Movin' On Up

It's 2010, and another World Cup is just around the corner kick.

Follow me over here. It's a much better view.

50 Knows Football

Yeah, [expletive] Bo Jackson.

Nike should enlist Curtis Jackson, a-k-47-a 50 Cent for their next stateside soccer ad campaign.

In fact, [expletive] Juergen Klinsmann. Make 'Fiddy' the next coach of the USA. He seems to know the basics of football, and best of all has solid know-how to ensure that the game catches (gun)fire in America's concrete jungles.

Click on the [expletive] photo to read an interview with him in the newest Four Four Two. Or check out the story of how Action Jackson Heights became a fan of Jamaica's Reggae Boyz in a roundabout way.

(censorship services by the G-8 Office of Stopping Sh*t.)

The Cosmos are Back in Town

For the last several weeks, New York City became World Cup Central (Park) in America.

All the watering holes were stuffed day and night, there was unprecedented media coverage not seen outside of USA'94, and record TV ratings. For the first time in history fans even gathered at a jumbotron in Times Square for the USA-Italy game -- and did so again a couple weeks later for the Final.

Plus you could get laid by simply telling a girl you were Cristiano Ronaldo's fourth cousin-in-law, no verification asked.

Apparently the appetite for soccer (and sex) in the Big Apple wasn't so different back in the crazy daze of the New York Cosmos. The fine-stein folks at Miramax have weisely released a new documentary this week about said club.....

(if the iFilm clip doesn't work, just click here)

A TIME to Make Friends

Said company called out by The Boss is run by a bigger company named Time-Warner, which publishes a big magazine called TIME. Like visual media outlets, most international happenings are presented through the spectacle'd eye of some wannabe Hollywood screenwriter.

But, whowouldathunkit, in rare instances they
can make some sense.

Ink Criminating Evidence

Forget the Hague.

Yes, as hard as that seems, clear it from your criminal mind for just a second.

This week cast your eyes and ears on the International Court of Popular Opinion, to find the verdict over the mouthful of slurs to come out of the big mouth of Marco Materazzi.

For the record, Marco 'm&m' Materazzi has indeed been a tall, slim shady the last few years. A clearly low-brow, self-confessed moron and mafioso-like headhunter with a powerful knack for illegal thuggery. He'd make a great chairman at Juventus or another top club, president of Serie A Inc., or maybe even Prime Minister. Or all three at the same time like Silvio B did until recently.

Or maybe he'll eventually be coach of the Azzurri. Not a difficult task there.

Instructions are as follows: "defend resolutely" with 11 men behind the ball, be "defensive masterminds" as you're pinned back during relentless one-way pressure from the opposition, show yourselves as "defensive stalwarts" while being outplayed and outfought for endless stretches until a moment of freakishness occurs towards the very end, so as to prove that you are indeed "the greatest defensive squad of all time" since the last World Cup.

Oh, and twist a nipple or two along the way.

Materazzi also happens to have the most tattoos in this World Cup. This being the first heavily inked-up tournament, that is saying a whole lot. Well, not much actually. Does anyone really think aimless scribblings like these go beyond skin deep?.....

Gallagher. On Tevez.

One of the very few interesting areas of the suprisingly low-fi (though hard-hitting) official FIFA World Cup website has been the mercurial 'VIPs Love Football'.

Fittingly, one of the final installments of that section sees two of this publication's favorite people coming together.

Noel Gallagher. Carlos Tevez

Now talk amongst yourselves.

ComMunich Manifesto

The overwhelming "gamesmanship" and "sophisticated defenses" that have wrought havoc on the knockout stages has Franz talkin' and Sepp blatterin' about a summit. Yeah, a summit. Nice move. Don't forget to invite Kim Gone-ill and Jorge Dubyah-Bushleaguer. Surely they've got some opinions, too.

One person who also has opinions on making the game more attractive to a stone-cold business-casual observer is the lead singer of the Sheffield UK-based band Arctic Monkeys. This distinguished youth, specifically as a Brit rocker, understands the nuances in how to break into the ellusive hearts-and-minds of the American "market". After all, why wouldn't someone want a fine slice of that microwaveable American Pie, or a sweet sip of that high fructose corn syrup Cool Ade?

The matches should be announced 5 minutes before kick off, in the middle of the night. The players are woken up by a high pressure jet of ice cold lager and have two minutes to put on their boots and pads before being dosed up to the eyeballs on crystal meth and PCP.

