Wednesday, August 22, 2007

World Cup 2006

World Cup Warning

You’re more than a thousand summers to me,
My morning, my noon and my night,
You stole in my chamber and set my heart free,
And put all my demons to flight.
You raise up my spirits when dark clouds approach,
You warm me when winter’s begun.
You warn the wild animals not to encroach,
And fire me with strength from the sun.
I think of you only when women flock round,
I dream of your sweet-smelling hair,
My love for you still is so pure and profound,
There’s no other girl can compare.
You’re there at my labours when muscles are sore,
You help me unwind and relax,
But wander in front of the telly once more,
And I’ll split you in two with an axe.

World Cup 2006 Day One

Germany 4 Costa Rica 2

Traditionally, the opening game is pretty lousy fare,
The food on show is stodgy, specialities are rare.
But the international diners were all shouting out “Eureka!”
At the feast provided by the hosts, along with Costa Rica.
The Germans got a peach to leave the little minnows puffing,
But they were quite determined to avoid the dreaded stuffing.
Oh what a tasty dish to serve us at this lovely venue,
‘Twas hard to pick from all the appetisers on the menu.
A culinary treat, not the expexted bread and jam –
I was satisfied with Wanchope, but my partner fancied Lamm.

Poland 0 Ecuador 2

They were quaffing cerveza in Quito
Beneath equatorial skies.
They had come to the games incognito
But they gave the poor Poles a surprise.
They managed to keep a clean sheet – oh,
The Poles had the sun in their eyes,
And they bit like an angry mosquito,
And buzzed all around them like flies.

World Cup 2006 Day Two

England 1 Paraguay 0

Above the pitch, a big square spider
Cast his web upon the ground.
Despite a very quick decider,
English fans despaired.
Like an ambushed fly they struggled,
Beckham buzzed and Ferdy frowned,
And though poor Sven and Macca juggled,
England were ensnared.

Sweden 0 Trinidad and Tobago 0

Diddle diddle dumpling, Avery John,
From Longford to the Rubicon.
‘Twas the world stage you were on,
As the sun in splendour shone.

Two bad tackles, you were gone,
Tragic as a dying swan,
Trooping off so woebegone,
Diddle diddle dumpling, Avery John.

Argentina 2 Ivory Coast 1

The Côte d’Ivoire at first seemed keener,
As they firmly grasped the nettle,
But though they seemed more fit and leaner,
They were not allowed to settle.
Land of silver – Argentina –
The Pampas boys were in fine fettle.
Like my father’s Ford Cortina,
Boy, they really showed their mettle.

World Cup 2006 Day Three

Netherlands 1 Serbia and Montenegro 0

The liberal Dutch were not afraid
To play the S & M brigade.
They seemed to bond quite well together,
Putting shiny boot to leather.
Then “Pow!” “Kertangg!” a superhero
Put the Dutch ahead one – zero.
Clad in orange, this wide raider
Played the role of caped crusader.
Fightin evil, weavin’, bobbin’,
Who needs Batman when you’ve Robben?

Mexico 3 Iran 1

Mrs. Murphy clutched her pint of milk and loaf of bread.
“I thought that the Iranians were quite naïve,” she said.
“The back four left themselves exposed to through balls down the middle.
Why they didn’t shore that up is something of a riddle.”

Mrs. Byrne reached forwards and picked up a tub of salt.
“Technically,” she said, “I didn’t think they were at fault.
Individual errors proved to be the lads’ undoing.
Their sloppiness of their defence made quite compulsive viewing.

‘I do not think the Mexicans will prove to be a threat.
They do not have another Hugo Sanchez, don’t forget.”
And thus the conversation flowed for nearly half an hour,
With me behind them in the queue with one small bag of flour.

Portugal 1 Angola 0

Big Phil’s charges uninspired.
Me, too much to drink and tired.
Portugal defending deep.
Me, upon the bed asleep.

World Cup 2006 Day Four

Japan 1 Australia

The Aussie lads had really got their heads inside the noose,
Their fans were quite disgruntled and were giving them abuse,
They tried their best to score a goal but ‘twasn’t any use,
It seemed as if the Japanese had cooked the Aussie goose.
But then the ageing Hiddinck let a young Tim Cahill loose
To make the Japanese defence look like a pregnant moose.
A draw? One all? The Japanese were suing for a truce,
But Cahill bagged another as the backs ran out of juice.
And when the third was slotted home, poor Zico’s face turned puce.
Fair dinkum to the Socceroos, as Sheila said to Bruce.

Czech Republic 2 USA 0

The Czechs know how to mark their man,
They do not bend or yield.
Nor do they practise hopeful punts
From one end of the field.
Their sterling work reaped dividends,
They had a yen for goals.
They played the game with lots of cents
Unlike the poor old Poles.
The hapless Yanks weren’t worth a dime,
They got a proper trouncing.
The joyous Czechs thus banked the points
To leave supporters bouncing.

Italy 2 Ghana 0

They play with panache
And such free-flowing movement.
They sure cut a dash –
Not much room for improvement.
The Ghanaians tried –
The Azurri were stronger,
In full flowing tide
As the evening got longer.
Perhaps, just perhaps,
They could well end up winners
They make other chaps
Look like clumsy beginners.
If only they’d stop
All the messing and acting.
Give the diving the chop,
For it’s far too distracting.
When they go to ground
It eternally rankles
That they roll around
Clutching onto their ankles.

World Cup 2006 Day Five

South Korea 2 Togo 1

And on Day Number Five
The World Cup sprang alive –
The build-up had been overbearing.
When they’d pulled out the balls,
There’d been whistles and calls
At the prospect of this perfect pairing.
They came from afar
To each tavern and bar
To each café and whisky-a-gogo,
And some chose to cheer
For the men from Korea,
Whilst the others were rooting for Togo.

The ad-men were thrilled
And continued to build
Each expensive, ubiquitous hoarding.
Much more than Brazilians,
The audience of millions
Was doubtless supremely rewarding.
The battle was waged
And for months now had raged
On the choice of a corporate logo.
Oh, the ad-slots were dear
In this match where Korea
Faced the powerful warriors from Togo.

Who needs a siesta?
This worldwide fiesta
Was better than people had painted.
And the Red Cross were busy
When people got dizzy
And six hundred thousand men fainted.
They were waltzing in Wales
In their top hats and tails
While in Poland they all did the pogo.
Yes the world gave a cheer
When the boys from Korea
Took the field ‘gainst the boyos from Togo.

Well, the passions ran high,
And the roars ripped the sky
As the teams subsequently joined battle.
And every last fan,
Be they boy, girl or man
Got their hands on a klaxon or rattle.
They attempted to place
Giant flat screens in space,
But alas, it was deemed ‘twas a no-go.
Still, ‘twas patently clear
Half the world cheered Korea
While the other half all yelled for Togo.

