12 June, 2006

What Sven is good at

Not shagging, although he gets around.

Not pocketing bags of cash, although £20 million for forgetting to bring any fit strikers (Crouchio excepted - Walcott doesn't count) is a bit much.

No, when the dust has settled and Mr McClaren has taken over how will we remember Sven's reign?

It won't be for winning the World Cup - you won't win anything with an unwieldly giant and a child upfront (and it's either that or two blokes on crutches).

It won't be for his very impressive record in competitive games - does anyone have an average points per game table for England managers, because he must be pretty high up there.

Instead, it will be for exorcising demons. The spinning head of Argentina. The projectile vomiting of Germany. Twenty years of pent-up rage at the injustice of the "hand of God". Even more pent-up rage at the injustice of always out-playing Germany and still losing. Never forget Gary Lineker's quote - "football is a game played by twenty-two men chasing a ball ... and then the Germans win".

So, even though we won't be bringing home the trophy, I'm sure Sven's got one more exorcism in him. Who is it to be?

Brazil. The one everyone wants to beat. The Beautiful Game versus the Home of Football. Pele's White Brother. Gordon Banks' save. Ronaldinho lobbing David Seaman. Wouldn't it be great to knock them out in the semis?

Portugal. Not because of Portugal per se, but because it's Luis Felipe Scolari. The record books show "Big Phil two, Svennis nil". And the fixture has more spice added when you throw in Big Phil's recent public refusal to take the Forest job (despite them being his boyhood team), citing press encroachment by the Nottingham Evening Post and a desperate Colin Fray. Sven would love it, just love it, if we knocked them out in the quarter finals.

Australia. This is one of Sven's own making in some ways. The only time when Sven's nationality has impeded his ability to do the job (as opposed to his tactics, choice of player, inability to identify a journalist or keep his cock in his trousers).

See, to Sven, Australia is just some country on the other side of the world. To the English, Australia is the country you can't afford to lose to. To the Aussies, England is the country to beat (especially at their own game). It may have been a friendly, but Sven didn't realise that a total rout is the only acceptable result. "It's only a training match", twenty five substitutions and half the players wearing armbands and L-plates means nothing to the Australians. They beat England. By two goals.

If we lost to Australia in the semis, I don't think Sven could ever return to this country and not fear for his life.


Joe Williams said...

Good piece sir.

Baz said...

I thank you.

Baz said...

Or we could beat Argentina and lose to Brazil: http://archive.gulfnews.com/articles/06/06/07/10045272.html


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