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World Cup 2010: the final entry. Unless I do another one

And that’s the 2010 World Cup over with. First one in Africa, a resounding success (not from the standpoint of the quality of football, mind) and a great advert for South Africa as a friendly, welcoming nation. Well done them there then.

This is far too positive. On to today’s irritation.

I did find it endlessly amusing that pundits and commentators alike – including in today’s final – sounded surprised that Spain weren’t simply rolling over all of their opponents. It’s your usual lazy, reputation-based punditry that fails to notice the fact a team haven’t been all that great throughout a tournament. They’ve done enough, but they never looked like the best team in the world. Even if they are.

It all comes together nicely into another point: why do all pundits agree with each other 99 per cent of the time? They’re not there to just agree with each other – they are present to talk about the game. This much they seem to be able to get right. The part where they should debate the game’s events, discuss what’s happening and maybe use some of their insider knowledge to enlighten us mere mortals as to how the game is going is where they falter. It’s covered, sure, but there’s no debate – it’s an endless wall of backslapping and self-congratulatory nonsense from some of the worst boys clubs I’ve ever been unfortunate enough to lay eyes on.

I’m sure there was a point in there somewhere.

Anyway, it’s over now. Four years til the next one, two years til the next Euro Championships. But I’m going to remind myself, and remind all of you reading here – and this is going to be here to remind you whenever you might forget it – I will make this statement, of sound mind, on July 11, 2010: International football is shit. The tournaments are always a let-down and the matches are overwhelmed by ‘safe’ (boring) play. Stars are overhyped, everyone always forgets the Germans are really good and the coverage is just plain annoying. League football, on the other hand, is brilliant.

So that’s that. I have to think harder for new topics over the next six months.

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FIFA World Cup 2010 predictions – groups E-F

I would say “like a fine wine this gets better with age” but instead I’ll be more honest with you and say “like a £2.99 bottle of pissy-vinegar-wine this leaves a bad taste in your mouth, fills you with regret and gives you a headache. Oh, and it makes your mouth purple.” Honesty is of course the best policy.

Group E

Netherlands: I’ve never actually been to the Netherlands, which I consider quite odd as it’s cheap to go there and popular with ‘the kids’. It may be down to the fact that I have never been down with said ‘kids’, and because drug dealers and hookers scare me. Ah well. Quarters, possibly semis. Finals, I mean. Definitely not a hooker-related euphemism.

Japan: The Japanese will be galvanised after their rather fortuitous victory over Cameroon earlier today. Buoyed by their lifted spirits and not weighed down by their nation’s understandably-raised expectations the Japanese will make their way through to the second round in battling spirit, befor… GODZIRRA! Definitely not racist.

Cameroon: I have no opinion on Cameroon, mainly because I forgot the country even existed. Errm… out in the group stage?

Denmark: I’m not actually sure if the Danes are actually Danish or English or what, seeing as the adverts for their “favourite” lager claims to be as English as fish and chips or racism and alcohol-fuelled violence. Still, they are legally registered as a different country to England, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. Speaking of doubt: as if Carlsberg is the most popular lager in Denmark. Surely those people have taste?

Group F

Italy: The old men of the tournament, dragging their zimmer frames around. Or is it the ‘average age of 28 team’? Either way, it’s some ridiculous point a dozen commentators and pundits can labour over in coming weeks, as the dirty dirty Italians more or less accidentally make their way to the semis. Though it would be hilarious if they only got to the quarters.

Paraguay: Where the fuck is Chilavert? (*checks Wikipedia*) Ah, retired in 2004, suspended prison sentence in 2006. Good work, one of my favourite keepers of all time. Definitely my favourite fat keeper of all time. I would write ParaGAY (like “you are gay” HAAHHA) off, but look at the other teams in the group.

New Zealand: From a literal perspective I can understand why New Zealand are in the finals: they did enough to qualify, obviously. From a figurative perspective? I do not understand why New Zealand are in the World Cup finals. It’s not even like they’re able to offer the ‘morbid curiosity’ factor the North Koreans bring. Sent home with their heads held half-high, I doubt they’ll be totally humiliated. After all – Ryan Nelsen!

Slovakia: Slovakia – otherwise known as ‘the harsher-sounding Slovenia’ – wouldn’t normally register on my radar. Un/fortunately, I picked them out in the work sweeps, meaning I have to egg them on to win the whole bloody tournament. This will not happen. Still, it might. (it won’t)

Tomorrow is the final two groups, and after that comes the point where I have to think of things to write again, rather than spunking out this nonsense. Though that does mean a lot of you are likely to start reading again, rather than thinking it’s a po-faced analysis of footballing futures and immediately dismissing it out of hand.

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