Well the diaries from the night train to Moscow must be filled with stirring monologues and deep thought this week. The world cup is beloved and beleaguered in the same breath. Tidal waves of controversy clash with volcanic eruptions of brilliance. This tournament has given us more headlines than a cocaine fuelled, pornstar laden, Donald Trump tweeting session. Here are some of our picks from week two. The Russian vodka continues to flow freely, and the cup of life delivers in spades.
A Moroccan Sunset moves online
Moroccan sunset is what I was once nicknamed in place of “Red”, but this week it really did set on the Moroccan tilt. Morocco are officially on their way home from Russia 2018, but it hasn’t stopped their fans from berating and overtaking every branch of the FIFA social media arm. Full of fight and conviction, they believe FIFA is a Mafia who have robbed them of a place in the knockout stages. FIFA have released a media response, and said that several high ranking officials had their wallets swiped in Marrakech, so what goes around comes around.
Swiss stars fan the flames
Swiss stars Xhaka and Shaqiri have inflamed political tensions in the Balkans, by making Pro-Nationalist Albanian symbols in their match against Serbia. The move drew the ire of geopolitical analysts across Europe, and the pair have subsequently been told to simmer down. The Balkans was ignition point for the first world war, and it is understood they are not seeking to replicate those feats again.
Danish Fans fined for throwing projectiles
The Danish Football Federation has been fined for their fans behaviour in the 1-1 draw with the Socceroos. Denmark fans were caught launching projectile at Australian fans, as well as having sexist signs displayed in their section. I wasn’t aware a nation of such passive neutrality briefly forgot their place in the world, but we at The Unsportsmen are keen to remind them. We might be hicks from the middle of nowhere, but I’d love to see how your army of economists and financial advisers would go throwing a schooner glass down at the Mean Fiddler in Rouse Hill.
Russian Brawlers fall to Uruguay
It was a cataclysmic re-entry into the stratosphere for the high-flying home nation. Russia had mopped both Egypt and Saudi Arabia in the pool stages, before the trans-Siberian express came to a screeching halt in front of Uruguay station. 3-0 was the tune and the Russians looked totally outclassed. They’ll now face titanic football chorizo eaters, Spain, in the round of 16. The Russians play exactly how you would expect. Tough, physical, direct, and always willing to bury you in a snowy grave if you even dare look at them sideways.
The Iron Curtain rises
Despite many state-sanctioned warnings about travelling to Russia, fans there have reported back with nothing but love from the stone-cold republic. I called this at the start of the tournament. You won’t find peoples on this planet more welcoming, engaging, smiley, friendly and interesting than Russians. Their demeanour can be fractionally intimidating at times, but pay your rubles and your respects and you shall be welcomed as a member of the Putin family. What a time to be a Ruski!
Ronaldo creates more history
We are used to seeing him adore his own reflection in the nearest mirror, bring out hideously overpriced fragrances that are primarily worn by teen boys, and show us around his collection of cars that would make batman jealous. However, Ronaldo created yet another slice of history this week by becoming the First Portuguese player to miss a penalty at a world cup. What do you know? He is human after all.
This story made me upset. Lucy Zelic has copped it online for some pronunciation during the SBS World Cup coverage. Now, whilst I had a sneaky chuckle at a few things, going as far as berating her online is an absolute disgrace. Lucy and Craig Foster have done a fantastic job and as they clarified, they are making a special effort to pronounce foreign names correctly. Keep going SBS, and Lucy.
The moment’s silence for Messi’s mess
Argentine broadcasters TyC have observed a minute’s silence, in reaction to their sides loss to Croatia. The Argentine station live from their Moscow studio, bowed their heads and didn’t speak for an entire minute. Their football team is in total disarray, with the Coach fighting with players, players fighting with fans, fans fighting with media, media fighting with everyone. This wreaks of a French connection with an internal bust-up of this magnitude. They can, however, salvage something from the brink with a victory over Nigeria.