Tuesday, 13 June 2006

Arbiter

Australia beat Japan 3:1 in the World Cup, and the nicest thing about it is that for a change you don't hear anything about footy or shmooty but instead you're getting proper sports news: Football news.
For a while now it has been funny to hear people at work talk about the upcoming World Cup. The language they use and the things they discuss are funny, and it's all because they don't know a thing about football but rather look for parallels in the Aussie Rules world. Remarks like "I wonder if Viduka will kick a few goals" are the basic example.
Given Australia's victory the trend has reached new heights. All of a sudden, everyone and their grandmother is a long time football supporter. And I don't know exactly why, but many seem to come up to me to share their new football insight with me (I mean, I know why: because I know a bit about football and they don't; what I don't know is how they can tell that). When I start discussing attacking vs. defensive formations or when I talk about Viduka being quite useless playing with his back to goal they quickly lose me, but they still have that bright shiny thing in their eyes - enthusiasm.
The best player in the Australian camp, by far, is the coach - Guus Hiddink. As far as coaches go, he's probably the next best thing to Wenger. So when I tell my fellow Australians (who, by the way, are quite upset at me for supporting the Dutch team) that Australia misses out on some attacking punch, and that a Thierry Henry would have done it much good, I suddenly realize how spoiled I am with my football choices: My team has and has always had one or more of the world greats playing for it, whereas most other teams don't even have someone playing for any national team, period. So I can dismiss Australia as a football superpower, but where would my humility be then?
Anyway, bottom line is that with my newly established status as the 27th floor football expert, I can ill afford to miss Australia's next match with Brazil, even though it is going to be one of the most one sided matches in this World Cup (read: one of the more boring matches). The people would look up to me to tell them that Viduka was shit, and I cannot disappoint them.

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