Ok, so we scraped through against Trinidad & Tobago and we’ve already booked our place in the second round. Now all we have to do is finish top of the group and avoid a tough game with Germany. However, tying up loose ends against the Swedes has never been easy for us – we haven’t beaten them since 483BC (before Cole).
But now that I’m back on St George’s great island and away from the incessantly clement German weather, it’s easy look back fondly at a tremendous final week. And so here are our final Group B England match hints and tips:
– Leaving N?rnberg and moving into deepest, darkest Bavaria you will find that the natives will have trouble understanding your higher German (or hoche Deutsche*) as they have a dialect so strong it is comparable to a Scouser communicating with a Cockney whilst chewing a mouth full of live turkey (gobble, gobble, gobble)
– For a touch of civility, head as far south as possible until the DeutscheBahn is blocked by a large lake called the Bodensee, where you will find a small town called Lindau. The annual Bodensee Regatta is on a par with Aspen in that BMW and Rolex sponsor everything and that streams of fresh-faced folk wander the streets wearing polo shirts and chinos like they never went out of fashion. A far cry from the bellies back at the stadium singing, “Let’s go fucking mental, let’s go fucking mental”.
– Whilst soaking up this idyllic lake atmosphere, bordering the scenic mountains of Austria and Switzerland, try counting how many times you say, “Ah, this is the life” per day. You’ll need to take your shoes off to continue the counting on your sun-blessed toes.
– Despite being situated in the middle of nowhere, you will find that when Italy play a match, and no matter what the final score (even if they were playing a 9-man USA team and still only got a draw – with an own goal), you will see at least one Italian Fiat car go tearing round the narrow cobbled streets of your island town, honking its horn, waving its flag and containing about 11 young Italian lads who are chuffed to bits they even managed to score.
– With your new-found grasp of the German language you can pass the time by creating some hilarious bi-lingual jokes, such as:
“Doctor, doctor. I keep thinking I’m a comical German vegetable”
“Well, that is most gemusing”
“Doctor, doctor. I keep thinking I’m turning into a German sausage”
“Well, I think you’ve taken a turn for the W?rst”
– Are you needing to hire a bike on which you can wind your way speedily down the Austrian mountains back into Germany? Not sure about the helmet policy? Well, if you hire a rickety old bike with a front basket and bad brakes you need not worry because a helmet isn’t necessary, you are apparently completely safe from injury. Whereas if you hire a brand new bike, one that has gears and brakes perhaps, you should definitely wear one because danger is imminent!
– Before the big game against Sweden, if you’re renting an apartment in the University area of Cologne be aware that at a time of day known in England as ‘unGodly’ three things are likely to happen:
a) the entire street-sweeping team of Cologne (and their magnificent machines) will be booked to pay particular attention to your very street
b) the person in the apartment to your right is especially keen to get those IKEA shelves up and simply must start drilling
c) the person in the apartment to your left is especially keen on opening his new ‘Singalong with Lou Reed karaoke pack’ that comes free with a one-string guitar and a booklet on how to sing just one note
– During the day as you try to find a spare piece of ground that doesn’t already have an Englishman occupying it, try playing a game of ‘Spot the Southerner’ as 99% of the England’s supporters tickets were seemingly donated to the Northern Monkey’s Away Day Salvation.
– Being part of the crowd at all of the Mastercard-sponsored World Cup Group B England matches? Priceless! Not be able to pay for a darn thing in Germany with said Mastercard because it’s next to impossible to find an establishment that accepts anything but cash? Odd!
– During the game, if things are looking grim yet your team is out-shooting the opposition by 18 shots to 4, do not fret. With only 10 minutes of the game remaining the law of averages dictates that your team will score three goals in 6 minutes (see also: Australia V Japan, Spain V Tunisia…). In the meantime keep yourself busy by continually singing ‘The Great Escape’ – a song so powerful in its presence it is sure to stay in your head for weeks and BLOODY WEEKS to come…..aaarrrggghhhh!! (Thankfully though, you wont hear anyone on the terraces chanting Embrace’s World Cup song)
– And finally, seeing as the last game against Sweden doesn’t kick off until 9pm local time you, and your girlfriend, have the entire day to eat as little as possible and sample as many local K?lsche* beers as you can. This, in turn, will have the following results:
a) you girlfriend will decide that she’s had just about enough of that stupid “10 German Bombers” song and subsequently tell each and every one of the 100 or so English fans singing it exactly what she thinks of them with voluminous conviction
b) you will be so inebriated that you’ll miss the beginning of the game and the all-important is-Walcott-playing line-up
c) you will spend the last few minutes before kick off outside the stadium trying to rid your hiccup-possessed girlfriend of her demons
d) you wont remember Michael Owen’s injury OR Steven Gerrard’s goal
e) you will swear at your team a lot more than usual
f) you will make a lot of friends on the ride back to your apartment – telling the Germans they can easily beat Swedes in the next round and telling the Swedes more or less the same thing about the Germans
g) you will spend most of the 8-hour journey back to London the following day using the toilet facilities to vomit away the bratw?rst-and-beer belly you have fashioned over the last two weeks
h) the trembling, feverish and generally green state you are in will also ensure that you get a visit from the paramedics at D?sseldorf airport. By performing all manner of tests on you, in full view of everyone there, they are simply checking that you are actually capable of getting on a plane. They will also give you a ride in the ambulance to your connecting terminal, those nice chaps.
Of what I can remember, Joe Cole’s goal was a absolute corker, so we’ll raise the rating of the game from a 5 to a 6 for England. And Sol, get your act together!
In closing, it is fair to say that Germany is a place I could see myself living in. Sure, the Germans are rightfully embarrassed about things like Hitler, Hasslehoff and their clinical efficiency (actually, forget the last two, those aren’t embarrassing matters, they are points of national pride) but there is plenty there to boast about. Everything is bigger and more appealing: the beds, the beers, the BMWs, and even the boobs. Deutscheland, ich liebe dich, danke sch?n f?r dienen World Cup. Sehen sie in die finale*.
*we take no responsibility for the bad German spelling and grammar in this article