Friday, June 25, 2010

Whose World? What Cup? (Day 15)

This will be an interesting evening. The Hermit Kingdom, boasting a national anthem called The Patriotic Song, will face Côte d'Ivoire, whose national anthem is the Song of Abidjan (which used to be their capital, the 4th largest Francophone city on earth, with a population of about 5,000,000). Only the Ivorians can qualify, but they'll need to beat the tough Patriotic Hermits by a large margin.

Meanwhile, I will probably spend a lot more time watching the other match, between Brazil and their former colonial masters, Portugal. The Portuguese have fond memories of Brazil and all the loot they got out of that great nation. The Brazilians pretend not to have any memories at all. I'll just note here that my not-so-distant ancestors came from the former Portuguese colony of Melaka.

Later on, Spain meet Chile (a similar story to Portugal-Brazil, historically), while Switzerland meet the Honduras. Basically, both Spain and Switzerland need to win. It is all too possible that Chile and Switzerland will qualify and Spain will be a third great European footballing nation to get dumped (unless the really unlikely has already happened and Portugal were dumped first).

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Well, even though Côte d'Ivoire is leading North Korea 2-0 at half-time, the 0-0 deadlock of Portugal (in red) and Brazil (in yellow) looks like letting both through to the next round. Unless we see more red and yellow. It's a vicious game. Or at the very least, full of ill-judged behaviour.

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Seven yellow cards and 24 fouls later... we're still waiting for a goal at Brazil-Portugal. It has just struck me that there's a very high chance of us seeing two matches between a Portuguese-speaking (Portaphone?) team and a Spanish-speaking one in the next round. The languages are basically regional dialects, but the Castilian hegemony won out (unless you ask a Catalan).

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Final scores 3-0 to the Ivorians and a deathly 0-0 at the 'Match of the Day'. Ha! So Brazil top the group, Portugal are second; it is likely we'll see Portugal play Chile and Brazil play Spain. If it's Brazil v Switzerland instead, I shall laugh my socks off.

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