Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 09, 2006


The world football championship madness (it is played with the feet, not with the hands)  just started with Costa Rica playing against Germany and after only 16 minutes into the game Costa Rica is 2:1 behind. Three goals in the first minutes makes for great games. Lets hope for more.

Who will win this one? My endgame bet is on Germany versus Brasil, but I have no idea yet  what the outcome of that one could be.

Your take?

Posted by b on June 9, 2006 at 12:21 PM | Permalink


Missed the first half but saw a replay of goals over lunch.

Looks like a good German team.

Posted by: Grouche | Jun 9, 2006 12:58:34 PM | 1

I'm thinking either Togo or Ghana will make it to the end this year. They both have some pretty nice teams. But we'll just have to wait and see.

Posted by: Monolycus | Jun 9, 2006 1:47:38 PM | 2

Germany-Costa Rica 4:2

Good game and it doesn´t mean Costa Rica is out. In the starting round the 32 teams are competing one against one in 8 groups. The first and second in each group will be part of the next round.

In the first group there are Germany, Cost Rica, Equador and Poland (who will play later today).

So there is still a fair chance of Costa Rica going further. The did play quite well today. I am impressed.

Posted by: b | Jun 9, 2006 1:58:19 PM | 3

No way Germany wins the cup, buddy! Italy it is and will always be!

...well, maybe

Posted by: Steppen | Jun 9, 2006 4:18:38 PM | 4

Equador did beat Poland 2:0, but they exausted themselfs quite a bit. Poland's team was unconvincing. I guess the are out.

Posted by: b | Jun 9, 2006 4:53:53 PM | 5

I was going to say usa. but, the murder of arch-villain zarqawi has lifted our collective morale.

brazil v england. ronaldinho, ronaldo, ronaldo, rondovino, combine for 15 goals aqnd make love in a big pile at midfield.

how to improve soccer: make the goal bigger and field smaller, blindfold the goalkeeper, 30 second shot clock, each goal is worth 1 million points.

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 9, 2006 4:54:04 PM | 6

oh...most importantly: players can use hands.

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 9, 2006 4:55:56 PM | 7

If only, in this day and point of human progress, all competition could be relegated to sport. Sigh...

Posted by: pb | Jun 9, 2006 4:57:05 PM | 8

For a good world cup mixed with dumb politics you have read Justin's blog today.

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Jun 9, 2006 5:22:17 PM | 9

And to answer B's question.

Two finalists that have never been wc winners.

Cote d'Ivoire and Ecuador

Busdweiser and McD's will be in spasms........ wishful thinking eh?

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Jun 9, 2006 5:25:18 PM | 10

LOL was unsure really whether to bring up the subject of the world cup yesterday as it is a particular bugbear. That is european migrants in this part of the world, especially those from one of the islands off the coast of western europe, tend to prattle on about soccer incessantly, to the point of obsession.

The world cup is even worse as this appears to be the vehicle by which europeans continue the internecine feuding and war that has wracked their continent for millenia.

A story in yesterday's gruniad provoked this line of reasoning.

The story is a bit odd since it is in a english newspaper and concerns the alleged non-involvement of two italians in the rescue of an australian climber by an amerikan, whilst all were climbing in the tibet/nepal border region (Mt Everest). For all I know or care such jingoistic stories may be common in all european media at world cup time.

Those in the world too ignorant or lazy to be proficient enough in other european languages to follow the nuances of non-english language european media, use the brit fishwraps to provide a window into that continent.

The article is but a small round fired in a month long bitter battle in which somehow all the major european nations get to participate due chiefly to the way the qualification playing field is tilted.

If I follow the arcane structure correctly there was a time when that 'playing field' was also tilted to allow the US a 'free pass' but that may no longer be the case.

It doesn't make an iota of difference in this part of the world since little boys affection for the round ball game is normally kicked out of them during the first few years of school.

But nations in africa, asia, and latin america are generally disadvantaged by the venue of this competition which allegedly embraces the whole world but is mostly played 'at home' in europe.

Still it is pretty trivial in comparison to the other shit that goes on. Nevertheless it is a good opportunity to apply an objective eye on the perfidy of albion, german nationalism, dutch multiculturalism and french opportunism. (hmm which particular former european empires were left out? italy, spain. and portugal. oh well there's plenty of time; almost a month, to insult them)

Which oddly enough brings one back to the gruniad article. Because as per usual in times of conflict, the perfidious ones suddenly decide that they do indeed still own colonies. This makes the australian and the amerikan climbers, theirs. So displaying the cruel treatment of their brave and stout hearted fellows at the hands of the slippery italian, does help prepare the ground for enmity, whilst sowing the seeds of victimhood, ready for the "we was robbed" excuse.

