Saturday, 26 June 2010

Saturday 26 June 2010 – WORLD CUP DAY SIXTEEN

The front cover of The Sun today has a photograph of the German side held inside a cage on the back of a flat black lorry. Hovering around the truck are three lions. Sometimes people make things too easy. Elsewhere “Rio Writes For The Sun”. Its hardly Gatsby.

I fear that England currently have too much front heading into tomorrow’s match against Germany. The German talking heads do give off the impression that they are running scared but its all a tactic, they are lulling us into a sense of false confidence. Quite frankly I am more concerned that your average Englishman (and I have struggled to build up much in the way of national pride or passion during this competition, the minnows have been far more entertaining).

Again Saturday morning enhances my World Cup experience as Danny Baker provides the liveliest coverage of the tournament anywhere. His field recordings of the South Africa v France game from Tuesday is truly amazing stuff. The sound of the supporters booing the French team line-up being announced is priceless. Baker’s description of one of those supporter hard hats is the kind of content that could not be made up. Later his interview with Thomas Berthold of Germany from Italia 90 is unexpectedly exuberant and fun.

In discussion today my old man tells me why Argentina are not going to win the World Cup which is along the lines of “they’re going to reach the semi finals at which point it will get unearthed that Maradona has got them all on drugs, on happy pills.”

Today in an unrelated incident my friend comedian Matthew Crosby takes part all day in his “Twitterman” project which is a hashtag driven account of people making all his choices for him today via Tweet. Its for the win.

Today as this game is kicking off I am to be found in town (Colchester) looking for and purchasing “Why England Lose” by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski. As I return to my parents’ place on screen Suarez has already given Uruguay the lead. From here the old man suggests that we go and pick up the dog from the farm he has been staying at while they have been on holiday in Ibiza. When we arrive at the farm a donkey comes over to greet us. I really hope that this is not a metaphor for England and tomorrow. As we listen to the game on Radio Five things fail to improve when a group of youngsters smoking joints driving a small car decide to cut up my old man one time too many and he promptly stops the car and jumps out to have a go at the lad. Now this is the kind of fight that has been sorely missing from England in this World Cup. This however is the kind of action that is fairly frowned upon in this modern age and something that shocks and stuns me. I half sense (hope) dad only tries it on because he knows he has me to back him up (maybe) and in the middle of the road while I sit in the car holding the dog (!) I watch as the old man snarls and squares up to kid who grabs his shirt and dad promptly grabs his wrist in retaliation. At this point I notice a group of black dudes that look like the Ghanaian nation team watching, laughing and loving it, which I would be as an outsider. As the old man shouts “learn to fucking drive” the lad responds “get in your fucking car you’re embarrassing yourself” its all quite the occasion and drama. Eventually the old man jumps back in the car with me having just sat there, which is something I am ashamed and embarrassed about. We pull off in silence; quite frankly I’m still shocked by it. Later when dad accidentally runs a red light it becomes obvious his feathers are still ruffled.

When we get back to their house and the game my parents laugh about the incident. Jesus Christ what happened? When did the generation gap equate to the younger generation being embarrassed by the older generation? Oh well, nobody died and those stoners maybe learned a lesson. I’m pretty sure my old man didn’t. By now the Uruguay v South Korea game is well into the second half and it is royally pissing down. At this point Uruguay look comfortable with their one goal lead but then against the run of play Lee Chung-Yong scores a pretty equalizer. Eventually Suarez adds a second goal ten minutes from time to give Uruguay a 2-1 win and save everyone from extra time.

In a very decent tie on paper the game opens early as the difficult to like Kevin-Prince Boateng scores after less than five minutes with a decent strike from the edge of the box. His celebration heads direct for the running as his huge ego leads the race. Late in the second half the commentator points out that the Ghana second strip resembles the one from Melchester Rovers. In the 61st minute the Americans get a penalty. Just before taking it Landon Donovan appears to say a prayer. There’s a no praying in football. Or maybe there is as the newly football equivalent of Ned Flanders scores the equalizer much to the amusement (and bemusement) of Bill Clinton. Eventually the game goes into extra time where Gyan scores early on in the 93rd minute and Ghana proceed to hold tight until snatching a very popular 2-1 win sealing a game against Uruguay in the quarterfinals. Go home America, this is not your game.

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