The Blagger’s Guide to the World Cup Final

It’s the day of the 2010 World Cup Final, and Shilts understands there are many football novices out there to whom this will be perhaps one of the only football matches you will ever watch. He is also aware of those people who watch football on a regular occasion yet still can’t manage to gain any opinions of their own on the subject. Both groups of people may often have to resort to repeating things that Alan Shearer says in a bid to fit in with the other, more knowledgeable, people they have chosen to watch the game with. Shilts warns that in repeating anything Al says, you risk widespread derision, exclusion, physical assault and possible decapitation from these more knowledgeable people.

“But what can I do Shilts?” I hear you cry. “I’m not a man/woman of football! I only ever watch the World Cup and occasionally bits of the Six Nations, and I’m not even sure that’s football.” And you’re right. It isn’t.

To help you out so that you may be accepted by your judgemental, shallow and elitist group of friends who probably aren’t worth knowing anyway, Shilts has compiled his handy Blagger’s Guide to the World Cup Final 2010:

Crucially, you must remember that the World Cup Final is between the Netherlands and Spain. Failure to remember this will lead to people labelling you a simpleton and throwing glass at you.


Key Facts and Phrases:

-Band about the phrase “Total Football”, a style of football pioneered by the 1974 Netherlands team, like nobody’s business. Say “Johan Cruyff” intermittently for extra kudos. These two phrases should almost certainly be accompanied by a lament that the Netherlands side of today do not play quite such a free-flowing, attacking style of football, and now place more emphasis on the defensive side of their game. This should trigger about the debate about whether you would rather see your side win badly or lose well. Ignore the fact that the Dutch have actually played some attractive football during this tournament completely.

-Mark Van Bommel is a fouling ****.

Accompanying Phrase: “Mark Van Bommel is a fouling **** (insert your own profanity preference.)”

Raise the point that he should have been sent off on numerous occasions every time he touches the ball. If he commits a foul and isn’t sent off, even if the foul is completely innocuous, go mental and throw large objects at whatever screen you happen to be watching the game on.

-Dirk Kuyt runs (approximately) 42 miles every game, touching the ball roughly three times during the course of a match.

Accompanying Phrase: “You can’t fault Dirk Kuyt’s commitment, he never gives up! Pity he’s crap.”


Key Facts and Phrases:

-Spain have never reached the World Cup Final before, let alone won it. Bring this fact up regularly.

Accompanying Phrase: “Until Euro 2008, Spain have always underachieved at major tournaments. It’s probably because they’re so greasy and lazy in that country. I hate the Spanish.”

Inclusion of the last two sentences depends on how accepting the people around you are of casual and inaccurate xenophobia. In other words, if you’re anywhere else but a pub, do not repeat. If you’re in a pub, repeat, unless you don’t want to have many chubby, bald headed men slapping you on the back and appraising you for “telling it like it is” and that it is “political correctness gone mad” that you can’t aim vitriolic abuse at those different to yourself, culminating in them forming an angry mob and burning the local ethnic/ginger/Peter Crouch person. You almost probably don’t want that on your hands. And they’ll probably spill your pint everywhere in the process, giving you soggy trousers.

-Fernando Torres is yet to score in this tournament, despite his excellent scoring record for Liverpool the season just gone. He has also cut his hair, previously having long blonde locks, now employing the classic short Toblerone shaped hair, made popular by 14 year old schoolboys the world over.

Accompanying Phrase: “Fernando Torres is rubbish with short hair. He’s like Samson!(/John Travolta if those around you don’t know who Samson is)”

-Spain have averaged 617 passes per game during the tournament. This is the best ratio at the tournament for sixteen years and therefore means, in layman’s terms, that they are good at passing.

Accompanying Phrase: “Spain keep the ball so well, you can’t get it off them!”