Strobe lighting and deafening white noise in the tunnel ensures that they're hopelessly disorientated by the time they line up to sing the national anthems. Any that fluff a line or sing without sufficient gusto fall through trap doors in the pitch and are eaten alive by starving rabid heyenas. These inevitable casualties are replaced by highly efficient but wildly unpredictable mechanoids who can score from 70 yards but are often red carded for brutal sliding tackles that spoil the turf and bisect their opposition. The ball is made from tungsten and the referee's whistle is so loud it can melt lead. The referee himself is a highly intelligent genetically engineered polar bear who can see round corners and doesn't take shit from anyone. Collina's soul is trapped eternally within his pituitary gland. He has 9 different colours of card, from yellow for a caution all the way up to black for disembowelment and banning from the next 5 games. The linesmen are omnipresent.

Each half lasts for 5 hours and the pitch is 7 miles long with terrain varying from greased astroturf to full canopied jungle, interspersed with sand pits, ball pools and active volcanoes. After each goal a hundred strong troupe of naked local teenage girls the action on the pitch, preferring to focus on closeups of the cervixes of the most attractive supporters from some latin american country, even if it's Scotland vs Canada.

If the scores are tied after 10 hours of play, mutagenic chemicals stored in the players' spines is automatically released and they quickly transmute into horrendous lamprey like creatures who rapidly reproduce 7 fold and form an enormous writhing mass of suckers, slime, shredded football atire and hooked teeth. The teams are disbanded, the pitch is flooded with a 50:50 mix of stout and KY jelly. A horrific 5 dimensional game of twister then ensues, with each hideous player trying to force his way around or through his former team mates in an attempt to get as close as possible to the ball, which has now armed the tactical thermonuclear warhead within.
The player closest to the ball when it detonates is declared the winner, and his vapourised remains are trapped in a canister and rewarded with the dubious honour of being vaginally inhaled by geriatric Estonian pilgrims who believe (incorrectly) that it will cure them of rickets.

This new version of the beautiful game proves so popular that 95% of the planet's workforce downs tools to spend all of their time watching it on tiny little screens directly inserted into their retinas, and the global economy collapses. With food running short, the blinded population of the planet is soon crawling around on the ground searching for a morsel of edible organic matter as parasites and diseases become pandemic. Brother is soon killing brother for a flake of dried up sm*gma as the planet consumes itself, polluted by discarded plutonium studs and overheated by constant arguments over whether or not something that looks like a giant hagfish with a number 7 on its hairy back can be declared offside when the ball exists in 11 dimensional space he has just eaten the last defender whole.

Forever Pyoungyang

Lets face it, folks.

It simply wouldn't feel like semifinals week at the World Cup without some grandstanding from Kim Jong-Il, now would it?

Didn't think so.

As the corporate media bots keep telling us, the government of North Korea tested a few missile-thingys. But, geez, what's
a country without cable television supposed to do with all that spare time in the middle of a long hot summer?

Shockingly, the last time there was a major fracas of this level was exactly four years ago. Just before South Korea played it's final match in the 3rd Place game against Turkey, a jealous Jong-Il was guilty of some Korean-on-Korean crime out on the disputed high sea, in a weak attempt to grab headlines away from the sweet run of the Red Devils.

Interesting event planner, that Jong-Il. Even the squares at the Pentagon mentioned a few weeks ago that the grand leader was going to do some stuff during this World Cup like he did four years ago.

Maybe Kimbo should just get North Korea to qualify for a World Cup. They haven't been there since their surreal run in '66 -- coincidentally the last time Portugal was also in the last four. 

But that would all be too rational.

One Game Announcer Changes Everything

Well it's July 4th in America, so get out the Foreman Grill, the hot dogs, the illegal fireworks, the Miller Lite, the annoying relatives, and gather 'round the television for.......Germany v Italy? In "socker"?

Yes, it's Independence Day in 2006. ('Dependence Day' if you're an actual Native American, Mexican, or another non-WASP) Demographics are changing, Media is changing, and America is changing. Now that's a Declaration of Interdependence.

We have a special treat for you in honor of this paid holiday. Our correspondent in Germany, Naveed Marley, ran into one of the USA's finest exports in the personage of ESPN's Dave O'Brien, the voice prima facie for World Cup telecasts beaming into the States. Well, its main man for non-Spanish telecasts.

