It’s Now on Italy

The entire World Cup for me now rests in the hands of Italy. I hate the other three teams more or less passionately.

The diving, crying (and England beating) Portugal. Who are good enough not to have to play that way, but choose to do so anyway. I have no respect for them. The refs deserve their share of blame for some of what has gone on in this World Cup, but the shameful gamesmanship, especially by Portugal, is the main problem. It’s rampant, and a blight on the current game. I actually liked them going in. They were one of my underdog picks to slip into the finals. Now they disgust me. From Figo on down. Actually, from Scolari on down. Winning may be everything–but do it right or not at all.

Germany, I’ve never really liked. How could you, really? But it’s more their past that I can’t get over. The boring, mechanical defensive games they always played. This team is different. If I could erase all my other memories of them and start with a clean slate, I might actually be pulling for them now. They are a team full of complete and utter jerks, though. Schweinsteiger’s rap sheet is endless for someone as young as he is. Ballack gets along with no one but himself. The neverending saga between the two whinging goalkeepers Kahn and Lehmann–both good–both would prefer not being on the same planet as the other, let alone the same team. Klinsmann was right to stay in California as far away as he could get from this lot. I don’t really have anything against jerks per se, though. It doesn’t really matter to me what sort of people they are–they’re just footballers to me. I just can’t bring myself to root for a team I’ve always rooted against. Anyway, playing at home is enough of an advantage–reason enough to be against them.

The only thing good I have to say about France is Henry and Zidane. I like them both. Enjoy watching both play. Almost always pull for them no matter what team they are on. I hope they both continue to do well in the World Cup, while France lose as embarrassingly as possible. My main issue with France is their fans. I’ve never met one that I didn’t hate. I can’t possibly pull for a team supported by fans like that. The most cynical, by far, in the world. Most people have a love/hate relationship with their national teams (or adopted national teams, as the case may be). The French just hate theirs. Except when they happen to win. I can’t tolerate that.

So it’s down to Italy. My full and unyielding support now belongs to the Azzurri. I’m well aware of the problems going on in Italy. I don’t want to hear anymore. I don’t care right now. I know the team isn’t a bunch of sweet little angels. I don’t mind the odd elbow here and there, but I hope Totti can refrain from spitting on anyone. I like Buffon–even though I’m aware he finds some questionable things ‘funny’. I like Luca Toni. I like Del Piero. Gattuso. They’re my kind of team.

Unfortunately for them. My support is a very dangerous thing. Just look at England, Ipswich, Charlton, Indians, Browns, Cavs… the list is as long as I want it to be. Whomever I support, is soon headed for trouble. The Italians already had the weight of the world on their shoulders and did okay up to now. We’ll see how they handle the dread of having my full support. It spells almost certain doom. Call your bookies now (fans only please).

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