It also gives them a chance to try and claim the first whitefella to the top of mt everest, ed hillary, who is in fact a kiwi. Although for the purpose of this article he cops the whole titled bit, something he doubtless finds extremely ironic since he declined the kind invitation during ww2 to get involved in that conflict and spent the duration in prison. no he's not a facist, he's a pacifist with more than a touch of old skool socialism about him.

The most interesting thing about the world cup is trying to guess the excuse that the humans living at the southern end of the island to the west of the european continent will find for their failure in this world cup campaign.

It looked like the first justification was going to be lame in every sense of the word. One of the few players in the english premier league who both qualifies to play for england and is good enough to play in the world cup final had broken a couple of small bones in his foot.

Perhaps that attempt at exculpation was a bit too likely to remind of the last time a human appendage excuse was used, that was at the world cup finals in barcelona, when the england defeat was erronously blamed on argentina's diego maradonna getting a hand to the ball within the penalty area.

The reality was that like most world cup finals in the last forty odd years a latin american team deserved to win, not just because they are better, but because the england team wasn't trying to win nearly as much as it was trying not to lose.

This is a perennial problem at world cup finals, not just for england although they have it worst of all. Many other european national teams suffer from this problem, chiefly imho because if they do take a chance and it doesn't succeed they are torn apart by the pack of wolves known as their domestic gutter press.

mind you the dangers are greater for latin american teams. I believe it was a uraguayan defender that was assassinated by some thug for scoring an 'own goal' at the world cup finals'.

If it were a truly "world cup"; african and latin american teams would totally dominate the finals, because they do take chances and they appear far more 'driven' than their european competitors.

So seeing whether the increased use of latin american and african players in the european leagues will spreed the 'meekness' disease could be another mildly interesting distraction from the beginning of the southern hemisphere's international rugby season.

Those african and american players who already have a very successful career in europe may cop damage to their european profile from an unsuccessful outing in the world cup finals.

In addition their long absences in europe do little to aid the team-building that is neccessary for a successful campaign.

Inevitably the tension between the demands made on players by their primary employers, their football club, and those made by their national teams will cause many national coaches to prefer the local players. The overseas players still need the world cup exposure to secure their club profile, so they won't take non-selection lightly.

One of the major reasons why national teams have stuck with the overseas players despite all the hassle, which as per usual include the club refusing to release their players for training or 'friendlies' has been that the overseas club players have a local knowledge of european conditions.

Another incentive for the europe dominated Fifa to keep the finals 'up north'.

In fact when South Africa was likely to win a world cup final venue, the northern hemisphere, in particular aforesaid island to the west of europe, managed to take advantage of a 'ring-in'; a delegate from NZ who was meant to represent Oceania. However consideration need be given to the fact he was born much closer to edinburgh than dunedin. At the last minute and against the instructions of the Oceanea nations he was representing he voted for a european venue, just for a change. The reward? the nz team 'the all whites' (not kidding, that is their name), got to get embarassingly hammered by the brazilian team a few days ago. An outcome which wasn't in the best interests of either side but no doubt aided non-brazilian teams in some small way.

the outrage felt by kiwis at this disgraceful move didn't penetrate the bastion of britishness that was nz soccer of course.

So european jingoism will be almost certain to reach new heights in some quarters. Here's hoping the english come up with something more original than blaming the ref (yawn), their usual tried and tested excuse for sporting inability.

Posted by: | Jun 9, 2006 10:03:19 PM | 11

After years of rooting for the USA, England, Spain, and whatever world power, current or former, caught my eye, I am no longer! This time, I'm on an anti-imperialist cheering spree.

So I'm all for the Czechs, Argentines, South Koreans, and Ghanains (is that right? I know how it's spelled, not how it's said. Anyway, win it for Nkrumah!)

I'm especially looking forward to the former colonies taking on their old "owners". Angola vs. Portugal, Trinidad vs. England. Senegal beat France last time round, I'm expecting Angola to shock Portugal.

All that said, I'm picking the is being held in Europe, and the Europeans tend to win. So the lamest of the colonialists (Adowa anyone?) get their moment in the sun...

Posted by: Rowan | Jun 9, 2006 10:38:40 PM | 12

Then again, we can all use a break from history and politics and just enjoy the beauty of the game and the rich diversity of humanity. The complexities we can examine later; the hype and the fluff we can ignore.

