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World Turned Upside Down

At the World Cup, no one is eating the minnows. And then there's the Australian Question...

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by LamontPaul, for outsideleft.com
originally published: June, 2006
There are groups of fifteen-year-old girls from Chingford to Cheltenham already dreaming of South Africa 2010.

The first round of the world cup is over and no one is eating the minnows. Its sickening. There have been too many feelgood stories for my liking. It's true, in each and every group, those least likely to, have eventually failed miserably.  But the baleful performances, the ones that confer career ending shame once the players return home just haven't been evident. A couple of Peter Crouch volleys against Paraguay notwithstanding. What a Taco Bell Highlight Reel At the Half that man is.

The Australian team. They scored their first ever goal at the World Cup finals, it's hugely disappointing to see futility finally foiled. And then they went on what just felt like a typically Australian binge, scoring three in the last  ten minutes.  It had that closing time in Willesden Green clamor about it.

I didn't burst my onion bag with joy.

Not to single out the Australians - but surely they should be heading home now instead of being handed a virtual magic carpet ride to the semi-finals.  The draw matches them up with Italy in the next round and you can't imagine the Italians dishing to the Australians the way they did the US.  

Please, traditional footballing giants, I beseech you, restore some order. I am your typically conservative football fan and this march of one minnow is very unsettling. End this abberation. I am concerned that the Italians cannot be wholly relied on to do the job.

Of course as predictable as the football has been, (ponderous underachieving England; flashes of Brazilian brilliance against nations waiting to lose to them, Brazil haven't been that good since Pele quit) - same as it always is except for the new camera angles and so on. This has been the first World Cup where the (England) footballers' wives and girlfriends have truly come into their own. These 'WAGS', as they are known - have been billeted in a de facto $1000 a night hotel - although its reported that Melanie Slade is elsewhere. The Wags have been spending up a storm in the nearby towns and villages as you would hope. Unlike the first XI, their performances have been exemplary. This is the first world cup of many to come. There are groups of fifteen-year-old girls from Chingford to Cheltenham already dreaming of South Africa 2010.

Among the criticisms of the ABC/ESPN TV coverage has to be the scant attention paid to the Wags. Very little. It's insane. If ABC doesn't behave like a spoilt schoolboy and pick up their cameras and go home, following those three Titanic US performances after which they actually did sink without a trace. Guys!  (whispered...)  The World Cup isn't over, yet! Then they could do worse than get some cameras into the England camp on the forthcoming rest days. Please go a-knockin', 'cos the house, its rumored, could be rockin'.

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