France 0 Switzerland 0

If only we had qualified
Before the French or Swiss!
That could have been the Irish side
Out there in World Cup bliss.

Lining out on this great day
The giant silver screen
Would have closed on John O’Shea,
Kilbane and Gary Breen.

The stadium would be a sea
Of orange, green and white,
Heaving in mad ecstasy,
With stomach muscles tight.

Back home, the day would come alive,
There’s nothing that could spoil it,
Except the constant need to dive
Into the downstairs toilet.

In pubs from Cobh to Ballybay
The beer would flow like water.
Upon the tongue “Olé, Olé,”
Of every last supporter.

Leprechauns would run around
With green and hairy faces,
And drunken bodies would abound
In most unlikely places.

Perhaps its better we’re not there,
In Stuttgart and Westphalia,
At least this dull and stodgy fare
Did not cause organ failure.

Brazil 1 Croatia 0

All eyes on Ronaldinho
Every time he got the ball,
Waiting for that magic
To inspire and enthral.

Waiting for that shimmy
Or that subtle little flick,
The dummy that bewilders
As he rides a clumsy kick.

All eyes on Ronaldinho
And that grinning, toothy smile,
Waiting for another piece
Of skill to put on file.

Waiting for an overstep,
A weaving, mazy dribble,
Inviting the poor full-back
To lunge in and have a nibble.

All eyes on Ronaldinho
With that body lithe and slim,
He sure looked very odd with all
Those eyes glued onto him.

World Cup 2006 Day Six

Saudi Arabia 2 Tunisia 2

The sun beat down upon the match
With masterful conceit,
But sadly, it was not a patch
Upon the desert’s heat.

The players ran onto the ground
In twenty eight degrees,
But in their skimpy shorts, they found
It chilly on the knees.

They shivered, huddled on the pitch,
For heat they stuck together.
This cold, they said, is such a bitch!
How come such chilly weather?

It’s suited more to Nordic lands,
Americans and Britons –
How can we play with frozen hands?
We should have worn our mittens.

Spain 4 Ukraine 0

No Spain no gain!
Oh poor Ukraine
Were treated with utmost disdain.
Again! Again!
A hurricane!
Guess who will soon be on the plane!
Ukraine were slain,
Flushed down the drain,
Their star quite clearly on the wane.
Restrain this Spain?
You’ll try in vain
To match the pressure they maintain.
In sun or rain
Their Cup campaign
Looks set to bloom and entertain.
‘Tis plain their reign
On this terrain
Might soon uncork Madrid champagne.

Germany 1 Poland 0

It’s such a long way to commute now, it’s crazy,
There’s jams on each route to the city.
A day can be long when you’re just being lazy,
Though no-one will show you much pity.
It’s a long way to Tipp, and other far places,
It’s a long way from now to me dinner.
But not nearly as long as those poor Polish faces,
When Neuville slammed home that late winner.

World Cup 2006 Day Seven

Ecuador Costa Rica 0

The squads all went out shopping one fine morning,
And marched into a large department shop,
The lads from Ecuador admired an awning,
And bought some drapes with 48 inch drop.

The Portuguese bought doilies for their lockers,
The lads from Togo bought Belisha beacons,
The Poles bought several heavy duty knockers,
But it was curtains for the Costa Ricans.

England 2 Trinidad and Tobago 0

I am very well aware
That it’s the height of immaturity,
I know we should have moved on long ago.
I think we all despair
Sometimes at our own immaturity
Towards the ancient, once-oppressive foe.

Oh yes, they are our neighbours,
We should view the Brits with parity,
Different, yet more or less the same
But we snigger at their labours
And react with great hilarity
Whenever they are truly off their game.

Our mocking, waspish humour
Just reflects our own banality.
What would we say if they mocked our affairs?
And it isn’t just a rumour
That our maudlin nationality
Is every bit as odious as theirs.

It isn’t to our credit
That we lack such generosity,
When seeing them in trouble ‘gainst the sprats.
And I’m not the first who said it,
But reacting with ferocity
Would hardly qualify as cool for cats.

But we loved to see them wriggling,
All frustrated at adversity,
For over eighty minutes of the game.
I bet they heard us giggling
With an uncontrolled perversity,
Before their lanky striker quenched the flame.

Sweden 1 Paraguay 0

Lungberg and Mellberg have kissed and made up,
All for the sake of the FIFA World Cup.
It isn’t a thought that springs easy to mind
Lungberg and Mellberg, contrite and entwined.
In fact, with the two of them fearsome and hairy
The image is patently fright’ningly scary.
It isn’t a vision to set the pulse racing,
Lungberg and Mellberg, overtly embracing.

World Cup 2006 Day Eight

Argentina 6 Serbia and Montenegro 0

All of a sudden,
The others look wooden,
Their movement perceptibly static.
They don’t cut a dash,
Don’t attack with panache,
Their build-ups controlled, but phlegmatic.
But one team stands out,
For there isn’t a doubt
They look faster and fitter and leaner,
Its not S and M
(Six fine goals knocked past them!)
But the Candystripe boys Argentina.

Those twenty four passes
Inspired the masses
And had all the panellists raving.
That goal will be shown
To kids not fully grown
With a football-perfectionist craving.
Yes, some have looked decent
In matches quite recent,
But none have looked sharper and keener
Than the yelling, trail-blazing
Exciting, amazing
Candystripe boys, Argentina.

Netherlands 2 Ivory Coast 1

Reared on Cruyff and Gullit,
Heroes of my youth,
The Dutch stick in my gullet,
To tell the honest truth.

Where once we watch enraptured,
The skills and tricks and flicks,
Now television’s captured
All the nasty digs and kicks.

The constant, skilful diving
Now sticks firmly in my craw,
The cruel, obsessive striving
To win yellow cards, and more.

Oh, sure, they’re slick and skilful,
Of that there is no doubt,
But this cheating thing is wilful
And I hope they’re soon knocked out.

I hope their tactics fail,
And they’re sent home in calumny –
It feels like a betrayal
Of what football ought to be.

Mexico 0 Angola 0

When Lampard shoots wildly, the press yell “Bad luck!
At least he gets into position!”
When poor old Ronaldo cannot break his duck,
They call him a man on a mission.

When Henry or Klose just fail to score,
The press find it hard to believe,
But when the boys from Angola waste chances galore,
It’s always because they’re “naïve.”

World Cup 2006 Day Nine

Portugal 2 Iran 0

The Portuguese team was too poor for the stage,
So it stood forty years in the wings.
The reasons for this were not easy to gauge,
A combination of many strange things.
For years they had skill,
But they seemed to lack the will,
They could never quite carry out the plan,
But they pulled
Monkey off their back
When they beat Iran.

Forty years without qualifying
(Tick tock, tick tock)
The time-span was stupefying
(Tick tock, tick tock)
But they pulled
Monkey off their back
When they beat Iran.

