World Cup Diary: Diego’s date with destiny
Diego Watch Day Five: God might have been responsible for his hand, but it’s not clear who we should blame for his bum. But either way, Argentinian coach Diego Maradona’s derriere has taken on a personality all of its own here in South Africa and is threatening to overshadow the tournament proper.
Guardian columnist Martin Kelner has called for a 24-hour camera to trace Diego’s every move at the World Cup, with a special focus on the bum-wiggling exploits he showcased in Argentina’s 1-0 victory over Nigeria on Saturday.
“If we remember the 1990 World Cup for Gazza’s tears, or Roger Milla’s dance, there is a fair chance the enduring image of this competition will be Diego Maradona’s backside,” Kelner wrote. “Boy, that is some tuchus. And when you are the proud possessor of a heiny the size of a small South American republic, what shows it off better than a lightweight grey suit?”
If Pim Verbeek thinks he’s having a rough time of it from the Australian press he should check out what the London Sun is doing to the hapless English goalie Robert Green after his howler against the Yanks on Saturday. The Sun photographed Green playing a round of golf with his teammates at Sun City on Sunday, and ran a massive front page photograph of the keeper holding a club under the headline “Putter Fingers”. It was the latest in a series from the spirited English tabloids which previously dubbed Green the “Hand of Clod” after he fumbled the ball over the line. The golfing shots of Green were helpfully captioned with arrows pointing at the golf ball saying “Er, the ball’s over here Rob.” The Sun also discovered that Green had split with his sexy blonde girlfriend, 23-year-old lingerie model Elizabeth Minnett, just a few weeks before the World Cup, and ran a massive picture of her in her undies and bra just to remind readers what she looked like.
The Americans might not know much about the roundball game - when they hosted the World Cup in 1994, they seriously suggested that the goals could be widened so that the games were more high-scoring - but they do know a bit about rubbing it in. “USA WINS 1-1” was the hilariously incorrect front page headline on The New York Post on Monday. “Greatest tie against the British since Bunker Hill,” it read in reference to the 1775 battle in the War of Independence during the siege of Boston, where the Brits expected to cruise to victory but were bogged down and slaughtered by the Yankees.
This really happened on board the post-match flight from Durban to Johannesburg yesterday. Just before take-off the hostie jumped on the PA and said: “Please note that the use of vuvuzelas on board may be a criminal offence.” We particularly liked the use of the word “may”, as it suggests that succumbing to a sudden urge to blurt out a 150 decibel elephant noise at 30,000 feet might not actually land you in strife. Meanwhile, the cases of vuvuzela rage continue to mount. The latest player to blow up about the blowhorns is France’s (corrected) Patrice Evra. “We can’t sleep at night because of the vuvuzelas,” the Manchester United star said.
Has the CIA taken aim at the World Game? Something is clearly up. FIFA issued a statement yesterday saying it was supporting the controversial Arab broadcaster Al Jazeera in trying to locate the source of interference in the broadcast of the World Cup. “FIFA is appalled by any action to try to stop Al Jazeera’s authorised transmissions of the FIFA World Cup as such actions deprive football fans from enjoying the world game in the region,” the statement said. Given the network’s often cosy relationship with terrorist ratbags, we hope the transmission wasn’t interrupted after they crossed live to a grey-bearded bloke in a cave for special half-time analysis.
One small mercy from Sunday’s pantsing at the hands of the Hun is that many pundits are now hailing Germany as the team to beat at the 2010 World Cup. “Wow. No more moaning over cagey games and lack of goals,” wrote Andy Brassell on goal.com. “The 19th World Cup was abruptly crunched into gear in Durban last night as Germany brushed the normally resolute Australia aside with a dazzling display.” It’s not quite the same as losing on a technicality to the diving exploits of the eventual champions Italy in 2006, but in our current fragile state, anything helps.
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