I live in a barbarous barbarous land! Fie on evil capitalism!

You’d think watching the World Cup would be a basic human right. But no, cable TV providers bid for the rights and then offer exhorbitant packages. If you refuse to sign up with them for 24 months, no World Cup for you.

Thus it happens that I am reduced to watching the World Cup through stupid (but useful) Internet streaming on the laptop, with inevitable hanging just as a goal is scored. Suddenly, I find myself warmly appreciative of Doordarshan despite snowy reception and appalling commentary.

After a couple of days of sulking and turning up my nose (“it’s like watching impressionist art”) at the live streaming channels poor V has gone through the trouble to find, my eyes have acclimatized to the small screen, pixilation and buffering. What’s the point of 32 inch TVs (or whatever the size of ours is) if it can’t be availed of during the greatest sporting event of the year. Bah!

A weird phenomenon has beset me this year. I find myself unable to support any of the favourites. Ok, I do have a tendency to root for the underdog but in previous years, I’ve chosen underdogs that have some chance of winning. This time, the arrogance, tendency to play rough and general drama of the big guns has put me off. Instead I am thrilled by the spunk of the unknowns who manage to score where they had been written off (North Korea!) and even win (Serbia!).

Up until four years ago, I was a diehard Italy supporter. I cried when Roberto Baggio missed that penalty. I still have a crush on Paolo Maldini. I know the tune of the Italian national anthem.

Unfortunately, when they finally won the World Cup in 2006, I was pretty disillusioned with them. I don’t think Zidane should have headbutted Mazeratti but the Italians were behaving like sleazeballs, even to my Azuri-prejudiced eyes. I hate it when people fall all over the field pretending they are injured and doing drama. So I no longer have a favourite this time.

Moreover, I’ve noticed that all the big teams seem to have some of these characteristics. They are arrogant (I noticed an Argentenian pushing a S.Korean player and mouthing off rudely, although play was not on yet), unnecessarily rough (Germany against Serbia, who you’d think they’d be confident enough against not to have to push and trip up) and generally doing the falling-about-acting stuff.

So I’d like for S.Korea, Japan and a couple of the African teams (sadly, I think S.Africa was unimpressive except their goalie, so maybe Ivory Coast) to go on to the knockout stage even though their chances of winning are slim. Because it’s such joy for them to buck the bookies and score, or frustrate the favourites by not allowing them to score.

Among the South Americans, I can’t support Brazil or Argentina, exciting as they are to watch. It’s just too boring. I thought Paraguay was good.

Update: Unfortunately, just watched the Portugal-N.Korea match yesterday and have tragically re-fallen-in-love-with Christiano Ronaldo. I thought I was so over him but sadly I am not. His boyishness is just up my street, despite his overgelled hair and general cockiness nowadays. Please note that I spotted him when he was a complete rookie playing for Portugal for the first time in the semis of the Euro Cup in 2004 (and insisted that my colleague who was making the front page of the newspaper I used to work for use a pic of him on it despite his incredulous “you think this guy is cute? he’s so gay!”) before everyone jumped in and turned him into the metrosexual playboy he is today. But yeah, I am so not over him and thus compelled to support Portugal henceforth, if only for lustfilled reasons. Ok and there’s another guy in the team who has the same last name as me so maybe that’s a rationale too (although I spent half of yesterday match shouting “down with the evil colonisers!”)

Conversation with V:
V: Are you going to leave me for him?
Me: No. He has a girlfriend.
V: Hahahahaha. Even if he didn’t, what makes you think he’d go for you? Portuguese women are sooo hot.
Me: He’s not into Portuguese women. He’s dating some Brit supermodel type.
V: What an idiot.

The end.

Heartbreaking update: It seems Christiano Ronaldo is dating Kim Kardarshian. How could he have such bad taste? Hmmm maybe I have a chance after all. Ok, somehow that sounds wrong.

PS: Do not make fun of N.Korea. They were very good in the first half, passing in formation and all and conceded only one goal. Although they kept slipping and falling down in the rain. The Portuguese side must have had some porto during half time because they came back full of pizzazz. It got very embarassing after that but nevermind, remember N.Korea was good in the first half. And they did score against Brazil… so there!