Naveed found Mr. O'Brien at a multi-storied McDonalds in downtown Dortmund, throwing down a few Deluxe Sausage Egg McMuffins just hours before the start of the Italy v Germany semifinal.

Watch this space for Naveed's exclusive, two-part interview coming very shortly....

Naming Rights Going Wrong

If you haven't noticed, it seems most matches in this World Cup are being played at "The FIFA World Cup Stadium" in so-and-so city.

Yes, German sports officials have caught on quite superbly to the All-American skill of commodifying every inch of public space: Welcome to the 'America Online (AOL) Arena' in Hamburg, Germany. Now get used to it.

This is the first World Cup where the issue of corporate naming rights of stadia is an issue. It seems FIFA is suspect about a non-sponsor getting free promotion, but not too interested in the fact that major sporting venues around the world now have names which have nothing to do with the city they're located in, and will change as fast as you can spell E-N-R-O-N.

Not ironically, on the same day that Germany '06 kicked off, the NBA Finals tipped off in the States featuring a series between teams from two different cities which play in the exact same arena name. (the creatively titled 'American Airlines Arena') That was a first in professional sports, and it won't likely be the last.

Very soon, Arsenal FC fans can get excited to cheer on the pride and joy of West London at their posh 'Emirates Stadium' . Expect a new name to call home every three years.


It was a (s)car accident

When he was a kid

Have you no shame you sick twisted Google'er?

Ronald McDonaldinho

Hollywood's much-hyped, much-marketed latest edition of the Superman franchise hit movie theaters this weekend.

The film features an otherwise ordinary man who transforms into a superhero when the world desperately needs him, showcasing death-defying stunts while wearing an outfit with a big 'S' for Superman blazing on his chest.

Hitting the pitch in Frankfort on Saturday was a man named Mr. Ronaldo de Asis Moreira, a superstar who the world occasionally needs to rescue it from the dour Joga Feo tactics of European sides. (sans Zizou, of course...but that's just the North African A-rab in him)

Mr. Moreira left the tollboth/dressing room with a colorful outfit and his first initial blazing on his headband, for all the world to see.

But the remaining letters went missing, and he remained an ordinary no-name. 

Who was that mysterious man?


Chinese Guys Gone Wild

While the race for the Golden Boot award as the tournament's leading goalscorer enters its final stage, one man in China on Friday made his claim to the Golden Re-boot award.

Said individual bravely reconnected his electronic viewing apparatus before the final whistle despite being rudely interrupted by a little-bitty fire which threatened to torch both his home and the wife and kids.

This is only one of many Outrageous Acts of Hardcore Fandom taking place in China since June 9th. Here are some other tidbits from the land of the rousing sun:

READ CHINA: Government issues guide to enjoying World Cup in moderation
THE AIR UP THERE: Entrepreneaur sells oxygen from German stadiums
RINGATONI: Broadcaster's orgasmic Italian fetish makes ringtone splash
FACE OFF: Medical officials disturbed by numbers of fans hit by facial paralysis

Allez Les Bleus, Beurs, Blacks and Blancs

The scene of Zineddine Zidane & Co. dashing off to the salute of their fans after their nasty comeback victory over Spain was one of deep, righteous significance.

And you don't have to be a fan of Les Bleus to empathize.

See, it's difficult playing for France these days.

On the one hand, you've got to handle the attacks from opposing teams and their supporters. The fiery clash between France and Spain brought out pre-game ignorance from some Spanish fans, then some post-game ignorance from a disturbingly sizeable contingent of Espana's mainstream media.

And on the other hand, you've got to deal with an increasingly fickle, unappreciative crowd back at home. They just want you to shine.

Then there are those who just want you to be White. Far-(from)-Right politicos like archaic National Front attention-craver Jean Marie Le Pen has attributed general French apathy (sic) towards the current squad to the "disproportionate" numbers of "colored" players. A proud
bespectacled man of color had something to say about that.

To be continued....

Tri-colored. Tri-omphe.

America's Next Landon Donovan

Postcard from Los Angeles....

The Real World Rankings

With a couple of days to catch our breath and restock the refrigerator, it's an ideal time to mull over random bits of useless yet revealing information.

The nerds at a fine UK-based statistical ThinkTank have produced some interesting World Cup stats that you probably won't find at the FIFA website....

