What we’re seeing this tournament is absolute liquid football. I mean, we might not be. I, like the haphazard Alan Partridge, know very little about football. But what I do know is that I’m enjoying the football that I’m seeing.
Does that make it good football though? If one simply enjoys the matches that are being played. What is it that really makes for good football? Is it the skill of the players? Almost certainly. Is it the drama of the matches? …Yes. What I can say is that this is certainly some football, and also that I’m probably thinking about it too much.
We’re out of the group stages, at long last, and now the table has been set for sixteen nations to feast at the great banquet of personal, and national, glory.
England comfortably qualified for the knock-out stages after a 6-1 win over Panama. In what was the easiest game to watch (ever) as an England fan. There was none of this going one goal down in the first half, only to try and cobble together a 1-1 draw; The classic English way. Instead it was goal after goal, against a Panamanian team who would’ve been better suited to a WWE ring that day.
Here’s a list of the wrestling manoeuvres I witnessed during the game on Sunday:
- Shoulder tackle
- Hip attack
- Kinshasa!!! (running knee strike)
- Inverted phoenix splash
I lied about that last one.
I don’t even mind that Belgium beat us 1-0 in the final group-stage game. It meant we got this excellent goal celebration gone wrong from Batshuayi.
I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t trade this moment for a fairly meaningless England victory. I mean the sheer skill it must take to strike the ball at such an angle that it hits the post before perfectly rocketing back into your own skull. Amazing. He seems to be taking it in good stride though:
So England will go on to face Columbia in the round of sixteen, and I have very little idea as to whether this is a good thing or not. I’m glad they’re not going up against Japan, which they would’ve done had they finished first in their group, because they’re another one of my low-key favourite teams.
Speaking of, Iceland went crashing out in the group stages. After a solid seventy minutes of hope. My cold boys didn’t manage a majestic win over the mighty Croatia. That’s okay, the joke is on every other nation, as those players get to return to one of the greatest countries on the planet. Where they’ll enjoy hot-springs, excellent public wifi, yogurt and of course, attractive people. Seriously, the person on the island who’s considered to be “statistically the least attractive in Iceland”, well he works as a part-time model for local businesses in Sutton Coldfield. That’s true.
The worst part about Group-D was Argentina managing to slither their wicked way into the round of sixteen. They’d played terrible football all tournament, but a 2-1 win over Nigeria meant that they qualified over both Nigeria and Iceland, who’d both been very entertaining.
The worst part was a portly Diego Maradona, who’d spent the first 270 minutes of the World Cup looking like a miserable slice of supermarket ham, “celebrating” by flipping both of his birds at the Nigerian bench. It’s like he only knows how to make headlines if he’s using his hands. His feet long since forgotten to the Argentinian sands of time.
Germany are out! At the feet of South Korea no less. I wonder if by the next World Cup we’ll be seeing Korea compete as one nation. I’m certain all the players that make the cut will be from the South, but it’s nice to include their oppressed brothers and sisters. Maybe they could enlist the second-reserve goalkeeper from the Northern peninsula, just for good sportsmanship. Or even the equipment manager! That’s the position I always got at school, and I always felt involved.
But yes, Germany are gone. Football is the only place where it’s still socially acceptable to stand up in your living room and yell partially racial slurs against German people.
Okay never-mind, just forget I wrote that part.
…I can just delete it because this is a written piece and not live spoken word?
Well it’s there now, so…oh come on it’s not like I’m writing them down here for everyone to see. They were mostly innocent anyway, largely sausage-based if I recall. The point is they’re gone from the tournament, and that we’d never hear the end of it from Germans if England had suffered the same fate. We’re friends now, we don’t kill each other anymore, we just go to war with football, alright? I suppose you’d rather we fought with guns and bombs. Like before.
I think I might be writing to myself again. Wow, I feel like I just punted a ball into a post, that then ricocheted into my own head.
So where do we go from here? On to the second round, for a series of matches that will inevitably slice sixteen teams in half, with only eight emerging safely through to the quarter finals. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but I think that England stand a good chance to make it to the next round. And then maybe even the next, and then the finals. Really, all we have to do is win four games and then we finally get to take home the cup that everyone seems to be talking about, but I still haven’t seen yet. I swear, it better be the most majestic cup-shaped thing I’ve ever seen, if they’re making us wait this long.
And what’s winning four games anyway? That’s easy. I won four games of Pokemon cards in a row back at the turn of the millennium, and I recall that being a cinch. Because nobody knew the rules and we could just piss around with Pikachu.
It’s just four games of footy. It’s possible, right?
Dream baby dream.
Today is Friday, June 29th and I’m exclusively listening to music that sounds as though it was produced by someone behind an abandoned building in 2056.