Czech Republic 0 Ghana 2

Oooooooooooooooohhhh, here come Ghana,
Here come, here come, here come, here come Ghana.
Oooooooooooooooohhhh, here come Ghana,
Here come, here come, here come, here come Ghana.

Everybody needs a dream,
Follow some hopeful football team,
Some might take a stupid pill,
And back a team to beat Brazil,
Fans might marvel at the touch
Of the Germans and the Dutch,
Ecuador and South Korea,
All of football life lies here,
Argentina, USA,
Both put on a great display,
Sven’s men will get the boot,
Vitriol will be acute,
Togo, Croatia, Trinidad,
In colours of the rainbow clad,
Ukraine go from good to bad,
Scoring goals a passing fad,
There’s Socceroos from Oceania,
But now we’re shouting out for Ghana.

Oooooooooooooooohhhh, here come Ghana,
Here come, here come, here come, here come Ghana.
Oooooooooooooooohhhh, here come Ghana,
Here come, here come, here come, here come Ghana.

Say paternosters for the Poles,
Serbia conceding goals,
Costa Rica tried in vain,
Chile too back on the plane,
Cote d’Ivoire and poor Tunisia,
Ronaldinho makes them dizzier.
Hell, it seems, has little fury
Worse than that of the Azurri.
Powerhouse Puyol and Zidane,
Inamoto from Japan,
Hail the hopeful German fan,
Goodbye Saudis and Iran.
Drab Angola and the Swiss
Can’t maintain the pace like this,
Sweden’s hopes don’t seem too good,
S and M turned out a dud.
Back in downtown Lisdoonvarna,
They’ll be hollering for Ghana.

Oooooooooooooooohhhh, here come Ghana,
Here come, here come, here come, here come Ghana.
Oooooooooooooooohhhh, here come Ghana,
Here come, here come…

Italy 1 USA 1

The Americans were sent forth into battle,
No doubt with God quite firmly at their side.
The war-plan was undoubtedly to rattle
The sleek and fit Italians from their stride.
Guantanamo, this time, was not an option,
No prisoners were taken in this war.
And pacifists were shocked at the adoption
Of brutal tactics by the special corps.
Inevitably, some fell along the wayside,
Their bodies covered by a blood-stained sheet,
But heroes they! For helping such a grey side
Scrape a point from widely-tipped defeat.

World Cup 2006 Day Ten

Croatia 0 Japan 0

Am I feeling nauseous?
Is my forehead hot and red?
Did you notice that I gave a little shiver?
I know I’m being cautious,
But I think I’ll go to bed,
In case of an infection of the liver.

My wife is very nervous,
And a worried frown is worn.
She always senses trouble in her man.
For it’s hardly normal service
When I said I’d mow the lawn
And not turn on Croatia and Japan.

Brazil 2 Australia 0

Ronaldo has got a weight problem,
The attention is driving him batty.
He’s finding it hard
Being called “Tub of Lard,”
On top of “Hey Sumo!” and “Fatty.”

He claims he’s as sharp as a toothpick,
Performance suggests that’s not true.
And even on telly,
They point at his belly,
And ask him, how long till its due.

When finally the coach calls his number,
The teeth pretty naturally clench.
But pity the guy
Who gets flung four feet high,
When Ronaldo sits down on the bench.

France 1 South Korea 1

They say that the French
Don’t have much on the bench,
That the team is too old and too wrinkled.
Their eyesight is fading,
Arthritis pervading,
And wintergreen liberally sprinkled.

Their hair, which is thinning
Is slowly beginning
To turn a unique shade of grey
And the hair up their noses
Is trimmed, one supposes,
At least several times every day.

For each plays the game
With an old zimmer frame,
Though some use a stick to help balance.
And their bodies are creaking,
And pacemakers shrieking
Despite their incredible talents.

Those warriors of old,
Once so fearsome and bold,
Are now rendered feeble and toothless.
Domenech needs to mull
O’er the option to cull –
And should be quite brutal and ruthless

World Cup 2006 Day Eleven

Switzerland 2 Togo 0

Weaving, bending, now defending,
Searching for that goal.
Scared the pants off mundane France,
The Swiss were on a roll.

Hakin Yakin kept on trackin’,
Frei was having fun.
Young Barnetta went one better,
Togo was undone.

Understated, underrated,
Do not be remiss.
‘Twould be a blunder should you under-
-Estimate the Swiss.

Ukraine 4 Saudi Arabia 0

The Saudi coach could well explain
The 4-0 drubbing by Ukraine.
It wasn’t lack of football brain
Or fitness that had caused them pain.
Not for him the old refrain
That though they’d tried with might and main,
They found that they could not contain
This Eastern Europe express train.
The reason, he announced, was plain –
His players were not used to rain,
And hoped they’d see the sun again
When next they faced the mighty Spain.

Spain 3 Tunisia 1

The stands had gone quiet, though the seats were all full,
A silence hung over the place.
The Tunisian matador played with the bull,
An effortless smile on his face.

Teasing and feigning, he waved his red cape,
The bull roared in terrible pain.
The matador looked for a means to escape
As the bull charged again and again.

Then all of a sudden, the matador slipped,
While turning too fast in the mud.
The crowd gasped out loud, all instinctively gripped.
The bull looked around and smelled blood.

Three times those sharp horns delivered their blows,
The matador fatally gored.
The bull trotted round on the tips of its toes,
The crowd had received its reward.

World Cup 2006 Day Twelve

Germany 3 Ecuador 0

When marking your man, you’re advised to mark tight,
To shadow him where he might wander.
Wrap your arms round him in case he takes flight,
Engulf him like some anaconda.

The Ecuador lads have some lessons to learn,
And ended the much more moroser.
They left too much space for attackers to turn –
Their coach said they should have marked Klose.

Poland 2 Costa Rica 1

And then the fateful whistle blew.
The two teams took their final bow,
And wiped the sweat from off their brow,
For neither side had made it through.
The Costa Ricans left the pitch
Applauded for their gallant play,
And, as they left the arena, they
Could feel their lips begin to twitch.

The Poles however were waylaid
By canvassers in pinstripe suits
Who asked them ‘bout their football boots
And where they’d had their shinpads made.
They quizzed them on their fav’rite goals,
And marked the answers on a sheet,
And thanked them when it was complete
For being helpful exit Poles.

England 2 Sweden 2

Into the garden, the English trooped proudly,
Chanting and waving and singing out loudly.
As one of the original footballing powers,
They claimed all the bushes, the plants and the flowers.
The sun was so tranquil, the ambience cosy,
And everything there in the garden was rosy.
But suddenly it became chilly and breezy,
Life, they soon learned, wasn’t always that easy.
Running for trees in undignified scrambles,
They found themselves tangled in hawthorn and brambles.
The rain battered down, all the flowers lost their petals,
And up sprang a forest of overgrown nettles.
The manicured lawn became lep’rous and fungal,
As the Garden of Sweden turned into a jungle.

