Now that the final is upon us, I can’t really remember England even being in the World Cup – and in a sense, they weren’t. The longer the tournament went on, the more I thought ‘thank f**k they’re out of it’ – it would have just got more and more embarrassing. I don’t think I have ever really recovered from Woy Hodgson saying his team gave his nation ‘something to cheer about’ as they drew 0-0 with Costa Rica, either – and I don’t think I ever will. It’s a pitiful situation when the most athletic or energetic event that happened to the entire England squad was the poor physio twisting his ankle after jumping up and landing on a water bottle after celebrating Stuwwidge’s goal.
Anyway, Fifa has announced the shortlist for the 2014 Golden Ball, the prize awarded to the best player at the World Cup. Argentina have three nominees in Angel Di Maria, Javier Mascherano and Lionel Messi, whilst Germany have four: Mats Hummels, Toni Kroos, Phillip Lahm and Thomas Muller. Colombia’s James Rodriguez, Brazil’s Neymar and Arjen Robben of Holland complete the 10-man shortlist. Wayne Rooney’s not included, of course. In his own words, his team will apparently have to be ‘less honest’, create ‘clever fouls’ and surround the referees in the future if he is to score more goals and win games. Say no more.
I didn’t realise that Fifa also had a ‘Golden Glove’ competition for the best goalkeeper at the World Cup … although I’m pretty sure it won’t go to Iker Casillas.
I think they should have a ‘Golden Bite’ award – and we know who that would go to – and far more bizarre than a Zidane headbutt award or a De Jong karate kick award. I think Luis Suarez’s explanation alone should also receive a ‘Golden Bullshit’ award … read it and re-read it again, it is hysterical: “I lost my balance, making my body unstable and falling on top of my opponent. At that moment I hit my face against the player leaving a small bruise on my cheek and a strong pain in my teeth.” It is brilliant – it is absolutely brilliant.
And what about a ‘Golden Dive’ award (Robben), a ‘Golden Japanese Referee’ award (Yuichi Nishimura – google him or ask any Croatian), a ‘Golden Own Goal in Your First Match and Losing 7-1 in Your Last Match’ award (the hosts)?
My favourite, however, would be a ‘Golden Hoddle’ award as I still think the best part of the entire World Cup has been Glenn Hoddle confusing Algeria with Al-Jazeera.
Enjoy the final. Roll on September 2015 and the Rugby World Cup …