Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Some Fun Ways To Pass An Evening in San Marino

Without wishing to underestimate the 'potential banana-skin' that San Marino represent, tonight's is one of those going-through-the-motions kind of games. All the correct procedure must be followed, attention given to detail, attitude set to 'right'. But three points will inevitably follow.

So with the promise of one of the less thrilling international evenings in store, you'll need distraction. Much like a spread of glossy magazines in a dentist's waiting room, these activities will help you pass the time.

TV commentators have one unbending professional principle: have UEFA press-pack, will waffle. Included in this evening's bumper compendium of cap totals, heights and weights and goalscoring records will also be, bless, the occupations of all the San Marino players. Apart from that one guy who plays for a Serie B team.

So this evening's commentator will shoehorn in various vocations like a moonlighting careers guidance teacher.
- "And Bonini chopped down Keane there - hardly surprising, as he's a butcher by trade."
- "Interesting to note that Vannucci normally earns his living as a chartered surveyor - as he surveys the field looking for the pass."
- "Like the fireman he is by day Palazzi extinguishes Ireland's hopes of a third."
Note and collate the different occupations as they are mentioned.
Wayne Henderson, Stephen Ireland and Shane Long are three of Ireland's next generation to make the first eleven for this evening, but with Stephen Hunt, Darren Gibson, Stephen Quinn, Anthony Stokes, Andy Keogh and Darren Randolph all vying for places on the bench, tonight should represent a good opportunity to separate the hope from the hype.

It seems that all the talk around the camp is of the new guys giving the soft and complacent oldies a kick up the underachieving posterior, with yesterday's training match between the newbies and the seniors apparently being exceptionally competitive. So tonight should provide a good opportunity to ascertain whether the next generation are Duff-like or just plain duff, like.

The thing about having nations like San Marino (the world's oldest republic, I hasten to add, for all those who doubt their right to compete with us, a mere 85-year old stripling of a nation) playing international football is that it allows you, just about, to imagine yourself playing at the highest level.

Imagine it. You're a manager of a ceramic goods store in downtown San Marino, worrying about the latest delivery from Armitage Shanks, when the phone rings. It's the Gaffer. You've been called up for the match against Ireland. Reckons you could do a job on Keane, or maybe sitting in front of the defence, keeping it tight.

Next thing you know you're running about the Serravalle Olimpico Stadium, red faced, cheeks puffing, going in hard early on to let these Stars of Premiership and Other Lesser Leagues know you're there. Midway through the second half, five goals down, you win a corner. For once it reaches the penalty box, landing at your feet at the back post. Goal, and you write your name into San Marino's long history books and the next UEFA press-pack.

Can you picture it? Give them a little cheer then: it could be you.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

They were just kind of forgotten about when Garabaldi was galavanting about unifying Italy, and when the oversight came to someone's attention, San Marino decided that they still wanted to be a country of their own. A military friend of a friend of mine caused an major diplomatic incident when he reversed the artillery gun he was towing into San Marino while turning. I suppose that counts as a successful war of independence

12:04 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I forgot it was on...

... switched over and managed 6 whole minutes of TV3+FAI drivel...

...managed 4 minutes of optimistic BBC coverage of England-Spain...

... googling "Final Exit"...

10:25 p.m.  

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