1. France (16)
1. Holland (16)
3. Serbia (15)
4. Australia (13)
5. Portugal (12)
1. Serbia (31)
2. Korea (24)
3. Ghana (18)
4. France (17)
5. Tunisia (16)
1. Italy (25)
2. Mexico (20)
3. Holland (19)
4. Ivory Coast (17)
5. Ecuador (15)
1. Paraguay (12)
2. Italy (7)
3. Argentina (6)
4. Ecuador (6)
5. Iran (5)

1. Italy (4)
2. Ukraine (4)
3. Argentina (3)
4. Brazil (2)
5. Costa Rica (2)

Life of the Communist Bloc Party

Much brouhaha has been made about this World Cup encouraging a newfound, redefined sense of nationalism for the host nation, one devoid of fascism both off the pitch as well as on it. They can finally forgive themselves for producing Adolf Hitler and Rudi Voeller.

The massive outdoor parties that have been taking place in Berlin at the Brandenberg Gate have been a symbolic reminder of how far things have come.

But relics from the past still remain. And they're not from Germany.

No, we're talking about the ex-Communist countries in this Cup. Teams who clearly lacked a pairostrikers like Poland, the Czech Republic, Croatia, S&M (that's Serbia & Montenegro, you...), and good ol' fashioned Ukraine. These teams produced cynical soccer that hasn't been seen since the '90 Germany squad captained by one Rudi Voeller.

Think about this fact. Those countries combined to score 13 goals through 16 games. Of those sixteen games, they failed to score nary a goal in eleven of them -- and it would have been twelve had it not been for the dubious penalty given to a diving Sheva in their last group match. That's a far cry from when freshly de-walled Romania and Bulgaria took USA '94 by storm.

Anyways. On to more pressing concerns....

No, that's not Ukrainian TV's new sideline reporter. Nor is it Rudi Voeller.

But what's with the Beavis'n'Butthead-era haircuts? All the training pants worn chest-high? The coaching staff looking like judges at a Soviet greco-roman competition? Combined with the over-hyping of Mr. Shevchenko and the appalingly negative Cold War'ish tactics employed on the pitch, it's virtually impossible for a neutral to get on Ukraine's highly radioactive bandwagon.

Such turnoffs don't even negate the fact they'll be playing modern Azzurri sportsmen on Friday.


Ever since this site brought up the minor concern of cameramen zooming in on the ravaged neck of Argie bulldog Carlos Tevez, there's been a growing number of people stretching from every corner of the world who've come here after Google'ing about a certain topic.

So if you're here now after their victory over Mexico, and want to find out what the hell happened to his cervix, here's a brief story about Carlitos.

Rest assured they are not hickies.


There's a few ramifications from South Korea losing on Friday and missing out on the Round of 16.

We lose their crazy legion of Red Devil fans that spiced up the stands and streets from Seoul to Stuttgart, lazy asses like France move through, and we have to continue to witness the Swiss playing like it's an Olympic slalom. Plus if you live in a major city, you won't get all the discounts and freebies the shops in your local Koreatown have been promising.

And, of course, it'll hit a vital sector of South Korea's bustling, 10th-ranked economy.

Yes, we're talking about Korea's beloved contraception industry.

That up-and-cuming (ahem) future chaebol recently reported a whopping 300% rise (ahem) in sales of condoms in the last two weeks. Since their games kicked off in the middle of the night, being struck with a case of blue-and-red balls (ahem) is a natural side effect to coming down with World Cup fever.

Hey-Yoo, Suk Mai Kok!

'Ghana-na-na, na-na-na-na, hey-hey-hey, good-bye'



Spanish Armadafuckas

According to the official Germany '06 website, there are a lot of famous people who we'd be surprised to know are big followers of the World's Game. One of them is Brooklyn homeboy Spike Lee, a filmmaker noted for capturing the themes of civil rights and race relations.

Wonder what Spike would've thought watching Monday's Spain v Tunisia game.

First we saw a couple of Confederate flags waving amongst the Spanish contingent in the stands. It's the same flags we've seen the last few years at the Nou Camp, Bernabeau and venues throughout Spain where brown skinned people are heckled by intoxicated and unemployed cro-magnon bufoons.

Then on the sidelines we had the cantankerous head coach of Spain, Luis Aragones. This fossil attempted to energize his players a while back by instilling some comically Hitleresque racially-tinged motivational speech. One target was Arsenal's Thierry Henry -- coincidentally a good friend of Spike Lee's.

