Friday, 25 June 2010

Friday 25 June 2010 – WORLD CUP DAY FIFTEEN

Today is the one-year anniversary of Michael Jackson’s passing. Insert joke about England’s passing.

Everything’s coming up Milhouse! I swear the Germans are afraid of us, we have them running. Franz Beckenbauer (Michael Keaton) is only cussing us out because he has short man complex. With all these oldsters such as Maradona and Platini trash talking it all reminds me of the manner in which old wrestling stars such as Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan hang around and continue to ruffle feathers and are allowed to because they are just good value. Now Oliver Kahn wants to get stuck in? He’s just grieving because he’s always been ugly and, if memory serves me right, he let in five goals against us once.

While this game is beginning I find myself housed in a stuffy office the last man standing. Today I don’t bother with any internet feeds instead choosing to listen to the commentary on Radio Five. The commentators (including Mark Chapman and Chris Waddle) proceed to describe the match as being boring calling a spade a spade in a manner that the seemingly PC in comparison television pundits (the readers wives) dare not say. As word comes in of goals flying in for the Ivory Coast this game remains goalless and seemingly very dull.

Today the North Korean coach Kim Jong-Hun sticks with an unchanged side, the side that let in the seven goals against Portugal. This is either a supreme gesture of confidence or an example of can’t be arsed. Unsurprisingly it doesn’t take long for the Ivory Coast to take the lead as Yaya Toure scores after 14 minutes and Romaric adds a second after 20 minutes. Suddenly it begins to look as if a window of opportunity maybe about to open for the Ivory Coast if they can match the Portugal haul and hope Brazil do them a favour by beating them. Ultimately this does not happen as things settle down and eventually the Ivory Coast add a third towards the end of the game through Kalou (82 mins). From here the game ends at 3-0 to Ivory Coast and both teams are eliminated from the World Cup. In some quarter people genuinely fear just what the North Koreans may be returning to their motherland to. Godspeed.

Tonight as a very exciting prospect of a match begins to kick off I find myself at the Southbank attending the recording of an episode of the Infinite Monkey Cage radio show for Radio Four. This is a great show hosted by Robin Ince and everyone’s current favourite Prof Brian Cox and amongst the guests on tonight’s show are Alan Moore and Jonathan Ross. Quite frankly this line-up beats any line-up either of those two football teams could muster. The show is very strong, Alan Moore is a genius and football does not get mentioned once. Back in South Africa, Spain run out 2-1 winners against a Chilean team that has impressed many at this tournament. Unsurprisingly it is David Villa who gives the Spanish the lead after 24 minutes with a blazing goal from distance as Bravo in the Chile goal comes flying out of the penalty area leaving Villa to breeze the ball into an empty net with pinpoint precision. Personally this is the kind of game that makes my heart palpitate. Heading towards halftime Iniesta adds a second (37 min) in another sweetly crafted move. Just before the interval Estrada gets sent off for subtly (but not subtly enough) clipping the heals of Torres as he goes for a second yellow card. Meanwhile in Ibiza my old man finds himself in a bar watching the game and slightly confused when the team in red shirts score early into the second half (the 47th minute) he thinks it is Spain adding a third but it is actually halftime substitute Rodrigo Millar immediately pulling a goal back from Chile. In a well-intentioned attempt at a gesture of local solidarity he is the only person in the bar to cheer the goal as the clientele turn to see who the spy is. Fortunately he survives as the game ends 2-1 to Spain and they proceed despite their earlier hiccup versus Switzerland.

The other game in the group appears to be a duff 0-0 draw that sees both nations crashing out in disappointing fashion having failed to ignite proceedings over the course of their respective campaigns. The Swiss really do resemble an interesting proposition, despite beating tournament favourites in the first game they appeared unable to gain any momentum from the feat and despite also recording the record longest period of World Cup finals history of not conceding a goal with what it would seem to be such a defensive mentality ultimately they only disappoint and flounder, failing to gain many new fans in the process.

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