Posted by: biklett | Jun 10, 2006 2:19:28 AM | 13

There are four years of club football between World Cups for enjoying th quality of the sport, and the diversity of its stars.. The national flavor, for good or for ill, is what makes the World Cup special.

Posted by: Rowan | Jun 10, 2006 3:06:26 AM | 14

Thanks Biklett!

a bit of setting straight what Debs said:

There is a European overweight in taking part in the championship. But the number of teams that can take part from a geographical area is based on the ranking of all teams of that area in the world ranking list. So Europe has some 51 teams and could send 13 teams to the current round while Africa has 51 teams and could only send 5 teams.

It may suck, but the overall European teams do play better than the overall African teams. There are sound reasons for this. Of course money but also a lot of organization. The 4,500 inhabitant village I grew up in had 10 active league teams, including children and women teams, I can count off my head playing on 4 official fields.

With such organized basework you can expect allover better national teams.

Posted by: b | Jun 10, 2006 3:22:47 AM | 15

I was just playing around with the football thing really. The southern soccer playing nations have been stiffed a bit in the world cup but really it just makes it more piquant when they win.

eg A european team is yet to win outside europe but Brazil has won in Europe (Sweden 1958) and in asia (South Korea 2002)

There is also some fun to be had with the english for example when argentina won in argentina in 1978, the english prattled on about hometown decisions.

Yet the only time the english has won was in 1966 when the venue was. . . you guessed it england.

I'm immensly pleased that nz only made it to a world cup final once (1982 spain). This is chiefly because despite the fact the kiwi side couldn't win a chook raffle even the local media in nz carried on about it. I don't think they scored a single goal in spain although vice versa was a totally diferent story. all in all a very humiliating escapade.

nevertheless it really put the wind up the rugby union who had just about reduced the nation to civil war, with their insistence in 1981 that nz keep playing rugby with apartheid south africa. This article from a smalltown nz fishwrap sums it up. The teachers union refused to coach rugby in schools anymore and started pushing soccer. then when nz actually got to a world cup the next year the rugger buggers really got worried.

that was the last time the a.b.s played the jaapies until nelson made prez.

heh even though worrying how yer sports team is doing is a bit sad, unless of course you're playing for it I better check out how the all blacks are going as they are playing a rugby test match against ireland tonite and ireland are currently leading.

Posted by: | Jun 10, 2006 6:03:03 AM | 16


Either "Ghanians" or "Ghanans" will do, just don't call them "Gannons".

Team Norway probably won't place, but they seem to be doing some interesting things right now by studying Coach Gresham's classic playbook.

But I guess we were supposed to be talking about football.

Posted by: Monolycus | Jun 10, 2006 6:22:52 AM | 17

England - Paraguay 1:0 both teams disappointed me.

The huge sensation:

Trinidat and Tobago - Sweden 0:0

The Swedes had about 30 chances to make a goal against 0 chances for the TnT's. But the TnT goalkeeper and his defense did an incredible job evne thos they had to play with ten against eleven for most of the second half due to a red card for a foul by one of their players.

The Swedish fans looked quite pissed and the 1,000,000 TnT people are partying now.

Nice to see such a "small" team achieve such a victory even it wasn´t a decisive one.

Posted by: b | Jun 10, 2006 2:00:20 PM | 18

Thank you very much for the football discussion.

Posted by: M. Kaltz | Jun 10, 2006 2:44:02 PM | 19

I caught the first and last match of the day in the local Senegalese restaurant/bar. Sadly they weren't serving food, but there were burritos across the street, and the draft beers were $3, a low price in my city. I didn't partake in the beers during England vs Paraguay. Had the slight problem of it being 6AM. I spent most of the match conversing with the only other person there, a Franco-African man who, like me, was cheering for the "Third World." We talked about Parisian cops arresting people for being Black, and how the French have a young player, Riberry, who's the new Zidane (himself a Moroccan). I am reminded of the runoff election for French President a few years back, when Le Pen got second-most votes. Several French star players declared before the vote that they wouldn't play for Les Bleus if Le Pen won, a statement which is worthy of respect, certainly.

The restaurant had filled up by the main attraction - Ivory Coast and Argentina. A marvelously diverse group of anglo and francophones filled the room, most cheering for the underdog Ivory Coast - made me happy to be there, if I couldn't be in Germany, and even happier that the place is right downstairs from my apartment.

Footballwise, I don't think Argentina or England did any damage to their status as favorites-after-Brazil. People tend to underestimate a very solid Paraguay side, and England did a superb job of preventing Paraguay from doing anything at all.

