World Cup diary – best tournament in years

10 July 2014

Sorry – bit of an interregnum in the World Cup diary, caused principally by England’s pathetic capitulation. But still the tournament gives pleasure, perhaps to a greater degree than it has done in thirty years or more. Watching Brazil get stuffed on their own midden heap was an enormous pleasure. Their thuggery in the previous round, against Colombia, came back to haunt them; there is karma in football. That’s why Leeds Utd are still in the lower reaches of the Championship.  Germany were magnificent; Brazil gave in after the second goal — but truth be told, they were never terribly good. One thing bothers me, though — at the start of these games the opposing players are horribly matey and affectionate to one another. You see them in the tunnel hugging and smiling. What’s that all about? I suspect it means we care far more about the result than they do.

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  • BarkingAtTreehuggers

    Okay, it’s been a month now and no one has noticed that this tournament is not hosted by Brasil, or Brazil or phonetically bras:iu, but by a national side that will from now on be known forever as:


  • DrWatt

    I agree Rod – one of the best tournament in years.

    Germans have looked unstoppable – favourites to win the world cup.

    I believe one of the secrets to the German success has been good sensible haircuts – like England 1966 with Moore, Hurst, Peters etc – all had proper haircuts. Look at this German team – all have no-nonsense short back and sides haircuts. Now look at the England team – most of whom appear to have spent more time with their hairstylists than at the England training ground.

    Btw: What was with the pre-game anti-racist statements being read out by the team captains – about fighting prejudice in football etc… I found a bit odd – especially when it was followed by chest thumping patriotic singing of the teams national anthem declaring their commitment to their nation – proudly bellowing how their nation have the best people in the world who are far superior than you and I – which was then followed by close-up camera shots during the game of only the prettiest girls in the stadium – why no shots of the ugly birds in the stadium?

    I dunno? It all kind of contradicted the anti-prejudice preamble before kick off.

  • dado_trunking

    A very good point made about tunnel hugging.
    Football of course corrupts the mind, it makes those partaking part of an elitist establishment, both players and supporters alike. My local supermarket thought they could cash in on this phenomenon too – now look at all the surplus of rubbish beer and cheap sugary cider!
    Drink that crap yourself, you free market capitalist loons. Perhaps you’ll then get to where the Germans have been for a long time. The expression they use to describe their state of mind is simply this: Bleib’ locker.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Don`t you Brazilian chappies think you`re taking this football loss just a little too seriously?

    • Bobby Morton

      People of Spanish/Portuguese inheritance always cry over anything. I as a dumbarse think it maybe something to do with the the fact that their lovely country is run by fuckwit criminals.

  • Augustus

    Go Schweinsteiger!

    • Kitty MLB

      Not the Argentina then? The lesser of two evils maybe?
      or you just instinctavely know who will win and have
      chosen to be on the winning side.

  • Mark McIntyre


    • Kitty MLB

      Ah, this is not the fault of the charming Rod. The Spectator is as complex as
      the Byzantine Empire and somewhat precarious. But always reasonable.
      Your post may have had a reason for being sent to the Spectator nether regions.. and watch your manners !

  • Blindsideflanker

    As someone who excelled at playing with a pointy ball, what do I know abut football? Not a great deal, but to my ill educated eye, and the Germany Brazil game aside, I don’t believe this has been a very good WC.

    Previous WC’s seem to have brought a new style football to the world, Cruyff’s Holland, The Samba Brazilian sides, the tippy tappy Spanish, so has anything new been brought to the world of football at this WC, I don’t believe so. There seems to have been a bland uniformity to this WC. With foreign players all playing in European leagues, and foreign national teams being managed by European managers, a uniformity has been brought football, the recent slightly exuberant African play has gone under an European structured style, and that seems to be the case where ever you look.

    In enriching European leagues with foreign players, and foreign leagues enriches with European managers, football has lost any diversity it had.

    When watching some of the games i began to wonder if football had reached its development potential, in future you may get different sides winning, but they will do it by all playing the same type of football. Where is the interest in that?

