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Upstart takes on the World (Cup)

The world’s premier sporting event is here and we’re taking it on with a daily column filled with expert analysis, reasoned opinion and accurate predictions. Except for the ‘expert’, ‘reasoned’ and ‘accurate’ parts...

Evan Harding and Shane Palmer have been burning the midnight oil, or at least checking out the highlights, of every day of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. It’s a not-totally-serious review of the matches and stories that have made the previous 24 hours and a look ahead. 

Upstart takes on the World (Cup)

Day 1 – Evan Harding kicks off a semi-informed look at the world’s biggest tournament, and even briefly enters Nelson Mandela’s head.

Day 2 – There were plenty of hits and misses last night but it all ended up like kissing your sister, writes Evan Harding.

Day 3 – Shane Palmer can feel the magic of the World Cup as he looks at Green’s gaffe and previews the Socceroos’ clash with Germany.

Day 4 – Evan Harding looks at the debacle that was the Socceroos’ clash with Germany. But he is staying positive and only wishes Lucas Neill had been.

Day 5 – After just five days, it seems the entertainment is being taken away by the J-word and the V-word. Evan Harding wonders if it is all just hot air.

Day 6 – Shane Palmer looks back as the Kiwis earn a point against Slovakia, Franz Beckenbauer has a whinge and Brazil turns on the style in a result Kim Jong-il says was ‘inevitable’.

Day 7 – It was the biggest shock so far, but for the sake of the tournament this was one underdog we didn’t want to win, writes Evan Harding.

Day 8 – The 2010 World Cup finally got what it needed on Day 8 and the tournament’s most polarising figure is the man behind it all, writes Evan Harding. And what’s that thing he’s got in his head?

Day 9 – Shane Palmer sees the England boo-boys pipe up as Algeria park the team bus; the USA is unlucky not to claim a sensational comeback; and the Germans are stunned by Serbia.

Day 10 – It was one of those days, writes Evan Harding, but it could be worse for the Socceroos. After all, they could be French.

Day 11 – Shane Palmer looks at a day where the All Whites matched it with the defending champions, Brazil turned on the jogo bonito and another referee got duped.

Day 12 – Evan Harding discusses encounters where one party is totally unsatisfied, but at least this time it was the pretty red teams going home happy.

Day 13 – With their immediate future on the line, will the Socceroos run out of luck? Evan Harding looks at tonight’s big matches from Groups C and D, while reviewing the fate of the vanquished from last night.

Day 14 – It was a 24 hours full of heartbreaking exits, and not just for the Socceroos, writes Evan Harding. But there’s still hope going forward, and a new bidder for the 2018 World Cup.

Day 15 – What do John Lennon, Radiohead and Alicia Keys have in common? And what does that have to do with anything anyway? Evan Harding looks back at last night’s action and previews the last four matches of the group stage.

Day 16 – A funny thing happened on the way to the second round, writes Evan Harding as the opening act of the World Cup draws to a close.

Day 17 – The USA were chanting ‘Yes, we can’ but even in a parallel universe, it wasn’t Landon’s lads on the winning side, writes Evan Harding.

Day 18 – The predictable English failure has finally happened, and Evan Harding looks at why, ponders the video referee question and FIFA censorship and previews tonight’s action.

Day 19 – Brazil will be there for you like they’ve been there before, as Evan Harding remembered when watching the World Cup’s most successful team stifle the Chilean creativity.

Day 20 – He mightn’t be kicking Yuichi Komano while he’s down, but Evan Harding is quite happy to sink the slipper into the world’s second-best player.

Day 21 – With a match-free night, we have a chance to review the events of the last three weeks with some measure of calm, which isn’t exactly how Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, has seen things, writes Evan Harding.

Day 22 – In a never-ever-ever-before-seen concept of looking back at a tournament thus far, Evan Harding presents his five highs and lows of the first three weeks of the World Cup, previews the first two quarter-finals and even sneaks in a Chappelle’s Show reference.

Day 23 – Uruguay joins a select club with a victory that could be described as ‘heelish’ and the five-time champions Brazil have nobody to blame but themselves writes Evan Harding.

Day 24 – Three people found their naked promises unfulfilled as Germany steamrolled their opposition in a World Cup that is proving as unpredictable as Argentina’s vanquished coach, writes Evan Harding.

Day 25 – If you have a job in South America, you’re probably going to have a much easier run if you’re trying to find cocaine than coaching a national team, writes Evan Harding on a football-free Monday.

Day 26 – Just prior to the semi-finals, Evan Harding puts his crystal ball to the test by evaluating his pre-tournament predictions and in some cases, revising those choices. How did he do? Let’s just say it’s a mixed bag.

Day 27 – A ‘70s icon was laid to rest and while fondly remembered, what has emerged in its place may even be superior, writes Evan Harding as he reviews the first semi-final and previews the second.

Day 28 – Spain has adopted the love-child of catenaccio and tiki-taka, writes Evan Harding in his review of the second-semi final, which also managed to avoid mention of a certain eight-legged psychic.

Day 29 – Two days out from the World Cup Final and the Dutch are talking tough, but then that’s exactly what you’d expect them to say, writes Evan Harding.

Day 30 – All creatures great and small are coming out of the ark to inform us all who will win between Spain and the Netherlands, writes Evan Harding, but what does it all really mean?

Day 31 – As the tournament reaches its climax, Evan Harding previews the final between the Netherlands and Spain, while also searching through the ranks of the World Cup’s most inept for a nightmare ‘team’.

The Final – In the final daily column, Evan Harding reviews Spain’s deserved World Cup victory over the Netherlands and remembers a childhood classic.

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