I Have A Dream: One day Barcelona's head coach, with Barcelona's best player, along with Barcelona's second best player, and their best substitute player, get together to form the "International Alliance of Colored/Black Footballers". And just walk off, middle fingers blazing, during the middle of a Champions League or La Liga match. You know what we mean.

Ignorance is everywhere, but what makes the Spain situation particularly bizarre is their pretentions toward being some sophisticated, advanced country. Seeing how diabolically non-chalant and dismissive their authorities (and populace?) are to the actions of their moronic ultras on both club and international level makes their Road to South Africa 2010 an extra long trek indeed.

Powered by Seoul'er Energy

Regardless of the outcome between Korea and France on Sunday, rest assured that the Korean fans will get together in astonishingly large, organized numbers.

Then find good reason to Be the Reds again. And again.

Koreans are good at many things, and one thing they've mass-tered is the art of congregation. Of course we saw it worked to resounding perfection when South Korea hosted the World Cup in 2002. It might also explain some of the Weird Christianity and Weird Music, too. And North Korea's awol government knows a thing or two of squeezing people together in an attempt to make a statement.

Thankfully, the Koreans haven't taken the proverbial foot off the pedal of their Hyundai Sonata V6 ever since.

Over one million hit the streets of Seoul for a 10pm kickoff for a first round, first game against first-time minnows Togo. On a Tuesday. There were also big street gatherings in Los Angeles' bustling Koreatown and other major cities around the

Best of all, it's all hooligan and litter-free -- Korean fans, like the Japanese, are famous for cleaning up after themselves. Hopefully they won't forget that virtue.

The Skybox of God

Attention, ladies and gentlemen.

Diego Armando Maradona is in the house.

After sneaking into Argentina's first two games, we've already seen more camera shots of a bling-blinging Maradona and his rawkus VIP box than all other
football legendarios combined.

We shouldn't expect anything less.

Maradona's probably been shown even more than the Argie players on the pitch -- which isn't such a bad thing if we're talking about less close-ups of Carlos Tevez, the neck up. (what happened to the F.Redondos and G.Batistutas?)

It's an interesting sight watching the People's Champ do his thing. Wherever Diego-a-go-goes, a fiesta of some sort follows. On Friday his entourage included his daughter, his step daughter, and both his current wife
and ex-wife. All the while being shadowed by two gargantuan black guys who looked like they just left working the 50 Cent concert.

Beat that, Pele and Franz.

Circle KSA

There was a lot of grass-kissin' during the Tunisia v Saudi Arabia all-Arab derby on Wednesday.

The unabashed worshippers from the Kingdom got down on their knees to thank Allah not once but twice during their 2-2 comeback draw. Then after the match, they got up to take a stand against all that is evil in the West, Mr. Busch. No not George, unfortunately, but Anheuser.

Saudi players don't accept man of the match award
MUNICH, Germany (AP) -- Saudi players who are chosen as FIFA's man of the match
during their World Cup games will refuse the award from sponsor Anheuser-Busch.

As the article points out, the award ended up going to the Tunisia's Jaziri player so no harm, no foul. But who'd want some frat-house souvenir beer mug as reward for being the game's best performer, anyway?

It's actually a farcical issue worth noting, since we're talking about an alcoholic beverage company sponsoring FIFA youth events like this one.

Meanwhile, British health officials are also warning about commercialization and the Fast Food Nation of Beer Bellies their citizens might turn into -- much like its former colony across the Atlantic -- while catching World Cup fevah.

Globall Music, Disc One World

Sporting event soundtracks have generally been lazy compilations from some major record label taking advantage of a deal struck with oblivious old dudes at the sport's governing body.

This year's official Germany 2006 soundtrack from Sony/Columbia is no different. Ever since Pavarotti composed the anthem for Italia '90, the target demographic increasingly has been more Wimbledon than World Cup. A lot more Tchaikovsky than Chumbawumba.

Fortunately, there's hope on the digital black market this summer. In an age of cross and multiple platform branding, horizontal and vertical marketing, there are interesting jams popping up all over the place. In terms of english-languaged tunes, the U.K. is coming through big. Those Brits seem to have a decent musical pedigree. You heard it here first.

While the official song selected by the England FA is a pretentious tune from Embrace, some of the runners-up in the competition like Sham 69 have been out-gunning them nicely. Kasabian will be releasing something, and the bores at Coldplay mentioned something last weekend. Even some country sheep are getting in on the action. Just take a listen to Virgin Radio online for a few hours leading up to Thursday's England matchup with T&T to get a sample of current and past singalong anthems.

