El World Cup Diario, Day 22: It's been emotional
According to 'The Art of Manliness', a website that guides El Diario daily in all areas of its shallow existence, Men are supposed to be 'bastions of stability; the rock in the middle of a storm; unflappably cool no matter what the circumstance.'
This will be news to Brazil's national team, who are clearly none of those things. You'll have noticed the hosts have spent much of this tournament blubbing uncontrollably and exhibiting emotions quite at odds with that definition.
Neymar Jnr obviously started it, bawling his eyes out during the anthems on Day 1 when Brazil faced Croatia. Then he did it again when Brazil played Chile in the last 16, but this time he wasn't alone.
His captain Thiago Silva wept in the tunnel before they came out onto the field, and Julio Cesar turned on the waterworks before the penalty shootout.
This has resulted in a backlash from a number of old Brazilian footballers who don’t understand the youth of today. “They cry during the national anthem, they cry at the end of extra-time, they cry before and after the penalties,” noted Brazil's technical director, Carlos Alberto Parreira.
“They need to have more control,” chipped in Zico.
“The team is crying when they’re singing the anthem, when they get hurt, when they shoot penalties!" sniped Carlos Alberto, who didn't win the 1970 World Cup by crying. "Come on... Stop crying! Enough!”
On Day 22, aka yesterday, Big Philipo Scolario finally stepped in to end this nonsense. He called in a psychologist for an “urgent” session designed, we assume, to make Brazil's precious flowers think like WINNERS and behave like MEN.
“The visit formed part of our initial planning,” said Scolario's psychologist of choice, Regina Brandão, playing down the claim that it had been urgent. “I have classes and I couldn’t be here for long [but] I speak constantly with the players. We speak on WhatsApp, we speak on the phone, we communicate by email." A thoroughly modern psychologist for a thoroughly modern collection of precious young sportsmen, in other words.
The most precious of them all, Neymar Jnr, seems to be reacting well to the sessions. “I had never done anything like it before and I am quite enjoying it,” he said. “It is not only us, in football, who are surrounded by emotion every day and need psychologists. I think it could do every person good, to make one more relaxed.”
He might well be right.
The good doctor might want to start with Argentina's fans, for example, who do appear a touch uptight. According to some new news just in, they lead the chart on the Number Of Seats Broken Inside A Stadium By Unruly Fans During This World Cup.
Beating the previous record of 175 set by England morons in the game with Uruguay, Argentina fans broke more than 300 in the defeat of Switzerland. FIFA didn't seem overly bothered, pointing out that 300 seats was "not much in an audience of more than 60,000".
Also, clearly the former Nottingham Forest striker Pierre van Hooijdonk needs some professional help. He reportedly got very tetchy on a flight over to Rio at some point in the last few days. Let's allow him to explain. “I was on a plane sitting next to a Mexican and he showed his friend a video of [Arjen] Robben and he was all like blah blah blah,” said Pierre.
“I said: 'What's the problem?'. He said: 'Robben dived for the penalty'. I just told him to shut the f*ck up. Robben didn't dive for the penalty. It annoyed me that he was talking about that moment. He didn't mention the time in the first half when he should have had two penalties when he was fouled.”
First things first, Pierre, breathe deep. And then shut the f*ck up and watch it again.
In other news trickling through today...
Germany’s World Cup plans have been thrown into disarray by an outbreak of a killer flu bug that has hit seven members of their squad. "It's too early to make any final decisions about the line-up," said Joachim Low, putting a brave face on things. "It's not that bad at the moment. I don't want to dramatise it."
Oh, so they aren't at death's door?
"No, they just have throat aches," said Low.
Ah, they just have a cold. Poor lambs.
In other other news...
The South Korea coach who offered his resignation has been told he has to carry on. “I don’t think his resignation would have solved the problem so we decided to continue to trust him,” said the vice president of the KFA, offering quite the vote of confidence.
Some senior figures at the Korean Football Association had called for Hong Myung-bo’s head after South Korea finished bottom of Group H, with just a single point. How could South Korea fail so dismally when they had reached the last four in a World Cup as recently as 2002, they demanded? When they were reminded exactly how South Korea reached those semi-finals, they suddenly piped down.
In other news that is not news but a stat...
The World Cup record of 171 goals (from France 98) is again under threat when the first of the four quarter-finals kicks off at 5pm, when Germany face France back in 1982. The current tally stands at 154, with eight games left. You do the math.
In other news that has nothing to do with the World Cup but everything to do with the insanity of the new Leeds United owner and modern football as a whole...
Paddy Kenny has been told not to report for the club's pre-season tour of Italy after Massimo Cellino discovered his keeper was born on the 17th of May. It seems Cellino has an irrational fear of the number 17, so concluded that Kenny's DOB would bring bad luck on his club. There were reports that he also had doubts over Kenny's weight, but that's hardly news and it wouldn't make Cellino sound insane, so let's gloss over that bit.
And in one final piece of World Cup news...
Colombia's James 'Hamez' Rodriguez has announced he has absolutely no desire to play in the Premier League. “I’ve said in the past that I’d like to play in Spain one day," he reiterated, glancing in the vague direction of Madrid. "It is a league that is good technically, where you get a lot of touches on the ball, which is my style."
The World Cup's golden boy not coming to the Premier League? Why it's enough to make a grown man cry. But hey, the football's back on later, so dry those eyes.