lundi, juin 26, 2006

Why Brasil Have to Win

The running joke in France is that Les bleus should have bought a special weekend package to the World Cup. The joke began when most of the people had given up on the random assembly of pensioners that are the hexagon's excuse for a football team. It will probably stop being so funny the day after their Iberian neighbours kick them out with their vibrant group of youngsters.

I might be absolutely wrong of course and the French might storm their way past Spain without any problems. That's football too. What is also football is the metaphor about "booking the flight home". A euphemism that the team is knocked out, its World Cup adventure kaputt and they are seated on their preferred airline on their way to face the flak at home. There is one team however which might have no choice but to stay on. That's Brasil.

And this time I am not referring to their winning streaks but to the inevitability of circumstance. The company that goes by the name of Viacao Aerea Rio-Grandence (or VARIG for short) is bankrupt. Brasil's national airline was meant to be rebought after a bankruptcy auction but the worker's group that won the bid failed to turn up with the money. As a result as of yesterday Varig is cancelling 100s of flights among which are those flights supposed to carry supporters home. So Brasil HAVE to stay on as long as possible, and once they are there they might as well win it.

Meanwhile the second round is flipping all predictions made in the first round on their head. The Beautiful Game showed us some brilliance and some downright ugliness. Argentina scraped through while facing a more vibrant Mexico. Germany continued their fairy tale run but they meet their first real opponents in the quarters when totenhosen meet gauchos. England? Well, if that team that turned up against Ecuador is the best they can give... then my bet is that they will turn their song into a delectable pun and we will all be singing "England's going home" not before long. Portugal and Netherlands regaled us with a new War of the Spanish Succession. This time it was a race to meet the Spanish with a bit of boxing, theatricals and horrendous Russian referees thrown in to boot.

At this point I no longer consider fixtures like Italy vs Australia or Brasil vs Ghana an easy ride and keep my fingers crossed even for the Selecao against the Black Star debutantes. The only 'easy' game seems to be the one for Spain. The French need not worry. They are not far from home anyway.

That's all for now.

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