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World Cup blog

Germany-Spain a tough one to call


Did it serve Uruguay right to lose against the Nethelands? And can an octopus tell us what the pundits can't about Wednesday's Germany-Spain match?


I like it when the TV pundits come over all metaphysical and psychoanalytical. You have to allow them that leeway.

They’ve operated in the 90-minute dimension so they’re aware of the the intangible forces that dwell within that realm. They tell us – the uninitiated – what is happening in the zone.

My favourite phrase over the years has been: ''Like all great players, he seems to have extra time on the ball.''

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The laws of the time and space continuum are liquified for the preternaturals once the whistle has blown.

People like us can watch and marvel but we will never know.

That’s why we need the pundits to translate the ethereal. They understand the minds and actions of limbs performing athletic feats in the twitch of an eyebrow.

''You can see what he’s thinking,'' says Pundit X, as the player draws his leg back. ''He’s spotted the run and he’s put him through.''

The fact that the other player’s run started from well behind his field of vision doesn’t deter the pundit.

They just say: ''He’s got a great football brain,'' or ''Like all great players he's eyes in the back of his head."

But actually you expect players on the same team to be on the same wavelength and they will both see the opening.

There must also be a percentages equation about where to play the ball in certain situations.

Whatever that is there's s a simple logic about the game: possession in and of space.

I could crack on like Donald Rumsfeld about unseen seens, but the lads on TV decided that Uruguay got their comeuppance in Tuesday night’s semi-final defeat against the Netherlands.

Terry Paine, who was in England’s 1966 World Cup winning squad, said that justice had been served.

Why? Paine pronounced that Uruguay shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Luis Suarez’s last minute handball on the line had deprived Ghana of a winner. (Ghana lost the subsequent penalty shootout).

Suarez wasn’t playing on Tuesday night, due to suspension. The young forward’s prowess was sadly missed as he would have caused the Dutch defence some problems with his speed and trickery.

Well his dark arts saved his team in that quarter final. But it deprived them of goodwill.

The Cape Town crowd thus burgled of the first African semi-finalists at the first World Cup etc etc  decided to vent its wrath.

It was Cape Oranges as the stadium made the allegiances visible and their support audible.

The south Americans will play the game for third place in Port Elizabeth on Saturday evening against either Spain or Germany.

The Netherlands are having a rest day on Wednesday before they start the training and media whirl of the run-in to the final.

The Germany v Spain semi on Wednesday night is such a tough one to call. So I won’t bother to even begin to analyse it.

There’s an octopus in Germany that has been picking the results of every Germany game. So far the octopus has been correct about each Germany result but the tentacles say Spain for tonight’s match.

I think a big factor will be the Frank Lampard goal that was but wasn’t.

True, the referees who allowed such an injustice have been stripped of their cards and fused into the netherworld of unimportance.

But it’s in the air. And when it comes back to tweak the Germans’ noses, the neutrals will call it karma. Loads of England fans will go ha ha. Pure Schadenfreude.

And no, that's not the name of a German TV pundit who knows the players’ minds.

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