So after months of anticipation and the rigmarole of qualifying, the 18th (Why can’t they be Olympic like and call it the XVIII) FeeFiFoFum World Cup is here. And to kick the whole thing off there will be the usual dreadful opening show (It could be worse, ITV could have done it), followed by the holders playing very badly against some tin pot team no one cares about in the most boring game of the tournament. So settling down to watch Brazil, you can imagine my surprise to find that they’ve changed the traditional format, and this time round it’s the host nation Germany, who will start proceedings, in the late Springtime in Berlin (Hey! That’d make a great name for a musical). As their men stream on to the pitch dressed in lederhosen carrying cow bells between their legs (and the pre match show was just as bad) to face the pre-tournament favourites Costa Rica, there’s a sense of relief as the moment is here, and it all kicks off.
Another world cup brings another new world cup ball, and complaints from lazy goalkeepers that it moves about too much in the air. Well they weren’t joking as just 5 minutes into the game a shot from Lamb moves an incredible 90 feet through the air and into the top corner for an amazing shock opening goal. However, the favourites came back strongly with a goal from One Chop, but just 5 minutes later the Germans were back in front, and they increased their lead after half time, with both efforts coming from Close in. Good old One Chop became Two Chops as he reduced the deficit, only to see Frings getting better for Germany with a fourth goal, as they ran out surprise winners in a world cup shock first – an entertaining opening game.
Later that evening, somewhere else in Germany, it was the other game in group A, with new tournament favourites Poland taking on Ecuador. The word on the street was that Ecuador had only qualified due to the fact that they had won all their home games playing at altitude, 45,000 feet up in the Risties (just above the Andes for those interested in geography), and that they would struggle at sea level. What people had failed to take into account was that due to global warming, sea level is much higher than it used to be and Ecuador ran out easy winners, and another tournament favourite struggles, as the Poles were made to look like planks.
And so the moment millions have been waiting for, as England start their bid for world cup glory, against new tournament favourites Paraguay. And less than three minutes in, disaster strikes as Paraguay score with a glancing header. Hold on though, it’s an own goal, and England, the massive underdogs are ahead, with only 87 minutes left to play. Top manager Sten Gun Eric Sun, quickly rearranges the side into the formidable 8-1-1 formation that has served him so well at major tournaments over the years, and England hold on for a famous victory. Two landmarks were reached during the match. First up was BP Crouch winning a bet with his team mates as he managed to head the giant screen hanging over the pitch. And then as time ran down, the moment a generation of England fans had been waiting for, as Sir Owen Hargreaves came on to win his record breaking 126th cap, overtaking Peter Shilton’s record that had stood for 171 years.
Then onto the other group B game where Sweden were playing a somewhat confused Trinidad on Toboggans, who are trying to emulate the Jamaican bobsleigh team, but at the wrong event. Eh? It’s what? Trinidad and Tobago? Two countries against one? How can that be fair? However against great odds the Swedes held on for a famous point, although their cause was made easier by only having to face 21 men for most of the second half, after one of the T & T players was sent off.
With the tournament in full flow it was off to group C, where the up and coming Argentina team were facing the new tournament favourites, The Ivory Coast. The form table was again swiftly turned on its head as Argentina strolled in to a first half 2-0 lead. Ivory Coast managed to get one goal back, but were unable to stop themselves falling victims to another shock result.
And once again it’s two versus one as the might of both Serbia and Montenegro gang up against Holland, in a tournament that is beginning to have more in common with a WWE event than the FeeFiFoFum world cup we are used to. Despite being on the wrong end of a handicap match Holland won thanks to a goal from the world Springboard champion Arjen Robben.
With the matches coming thick and fast it’s off to group D for the middle of day 3’s matches, with Mexico taking on the brand new tournament favourites Iran. Can you believe it? Another favourite falls by the wayside as Mexico Cruz to an easy win, so easy in fact that their manager even had time to get a cigar on along the way, whereas world record international scorer Ali Daei looked more like his namesake that Graeme Souness signed at Southampton, and in all likelihood, he’s probably a closer relation to George Weah too.
Then it was over to the other group D game in what promised to be the most violent fixture in world cup history since the battle of Santiago, as the downtrodden Portuguese team faced up to their former colonisers (and new tournament favourites), the mighty Angola. Once again, the unfair difference in numbers being allowed in this world cup showed it’s ugly head, as Portugal were allowed to field a team of 12, with both Figo and his nose being counted as only 1 player. And just 5 minutes in the extra numbers told as Figo broke down the left wing and flicked it up for his nose to bat in a cross to Pauleta, who for the first time ever, actually managed to score a goal in a game televised in the UK, after 57 years of hype. Those tuned in waiting for the bloodletting to start were severely disappointed, as nothing else happened in the match. It was worth noting that as at Euro 2004, Jose Mourinho had managed to get his star full back Pedro Ferrari rested ready for the forthcoming season.
For some bizarre reason, the German hosts managed to squeeze in a game from group F before group E had even started, as Pacific rimmers Japan (the new tournament favourites) and Australia faced each other. Japan showed early why they are considered favourites, but threw it away in the last 10 minutes to end up losing 3-1, causing major tailbacks in the majority of London pubs.
When Group E did get underway, it saw my perennial tips for major championships, the Czech Republic up against the new tournament favourites, USA. And it didn’t take long for the weight of expectation to get to the States, who seemed to be somewhat disconcerted after they were told they couldn’t use baseball bats or wear shoulder pads on the pitch. Just 5 minutes in, Jan Coca Cola got a bullet header, only to pull up later in the half, and be carried off on a stretcher 2 foot too short for the purpose. Two goals from Rosicky (Note to John Motson, there is no f#cking N in his name), wrapped things up, and makes me think that my money is well invested.
In the later game in group E, saw the new tournament favourites Ghana, up against everyone’s favourite all out attacking team, Italy. After being chauffeured to the centre circle in his Fiat limo, and checking the time on his brand new Rolex, the referee got things underway with a blast on his shiny golden whistle. It has been said that the new world cup ball moves too much and causes goalkeepers too many problems. However it would appear that it causes the attacking team just as many problems, as Ghana were at great pains to show, as in 49 attempts on goal (25 by Chelsea sub Essien), they hadn’t managed to master the ball, and proved beyond doubt that they couldn’t hit a cow’s ar5e with a banjo. Somewhere along the line Italy got a couple of goals, and after the match the referee was whisked away by helicopter along with the entire Miss World pageant.
Saw us jump to group G for the first two games, with a strange match up first. In another bizarre piece of handicap matching, only half a team in South Korea were about to go. Oh, sorry that should have been play Togo. What a stupid name for a country, how many million people have been sent there on holiday by mistake. I want to go … must be an opening line to so many travel agents. And another thing, who’s stupid idea was it to have games at 2 in the afternoon, don’t they realise there are people who need to work? Once again the handicapped team won through as South Korea won 2-1, which could mean Togo are one of the first countries to go home.
Then it was on to the former world champions France, who took on a Swiss team, in what was promising to be a scintillating game. Nearly 2 hours later and I’ve gone back to my dictionary, and found that the word scintillating comes from the French for useless boring t0ssers who couldn’t kick their way out of a paper bag. If I’d have known that beforehand, I could have done something interesting during the game, such as learn croqueting. Doubling the initials of the French captain would sum the match up. ZZzz
With the pressures of being in the opening match taken off of Brazil’s shoulders, their game against Croatia was bound to be a goal fest. However, led by Fatboy, they huffed and puffed to a disappointing 1-0 game, which suggests that they still thought they were playing in the tournament opener and therefore had to struggle and bore everybody to death. Not only that, but there was an emergency substitution in the second half as the Gelsenkirchen stadium’s structural engineers ran on to remove Fatboy from the pitch, as the additional weight was damaging the mechanism that moves the pitch out to the car park when it’s not in use. Meanwhile 53,000 fans were wishing that the game had been played in the car park, and that they’d bought tickets for a Leonard Cohen gig instead. Rumours that local crop circles are in fact Fatboy’s turning circle are yet to be confirmed.
Finally to group H for the last two matches in the first round of group games. For some inexplicable reason, the idiot in charge of scheduling put perennial under achievers Spain against the might of the new tournament favourites Ukraine on at 2pm. Basically 3 words to describe them – You’re an idiot! With Chelsea new boy Shedloads looking somewhat weighed down, the Ukraine struggled to get going and soon found themselves 2-0 down, with worse to follow. An early sending off in the second half and two more goals conceded saw them as statistically the worst team after the first round of matches.