Paraguay 2 Trinidad & Tobago 0

Trinidad. Tobago.

Two talismanic territories twinned together
To try to threaten the top teams.

Tangling tautly, thrusting tempestuously,
Throwing themselves tirelessly
Towards thundering tackles.

Their tactics temporarily thwarted
The toothless table toppers,
Till tiredness triumphed.

Tall Thessalonians tell their tiny tots
That this team
Totally transcended the traditional tribal theocracy,
Tellingly transforming
Two traditional tourist treasures.

To tell the truth,
‘Tis terrible that this thirty two team tournament’s

Ta-raa, tigerish Trinidad.
Thanks, tenacious Tobago.

World Cup 2006 Day Thirteen

Portugal 2 Mexico 1

It shaved the Hubble telescope
At near the speed of light,
A universal misanthrope
In most abnormal flight.
Astronomers around the world
All scratched their heads and blinked,
As into Outer Space it hurled
Till blurred and indistinct.
They checked the data they had gleaned
And drew conclusions from it,
And almost to a man, they leaned
To calling it a comet.
But later, it was proved to be
No comet, moon or star,
But rather, Bravo’s penalty
He blasted o’er the bar.

Iran 1 Angola 1

Oh blow on your trumpet and pluck your viola,
Raise up your wine or your whiskey and cola,
Quote Marcel Proust, Victor Hugo or Zola,
Flatten bad thoughts like a giant steamroller,
Emerge from the dark, like a blinking pot-holer,
Marshall your troops like an air-force controller,
Sing “Shang-a-lang” like a Bay City Roller,
Claim the best prize in the bottle tombola,
Rise like the waves of the seas circumpolar,
Wear a white rose in your top hat or bowler,
Cut a large wedge from a fresh gorgonzola,
And say fond farewells to the men from Angola.

Argentina 1 Netherlands 1

Oh God! What a bore
Between two marv’lous teams,
An absolute dearth of excitement.
What the world saw
Would not spark any dreams –
In itself quite a savage indictment.
Billed as a classic,
It never got moving,
Supporters were seen to be sleeping.
The football Jurassic,
The skills disimproving,
The purists were silently weeping.
Van Persie was moaning,
Young Kuyt kept on fouling,
Van Nistlerooy dived like a Jessie.
Riquelme was groaning,
Saviola was scowling,
And the orange defenders got Messi.

Ivory Coast 3 Serbia and Montenegro 2

A feast of flowing footie,
With incidents galore,
Defences soft as putty,
Just inviting teams to score.

The Serbs appeared on fire
‘Ere their Montenegrin split,
Living on the wire,
They were champing at the bit.

The masterful Ivorians
Were powerful and slick,
And footballing historians
Recorded every kick.

The match between these nations,
Would have stirred the neutral fan,
But the television stations
All ignored it to a man.

World Cup 2006 Day Fourteen

Italy 2 Czech Republic 0

At the World Cup hotel,
The Italians look swell,
Beneath the large chandelier lights.
A team in their prime,
They might stay for some time,
And they’ve booked up an extra few nights.
They chat to the barmen,
Sing snatches from “Carmen”
And generally swagger about,
And they peer o’er their drinks
With theatrical winks,
On seeing Nedved and co. Czeching out.

Ghana 2 USA 1

Two nations divided by such a wide gulf,
One runs like a lion, one plots like a wolf,
One’s free as a buffalo, cute as a fox,
The other is shackled and whipped like an ox,
One never goes hungry and always eats out,
The other will never grow chunky or stout,
One has more wealth than the other conceives,
The other relies on the aid it receives,
One stands like a meercat, surveying the land,
The other sits down with a bowl in its hand.
One’s high as a kite, while the other is grieving,
One’s facing Brazil, while the other is leaving.

Brazil 4 Japan 1

They said Ronaldo
Looked like Nick Faldo
They said his present heaviness was sad,
They took his photo
With Inamoto,
And told us it was like a slimming ad.
They said his belly
Was like a jelly
He was twice the man who played in South Korea.
Yes he was finished
His speed diminished,
The Brazilians had little cause to cheer.

But now he’s turning, and he’s turning,
And he’s turning, and he’s turning
And he’s turning Japanese,
Ronaldo’s turning Japanese
With clever jinks so.
Turning Japanese,
Ronaldo’s turning Japanese
With clever jinks so.

They called him Buddha,
The ground would shudder,
Whenever he would break into a trot.
They were complaining,
He lacked hard training,
And wondered if he should be dropped or not.
He once looked gawky,
Now he was porky,
They said he was an overweight racoon,
He was a goner
Like Maradonna
Looking like a hydrogen balloon.

But now he’s turning, and he’s turning,
And he’s turning, and he’s turning
And he’s turning Japanese,
Ronaldo’s turning Japanese
With clever jinks so.
Turning Japanese,
Ronaldo’s turning Japanese
With clever jinks so.

No pace, no drive, no zest, no vigour,
It’s sad the way he let his figure
Everyone around him seems so lithe and slender,
Everybody seems to be a great defender,

But now he’s turning, and he’s turning,
And he’s turning, and he’s turning
And he’s turning Japanese,
Ronaldo’s turning Japanese
With clever jinks so.
Turning Japanese,
Ronaldo’s turning Japanese
With clever jinks so….

Australia 2 Croatia 2

How many refs aren’t up to the grade,
And find all the pressure much too hard?
Yes, and how many wrong decisions can be made,
Before a match becomes marred?
Yes, and how many times can a yellow be displayed,
Before you’re given a red card?

The answer is droll,
Its up to Graham Poll,
The answer is up to Graham Poll.

World Cup 2006 Day Fifteen

Spain 1 Saudi Arabia 0

Fielding their second string team,
With one arm strapped tight to their side,
Not bothering to build up much steam,
Not caring if shots whistled wide,

Not wanting to track back and tackle,
Just hoping to showboat their skill,
Devoid of all snap, pop or crackle,
Spain still beat the Saudis one nil.

Ukraine 1 Tunisia 0

The miser Charon rests his oar,
And draws a sharp and rasping breath,
And you, with skin as pale as death,
Step fearful ‘pon the wretched shore.
The crimson sun drips blood-red pools
Upon the dark, unyielding rock,
While jagg’d stones conspire to mock
The timid tread of fearful fools.
And on you walk, past poplar spear’d,
And twisted bush and poison’d lake,
Hoping it is some mistake
That daylight’s somehow disappeared.
And then a noise to quake the brave,
A petrified, unearthly screech,
With timbre that descends to reach
And rouse the corpses from the grave.
Foul sirens they, with writhing hair,
And cloven hooves and blacken’d eyes,
Whose lamentations rent the skies,
And bid the wary soul beware.
And onward more, past baying hound
With frothing mouths and rotting teeth,
Chained to a massive rock beneath
The shadow’d mountain’s lava’d ground.
And at the centre of this land
Of scorchéd earth and nitr’d lake
And spectres howling at the stake,
Arises high a football stand.
And, screaming out in anguish’d pain,
Ten millions souls vent agony,
Condemned eternally to see
Tunisia against Ukraine.

