El World Cup Diario Day 7: Not a matter of life or death
Having stayed up until the small hours watching Croatia-Cameroon last night, and Russia-South Korea the previous night, and Ghana-USA the night before that, and Argentina-Bosnia the night before, and Ivory Coast-Japan until 4am the previous night, and a Last Of The Summer Wine box-set until way past 5 in the morning before the World Cup even started, El Diario is now feeling a tad jiggered.
We feel on the verge of physical and mental collapse, but this is not a complaint. We are now seven days into a World Cup finals and this is exactly how it's supposed to feel. This is official World Cup sleep-deprived exhaustion and it feels somehow right. True, we look like s**t and ran out of clean pants on Day Three, but it could be worse. How could it be worse? Well, we could be dead for starters.
Woaahh! Death? In a supposedly lighthearted World Cup recap diary? Tragically so, for over in China at least two football fans have died watching these finals. One fan suffered a heart attack watching the Netherlands thrash Spain, another collapsed and died while watching Costa Rica upset Uruguay, and Shanghai's hospitals have reported a spike in emergency cases since the tournament began. Many fans are "feeling the effects of staying up late" and many suffering breathing and stomach issues often caused by "irregular eating and sleeping patterns".
The strangest thing about that is that China aren't even in this World Cup, but the dawn kick-offs and a diet rich in goals but low in sunlight is clearly bad for your health. Brazil 2014 should really have come with a warning.
Certainly Joe Hart should have been warned. He might have thought harder for a better choice of phrase when previewing tonight's must-win game against Uruguay. "It's do or die," said Joe England yesterday, rather insensitively. (Actually, what he really said was "It's f**king do or f**king die at the end of the day, to be fair," but this is a family diary).
Clearly it's not actually do or die, Joe. It's just a game of football. True, it's likely to be squeaky on the old sphincter again, but hopefully no one will die during tonight's game. Although those Uruguayans can be quite aggressive, so who knows?
And as we segue almost effortlessly from genuinely tragic death notices into early team news ahead of tonight's clash, it seems that Luis Suarez may be fit to play. This is bad news for England, although the fact he's declared himself fit but probably isn't qualified to declare himself fit means that this bad news may actually be good news, in that it's probably not true. “I have been training for a few days with the team and I am 100% ready,” he said, in Uruguayan, so maybe something was lost in translation. “I now only need time on the pitch and to play the game.” That's all he needs. Nothing more. Probably.
More definite is that the Uruguay captain Diego Lugano has been definitely ruled out with a knee injury. Now that is good news. Although given how clueless he was against Costa Rica in the first game, and that he led by example, maybe it's actually really bad news. Get well soon, Diego. Really really soon.
And on a day of bad news for Uruguay, another player definitely ruled out is the boy Dulce de Leche, the holding midfiel... Hold on, he’s not a holding midfielder at all. He's a massive tub of caramel spread the Uruguayan players eat to remind them of home. This dulce de leche was supposedly the secret to their success at the 2010 World Cup, but due to them not having the correct paperwork for bringing milk-based products into Brazil, it was seized at the airport and still hasn't been returned.
Some Uruguayans have suggested its disappearance was the sole reason for the Costa Rica defeat, but that was more down to Lugano. And besides, they can have it back "as soon as they can produce the necessary documents," said a very official-looking official from the Brazilian Agriculture Department. "Or they can pick it up on their way out of Brazil."
On their way out of Brazil? They might as well pick it up after tonight's game then, because if they lose tonight they're as good as on their way.
Yes, that's right. Despite the history books revealing that only 9% of teams who've lost their opening game in the World Cup since the 32-team format arrived in 1998 have qualified for the knockout stages, we still absolutely believe.
England Expects, readers!
Way too much!!
The word from CampEngland is that the attacking philosophy we unveiled against Italy will remain the same. "Absolutely," said the England manager, Mr Roy Hodgson Esq. "We've been working towards this philosophy and we have the players to carry it out." That special Attacking At The Expense Of Defending philosophy, Mr Hodgson? "Absolutely." Oh Lordy.
(Mr Hodgson wouldn't be drawn on what role Wayne Rooney might play in all of this, but the word is that Wazzo will finally be deployed tonight in his favoured position: on a pedestal, slap bang in the middle.)
Now contrast Mr Hodgson's throbbing positivity with the downbeat defeatism of Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez. Quoted yesterday in a book extract from an interview he so long ago it could be argued it has no relevance now, Tabarez was asked if success – namely the 2011 Copa America title – can be a dangerous thing. “Victory," he replied, "is the sweet that rots your teeth.”
Actually, that's more likely to be the dulce de leche, but we take his point: Uruguay are on a downward spiral and are there for the taking. So it's England to win, then. And then maybe an early night.
A Bit More 'News'
Spain are out, as you may have heard, which is sad. Likewise Australia, despite their heroics against the Dutch. And with Cristiano Ronaldo carried off with an ice pack on his knee yesterday, Portugal are starting to look like the next big guns heading for a fall. However, if you came to this page looking for hard news and football reports, you're bang out of luck. Go back to the homepage and start again.
Big Phil Scolari turned on the Brazilian media after Tuesday's sloppy draw with Mexico, claiming that the hosts will be awarded no more penalties in this World Cup because of the media's outcry at Fred's thieving dive against Croatia. No more penalties for the host nation? Not if Sepp has his way.
Robin van Persie's 93-year-old granddad was pictured 'Persieing' on the floor of his home – the tribute to his grandson's flying header against Spain that is apparently sweeping the planet. The poor old lad may still be down there now for all we know. Can somebody call Home Help?
And thank the good lord above: Coleen Rooney has arrived safely in Brazil, touching down with her 18 pieces of luggage around 1am local time. And at the end of a gruelling flight accompanied by two small children, she did what any mother would do: went straight to bed. No, no, she stood on top of the hotel in her shocking pink swimsuit, waiting to be photographed.