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Steve Braunias’ World Cup Diary: day 27

Steve Braunias’ World Cup Diary: day 27

WHAT JOHN KEY SAID

Them Germans are quite good

John Key picked it. The Prime Minister, speaking exclusively to Metro last week, through one of his press secretaries, about three weeks after he said the same thing to Fairfax, said Germany would win the World Cup.

And when he gave us that answer, what he was predicting with fantastic accuracy was that Germany would take the field against Brazil in the semi-finals wearing its change strip, the one that looks a bit like Canterbury – Key, as a Cantabrian, was in some divine psychic accord with the Germans – and scorn the childish, weepy antics of the Brazilians, who clutched their stupid Neymar caps like children holding onto dolls, and who sang their anthem like the All Blacks performing a haka, which is to say with the kind of hysteria that only frightens themselves and makes everyone else bored senseless; and that Dante would play like Beatrice, and the name of Fred would live in infamy; and that the Germans, so ably and intensely coached by Joachim Low, who after all is German football’s answer to Key, would run and pass them to death in a public shaming not seen since the verdict at the Rolf Harris trial last week.

David Cunliffe picked Holland.

Who are the Dutch?

From the Seinfeld episode “The Butter Shave”, 1997: exterior of Monk’s coffee shop. Cut to Jerry and George at their regular booth.

A newspaper blocks out view of George’s face. He lowers the paper to reveal a moustache.

George: What is Holland?

Jerry (also wearing a moustache): What do you mean, what is it? It’s a country right next to Belgium.

George: No, that’s the Netherlands.

Jerry: Holland is the Netherlands.

George: Then who are the Dutch?

And here is Metro’s team of the World Cup.

Neuer (Germany); Lahm (Germany), Yepes (Colombia) Blind (Netherlands); Pirlo (Italy), Mascherrano (Argentina), Rodrigues (Colombia), Kuyt (Holland); Messi (Argentina), Campbell (Costa Rica), Robben (Dutch).

What’s Quilmes beer like?

Holland vs Argentina this morning was often very dull, and encouraged a closer than usual inspection of the advertising hoardings at the stadium. There were the usual big sponsors – Visa, Castrol, Emirates – but one smaller player caught the eye.

Quilmes is the top-selling beer in Argentina. It’s a 4.9 per cent lager, decked out in the blue and white strip of Argentina’s team; its brewery began in 1888, is made in Buenos Aries, and is exported throughout South America, and also Spain, the UK, France, and Australia.

Incredibly, disappointingly, it didn’t rate a mention in Alice Galletly’s classic 2012 blog, Beer for a Year, in which the AA Directions staff writer drank and reviewed a beer each day of the year.

Is it on sale in Auckland, or anywhere in New Zealand? What’s it like, does anyone know? Next week’s final might be a complete bore, too, and knowledge of an advertising hoarding might help to awaken interest.

Offside

The offside law is football’s greatest contribution to physics. The angles and velocities, its spatial properties and time continuum, would defeat a Hawking or an Einstein.

Small wonder that referees and linesmen sometimes get it wrong, but their performance at the World Cup has been extraordinary. A case exists that the officials have been the greatest stars in Brazil. Their subtle art has reached new heights.

One of the best offside stories in football involves Kenny Dalglish, back in his playing days at Celtic. Scottish journalist Ian Archer was walking in Glasgow when Dalglish approached him, and said: “Wisnae.”

“Wisnae whit?”, said Archer, replying in 100% Scots (Translation: “Wasn’t what?”).

“Wisnae offside,” replied Dalglish and walked off.

Four weeks previously, Archer had suggested in a match report that a Dalglish goal for Celtic might have been offside.

“It was,” he said later, “the most piercing, informative and lengthy interview Dalglish ever gave to me.”

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