    • Fraser Bailey

      You make a lot of very good points. But I still think this has been a pretty good World Cup. Sorry, make that FIFA World Cup – I don’t want FIFA to sue me!

  • Kitty MLB

    Are all these English footballers any good ( I hope the crying has ceased, my poor
    hubby is no longer woebegone and I am no longer impishly tormenting poor men with
    pots of salt )
    Maybe if England were without the Neanderthal Wayne Rooney ( How can his wife yuk!) honestly the way he schlepped that ball around the field.. quite honestly
    my flittermice in the attic could have done better.
    Another thing Rod, a message from the husband via little me. Why on earth do you support such a rubbish football team. He supports Arsenal and I am sure you’d agree
    they are the most superior team..
    Clearly in this tournament the might of Germany will prevail.. wish they were playing
    the Holland.. I adore the Dutch.

    • Blindsideflanker

      A difficult call to know which team to lend your support to, Germany or Argentina? Neither country is high on my like list.

      • Kitty MLB

        Yes well that’s the point, in that situation, you actually don’t want either to win.

    • girondas2

      “Why on earth do you support such a rubbish football team.”

      Not all men are rational creatures Kitty
      Rod supports Millwall, I support West Ham

      • Kitty MLB

        Indeed not all men are rational creatures. Millwall ! that’s somewhat
        scrapping the bottom of the barrel. He shouldn’t be so pusillanimous
        and support Arsenal. As for West Ham, that name is persona non grata in the cottage and indeed the village.. we are forbidden from cavorting with the enemy.
        Men are not rational creatures elsewhere. I had a pleasant lunch of
        pheasant and a fine claret with a renowned professor the other day.
        Who insisted the ancient Greeks played football.. he was confused
        with the Olympics. I just smiled and bit my tongue.

        • girondas2

          But Kitty, you do cavort with me.

          • Kitty MLB

            Oh yes indeed, but your the exception to the rule. Blame the
            intellectual prowess. And I may be the black sheep of the
            village now, unless I can say : Its not me, who precariously
            cavorts with the enemy, but her. One of the three graces from
            the Garden of Hesperades who tends those golden apples whilst waiting for the handsome Paris.
            They might not believe me and will place me in the haunted cottage ( its over 200 years of age )
            I shall be surrounded by garlic and eating my favourite Godiva
            chocolates..for the entire weekend.

        • girondas2

          I’ve run out of frozen pheasant.and roadkilled birds have become rare (someone is getting them before me – you?)
          In the new season i will get pheasant and partridge from the auction house – less than £1 a bird but you mix with strange fenland folk. Rabbits too sometimes – “in the feather” as the auctioneer likes to describe them. Hares very occasionally. All are wonderful in my slow cooker.
          There is a pheasant sitting on her eggs on my allotment – virtually invisible – you all but stand on her before she flies off.

          • Kitty MLB

            That are you saying? that I wander around the fens, removing supplies of food, trying to force people into Waitrose to buy sweaty meat in plastic containers?
            Maybe I’ll change my mind if they are ” strange”.. rather
            like the black market is it ? grouse strangely appears in a
            brown paper bag. We know the north Norfolk coast very well and they’re fine..less unusual then Cambridgeshire.
            But yes these auction houses are a delight, we do have a farmer locally whose very helpful and have had many a
            delicious meal.. Quite fond of partridge actually, do eat those
            when of the delights of living in the country,
            apart from very foggy winters down here in the southwest .
            You have made me feel quite ashamed about not growing
            our own vegetables, especially when living in the countryside. We have a good farm shop but that’s no excuse. It will be a disaster but will give it a go.

          • Kitty MLB

            Oh sorry I forgot . I hope you have a cellar or space full
            or decent wine that’s fitting for such fine food. People
            sometimes ruin a meal by their choice of wines…

            • girondas2

              No cellar (no foundations for that matter!)
              Wine from Waitrose, personally chosen by me – my main criterion is the attractiveness of the label (sorry).