Switzerland 2 South Korea 0

Farewell to South Korea,
They may have lost the game,
But its absolutely clear
That their fans have brought them fame.

They will sing and clap and dance
From the first kick to the last,
Whether fighting back ‘gainst France
Or when hope has long since passed.

They would party through the night,
Having dreams to lift the Cup,
Then, before the morning light,
They would sweep their own mess up.

Oh, the English, Irish, Dutch,
Could learn a lot from South Korea.
So thank you very, very much,
It was great to have you here.

France 2 Togo 0

Le ciel est bleu, le soleil brille,
Ensemble, on annonce “Oui, oui,
Ils ont le fortitude, les vieux,
Enfin, allez-y, les Bleus!”

Dans la chambre, Antoinette
Plume la petite Alouette,
Demandant lentement á Dieu
De n’oublier jamais les Bleus.

“Contre Togo, ils font bien,”
Dit la femme avec son chien,
“Domenech – j’adore ses yeux,
J’espère qu’il gagne avec les Bleus.”

Sur la plage où dans le bâteau,
Dans chaque maisonette où château,
On sait bien qu’on peut faire mieux,
C’est l’inspiration pour les Bleus.

World Cup 2006 Day Sixteen

The Knockout Stages

Knockout stages,
Dying breath,
Final pages,
Sudden death.

Bad decisions,
No reprieve,
Shattered visions,
Left to grieve.

Deep despair,
Last-gasp wins,
This is where
It all begins.

Germany 2 Sweden 0

Throughout his amazing career,
He’s the man that all centre backs fear.
He can kill a ball dead,
Burst the net with his head,
And seamlessly move up a gear.

His goalscoring record is such
That defenders don’t trouble him much.
With a quick, sudden burst
He will reach the ball first
With a sure and a perfect first touch.

And thus, ‘twas a natural plot,
When the ref pointed straight at the spot,
How the hardened heart bled,
When the ball hit Row Zed,
As poor Henrik miscued his last shot.

Argentina 2 Mexico 1 (aet)

They stood up to Argentina
And they marked them well,
Maybe even keener,
Though its hard to tell.
It took a wonder volley
To do them in,
And now they’re melancholy
For they thought they’d win.
And though they’re in pain,
Still the faces are brave,
From the window of the plane
Comes a Mexican wave.

World Cup 2006 Day Seventeen

England 1 Ecuador 0

The Shamen knew their stuff in days of yore,
Now, they’re simply not as potent as before.
They proclaim it isn’t voodoo,
But you’re not sure what they do do,
Oh you cannot get good Shamen anymore.

He said he would prevent an English score,
Cast a hex upon their flat back four,
But the English luck was in,
And they held on for a win,
And alas! Its Sayonara, Ecuador.

He said that he had potent spells galore,
As he cavorted wildly round the floor,
But the complicated task
Turned out far too much to ask –
Results, I’m sad to say, were very poor.

The match itself stuck firmly in the craw,
Actually, another crashing bore.
How we longed for Ashley Cole
To be turned into a vole,
Or Lampard to become a plumed macaw.

But no sudden transformations were in store,
The English, let us say, were worth a draw.
Beckham bent another free,
Engerland – oh ecstasy!
Oh you cannot get good Shamen anymore.

Portugal 1 Netherlands 0

At last, a decent World Cup game
To set the tempers flaring.
Petroleum poured on a flame
And even Granny’s swearing.

Deco is a naughty boy
And so is Luis Figo,
Van Basten and Van Nistlerooy
Compete for biggest ego.

Van Bommel’s the incipient
Of orange illegality,
Ronaldo the recipient
Of callous Dutch brutality.

Coaches forced into a switch,
And everybody nettled,
Eighteen players on the pitch
When all the dust has settled.

Doubtless, FIFA won’t approve
And actions will be taken,
But Mr. Chairman, I would move
Both teams brought home the bacon.

World Cup 2006 Day Eighteen

Italy 1 Australia 0

Maserati was red-carded,
And Italian spirit fell.
Tactically quite guarded,
They were desperate as well.

The forays were Viduka’s,
And young Cahill played with sense,
And another chap named Lucas
Played a stormer in defence.

The ten men went defensive,
Closing midfield as a bunch.
The pressure was intensive
But the Aussies lacked real punch.

They just squandered all their chances
And you felt for them because
You felt that circumstances
Militated against Oz.

Harsh extra time was looming,
The ref’s whistle was in hand,
But a tackle big and booming
Meant things didn’t go as planned.

In Melbourne and in Sidney
And in Brisbane and in Perth,
‘Twas a punch right in the kidney
From the far side of the earth.

They’d been really going potty,
Scarce believing how they’d played,
Till a cool Francesco Totti
Left them gutted and dismayed.

Ukraine 0 Switzerland 0 (3-0 pens)

In dreadful games I’ve seen before,
I’ve watched as grown men weep.
But, janey, this was such a bore,
The whole crowd fell asleep.

From all around the stadium
There came the sound of snoring,
While others, head in hand, looked glum,
Dismissing it as boring.

The crowd performed a Mexican yawn
And then some slow hand-clapping,
And then, with faces long and drawn,
Resumed their fitful napping.

Video evidence will condemn
The total lack of tension,
Only Wicki’s ball of phlegm
Being worthy of a mention.

The penalties did not improve
The general air of boredom,
Serving sadly just to prove
The Swiss lads cannot score dem.

Thank God tomorrow afternoon
It’s time for the Brazilians,
Else the telly viewers soon
Will turn off in their millions.

World Cup 2006 Day Nineteen

Brazil 3 Ghana 0

Adriano was riding an exercise bike
With all of the power he could garner.
Juninho was reading about a mass strike
That happened one time in Botswana.
Lucio gave an oration on fruit,
With reference to plum and sultana,
While Kaka was being sized up for a suit
To wear at his daughter’s gymkhana.
Roberto Carlos was playing guitar,
A-strumming along to Nirvana.
Ze Roberto was reading about a soap star
Caught trying to sell marijuana.
Ronaldinho and Cafu were chatting ‘bout fish,
In particular Dida’s piranha,
And Emerson got his unusual wish
To paint an obese iguana.
Ronaldo was reading a book about crime,
While peeling an unripe banana.
But despite the distractions, Brazil still found time
To rattle three beauties past Ghana…

Spain 1 France 2

They faced the canvas, artists all,
With palettes poised and ready.
Marking with distinctive scrawl,
Their brushes stiff and steady.
The Spanish cubists drew their lines
With dark and bold abstraction.
A picture fraught with hidden signs,
Provoking a reaction.

