Seven steps to humiliation

And there was me worrying about the possibilities of extra time and penalties on a school night…As I said last night during the 197 seconds between the second and fourth goals…WTF and OMG.

Big Phil Scolari introduced the idea that this Brazil side were 7 steps away from the trophy at the beginning of the tournament. I always thought it sounded a bit like he was embarking on a mini version of AA’s 12 step programme. Now after a bit of a stumble(!) he has sent an entire nation in the direction of rehab.

It was humiliating for Brazil and it was painful to watch (well almost) and finally proved that an average team with two world class players (because let’s face it they probably missed Silva more than Neymar last night) cannot win a tournament on the basis of a tide of emotion and because it might suit every football pundit’s best clichés. Although of course they could fit in clichés of a different kind; the minute it was 2-0 I knew what was coming and the Beeb’s Steve Wilson was happy to oblige, “And Brazil now have a mountain to climb in their own back yard.”

Passionate singing of your national anthem, niggly tactics and overly lachrymose tributes to Neymar counted for nothing last night against an excellent German side who were given licence to run riot. What I particularly liked about the performance was the unselfish nature of the attacking play. There were plenty of times, particularly with the early goals where a German could have justifiably had a shot but instead waited and set up the goal for an even better placed teammate.

It felt a bit like watching a car crash and listening to the commentary on radio or TV didn’t help either. At one point Danny Mills said that he didn’t know what else to say (hooray!) and I really thought he meant it.

This slightly less than nail-biting situation did mean I had time to assess the state of my sticker collection. In pretty good shape, although I am missing the romance of the old school playground, “Got. Got. Got. Got. Not Got!” Sadly it seems that no grown ups are lurking the hallowed halls of the workplace with a bundle of swaps and,as you grow ever nearer to completing the collection, a list of the stickers you still need scribbled on a scratty piece of paper. On the plus side now I am in control of my finances and not reliant on pocket money (or my gran) I can furnish my self with as many packets as I want. Although obviously let me reassure any Mr TLFs reading this that I am only making that bold statement for artistic impression (ahem).

I am also starting to think that the fate of my stickers is inextricably linked to this tournament outcome. On Friday I opened a packet which had 3 shineys therein. Not only is that a rarity, two of them were Brazil and Germany. Who won that night? Indeed they did. It didn’t work with the Saturday games, but only because I didn’t buy any stickers on Friday (See. Frugal. That’s me). On Sunday I did a quick sticker assessment of the remaining semi-finalists. In my sticker album Argentina and Germany head above the rest with 12 players and a shiny each. Brazil and Holland trailing behind miserably with a mere 4 stickers each. Part of me wants this to be meaningful but the orange shirted version of me wants it to be a lot of old nonsense.

Semi-finals are of course squeaky bum time and it seems as if Mr van Persie might be taking this too literally with digestive tract problems that might see him ruled out from tonight’s game. Maybe van Gaal’s tactic for Messi is to get van Persie to cook his pre-match meal? My heart wants Holland but my head says Argentina; and we know now what is written in the cards (stickers)

For you Big Phil ze World Cup is over. The rest of us have that little bit longer. Come on Holland and Argentina, it’s not like you have got anything jaw-dropping or historical to follow.

The Lost Foxensteigher

Yesterday’s Semi-final
Brazil 1 Germany 7 (seven)

Today’s semi final
9pm, Sao Paulo
Argentina v Holland

WorldCup ball of the day
The FA are trying to encourage football to get back to its grass roots, so later we will have some beach soccer with Greg Dyke.”
BBC Breakfast programme

Phrase of the day – Portugese

Doente como sete papagaios
Sick as seven parrots

Webby Thing of the day – Hadley Freeman at the Panini Sticker factory. It’s not fair she didn’t even like football until Brazil 2014 (yes I am jealous)
http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/jun/16/panini-world-cup-sticker-factory-sao-paulo

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