              • Kitty MLB

                No need for you to say sorry but I do. That made me sound like
                a snob and I’m not. Just had some awful wine from Russia. We
                also buy our wine from Waitrose who have an excellent selection.

                • girondas2

                  I don’t think you are a snob. Flashman was teasing.
                  He is however genuinely hopeless with wine. His college has a Wine Master – a real one. He has been to twenty five wine tastings over two years but understands nothing.

                • Kitty MLB

                  Flashman wasn’t meant to swallow the wine and become forgetful. What does the Wine Master think? And twenty five wine tastings over two years- Phew!!
                  Flashman can tease, he puts up with my impishness But I’ll also say his roguishness makes me burst with laughter–some don’t swoon–but I’ll redeem myself with the handsome chap by pointing out his three renowned talents.
                  I keep the wine in the same place our lodger bats inhibit
                  ( real bats) a friends small daughter the other day asked if I knew a witch, and at that very moment the black cat that
                  lives at the bottom of the hill decided to visit- you should
                  have seen her face.
                  Its a very colourful village. And so is yours by the sounds of it, Donkey Races, we don’t have those.

                • girondas2

                  “Flashman wasn’t meant to swallow the wine.”

                  Well it’s a bit late telling him now.

                  Anyway, we do try to make it a social event and watching librarians getting giggly is worth the entry price on its own.

                  I have learnt one phrase ” Not bad, not bad at all, but it does rather fall away on the mid-palate”
                  I find that if I say this once near the beginning of a dinner party and maintain absolute silence thereafter I can just about get away with it – people fear that I may be knowledgeable but reticent and so don’t challenge me.
                  PS – Suitably adapted it works at the book club too.

                  Donkey Races were good – two children fell off their donkey.

                • Kitty MLB

                  Tell Flashman that the pursuit of knowledge
                  is never too late. Like wine, wisdom ages well,
                  and have you ever heard of the secret life
                  of a out for the giggly ones.

                  “it does rather fall away on the mid palate”
                  a je ne sais quoi about that, sounds better then saying: that went down quickly luv, can
                  I have another glass.
                  At a dinner party, very clever of you to impart
                  a few thought provoking words( with well
                  judged pauses) they would have had the
                  efficaciousness to leave the others
                  dumbstruck for fear of what might come and
                  the silence of your perceived sagacity spoke

                  I must admit my favourite time for a glass of
                  red wine is mid winter, with a good book
                  (not kindle) Mozart playing in the background
                  and by a roaring fire.
                  I think you meant the donkey races were good
                  despite two children falling off their donkeys.

                • girondas2

                  “I think you meant the donkey races were good
                  despite two children falling off their donkeys”

                  No – I have a wicked streak and anyway children bounce so no real harm done.
                  I have been listening to a BBC concert from Finchcocks.
                  I went there once.

                • Kitty MLB

                  “Anyway children bounce” that made me laugh
                  I envisaged bouncy children creating mayhem
                  like large rubber balls.

                  Finchcocks looks a delightful place, I’ve never
                  visited. Always wished I could play the piano.

                • Kitty MLB

                  Oh I do apologize, the response below is rather
                  longwinded.I’ve never got the hang of brevity
                  being the soul of wit. And believe it or not I’m
                  a quiet soul who never says boo to a goose.

                • girondas2

                  “I’m a quiet soul who never says boo to a goose”

                • Kitty MLB

                  Oh apologies again, its been a stressful weekend.I meant, I’m not a very talkative person, only speak when I must. But I’m
                  capable of writting till the cows come home.
                  I have no idea where that saying comes from
                  but never mind.

    • rodliddle

      Because I was born in Bermondsey to a mother born in Bermondsey. It’s either Millwall or Middlesbrough, given the twin prongs of where I’m from. Arsenal? I might as well support Barcelona, or Nagoya Sea Turtles or whatever they’re called, or Bayern Munich (like my daughter does).