The old French masters slowed things down,
Yet made a great impression.
With skilful use of blue and brown
They underplayed discretion.
The experts were indeed amazed
And several of them fainted
When the French at last appraised
The masterpiece they’d painted.

World Cup 2006 Day Twenty

Says She

“No way” says she, and “Give it up!
Put down that Guinness tray,
There isn’t any oul’ World Cup
On RTE today.
Don’t give me all that ‘four year’ guff,
It doesn’t wash with me.
Is nineteen days not near enough
To satisfy?” says she.
“Let me introduce you to
Your darling son and daughter.
Children, say ‘How do you do?’
To this armchair supporter.
The lawn out back is now more like
The local forestry.
The gardener has gone on strike –
Get off yer bum,” says she.

Nineteen days of washing up
Is sitting in the sink.
There’s not a single plate or cup
Inside the press, I think.
The dog passed on two weeks ago,
He’s still beneath the tree.
Would his Lordship kindly go
And bury him?” says she.

“That dripping tap, you said you’d fix
Has now become a flood.
It’s seeping out between the bricks –
I don’t believe it should.
Friday is the quarter final,
Now you’ve two days free.
Oh yes, and there’s the blocked urinal –
On your feet!” says she.

World Cup 2006 Day Twenty One


Oh, what a wonderful World Cup its been,
It’s lived up to all expectations.
The finest collection of teams ever seen
From thirty two myriad nations.

But one thing has struck me when watching the games,
That in general has been disregarded –
The stereotypes have been shot down in flames,
The clichés have all been discarded.

The Germans, you see, are no longer efficient,
They leave gaping holes at the back.
The players are not robots, ice-cool and proficient,
And marking is often quite slack.

Brazil are assumed to be bubbly and buoyant,
Effulsive in back heels and flicks.
But up until now, they’ve been far from flamboyant,
With a dearth of those showboating flicks.

The French – ah, les Bleus – have no swashbuckling style,
In fact they’ve been dull and defensive,
And the Portuguese lads haven’t shown too much guile,
Being nervous and quite apprehensive.

The English are known to be boring and slow,
According to public perception,
But have they been slick and exciting? Umm, no,
As rules go, well, they’re the exception.

World Cup 2006 Day Twenty Two

Germany 1 Argentina 1

Quite disgraceful scenes, they said,
With po-faced horror on their breath.
Look how Rodriguez lost the head
Just seconds after sudden death.
As if to emphasise the shame
That frightened schoolboys should not see,
(For it might draw the junior game
Into the mire of thuggery)
They highlighted the Argentine
Just like the kid with Ready Brek
And, bathed in this unnatural sheen,
They tracked his short but devious trek.
Slow-motion now, they gasped in shock
As he inflicted mortal pain,
And, open-mouthed, as we took stock,
They played it back. Again. Again.

Five times he launched his vile attack
Armed with a fiery brandished fist,
Fuelled by thoughts insane and black
And penalties so dearly missed.
Quite disgraceful scenes, they said,
And FIFA should show no remorse
In smiting him about the head,
Metaphorically, of course.

And we, at home, reviewed the melée,
Shaking heads and tutting gently,
Pointing loudly at the telly
To which we had been glued intently.

Italy 3 Ukraine 0

A long, long time ago
I can still remember when
The football used to make me wail.
And as I shouted exhortations
At the more less-fancied nations,
I’d be dreaming of a fairy tale.
But Canavaro made me shiver
With every tackle he’d deliver,
Lippi standing on the sideline,
Just inside the World Cup guideline.
And in this crazy German book,
Eastern Europe came unstuck,
Italians bathed in pools of luck
The day the Ukraine died

And we were singing
Bye bye Miss Ukrainian Pie,
Drove poor Shevvy for a bevvy
But the Levee was dry,
And good old boys drank Venezia dry
Singing “This’ll be the day I get high,
This’ll be the day I get high.”

Helter skelter, Zambrotta belter,
Shovkovski ducked and dived for shelter,
Italy were in the lead.
Totti strived, Gattuso strained,
Oleg Gusev looked quite drained,
As independents did concede.
And as King Paolo looked on down
Luca Toni stole his crown,
Hailed and worshipped by the jury
Of thirty thousand joyed Azzurri.
And Buffon, who I admire most,
Watched Gusin steam in like a ghost
And, saving, crashed into the post,
The day the Ukraine died.

And we were singing
Bye bye Miss Ukrainian Pie,
Drove poor Shevvy for a bevvy
But the Levee was dry,
And good old boys drank Venezia dry
Singing “This’ll be the day I get high,
This’ll be the day I get high.”

Will Blokhin bear the mental scar
Of looping headers off the bar,
And Zambrotta’s goal line save?
Will he regard Shevchenko’s free
With tantalising agony
And carry Toni’s winner to the grave?
For losing’s now the greatest crime –
Will he be there in four years time?
Dortmund nightmare never ending,
Must improve all-round defending.
Kalinichenko stooped in tears,
Tymoschuk rolled back the years,
But all they heard were Totti’s cheers
The day the Ukraine died.

And we were singing
Bye bye Miss Ukrainian Pie,
Drove poor Shevvy for a bevvy
But the Levee was dry,
And good old boys drank Venezia dry
Singing “This’ll be the day I get high,
This’ll be the day I get high.”

World Cup 2006 Day Twenty Three

Portugal 0 England 0 (3-1 pens)

We’d seen the mangey chimpanzees,
The wallabies and pumas,
We’d fed the hippo by degrees
With overripe satsumas.
Giraffes and seals, we’d seen them all,
And now the zoo was closing,
But then my son espied a stall
Wherein some beast was dozing.
“What is it, Dad?” he cried out loud,
His little finger pointing.
The beast stood up, quite well endowed,
Though somewhat disappointing.

It had a turnip for a head,
Which seemed a mite amusing,
And with the hand of God, it fed
On titbits of its choosing.
While supine on the floor, it kicked
Its right leg with ill-feeling,
For, like a Swiss ref, it seemed strict
And visually unappealing.
It sported odd receding hair
And needed no relaxant
And when it spoke, it spoke with care,
Complete with Swedish accent.

“A common sight in Engerland,”
I read with curiosity.
“The scapegoat’s resolutely panned
And hunted with ferocity.
Most widely seen around July
Whene’er the year is even,
In different forms, you’ll hear it cry
Self-pitying and grievin’.
The scapegoat lives its life alone
Inured to life’s surprises.
And studies of the beast have shown
It ‘s found in different guises.”
First a turnip, then a Swede,
A beast from Argentina,
Placed upon this earth to feed
The scavenging hyena.”

And, watching this chameleon,
A sudden mist descended.
A sudden wink and it was gone,
Unloved and undefended.

