EDitorial ± 9-Jun-2006

World Cup 2006, Day 1

As the cover of tonight's Evening Star says, It's Finally Here. Off to a spirit of '66 start with the office sweepstake as my name came out with ... England. Betrayed my feelings with a small sigh: yes, wouldn't it be lovely if they could, whisper it, win the thing, for (a) the nation and (b) my cashflow, but shall we get a collective Tord Grip? May I lightly saute my words with a soupcon of soy sauce. And unlike the majority of my colleagues, there was no dashing off to Google Images to find a flag -- oh look, there's the car park.

Watched the BBC World Cup ticker count down to 0 days 0 hours 0 minutes to go, then hopped on the bike bound for home. Quarter past five, I passed a man in his car who was suddenly laughing to himself: a-ha, Costa Rica must have scored against Das Host Nation. Indeed they had, albeit an equaliser.

Impolite to head straight for the Idiot's Lantern since Eldest safely back from year 6's Herne Bay week away. On their first night away from their loving parents & guardians, some of the girls and most of the boys had enjoyed a good sob, apparently. Bless 'em. So no sight of live WC action until the final half hour, by which time Germany 3-1 up, blast.

Costa Rican manager's stick of rock tie something to see, as was Wanchope's composure in front of goal. Put me in that same situation on a Tuesday lunchtime and I go to bits. That's why I'm in IT and not affiliated to the FA.

Even better was the reunified team's 4th goal, a blockbusting Arie Haanesque whoomph of a shot. Awesome, and even better in the umpteen slo-mo replays that followed.

Duller start for the altitudinous Ecuador v. the magnetic Poles. Enlivened by The Boy doing his "I can't get to sleep" spiel, thus joining us on the sofa. Seeing a Macdonalds board among the many pitchside hoardings, he asked: "Is that all places to go for tea?"

As Gene Pitney might have sung, only 15 hours to Paraguay, the landlocked cassava-eating nation that still has a coastguard.