Now that it's not uncool, and probably even encouraged, for musicians to license away their catalog of songs for any and every commercial possibility, Adidas and Nike have plucked a couple of decent up-and-comers. A song from Manchester-based solo artist Jim Noir is making a splash for his contribution to adidas' spot featuring the two muchachito fantasizers. Meanwhile Nike commissioned the decent track "Caroline" from Brooklyn-based Radio 4 for their 30 seconds of fame.

Click for sample

Save the Eléfants

Thank you, Ivory Coast, for providing the first archivable don't-record-over-my-damn-tape match of the World Cup. Thanks also would have been in order to your co-worker, Argentina, if they were more willing to play along.

According to U2's Bono and other self-appointed spokesmen for Africa, you are a war-weary place of barefoot cannibals. Without iPods. Thats what we've heard on the TV. And TV is the only source of truth.

You're apparently the first country in a World Cup to have an unstable government with violent factions going at it during cycles of socio-economic anarchy. The other Group C nations, for instance, have never had such experiences.

Access of Evil

Iranians without thick beards and turbans revisited American TV airwaves for the first time in eight years on Sunday, with a matchup against Mexico live from Guadalajara. Okay, Nuremberg. Same damn thing.

The pre-game show on ABC was hosted by Chuck Norris and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Match play-by-play presented by Henry Kissinger alongside color commentator Alan Dershowitz. On-field reporting from Pat Robertson.

Well something like that.

On Monday the U.S. team entered TV-equipped homes in Iran, as they opened up against the Czechs. No word on who the persian broadcast team was over there. But you know they mentioned this gem before Team USA ended up getting nailed in the nuts, 3-0.

That game was televised live in Iran in full terrestrial bliss. In fact all 64 games will be, which usually wouldn't be a big deal but this year it makes the feat an anomaly. Especially in that region.

Being the well-oiled rogue state that it is, Iranian officials are bucking yet another global trend by making the games all available to the public without paying serious cash for it. The only price paid for the state-run telecasts might be the time-delays to allow censors to clear out all images of attractive women
and expressions of individual spontaneity.

In a world awash with media-access discrepancies, this is the first World Cup where relaxed FIFA rules on mandatory telecasts by TV rights-holders have come crashing down on the little man, allowing corporate media mo-ghouls space to run amok.

No region has felt the brunt effect of this more than the good people of the MiddlEast. From Israel to Palestine to Lebanon, Morocco to Egypt, Jordan to Iraq, finding a telecast has been as laborious as finding WMDs .

A saving grace could come from a Middleastern-based World Cup corporate sponsor. One just needs to travel a few miles to access the signal.

A Joga Bonito No-No

Surely you've seen them. The whole wide world has seen them. 

Even three inmates at Guantanomo have apparently seen 'em.

It's the Nike 'Joga Bonito' campaign featuring Eric Cantona, going around having fun with a video camera and a rather mediocre script from the copywriters at Wieden-Kennedy.

Questionable choice, methinks.

Firstly. Why would the good folks in Beaverton, Oregon commission the use of Cantona as the spokesperson of the World's Game for the mainstream American market? Our feeble, internationally-challenged nation ("Freedom Fries! Get it?") wouldn't be receptive to a French dude's futile attempts at stoic english - especially when that man usually talks incoherently in his own language.

Non-speaking roles, please. Cantona is a veteran of Nike's World Cup ad campaigns. But they worked because King Eric didn't open his mouth. In '94 he was crashing through skyscrapers, and four years ago was on a Mad Max-like rampage. That was more like it...

Looking like a stiff-necked, Camus-on-doughnuts doesn't actually make you Camus-on-doughnuts. Where does this come from? Cantona was never invited to the French pop-culture intelligentsia; he broke in, just like the commercials.

Third. A man with a disciplinary record like Cantona's shouldn't be introducing us to the sublime skills of the ballerinhas and
ballerinhos of Brazil. But then again, he has tried to showcase his own version of on-field acrobatics before...

Said 'doughnuts' quip is partially plucked from the ever-thickening quotebook of Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher discuss the Beautiful Game in a foul language we can all understand.

Forming an Unholy Allianz

As the World Cup kicks off today at the Allianz Arena in Munich, it's expected that the VIP stands at stadia will be dotted with famous German people thoughout the tournament.