Brazil 0 France 1

“We deserved our fate
In ninety eight,
We were not at the races.
Zidane, Petit,
Ensured that we
Were buried without traces.
Our drab display
On that dark day,
Meant we were drubbed three nil –
Time for revenge!”
Cried the boys from Brazil.

And so it seemed
Just as they’d dreamed,
A chance to drown the past.
No longer bold,
The French were old
And fading very fast.
Arthritic trek
Was struggling on the hill.
“Victory is ours!”
Cried the boys from Brazil.

But, old and tired,
The French, inspired,
Refused to play their part.
They scarce disguised
The hunger in their heart.
With yells and whoops,
The ageing troops
Went boldly for the kill.
“It’s not in the script!”
Cried the boys from Brazil.

Shocked and stunned,
Outfought, outgunned,
Brazil could not reply.
Henri’s volley
Made them want to cry.
Zidane seemed more
Like twenty four,
Infused with iron will.
“Qu’est-ce que c’est ça?”
Cried the boys from Brazil.

Across the park,
The truth was stark,
Brazil could not compete.
The Marsellaise
Rang out in praise
And drowned the samba beat.
The French were back
On World Cup track,
The whistle sounded shrill.
“Madame Guillotine?”
Cried the boys from Brazil.

World Cup 2006 Day Twenty Four

Owen Hargreaves

Lampooned and mocked in acid prose
By scribes who’ve never kicked a ball,
Competing, straining to compose
The sourest diatribe of all.
“What right has he to share a stage
With Lampard, Gerrard, Becks and Cole?”
Screamed headlines on the printed page,
Describing him as “Sven’s Own Goal.”
The coach has made a grave mistake.
He is no asset to the team.
A total waste of time to make
This journeyman play with the cream.

And so it passed, this tousled man
Eclipsed the likes of Becks and Lamps,
Instrumental to the plan
To turn the English into champs.
Beneath the burning German sun,
While others wilted in the heat,
He’d tackle, surge, inspire and run
When other men could not compete.
The English spirit exemplified
By one who was not English-born,
He single-handed turned the tide
To heroes all, where once was scorn.

And will those self same scribes heap praise
And willingly hyperbolise
His masterful world-class displays
To try and win the master prize?
With contrite pen, will they admit
Their savage prose was off the mark?
Or, like a preening budgie, flit
To this new hero of the park?

Maniche Haiku

Twin of Slade’s Dave Hill,
My Friend Man-iche plucks the strings.
Cum on feel the noiz.

World Cup 2006 Day Twenty Five

Can you hear the drums, Ronaldo?

Cristiano, can you hear the drums a-beating?
Can you feel the latent menace they convey?
The media’s decided you were cheating,
And that, Seňor, is not the British way.

From savage Lindisfarne to wild Goonhilly,
The natives spit whene’er they hear your name.
Young Wayne might be impetuous and silly,
But at least he plays the spirit of the game.

Owens’ blatant dives ‘gainst Argentina,
Gary Neville poleaxed by fresh air,
Lampard wailing like a sick hyena –
These are all legitimate and fair.

Sure, Rooney was a little bit frustrated,
And yes, he’s shown a soupçon of remorse,
But he was forced to play a role outdated
(By another foreigner, of course)

Stamping on the groin of a defender
Is part and parcel of this robust sport.
If contact is removed from the agenda,
There wouldn’t be much passion to report.

Canavaro’s histrionics were disgraceful,
You’d think he was convulsed by mortal pain.
But giving that poor referee a face full
Is symptomatic of a sleazy brain.

Prepare yourself for hell now, Cristiano,
You’re chosen as the scapegoat for defeat.
A pinch of salt, or even oregano,
Won’t save you when the press turn up the heat.

They booed the greatest football player ever,
While playing in a charity event.
Twenty years too long for grudges? Never!
The wave of hatred never will relent.

For bullying the ref, and then for winking,
Your effigy will be strung up and burnt.
Your prospects of a future there are shrinking.
A salutary lesson must be learnt.


Semi-final’s all he had to cling to (cling to)
Now he must endure a one-match ban.
It’s a game his missus would bring bling to (bling to)
Now she knows she will not see her man.

Thinking ‘bout
Frings – who must step aside,
Frings – who will be denied
Frings – his teeth will clench
Watching sadly from the bench,
Frings – oh he can’t appear,
Frings – he might shed a tear,
Thinking ‘bout the Frings I used to know.

Punches – how he rues he had to fling two (fling two)
When the time got sorely out of joint.
When Herr Klinsmann called, how he would spring to, (spring to)
Now he wonders if there’s any point.

Thinking ‘bout
Frings – who’s a tad irate,
Frings – who will just spectate
Frings – his fate was tough
When Sepp Blatter called enough.
Frings – no biting tackles,
Frings – to raise the hackles,
Thinking ‘bout the Frings I used to know.

World Cup 2006 Day Twenty Six

Germany O Italy 2 (aet)

It surged unexpected from out the vast ocean
And swelled sleepy rivers and gurgling streams.
Wave after wave of Teutonic emotion
That dared not envisage improbable schemes
Now drowned the whole land in impossible dreams.

The viaducts shuddered and loosed their foundations,
Unable to hinder or stifle the surge.
Awash with false hope and devout incantations
At junctions where highways and rivers converge
This staid man of Europe was brought to the verge.

From Hamburg to Freiburg, from Dortmund to Gera,
The flood of excitement submerged one and all.
The currents grew strong as the waters grew clearer,
Whipped up by a sudden, unnatural squall
Till it came up against an Italian wall.

It crashed ‘gainst this barrier with fury and vigour
Just as it had done to all others before.
But this time the wall appeared stronger and bigger,
Withstanding the might of the fluvial roar,
Through lack of a droplet-sized structural flaw.

The tide could not breach the Italian defences,
Although it was backed by a northerly gale.
And at last it abated, abandoned pretences,
The waters retreated down gorges and vale,
Knowing full well they were destined to fail.

Auf Wiedersehen Pet

Auf Wiedersehen Pet,
We will always remember
The way that you followed the brave Klinsmann muse.
Let’s hope when we’ve met
In the coming September,
You’ll still be entangled in post World Cup blues!

World Cup 2006 Day Twenty Seven

France 1 Portugal 0

Through my life, I have spouted,
Universally touted,
My mantra on footballing viewing:

The armchair supporter
Sits drinking his porter,
Enjoying the things that he’s doing.

He shouts at the telly
And gives it real welly
And vents his opinions robustly,
And he roars when his side
Shoots so narrowly wide,
And complains when pulled up quite unjustly.

The real fan however
Will always endeavour
To see a live game if he can.
The excitement is greater
As a paying spectator,
Whether Shelbourne or AC Milan.

Thus I came home quite weary,
From a day dull and dreary,
And I found the front door on the latch.
And my wife said, “Your stew
Is here waiting for you,
‘Cos you’ll want to go out to the match.”

