The World Cup 2010 in Spain
Well, it’s nearly upon us. The Greatest Show on Earth, aka The World Cup. After what seems an interminably long wait, the tournament finally gets underway on June 11th in Johannesburg, South Africa. If you can’t be there in person, there are few better places to watch proceedings than here in Granada.
Kick off times are almost unfeasibly convenient. South Africa shares the same time zone as Spain so we have games at 13:30, 16:00 (watch with one eye as you slip in out of your siesta) and at 20:30, a great time to meet up for beer and tapas before heading on to the late night bars.
As tradition demands; the host nation will kick things off and South Africa will take on Mexico at 16:00 on the Friday afternoon. Opening games are often dour affairs so don’t be discouraged if this proves the case.
The games then flow thick and fast, with three a day during the group stages.
England v USA – Sat June 12th, Rustenburg, 20:30.
Germany v Australia – Sun June 13th, Durban, 20:30
Spain v Switzerland – Wed June 16th, Durban, Kick off 16:00.
So, as Granadinos wait nervously for Spain’s first appearance the whole city can gather for the biggie between England and the US on day two.
With both camps full of bullish optimism at such an early juncture a few words of wisdom:
You say tomayto: we say tomarto. You say Dempsey: we say Defoe.
Do support your team with grace and dignity.
Do not correct the Americans when they refer to this wonderful game we all love so much as ‘sawker’. Terms such as ‘de-fence’, ‘off-fence’, and ‘goal tender’ have now entered the football lexicon whether you like it or not.
Do flaunt the colours, sing lustily in the bars, and don silly hats. It is the World Cup after all.
Do not be tempted to jump into any of the civic fountains in celebration because Peter Crouch has come on as a late sub and slammed a hat-trick past a hapless Tim Howard. Such behaviour won’t be viewed favourably by the police – besides which, one of the goals was probably offside wasn’t it, if you’re being honest.
Do take it on the chin when England are tragically beaten courtesy of a blatantly appalling refereeing decision. You knew it was likely to happen at some point, so you may as well deal with it early doors.
Do not burn hastily (and probably very badly assembled) effigies of Frank Lampard in Plaza Nueva after the game. He wasn’t the only one to blame now was he?
Do be tolerant of overbearing English supporters. This might be their year. It’s written in the stars etc.
Do not use any fluked USA victory as justification for claiming superiority in other areas of human endeavour, ie your cookies are not better than our biscuits just because John Terry’s a chump.
Do buy your English mates a drink as consolation for destroying their World Cup hopes for another four years.
Do not attempt to start a Mexican wave in the pub. It’s not big and it’s not clever.
Do enjoy the rest of the Super World Cup Series Bowl. We’re very grateful to you for joining in.
Do not be too disappointed if the game ends 0:0. It really is a valid result in football.
Away from Group C there are other great pairings to look out for. Portugal and Brazil are both in Group G and clash on June 25th. They may both have already qualified for the knock out stages by then of course. And our amigos Spain are up against two Spanish speaking adversaries in Chile and Honduras.
Nations down under will be represented too. Both Australia and New Zealand appear together at the World Cup finals for the first time. It’s only New Zealand’s second appearance in the finals but Australia’s move into an Asiatic qualifying region freed up their passage. We wish them well of course and would suggest to fans of both nations to refrain from taking sides during the epic England USA encounter. Anzacs would be better served finding a boozer showing highlights of the day’s earlier clash between Argentina and Nigeria – it’s likely to be a livelier match and you’ve a better chance of having a free run at the bar!
For those of you hailing from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic what can I say except I envy you the prospect of enjoying an angst free World Cup, free of the dread of that inevitable moment of elimination.
One further piece of advice for everyone: Should you be taking in any games in Hannigans or Paddy’s Bar desist from mentioning Thierry Henry. His name is still a fetid, festering wound in those parts and mention of the handy chap is unlikely to be met with a smile.
If you have no interest in this sorry excuse for a four week bender I commiserate. But still, if you’ve read this far then perhaps you’ll note the following. Bargains can be struck with football obsessed partners desperately wanting to spend a night watching the ‘big one’ (el classico between North Korea and Ivory Coast perhaps). Use the opportunity to get a little creative and trade off a night out with the guys for that new pair of shoes you’ve had your eyes on.
And finally, I’d like to make the following request to our lovely Spanish hosts.
We know you have a squad bursting with unbelievable talent but please resist the urge to discuss the finer issues regarding the Xavi-Fabregas-Alonso-Iniesta midfield conundrum during Thursday night intercambio. It’ll burst our bubbles to be reminded of just how much talent you are unable to shoehorn into your starting eleven. Allow us to dream the dream while we still can!
The 64th and final match will take place on Sunday July11th. Let the games begin.