Spain players get bum deal as Maxi Twist snub prompts early exit

‘I always had Eamon down as a considerate and tender husband, not some portaloo-mouthed swearmonger’

Spain’s head coach Vicente del Bosque reacts during his side’s  group B preliminary round match against Chile at the Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro. Photograph: EPA/JUANJO MARTIN

Spain’s head coach Vicente del Bosque reacts during his side’s group B preliminary round match against Chile at the Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro. Photograph: EPA/JUANJO MARTIN


As you may well have been shocked and saddened to learn, Dunphy casually tossed off a few uncharacteristically colourful words during Tuesday’s live RTE broadcast. Does he talk dirty like that to poor Bill at home? For all his faults I always had Eamon down as a considerate and tender husband, not some portaloo-mouthed swearmonger.

“Football is a game of two halves” said the person who, on an hourly basis, tries with increasing exasperation to convince anyone who’ll listen that it was indeed they who first coined the phrase. However there was clearly nothing equal about the opposing teams opening yesterday’s round of footy frolics. Like the proverbial David pitted against the possibly non-fictitious Goliath, the trembling, clog-clad hopefuls of the tiny subterranean shire of Holland were prodded into the ring once again and pitted against the very fiercest ball-kickers the monstrous, sprawling continent of Australia has to offer.

Despite a perplexing snub to their orange-clothed fans, the all navy Dutch team eventually slew the Antipodean beast 3-2. In the post-mortem (R.I.P. Holland V Australia, 5pm – 6:45pm, I hardly knew ya) Bill-OH put it best when he said “you sow what you reap” - a zeitgeist-encapsulating outburst of inverse zen – and certainly more thought provoking than the crude, gutteral daubings of his other half. He’s no good for you Bill - you need a man who understands your needs and yet will let you follow your dream, no matter how preposterous, impractical, or financially inadvisable that dream may be.

Anyway, as predicted, Chile had a convincing 2-0 win against Spain. At first, I wasn’t convinced, though after some further perseverance while glancing at the 2, back to the 0 for Spain, and then once more at the 2 beside Chile, it was obvious to see who the real winners were - it were Chile. Chile were the real, actual winners. It was a game they wanted to win – and win it they did – by scoring two goals, in stark contrast to the complete absence of same by their opponents (Spain).

This final result was actually chalked down during the first half, which frankly could have saved me a further 51 minutes of harmful soccer exposure had I known in advance. I’m sure the Spanish team could also have used the time more productively to maybe get online and search for some cheap early return flights.

Rumour has it (source: The Rumour Mill) that the Spanish team were denied their Maxi-Twists at half-time (a ritualistic footballing institution partaken during the interval, I’m reliably told) which must have riled them good and proper because they returned from the break with renewed vigour and a steely determination to lose the game at any cost in an attempt to get even with their mean old manager and his sinister, moustachioed accomplice, the guy with the ice cream cart.

For the brief player-profile video vignettes that accompany the team formation infographic preceding each match, there’s a little videographer’s trick deployed behind the scenes to get the lads to cross their arms in such a uniformly defiant fashion. The first direction is to “Look cool!”, usually causing the subject to shift awkwardly, exuding the very essence of uncoolness. The second is “Now, look mean!”, an ice-breaker that usually provokes a giggle and gets the subject on side with the camera crew. The third is “Ok, now show me your bum!” which will, almost without fail, get the shocked and infuriated subject to grimace and fold arms in a stance that clearly projects the message “Hey what kind of pre-game video vignette is this? There is no WAY I am doing that”. And, voila, a thoroughly convincing thug pose from the majority of players, worthy of Ross Kemp in his prime.

Cameroon I felt gave a particularly strong performance in this segment (less so in their actual game) but we can only guess what the outtakes of the Croatian profile videos may yield, as the match commentary referred to an incident involving Croatian players getting papped together in a hot tub. Alas, pictorial evidence of this event was not forthcoming, so the game coasted into a drab morass with only a random attack of violence from one of the Cameroonians near the end of the first half to spice things up. There may have been a second half but the soothing hypnotic monotone of Brian Kerr’s disembodied voice proved a force too strong to resist. Croatia 1, Cameroozzzz . . .

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