A few days into the tournament and they are already flying around faster than names into a Mexican referee’s book. Excuses, that is, not tackles. The pre-tournament cop-out favourite was the ball. The latest model was denounced by all members of the goalkeeper’s union prior to the opening ceremony. Apparently it is “too round.”
Despite persistent leading questions, England’s keeper refused to blame his Saturday night horror show on the ball, holding his hands up to say that the goal was his and not the ball’s fault. Green was randomly tested for performance-enhancing drugs after the game. Needless to say the tests proved negative.
Apparently it is not the ball that’s to blame for the mediocre football meted out so far but South Africa’s musical horn, the vuvuzela.
Making a sound like a swarm of bees on acid, the “vuvu” has been roundly criticised by goalkeepers and non-goalkeepers alike. The Serbian players blamed their loss against Ghana on not being able to hear their fans due to the incessant hum, rather than due to giving away a needless penalty. If they carry on playing like they did against the impressive Africans, the Serbs might be tempted to take vuvus on the plane back home with them to drown out the hostile reception on arrival.
The Vuvus’ impact on the tournament to date has caused defenders to have sleepless nights. French left-back Patrice Evra put his team’s somnambulistic performance against the Uruguayans down to Vuvus waking them up at 6am. Clearly “just having an early night before the big match” doesn’t translate too well into French. Rumours that a group of Irish fans have stationed themselves outside the French team’s hotel with horn in hand each night in retaliation for Henry’s handball exploits have been strenuously denied by the Irish FA.
Vuvus might even end up being banned from stadiums according to World Cup supremo Danny Jordaan. Taking into account the speed that FIFA normally acts, the ban should come into effect some time towards the middle of the third millennium shortly before video technology is employed.
Maybe the French should take a leaf out of Ghana’s book and check out of their hotel. The Black Stars swapped their Pretoria hotel for one in Sun City prior to the Serbia clash, citing “unresolved technical issues”. Sun City is the gambling capital of the Rainbow Nation.
Letting their football do the talking on the pitch, the Germans had scant hearing problems during their 4-0 demolition of the hapless Australians. They proved yet again that the best way of drowning out the opposition’s fans is by playing their team off the park rather than relying on vuvus. At least the sorry Serbians, Germany’s next opponents, now have a genuine excuse for not getting any sleep ahead of their clash.