… in which
Pete Sixsmithfills a World Cup gap by going to the circus before offering his closing stage predictions (for the football, not the circus); thus Pete laments the likely end of the road for Paraguay, sees Ghana proceeding to the semis and names the trophy winners …
After coming through two scary days without football. I need my fix today. Like Renton in Trainspotting, I will have my perfect day in front of the screen tonight, taking an interest in Holland v Brazil and roaring out encouragement for Big John and the Black Stars tonight.
The last two days have been strange after 22 days of continuous football. I have been able to come home from work, cook a meal, have a nap, listen to the radio, and mark exam papers without the strain of wondering whether Honduras will score a goal or whether the real Wayne Rooney will turn up.
Take Wednesday. I came home without breaking the sound barrier as there was no afternoon game. I put the car away, opened the back door and, instead of dashing into the living room to turn the TV on and watch Chile play Switzerland, I was able to take my time.
The cat benefited from having his food cut up rather than just thrown into his bowl. I was able to make a cup of tea, toast a teacake and take my time over the paper. No worries about the form of Cristian Riveros . That was followed up by a proper nap, rather than a snatched ten minutes while Andy Townsend bores the nation at half time.
Wednesday night, I was able to reacquaint myself with the excellent Radcliffe and MacConie show on Radio 2. I realised how much I had missed their eclectic choice of music and their irreverent and enjoyable banter. It was almost as good as watching Slovakia play New Zealand, but without the goalmouth thrills.
By Thursday, the novelty of no football was beginning to wear off. I needed a wee stimulus, an upper that would get me through the evening without me resorting to digging out such video classics as “Sunderland’s LDV Trophy Triumphs” or “Mick Buxton’s Review of the Season Just Gone When We Managed To Avoid Playing Any Football Whatsoever”.
I got my fix at an unlikely venue viz. the Metro Radio Arena on the Dark Side of the Tyne. It could have been Peter Andre, it could have been Rhianna – but it wasn’t, it was the absolutely wonderful, fantastic, unbelievable Cirque du Soleil.
I have never seen anything quite like it. The theme of the show was largely irrelevant, but the spaeciality acts within were tremendous. Highlights included a juggler who kept eight balls in the air at once (Craig Gordon take note), a trapeze act that was so dramatic that it rivalled a penalty shoot out for tension and two men who wound themselves together and remained as immobile as Emile Heskey.
It was a fantastic show and for two hours I forgot about the worries of whether Paraguay could actually put one over Spain. I don’t think they can, but we live in hope.
Semi finalists: Brazil; Ghana; Argentina; Spain.
Final: Brazil; Spain, with Spain winning it thanks to the wonderful Andreas Iniesta.