1. As the Fifa World Cup enters its decisive stages, it’s a good
moment to note that one of the world’s other footballing competitions
has already come to an end. I speak of course of the Fifi Wild Cup,
played at St Pauli in Hamburg, the super-cool team beloved of lefties
all over the world. The Fifi Wild Cup—this was the inaugural year—is
contested between national teams which aren’t recognised by Fifa or
the UN. This year the six contestants were Tibet, Zanzibar, Greenland, Northern Cyprus,
Gibraltar, and the Republic of St Pauli (which seceded from Germany
specially for the occasion). Nothern Cyprus won, beating Zanzibar on
penalties in the final.
It would be great if it caught on.
2. At the risk of seeming a bit sad, I have to admit that I keep by
my side while I’m watching games a copy of the Match of the Day Guide to the World Cup (as well as the Thinking
Fan’s Guide). Alongside the team and player write-ups are short pieces by
Tottenham’ Dutch manager Martin Jol, and also his predictions of
who’s going to win each game. These are also printed in the
tournament schedule, so at each stage you have a handy reminder of
what he said would happen, to go alongside what actually happens. A
whopping great hostage to fortune, you might think; but Jol’s
predictions have turned out to be remarkably accurate. In fact he got
all eight quarter finalists right, and the only thing he got wrong is
that he had Ukraine topping their group instead of Spain, and France instead
of Switzerland. Impressive. He unpatriotically called the Dutch defeat in the
Netherlands v Portugal game. He has the semis as Argentina v Italy, Brazil v England, with the Latin American teams heading into the final.
3. Germany v Argentina is a tough one. I usually decide in advance
who I want to win, on the grounds that it makes things more
interesting, but this time I’m not so sure. Germany for non-
footballing reasons, Argentina because of how they’ve played. I think
I’ll be Buddhistically neutral and let the game itself decide. NB,
the Footynomics prediction would be for a German win.
4. Sometimes I hate London. This morning I went to look at a friend’s
pictures in a college degree show, paid a cheque in at the bank,
picked my son up from nursery, and bought a piece of fish. Time
taken: three and a half hours.