      • Kitty MLB

        I fully understand Rod, it were decided upon where you were born.
        So therefore others should not badger you so about your choice.
        My husband were born in the West Country ( Bath) and yet he has
        always supported Arsenal from a small child for some unfathomable
        reason. I have a few Italian genes but didn’t support them whilst they
        were playing against England but keep an eye on a team occasionally.
        Nagoya Sea Turtles.. never heard of them but they sound intriguing
        and a brilliant name.

        • gelert

          Nagoya’s baseball team is the Chunichi Dragons !

      • Bobby Morton

        What do you do if you were born in Derby?

        • girondas2

          Maintain a discreet silence.

        • Wessex Man

          shoot himself.

    • Wessex Man

      The only problem being that along with Chelsea and Man City they are the worst offenders playing people from all around the Globe except the English.

  • rtj1211

    Perhaps the most interesting thing is that 13 years ago, Germany got stuffed 5-1 by England in their own back yard.

    They actually did something about it. They got together, said: ‘teach our boys (by which I mean their 8 year olds, not their Michael Ballacks) how to play properly, stop Johnny Foreigner taking their place every Saturday afternoon and let’s see what happens.

    The Germans you see have a team ethic, an understanding that football is for everyone, not just a money making machine for the few.

    The FA’s latest wheeze: renting out St George’s Park to Barcelona for a few groats.

    That’s right: our national training centre is now for the benefit of the Spanish.

    2015 Parliamentary manifesto promises:
    1. Hand over all our shale gas to foreign shells domiciled in St Kitts and Nevis, Jersey or Liechtenstein.
    2. Spend £200bn on infrastructure to allow Google to make £200bn profits selling electric cars. Make sure Google pays not one penny of the £200bn of enabling infrastructure, as they are far too poor to innovate otherwise.
    3. Become the global centre of excellence in selling care home boys to paedophile diplomats, using Sotheby’s to auction them off for record prices. Outsource their bumping off after buggery is complete to ISIS, citing their ‘addiction to Satan and other unspeakable evil’.
    4. Bung Poroshenko £40bn to exterminate ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine, in return for the Americans gettting their hands on all of Ukraine’s prime agricultural land. None for the UK as we are the suckers, not the Godfathers. The Germans and the French can have some, so long as they have given up cheese eating forever.
    5. Contract Silvio Berlusconi to be an ‘educational consultant’ for the Free Schools programme, delivering lectures on taking advantage of statute of limitations frameworks to avoid being brought to book for being a naughty boy. Set up a London-wide prize awarded to the most successful not-caught-lawbreaker amongst the U18s and endow a scholarship to study PPE at Oxford for the successful winner.
    6. Hand over the SW of England to the Sicilian mafia, as it’s unfair that the Russians have got East Anglia already.
    7. Inform the General Public that the Rugby World Cup can only be won by England, South Africa, Australia or New Zealand, since the French are going to win the 2015 Tour de France. Wales, Ireland, Argentina and the rest shouldn’t bother turning up, because RWC have been benchmarking Sepp Blatter for years.
    8. Restart the Empire because James Delingpole and Andrew Roberts said it was a good idea. Bugger what the Africans think, they’re corrupt savages and genocidalists, after all. Hitler wasn’t such a bad chap, just that gassing of Jews was a bit over the top, after all……
    9. Issue an unequivocal pardon to Tony Blair for anything he has done, might have done, is doing and might do in the future. Because if you do, you’ll be allowed to earn £100m yourself on the post-politics trousering circuit.
    10. Invite Vladimir Putin to set up a new naval base in Devonport, because his old one in Sevastopol will disappear without trace pretty soon… least it will if the Republicans have their wishes granted…..then we can re-enact D-Day with the Russians, because then they’ll be the war heroes, won’t they?? Definition of war heroes is getting laid with grateful Frenchwomen after all……

    As the media will play ball, I’m sure that 80% of the deluded sheeple will vote for this.

    Especially Rod Liddle and Mark Steel……..

