World Cups 2: Still No Cups

We’re ankle-deep into the second week of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The only corrupt institution that’s universally loved more than any 21st century government. Take note, our dubious world leaders, all you have to do is add some football to get away with anything.

We’ve seen England play their first game, and subsequently win an opening match in a major tournament, for the first time since 2006. This “new” and rebranded England squad were just as frustrating to watch, but at least they did their country proud by coming away with the desired result. England players from the last twelve years have been mysteriously disappearing from the eyes of the public.

You see, in England, when players don’t perform to an acceptable standard, we feed them to the royal family in a lavish winter banquet. I’m told, by a Buckingham Palace spokesperson, that Frank Lampard was delicious when lathered in a plum sauce, and that his gamey nutrients personally added six months to Prince Phillip’s life. Well done Frank.

David Beckham is allowed to live of course, due to the sheer amount of tourism he brings to the country. Labour also have him on a shortlist to be party leader sometime in the 2030s, and it’s thought that his hair products would only taint an evening broth.

Nobody wants to eat Rooney. He’s begged for it, having been photographed in the press offering up his left shoulder to minor royals.

Anyway…

One aspect I enjoyed of the 2018 England squad was their ability to get back on their feet after every challenge. They had some red-card level fouls committed against them, but immediately leapt up and resumed play. It could be a foolish way to play 21st century football, but it makes them seem tough when compared to a lot of the European and South American teams.

If we make it to the quarter finals, I can see England players having knives pulled on them, and some light-stabbings taking place. Only for them to dust themselves off and score a winning goal. The semis would see Harry Kane and co. overcome live hand-grenades. And with Russia having secured their place in the final, due to Putin owning this incarnation of the tournament, we’ll be lucky enough to see how Southgate’s squad fairs against chemical weapons.

This is all joke and hyperbole of course, because England won’t make it out of the second round.

I’m currently watching Iceland vs Nigeria. Iceland have become a second-team of sorts. Their clean airport and reasonably priced flights have served me well over the last few years, so the least I can do is cheer their national team to success.

I like that they’re true underdogs, due to their population size. They’ve managed to produce this many world cup level players from a much smaller pool than other countries. They all look like lean, 21st-century Vikings. The sort that have renounced beards, swords and raping, in favour of fashionable hair, football and not raping.

On top of this, their goalkeeper is a film director and their manager is a practicing dentist. They just have this attitude of:

“Yeah, we have day-jobs, so what? We just wanted to have a kick around with our buddies and now we’re at the world cup. What a life!”

The VAR replay system is causing some early controversies. It’s certainly not slowing down the game, as many backwards-thinking football fans assumed, as results tend to come through in a matter of seconds. But it doesn’t always appear to be making the right calls, often landing on the opposite side of a controversial call, angering as many viewers as it pleases.

One humerous correct call that VAR made, was during France vs Peru, in which the face-blind referee issued a yellow card to the wrong player. VAR stepped in and corrected him, meaning the correct player was booked.

Personally I can’t wait until all of the refs are perfectly functioning androids. They’ll robotically sprint up and down the pitch, using their laser-focused vision to call every decision with absolute accuracy. Yellow cards can be projected from their chest into the sky, in a spectacular use of VR for the people at home. RoboRef™ can break up player fights with a small, extendable flamethrower that emanates from its crotch. As well as shooting out hot jets of vanishing spray from the same nozzle.

Linesmen can be eight-feet tall, shooting invisible lasers from their eyes in order to rule offside with pin-point accuracy. And they’ll cry-out refreshing sports drinks from their eye holes. Of course, none of this will matter. It took until 2018 to implement video replays into the professional game, so we shouldn’t expect to see RoboRef™ until 2118.

The American commentary has continued to be brilliantly hilarious. There’s one guy who screams “Nutmeg!” every time one player out-dribbles another. He even talks about “nutmegging” when it’s not entirely appropriate. Randomly during an attack he’ll say:

“Now if only he can nutmeg his opponent here, then surely he can find the back of the netting!”

At first I thought that he was just excited about a very English-sounding football term, so he says it over and over, like some mad Anglophile. But it’s become so prevalent that I’ve decided he’s lobbying for a spice company whose nutmeg sales have been down in recent years.

There’s also an older, English commentator who’s working for Fox Sports. You can practically hear his eyes roll whenever his co-commentator gets over-excited about a simple passing play.

“He did it! The Icelandic defender passed the ball safely back to his keeper! What a move!”

You’re never going to make soccer more exciting than it already is America, there’s no need to try.

I’m really enjoying the tournament so far, it’s a lot of fun and England are performing well enough. A friend of ours is taking us to a Colorado Springs Switchbacks game on Saturday, and it’s the most excited I’ve been in a while to see a live game. I have world cup fever, and the only cure is more football.

Today is Friday, June 22nd and Nigeria just scored against my beloved Iceland.

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