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FIFA World Cup Report – England v. Germany PDF
Monday, 28 June 2010 00:00

from Carolyn Emmett, Montejaque's correspondent in South Africa

England v. Germany in Bloemfontain, June 27th at 4.00 p.m.

I watched the big match on TV in Hyde Park, Johannesburg: no queues for beer, and the nearest loo only 12 feet away from my recliner!

Although I didn’t attend this game ‘in person’, I could easily imagine the vibe – the commentator remarked that at least 70% of the fans were English, and the occasional bursts of ‘God Save The Queen’ throughout the game seemed to confirm this. (At one point, the anthem even drowned out the vuvuzelas; it seems the English can be as patriotic as the Americans, although we don’t need to put our hands on our hearts at the same time as we’re singing. In fact, we’re usually waving a couple of bottles of beer, so we don’t have a free hand anyway!)

Sunday, June 27th was a day of sports for England: The European Grand Prix in Valencia (Lewis Hamilton came second), Wimbledon (Andy Murray won his match – ok, he’s Scottish, but sings the same national anthem) and ODI cricket (England vs. Australia) at Old Trafford in Manchester. Plus, of course, there was a World Cup football game against the inventors of beer (Herzog Wilhelm IV von Bayern) and aspirin (Felix Hoffmann) ... you’ll probably need the latter if you’ve had too much of the former!

I drew on my reserves of testosterone and became a ‘channel surfer’; the most exciting was flipping between Andy Murray, about to win his match three sets to none against Gilles Simon, and the England vs. Australia cricket game; England had no wickets left, and needed 8 runs to win off 8 balls to beat Australia ... which they were ultimately able to do! Very exciting.

I was suffering from sports sensory overload on Sunday: motor racing, tennis, cricket ... and last (but not least? Ha ha!) England vs. Germany in World Cup football. (To think that I usually watch cooking and fashion programmes – what is happening to me?)

When, oh when, is the Football Association going to allow an ‘electronic linesman/referee’? Look at all the other sports into which video technology has been introduced:

Rugby - both codes use video evidence to decide whether tries are valid or not;
Tennis - players get 3 challenges per set if the ball is called out but they think it’s in;
Cricket - the video umpire, who can agree with or overrule the umpire;
Swimming - with its electronic touch pads;
The 100m sprint - even Usain Bolt could have problems without this!
... the list is endless.

And yet football relies on a linesman who is probably more interested in the technique of how the ball was kicked (or whether to award a penalty if someone went down), than in whether or not it went over the line! Let’s face it, that linesman was probably looking at either the striker or the boobs of some voluptuous Fräulein, to not notice that the ball had gone at least 10 INCHES over the goal-line!

I don’t know about anyone else, but, by this point, I was actually hoping that Germany would get another goal (or two) so that the score-line wouldn’t matter. For England to have lost 2-1, after that unacknowledged (and obvious) goal, would probably have meant a lynching at the very least. However, being 2-1 down at half-time put England on the attack more than the defence ... and, if they lost the ball as they were trying to drive it up the field, it seemed that Germany was quick to pick it up and score. So that ‘goal that wasn’t’ could have made all the difference.

On the other hand, if England had won, they would then be playing Argentina next Saturday, and the camaraderie and bonhomie of these 2010 World Cup games could have been called into question ... viz, The Hand of God and the Falklands! So I suspect the majority of the disappointed English supporters will now be cheering for Germany at the weekend – especially as the Germans were responsible for inventing beer!

It was a sad result. I’ve felt obliged to take the England wing-mirror covers off the car, and now have only the Spanish flag flying off the rear passenger window. (Actually, as I have a yellow BMW, the Spanish flag is so much more complementary to the colour scheme ... so COME ON, SPAIN!)

Apropos of this last paragraph: the street-sellers here should now be reducing their prices by at least 50% for memorabilia for teams that are ‘out’. Anyone want anything?

© Carolyn Emmett


Paul Whitelock

Paul is a Joint Honours graduate in Spanish and German, a qualified teacher (PGCE) and has a Member of the Institute of Linguists (MIL) qualification.

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