In the last group H match two of the world’s footballing superpowers, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia put on a super show, full of slick one touch football, brilliant attacking and steadfast defending, which ended up with a 2-2 draw.
16 games down and 48 to go (not Togo – just in case you’re as confused as me). For some strange reason this year’s world cup has 33 ½ teams in it, and even more bizarrely neither the African or European champions have taken up their places, as winning their continental titles would surely have ensured. Which is a shame, as I can’t continue my “The Geeks have inherited the earth” line of flogging a dead horse that worked so well at Euro 2004. Even more disappointedly, it has also scuppered the Bangles reunion, which had been planned so that they could sing their masterpiece that is the national anthem of Egypt – Walk Like an Egyptian.
Without giving poor overworked journalists a chance to get a few well earned G & T’s down, it’s straight into the second phase of group matches, with the hosts Germany, still fully dressed in their lederhosen and cow bells, against former tournament favourites Poland in the Group of Home Advantage. And in their tried and tested way, the Germans spent most of the match invading Polish territory, with the Poles desperately defending for their lives (in the world cup sense of course). In the end came the inevitable, a German victory, and qualification to go invading elsewhere in Europe.
Pre tournament favourites Costa Coffee needed a win to get their world cup hopes back on track against everyone’s favourite team from the Risties, Ecuador. On paper it looked a foregone conclusion, but unfortunately for Costa Coffee, they don’t play on paper, and Ecuador ran out easy winners, both confirming a place in the last 16 for themselves and denying Costa Coffee the chance to avenge their defeat to Starbucks in the last world cup.
Then it was off to the Group of Tactical Geniuses, and England’s turn to play the twin nations of Grinidad and Toboggans, led by Dwight Yorkie Bar. In a shock move the G&T’s (Mmmm… G&T) coach, Leo BeenStalk, went for the double version of Sten Gun Eric Sun’s favourite formation, and started with a 16-2-2 line-up. However, being the tactical genius that he is, Sten Gun eventually found a way round this, and in an historic formation, and with his substitutions, he ended up with more attackers on the pitch than when he started, and much to the disgust of the watching faithful, he failed to bring on Sir Owen Hargreaves for his record extending 127th cap. Despite all of this England managed to win with 2 late goals, the first that England have scored in the second half of a game for 27 years, and have now qualified for the last 16.
In the other Group of Tactical Geniuses game, The Swedes took on Parazone, without having first familiarised themselves with the plan of where the goal was, in what would have been a turnip for the books, Parazone were so close to making the Swedes look like cabbages, until Freddie just managed to squeeze one in at the back, as he’s so used to doing, and left the Swedes with the Carrot dangling for the group’s top spot. Meanwhile Parazone became the 3rd team to be eliminated.
In the pre tournament hyped group of death, came the 22 men of Serbia & Montenegro, against the Argentines, who it would appear have got the missing Koreans from the north on their side, as Rik L Mee, H Kris Po, and JP So Rin all appeared on the team sheet. Not only that, but in goal they had world famous Russian (well technically he’s an Uzbekistanian – count = 1) cycling loony Djamolidine Abdoujaparov, who was last seen crashing in to a Gendarme on the Champs Elyssee at 50 mph in the mid 1990’s. Well it’s easy to see why they call themselves S&M, with them falling to a 6-0 defeat, including what some common potatoes, are describing as the greatest world cup goal ever, which came after a 227 step passing movement, involving all 15 Argentine players on the pitch, and 3 of the subs who were warming up at the time. And in winning 6-0 the Argentines moved themselves up to equal 9th favourites with the bookies.
Elsewhere in the group of death, it was the Oranges of Holland against the much trumpeted Elephants from the Ivory Coast, who were a bit short handed after 17 of their entourage had been detained at customs on charges of suspected ivory smuggling – Who’d have thought it. Holland who fielded more Vans than a ford transit convention, got two early goals from two of their Vans, with Percy and Nistelrooy (which by all accounts means “looks like a horse” in Dutch) both driving unstoppable shots into the net. The Tusk botherers got one back, but it wasn’t enough to see them eliminated from the world cup as they were made to look like lemons by the oranges.
For the final action of the day it was off to the group of colonial friendship, where new tournament favourites Mexico, were hoping to see off the oppressive colonists of Angola. Unfortunately there would be no cigar for the Mexican manager, as FeeFiFoFum had declared it a no smoking tournament, and the lack of cigar obviously caused the Mexicans some difficulties, try as they might, they huffed and puffed, but failed to blow the door down, even with the extra power of chilli imbued at half time, and the game finished goal less.
At the stage where the days are beginning to blur (not oasis) into one, I think it’s over to the other game in the group of colonial friendship, where the 12 men of Portugal took to the field for a match against the team of former runners I Ran, who for the first time in 298 games started without the international scoring record holder Ali Dire. However not long into the first half, the numbers were evened out, as a flying karate kick from one of the runners managed to take out Figo’s nose, which had to be stretchered off, leaving fears that it might not return in this tournament, or in international football again. Even with equal numbers, Portugal managed to take the lead, when a goal from Deco (who’s missed the first match to do some painting and wall papering) decorated the match. Then Portugal got a penalty, and with Figo’s nose off injured and unable to bat, it was left to the thinner of the Ronaldo brothers, Crissie, to score, which meant that for the first time since 1966, the Portuguese had qualified for the knockout stage, and we all know what happened then. (For the less historically aware amongst you, it was the year that the Common Market finished their agricultural policy.) It also meant that the ex runners were off home.
Then it was off to the Group of Cards, where I was less than impressed to hear that my favourites for the tournament had been handed the poisoned chalice that is the new tournament favourite tag. It all started so well with a goal from the Cheques within the first 70 seconds. Or so I thought. In fact it was Ghana that had scored, as they were playing in white this time and not the Cheques who’d played in white in their last game. Perhaps watching the pre match build up instead of chatting to Swedish bar maids wouldn’t be such a bad idea after all. The jinx had well and truly struck, and it was all downhill from there, the Cheques had a man sent off and conceded another goal and find themselves in danger of being bounced out of the competition, and me with the feeling of who’s proper f#cked now then (count = 2).
In the other game in the group of cards, new tournament favourites Italy played the USA. The Fiat limo delivered the ref to the centre circle, and he checked his Rolex and blew his diamond encrusted whistle to get the game started. After an early exchange of goals, the ref, carried away with his new found wealth brandished his red gold card for an elbow, only to realise it was an Italian he was sending off. Balance was restored just before the break, when a sneeze from one of the Americans led to a straight red card. The fact that the half time massage by naked supermodels had been replaced by a horse’s head soon focused the ref’s mind, and he quickly came out showing more cards than an “All In” Texas hold em player. The states were soon down to 9 players, though this did little to change to flow of the match, and despite fouls and offsides by the boys in blue being ignored, the ref still had to disallow a perfectly good goal by the Yanks to prevent Italy sliding to defeat. At the end of the match the ref found it wasn’t enough, and his pre arranged helicopter pick up from the stadium was replaced by a ride in a Fiat hearse.
Saw to action move to the group of intolerable boredom and two 2 bit no hopers as Japan played Croatia, in a match, where apart from a couple of contenders for the bloopers reel at the end of the tournament, nothing happened.
Then it was over to the night of a thousand pies, where the pre match pie eating contest between the two number 9’s was narrowly won by Fatboy, who polished off 521 pies to Verruca’s 479, in a much closer contest than was originally expected. Then came the football, where new tournament favourites Australia took on the holders Brazil in yet another stinker. Half time punditry saw cricketer (Does this mean we get Ian Wright doing test match special?) Shaun Wayne berate his countryman Verruca, and claiming that he’d have beaten Fatboy in the pie eating contest, possibly biting off more than he can chew in saying so. The second half actually saw the first goals of the day, as Brazil managed to get 2, including one from the spectacularly English sounding old man Fred.
After that it was the group of garlic’s turn to try and rouse a nation of TV viewers who had lost the will to live, and where new tournament favourites France were taking on South Korea, who were still smarting from finding out that the Argentines had nicked all their northern players. Less than 10 minutes in and another old English man (though a posher version), this time Henry, scored for the blue amphibians, who in their usual style then proceeded to try to bore the Koreans to defeat. However the half time portions of sweet and sour crispy dog did wonders for the Koreans, as they managed an equalizer through their Manchester United midfielder JS Recreation Ground. The match ended soon after, fortunately just before I’d completely lost the will to live.
