Henning Wehn: Who said the Germans weren't funny?

The bookies' nightmare: Otto the elderly German
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The Independent Online

Only a few hours to go before Germany steamroller Costa Rica in the opening game of World Cup 2006. Or at least do a lot better than the last time Germany held an international in Munich. I don't want to go into too much detail, but the match in question saw a certain diminutive Scouser score a hat-trick.

Costa Rica, meanwhile, deserve a good beating simply because they are a symbol of everything that is wrong with modern football. Some of those Latin Americans sport long hair, Alice bands and multicoloured boots. Pathetic! Does it make them better footballers? Of course not. We all know the only way to improve is by putting the hours in on the running track.

I'm sure most of you will have done the sensible thing and spent the last fortnight putting the hours in studying the bookies' mistakes. I have and my hot tip for the World Cup is this: Put all your money on Togo to win the tournament. They are 750-1 rank outsiders and have no track record of any footballing success to date. But, like Euro 2004's surprise winner Greece, they have a German manager whose first name is Otto and who isn't rated in the Fatherland. Greece's Rehhagel and Togo's Pfister are also both in their late sixties. Do you need any more similarities?

Italy's 8-1 odds are surprisingly short if you consider how difficult it must be for the team to focus now that their league is engulfed by a bribery scandal. I couldn't care less about the goings-on in Serie A, but I am annoyed that the Agnelli family allegedly threw money all over the place to help Juventus but failed to provide Ferrari with the funds to build Michael Schumacher a competitive Formula One car.

It's a shame that one can't bet on the most blatant piece of bandwagon jumping in relation to the World Cup. The leader so far must be Prince William. He tried to improve his street credibility by declaring himself a die-hard Aston Villa supporter. Ridiculous. William should at least have the decency to support his local team - Hanover 96. It's no surprise that Germans prefer his brother Harry, who shows more pride and awareness towards his family's history.

As for England, it's a sure bet that you'll beat Paraguay tomorrow. Their star striker Roque Santa Cruz doesn't even always tuck his shirt in his short trousers properly. Do you need more proof that they lack the required attitude?

Henning Wehn is Britain's only German stand-up comedian

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