El World Cup Diario, Day 16: First rest day sends everyone doolally
If Thursday brought the end of the group stage, Friday seemed to bring the end of the world.
The lack of ball-based action on the World Cup's first 'rest day' led to a news vacuum opening up over the fair town of World Cupsville (nee Rio de Janiero). The vacuum sucked in all nuance and logic, leaving behind nothing but brainless Luis Suarez chat. For a third successive day.
By now, everybody that mattered - and Danny Mills - had been allowed to have their say on the scandal El Diario is calling 'Bitegate III: Cruise Control' (the name needs some fine-tuning). All that was left was for the idiots of the world to talk nonsense until the only course of action for right-minded, level-headed sorts was to gouge out their eyes and jam them in their ears. Or failing that, log out of Twitter.
Yet the drivel wasn't just coming from bed-wetting 17-year-old Suarez fanboys or bitter Manchester United fans demanding the striker be 'sent to the chair' - this was coming right from the top.
"We feel that this [ban] is an assault on the poor because this gang will never forgive [Suarez] because he never went to university," The Guardian report Uruguayan President Jose Mujica as having said. "He isn't educated, he grew up on the field and he is a natural rebel and expresses his anger naturally," Mujica added, overlooking the fact few of the players at the World Cup stayed in education beyond the stage where it's explained what noise cows make.
It's not just the Uruguayans getting all worked up - the Russian press are seething too. They're not concerned about perceived crookedness on FIFA's part, though (hey, why would they be?), instead they're waving clenched fists threateningly in Fabio Capello's general direction.
Capello, who had previously angered the English press by having never seen an episode of Only Fools and Horses or bothered to learn that weird second verse of God Save The Queen, seems to once again have a fight on his hands to stay in work.
Don Fabio - believed to be earning £6.7 million a year as Russia boss - was left embarrassed after his team familiarly stuttered to a World Cup draw with Algeria. But rather than going to all the trouble of then getting pumped 4-1 by Germany in the last 16, Fab shrewdly ensured his team were eliminated from the competition at the group stage instead, having worked out that he'd still get paid regardless.
Sadly, he was rumbled when Sovetsky Sport's Valery Reingold noted that Russia's previous defeat to Belgium was “100% Capello’s fault”, before claiming that he "saw no game plan, just chaos… I don’t understand the logic in his work".
That's no way to talk about a man who gave an international call-up to Jimmy Bullard...
Crime and punishment
It wouldn't be a day at the World Cup without talk of someone nearly getting their head blown off and, as The Mirror's Oliver Holt revealed, today was no different. According to FIFA, a police marksman at the opening match between Brazil and Croatia sought permission to open fire on an individual in the VIP section he believed to be 'tooled up'.
His request was rejected, which was probably just as well as a) nobody wants to see Sepp Blatter get blood (and possibly brains) on his suit, and b) the 'gunman' in question was actually another police officer. You have to ask yourself what kind of society would nearly allow a perfectly innocent Brazilian man to be shot dead while going about his daily business, etc, etc, satire, etc.
In marginally less chilling news, a (possibly) millionaire former footballer has put a shoeless Brazilian street urchin in a half-nelson, in what could well be the best metaphor for this tournament yet.
The ex-footballer in question was none other than Sky Sports shoutymouth Chris Kamara, who tweeted with great pride that he had apprehended a youth who had attempted to half-inch a friend's jewellery. Kammy proceeded to post a series of images of the ensnared child like a smug fisherman boasting of his latest catch.
Crime is obviously bad - heck, El Diario got nervous when it downloaded season one of Breaking Bad off that Russian website - but something about the rich-clobbering-poor nature of this whole episode really ruffled El Diario's humanitarian feathers. Kammy is a good egg - of that there's little doubt - and El Diario reckons that, once the adrenaline has died down, he'll regret dehumanising the young chap.
The sad probability is that it's young lads like him who this World Cup should be helping but isn't.
Look, just give money to UNICEF or something. Here you go. Peace and love.