Mail Order Bridesmaids: The Heavyweights who came second.

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Sound the bells to St Basel’s cathedral, the race for the “Cup of Life” is wide open and on for young and old. In a world cup abound with upsets, we now have a full scope of the potential brides and bridesmaids as the competition enters its final orbit. The spectacularly surprising qualifying round saw the likes of Italy, Holland and Chile miss the bus to the party. Well that bus got a little more chaotic as a few unheralded revellers booted Germany, Argentina, Spain and Portugal out the back window a stop or two early. A host of teams are clamouring for the driver’s seat, and whilst the frogs and the Brazilians still have the reigns we have learned one thing from the completed matches. Anything is possible in Mother Russia.

A Fool And His Money

No joke, anything I bet on turns to mud. Sadly, for millions of people, entire nations aren’t immune to my betting buffonery either. Not just any nations either. Nations of prosperous economic stability, with a rich depth of cuisine and culture, with a proud and esteemed success in football. Germany and Spain were my two picks pre-tournament, and Argentina my smokies. I drew Portugal in my World cup sweep, and what do you know? All of them turned to plop.

Neymar off the 10m platform

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If anyone has cast an eye over the behaviour of Neymar Jr this world cup, I deeply apologise on behalf of the sporting community worldwide. This bloke is soft enough to cut his tongue on pancakes, yet alarmingly dishonourable to an extent that you would expect to catch him robbing his own Nan. This disgrace of a man probably takes the cake for my most hated sportsman, and I wouldn’t mind seeing him in the middle of a Filipino basketball fixture. Not that a bloke who sleeps on wads of cash with scores of supermodels would give a damn about what a struggling podcaster from Australia would think. However, I find solace in the fact that one day his son will see footage of his dad writhing around on the ground -  screaming like he just got his leg blown off by a claymore - and he will have to look his son in the eye to explain himself. Now that I’d pay to see it.

Path Cleared For The Three Lions

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I am writing this on the eve of the England v Colombia fixture, but as it stands there has never been a more open road to the final for the English. With a gaggle of the globes leading teams on the bus home, England find themselves in a side of the draw where they can be confident in beating everyone. With English domestic football relying heavily on high priced imports, this could be the best chance for the English in a long time to make the final. Will they do it? No. They’ll find a way to bomb out the moment their media labels them capable of winning it.

Sweet Dreams for Soviet Comrades

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Before the commencement of this World Cup, the (presumably state-sponsored) public message to the Russian side was “please don’t embarrass us”. Now, Russians are stalking rival fans from Moscow to Krasnoyarsk and whispering “I must break you” in an ode to Rocky IV and Ivan Drago, but more importantly an ode to their heroic football team. Russia have gone from a bland bowl of Borsch to an expensive glacial vodka within a matter of weeks. A word of warning, if you’re enjoy the Russian revolution then I advise you not to watch the documentary “Icarus” on Netflix.

 

Brave Blue Samurai Come Close To Upset

Flying the flag for the Asian confederation in the knockout stages has been the mighty blue Samurai from Nippon. The Japanese nearly stole a win from contenders Belgium last night and boy would that have been a boil over. One thing remains clear, if an Asian team is to have a chance of winning a world cup we must disqualify Europe, South America, Africa, CONCACAF and Oceania from competing. Ipso Facto, Australia are the current champions of the Asia World Cup trophy. Worth a shot.

 

The Legends Last Lap?

On the first evening of the knockout round, we saw two of the best in the business and best in history gallop onto the World Cup stage for possibly the final time. Although nothing is official, both Ronaldo and Messi are beginning to ride off into the sunset after distinguished careers. If FIFA lose what little spine they have left and allow the Qatar world cup to continue, then we may get treated to their skills once more. I won’t be holding my breath, just dipping my lid to a few blokes who have been a treat to watch. Footnote: CR7 is a cologne for puberty riddled teenage wank socks though so don’t buy it.

Classic Callers

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I Have riffed on this for a few weeks now, but staying up late to watch the Brazil vs Mexico fixture last night wasn’t just a feast for the eyes. In between that intolerable softcock Neymar’s theatrics were the mellifluous tones of the great Martin Tyler. He’s like a cigarette after a Ronnie Coot, or a bottle of wine after a rollercoaster for those PG rated friends. It’s so refreshing not hearing an exaggerated Phil Gould rant about the referees, or an irrelevant Michael Clarke story about what he would be doing if he was on the pitch. We seldom hear these classic voices that are merely there to enhance the visual perspective of the game. It will be a shame when all that is left is Brayshaw and Gould.

 

Bill smith