The dust has settled on the group stage as well as the round of 16, leaving 8 brave teams (and of course, by association 8 of us) to fight it out for World Cup glory.
So what have we learnt so far in the 18 days of football, endless nights on the couch and the futile attempts to function in work the next day after depriving oneself of decent sleep for 3 weeks?
World Cup hopes in the bin. Thanks for the memories, now rack off Pim!
Following their struggles against poor form, inept tactics, rash tackles, illegal goal-line clearances, and an undoubted vendetta from referees, FIFA and the world in general, there was only one thing left for the Aussies to do to cope with the injustice of what had happened.
In every World Cup there are teams that surprisingly flounder and then there are others who – well – surprise. For every North Korean team that resolutely stifled a less than samba-ing Brazil there was a North Korean team getting flogged 7-0 by the Portuguese, a drubbing that I’m sure had their King of Political Spin, the dictator Kim Jong-Il rueing for quite some time. After the initially optimistic performance against Brazil he saw an opportunity to please the masses and decided to show – for the first time ever – a live football match on the one and only state-run propaganda television channel.
Lord knows what the masses thought as they watched their country getting thrashed on the world stage by a bunch of men with half the world’s supply of Bryclreem stuck to their heads.
For every Frenchman shrugging his shoulders, swearing, shouting at his manager and getting packed off home in disgrace, there were many more who did their talking on the pitch – by striking off the training pitch – and by the looks of their performances – on the football pitch as well, ensuring that they didn’t get too comfortable in their South African surrounds and were soon sent home (in economy class) to face the wrath of the French public – and its government.
Ably prompted by the White Caps, cheating, diving, boo-hiss and - let’s face it – reigning world champions Italy fared no better and were sent home, I’m sure, to face recriminations at Rome airport from many men dressed in Kappa tracksuits or designer suits and shades somehow managing to simultaneously hurl abuse with both hands, whilst shouting at the top of their lungs, gesticulating wildy, smoking on cigarettes and ordering a double-expresso delivery on their mobile phone whilst checking out the air hostesses.
Speaking of hostesses, the hosts, South Africa, diappointed but not as bad as was expected and at least they gave us the lasting memory of the vuvuzela. The less said about that the better.
Refereeing decisions were inconsistent and seemed to favour the big teams. Yet again. Conspiracy theories abound as USA! USA! USA! have two perfectly good goals disallowed, Argentina get away with an offside goal in the Round of 16 and Brazil at times look like they’re playing basketball rather than soccer. And then of course there is the Frank-Lampard-goal-that-never-
Shakespeare himself would have struggled to write a better tragic comedy than the Ing-er-land football team’s performances at major finals for the past 44 years but surely had he dreamt up such a farce, even he couldn’t have come up with such a sad, insipid, anti-climax of an ending. The Golden Generation (as they like to be referred to) will now disappear into the sunset leaving the hopes of millions crushed at what might have been. No doubt the players shall try and console themselves during their retirement as they count their endless millions, peruse their air-shelters full of chavtastic bling-covered cars and search for sympahty in the form of the nearest airhead WAG-wannabe.
It’s all so unfair, isn’t it?!
And with that rather convoluted and contrived segue.....
Speaking of unfair – I have attached the updated spreadsheet containing the current standings that leaves 8 of you in the running for the big money.
Except - and here is where the “unfair” part comes in - there won’t be the “big money prizes” promised at the start of the competition because a few of you have still to pay their entrance fee of 10 dollars. So basically, this is the “name and shame in front of your peers campaign” - if you see your name with a red mark against it, then can you please respond by transferring the money into my account, or email me (not the whole group – we don’t want to pi55 off Lisa!) with other arrangements.
Thanks – and for those of you still in the game - why oh why couldn’t one of you have picked Greece instead of me?!