World Cup Diary: Rudd spurs Socceroos to glory
Well it was a game of two halves and both of them were crap. The less said about it all the better - next stop, Ghana. They’ll be quaking in their boots. I’d love to share the tales of fan-related hijinks after the Germany game but there aren’t any. It was if the fun-loving German spirit possessed us all here and we trudged off home. Perhaps we can blame Kevin Rudd for this?
The Prime Minister, a well-known sports buff Kevin Rudd wasted no time in jumping on the Socceroos bandwagon with the following tweet on Sunday: “Got alarm set for 4am like the rest of the country. Tough opponents. Go #Socceroos. KRudd.”
The tweet received a mixed reaction, if you define mixed as generally rude. One excellent instant reply: “So you’re having a sleep in then?” Many others just used the tweet as a chance to bag the PM.
The exotically-named Nakedgirlblogs gave him the following spray: “I will not be getting up at 4am and just a message for you nor should you. Put your hours into winning back my vote.” Redders_7 asked: “If the Socceroos get up over Germany any chance you can declare a national public holiday a la Bob Hawke America’s Cup?” Sadly there was no reply. Surely the PM should wait until we win the final. At least the PM’s tweet was an improvement on his earlier effort - “Harry’s happier if I leave his groin to the physio. I’ll stick to basic pre-match prayers” - conjuring the confronting mental image of the Ruddster kneeling next to his bed talking to God about another man’s genitals.
Fashion highlight of the night at Durban was unsurprisingly provided by German coach Joachim “Zoolander” Loew. Amid frenzied pre-match speculation that he would wear the black turtle-neck skivvy, Loew wrong-footed observers by opting for a purple V-neck knit. Over the top he wore a very smart navy blazer. Aussie Pim just sort of sat there in his dark blue suit and tie watching Germany score several thousand goals.
There were some tense scenes at the Fanatics tent in Durban on Saturday night during the USA-England game when, to their eternal shame, many so-called Australians were clearly barracking for the Poms. While a majority of the crowd was rooting for the Seppos - to use the raunchy American adjective for barracking - several deluded Australians of English extraction were punching the air for joy when the to-and-froms scored just six minutes in. They went kind of quiet after the sheer hilarity of America’s equalizer, when Pommy keeper Robert Green conceded a goal which would have cost a schoolkid his spot in the under-10s.
Some nice writing here from Masood Boomgard writing about the Fanatics for Durban’s Sunday Tribune: “At the Mark Bosnich Bar, named after the talented yet ill-disciplined former Australian goalkeeper with a penchant for substane abuse, there was lots of beer drinking and merry-making with a few tourists finding it hard to resist dancing.” Boomgard also quoted the lead singer of local band Electric Mary which played a gig for the Fanatics last week. “The Aussie fans are totally nuts. Playing for 1000 Aussies drinking beer is amazing.” The Bosnich Bar is a joyful step back in time, with none of this responsible service of alcohol rubbish - you can buy beers a six pack at a time and settle in for the night.
The knockabout environment at the Fanatics tent city has failed to deter Australia’s most passionate and oldest football fanatic, Football Federation Australia chairman Frank Lowy. The 80-year-old Lowy visited the fans yesterday to thank them for their support for soccer, to talk up Australia’s 2022 World Cup bid. He also promised that, if Australia beat the Germans last night, he would sleep overnight on a swag in one of the tents at Fanatics HQ. Lowy received a hero’s welcome at the Tent City, as did former Test cricket captain Steve Waugh, a massive soccer fan. Waugh told the fans they should not underestimate their role in giving the Socceroos an edge on the park.
Our footballing nemesis Uruguay is at the centre of a pretty funny crime story over here. The indignant Uruguayans had demanded the assistance of police after $12,000 was stolen from the hotel rooms of two of their players. They have since gone a bit quiet about the whole thing as it has emerged that the dirty thief was actually a member of the Uruguayan delegation.
Aside from those darned vuvuzelas - BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMPH - the other must-have item at the World Cup is the makarapa, the traditional South African miners’ helmets which are painted in the national colours with their metal sides cut out and reshaped into fins, stars, and other adornments. The modified helmets are the brainchild of Kaiser Chiefs fan Alfred Baloyi, who came up with the idea after he and fellow fans were pelted with bottles by rival fans at a Chiefs game. “I saw the bottle hit someone on the head and thought I should get a hard hat,” the genius Baloyi said.
The other must-have item here are earplugs, known as vuvu-stoppers, to drown out the endless blast of the vuvuzelas. The packaging on the vuvu-stoppers show that sexism is alive and well in South Africa’s advertising industry. “Highly effective noise reduction, uses include soccer, rugby, or for couch potatoes to block out your wife’s moaning,” they read.
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