Day: July 7, 2006

In Praise Of The Third Place Play-Off

It’s Germany against Portugal tomorrow, in possibly the least important match of the World Cup. I’m really, really looking forward to it. The third-place play-off may seem like just some sort of FIFA marketing scam to shove another 50000 or so hardy souls into a stadium for a couple of hours and squeeze some more money out of them, but it actually owes more to something considerably more Olympian in spirit – the idea that, at least in the old days of the World Cup, the game was about finishing first, second or third, rather than merely winning or losing. Whether this was deliberate or not, I have no idea, but we know for sure that the World Cup was set up at least as a response to the massive success of the football tournament at the 1924 Olympics. The “Bronze Medal” match (to give it what may or may not be it’s official name – the FIFA World Cup website calls it the Third-Place match, but you can hardly rely on that, can you?) is usually cracker, Since 1962, there has only been one match with less than three goals This exception was in 1974, in case you were wondering – and even then there might have been some guffawing at Poland beating Brazil 1-0. Presumably liberated of the stifling pressure of avoiding defeat, the players go out...

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Phew – What A Scorcher

I’m not completely sure what to make of this. It was a surprise, I’ll say that much. Snappy Mick was especially delighted. Actually, the first thing I thought was, “Christ, I’ve got to email The Sun NOW and tell them that I, to my eternal shame, think that “Jellicle Ball” was great”. Anyway… I’m in a pretty good mood today because I know that I haven’t got to get up at 5.30 tomorrow morning for work, so I’ll thank them for stopping by and leave it at that. Now: a little lay down. At the moment, I can’t put a hair’s breadth between them, but I really don’t want to go saying, “a draw, then the lottery of...

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