El World Cup Diario, Day 23: The edge of heaven (via hell)
Day 23 of the World Cup started as many previous days have started: with Big Philipo Scolario losing his temper.
"Men can’t be jealous," he explained to an audience of men. "No. Please. If you like it, you like it. If you don’t, you don’t. Just go to hell.”
The Brazil coach was addressing reports that he'd been speaking only to chosen members of his country's media, picking and choosing to gain an easier ride.
At this – and faced with many of the media men he'd ignored – he simply shrugged. “There’s no way I can go down to talk to everyone. Those who were not invited, it was because maybe I don’t like you that much."
By the time Day 23 had ended, Scolario had raised a metaphorical dos fingers at those he doesn't like – the journalists who have dared to suggest that Brazil cannot cope with the pressure of being hosts and pointed out that they're not actually very good.
Last night they coped with the pressure quite nicely, in as much as no-one broke down in tears, but they also confirmed that they're not actually very good. They beat James Rodriguez's Colombia 2-1 to reach the semi-finals, but the fact Scolario wasn't smiling at the end spoke volumes. He wasn't happy. He's never happy. But this time, he really really wasn't happy.
And with good reason. Next up will be Germany.
Yes, in the other quarter-final, the Germans squeaked past France in a game that bore absolutely no resemblance to the seminal semi of '82 that everyone's been banging on about. Not six goals, not penalties, not Michel Platini in his pomp and absolutely not any decapitations. All very disappointing, if truth be told.
The win was notable for very little, bar the fact it took Germany into a record fourth consecutive World Cup semi-finals. Oh, and it allowed Joachim Low to mount his high horse and patronise us Englishers.
"Of course the English league has a disadvantage with a higher percentage of foreigners playing there and it becomes difficult for the national coach to get things moving," the German coach announced, discussing why England are always so hopeless.
"Since 2009, things have changed for us and lots of young German players are coming through. We have a good blend, a strong league with three teams who are among the best in Europe with experience in tough competitions."
The thing to remember here is that just because he's smug, that doesn't make him wrong.
As we waited for the aforementioned games to begin on Day 23, a few other news crumbs dropped from the skies. They included the following...
The definitive ruling on Arjen Robben's integrity arrived
And from a most unexpected source. You see, as part of Google's daily World Cup-themed doodle, the global search engine used its six letters to depict a football match in which the little 'g', dressed first in football kit, then in small swimming trunks, waltzed into the centre of the frame, paused, then took a lavish dive.
The big 'G', in its role as referee, wagged a finger and flashed a yellow card. Either way, the defendant Mr A Robben is found guilty on all counts. Take him away.
The BBC received 172 viewer complaints about Mark Lawrenson in the aftermath of the Argentina-Switzerland game
Anyone who remained conscious long enough in a truly heinous game will have heard Mr Chuckles suggest Swiss striker Josip Drmic "should have put a skirt on" after one particularly weak attempt on goal.
"We acknowledge that the remark was inappropriate and we apologise for any offence caused by it," grovelled a press release. For some context, consider that Phil Neville's commentary against Italy received 445 complaints.
The lesson? Tedium: bad; 1970s chauvinism: not so much.
Mario Balotelli's hopeless World Cup campaign has made him practically worthless
Silvio Berlusconi, the president of AC Milan and host of sexy fun bunga bunga parties has complained that he won't now be able to find any English club gullible enough to pay big money for Balotelli.
"I was about to sell Balotelli to an English team for several millions [before the finals]," Berlusconi told Gazzetta dello Sport. "But after this World Cup who will buy him anymore?"
No Premier League chairman with any sense, that's for sure Silvio! Finish this one off yourself, reader!
The hot pursuit of reformed psychopath Luis Suarez gathers pace!
Another club who apparently don't fall under the jurisdiction of FIFA has announced it plans to sign the Liverpool striker. Nart FC of Abkhazia, it says here. "Of course we can not offer the Uruguayan footballer a financial package that he is used to," said the Nart president and professional time-waster Gennady Tsvinariya, "but the Abkhazian championship is at its peak."
News to make match-fixers tremble...
The Cameroon Football Federation has promised a swift and thorough investigation into allegations that seven of the nation's players fixed their 4-0 defeat at the hands of Croatia what seems like a lifetime ago.
A spokesperson confirmed: "The investigation is ongoing. We have already, by mail, asked [German magazine Der Spiegel, which published the accusation] for tangible evidence of these claims, which they have maintained despite the apparent challenge of the facts by their main source."
In summary, they've sent them a letter. Second class no doubt. Justice will indeed be swift.
And finally. Oh dear...
Hot news just in: the son of Julio Grondona, the second most powerful man in world football and a senior FIFA vice-president, has become embroiled in a World Cup ticket scandal. Humberto Grondona, who has a post as a technical adviser to world football’s governing body, admitted selling on tickets to a friend, which included two tickets to the final and which had his name printed on them.
Now El Diario has no idea what a technical adviser role might involve, nor how Humberto managed to snare himself such a prestigious job, but what he does know is that for an organisation dogged by accusations of corruption and currently investigating a match-fixing ring, this don't look so good. A FIFA spokeswoman urged the media not to jump to any conclusions, but it's a little late for that.