An armchair guide to what you can hope for and more likely what you can expect from the 2006 FIFA World Cup
I count my lifespan in how many world cups I have left in me. Costa Rican striker, Paulo Wanchope (raised in SoCal) might say this is going to be his last World Cup, but as an avid armchair watcher since 1966 (okay '70 - but everyone invents their earliest childhood memory) I think I have another 11 or so left in me, where I'll still be able to make a viable contribution. Andr?©e thinks I may have far fewer unless I go to Barragans a little less often. - Watch this space.
Let's get a couple of things out of the way first. Vernacular: It's The World Cup, not a world series (thanks for that one, CM) and by the end of the globe's most watched sporting event, when 40 billion viewers have been served, there'll be world champions drawn from the entire world, not just a corner of North America. We're calling it football not soccer; Goalkeepers not Net Minders; There are no assists in soccer; It's true you can play for Liverpool and England (although apparently and sadly not QPR and England at this time); there won't be a post-world cup all-star game played in a woefully inadequate US soccer stadium with live interrupted coverage on an obscure cable channel; there is no American Word for Melanie Slade. and oh yeah, this is not 'The Thinking Fans Guide to the World Cup'.
The shirt, short, socks combo they players play in is called a kit, not a uniform... Okay, this could go on forever, except, we really need to move on to the real action that's taking place off the field.
Wayne Rooney's foot. It's big and it was broken - Andree suggested Chelsea's foreign legion crocked him on purpose - or was it the American boot supplier? Anyway. Rooney's foot is now fit for action and no one really put it better than the SUN. And if the foot news isn't happy news enough for Wayne Rooney and the England fans, you'll be pleased to hear the Roo's girl, Coleen, picked up a $350,000 Aston Martin for him as a gift before the tournament began.
Of course, the return of Rooney may mean we'll be seeing a lot less of the Robotic antics of England's Peter Crouch. Check out this video on YouTube - Alarcon swore, at our pre-world cup meeting, "He looks like a Robotic Giraffe..." Yeah, maybe, but a sexy one! A folk hero for any countrymen who love lovable losers. Just in case we don't see that much of Peter anymore, here's his girlfriend Abigail, laughing at him at a disco. Sweetie, check that bank balance, you're supposed to laugh with...
And what could pique one old man's interest in the World Cup more than the SUN (once more - maybe you should quit reading outsideleft and just read the SUN). Remember wonder kid Theo Walcott? Sven's surprise 17 year-old inclusion in England's World Cup squad... Well then you'd be happy to know Melanie Slade, that's Theo's 17 yr old girlfriend. The couple met nine months ago at Claire's Accessories in Southampton where Melanie works. Melanie is currently studying for her a-Levels in psychology, biology, chemistry and maths at Itchen College in Southampton. She hopes one day to become a physiotherapist. The Sun paid Melanie a reputed $300,000 to get her kit off. Mel appeared topless in The Sun on in May, 'tastefully' covering her breasts with her hands!
David Beckham's wife, Posh is purportedly taking 5 outfits a day - but still British bookmakers are sure Coleen (Rooney's girlfriend) will be the most photographed woman at the world cup.
Costa Rica proclaimed a national holiday for day of their game with Germany.
That's a pretty comprehensive all you need to know for now, then.
Next time: Commentary I Could Have Done Without. Like this gem, during the Poland/Ecuador game, Commentator: "The first oil well in the world was drilled by a Pole" Expert Sidekick: "I thought it was drilled by a Bit."
All contributions welcome. It's shaping up to be a long month.