Forza la FIFA World Cup!
A month ago I was looking forward to the World Cup, but admittedly not ecstatic. Yet after the second match-day, I’ve never been more excited about following a football tournament.
While Australia are still yet to play, the opening matches have been nothing short of enthralling (I slept through the France – Uruguay match so that doesn’t count). The infamous vuvuzela horns have shown us they can bring good, drowning out the constant din of David Basheer’s commentary.
Korea Republic (South Korea) tore apart Greece with a colourful display of fast, skilful football in a solid 2-0 victory. Sadly the Greeks – fittingly – couldn’t buy a goal. The Koreans were rich with attacking flair, while the Greek forward pockets were empty.
Lionel Messi did everything but score against Nigeria – courtesy of many fine saves from Vincent Enyeama, as the Albiceleste comfortably won 1-0. Ángel Di María is surely a contender for the ugliest footballer at the World Cup. He is expected to meet stiff competition from teammate Carlos Tevez, the neck-less Cuauhtémoc Blanco, the creepy-looking Dirk Kuyt and Peter Crouch, who once said if he wasn’t a footballer, he’d ‘probably still be a virgin’.
Late-night Rage does little to speed up the time between matches, but after one too many bizarre ’80s songs that somehow got produced, England took on the USA. Steven Gerrard scored four minutes in, but goalkeeper Rob Green felt sorry for the Yanks and evened the score with a superb display of the ‘calamity’ technique, passed down from teammate David James, as England fizzed out like a three-week-old can of Coke.
MUST-SEE: I don’t intend to plug brand names here, but if you haven’t seen the new Nike ad you’re missing out. Also, the big football attached to the side of a telecommunications tower in Johannesburg looks pretty cool.
EYEBROW/FRINGE-RAISER: The on-going Verbeek-Löw fashion stoush. The managers of Australia and Germany have been in the spotlight recently over their touchline appearance. While the last remnants of Pim’s fringe remain feebly above his brow, Joachim Löw maintains a solid Harry Potter-esque head of hair. Both will most likely sport the managerial suit – Löw with his signature scarf – as neither are likely follow David Moyes’ lead with the tracksuit. Expect to see a Zoolander style touchline walk-off at the 90th minute.
REASONS TO WATCH ALGERIA VS SLOVENIA: The World Cup often throws up exciting clashes between low-profile nations – see Korea Republic v Togo in 2006 – as the sides, without the intense pressure to perform from fans and the media back home, turn on an exciting show.
REASON NOT TO WATCH ALGERIA VS SLOVENIA: Forgetting Sarah Marshall is on. Russell Brand is funny.
TONIGHT: Yes, a 4.30am kick off isn’t exactly viewer-friendly, but the game is followed by Queen’s Birthday Monday, so there is little excuse to not watch the game in some capacity. The live sites showing the match around the country will surely be buzzing, as Gloria Jeans prepare for a surge in sales. The night’s first match may interest the neutral, as the Eastern Europeans overpower the North African. Algeria 1-3 Slovenia. Australia’s other Group D opponents Serbia and Ghana kick off at midnight, which is more than worth checking out. Nemanja Vidic to maim Sulley Muntari in a horror challenge. Serbia 1-1 Ghana. Then finally the Socceroos long-awaited clash with the Germans, who will miss the attacking presence of Michael Ballack as we sneak a point with an injury-time header from Tim Cahill. Germany 1-1 Australia.
Shane Palmer is a first year Bachelor of Journalism student at La Trobe University.