A few things to talk about today.
Germany are through to the second round of the World Cup following a cracking strike by Mesut Özil to beat a tough and very spirited Ghana side. Good news also that Serbia are on their way back home, having lost 2-1 to the unlucky Aussies. All in all a fairly balanced group, with Germany’s 4-0 thrashing of the Socceroos being put into better perspective with subsequent results. Let it rest now and agree that the Aussies were not a bad side after all and Germany were actually pretty impressive. The Serbs would never have got off the mark had it not been for a hapless Spanish card-waving clown, so it is only just that Ghana are also through to the next round. They pip the Aussies on account of their better performance against Germany.
So, here’s the kicker. It’s England next on Sunday, though only after the Three Lions laboured to an (ultimately deserved) 1-0 win over a poor Slovenia side and the US scored a last minute winner against hapless (and goalless) Algeria to fly to the top of the group. At ninety minutes the watching German squad were no doubt readying themselves for a second round clash against the Slovenes; former Bundesliga pro Landon Donovan changed all that with a deserved strike for the never-say-die Americans. It was the most suitably dramatic way to set up yet another Germany versus England encounter, dubbed “Der Klassiker”.
I am not going to offer elaborate predictions about the outcome; the teams are so evenly matched and yet so different, and it is really rather difficult to call. England have experience, Germany have youthful exuberance. England have a certain solidity, Germany have an almost Latin flair. If England’s gameplan slots into place and Germany’s slick passing game fails, England will take it by a single goal. If Germany’s creativity bears the same fruit as it did against the Aussies and the likes of Lukas Podolski can hit the target, Germany will romp home. Alternatively, it could just end up going to yet another penalty shoot-out.
OK, that’s three possible scenarios, but no predictions from me. I just wish Kaiser Franz would shut the hell up though – as if Rooney and Co. don’t need any more reasons to come flying out of the traps in Bloem’ on Sunday. The man has done it all and has won everything there is to win, but it doesn’t give him carte blanche to keep spouting Quatsch whenever he feels that his media profile is being compromised. OK, his utterances are nowhere near as irritating as those of a certain Herr Netzer, but these things are best said after the game has been won – or else there is a severe risk of Ei im Gesicht.
Getting away from the Fussball…
One more candidate for the Fantasy Death Count this morning… Driving out of my road, I see a stationary car with its left indicator flashing – so I move to overtake. Cue the driver’s sudden decision to start reversing into a tight parking space on the side of the road, closing off my path through in the process. Having wound down the window to inform him that in a tight street one would be best advised to use their hazard warning lights when carrying out such a manoeuvre, all I get is that now familiar, dead-eyed, gormless look from people who (a) do not check their mirrors and/or blind spot before reversing; (b) cannot understand the subtleties of driving in the suburbs and (c) clearly cannot understand a word of bloody English.
You just want to cave their empty skulls in with a very blunt instrument. Argh.
That said, I would rather have to put up with clowns on the road than have to endure public transport – where soon we will no doubt be provided with a Muslim only service. Well either that or dog owners will find themselves being turfed out of a London bus at the whim of a driver turned religious enforcer.
What next, my being refused entry to a bus because I am eating a pork pie and the driver would feel sullied by the idea that some of us might eat pig? For pity’s sake, are we living in London or bloody Lahore?