Game On Brothers And Sisters, Game On

What We Will Learn From The World Cup This Week

It’s finally here, the Festival of Football, second only to the Spectacle du Tranpoline in the many things I must see this year. And I can hardly wait I am that excited. Not obviously about Engerland’s chances, because they’re about as likely to win as a blind Hackney Marshes pub team, but about the whole mind busting brilliance of the thing. It’s like counting down to Christmas when you’re six or so and you just know that the fat man is going to massively mess you up with sackloads of good stuff and you’re trying to stay awake so as not to miss anything, but somehow you fall asleep fully clothed hiding behind the door armed only with a cricket bat at 2am because you are that excited. It’s like we’re on the pre-flight check list and the co-pilot is mumbling his numbers to the captain, “Wheels” (“Check”), “Panini sticker album” (“Check”), “Including the incredibly rare picture of the Russian goalie with the red top” (“Check”), “And the now-deleted super-rare picture of Theo Wallchart” (“Check”). “OK we’re good”. And with that Kerpow! we’re off. And I aim to watch EVERY BLOODY MINUTE (although if Switzerland play as badly as they did last time against Ukraine, I reserve the right to play my joker and bunk off that one).

So this week is really about establishing the patterns. We will sit, like James Bond in Casino Royale, glaring at our screen, daring the players to outsmart us and play well without giving away their ‘tells’ and hoping they don’t spike our drinks with that datura lizard poison shit that paralyses in seconds. We’ll see who’s good, who’s bad, who’s on form, who’s not. For a whole week. After that, maybe, just maybe, we’ll be able to address the key questions,  Could the French do worse than they did in 2002? (please), Which team will be the first to implode? (Cameroon, France), Will Maradona last a week before spazzing out at the media? (hard to imagine) Could ITV mouthpiece Adrian Chiles be more irritating? (harder to imagine) How long will the first match last before the commentary team apologise for the noise of the vuvulelas? (10 minutes). By the time the opening ceremony is over I will have completed my World Cup Wallchart based on nothing more than utter biased speculation and occasional random guesses. And then we will discover What We Have Learned after each match.

I can hardly wait.

On the subject of being six, there’s a weird apocryphal bit of social science for boys that states that the first FA Cup you remember will come “around about” your sixth year. You can therefore surreptitiously deduce a man’s age by asking him the first FA Cup he remembers, consulting your FA Cup Book For Boys and adding “around six”. Works every time.

One Response to “Game On Brothers And Sisters, Game On”

  1.  Palace Blog » Blog Archive » What We Learned From Italy vs New Zealand (1-1) Says:

    […] stated in our initial World Cup piece that there were two key questions we needed answers to, Would the French do worse than in 2002 and […]