Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Top Half is Woman For Me

While Lansdowne Road's big send-off from its soccer playing residents was lulling most of us fortunate enough not to be there into a snoozy torpor, potentially as important as Ireland's lumbering 5-0 victory over San Marino for the hopes of our gallant boys in green was the result in Nicosia, where Germany and Cyprus drew, 1-1.

There are - like in the old 'half-woman/half-fish, but which half?' question - two ways of looking at this one. Me, being the rampant, hollering optimist that I am, and not yet emotionally ready to forego all hope of heading for the lands of Toblerone and Nazis, despite the universally-accepted hopelessness of our current international football situation, I yelped with a small parcel of glee at this result.

On the crackpot premise that one of this group's big two are still within our reach - nurse! This one's completely lost it - Mental Health Ed. - then we can look at this as two points that the strutting ubergruppenmeistern would have expected to have safely stowed away for the harsh central European winter, and that have now dissolved into the ether or disappeared into whatever black hole hypothetical points go in these situations.

Let's just say - stay with me now - that our bould and courageous stormtroopers in green attack the spring of 2007 like that bunch of savage lions did that poor bewildered elephant on Planet Earth last Sunday, and we take full points off the straight-from-the-early-shift-in-the-vineyard San Marinans, then, with 80,000 voices raised in support at Croke Park, skelp the Welsh and the Slovakians for daring to enter the fortress of Gaeldom with their strange, consonant-heavy languages.

Suddenly, oh despairing reader, we are on 13 points. Fine, you say; but what have the Czechs and the Germans been up to while we have been harvesting the scalps of cowering minnows, basket-weaving? Learning Mandarin? Perhaps, but despite the economic advantages of those two options, more likely they will be focusing on the meeting of their two nations, which transpires on 24th March in Prague. Let's say the Czech's win that one - therefore casting the Germans, to continue the wildlife metaphor, as the lame gazelle drifting from the herd, whose vulnerability is easy meat for the voracious lions of Staunton's Ireland.

We then lead the Germans by three points, having played two games more. In June they will ritually disembowel San Marino, then host Slovakia. Maybe, with their players' minds on the many untowelled sun-loungers around the resorts of Europe and beyond, they slip to a draw. Or maybe they win. Either way, they lead us by only three, or even only one. Not catastrophic, by any means.

Which sets up our September 2007 jaunt to Slovakia and the Czech Republic. A couple of wins there and...ok, enough I know. Hollering optimist, like I said.

Anyway, the other way of looking at last night's results - the grumbling, misanthropic, grouchy pessimist's way - is that, in our quest to regain our status after the debacle in Cyprus and, prior to that, our slippage to fourth seeds for this qualifying group, is to view the point gained by the Cypriots as a point more for them in the torrid struggle to finish fourth in Group D.

Yes, to finish fourth in Group D.

Look, I don't care. I'm not facing into the winter break with thoughts of the 'the battle for fourth in Group D' alone to keep warm the little corner of my mind wherein resides fond thoughts of the Irish football team. Good God!

Great result for us in Nicosia that, eh?

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Blogger Fence said...

I'm still hopeful too, after all they do say that football is a funny old game. So you ever know

8:38 a.m.  

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