I'd hoped to see wonderkid Lionel Messi for Argentina, and was disappointed, but the match was entertaining enough.

Posted by: Rowan | Jun 10, 2006 7:35:13 PM | 20

The most interesting thing about the world cup is trying to guess the excuse that the humans living at the southern end of the island to the west of the european continent will find for their failure in this world cup campaign.

Well, to be fair, Ireland is providing players for more than one team. :o)

Posted by: gylangirl | Jun 10, 2006 9:16:22 PM | 21

@gylangirl could be wrong on this but isn't there another island between Ireland and France, the southern end of which claims to have 'invented' many games, unfortunately invention hasn't been the mother of ability.

Posted by: | Jun 11, 2006 2:16:28 AM | 22

Said island seems to be blaming the German heat for their weak performance against Portugal.

Posted by: folkers | Jun 11, 2006 5:10:13 AM | 23

Apropos of nothing, but I caught a World Cup promo on ABC yesterday that pitched Mexico vs Iran as a game that "highlighted international tensions." I wasn't aware that Mexico was worried about Iran's nuclear program or that Iran was building a fence to keep Mexicans from picking their fruit and washing their dishes. The announcer should have said "the game matches two teams from countries that the US has pissed off." ABC could probably use the same line to describe some other matches as well. Anyway, the US football (aka, soccor) team may not be a factor in the games but the US media leads the world in stupid remarks about them. USA...USA...

Posted by: lonesomeG | Jun 11, 2006 7:33:44 AM | 24

the robotic american announcer all through the first half of the iran v mexico: holocaust denial, if iran wins, will women in tehran rip off their veils in celebration? always a threat of terrorist attack, should they be here?

yadda yadda. it goes without saying, but we hear it anyway: iran just sucks, sucks, sucks. didn't you know?

Posted by: slothrop | Jun 11, 2006 12:55:29 PM | 25

Slothrop beat me to it:

"You wonder if the Iranian team, arriving here at the Nuremburg stadium, just 200 meters from Hitler's podium, felt a chill up their spine knowing their leader's...beliefs...about that time."

No, go on, spell it out for us. Which beliefs? Please, more demonization!! Thankfully, the analyst, a former favorite player of mine (Marcelo Balboa) didn't seem to join in, though I didn't see the first half.

I wonder if the announcers are going to get a chill up their spine visiting Dresden? Or perhaps where the CIA hid Nazi war criminals so we could take their scientific evidence? We've all got blood on our hands, not all of it in speeches.

Posted by: Rowan | Jun 11, 2006 2:32:16 PM | 26

How to Watch the World Cup
Politics and War by Other Meanns

I have a pretty good idea where Osama bin Laden will be on June 14 -- and June 19, and again on June 23. Not his exact location, but it's a safe bet he'll be in front of a TV tuned in to Saudi Arabia's World Cup soccer matches with, respectively, Tunisia, Ukraine, and Spain. Legend has it that soccer is one of bin Laden's guilty pleasures. He's unlikely to miss the spectacle of the men from the land of the Prophet taking on the infidels of al-Andalus. He probably has a soft spot for Tunisia too, that country being the only one on record thus far to see one of its professional soccer players attempt to join al Qaeda's martyrs.

Posted by: beq | Jun 12, 2006 8:13:50 AM | 27

TV late news in NZ always runs weird stories off the sat feed. Tonite NBC (US) gave us a 5 minute story on how all european soccer supporters are racist.

But considering the story was basically telling the US citizens that all europeans were racist nazis, it was difficult to calculate how much of the story was the pot calling the kettle black and how much was twisted logic saying, "see they tell us off for being mean to muslims and look at them. At least we're upfront and honest about the need to use a firm hand on towel-brains."

I must admit that carry on is the least attractive thing about soccer and why I've never taken much interest in it. But that whole frustrated and angry kiddie thing that seemingly every soccer tribe has some members doing, is more about the silliness of playing a game where if an opponent has the ball, you're not allowed to smash him into the dirt, rip the ball off him and get about yer business.

It's difficult to see the point of football when it doesn't allow a bloke to learn how to channel his agression and control the really bad stuff for when the referee isn't looking.

Posted by: | Jun 12, 2006 8:54:34 AM | 28

Didn´t watch much because of other issues. To bad Iran lost and the US is currently getting a beating by the Chechs. I would wish for a game Iran vs. USA (unlikely) ending 3:3 - the hyping about this would be funny and then on the green the players would just enjoy a good game.

Another football (soccer) world championship is about to start in Germany. There are five Iranian teams, as well as Chinese and Japanese, but non from the U.S. Didn´t the get through the qualification?
The website of the RoboCup 2006 Humanoid League has some funny videos.

