Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Help Me Make It Through the Estadio Centenario

This is about football/soccer. I was going to come straight out and say this has nothing to do with music and I couldn't think of a way to randomly connect the two, but suddenly the universe provided. Of all things the universe chose the Daily Telegraph ...

Up for the Cup

A rare moment for viewers of In Siberia Tonight on Saturday on the eve of the Aussie World Cup qualifier against Uruguay on SBS, when sports presenter Les Murray will sing. Yes, sing. He was in a rock group called Rubber Band in the 1970s and will join his singer-songwriter daughter Tania to sing Knock Knock Knockin' On Heaven's Door.

A big fat (sic) on the song name there, natch. No matter, my semi-on-topic semi-resolution is still semi-intact. I am content.

So anyway. Somewhere along Oxford St there is a pub girls toilet door which still bears the impression of my size 10 Blundstones following the Socceroos' Iran debacle in 1997. One minute -- 2-0 up 20 minutes to go -- we were discussing the time difference with France and how early we'd have to get up and two appalling ref debacles later it was even and we were staring at Johnny Warren breaking down on the big screen.

It's taken me 20 minutes and three Strongbows to even revisit the trauma in that paragraph.

I do not include in my deep pain the last time Uruguay beat us, ahead of Japan/South Korea 2002. We weren't good enough. We lost. Fair enough. 1997 was not fair enough and I am looking for redemption this Sunday (our time) when we take on the Soy Celeste once again in Montevideo. Incidentally, the last World Cup was personally great because it was finally in our time zone -- the World Cup in prime time, weeeee! -- plus I watched matches in four countries. Russia, Australia, Hong Kong, Bulgaria. I watched the Turkey v Brazil semi at a little bar in the wonderful Black Sea town of Balchik. I don't speaka the Bulgarian really but I got the distinct feeling they wanted Turkey to lose.

The Uruguayans, after orchestrating an airport rent-a-mob to greet the Socceroos last time are again playing silly buggers, this time over the kick off time. They changed it to force the 'roos to miss a charter flight but apparently failed to factor in the core business of the team's major sponsor -- hola?? a little outfit called Qantas. Another charter was arranged sharpish. However then the Uruguay charter fell through and they couldn't get another. What's Spanish for "suck on the karma amigos!" (update: thanks to Liam it's "¡Uruguayos, chúpase la karma cósmica!")

Not that I'm complaining, each side is entitled -- indeed, obliged -- to seek all advantage. Full on stoushing in sport is as welcome as in any other endeavour. I'm pleased to see the FFA sticking to their guns. That rugby fellow is kinda growing on me (and not only because he described yawnion as "a boutique sport" in the Herald last week. Heh.)

Sportstab is offering an Aussie win at $4.60 which sounds pretty tasty to me and I've got a few dollars on it. It's the principal of the thing but what I hope for really is that we come through Sunday still in touch, with pride intact and ready to bring it home in Sydney next week.

Can I get an Oi?

PS If it all goes pear shaped, let's agree to never mention it again .

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