Sunday, 6 June 2010

World Cup Guide - Group 4


Form: Tired of fighting the disadvantage that comes from having to qualify from a group including the cast of South Pacific and the Falklands XI, Australia cheekily claimed to be part of Asia and won their Asia Zone group. Bangladesh tried the return journey but were rejected on a somewhat dubious and highly racist points system.

: Sledging. Making jokes about the opposing goalie’s mother. Winding up the other team to the extent that one of them will crack and get sent off.

Manager: Dave Strewth. After being sacked for selecting the stingray that killed Steve Irwin in his first squad, Strewth has been reappointed following the tragic death of his successor, Barry Michaelmore, found mysteriously drowned in a boxing ring.

Star Player: Pingu Mingu. Despite having played 26 games for Bikini Atoll and never having been to Australia, the 18 foot tall Polynesian was snapped up by FC Erinsborough and issued with an Australian passport in exchange for keeping quiet about the effects of nuclear testing on his family, notably his conjoined triplet sisters and his mother, the Human Crab.

Trivia: The aboriginal people of Western Australia played a version of football according to cave paintings found near Rockhampton. Two teams of eleven men played with a round ball on a pitch roughly half a mile long. Teams had kits, goalkeepers and matches had linesmen, referees and corner flags. At the end of each match the winning team would take a woman and spit roast her whilst posing for paintings. Animals, these people were, animals.

Odds 1000-1


: The Mighty Moths enter their second World Cup in disarray. Star player Stanley Doupetit has been laid low with the Ebola Virus, whilst centre back pairing Michel Derrida and Frankie Garfunkel have been imprisoned for declaring the love that dare not speak its name and buying Pixie Lott’s album.

Tactics: Ghana garner sympathy. They pose with kittens and puppies for team photos, pull shy schoolboy faces when cautioned and play dead if fouled. By the end of the match, even the most stone hearted of referees has usually been won over.

: Lee Hurst. The forgotten man of mid-90s laddish era comedy game shows has been a revelation at international level. Results have improved and Doupetit claims that training rituals such as playing blindfold and being threatened with a touch of Rory McGrath’s face have boosted morale.

Star Player: Doupetit aside, watch out for 12 year old revelation Hampstead Heath (pictured). Despite his unfortunate name, Hampstead boasts a neat turn of pace, and when in close proximity to other blokes in the box, goes down a little too easily.

: All the teams in Ghana’s premiership are named, for reasons I haven’t invented yet, for films and TV shows starring James Garner. Hence Rockford Accra, Kumasi Maverick and my personal favourite Takoradi Space Cowboys.

Odds: 66-1


Form: The Germans qualified with uncharacteristic slovenliness. Minister for Appropriation of National Cliches, Helmut Schulderpadz announced a “ten percent drop in references to “Teutonic efficiency” and “typical German precision” by foreign commentators were responsible for the poor performance of the national side. Before crunch match with Hungary, the team were shown the comments page on Al Murray’s website and were inspired to a 9-0 victory. The uber-efficient bastards.

Tactics: The only thing wild and untamed in Germany is the underarm hair of eighties chanteuse Nena. Precision is everything. Watching Germany play football is like watching the Royal Family having sex. It’s slow, painful but you have to admit they get there in the end. Incidentally, if anyone wants a copy of Sandringham, Christmas 1985, email me. The footage is shit cos its CCTV but you do get a glimpse of Prince Andrew being lowered onto the bloke out of Mask by some royal attendants.

Manager: Klaus Dryer. Perma-tanned Aryan beauty Dryer was the inspiration for Spelbound’s series-winning performance on Britain’s Got Talent. With a penchant for wearing nothing in the dug out, Dryer inspires great performances from a team desperate to avoid the half-time Herr Dryer treatment.

Star Player
: Bürt Renulz(pictured). The Dresden Inflatables striker scored in every game in qualifying and while his pretending-to-shit-his-pants goal celebration is irritating, it isn’t as irritating as that advert for James Corden’s World Cup party with Vernon Kay pretending to DJ and Adrian Chiles being greeted on his arrival in much the same way as Terry Waite was on his homecoming, rather than the non committal shrug that a bloke with a face like a half-chewed croissant would usually receive on arriving at a party.

Trivia: The famous scene from Jim’ll Fix It where a bunch of boy scouts eat food on a rollercoaster makes up the opening credits of the German TV equivalent of Crimewatch - Der Robbersnare

Odds 200-1


Form: Blitzed through qualifying with surprising ease. One of the youngest nations in Europe, Serbia were expected to behave like the new boy at work in their group, asking directions, making mistakes and committing a never-to-be-forgotten faux pas about the facilities officer’s skin condition. Instead they were even more annoying, making no mistakes at all, showing loads of initiative, improving team performance and copping off with the fit girl from Human Resources by lunchtime. Which, as a metaphor for beating Albania 3-2 with a dodgy penalty, is stretching it a bit.

Tactics: Confuse opponents by pretending to be another one of the republics of the former Yugoslavia. Wearing Kosovo’s kit, hanging out in Macedonia’s favourite coffee shop. That sort of thing.

: Luboslav Crostic (pictured). Winner of the coolest man in Serbia on account of not possessing a mullet, Crostic rides a Harley Davidson up and down the touchline shouting abuse at the opposition. Any match official foolish enough to ask Crostic to stick to his technical area usually ends up regretting it.

Star Player
: Hangman Slovovic. Now with Trustfund Trieste in Italy’s Serie H, the hairiest man in football is famous for his pretentious statements at press conferences. His most famous – “When George Segal follows Glenda Jackson, it is because he is in character and wouldn’t normally be seen dead around a Marxist bitch” is the inscription on the gates of Serbia’s national stadium.

Trivia: Every player in the Serbian squad has a surname ended in “ic” except rookie midfielder Slobodan Ap Rhys. The Llangollen Increasing Heroin Problem player qualifies through his Serbian father.

Odds: 80-1

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