may have seen a fairly easy one today from the Argentina match. it said "Don't messi with the Greeks". Now if the football wasn't  of such a low quality that we were driven to such distraction , we wouldn't need our precious football thread, as it is, there have been days one could have gone  barking mad with boredom or simply fallen asleep and missed entire matches. Thank God for Gallifrey Base.

Now as you should know, today was the first day of double booked matches, so I won't be going into as much detail as I might usually. Except for the occasional highlight , I missed the Mexico Uruguay match having eschewed it for France South Africa. I got the drama I expected, I got the pathos the sense of history and the ultimate humiliation of a great team by it's own manager. Domenech left on the bench Evra, Malouda and Henri. The lacklustre performance that had France down 2-0 by the 40th minute was both expected and sad. You saw a demoralized  side that was barely there struggling to stay interested in the manager's instructions. Then in the second half , with Malouda  subbed in a bit earlier, Thiery Henri came on and that was it for South Africa. The Ribery Malouda Henri combination galvanized the French and they scored in the 70th minute. Given more time I'm sure they would even have drawn.  I feel terrible for the French players who could only hope to snatch a bit of dignity from a situation I would not wish on my worst enemy. In the end, it finished 2-1 and the South African players and French players exchanged shirts and genuinely warm greetings. Too bad Raymond Domenech  could not help himself with one last bit of disgusting behaviour, having shook hands with most everybody else, he refused to do the same with the South African manager.  Now in case you're from another planet, it's the football equivalent of spitting at somebody. You don't do it and you if you do, they better be worthy of the insult. One hopes the nasty little troll retires to his cave never to be seen again. You have to wonder what we would have seen this World Cup from France if he'd been sacked in '06 like he was supposed to be. As for the South Africans, they were a great team that really did give it their all. The fact is that they could not and should not have advanced any further than the group stage. When they have a better developed domestic league and can produce footballers like Ghana or Algeria, they will be ready to play with the big boys. Classy till the end, I can honestly say it was fun seeing them play.

For the second match I did not choose wisely, I thought not unreasonably, Argentina Greece would be a ripping time. A match for the ages, a match about which epic songs would be sung. How wrong I was, Greece parked the bus and shut down a timid Argentine offence for the entire 1st half and the better part of the 2nd half. Considering that a draw still had Greece exiting, you would think they would have tried to bring the game to Messi and co, but no they just passed the time doing as little as was needed to not be beaten but no more than that. Makes you wonder what they could have done if they had applied themselves. Like all such sides, Greece was soon opened up and except for Messi who could not score to save his life , the game came alive in the last 20 minutes  ending with a 2-0 score line. Maradona did a funny little dance you have to see to believe and that was it. Argentina will go far and their next victims will surely not be so lucky as to last 70 minutes on the defensive I didn't watch Nigeria South Korea but  you have to see this lowlight . Yakubu makes the biggest miss in World Cup history , sending a sitter wide from in front of the net.  watch it HERE , Ok so he redeemed himself with the pen  but the goal would have sent Nigeria into the group of 16 .

For England tomorrow is the big day, we play Slovenia in a do or die game that's going to either unleash the furry of every England supporter or make them squirm quietly as they tolerate the situation for the sake of the lads in hopes that somehow we do the impossible and win the the big prize. I don't think for a minute we'll do well , the pitch is not perfect , we're under pressure and we could get a card happy ref like we saw earlier this week. So much can go wrong that I will just sit quietly at first and hope they don't screw up. Anything after, that sees us not going out will be accepted with humility and  caution . Any of you who start the we're number one bolloks should be sedated and sent to rehab, just be happy we are still in it. one game at a time and we can maybe get through this without going completely mad.

see you all tomorrow with more World Cup news .

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