THREE cheers for Spain and England for getting kicked out of the World Cup.
That’s not very sporting, I know. But watching grown men in sweaty shirts snog each other when they get a ball between two wooden posts does nothing at all for me.
Not that we’ve seen much of that going on of late…
The untimely exit of both teams has made the 2014 FIFA World Cup the biggest non-event since the Millennium Bug, certainly in my own village. Spanish flags and Union Jacks drooping at half-mast from rooftops are the only reminder of this huge international humiliation: the public trouncing of two teams comprising the highest-paid soccer stars in the world, including one who bites!
I had to laugh at one TV pundit’s quip when asked what positives either team could take back home with them. He replied: “I think some rooms are refundable!”
This year, there are no neighbours camped out on beach chairs in the street watching their TVs at top volume. And every Tomás, Ricardo and Harry is not down at the local sports bar tunelessly chanting ‘aqui vamos, aqui vamos’ (or whatever the Spanish equivalent is to ‘ere we go, ere we go’).
According to a Virgin Money survey, men think about ‘the beautiful game’ once every 12 minutes and World Cup supporting is a full-time preoccupation. Suddenly, guys who wouldn’t spend five seconds discussing a family crisis become couch football intellectuals overnight, analysing a particular goal, tackle or referee decision in semi-articulate depth for hours on end.
Men who can’t even remember the date of their wedding anniversary can list the names and inside leg measurements of Bobby Moore’s dream team from England’s only World Cup win, way back in 1966. Just watch them go all misty eyed over that amazing pass by Pele/magic goal by Maradonna/zippy footwork of Zidane and other stories that have passed into soccer legend, to be dredged up during every World Cup.
It’s not only the match post-mortems that drone on into the early hours of every beer-soaked morning. It’s the cacophony of bellowing during the game, the deafening cheers, agonised groans (and, occasionally, actual tears) with the addition, here in Spain, of a motorcade of horn hooting when the national squad gets through to the next round.
Apart from the peace and quiet, the best thing to come out of the abject failure of Spain and England in Brazil is the jokes on Twitter. I can’t tell them in the local or I’d be lynched, but here are a few that tickled my fancy.
In the 16th century, Spain colonized Chile. Now Chile has ‘cojonized’ Spain.
Ah yes, Wimbledon next, where English players will be more successful at getting the ball in the net.
Recipe of the day: Take Spain, add Chile, beat for 90 minutes.
England couldn’t beat the staff at Costa Coffee, let alone Costa Rica.
Spain are blaming their loss this evening on the weather. Apparently it was 2 Chile.
England have been eliminated from the tournament before they have finished their course of malaria tablets.