It was with great hope that day 11 wouldn’t be as sh1te as day 10, and it was time to go (not Togo, for those still confused) to the other game in the group of garlic to start the day’s proceedings, with the Swiss gnomons taking on Togo (not “to go”), who after some desperate negotiations had agreed to play and not to go (not to be confused with Togo) home. It was with typical Swiss efficiency and a goal in each half that saw their fans going cuckoo, knowing that they only needed a draw to progress to the knockout phase for only the 2nd time since they hosted the tournament in 1954, and we all know what happened then. (For the less historically aware, Russia joined UNESCO). However the Togo (not “to go” to clarify) fans had to cancel their toga (not Togo or “to go” just in case there are any doubts) party as they became the first team from the group to go (not Togo or even toga) home.
Then it was over to the group of “Can’t Catch, Won’t Catch” keepers, where the where the sneaky former Russians (count = 2 ½) from the Ukraine were taking on the new tournament favourites Saudi Arabia, and for nearly 10 minutes it seemed the jinx would be broken, but then totally against the walk of play, Ukraine scored and then former Tottenham player Surging Refuse, scored with a mishit clearance from his own half as the Arabian Knights keeper fell over laughing. Meanwhile on the bench the Arabian Knights coach, knowing full well the sack is coming his way, had given up on the football and was sharpening up his skills for the lucrative Othello circuit. Though someone had obviously sold him a duff set as he had yellow and blue counters and not the traditional black and white ones. The 2nd half saw the sneaky former Russians (count = 3) get another goal this time from new Chelsea man Andy Shedloads, who managed to rise for a header despite the weight of the nations expectations on his shoulders. A late goal sealed the whupping, and the Arabian Knights now have only an outside chance of avoiding going home to face their punishment of arranged marriages to camels.
For the final game of the second phase of group matches we were still in the group of “Can’t Catch, Won’t Catch” keepers, where new tournament favourites Tunisia were taking on perennial under achievers, the Spanish omelettes, who were trying to avoid getting egg on their faces again. Founder member of the “Can’t Catch, Won’t Catch” keeper association Ivor Catsass, managed to push a tame effort out to the Tunisian striker for a tap in, and so it stayed until late in the match when, not to be outdone, the Tunisian striker palmed a back pass straight into the path of veteran Omelette striker Raul (93), who managed to nudge the ball into the net with his Zimmer frame. Then the Tunisian keeper did a couple of impressions. First up was David James, as he rushed out of his box only to miss the ball by about 20 foot. Then an impression of a man with a shark bite out of his side as he allowed a very poor penalty squirm under his body despite lying on the floor. Both times Fernando the Tourist was the lucky recipient, and Spain got through to the later stages as they have nearly every time for the last 50 years, and we know what happened then don’t we. (Yep that did absolutely f#ck all and went out with a whimper in the next round.)
The third and final set of group games start tomorrow, when instead of cramming 3 games into a day we go to a more relaxed two kick off times a day, so I can take things easier, and possibly get a few more G&T’s down. Happy days.
With only two kick offs today and for the rest of the week, plus an hour extra before the first game, it gives some time to catch up on a bit a sleep and prepare myself for the important game from the Group of nothing to play for, and the two homeward bound (but not on Widnes station platform) teams Poland and Costa Coffee trying to get a morale boosting win prior to the next world cup. So what do I find? The lederhosen gang playing against the two men that bothered to turn up for the new tournament favourites Ecuador. Not wanting to sound like a sauerkraut, but what’s going on? My timetable specifically says Poland vs. Costa Coffee at 3pm. Hold on, they are playing, at the same time. How on earth am I supposed to watch 2 games at the same time? I’d have to become a schizoid to do it, and I’m in two minds about that. Apparently it’s all the German’s fault, when two of their then separate parts, West Germany and Austria conspired to fix a match in a previous world cup, so now we have to suffer with missing 8 group games. Anyway, in the featured match, the two men of Ecuador were like Lahms to the slaughter as Germany kept Huthing the ball up front, where Klose closed in on matching his total of 5 goals at the last world cup with a brace here, and with their other Polish striker netting as well, the Poland B team as they are now affectionally known, topped the group. However the Poland A side haven’t had such a good tournament, and the one time favourites scraped to an unconvincing 2-1 victory and managed to avoid being the strongest team in the group as the Costa Coffee boys were pole axed.
Then after a longer wait between games than usual it was over to the group of watertight defending, and the keenly awaited G&T (Mmmmm…G&T) vs. Parazone game. However in typically biased ITV scheduling, the featured game was new tournament favourites England against Sweden. News from the England camp was good, with Sir Owen Hargreaves getting his first start of the tournament, and extending his England caps record to 127. Just over a minute in and star striker Michael Owen (no relation to Sir Owen) had a brace as well, unfortunately a knee brace, as he had to leave the pitch after his longest outing of the year. This meant that we got the advantage of an extra pair of legs as BP “Giraffe” Crouch came on. And it paid off with a glorious goal from Joe Cole (hey, that rhymes). Then in the 2nd half, disaster struck, as the Swedes (in a turnip for the books) got an equalizer as candid camera presenter Rio Ferdinand went off injured as well, to be replaced by Sol Campbell. Sten Gun Eric Sun then put on Stevie Wonder (white stick and all) to replace Rooney, and the change worked as he got a goal and England’s lead was restored. Then 27 minutes into injury time the Swedes again made the England defence look like cabbages with another scrappy equalizer, and secured their place in the knockout stages. However England were the group winners, and bring home the trophy after the knockout stages are over. What? What do you mean there’s no trophy? England won the group, there’s got to be a trophy for that? Does that mean that the G&T boys won’t be getting a wooden spoon after their shock 2-0 defeat to Parazone (which just goes to show that bleach is stronger than alcohol)? This is a scandalous state of affairs and one that FeeFiFoFum have to sort out, as their committee members have loads of spare cash to get the trophies after their record ticket sales.
There’s no need for days like this, excessive celebrations over a famous England group win meant that this intrepid reporter was somewhat less than match fit for today’s games, like a slightly fitter version of Fatboy. And so to the action in the Group of Games that the sun’s reporters obviously couldn’t be arsed watching, and to the featured game of Portugal (who started the game with only 11 men after Figo’s nose was ruled out with cartilage trouble), and Mexico, who started the game looking as if they’d been out til 4 in the morning the night before as well. Two early goals from Portugal (including a penalty converted by Simba the lion in the absence of Figo’s nose) stung the Mexicans into jumping bean mode, a quick goal back, followed by all out attack, the worst penalty since Beckham took out a communications satellite at Euro 2004, two more stone wall (think great wall of China) penalties denied, and a dubious sending off, saw the Jumping beans anxiously awaiting the outcome of the Former runners against Angolanil match.
Early news was that they weren’t called Angolanil, it had just sounded like that through the rest of the tournament, due to the fact they hadn’t scored. Well they had now, and another would see them through, and then came the second goal, unfortunately it was for the former tournament favourites, the ex runners, and the Jumping beans were through.
Who they would play would depend on the outcome in the featured game from the Group that no one wants to play the qualifiers from. With nothing to play for, both the Oranges from Holland, and the combined team of Argentina, North Korea and Uzbekistan, rested most of their squads and played out a nice friendly entertaining 5-a-side exhibition match.
Meanwhile, the S&M boys took an early 2 goal lead against the Tusk botherers, however in true S&M style, there was punishment ahead, both for the opposition and their supporters. Inspired by the fact that their Chelsea spanner Drogsh1t (© hopalong 2005) was sidelined, the Tusk botherers pulled a performance out of their trunk, and aided by yet another S&M horror show, including a sending off, came back to win 3-2, and even had the luxury of equalling the numbers at the end, as one of their players was sent off for a spot of attempted human ivory poaching. All this meant was that unless there were serious horrors to come in other groups the S&M boys would hold the record for most red and yellow cards, least points and most goals conceded in the group stage.
In the Group of any 2 from 4, it was finally here, the game I’d been looking forward to, as my tournament favourites the Cheques, took on the all round dodgy boys in blue, Italy. As seems to be the custom at this FeeFiFoFum world cup, the obligatory stretch limo Cinquecento delivered the gold laden ref to the centre circle. The Cheques started brightly, but then against the run of play, the Eye Ties got a goal from former Everton thug Mickey Maserati, who headed home after a near post flick on from the ref. As is customary, every Italian shopkeeper then closed their doors for the day. Two bookings for blinking quickly followed and the Cheques were down to 10 men before half time. Hampered by being unable to leave their own half without being offside, the Cheques couldn’t find a way back into the game, and with a late boot down field helped into the net by the Eye Tie goal hanger, it was 2-0 and the dodgy boys in blue were through (Hey that rhymes as well), the Cheques had been bounced out of the competition, and the ref took his fleet of heavily laden securicor vans home with him.