Tarnation! Hells Bells!
‘Twas Finn Harps against Shels!
It had slipped through my memory subtlely.
What, with World Cup and stress,
My whole head was a mess –
No wonder it skipped my mind utterly.

But then, what happened next
Left me later perplexed,
And I still cannot rightly believe it.

For I shook my fat head
And with great fatigue said,
“I think that for once I might leave it.

‘Sure, its just the League Cup,
And no crowd will turn up,
And I’d sooner watch slow-growing scallions.
And well, I might throw a glance
At old Portugal – France,
As they battle to face the Italians.”

My wife felt my brow,
But then shrugged anyhow
And said, “Okay, if that’s your decision.”
So I stayed in all night
Watching football so trite
On my sixteen inch Busch television,

What a grave, grave mistake
I’d decided to make,
For the football from Munich was numbing.
In the meantime, Shels shone,
Beat the Harpies four – one,
To leave loyal supporters all humming.

I must go for a session
At Saturday’s confession,
And confide this to Fr. Maloney,
And he’ll really let rip,
Tear me off quite a strip
For succumbing to square – eyed boloney.

Yes I’m bowed with contrition
For my stupid decision
To Welch on my strongest conviction.
Forever now thought a
Mere armchair supporter,
Condemned for this gross dereliction.

World Cup 2006 Day Twenty Eight


If we’d have overcome the Swiss
Instead of merely drawing,
Would we be thanking God like this,
Or would they call us boring?

Would everybody hail our play,
Our football free and flowing?
Or would they jump back with dismay
At where the game was going?

Would journalists write reams of prose
To praise our contribution?
Or would they nearly come to blows,
Demanding retribution?

Would Kilbane, Hartey, John O’Shea
Be idolised by millions?
Worshipped for that sacred day
They scuppered the Brazilians?

Would peace descend on Johnny Giles?
Would Brady be delighted?
Would Eamonn’s face dissolve in smiles,
His love at last requited?

Would neutral fans be on our side
And will us on to glory?
Would we be borne upon the tide
To finish off the story?

Would our panache make millions wince?
Would breaths be truly bated?
Or would we have crashed out long since,
Unloved, unmourned, outdated?

World Cup 2006 Day Twenty Nine

How was it for you, dear?

So how was it for you, dear?
Did you hear the angels sing?
Did Crouch and Owen
Get you goin’?
Did Luis Figo
Stroke your ego?
Oh tell me, sweetest thing,
Did the angels truly sing?

Did you feel the mountains move, love?
Did the planets alter course?
When Klinsmann danced,
Were you entranced?
When Tebez called,
Were you enthralled?
Oh, did your throat go hoarse
When the planets altered course?

Did you feel a little shiver?
Did your toes begin to curl?
Did little Dwight
Light up your night?
Did dark Zambrotta
Make you hotter?
Was your mind a World Cup whirl,
When your toes began to curl?

Did you feel a sudden surge, love?
A strange exciting flush?
Did Ali Karimi
Turn you steamy?
Alex Frei
Just make you sigh?
Oh did you get that rush,
That intense, exciting flush?

Do you still cry out for more, dear?
Are you not yet satisfied?
Does Van de Saar
Bring you too far?
Drive you crazy?
With Love right at your side
Would you not be satisfied?

World Cup 2006 Day Thirty

Third Place Playoff – Germany 3 Portugal 1

For Oliver Kahn and Luis Figo

The final turning of the page
For two great heroes of our age.
The final bow upon the stage,
As far as we can rightly gauge.

Final whistle, they embraced,
Reality so squarely faced,
Memories entombed, encased
Within the sport these masters graced.

From Reykjavik to sunny Perth,
These two colossi strode the earth.
The final score had little worth
Amid the sorrow and the mirth.

So football takes another twist,
Another two crossed off the list.
And though great hopes and dreams exist,
Oh yes, they will be sorely missed.

The Worst Centre Forward of the Tournament?

They say Big Phil’s a decent coach,
A master of direct approach.
So it’s quite puzzling how he’d let a
Team be led by poor Pauleta.

His record’s actually quite good,
So his inclusion’s understood.
But in Germany, you never met a
Worse lone striker than Pauleta.

This feller had no ball control,
And could not play with back to goal.
No wonder he could only net a
Single goal, could poor Pauleta.

The Portuguese made boring viewing,
Lack of goals was their undoing.
Big Phil should have had a tête-á-
Tête with out-of-form Pauleta.

Defenders and midfielders, they
Are blessed with hundreds every day,
But surely Portugal could get a
Better striker than Pauleta?

Every ball he miscontrolled,
One hundred and eight, I’m told.
Sure the team would be much better
Off with Granny, than Pauleta.

Nuno Gomez kicked his heels,
While half the population kneels.
On the bench, this cool goal-getter
Must have wondered ‘bout Pauleta.

World Cup 2006 Day Thirty One

WC Final Italy 1 France 1 (5-3 pens)


Italian teeth flashed in the dark,
The fireworks gushed in streams of praise,
As all around the light-bathed park,
Those blue-clad athletes danced on baize.
His team-mates, crying and distraught,
Slumped to the ground in weariness,
Sad victims of a cruel sport
That gives complete reward for less.
But in amongst the two extremes,
One figure cast a shadow tall,
Head crumpled by those shattered dreams,
Although he was not there at all.
Macbeth and Hamlet raised a glass
And toasted his heroic frame,
Now rent forever ‘pon the grass
Whereon he speared the greatest shame.

Was this how it was meant to end –
A vicious thrust from wounded bull?
That final walk without a friend,
Senses mangled, numbed and dull.
In horror, millions on TV
Gaped open-mouthed at his assault
As, like a Roman tragedy,
He came undone through one slight fault.
The memories of ninety eight,
The Arc de Triomphe bathed in light,
Perceptibly did dissipate
Into the storm-rent Berlin night.

And how will we remember him
When many moons have come and gone?
As fleet of foot and sure of limb,
A star that in sheer brilliance shone?
Or will we evermore recall
The picture of that sudden lunge,
The moment of his total fall
That even time cannot expunge.


Like the games that went before it,
The defenders were on top.
As many people saw it,
The attackers were a flop.
Oh where was Gerdy Muller,
Paolo Rossi, Just Fontaine
To add a little colour
To a midfield-led campaign?
To finish with conviction
Is the hardest skill of all,
And they all had the affliction
Of misjudging the new ball.
The Italians, worthy winners,
Had no forwards who could score,
Like amateurish beginners
Who could not complete the chore.
Let’s hope some hidden talents
Will come forth to pay our debt,
With precision, skill and balance
And a radar to the net.
Zinedine yelled excitedly –
“When viewed unpressurised,
The sarcastic remarks,
Querulously pitched,
Ordained nothing.
My lightheadedness keeps jumping in,
Great final, eh,
Despite callous butting attack?