Simultaneously bringing up the fact that Spain have only scored a rather puny 7 goals throughout the whole tournament, a feat equalled by Portugal in one match against North Korea, by stating that, like Arsenal “they try to pass it in”, will probably lead to you being heralded as some sort of football oracle. Unless anyone has seen the IT Crowd. In which case they’ll think you are joking and therefore herald you as some sort of comic genius, as people who repeat quotes and jokes of the TV often are for some reason. It’s a win-win situation.

Howard Webb

If you live anywhere where you receive coverage of the World Cup through the English media, expect the final’s referee, Rotheram’s own Howard Webb, to be treated on equal par with both the Spanish and Dutch sides. For some reason, having a man from your country enforce the globally accepted FIFA rules in a match between two other countries is apparently a national achievement. Here are some assorted Howard Webb facts:

-Howard Webb is bald.

-Howard Webb is English.

-Howard Webb likes spuds and a nice bit of meat for dinner. Probably.

-Howard Webb is of no relation to Charles, Spud or Robert Webb.

-Howard Webb enjoys nothing more than constructing misleading maps and giving them to kayaking tourists, leading them over potentially fatal rapids and waterfalls.

That is every piece of Howard Webb information I can find. I’m not even sure if the first four are true. The last one definitely is though.


-Neither side has won the tournament before.

Accompanying Phrase: “This is history in the making.” Ignore the fact that even if either team had previously won it, history would still be made if they win it again.

-The game has been outrageously hyped to a level where anything less than a 5-5 draw at the end of 90 minutes will be deemed a disappointment.

Accompanying Phrase: “This is not as good a game as we all expected.” If Mark Lawrenson is co-commentating you will not have to say this phrase as he will say it for you, due to the fact that he has made it his life’s work to repeatedly procclaim every game of football he watches “dull” or “really, really poor” instead of providing any actual analysis.

-Sometimes players dive.

Accompanying Phrase: “Typical footballers! Always falling over like they’ve been shot! Hahahahaha!” This is a phrase which guarantees ‘lols’ from alarming amounts of people. Get it in early though, as everyone will want to use it. It will also be decried, and fairly so, as cheating which needs to be eradicated from the game.

However, do not expect the same treatment for fouling which is, according to many people, “part of the game.” A vicious challenge which results in a crumpled player should be greeted with something along the lines of “that is a HUGE challenge! What a lad!” as in today’s society, we still enjoy and commend the sight of someone seriously injuring someone else.

-Vuvuzelas are annoying.

Accompanying Phrase: “What’s with these vuvuzelas eh? They’re annoying.” Liken them to a swarm of wasps or a traffic jam for similar ‘lols’ previously heard with your diving comment.

-England aren’t in the final.

Accompanying Phrase: “If only England were in the final, instead of letting us down every four years. In fact we should be in the final. The Premier League is THE BEST LEAGUE IN THE WORLD! WE INVENTED THE GAME! SOMETHING ABOUT 1966! ARGHHHHHHH!” Ridiculous English self entitlement always goes down well amongst English fans who assume that because club managers in the Premier League usually maintain a very high standard of footballing quality, all of England’s players should be incredible.

Blaming “too many foreigners” in the Premier League is the usual reason given for lack of English talent coming through, even though these foreigners are undoubtedly the reason for the Premier League’s high standards, setting the bar higher for English players, meaning that they have to work harder and improve to break into a Premier League team, thus increasing the talent of those who do succeed, whilst allowing them to play alongside the world’s best. Again; ignore this completely.


Player or Manager X looks like Some Other Person” is a staple of watching any game. Being able to match two faces always gives you football knowledge kudos for no apparent reason. Here are some Shilts has found for you to point out and labelled ‘humorously’ incorrectly:

^Similarity restricted to this picture only.


So there you have it, everything* you need to know about the FIFA World Cup 2010 Final! Get out your vuvuzela and parp it in the face of some elderly people because that is the sort of thing you do now that you are a fully fledged football ‘lad’ or ‘ladette’.

*(N.B. Nowhere near everything. If you use pretty much any of the advice given in the blog in the company of people who are actually knowledgeable about football, you will be scalded both verbally and physically, with boiling hot water.)

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