Elsewhere in the group new tournament favourites, the USA took on my new tournament favourites Ghana. The USA were expected to trample over Ghana, however in a never before seen shock to the USA, the smaller, weaker underdog, held out against vastly superior numbers, and gained an unexpected victory, and qualified for the next stage. The party (for some reason held at the Vietnamese embassy) promised to be a cracker.
Then it was over to the Group of Can’t count, Won’t count, where the featured match was shunned, so we could watch a game that meant something, as new tournament favourites Croatia took on Australia. And in a shock move, the ozzies started with has-been keeper Spider Kalac, who last been spotted puking over 3 girls in top Leicester night-spot, Crystals, nearly 10 years ago. His first action was to pick the ball out of the back of his web, as the Croats got the start they needed. Then a Maradona-esque clearance gave the Ozzies a penalty, and the equaliser. Meanwhile top premiership menace, Graham Apolling was starting to give out his Christmas cards. In a farcical 2nd half, Croatia took the lead again after Spiderman allowed a tame shot to avoid all 8 limbs and crawl into the back of the web. At such an error he went to hold his head in his hands, but dropped it. The Ozzies were denied another penalty as a repeat of the Maradona-esque clearance from the first half was missed. They then got an equaliser just minutes later despite half the population of Earl’s Court standing in offside positions. Croatia went down to 10 men as Apolling gave a matching set of cards out, numbers were quickly down to 10 a side as Brett Emerton got his set of 3 as well. However some people just aren’t happy with 3 and Croat defender Simunic waited til he got his fourth card before leaving the pitch, all be it after the final whistle had ruled out the Ozzies winning goal. However despite the chaos and mayhem, the Ozzies were through, and the Croats were back off home to Yugoslavia, which proves just how little shirt designing psychologists know.
In the group’s other game the Japanese had flown over their sumo champion for a pre match contest with Fatboy, after which Fatboy walked away with another winners medal. Outraged at being beaten at their own sport, the `Eyes came out and managed to sneak into a lead against the run of play. In scenes reminiscent of David Narey in 1982, the rest of the `eyes weren’t happy with the scorer. They were right not to be, as parity was soon restored as on his way back from the hot dog stand, Fatboy deflected a cross in. The 2nd half started with a flurry of goals, as Avago and Shootio made it 3-1. Then, on his way back from getting some candy floss, Fatboy inadvertently got in the way of a clearance and made it 4-1, and in doing so equalled the all time FeeFiFoFum world cup scoring record, held by the host nation’s Geri Miller on 14 goals. The BBC3 team got so excited they gave Fatboy another goal as well to make 15 and give him the outright record. Fatboy’s celebratory dive caused so much damage that the last half hour of the match was spent sitting round waiting for the landfill team to turn up. The final whistle gave the cue for Brazil to go nuts and for the `eyes to go home.
The final day of the group stages was not one that I was looking forward to as it looked a poor day on paper. My only hope was that as they were playing on grass things wouldn’t be so bad. It started in the group of similar scores, where the featured match was new tournament favourites Tunisia needed to beat the Ukraine to go through, however in a match that made watching paint dry look interesting, it was a penalty by Andy Shedloads, that he’d won with a dive that his new Chelsea team mates would be proud of, that sealed the Ukraine victory, and that meant that they went through and another tournament favourite bit the dust.
Elsewhere the Omelettes, having already qualified, went and found 11 Spanish tourists to play in their final group fixture, and were still too strong for a poor Arabian Knights side.
Then over to the Group of “Just Kill Me” where apart from 20 odd blokes dressed in blue, the entire world was cheering on the Togo (not “to go” or toga, as I’m sure you’re all well aware of by now) side, who already being out, meant that as underdogs, we could all cheer them on and hope that they took the nasty horrible amphibians with them. However in another somewhat less than enthralling performance, the blue toads got through, with a couple of goals after the Togo (yes I know, enough already) team fell asleep with the boredom.
In the group’s other game, not even the power boost of sweet and sour crispy dog beforehand could stop the new tournament favourites South Korean’s defence having more holes than Swiss cheese, as they lost 2-0 to the Gnomons of Zurich, whose Arsenal defender, Senderos, wasn’t content with breaking his nose when scoring, he had to get a more serious injury, an succeeded in the 2nd half by dislocating his shoulder, and missing the rest of the tournament – Just like the guys from South Korea. I bet they wish the rest of their team hadn’t buggered off to play with Argentina.
So that’s it, the group stage is finished, all the qualifiers for the knockout stages have qualified, and knockouts will follow, in this, the most shock-tastic FeeFiFoFum world cup ever, which has already seen 13 (unlucky for some – well all of them really) tournament favourites knocked out.
And so to the knockout stages, and the Fibonacci stage, so called because with the additional North Koreans, the Uzbekistani, and Figo’s nose, there are exactly 16.18 teams, which is the divine proportion if you move the decimal point.
First up it was new tournament favourites Sweden, against the hosts Poland ‘B’. And it wasn’t long before Poland ‘B’ striker Podolski had them two up. Then the cabbages actually took to the field, only to lose one of their sprouts, when their defender Lucicsson was shown two yellow cards in quick succession, the first for being ugly and the second for being bald. Being a man down had the parsnips galvanised and they proceeded to play just as bad in the 2nd half as they did in the first. They got a penalty which veteran striker Larsson (103), put off by the Poland ‘B’ keeper Lehmannski, missed, and which still hasn’t landed yet. Poland ‘B’ ran out easy winners, much to the delight of their manager Klinsmannski, and the curse of the tournament favourite tag struck again, as the potatoes were out, meaning their last action of this year’s FeeFiFoFum world cup was to turnip for their flight home.
In the other game of the day, new tournament favourites, the Mexican Jumping Beans, lived up to the expectations, with an early goal by their captain, Marquis De Sade, against rank outsiders Argentina. Six minutes later they scored again through Bolton misfit Jared Borg “Resistance is Futile” hetti. However it was at the wrong end, and it was eventually credited to the Korean Kris Po. In a pulsating clash, the archangel Gabriel was lucky to get away with some less than heavenly defending, and only got a booking for bringing down a Jumping Bean striker, with no one else in the stadium. Gutted at not being sent off, Heinze baked beans tried again to leave the field, with a neat elbow to the head of Jared Borg “You will be Assimilated” hetti, but again the ref decided not to beam him up. In a match full of chances it was a fluky mishit from Argentine Maxi Pads that flew into the net, whilst he was attempting a two yard pass. Try as they might the Jumping Beans (even with the help of Edward Woodward) couldn’t get an equalizer, and so after the match of the tournament so far © me 2006, they headed home for solace in a bottle of Jose Cuevas’ finest. It also set up the match that no one wanted to see, with the might of the combined Argentine, North Korean and Uzbekistani forces, against the hosts Poland ‘B’
The first game of the day in the Fibonacci stage was the highly anticipated clash between new tournament favourites Ecuador, and good old England. The news from the England camp was good. Sir Owen Hargreaves would again be showing his versatility by starting his record extending 128th game for England, this time at right back (not in the changing rooms though!) Elsewhere, Theo Walcott’s surgery to remove the splinters from his backside was successful, and he will be able to take his customary place on the bench. BP Giraffe’s experience at playing at the same altitude as the Ecuador team wasn’t needed as they were playing at sea level. England started slowly, and it took a great block from Ashley Cole miner to dig them out of trouble early on. As the game progressed, so did the number of people falling asleep in front of the TV. Imagine the shock for them when captain David Beckham scored his first goal for England since the birth of Theo Walcott, and put England into the lead. The excitement of doing so was too much for our intrepid captain, and he promptly showed the English spirit by puking his guts up, a trick taught to him by his wife, just after meals. Two more hours of intolerable boredom followed before the final whistle confirmed England’s place in the quarter finals. It also meant that the Ecuador team had to start their arduous journey back up to their altitude in the Risties, which will take two weeks to avoid giving their players the bends.
