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(July 01, 2002)

Sorry I haven't posted for a few days, I've been spending more time with actual flesh and blood people.

So, to bring you up to date with all the news you already know:

Brazil 1 Turkey 0
Turkey 3 South Korea 2
Brazil 2 Germany 0

And Brazil won the World Cup blah blah blah what a surprise.

I decided to forgive the Germans. As Jeff pointed out, what could be interpreted as a travesty and justice and a global disgrace could just as easily be called the luck of the draw. What really decided me though was that having progressed to the final without at any point having to play, they then lost whilst playing the best football they'd played all tournament. Plus, they did beat Saudi Arabia 8-0, and they only conceded 3 goals in the whole tournament, 2 of those against Brazil.

Here's my World Cup Awards

Best game
The least important game, the losers' playoff between Turkey and Korea, was brilliant.

Worst game
Germany v Paraguay, the game that put the stale into stalemate

Best team
Brazil, obviously

Best new team
Everyone’s been talking about Korea, quite rightly, but I’ve gone for Turkey, who amazed everyone without the benefit of the home crowd.

Best goal
Diao for Senegal against Denmark in the second round of the group stage. It’s a team game, and this was a team goal.

Best World Cup moment
South Korea’s golden goal to eliminate Italy and save us from more catenaccio.

Most ironic World Cup moment
Hakan Sukur, having been arguably the disappointment of the tournament despite Turkey's excellent tournament, then scored in the last game after 7 seconds, thus writing himself into the record books for the quickest goal in any World Cup match.

Most painful World Cup moment
Morales for Uruguay missing an open goal in extra time to let Senegal through.

Best anthem
Japan’s – a touch of the Sibelius to it.

Worst anthem
A tie between Brazil and Italy – god knows I’m no nationalist, but surely an anthem should bring to mind higher things than a bar brawl in a 30s western.

Most obviously gay manager
Morten Olsen of Denmark – I know as a straight man I’m not supposed to have gaydar, but in this case who needs it?

Best fan chant
Korea’s second favourite chant, their adaptation of Schiller’s Ode to Joy.

Worst fan chant
Korea’s favourite chant, which goes “Oh, Korea, Oh, Korea, Oh, Korea, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh [bang on some drums], or England’s constant repetition of the tedious tune from some old war film.

Best TV coverage
Probably on balance ITV, if only for Terry Venables. You wouldn't trust him with the silverware, but he knows his football.

Most annoying commentator’s remark
A late entry in a competitive field from John Motson – “after Ronaldo’s seizure in 1998, he’s seized the moment here”.

Also, could they not just once allow Oliver Kahn to shout at his defenders without talking about the “Wrath of Kahn?”

Best double entendre
David O’Leary – “Germany only beat the USA after a dodgy hand job on the line”.

Most geographically ignorant commentator
Andy Townsend, for placing Belgium in Scandinavia.

Most ridiculous haircut
Sorry David, it has to be Ronaldo’s.

Dirtiest team in the tournament
Croatia – I’m talking personal hygiene rather than footballing skills – they’ve been out for a fortnight, so hopefully they’ve had a shower by now.

For actual football, Senegal - a nice story and everything, but they don't shrink from a sly kick while the ref's not looking, do they?

Most comprehensively wrong prediction
"The USA now have a quarter-final against the Germans, which means one of them will be in the semis, where Spain or Italy will squash them like a bug." Me, June 17th.

So that's it then

Well, it's been an absolute thrill. We haven't had a truly classic game like Brazil-England 1970 or Brazil-Italy 1982, but it's been a satisfyingly different World Cup, and it was a pleasure to cover it.

Let's all get down to filling in the empty years until Germany 2006. Just think, we're 0.1% of the way there already.

This is Jon Eccles, reporting for Accidents aren't Naughty, signing off.

posted by Jon 20:20
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