Regular readers will know that I have no time for football. To be honest I loathe the game, however I have a 10-year-old son who happens to be very good at it. This presented me with a problem. Some of you might be aware that there is a World Cup going on in Brazil. So, with a heavy heart, I decided that it was my paternal duty to watch the thing with my boy. I still feel guilty at having gone to Lord's without him, and I thought that lying on the sofa watching overly paid hairdressers prance about might just make it up. I have therefore watched almost every match so far, and have become something of an expert. I thought, like Phil Neville, that I might share some of my expertise with you.
First, the ritual of the British press slagging off any country hosting an international tournament – preparation, weather, health and safety, being ready on time – seems to have been, as usual, largely inaccurate. I was half expecting to see scaffolding around goal posts or some kind of dirt pitch but the Brazilians appear to have pulled it off. Did I dream the news item that claimed they were painting the pitch green the night before England's first match in Manaus?
Second, the England management seems to have developed the same skills as failed politicians after being wiped out at a by-election. The facts were that they were beaten twice and then drew with a country the size of Oxford. Despite this there was a valiant attempt to defend this as "unlucky", "a good beginning" and "useful preparation for the Euros". Ed Miliband's advisers were doubtless filing these away for future use.
Third, I felt so sorry for Piers Morgan, who had briefly torn himself away from the cricket and his obsessive Twitter sledging campaign of Alastair Cook (over the sacking of Kevin Pietersen) to deal with the World Cup. Morgan was very embarrassed as the USA had done better than England and (as he reminded us for the thousandth time) he lives over there. As far as I could see, however, it wasn't really a US team but more of a German B team who, in the game against Germany, seemed to have problems deciding which anthem to sing.
Fourth, the big news was that Uruguay's Luis Suarez had decided to bite a chunk out of the shoulder of an Italian player. Everybody seemed amazed at this. Anybody with any knowledge of Uruguay will know that this is quite usual over there. After all, a Uruguayan rugby team once crashed in the Andes and ended up eating each other to survive. The Suarez incident was not a survival thing, more of a snack to keep him going, a simple cultural misunderstanding. I think he's been very harshly treated.
At least my boy and I have grown closer during these past two weeks? Not really. After the second England defeat he told me guiltily that he didn't really like football any more, he preferred cricket. My work here is done.Reuse content