Meanwhile over in Nuremburg, there was a trial by FeeFiFoFum of a new type of game – Card Ball. The object was to see just how many cards 1 pedantic Russian referee could show in one match. Those on trial today in Nuremburg were the new tournament favourites, the oranges of Holland, and the Portuguese Men-o-war, who welcomed Figo’s nose back in to the starting 12, after cartilage trouble. The oranges were first out of the blocks with Van Bobbel Hat collecting the first card of the day. Action was slow at first, but the men-o-war quickly warmed to the task and got a couple of cards of their own. The flow of the game was then ruined by a goal from the men-o-war, though almost immediately more cards were won. Then just moments before half time, Portuguese Man-o-war Costingya, got his bonus card and was allowed to leave the ground for a well deserved rest. Buoyed by the success of Costingya, the other players quickly got in the swing of things in the second half. Figo’s nose got in on the action with a card for nose slapping Van Bobbel Hat, who himself missed out in his audition for an extra in Platoon. In retaliation orange defender Boogaloo elbowed Figo’s nose, which sadly for all concerned meant it had to be stretchered off again. However this did mean that Boogaloo got his bonus card and an early rest. Just minutes later Man-o-war Decorator got his bonus card, for an expertly executed ball holding and spinning fall. With the men-o-war well ahead, a desperate late effort by the oranges saw Van Bratwurst Sausage get his bonus card, but it was too little too late, as the men-o-war limped out winners. The oranges were going home, and angrily pointed the finger at non trying defender Ouija Board, who managed to spirit himself away without getting a card, the only player who was on the pitch for the whole game to do so.
And yet more action from the Fibonacci stage, where new tournament favourites Ozzy Osbourne faced everyone’s least favourite pantomime villains, those dirty boys in blue, the Eye Ties. As the blinged up ref emerged from his Fiat Punto stretch limo, he struggled to move due to the weight of his solid gold kit. The players themselves were finding it difficult to play as the sun reflecting from his kit was blinding them and making them play like a home team in a play off game at Selhurst Park. Then in the turning point of the match, temporarily blinded by a stray reflection from his own kit, he accidentally showed a red card to ex Everton thug Mickey Maserati for an innocuous leg severing. Mortified by his mistake he insisted that Ozzy had to play the rest of the game on one leg, and gave sunglasses to the Eye’s. Even so he had to wave away Ozzy penalty claims after a full length fingertip save by the Ties defender Zambrotti. And then as time ran out an injured pony tail for a Tie in the Ozzy penalty box, saw the ref give them a penalty, despite the fact that there wasn’t an Ozzy player within the radius of the sun from the injured player. Big girl’s blouse Totti lined up to take the kick, but had to wait until the ref had positioned himself in the optimum position to dazzle the Ozzy keeper. The penalty was scored, and Totti showed what a baby he was, by sucking his thumb and going to sleep. The Ozzy players headed home to Earl’s Court, and the dirty cheating, diving, corrupt, bribing scum went through to the next round.
Then it was over to Cologne, for a stinker of a match, where new tournament favourites Switzerland drove us cuckoo with the worst ever match in FeeFiFoFum world cup history © me 2006, against sneaky former Russians (count = 3 ½), The Ukraine. After 4 hours of inaction, there was surprisingly no score, though a medical breakthrough had been made, with a guaranteed cure for insomnia being found. As everyone went to bed for the night, they were still playing.
Yep, the Swiss and Ukrainians are still playing, and still there has been no action. We’ll check back in there later on, however in the mean time, we head over to the first of today’s scheduled games in the Fibonacci stage, where my tournament favourites, and unfortunately new tournament favourites Ghana were up against defending champions Brazil, who took to the field with only 10 men as Fatboy was nowhere to be seen. After a lively first couple of minutes Fatboy was spotted making his way to the field on his way back from the pie stall. Then disaster struck, no sooner was he on the pitch than he dropped one of his pies. As he bent down to pick it up, a stray pass hit him and went in, and in real terms (not BBC3’s miscounts) he unjoined himself from the host nation’s Geri Miller and took the crown of the Best World Cup Goalscorer in the world ever © Virgin 1996, to take over at the top by himself with 15. The next 40 minutes saw Ghana batter Brazil worse than any chippy ever could, and it was with that thought that Fatboy wandered off before half time for his mid match meal. Then just as the half time whistle was about to blow, Brazil uncamped from their own half and scored a breakaway goal. The second half saw the same pattern, with Ghana being on top, without ever remembering what the goal looked like, and then near the end one of their players was sent off for two yellow cards (both for asking for directions) and the game was up. Brazil had another breakaway goal and it was all over. Rough justice on the excellent Ghana team, but the lesson of how to find the goal is one they need to learn. Once again Brazil went nuts after their victory and there was a mass rush to get to their celebratory banquet buffet before Fatboy got there.
Before the second scheduled game of the day there is time to nip over to the bore fest where unsurprisingly there is still no score, and very little sign of life, even Franz Beckenbauer has left.
In the last game of the Fibonacci stage, it was new tournament favourites The Omelettes in a local derby up against an ancient Blue Toads side, who in a line-up resembling the southern end of payroll, fielded 8 players over 50. In a fast paced game it was the youth of the Omelettes who took the lead, with somewhat of a rarity for this FeeFiFoFum world cup – a well taken penalty. However the odious toads equalised with a goal from Tony Montana. If anything the pace increased in the second half, and much to the world’s disgust the Blue Toads got two late goals and slimed their way through to play Brazil in the quarter final, and leave the Omelettes with egg on their faces again, after their 37th consecutive flop at a major championships. All I can say after watching that is – Come on Brazil!!!!
And back to the theatre of nightmares in Cologne, where more medical history has been made, with the first ever case of Deep Vein Thrombosis at a football match has been recorded. On the pitch attempted play is sporadic with players taking naps all over the place. How do they think the viewers feel? The Samaritans have taken on 14,000 additional staff to cope with the volume of calls generated by watching this match. People are listening to the Smiths to cheer themselves up.
A day later than scheduled, the Fibonacci stage is still ongoing, and yet more history is made as a Swiss miss, Ms C Clock gave birth to a son during the evening part of the game. When interviewed, she explained, “I met the father, who’s a Merchant Banker from Zurich, on the way into the game, we had a whirlwind romance, got married, and now we have a wonderful child. I’m so glad I came to this match.” Which would probably put her in a minority of one. Personally, I would be glad if the Vogons turned up, read us some of their poetry, and then vaporised us in order to make an intergalatico highway.
In the first day without football in a long time (Yes I know Switzerland vs. Ukraine is still going on, but that’s hardly classed as football is it?), I was left at a bit of a loose end, so I thought I’d go and find someone to interview. However with the list of potential interviewees all declining, drastic measures were needed.
Me – Good afternoon Jose, nice of you to come round.
Jose Mourinho – Who are you? Why am I strapped in this chair? Where am I?
M – I’m asking the questions this afternoon, answer them and we can all go home soon enough. Failure to answer, and I’ll kill ya. Scream for help and I’ll kill ya. One word answers and I’ll kill ya. In fact you’re gonna have to work very hard to stay alive. Comprende?
Hose B Mourinho – Not really, but go ahead.
M – You seemed pretty certain that the fixture list for the coming season was going to be against you, and yet when it came out it wasn’t as bad as expected for you. Do you think that saying those things put pressure on the FA to change the fixtures?
Jose Cuevas – I wasn’t saying anything that wasn’t true. Some of my chairman’s esteemed colleagues had managed to get an early look at the fixture list for me, and it was worse than last year. Every time we go to Europe, when we come back we are away. Boxing Day we were at Newcastle, New Year’s Day it was Middlesbrough. It was ridiculous. Not only that, but the fixture list that each club gets, also tells you where the games were to be played. We checked and found that we were the only club with fixtures scheduled at Highbury, Ayresome Park and Maine Road next year. It was a nightmare fixture list for us.
M – But that fixture list wasn’t published, so surely what you said must have had some effect.
Jose Olazabal – If I say anything they make it worse, so I said to Roman, if you pay your friends to get fixture list, surely you can pay them to change it. It all worked out, and wait til the whining Scot and whining Frenchie realise both of their games against each other are in Tokyo on Tuesday nights. Then we see who laugh at fixture list.
M – Speaking of Arsene Wenger, what can you tell me of newspaper reports that you were spotted coming out of a hotel with him after a late night tryst?
No Way Jose – That’s absolutely not true, I don’t know where they get their stories from. Besides I’m too far out of my teenage years to be his type.
M – As usual you’ve been busy in the transfer market, signing up Ballackski and Andy Shedloads, and offloading Gudjohnsen and Carlton Cole. Are you happy with your dealings.
