World Cup columnist Mark ‘Bibby’ Jackson lets the snacks decide who will win the trophy
THE 2010 World Cup tournament, as always, will be a fight to the end. 32 teams will feature in 64 games over 31 days to decide who will carry the iconic trophy home, ensuring immortality for players and coach alike.
Time was when the World Cup was only a game. England didn’t even bother to compete in the early days thinking it beneath them. Now, to paraphrase the late great Bill Shankly, the World Cup isn’t a matter of life and death, it’s much more important than that.
For many players, the world cup is the biggest shop window. El Hadji Diouf excelled so well at the 2002 finals, that then Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier decided to bring the Senegalese forward to Anfield. His career stuttered amid spitting rows and vicious tackles, ending with the World Cup hero being booed down the road to Bolton. Nicolas Anelka, the man Houllier rejected for Diouf, is likely to lead the French line at this World Cup, having just won the EPL with Chelsea. Just goes to show that while fame can be fleeting class is timeless.
The World Cup also has the ability to break as well as make the man. What prize the bounty on Cesc Fabregas or Fernando Torres’ heads should Spain go crashing out of the tournament in the first round? Already Nigerian midfielder John Obi Mikel has opted out of the finals fearing he might put his career at risk, or perhaps reveal how overpriced he is.
But for most football fans the million dollar question is about which team will be crowned champions.
The Ancient Romans used to divine the future from sheep’s entrails, I chose the UK’s Walkers crisps. Sporting flavours from French Garlic Baguette to Brazilian Salsa, to Australian BBQ Kangaroo and Japanese Teriyaki Chicken, the company strongly linked with former England World Cup star Gary Lineker has brought out flavours especially for the World Cup. Quite how Scottish Haggis flavour made the cut I don’t know. And as for Irish Stew, obviously nobody has dared tell them about Henry’s legendary hand to ball control.
With England, Australia, the Netherlands and the US crashing out in our blind tasting group stages, the final saw the German Bratwurst Sausage take on the holders Italian Spaghetti Bolognese in a repeat of the 1982 finals. This time the German sausage turned the table on the Bolognese to take the packet.
Those who doubt the veracity of truthsaying from potato crisps might prefer to turn to Socrates. Not the Greek philosopher but the former Brazilian captain who led his team to disappointment in the 1982 tournament. He predicts an English victory, although as captain of probably the best team not to win the cup, maybe he is more inclined to heroic failures than pragmatic winners.