The Morning After

And so, the dream that never was anything more than a dream is now over. And while we English lick our wounds and think about what might have been, it’s only right that those readers and tweeters who have asked for my considered opinion on matters football get their manna from heaven.
I’ve thought long and hard about how best to put my thoughts in some sort of rational order. I had plenty of time to do this last night because the neighbourhood dogs kept everyone awake all sodding night. Again. But I digress.
Anyway, I couldn’t come up with any rational order, so I’m just going to do a quick  memory dump on stuff which occurred to me yesterday and in the intervening period between then and now.

I’m angry. This is in marked contrast to when Bafana Bafana bowed out (which was essentially after their 0-3 to Uruguay) when I was sad.  To go out fair and square is disappointing. To go out because of refereeing ineptitude is infuriating.

FIFA have to introduce video technology to help refs out. Yes, I recognise that “Write to Sepp” is on every English person’s agenda today, but I’ve said this before. FIFA’s continuing refusal to instate video replays into football is frustrating and foolish. And that’s without a whole lot of other f-words I could have used. Yesterday, Lampard’s “goal” wasn’t a goal and that affected the entire game and with it, potentially, the entire tournament.
It’s not “sour grapes”. It’s embarrassing to love a sport so much and watch it become a laughing stock because its “owners” want it to stay in the Dark Ages. We saw it again in the second game yesterday – Tevez’s first goal was way offside and why didn’t we get goalline camera replays of that Mexican effort that wasn’t given? The conspiracy theorist in me is screaming out that someone had had a word upstairs.

Those who say that “it wouldn’t have made a difference” are laughably naive. Consider the game in Bloem yesterday, one side going in at 2-2 having been 0-2 down: you tell me who’s going to have the psychological edge in the second half. You tell me who’s not going to have to commit too many players forward, leaving themselves vulnerable at the back.

That said, England haven’t lived up to expectations. There’s been a lot of talk of English “arrogance”, but this is a side that won all but one of its qualifying games for this tournament – they had every right to expect to do well, but too many big name players just haven’t performed. Why? Well, I don’t think it’s this “too much football” thing, because every other team is full of players that have played the same amount of football – much of it in the Premiership. Maybe there’s the issue – not enough English players in our own leagues.
So what we’ll do is to get the tabloids to blame the “durty forrennurs” and then do nothing about it until this happens again in 2014.
Oh Joy.
Oh – and I do hope that someone introduces John Terry to Matthew Upson on the plane home, because on the Free State Stadium pitch, it did look like they’d never met before.

And then I looked at Twitter to see why things didn’t go our way. And I wondered why I didn’t look there earlier.
Look at Simon Dingle’s reasons for the Lampard wonder strike not being given:

In the run up to the World Cup Germany gave us advice and support while the English media ran us down. Justice.

Ah yes Simon – of course. Those earthquake, race war and snake stories. Although I might be missing the meaning of your word “support” there. Do you perhaps mean Bayern Munich President Uli Hoeness’ comments:

“I was never a friend of a World Cup in South Africa and Africa as long is the security issue is not 100 percent solved,” Hoeness said.
“Mr Blatter had to have his way, I always considered it wrong. Now you have to make the best out of it (but) I am convinced that deep down Mr Blatter has realised that giving the World Cup to South Africa was one of the biggest wrong decisions he ever made.”

Full on support right there. And here’s some more from Franz Beckenbauer:

Beckenbauer, who captained Germany to World Cup success in 1974 and coached the winning side in 1990, says few German fans can afford the expensive tickets and are put off by South Africa’s reputation for crime.
“Not only are there doubts by those thinking of travelling there, because of security, but the tickets are too expensive,” Beckenbauer, who is on FIFA’s executive committee, told German broadcaster Sky.

This after his earlier comments:

The organisation for the World Cup in South Africa is beset by big problems,” the German legend claimed.
“But these are not South African problems – these are African problems.”

Justice indeed, then.

And then, even more laughably, self-proclaimed social media guru, Khaya Dlanga:

England won’t stop talking about how they were robbed. well, England robbed entire countries during colonialism. Lol

Lol! Yes, if you put ‘Lol’ after something,  it makes everything ok. e.g.:

Hitler wasn’t such a bad chap after all. Lol
Paedophilia in the catholic church is actually ok, because they’re men of god. Lol

Presumably, this also explains why Norway failed to qualify, having had that Viking thing going on, but I’m not sure how the Netherlands have got this far.
Quite how colonialism is going to rear its ugly head at tomorrow night’s Spain (Mexico, America, East Indies) v Portugal (South America, Angola, Mozambique) game remains to be seen, but I’m sure Khaya (who describes himself as “Speaker. Columnist. Copywriter. Humourist. Seriousist. Typoist. I’m too schooled to be cool. I never eat black Jelly Babies.” and who I describe as “a complete tosser”) will have some pithy amusing comment to drag things down to a racial level and sort it all out.


UPDATE: Thanks to the several of you who have sent me the “What’s the difference between England and a teabag? The teabag stays in the cup longer.” “joke”.
England’s World Cup campaign kicked off in Rustenburg on 12th June and ended yesterday in Bloem on 27th June. That’s 15 days. How long do you stew your tea for? More than 15 days? Is this some sort of African thing? How do you keep it warm?
Or have you just not thought it through?

UPDATE 2: via Sky News:

Major officiating blunders in two World Cup knockout games have sparked outrage among fans.
But FIFA officials ducked the controversy when faced with hostile questioning from journalists at their daily briefing.
In fact, the governing body failed to send any officials with responsibility for refereeing to the press conference.

Spokesman Nicolas Maingot said it was “obviously not the place” to debate refereeing errors or the merits of goal line and video technology. Lol


German man throws puppy at Hell’s Angels and then escapes on stolen bulldozer

File under Acts, German students carrying out inexplicable.

Via the Daily Telegraph and rather late due to World Cup traffic blocking the South African internet (cough):

The 26-year-old drove into the grounds of the motorcycle gang members’ clubhouse north of Munich on Sunday, according to reports in local media.
The young man, who was not identified, then dropped his pants, threw the puppy, and then fled.

After making his getaway, he stole the bulldozer from a construction site, and attempted to drive it to Munich. However, it was not fast enough, and his snail-like pace caused a 3-mile traffic jam near the southern town of Allershausen.

He then fled to his home nearby where he was apprehended by the police.

“What motivated him to throw a puppy at the Hell’s Angels is currently unclear,” said a spokesman for local police. He said the student had lately been suffering from depression.
The puppy was now in safe hands at a local animal shelter, the spokesman added.

Look, I think we’ve all done something like this when we’ve been a bit down at some point in our lives. I once hurled a squirrel at the bouncers outside the Ritzy nightclub in Newcastle and then escaped on a pogo stick after a Biochem practical went slightly wrong at Uni. And then there was the time I lobbed a goose at those soldiers and made off on a golf cart because I’d run out of jam.
There are many other incidents of this nature buried deep in my past, but those aren’t for here.

And what a line from the police spokesman: “What motivated him to throw a puppy at the Hell’s Angels is currently unclear”. I bet he couldn’t wait to get home to Mrs Spokesman: “You’ll never guess what I had to tell the media today, dear!”…
His optimism is refreshing though – the use of the world “currently” suggests that – at some point – they actually expect to get a rational explanation of why the man woke up that day and decided to fling a small dog at some hairy bikers.

I’m willing to bet that the bulldozer thing was just a spur of the moment decision.
It was a bad one.