Do You Know The Way To San Jose – It’s been mixed. I was told by Pete Canyon that United were going to sign Ballackski and therefore, in line with club policy we had to sign him first. He’s supposed to be great superstar, but I think that United are on to us and are now saying they’re going to buy players, just so we get lumbered with them. Have you seen Ballackski play in the world cup, it’s more like Bollockski, I think that Scottish C#nt is having a laugh. Andy is obviously a much better player, but I am struggling to find just how I’m going to put him into my midfield. As for the sales, I wasn’t even aware we had a Carlton Cole playing for us. With Gudjohnsen, he was disappointed to be left here by himself when the rest of the squad were off to the world cup, and he said he was off to Iceland. I tell him, no wonder he not at the world cup if he so downmarket, he’d be much better at somewhere like Waitrose. He get hump for some reason and next I know he’s at Barcelona, though I’m fairly sure they don’t have any Icelands there.
M – What do you think about comedy referee Graham Poll?
A Hose Pipe Ban – He’s a great bloke, he sent me 3 cards last year too. One for my birthday, one for Christmas, and one for my wedding anniversary. I’m glad he sent the last one, cos I’d forgotten completely, and I’d have really been in the shit without that.
M – How’s preseason training going, has the world cup affected your plans?
PantyHose – It’s better than expected. Instructions to my midfield to get all their crap shooting out of the way has been followed to the letter. Frankie and Essien have both been doing their best not to hit cow’s arse with banjo. JT has been getting his mistakes out of the system as well, so that’s been a bonus Not so happy with Joe Cole, though as he’s trying much too hard. Big Phil and Klinsmannski have kept Ferrari and Huthski fresh, and both Essien and Drogsh1t have remembered to get suspended to reduce their playing time. Cech let enough goals in to come home early, however Andy Shedloads seems to have problem with this marathon match he is in. However on the downside Big Phil has been playing RC far too much, and as for the French, they are playing Gallas out of position at centre back, and Ukulele is far too forward thinking for my liking. Hold on, what are you doing with that needle.
M – Interview’s over – sleepy time for you.
With both teams still lucky to get nil, and in a first from FeeFiFoFum’s president Septic Pig’s Bladder, came an edict that was for the good of the game. Get the ref to blow for full time and get penalties underway. However the attempts to get the ref to blow up were thwarted by the appearance of 75 mafia bodyguards. Fortunately help was at hand, as Larsson’s penalty finally came back to earth and knocked the ref out. With the ref incapacitated, the replacement official signalled the start of penalties. Two hours later, after a new world record, 2,715 penalties, a Ukrainian penalty crept over the comatose Swiss keeper and the game was over, and the Ukrainians had less than 24 hours to prepare for their game against the Eye Ties. The original ref was picked up by Fiat Brava stretch limo, and whisked off for the best medical treatment money could buy.
Just out of interest to those that want to make some money, my new personal favourites to win the FeeFiFoFum world cup is the Ukraine.
Another day without football (yes I know it’s still going on) and after yesterday’s lunacy, I ought to keep a low profile. Therefore it’s off to Gypsy Rose Rose’s clairvoyancy consultancy to get the skinny on our 2010 world cup squad.
Manager Graham Souness, who was appointed after the ginger fuhrer McLaren F1 quit in shame after not qualifying for Euro 2008, and losing the first world cup qualifier 3-0 to Andorra, gives the rundown.
Paul Robinson – Still out number 1 keeper, and since having the bionic leg fitted, his kicking’s even stronger than ever.
David James – With age having reduced his mobility, he’s less prone to rushing out of his area, so makes the ideal backup.
Chris Kirkland – Last chance for his dad to win that bet, so picking him just to yank his chain for a bit longer.
Rio Ferdinand – Important to have him back after his 18 month ban for forgetting to fasten his seatbelt. The lack of playing time will mean he’s nice and fresh.
Gary Neville – Tried to get rid of him, but he took his case to ACAS, the negotiations didn’t go well, so lumbered with him.
Phil Neville – That’s how badly negotiations went, I’ve got to take his half wit brother as well.
Ashley Cole & Wayne Bridge – Like I’ve any choice, they’re aren’t any more left backs in the country.
Jonathan Woodgate – Has been outstanding for the last 6 months, and surely his injury worries are behind him now.
John Terry – Form has been patchy of late, but I’m too scared to drop him.
Matt Dawson – Picked him, as I used to love his granddad Les.
David Beckham(captain) – He may be less mobile than at his peak, but still delivers good crosses. Some even get there as early as next day delivery.
Sir Owen Hargreaves – It would have been churlish to leave him out of the squad when he only needs the 1 more cap to break the world record of 217 caps.
Frank Lampard – He may not have scored in 4 years, but still has more shots that the territorial army, and on the law of averages he’s bound to score again soon.
Steve Gerrard – Will be fresh after only carrying Liverpool for 92 games this season.
Aaron Lennon – Still learning his trade, and another tournament as understudy to Beckham will do him the world of good.
Gareth Barry & Lee Hendrie – A couple of combative midfielders I like to have around for when we need a bit of bite in midfield, and to play the kind of long balls into our top striker that he needs.
Peter Crouch – It would be disaster not to take the country’s 4th highest scorer ever.
Michael Owen – Despite only playing 20 minutes in the last 4 years, he’s nearing full fitness and is guaranteed to have goals in him
Wayne Rooney – I know that an amputated foot is a difficult injury to come back from, but he’s promised he’ll be fit in time.
Theo Walcott – Chelsea manager Jose Mourihno has said he’s in the best form of his career, and hasn’t seen anyone keep a bench warm like him. That experience will be needed.
Brooklyn Beckham – May only be 9, but has come highly recommended by Real Madrid under 11’s coach, Arsene Wenger. He said “Despite not having started a game he looks great in training.” “And he’s not a bad footballer either.”
And after the marathon that was the Fibonacci stage, we turn our attentions to the Quarter finals, and first up are the New Tournament Favourites Argentina, up against the hosts Poland ‘B’. The first half was an edgy affair with Argentine defender Heinze showing a variety of defending, none of it very good. Then just after half time, Ayala, just back on the pitch after buying that dummy from Owen at 1998 world cup, scored for Argentina. Mid way through the half and Uzbekistani keeper Djamolidine Abdoujaparov had to be replaced after he fell awkwardly from his bike. The unusually shot shy Poland ‘B’, who normally shoot first ask questions later, then began to get into the game. Kloseski, then got a goal, which edged Poland ‘B’ kloser to the possibility of getting through and kloser to the final, and himself kloser to the golden shoe. And what’s with that? Have FeeFiFoFum gone all upmarket all of a sudden, and boots are no longer good enough? Extra time beckoned, and despite their best efforts, the Argentines couldn’t get a goal and it was the dreaded penacks where something would have to give, with neither nation having lost on them before. In a nightmare for football and supporters everywhere, Poland ‘B’ won through. Just kill me. However the after match brawl did lift the spirits as it’s always great to see the krautskis getting lamped.
My Tournament Favourites and New Tournament Favourites Ukraine were up against the cheating Eye Ties, and for the first time in one of their games their was no chauffeur driven Fiat stretch limo delivering the ref. Something to do with prior arrangement delivering people for court appearances. The Ukraine team were obviously still tired after their 4 day marathon, and it showed early on as Tie defender Lambretta scooted into the Ukraine half and scored. The Ukraine did their best and were denied by an 11 man defence and the woodwork, before a goal apiece from the twins Luca and Toni in the 2nd half killed off the game. Apart from occasional flashes, Ukraine main man Andy Shedloads, was under par, probably with weight of expectation on his shoulders. Elsewhere, in the Ukraine team, they had someone called Timotei, who had the same hair as in the original 70’s advert, but she did look like you’d expect after 30 years of drug and alcohol abuse. Whilst on the Tie team most of the midfield running was done by Ratusso, the half man half rat experiment that seems to be working out well for them. In the end the Ties ended up with a flattering 3-0 victory, and even registered their first offside in 93 competitive matches. We are still waiting to hear how many people did their traditional celebration of jumping off the roof of their workplace. Another bad result for football, just kill me.