Posted by: b | Jun 12, 2006 1:22:35 PM | 29

The Iran team played really well, what a first half. Amazed they managed to hold down Mexico for so long, fourth best in the world, apparently.

Didn't see Angola-Portugal, but again, a suprise, just 1-0 to Portugal - I think there are going to be some big upsets in this tournament, maybe in Italy-Ghana tonight? Shopping today saw proud Ghanaian sporting Michael Essien shirt - as Arjen Robben lit up (sic) for Holland being released from Chelski shackles, maybe Essien can do the same for his national team?

(PS That Van Persie assist for Robben's goal was fab - the Boy Wonder is in form!)

Posted by: Dismal Goal Average | Jun 12, 2006 2:29:15 PM | 30

comrades, comrades

day & night 24/24 foot - in the bars at the bottom of my studio -in the streets of the city i live - you can't walk a metre here without seeing something - in relation to the mighty ball

& perhaps i am just a bad dialectician who cannot understand a group of people running from one side of the field to the other

& those goals they take at then end -now there is pure metaphysics & i am sure that the german idealists understood a thing or two about that

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 12, 2006 2:45:13 PM | 31

re the irritating comments in the World Cup by US sportscasters: they don't watch soccer so they know can't make intelligent comments about it. As a diversion, they make idiotic comments about politics, about which they are even less informed. To make it worse, they don't know they are politically uninformed; rather they are nationalistic and racist.

The US TV stations always have to pair professional sportscasters with a player who actually understands the game. The player's job is to smooth over all the bloopers made by the sportscaster.

This phenom was brilliantly parodied in the dog-show movie 'Best in Show'.

Posted by: gylangirl | Jun 12, 2006 5:22:07 PM | 32

do these sports commentators get paid by the word, by any chance? hadn't watched the telly for a couple years until the ivory coast match & was instantly reminded of how annoying the narration can be. inane stats & trivia delivered as relevant fact & predictor. subjective biases replayed over & over. blending adverts into commentary. there's no way one could visualize what was happening by listening to the soundtrack only.

Posted by: b real | Jun 12, 2006 6:00:57 PM | 33

& my compatriots are the worse - there isn't a breath that isn't commented on

it is barthes on barbiuates

close reading on crack

on programmes on politics - they cannot be shut up & thought there must be business in buddhist batons - to be done

that or place them in a taliban football field

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jun 12, 2006 6:37:03 PM | 34

Second round of matches through and while I might complain about the lack of upsets, I certainly won't about the quality of matches.

The forthcoming US-Ghana match I am both looking forward to, and dreading. It has the potential to be the best, most intense match of the last round of the group stage. And according to my anti-imperialist rooting sentiments, I'm all Ghana here - especially if I drop in a reference or three to Nkrumah. Yeah, but I grew up a soccer fan in America. I've seen all these guys for years, cheered for them for most of those. Watching the Italy game had me on unexpected pins and needles, though I wasn't jumping up and chanting U-S-A. The habits of a lifetime are difficult to break.

I'm also looking forward to France vs. Togo, and I didn't expect to be saying that. That's a match that, even if France wins 1-0, they can still be eliminated (although 2-0 guarantees they're through).

Still, my pre-tournament prediction of Italy and Argentina is looking good.

I hope that this World Cup is putting to rest the racist canard of African teams being "tactically naive." Not only have the Africans looked tactically able, the African teams in general and the Ghanaians in particular hold their shape like a coach's dream. (certain internet commenters, catching on, have started claiming that is due to their white European managers. Some things never die).

And speaking of Africans and race, anyone else notice the Spanish fans waving a Confederate flag after beating Tunisia? Bizarre and more than slightly disturbing.

Posted by: Rowan | Jun 20, 2006 1:47:43 AM | 35

So the U.S. is involved in the largest movement of troops in Iraq since the invasion -- some 8,000+ -- not sweeping up Baghdad, not trashing Ramadi, not looking for Zarqawi's next up -- but looking for the 2 soldiers "kidnapped" now so called. Doesnt take a wild imagination to deduce the panic that must have just overcome the administration post abu-ghraib, post guantanamo, post Haditha, post salvador option in whatever, we shall see, blowback reversal of fortune poster-boy immitation, played live on international media. We shall see.

Posted by: anna missed | Jun 20, 2006 2:28:56 AM | 36

oops, wrong thread

Posted by: anna missed | Jun 20, 2006 3:25:32 AM | 37

The comments to this entry are closed.