GREAT WORLD CUP? PAUL THE OTHER ONE
From Guest West London Blogger The Shepherds Mush
They were supposed to have taken the World Cup by storm, but in the final reckoning, Messi, Ronaldo and Rooney were upstaged by an octopus called Paul.
Another spineless World Cup performance
While much of the football in South Africa was a load of old tentacles, Small Paul (that’s his DJ name) rose from nowhere to topple the vuvuzela as the undisputed star of the tournament.
With eight out of eight predictions correct (one for each leg) he bowed out of the World Cup undefeated – a record shared only by the mighty New Zealand – and what’s more, Paul’s exploits are said to have attracted the attentions of more than a few OOHs (that’s Octopi’s Other Halves to you and I).
My mate foolishly backed against him for the final and had a few squid on the Dutch cloggers, who single-handedly - and double-footedly – ensured the World Cup final was more big game-hunt than big game. Agent Orange? There wasn’t a gent amongst them.
Anyway, back to the octopus. The Weymouth exile living in Germany, has officially retired from his role of pulling mussels from flag-covered boxes, and is going back to the simple life of catching a few waves and hanging out with plankton – which was pretty much the story of Stephen Warnock’s World Cup.
Which brings us nicely to England – from golden generation to golden shower in the space of four dismal games.
Like Steve Harmison’s opening delivery in the 2006/07 Ashes, the moment Rob Green decided to throw the ball into the net against the U-S-A you knew (to borrow a phrase from Dad’s Army) we were all doomed.
If Green was Private Frazer, then Capello was Captain Mainwaring, employing his tried-and-tested carrot-stick approach (minus the carrot) but ultimately coming across as a bumbling buffoon.
Of course, the Italian was keen to retain his position as Top Don in order to trouser another few million – sorry, to put right his mistakes – although his plans have been thrown into turmoil by the devastating news that Emile Heskey has retired from international football (some thought he’d retired before the tournament started).
As for the Boy Wonder, he went missing for longer than Raoul Moat – and sadly there was no Gazza arriving on his white charger with chicken and lager to bail him out.
Sir Alex Ferguson put Rooney’s no-show down to tiredness. That’s the same Fergie who flogged Rooney through a 44-game season before tossing his crumpled carcass back to Capello.
Then there was Frank Lampard’s ‘goal’ against Germany, where the ball couldn’t have been further behind the line had he sent it via courier marked ‘back of the net’.
Thankfully, in times of trouble you can always rely on the French to put a smile on your face. Evra and the boys were in such a strop that when they threw the toys out of the pram, pillows, sheets and baby followed swiftly after.
Italy joined France on the first plane home and for a while it looked as if Spain might join them as they crashed to a shock opening defeat at the hands of the Swiss.
The over-emotional Iker Casillas was met by his TV presenter girlfriend immediately afterwards and rather than console him, she simply said, live on air: “How did you manage to muck that up?” No wonder he always seems to be crying.
The soundtrack to the World Cup was, of course, those dastardly vuvuzelas.
Rumour has it Happy Mondays legend Bez was trying to watch the opening game at his local, when his mate asked if he was OK.
“Buzzin’ man!” came the reply.
“Top,” said his mate.
“No,” screamed Bez: “Stop that fookin buzzin’, man!”
"I can't even say vuzoo-fookin-vela"
The English fans did their best to make their feelings known in the match with Algeria, but the chant of “You can stick your vuvuzelas up your arse!” was sadly drowned out by…well, take a wild guess.
The first game between South Africa and Mexico finished 1-1 – just like the first game at every World Cup. When the side from Central America had a goal ruled out, coach Javier Aguirre turned into Kevin the Teenager on the touchline in what was officially the tournament’s first Mexican rave.
Aside from the vuvuzela and the octopus, the other big talking point was of course the ‘roundest ever’ Jabberwocky ball, which was brought in to create more goals, yet resulted in the lowest-scoring tournament of the 32-team era. Because no-one could control the bloody thing.
No-one, that is, except the Germans, who had been playing with it for a year because the Bundesliga had the right sponsors.
Incidentally, how come every time the Germans were scoring goals for fun they were described as ‘ruthless’, ‘efficient’ and ‘typical’ - yet when Spain ground out 1-0 win after 1-0 win (all right, they can pass a bit) it was ‘fantastic’, ‘mesmerising’ and ‘unbelievable’?
Returning to the Jabberwotsit and England’s biggest mistake was clearly not picking Darren Bent – the only player we had who knows how to get the best out of a beach ball.
"I'm like well good with floaty balls."
And so as we prepare ourselves for the new Premier League season, where chants of ‘You let your country down’ will ring around stadiums across the land and Rooney effigies will swing from lampposts until he redeems himself by single-handedly getting us to Euro 2012, here’s a look at some of the lighter moments of the World Cup.
“I like women, I like women, I like women. I am going out with Veronica, she’s 31, she’s blonde, she’s very pretty!” Diego Maradona to a journalist inquiring about the man love going on between him and his Argentina team.
Next best quote:
“Goals are like ketchup. Sometimes they don’t come out but when they come, many come at once.” Cristiano Ronaldo had obviously been on the sauce.
Replica World Cup made from cocaine seized in Colombia (police pursuing several lines of inquiry).
On the BBC: ‘Iniesta in space’ – next stop Mars.
No, not Van Bommel or even Karate Kid De Jong, but Gabriel Heinze after his vicious assault on the TV camera.
Mexico coach Javier Aguirre: “It was very important to beat France – they are after all the vice world champions” (no wonder their concentration levels weren’t up to much).
Jonathan Pearce making Mertesacker sound how Lawro would say motorcycle.
And finally….toughest job:
The North Korean TV editor who had to make the 7-0 reverse against Portugal look like a competitive match.