Every four years, as you well know, people from all over the world gather in one country so that they can chant insults at referees, asking them if they are blind or just plain stupid or what, and telling them that they are the sons not of nuns or veterinary surgeons or nurses and other respectable professions, but sons of, ahem, pardon my French, bitches and whores.That’s right, it is the World Cup soccer, and next year these colourful slanging matches will take place in 12 cities around Brazil.
So, after the latest round of qualifying matches this week, what sort of insults can we expect to hear? Well, the Italians will definitely be there, they are very good at this sort of thing and regularly make the finals. In fact, they have won it four times. The Dutch, too. Three times runners-up, could they go one step further and win the elusive title this time? The Americans will be there once again, but will have to be a bit more inventive than just calling the men in black muthaf–kers. That is so passé. Costa Ricans have once again gained a spot, but they are far too polite to be considered serious contenders.
Belgium, Germany and Switzerland have dominated their groups and are just one verbal punch away from officially joining the fray. This means that the Croatians, who are quite capable of colourful language, will most probably have to settle for the play-offs. So too will Sweden (unless they get a tongue lashing from Austria next month) and either Bulgaria or Denmark.
Elsewhere Hungary, Romania and Turkey are still in with a chance of a play-off spot in their volatile group; Iceland, Slovenia, Norway and Albania are vying for another play-off place. In another wide open group, England, Ukraine, Montenegro and Poland are contending for an automatic qualifying spot and a place in the play-offs.
In the remaining European groups, the top two places are settled and it is just a matter of seeing who finishes on top (thus qualifying for the finals) and who comes second (thus having to face a play-off against a runner-up from another group). The pairings are: Russia/Portugal, Bosnia-Herzegovina/Greece; and Spain/France.
In other parts of the world, Honduras are almost home and hosed, meaning Mexico and Panama will have to fight for the right to play off against New Zealand. In the Asian play-off Jordan drew with Uzbekistan 1-1 but triumphed on penalties and will now play off against the fifth-placed team from South America. That will be tough because South Americans are really good at flinging insults at referees. It’s a national past-time on that continent. The next round of South American matches will be a cracker. Second-placed Colombia (26 points) host third-placed Chile (24 points), and fourth-placed Ecuador host fifth-placed Uruguay (both on 22 points). Expect fireworks in those games, they could get nasty. Who would want to be the referee?
Gotta go now. I am teaching the Australian team how to swear in Portuguese. It’s hard work, these buggers are friggin’ hopeless.
Altogether now everybody ….”Filho de puuuuuuutaaa!”
- 2014 World Cup Qualifying: South America (peteonsport.com)
- World Cup qualification: Find out which countries have sealed a place in Brazil – and which are in danger of missing out (mirror.co.uk)
- Bulgaria survives Malta scare to keep slim hope of World Cup qualification alive (sofiaglobe.com)
- Minnows one step closer to World Cup finals debut (myfiveromances.wordpress.com)
- World Cup qualifiers: who’s in, who’s out, whose fingers are crossed | Jonathan Wilson (theguardian.com)
- Uzbek Coach to Step Down After Cup Debacle (thejakartaglobe.com)