Meet the new kids: Peter Darlington and Dan Slevin. Both of them are self-confessed "Soccer Nuts". I kid. But they will be here through out the FIFA World Cup giving you their take on things, a run down of games and pools and the usual guff that you expect from Public Address that you don't get from other places on the internet.
And the stories. Oh the stories these guys tell. Mainly about West Ham which is a bit weird, but there you go.
Four more years! Is it really four more years since Germany 2006? Seems like yesterday, WAGS, boutiques, Lederhosen, Sci-Fi stadiums, inscrutable Swedes, rabid tabloid headlines, Rooney, red cards, tattoos, winks, brooding, crying, headbutts and the angelic beautiful face of Fabio Cannavaro lifting the FIFA World Cup Trophy above his head to give Italy their fourth World Cup win.
I wasn’t happy about it of course, I never am. There’s two reasons for this, firstly my teams aren’t usually there. The fools, punks and crazy entertainers all have a habit of getting knocked out, leaving the big boys to finish up. These are the serious guys, the ones who don’t lose, Joga Bonito slowly turns into trench warfare. Sure, it’s a different kind of cool but I have to say, my favourite tournament of recent times was the European Championship in 2008, because the entertainers won it. Don’t expect the same in this World Cup.
Secondly, and more importantly, the Final signals the end of the tournament and the start of winter proper. Sure the days might be cold and the heater will definitely be on for those early morning starts but who cares about the weather when you have 32 of the best football sides on the planet embarking on a highly strategic journey with a solitary goal (heh) of making that last round of 16.
How can you care about a little frost when Fernando Torres is opening up defences for his little mate David Villa to slot home. What’s a rainy evening late bus ride home when you have the chance to check out Diego Milito, Carlos Tevez and Lionel Messi stop being adversaries and join up to make a strike force that would scare the shite out of even Beckenbauer, Maldini and Bobby Moore. Hell, you get Schneider, van der Vaart and von Bommel lining up in a single Dutch midfield, that’s like passing porn for footie fans. And of course there are those players that just always seem to be there, even though they’re still young.
The Ronaldos, Rooneys and Kakas, is this their year? Quite possibly, but you know there will be heartbreak, and because this is football, tears, hugs and tanties as well. Nope, weather is unimportant, at least until July 12th when for some of us, the world ends and a huge chasm of nothingness opens up before us leaving us bereft of all hope, until the English Premier League kicks off on August 14th.
But what of the Africans? This is the first World Cup to be played in Africa, only the second to take place out of Europe or the Americas. Bafana Bafana (South Africa) will have mad support for the whole tournament but don’t look to them to progress. At least a couple of these teams will be strong though and can get at least as far as the semi finals. Most notably, look to Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire but don’t write off Cameroon, Nigeria or even Algeria either. Sadly, we have lost Ghana star Michael Essien already, and possibly the hyper-talented if sulky Didier Drogba as well. But there’s still plenty of talent with Samuel Et’o and John Obi Mikel amongst many other top European league players. Nothing would be better than one of these teams making it into the final four or even The Final.
We even get to see our guys involved for only the second time as well. Don’t get carried away, we lack pace and a ruthless striker but we’re composed and gutsy, let’s just celebrate the All Whites being there and hope they can pull something like a Bahrain/Serbia out of the fire.
So buckle up mofos, you only get 15-20 of these things in your lifetime, we can’t afford to waste them on frivolous endeavours like families, employment and improving our planet. Chill beer, clear couch, MySky primed. Let’s kick it!
63 matches and it all kicks off tomorrow morning our time. 2am for those wanting to set the alarms and have the cocoa ready for the kids. Or Red Bull, whatever, I don't really know what kids drink these days.
And while this opening match (South Africa v Mexico, 2am TVNZ and SKY Sport 2) looks to be a fairly dull affair, you can use it to your advantage. This is your training match.
It's time to figure out if you still have the chops to get up at a ridiculous hour, watch a game of football, and then go to work. Use this early morning awake time to plan your route and the bars in your area that will have the games on.
In Wellington I used to go to Scopa. The Bresolin boys opened early even for non-Italian matches and the breakfasts were better than the usual crappy bacon and vinegar-flavoured eggs. I imagine they'll be packed on the 21st.
New Zealand's first match isn't until the 15th against Slovakia (11:30pm TVNZ and SKY). So you've got some time to perfect the technique. Feel free to suggest places to go, in your home town.
If you're a user of Google Calendar I can heartily recommend adding the FIFA World Cup calendar dates to it.
Under "Other Calendars" click "add calendar" and "browse interesting calendars". Under sports and "soccer" (ahem, it's American) you'll see FIFA World Cup, and you can add which team's fixtures you want. And after the match has played you can check the calendar entry to see the score broken down by half and who scored.
TVNZ have nicely come to the party and will be showing all of the All Whites games live and free to air. They have 11 in total with some of the other key matches (Brazil v Portugal for example), as well as highlights and reviews.
But if you want to watch all the games live and don't have SKY but don't mind a bit of IP Address jiggery-pokery or just flat out illegal viewing, then there are a few sites that will be streaming live games. coughjustin.tvcoughcoughatdhe.netcough. Though some may require a basic knowledge of another language.
And if you're on the go, then naturally, there's an app for all this. And I just discovered that adding #worldcup to a tweet will add a little football to your message that links to an insane Twitter World Cup tweet aggregator.
Think you might want to watch a bit of history before it all kicks off? ESPN have a very nice series looking at players who scored a goal in the World Cup Final.
And what to wear? Personally I like these tshirts. Though where's the black and white "Nelsen Smeltz Brown Fallon Bertos" one?
And given this is a Friday, here's your chance to unleash hell in the comments with your favourite World Cup music/goal/injury/blooper videos.
I'll start with possibly the best World Cup earworm of all time:
And the new one by Dizzee Rascal (via Tears For Fears)