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And so they should. And how great a word is "Abpfiff"?
Once again, though, spare a thought for my poor, kind, hard-working Serbian assistant. And then taunt her for the next four years with the following stats: played three, lost three, goals scored, two, goals against, nine, points, zero. What is "buh-bye" in Serbspeak? So on my long walk, I reflected at length on England's performance against Sweden last night and have convinced myself it's going to be OK. Here's: Nine Ways I've Convinced Myself It's Going To Be OK 1. Paul Robinson did make a great save in last night's game. I incorrectly accused him of being pants for not having done so. I apologize. Now I've seen the replays. He was not, therefore, "pants." He was, instead, wearing his jeans rolled up to just below the knee in the German street style. 2. England will now practice their defending from set pieces. They'll have to. 3. Gerrard will replace Lampard in midfield. Sorry, it's just time. And I'm a Chelsea fan. 4. But Lampard will come off the bench in the second half and give the team the energy it needs. Because he's still world bloody class. 5. Hargreaves will keep his place. Even though he's Canadian, talks funny, speaks German and has bad hair.
|The stronger Mr. Rooney gets, the more dangerous England becomes.|
By the way, if you like scale models of the great ancient and modern stadia of the world, get yourself over to Munich before this exhibit gets taken down. The chariot racing stuff and the models of the mostly German, Japanese and Italian stadiums are spectacular. I doubt anyone remotely involved with a museum reads this spew, but this would be a great idea for the States. It might even get me back to the Met, where I haven't been since I met my wife. Don't really see the point. I only went there to meet girls in the first place. As you've already gathered, I basically love Munich. I think, in another life, I could live here. I'd miss golf. There doesn't seem to be much here. But it's a perfect town in so many ways. Close to mountains. Three seasons of beauty. Lots of beer. Cosmopolitan. Modern and historic. The only thing I'd struggle to get the hang of is the cyclists. There are bike paths on every sidewalk. I've learned to not walk in them, but at some point you have to cross them to get across the street, or to your parked car. Every time I almost get killed. Or rather maimed. Or whatever a bicycle moving at 25 mph would do to a 190-pound man.
Avoided bikes and death and strolled over to Schumann's to watch the Mexico versus Portugal game. I just don't know what to make of either team. Portugal seem to tire after the first half-hour and let Mexico back into it. We'll quickly know how good they each are -- tough last-16 matchups: Portugal get Nederland and Mexiko (how great is that spelling?) get Argentinien. Then I went for a stroll through the Englischer Garten -- an English-style park that forms the green lung of the city. It is ridiculously bucolic. What's a brook exactly? Is it a flowing body of water that is bigger than a stream but not as wide as a river? If it is, that's what they've got in the Englischer Garten. Two of them, with crystal-clear water and people swimming in them. And nude sunbathers. Yes, one whole "meadow" in the park is reserved for nudists. Unfortunately, the only Munchen people taking the liberal city up on its enlightened offer seem to be middle-aged and old German men. Hilarious poses. But has definitely put me off sausage for the rest of my stay. To take my mind off the shriveled-up horror of it all, I exited the park and walked around Schwabing in torrential rain -- which I've always liked, getting soaked to the skin, as long as I'm not wearing my work clothes. And I started to think about the U.S. game tomorrow against Ghana in Nuremberg. First off, I know it's the elephant in the room, but I wonder what he-who-must-not-be-named would make of this whole World Cup. Nuremberg? Weird. I can't predict what's going to happen. You never can with football. But before the tournament I did write that Ghana would play one awful game, one so-so game and one out of their skins. The question is, was the first game they lost against Italy their awful game or their so-so game? Let's hope so-so. That would make their win against the Czechs their out of their skins game. And it means that the U.S. are going to get them awful. Of course, this could go the other way. I'm a television producer, not a prophet. With that in mind here are my updated: World Cup Diary Completely Biased Power Rankings (with NEW -- added inconsistency!) of the 32 World Cup teams after they've each played two matches (and in the case of Germany, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Poland, England, Sweden, Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago, Portugal, Mexico, Angola, Iran, Serbia, the Elfenbeiners, Argentina and Holland, three):
• Day 12: Another pants problem|
• Day 11: Rank and file
• Day 10: Sea of yellow
• Day 9: America, the beautiful
• Day 8: Cheer up, America
• Day 7: Pants ... again!
• Day 6: Sweat and sausage
• Day 5: Back in the U.S.A.
• Day 4: Welcome, America
• Day 3: Clarity at 190 kph
• Day 2: England are pants
• Day 1: I kiss football
• Complete World Cup coverage