And first up today are New Tournament Favourites England, who started with an almost unchanged side, with Neville in and Carrick out, which meant that Sir Owen Hargreaves extended his England cap record to 129. Up against them were the Portuguese men-o-war who had a few people suspended after their Nuremburg trial, and were without the injured Figo’s nose. The game started slowly with little attacking threat from either side, and with the men-o-war behaving more like men-on-stage, with more theatrics than an amateur dramatics group. England lost their captain David Beckham, to injury and not long after lost Wayne Roonieho to a somewhat harsh, straight red card for accidentally stamping on a man-o-stage’s bollocks. Despite all this England played some of their best football of the tournament (not really a glowing recommendation) and came closer to scoring than the men-on-stage, but in the end it was all down to penalties again. Men-on-stage scored first, and then Frank Lampard with his 71st attempt on goal in the tournament, saw his penalty saved. The next 2 men-on-stage penalties were rubbish, and with Sir Owen calmly slotting his away in between them, England were back in the driving seat, however the man-on-stage keeper, 50’s US TV idol, Ricky Ricardo, broke English hearts with 2 more penalty saves, from dodgy scousers Stevie Wonder, and Jamie Carragher, who had been brought on in the last minute of extra time, just so he could take a penalty. The men-on-stage scored their 2 penalties, and they were through to the semi finals. Their manager Big Phil made it a world cup record 12 successive victories, and saw the reign of Sten Gun Erik Sun as England manager come to an inauspicious end. Hic – kill me. However there was one bright spot, and that was the genius who’d positioned their flag just behind where the corners were taken, and managed to get the word Minge in foot high letters broadcast all over the world.
In the last of the quarter finals it was New Tournament Favourites and reigning champions Brazil, who were hoping to go nuts against the blue slimy toads. After boring everyone to death in their previous 4 matches, the toads did something totally unexpected and actually played good football. So good in fact that they outplayed the notoriously silky skilled Brazil nuts. Early in the second half I vaguely remember the old English gent Henry whatisname get a goal, and as the alcoholic haze descended even further, not even Fatboy eating half of the toads, could prevent the slimy b’stards from winning, and making the semi finals. Brazil’s record of 11 straight wins was over, as the same team they’d last lost to beat them again. The toads’ victory meant that all 4 quarter finals had finished with the teams no one wanted to win winning, and the worst possible semi final line up possible ahead of us. JUST F~CKING KILL ME. I don’t have a new tournament favourite. It’s more a case of who do I want to lose the most. Obviously Poland ‘B’ top that list, closely (or Klosely) followed by the slimy toads, then it’s fairly even between the Cheating Eye Ties and the theatrical Men-on-stage.
Another rest day, and after the nightmare of the last two days I was glad there was no football, and with the need to keep a low profile, and to recover from the previous days haze, I’d just like to point out a few minor irritations, and have a few minor rants.
First up, to all the newspaper and magazine journalists, TV commentators and summarisers, radio DJ’s and random people in the street – STOP NICKING MY F~CKING JOKES, it’s bad enough trying to come up with half decent (or even quarter decent) material, than no longer has pen got to paper or fingers to keys, then some half wit is stealing it.
Second, David Pleat, it is high time you stopped talking absolute bollocks about games that you’re at, but obviously aren’t watching, and go back to doing something that you’re good at. Like driving at 2 miles an hour down Maidstone Road (Leicester), and chatting up undercover police women. A hint for you in case you didn’t know, they’re the ones wearing flat shoes.
Finally, link adverts. Where did they get their energy from? Who cares, a more important question is where did they get the person who thought those adverts were a good idea. And as for Brad and Hal, they might be funny if the ESPN anchor man (silent W) for the FeeFiFoFum world cup, wasn’t even more cringe worthy than that pair, and he’s not even trying to be funny.
And yet another rest day, being at the business end of the tournament means that the rest days are just as frequent as game days, and the need to find something to do to fill the time is uppermost in my mind. I could watch the tennis, but that goes on nearly as long as a Swiss match, and is just as boring. I’ve tried reading the papers, but there’s only so much doom and gloom any one person can take in a day, and I’ve not even got to the England match reports. Then I had a novel idea (as in unusual, not as in writing a book), how about doing some work? It was the kind of modernist, exciting thinking that could spark a boom in British production. Then I realised it was Monday, and there’s not a lot to do on a Monday, so I’d have to look elsewhere for something to do. Now, about that novel….
And the first of this year’s FeeFiFoFum World Cup semi finals, and it’s the host nation Poland ‘B’ up against the Eye Ties in a repeat of the 1982 final, and if I was forced to choose then I’d probably be supporting the same team as I did back then – Brazil. Though in a strange precursor to the game, as I was walking up to my viewing location, I swear I could see a very faded Italian flag floating along in front of me, a faded apple sauce shade of green, white and pink. Though when I looked again it was gone. When the anthems came on I shut my eyes briefly and then opened them in a panic, as I thought I’d just missed a grand prix, and another Michael Schumacher victory for Ferrari, whose (in a strange coincidence) dad, Harald, played in that 1982 world cup final for the hosts. I don’t know what had gone on pre game but the Ties came out firing on all cylinders, and within the first 15 minutes were caught offside more times than all other Eye Tie side in history added together. Poland ‘B’ were no slouches either, and lots of chances were created on both sides, and the two keepers, Buffoon (who certainly wasn’t playing like one) and Lehmannski were forced into a string of pearling saves, and somewhat unbelievably there was no score at half time.
Both teams resumed in the same fashion in the second half, with both team’s 4 legged players, Lambski for Poland ‘B’ and Rattuso for the Ties, had outstanding games, and yet still unbelievably there was no score at full time. Extra time saw the Ties batter the woodwork early on, with first ex US prime time talk show host Geraldo hitting the post, and then Lambretta scooted into the area to hit the crossbar. Time ticked on, chances were missed, saves were made, and it was looking as if it was going to go to penalties, which previous form would indicate the formality of victory for Poland ‘B’, as they had never lost a penalty shoot out, and the Ties had never won one. But then with less than 2 minutes to go in extra time the 144th shot of the match was scored by Grosso – Gooooaaallll!!!!
Poland ‘B’ just had time to have one last attack, but the chance fell to Ballackski, and as per normal he bollockskied it up, the ball broke to the Ties who rushed up field, and there was veteran striker Alessandro Del Monte (76) to dink it past Lehmannski with the last kick of the game. GGGOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!! Get in there! F#ck off Poland ‘B’, if you weren’t already there it’s be time for you to go home. YES! To paraphrase Rodgers & Hammerstein – Goodbye, farewell, Auf Weidersein F#ck off! Argentine midfielder David Cameronesi celebrations were especially sweet as he avenged his countrymen’s defeat in the quarter finals. And whisper it quietly, but if Perlotta plays in the final, he’ll be the first person born in England to appear in a world cup final since Jack Taylor reffed in 1974.
In a strange scheduling quirk, the 2nd semi final, comes just a day after the first, where we have Portuguese Men-on-stage, against the plonkers on pensions, the Slimy Blue Toads, in a repeat of the Euro 2000 semi final, and if I was forced to choose then I’d probably be supporting the same team I did back then – England. It seems that FeeFiFoFum must have given pre semi-final instructions to all teams to cut out playing for a draw and actually try to score. The men-on-stage had the better of early exchanges, and remarkably few theatrics. However all that changed in the 32nd minute, where old English gentleman Henry wotisname scored a nearly perfect 9.875 for artistic merit, and a phone call from Oliver Stone about a part in his remake of Platoon. Now in his years in the premiership, I’ve always been impressed by wotisname for the way he plays, but unfortunately the mask has slipped at this world cup and we are seeing his true colours. He really is a typical, cheating, diving arsenal scummer. However as seen many times before in this FeeFiFoFum world cup, cheats prosper, thought it is somewhat poetically judicious that the men-on-stage should die by the sword they have wielded so often. Anyway ancient Augustine monk Zidane (137) scored the penalty and those dame slimy toads were ahead. Being in the lead led the toads to control things a bit more, and to go into the kind of defensive formation not seen since the Eye Ties played Ozzy Osborne. Not only that, but the men-on-stage took wotisname’s dive as a slight on their reputation, and launched themselves into a series of theatrics that drew mixed reviews from a critical audience, and nothing above an 8.5 for artistic merit.
As the game went on the men-on-stage knew they needed a more attacking formation and so took off lone striker Pauleta (an oxymoron if there was ever one) and replaced him with a plant pot. It was a decision that should have been taken after 5 minutes of their first game when he accidentally stumbled over a ball and knocked it in. I’m not convinced where he’s got 48 international goals from, and can only assume that that is actually the count of the number of his successful passes to team mates in his 86 internationals and not the number of his goals. In fact I’m starting a competition, if anyone sees this Muppet score and can prove it, send the video tape / DVD / MPEG to the “I saw Pauleta Score” competition at PO Box 1 USELESS TWAT.
