Tuesday, June 27, 2006


As if to remind us of why Ireland are not at the World Cup, Aer Lingus weighed in with some good old fashioned Irish incompetence last night to leave us stranded in Munich for one more day. Like the crucial goals that never came against France and Switzerland in the qualifiers, the 19.45 flight to Dublin failed to appear, remaining grounded at home, the victim, like Ireland's attacking play, of technical problems.

This gave us a chance to watch Switzerland v Ukraine, however, an only slightly more enjoyable experience than two hours on EI 1357. A running gag throughout this tournament has been how certain matches are for one of the nations involved "their Stuttgart", referring to our own epochal day in 1988. E.g.: "This is Togo's 'Stuttgart'", or "this is Angola's 'Stuttgart'".

This works when a smaller country plays a big one, and one that they are either neighbours with or endured a bloody colonial past under. Which caused confusing when Switzerland played France in Stuttgart, making Stuttgart, er, their 'Stuttgart'.

Anyway, last night's game had emerald connotations also. For Switzerland, this time it was 'their Suwon', losing as they did a second round match on penalties, while Ukraine enjoyed 'their Genoa', beating their opponents after a rubbishy, scoreless match, in a shootout, and in their first finals appearance. Nice!

Anyway, Switzerland's performance at this World Cup is an interesting indicator of where we are. Namely, slightly inferior to a hardworking, youthful side who don't score many goals, and who managed to qualify out of a pretty weak group. Something to work on then....


Post a Comment

<< Home