Another glorious summer, another World Cup. And as usual the supermarkets, off-licences and pubs hope to make a killing – maybe quite literally in some cases – by a heart attack or cirrhosis of the liver.
Yes, during every World Cup we’re inundated with special offers on crates of beer, wine, pizzas, crisps and countless other junk foods to consume while we watch the football.
How ironic it is then that as the world’s elite of fit, athletic young men participate in a noble, healthy pursuit, many of those watching and cheering them on indulge in unhealthy, ignoble pursuits, guzzling beer by the can and stuffing their faces with crap. As the horizontally rich but follically poor comedian Alexei Sayle might say “It’s a funny old world”.
Don’t cry for me Vuvuzela
Up until a couple of weeks ago I thought Vuvuzela was an oil-rich South America country with a fat loud-mouthed clown as president whose team never qualifies for the World Cup.
Now it’s as if the football stadia in South Africa have been invaded by swarms of angry bees. Love them or hate them they’ve certainly created a buzz in the air at the World Cup. It’s not just Wayne Rooney who has a bee in his bonnet.
Carry on World Cup
Having been following the World Cup quadrennially since I was a wide-eyed 8-year old back in 1982, I’ve noticed that in almost every tournament there’s at least one player with a funny name – ie one that would amuse a schoolboy or a “Carry On” film scriptwriter. Purely from memory I’ve compiled a selection:
1982 – Lopez Ufarte (Spain)
1986 – Cha Bum Kun (South Korea)
1994 – Stefan Kuntz (Germany)
1998 – Stefan Effenberg (Germany)
2002 – David Seaman (England)
2010 – Danny Shittu (Nigeria)
I’m splitting my sides just thinking about them.
It would be churlish of me to use the old cliché “it’s only a game”, but to quote a popular expression “shit happens”. OK, I was disappointed with the outcome (more for the supporters than the players though, who always have their big mansions, Porsches and trophy wives to go back to) , but wouldn’t go so far as to say gutted. We all know that on occasion no matter how hard we try we don’t always get what we want. A great a many things in life aren’t fair and this is simply one of them.
What those who demand a replay fail to acknowledge is that even if the goal had been disallowed, France probably would have won on penalties anyway. And if Ireland had taken their chances properly they would have won. As Twenty Major points out:
I mean, did FIFA fix it for Kevin Doyle to miss a great chance with a header? Did FIFA fix it for John O’Shea to be found free at the back post only to hoof the ball over the bar like a GAA player? Did FIFA fix it for Damien Duff to be clean through on goal only to miss a great chance? And did FIFA fix it for Robbie Keane to be one on one with the keeper only to fuck it up by trying to be too clever?
And as someone on Slugger O’Toole pointed out, England won the World Cup in 1966 by a wrong decision when the ball clearly hadn’t crossed the line, but got their comeuppance 20 years later with the infamous Maradona “hand of God” goal. What goes around comes around.
If it’s any consiolation, it was an achievement in itself for a bunch of journeymen from Hull, Preston and Wolves to take a team of Champions League players to the wire. Yes it was unjust, scandalous and all the rest.
But that’s football.
Welcome to the real world.
Get over it.