Back to the game, and with the toads defending so deep that even Jules Verne would have difficulties measuring the depth, the men-on-stage threw everything at them. Props, clapper boards, make up, scripts and occasionally the ball. However despite the best efforts of comedy keeper Fabled Baldie, the men-on-stage couldn’t score and the slimy blue toads were in the final, which spookily enough is a repeat of the Euro 2000 final. Two things to say about that – Just f#cking kill me, and come on the Eye Ties.
To complete the men-on-stage’s terrible night, they couldn’t even score at the local brothel after the match, after Fatboy’s younger brother Chrissie got them thrown out after he had a temper tantrum on finding they didn’t supply rent boys.
Another rest day left me wondering what to do again, so I thought I’d have a look to see if this FeeFiFoFum world cup had anything special and unusual about it. And after extensive research I can conclude, no not really. A couple of unusual, though not unique events may occur depending on the outcome of the final two games. First up is if Poland ‘B’ score more goals than the Eye Ties in their respective games, then it will be the first time since 1994 and only the 4th ever that one of the finalists haven’t been the tournament top scorers (3rd Place Sweden were the top scorers then). You also have to go back to 1994 to find the last time that anyone got as far as the Ukraine did and still finished the tournament with a negative goal difference, and that was Bulgaria who took a beating in the 3rd/4th place play off against Sweden. If Kloseski fails to score, and there are no hat tricks in the final then it will only be the 2nd tournament where the top scorer has failed to get 6 goals. The only other time was in 1962 when half a dozen players got stuck on 4 goals. Two unique items are that Switzerland went out without conceding a goal in the tournament, the only team to have ever done so. And the last 16 games were the lowest scoring ever (since the last 16 stage was introduced in 1986), with only 15 goals in total. Talking of low scoring, the lowest scoring group in terms of total goals was Group B, the home of England, and not for the first time. In fact, that made it the 6th time in a row that England have been in the lowest scoring group (when they’ve qualified), although it was the 2nd group stage in 1982, and not the first group stage. 10 teams were unbeaten in qualifying for this world cup, of which 7 qualified (Cuba, Morocco and Israel were the unlucky ones to miss out), and if the Slimy Blue Toads go on and win the world cup they will become only the third team to do so without losing a game in either the qualifiers or the tournament proper, after Germany in 1990 and Brazil in 1970. Furthermore if the Augustine monk Zidane scores he will be only the 4th player to score in 2 world cup finals. Finally if Buffoon doesn’t let anything in for the first 65 minutes then he breaks his compatriots Zenga record for the longest period without letting a goal in.
After a day of looking back, it was a day of looking forward, as I try to predict the goings on of the weekend. I’ll start with the 3rd/4th place play off, a pointless affair introduced by the French in 1938, and suffered by everyone else since. Basically if Poland ‘B’ get a few goals they will finish as the tournament top scorers, as it’s unlikely the final will be a high scoring affair (reverse psychology). Kloseski will get the golden boat unless there is a miraculous feat of goal scoring elsewhere. Poland ‘B’ have reached this stage on numerous occasions and have been winners and losers. For the record Poland ‘A’ have played in this match twice and won both times. Meanwhile the Men-On-Stage have only got this far once and they won it, so with the 100% record we’ll go for the Men-On-Stage win.
The final is a different kettle of fish entirely. The Eye Ties have made the final every 12 years since 1970, and with a LWL record, it’s time to make it a LWLW record 1-0. This is the first all European final (and semi finals for that matter) since 1982 when the Eye Ties won 2-0. The last time they met in tournament play was the final of Euro 200 which the Slimy Blue Toads won. 2-1. And they beat the Men-On-Stage in the semi final as well. 2-2. That means it’s going to penalties, which means the Eye Ties are proper f#cked (before the Germans get there) (Count = 4½), they have gone out of the last 4 world cups on penalties and have never won a penalty shoot out. Meanwhile after losing their first the Blue Toads have won their last 2, including knocking out the Eye Ties in 1998. Therefore the Slimy Blue Toads to win on penalties.
So here it is, the most pointless game in football, it’s the 3rd/4th place play off. A game that neither of the teams want to play, and even less of us want to watch. And trying to pretend they care it was the hosts Poland ‘B’ against those world class divers Men-On-Stage, and in a surprise move, the Men-On-Stage started without their captain Figo and his nose, and Poland ‘B’s captain Ballackski was also missing. So was any spark and the first half went past without any real incident. However the second half saw Poland ‘B’s very own resident pig farmer score 2 cracking goals and cause all kinds of chaos with a free kick in between, that got deflected in, and with FeeFiFoFum’s well known generosity towards deflections so far in this world cup, it might well go down as the first hat trick of the competition. And in fact the first since Pauleta got one in the group stages of the 2002 world cup. I didn’t believe it either, and I can’t imagine what I was doing when it happened as I didn’t think it was possible for Pauleta to score 1, let alone 3 in a game. With time running out, the Men-On-Stage had one last try at diving in the box, only this time it worked as Nuno Gomes scored with a full length diving header, for a consolation goal, as they petered out into 4th place, and left Poland ‘B’ to celebrate 3rd place and a victory in the most pointless game in the world.
The final day of the competition means it must be time for the final, and so it was, with the Slimy Blue Toads lining up against the Eye Ties in a repeat of the Euro 2000 final. It started cagily, but then the game came to life with the earliest goal in a final since 1974. It came courtesy of another outrageous dive from Malouda, who rightly assumed that because he was within 10 yards of Mickey Maserati, it would be judged a foul, and up stepped the Augustine monk, Zidane, who tried his hardest to miss, with a chipped penalty that hit the underside of the bar, bounced down and then out, in scenes reminiscent of 1966. However the lead wasn’t maintained for long as the former Everton thug Mickey Maserati headed home a corner to equalise. The Toads defence, demoralised by their comedy keeper, struggled and were lucky to go into the break behind, as Toni hit the bar from another corner.
The Toads were further relieved to see a perfectly good goal by Toni ruled out cos there were 17 other players in offside positions when he headed it, and they took heart from this and started to dominate. Malouda was denied another penalty after a challenge in the box, as he didn’t go down like a dog eating hot chips this time. Subs were made, including the exit of old English gentleman Henry Wotisname, and it looked like the Monk might have to go off as he damaged his shoulder, but he managed to see full time, and with it being level it was off to extra time.
The Toads were still on top and could have got goals if Tony Montana wasn’t such a spanner, and then came an off the ball incident, which saw Mickey “The Mouth” Maserati berate Zidane about his garlic breath, and then we found out that Zidane isn’t an Augustine monk, but a Shoalin one instead, as he provided a flying head butt to Maserati, the likes of which hadn’t been seen since the heyday of Eddie Honda, the only surprise was that he didn’t follow it up with the hundred hand slaps. Then for the 2nd time in a couple of minutes Zidane saw red again and his career came to an unplanned halt some 15 minutes earlier than expected. For the first time in about an hour the Eye Ties decided to attack, but to no avail and penalties were upon us. And what a good set of penalties they were as the keepers didn’t get their hand to one of them. However Trezeguet found out he’s not as good as Zidane, as his effort off the underside of the bar bounced on the wrong side of the line and the Eye Ties had won the world cup. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha the slimy toads won “fack all”.
Stop, there’s no football any more, you’ll have to wait another 1428 days for the next competition, so in the meantime, it’s the 2006 FeeFiFoFum world cup awards ceremony.
The “Rainman” Card Counting Award – Graham Poll
The “Harry Enfield – You Don’t Want To Do It Like That, You Want To Do It Like This” Award – Zinedine Zidane, for showing ex Team mate Luis Figo, how a head butt should be done.
The “Rivaldo That’s Not Where He Hit You” Award – Thierry Henry
The Couldn’t Hit A Cow’s Arse With A Banjo Award – Frank Lampard
The “Roman Abramovic – You’ve Paid How Much” Award – Michael Ballack
The Why Did You Bother Turning Up Award – Serbia & Montenegro
The Jack Of All Trades, Master Of None Award – Marco Mazzeratti, who started as a back up, came on as a sub, scored 2 goals, gave away a penalty, got sent off, and was involved when ZZ got his marching orders, not bad for a backup.
The “Tyler Durden” Award For The Cure To Insomnia – Switzerland vs. Ukraine
The “Hare & The Tortoise” Award for It’s a Marathon Not a Sprint – Argentina
The “Greg Louganis Would Be Proud” Award – Christiano Ronaldo. Honourable mentions to the rest of the Portuguese side, F Grosso, and Thierry Henry.
The “Giant Haystacks” Special award for dedication to pies – Ronaldo.