Wednesday, July 12, 2006

a few things the world cup taught me

If you think watching the World Cup is fun, you're either Italian or not really watching.

Trust no one: fans of Germany, insidiously, sometimes look like anyone else.

Cynicism in the long run is mere cowardice. It can, however, save your life if exercised carefully across a short and partiularly desperate stretch.

Humans who have never been sports fans are more likely to be careful of your feelings when you are lying skinless and broken after a game in the ruin of your shattered ideals. Probably for the same reason that those who were not violated as children are less likely to violate others.

Men are intrigued by a woman with a notebook watching football, and invariably choose a moment like when Messi's goal is ruled offside in which to try and chat one up. (To the guy at the Limelight: sorry, man. I really could not look away from the screen.)

Petulance is rot. Cristiano Ronaldo gets away with it because he's that good, but we still don't LIKE it, it's still a thing that must be FORGIVEN.

Backing seven teams headed into the group rounds doesn't increase your chances of triumph as fully as it guarantees your suffering multiple heartbreaks.

Often you can tell who's going to lose before the game begins by the looks on the players' faces, or the coach's.

Apart from the occasional reluctant salad, sport and vegetables seem to be mutually anathema.

I call it the Gazza Effect, and first noticed it in regard to Steven Gerrard. He's been my secret hero all year, but until he missed his penalty kick he wasn't quite human to me. Now he's moved into that select pantheon of players for whom I feel genuine affection. Same with Zidane. Pre-headbutt: great admiration. Post-headbutt: I fell a little in love.

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