Well hello there, and welcome to this column, brought to you from the Berlin bunker. Franz Beckenbauer

To be honest, I’ve pretty much slept through most of the World Cup build-up, except for the Netherlands – Ecuador friendly I seen while in Amsterdam for a Stag-do. The game was pretty shite, mind, and I missed the one moment of quality – van Persie’s superb goal – while having a piss. Still, both sets of fans were bouncing, despite the thoroughly ‘modern’ attempts to induce an atmosphere with music, live singing, inflatable wavy arms men and samba dancers.

Anyway, HQ asked me to take a look at group G – the so-called group of death (at least in Germany) – on your behalf, and that’s what I’ll do.

So far, I’ve made it through two pages of the free World Cup supplement that Bild (the Neil1German ‘Sun’) stuck in my letterbox, and all I have so far is that Beckenbauer is sure that Germany will make the semis, and that Pelé thinks Der Kaiser looks a lot better having shaved-off his ridiculous goatee (which is true. He looked like a bit like Harold Shipman. That’s just my opinion, though).

I’ll get up to speed by the start of the World Cup. Or the end. I promise.

In the meantime, despite no research, I’ve had a few cheeky bets on Uruguay, Chile and England to win it. Yep, I said England. If they can get through their group, a well-organised team always has a chance. Plus, I see Brasil as not quite being the huge favourite they seem to be, and Spain and Germany (more on them soon) are on a down-slope.

I also have bets on Klose and the Fenham Eusebio to be top scorer, and a separate one on Neil2the Montagu Messi to score more goals than Messi. Easy money, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Anyway, back to Group G – quite a bit has been made of Germany only taking two strikers (Miro Klose – who is one shy of equalling the all-time World Cup goals record – and Hoffenheim’s Kevin Volland). I do like Klose – a lot – and would like to see him get the record, but I do think they need more support up top. Luckily, they do have Thomas Müller and Mario Götze from Bayern who can play as a roaming ‘false nine’ forward if needed, but neither are classical strikers. In fact, the German press and many within German football have complained that Bayern’s attempt at playing tiki-taka football is what showed them up against Real in their huge Champions League loss. And they do have a point – it will be interesting to see what happens up front as the tournament goes on,

In other news, Marco Reus will be a huge loss. For my money, he is one of Germany’s elite players and a genuine game-changer, but his injury in a six-one friendly win against Armenia has robbed them of his direct and dangerous game.

The Germans I have spoken to do not seem as confident this year as they were four years ago, despite two successive third-place finishes. Most see them getting to the quarter finals almost by default, and then it’s anyone’s guess.

As for the rest of Group G, Portugal are pretty much a one man team, Ghana will find some way to fuck it up, and the USA will fail with a lot of effort but not much class. So, Germany and Portugal to go through.

It seems obvious, doesn’t it?

But still – it’s the fucking World Cup!

About bastard time.



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