Someone like "Dirk Nowitzki". This man, Novetschi, is a basketball player. Apparently Mr. Novitzkee is a good basketball player.

Maybe even people of kraut descent, like David Hasselhoff. If we were to be so blessed by His presence.

But one famous German you won't see blessing the stands is the new Pope, Benedict. Whereas the previous head coach of the Catholic Church was a fan of soccer and sport in general, this current Head of Fate seems as square-footed as he is minded -- but that's probably why he scored the job in the first place. Like, in the 'prerequisites' section of the online application he filled out a couple years back.

In an ideal world we'd all get to see Pope Benedict show up for one game in particular, that being the Germany v Poland tussle on June 14th in Dortmund. It would surely be the man's first sporting event. Perhaps even first experience outdoors.

It would make sense. Germany, Poland. A wonderful rememberance to the previous pontiff. (and to Dirk Nowitschee, btw -- a German of Polish heritage) A true passing of the baton for his work of several decades. (and to Dirk Noveski, btw) Something the aptly-titled 'Chiristan Democrats' would be proud of. (so would Dirk Knovetskee)

As Jesus would have it, that match has been formally billed by law enforcement as a ticking timebomb, likely to attract hordes of xenophobic, hyper-sexual, alpha males with a penchance for felonious violence.

What Would Dirk Do?

"Holy Shit, are you Bono?"

They're Two Sexy It Hurts

If you're in Berlin on Thursday night, and completely sober, you might want to head on down to the Brandenberg Gate for a huge concert featuring a reunion performance from one of Britain's finest musical exports.

Oh, and Simple Minds are scheduled to perform as well.

"I'm so sexy, it hurts" in full surround sound. Hmm. Perhaps that anthem should be used by adidas for their current +10 World Cup ad campaign temporarily, since two of their high flyers got grounded on Wednesday night. first for Germany and then for France. Who's next, Becks?

Kingdom Come, Kingdom Gone

When Saudi Arabia participated in its first World Cup back at USA'94, they came into that event anonymous and discreet, but left hijacking all prognostications by riding into the Second Round wearing CinderAllah's proverbial glass sandal.

On top of that they were fan favorites. What neutral couldn't support their free-spirited and expressive play, the youthful zeal of 11 presumed virgins who were just happy to be there?

Oh, and That One Goal

Unfortunately, KSA has had one belittling game after another. Starting at France'98....

Four years later in Japan/Korea, the drubbings continued...

And lots of stuff happened. Sept 11, 2001 stuff. "Terrorism" stuff.

Is all gone awry from the sweet, sheesha-induced summer haze of USA'94. No longer can they ever be darlings and win an objective spectator's heart. Even Arabs don't root for them -- including their own self-loathing citizens. Oh, and fun is not allowed.

What an image problem. Known more for beheadings than headers, shots to the dome than shots on goal. More Osama bin Laden than Saeed al Owairan.

But what a fucking goal.

Ding-Dong Diplomacy

A couple of interesting events happened simultaneously this past Friday.

Two of
God's foremost Chosen Ones, U.S. President George W. Bush and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, each held ceremonies honoring their respective country's beloved football teams.

Lord, what a difference a century makes.

The last time both Iran and the USA qualified for the World Cup our planet seemed to be in a much more peaceful state. Of course, this was a long, long time ago -- 1998. France. Before all the
demagoons took over.

Then, not only were the two teams grouped together (now that's real divine intervention), but prior to the match cool overtures were made. Iran, then headed by a (relatively) pragmatic head of state, splashed out with gifts, flowers and kisses for their counterparts. Meanwhile then-U.S. Prez Bill Clinton recorded a hyperbolic speech and even uttered a couple of words in Farsi prior to the match broadcast.

Ah, cross-cultural engagement. The good ol' days of geopolitics.

Here's a friendly reminder. When one sees headlines in the media like the ubiquitous 'U.S. Wants to Mess With Iran' and
'Iran Tells U.S. to F*ck Off' (paraphrasing, folks...) we're just hearing about feuding governments, not people.

Therefore its annoying to hear the talk about protesting Iran's presence at the World Cup. Especially when it's spearheaded by supporters of a peculiar government that calls itself "the Jewish State" yet avoids The Ten Commandments at every opportunity. Quite sketchy, no?

'Iran' we'll see on the field has a lot more to do with actual Iranian people than the 'Iran' we read about virtually all of the time. Time to start taking notes, 'America'.