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(June 01, 2002)

World Cup Update

Sport haters among you may get a bit sick of these ...

An entertaining opening ceremony with several high points, including the South Korean flag (a yin-yang symbol, with four I Ching pieces around it - does anyone know what they represent?), the entire population of South Korea standing under huge silk sheets and pushing them up into the shape of a mountain outside Seoul, FIFA supremo and all-round bad egg Sepp Blatter getting jeered and whistled all through his speech, and a rather implausible dance sequence portraying Senegal beating France, which turned out to be an actual game.

Bizarrely, the Senegal team all play in France, whilst 8 of the French team play in England. So France 1 England 0 then.

Day 2 was all about the football. Ireland looked good against Cameroon (1-1) and were unlucky not to win, the nicer of the 2 Keenes hitting the post near the end. Matt Holland scored a great goal from a miskick by Rigobert Song, who you may remember defending for Liverpool with such composure before they palmed him off on some other poor sods.

Denmark beat Uruguay 2-1 - I know you don't care, but to me the World Cup is all about countries far, far away from us and each other, countries so remote in fact that we haven't even bothered to make up a stereotype for them.

Germany beat Saudi Arabia 8-0, in the biggest World Cup victory since Hungary beat El Salvador 9-0 in 1952 (thanks Mottie). The Arabians - they're called Saudi because the ruling family is the ibn Sauds, so calling them the Saudis is like calling Haitians the Duvaliers - anyway, the Arabians were pathetic, not a patch on their 1994 performance in America, while the Germans were cool, clinical and professional (well, they were). Somehow we have got around to making up a stereotype about them, haven't we?

The real stars so far for me, though, are the Japanese and Korean people, who have shown their utter ignorance of football traditions by being generally pleasant and nice. I'm sure they'll cotton on in the end, so let's enjoy it while it lasts.

Breaking news .... Hanse Cronje, hero of the Afrikaaners, Christian fundamentalist and cricket cheat, having been banned from all forms of cricket including coaching and commentating, has now been killed in a plane crash. Sweet.

More tomorrow.

posted by Jon 14:33
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