    • FrankieThompson

      You’re right , of course , about the English victory in 2001. But you should remember that that selfsame German team still qualified for the World Cup and, here’s the thing, got to the final !

      But they still realised they needed to improve.

  • girondas2

    “there is karma in football. That’s why Leeds Utd are still in the lower reaches of the Championship.”

    Sadly It’s not karma – it’s lack of money.

    • Mark McIntyre

      Too much to hope the Glazers bankrupt ManU ? !

      • girondas2

        Too much!

  • girondas2

    “You see them in the tunnel hugging and smiling. What’s that all about?”

    Well it didn’t happen in my day. Can’t imagine Nobby Stiles ever hugging an Argie opponent, but I suppose these guys know each other.
    All professional players are playing for money, presumably, and winning is good for their careers, so I expect them to try and win, but not to die for the cause. What more do we want?

    • Donafugata

      ” but I suppose these guys know each other”

      Unlike the Brazilian players, someone should at least have introduced them to each other before they kicked off.

      • girondas2

        Unnecessarily cruel comment

        • Wessex Man

          good though.

          • girondas2

            Oh yeah!

    • Wessex Man

      and they are all here in our Premier league which is why our team came home early.

  • arnoldo87

    It’s certainly been the most watchable tournament in years, maybe because there have been more mistakes than usual.

    Last night’s game was more like previous World Cups, because we had two able teams playing ultra- defensively and cancelling each other out.

    The really entertaining teams were Chile and Colombia with their brilliant close interplay and fantastic team ethic. It was a real shame that Chile’s last-minute shot didn’t go in against Brazil instead of hitting the bar.

    Chile versus Germany would have been some game.

    • Kitty MLB

      I disagree, Germany verses Holland would have been far more sublime.
      But poor Brazil they were utterly crestfallen.. apparently they’re usually
      rather good. All those Latin Americans usually are.

      • Donafugata

        Hello Kitty ( I’ve been dying to say that )

        For sheer aesthetics there was nothing to match Brazil in ’82.
        They would move effortlessly and elegantly forward as the drums in the crowd began beating and the players slowly samba-ed towards their goal.

        The Germans, as they did on Tuesday, roll forward like an efficient and determined Panzer division, nothing is going to stop them.
        While not being quite as visually satisfying, it is most effective.

        • arnoldo87

          Yes, Brazil 82 were a delight – and a team that nearly got to the semi-finals playing with two dead weights – centre forward Serginho and goalkeeper Perez.

        • Kitty MLB

          Well some people say have a saucer of milk or are you stuck
          up a tree waiting to be rescued by a fireman :) The Germans
          do seem to be determined and in military fashion, there was
          no stopping with them . But my husband has said this has
          happened before and will not say if he thinks they will win.
          But his predictions have been wrong, bless him.

      • Kingstonian

        While watching the German destruction of Brazil in the bar, someone pointed out how many of the German goals came from a pass in the area to someone in a better scoring position.
        Compare and contrast with teams – since eliminated – where players cut into the box and go for the glory shot (usually over the bar / wide) instead of picking out a better placed teammate. Colombia, Chile and Ivory Coast all come to mind.
        The Germans have simply figured out that playing for the team instead of yourself pays dividends. Who knew?

        • Kitty MLB

          Yes indeed the Germans are quite a force when working as
          a team( in many other areas of life too)
          And excuse me it I’m wrong, there seems to be a awful lot
          of these chaps who are just in it for the fame and huge amount
          of money and seem rather lazy. Hope I am not being unfair.

        • Donafugata

          Yes, rarely seen in the Premier League today.
          There were a number of players who would “make” goals by passing to a team mate in a better position rather than risking a missed opportunity for themselves.

          There were some lovely examples of that on Tuesday, true team work that today’s giant egos just can’t bring themselves to do

        • Baron

          Good point, Kingstonian, there in the blogosphere floats a joke: The English have Rooney, the Brazilians Neymar, the Argentinians Messi….the Germans have a team.

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