How to deal with World Cup virgins
Ã¢ÂÂ¨Lots of non-football fans will be watching the World Cup, which can only be a good thing. But the great uninitiated hordes of Johnny and Jenny Come Latelys will be asking you lots of questions about the game. Sometimes silly ones.
Some newbies may be genuinely interested in the World Cup, and some wonÃ¢ÂÂt be. WeÃ¢ÂÂve compiled a set of answers to their inevitable questions Ã¢ÂÂ for both cases. Use answer A for the genuine ones, B for those who are secretly itching to do something else.
From the offside rule to why David Beckham/Gary Lineker/Jonny Wilkinson isnÃ¢ÂÂt playing, your guide to everything World Cup virgins need to know, so you can watch games in (relative) peace. ItÃ¢ÂÂs quizzactly what you needÃ¢ÂÂ¦
Q: CÃ¢ÂÂmon IngÃ¢ÂÂlund! So, you know about football: will England win the World Cup then, or what?ANSWER A: ItÃ¢ÂÂs unlikely. If Wayne Rooney stays fit and other countries donÃ¢ÂÂt notice our goalkeeper is bobbins we should get to the quarter-finals, maybe even sneak into the semis. But then weÃ¢ÂÂll most likely face Brazil, who are better than us. They will probably beat us. Probably on penalties and with a red card involved somewhere. We know itÃ¢ÂÂs coming but it will still hurt. Please donÃ¢ÂÂt stab any Russians afterwards.ANSWER B: Yeah, deffo. And stick your money on Gazza as top scorer.
Q: Sigh. Why do England always lose on penalties? A: England have the worst record at penalty shootouts. They lack mental fortitude Ã¢ÂÂ they donÃ¢ÂÂt think they will win. The Germans, for example, think they will win at penalties, so they usually do. Belief is really important in football. B: Because they never practise them.
Q: You know what Ã¢ÂÂ IÃ¢ÂÂve had an idea Ã¢ÂÂ why don't they practise them?A: They do. But taking a kick in front of your mates in training is a world away from game conditions, with 60,000 fans screaming abuse at you and millions watching on the box.B: ThatÃ¢ÂÂs a cracking idea. Did you apply for England manager last time round? No? You should next time.
Q: But surely penalties are easy? Even I can do it!A: Well, like we say, itÃ¢ÂÂs easy ifÃ¢ÂÂ¦ No, youÃ¢ÂÂre right. It is easy. They should be able to score from 12 yards.B: I donÃ¢ÂÂt know why you didnÃ¢ÂÂt make the squad.
"Ooh, he caught it. Is that bad?"
Q: Will England lose on penalties again this time?A: If it comes to it, probably, yes. Though manager Fabio Capello has instilled a new fairly un-English, single-minded mentality into the squad, so you never know...B: Yes.
Q: Wait, Fab who? ThatÃ¢ÂÂs not a very English nameÃ¢ÂÂ¦A: The England manager is Italian. There arenÃ¢ÂÂt any good English managers about (we realised too late that Roy Hodgson was a secret genius). The last one was English and couldnÃ¢ÂÂt even qualify us for the European Championships, which was embarrassing. So we went with this guy. HeÃ¢ÂÂs been pretty good so far.B: HeÃ¢ÂÂs from Doncaster.
Q: So, whatÃ¢ÂÂs this offside thing they keep going on about?A: Listen very carefully, I shall say this only once. When the ballÃ¢ÂÂs played forward, all attackers in the opponent's half must have at least two opposition players (which usually includes the goalkeeper) between them and the goal. There are a few nuances, but thatÃ¢ÂÂs the gist of it. Yes, sometimes the referee and assistant referees get it wrong.B: YouÃ¢ÂÂll only ask me again in 10 minutes, so I might as well tell you thatÃ¢ÂÂ¦ When anyone goes off the side of the pitch, theyÃ¢ÂÂre offside.
Q: So, why donÃ¢ÂÂt they have television replays like almost every other sport?A: They should have, obviously. Something to do with the head of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, being a big berk.B: David Beckham said he didnÃ¢ÂÂt want it. His word is the law.
Q: Ooh yeah, why isnÃ¢ÂÂt David Beckham playing? HeÃ¢ÂÂs still way hot.A: HeÃ¢ÂÂs injured. Plus he would have been used only sparingly, as a sub, anyway. B: HeÃ¢ÂÂs injured. He got poisoned by the ink from too many tattoos.
"Thanks for remembering me!"
Q: What about little Michael Owen? I remember that amazing goal he scored in the 1996 World Cup final against Scotland that time...A: HeÃ¢ÂÂs injured too. And wasnÃ¢ÂÂt picked by Fab when he was Ã¢ÂÂfit"Ã¢ÂÂ. HeÃ¢ÂÂs broken.B: He transferred to Germany, the traitor.
Q: Oh look, John Terry. Boooooo! I hope he scores a home goal.A: ItÃ¢ÂÂs an OWN goal. A goal scored against a team by one of their own!B: Me too.
Q: Why is this commentator, Clive Tilsly, such a buffoon?A: I share your pain. He canÃ¢ÂÂt help it. He went to the university of buffoonery.B: I share your pain. He canÃ¢ÂÂt help it. He went to the university of buffoonery.
Q: And that Ronaldo Ã¢ÂÂ heÃ¢ÂÂs brilliant Ã¢ÂÂ why isnÃ¢ÂÂt he playing for England?A: Because heÃ¢ÂÂs a slimy Portuguese winker.B: Oh look, I think Peaches Geldof just walked past the pub. Quick! Autograph! Run!