A great game of bluff

All those people who say that England is going to grind to a halt at one o'clock today when England play Tunisia - have you noticed that they're all World Cup fans who say that? Nobody else will notice any difference
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WHAT NON-World Cup people need is not ways of getting away from football. There is no way of getting away from it. What they need is ways of dealing with and relating to the football addicts by whom they are surrounded. So today I am providing a selection of innocent questions and remarks which non-football lovers can drop into World Cup conversations from which they would otherwise be excluded. They are designed to make you sound as if you are in touch and involved, without getting you into deep waters.

Here we go then with: -


"I don't think Bulgaria can be entirely ruled out yet."

"How about that Marcelo Salas, then?"

"If all those World Cup tickets went missing, how come all the seats at all the matches are filled?"

"I wouldn't be looking for a room in Marseilles tonight."

"All those people who say that England is going to grind to a halt at one o'clock today when England play Tunisia - have you noticed that they're all World Cup fans who say that? I think that it's just possible that nobody else will notice any difference."

"I bet they won't be taking any prisoners in the USA v Iran game. And if they do, I bet Jimmy Carter will be sending in the helicopters..."

"I wouldn't write off Morocco just yet."

"How about that Hernandez then, eh?"

"I think the grass out there looks in remarkably good nick, considering it's the end of a hard season."

"Which one of these guys in the England team was it that beat up Ulrika Jonsson?"

"I wonder if everything is going to come to a grinding halt in Tunisia today..."

"I wouldn't write off Scotland entirely just yet."

"I wonder why Terry Venables is considered good enough to be a commentator at the World Cup, if he wasn't good enough to get Australia to the finals."

"I suppose everything comes to a halt at midday in Tunisia every day, anyway."

"I think the grass on these French pitches is looking remarkably good, considering the French haven't the faintest idea how to grow proper grass normally. Gravel, yes. Grass, never..."

"I tell you what. If England win today, I wouldn't be an English tourist on holiday in Tunisia tonight."

"I don't think any of this English team even looks FAST enough to catch Ulrika Jonsson."

"It's amazing that the French ever produced a painting called `Dejeuner Sur L'Herbe'. `Dejeuner Sur Le Gravel', maybe..."

"I tell you what. I wouldn't be a Nigerian tourist on holiday in Spain right now."

"I'm afraid Holland are flattering to deceive."

"We haven't seen the best of Brazil yet, I fancy."

"Is anyone ever allowed to play for Italy if his name ends in a consonant?"

"You know the Nigerian team were wearing black armbands for the late Sunni Abacha... Shouldn't an African team go into mourning wearing WHITE armbands?"

"I reckon the England team would look snappier if they had actually got Ulrika Jonsson playing for them."

"Tell you what. I wouldn't write off Mexico just yet."

"Are the Italians and Chelsea both called The Blues because Chelsea has got so many Italians playing for it?"

"Is the England side the only English football team that has got only English players playing for it?"

"The English front line of attack has got a very old-fashioned look about it, hasn't it? Lineker, Hansen, Lynam..."

"Somebody told me this morning why it was significant how many own goals there have been, but I've forgotten the reason now."

"It's certainly been the year of the bald referee, hasn't it?"

More meaningless World Cup chat by and by...