OK, so this article’s mostly about World Cup football. I freely admit I’m a fan but (even if you’re not a fan) be brave and read on because this page contains useful information for everyone. It’s also free of overly jingoistic phraseology and English national paranoia since we’ve had quite enough of that during last month’s European election coverage. You can also go online and look it up. Googling the word ‘RIO’ can produce an odd selection of possible links:
- Spanish / Portuguese word for River.
- OK but rather boring kids’ film from 2011 starring a couple of parrots.
- Rio 2 – Follow up movie to above with even less believable story line.
- Top selling computer game of same name.
- Road To Rio – 1947 film with Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour.
- Rio Ferdinand – Celebrated footballer who left Manchester United last month.
- Rio Tinto PLC – International mining company.
- Kia Rio – Hatchback motorcar (or so I’m told?).
… and it’s only on the second page that I find any mention of ‘Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, World Cup Football 2014’. Phew, that’s a relief—I was beginning to think I got the year wrong.
Compared to previous hype profile Footie years when you couldn’t fill up at the garage without being submerged by inflatable life size World Cup mascots or blinded by screaming headlines sacking the poor England manager before the first ball was kicked, 2014 World Cup national propaganda appears relatively modest. This is because (for the first time in my long footballing memory) nobody reckons on England achieving any success at all. In fact the odds are considerably better on Nigel Farage becoming our next King (in place of Prince Charles) rather than England getting to the last 16. This is great news as we now stand a chance of doing quite well because the pressure’s off. Our boys in Brazil can therefore spend time doing the odd night time samba and getting a cool suntan on Copacabana beach before turning up bronzed and entirely relaxed 10 minutes before kick off and then beating Brazil in the final. Oh I wish… I wish…
Incidentally (and I’m not sure if anyone else has worked this out yet?), I have great news for those who remain wary of the dreaded World Cup nemesis between England and Germany when we always seem to lose on penalties or are robbed of a genuine goal (as in Frank Lampard’s “real goal” against them in South Africa 2010). Guess what—this time it can’t happen until the semi-finals! Yes really. Having done considerable research into the fixtures and taking account of all possible permutations, England cannot meet Germany unless both countries have reached the last four. Of course, by then we may have been eliminated but so too will Germany in all probability! So, I can safely predict that whatever happens, English National pride will be fully restored by early July. Our lads will return to cheering rather than leering crowds and be paraded triumphantly on an open-top bus along Lyme Regis esplanade—no matter who actually ends up winning the wretched thing.
Here are some World Cup dates and useful facts for your diary—either for those looking forward to it or for those trying to avoid it.
- Saturday June 14th – 11pm. Opening match of England v Italy. I reckon we’ll win since we’re underdogs and Italy always start badly (it’s a fact) as they’ll still be arguing with each other about pay and bonuses, having their hair done and complaining about the food in their hotel.
- Thursday June 19th 8pm. Against Uruguay. I reckon this one’s difficult so I humbly suggest you go out to dinner and forget about it.
- Tuesday June 24th 5pm. Evening rush hour match with Costa Rica. Bad news—it’s a tense last ditch affair. Good news—roads will be empty so your drive home will be quicker than normal. If we do get eliminated, at least we’ll have been beaten by a good natural coffee producing country like Costa Rica rather than by you know who… (see above).
I don’t suppose any of you are actually going to Brazil to watch the matches in situ are you? If you are, then what’s got into you? For a start you’d have to be richer than Wayne Rooney to afford the air tickets (seriously) and when you do arrive, it’s likely your hotel isn’t built and the stadium hasn’t been finished yet and it’s squatting room only. Oh yes, and it’s only a mere 40 degrees Celsius which is considerably hotter than Charmouth Beach on August bank holiday. HRA (Humphrey Regional Advisory) says “Stay at home and watch it on UK Telly.”
And if you are genuinely lucky enough to go there then… I hate you. (Yes I’m insanely jealous so I’m trying to put you off). Watch out for possible riots, earthquakes and pick pocket thievery. OK, I agree it’s probably no worse than old portside Weymouth on a Saturday night, but if you get stuck, try to remember the following useful phrases. All Brazilian fans love it when you try to speak their language:
“Tem ratos no quarto”
(There are rats in my bedroom)
“Oi! O arbitro anula um Gol!”
(Hey Ref! The ball was over the line – that was a goal !!!!)
“Bem jogado Yo-Vil”
(Yeovil Town are great!)
“Como chego ao Exeter?”
(How do I fly home to Exeter?)