Blogs Culture House Daily

World Cup diary: The French look very good. Damn.

23 June 2014

12:59 PM

23 June 2014

12:59 PM

Still going on, is it, the World Cup? There have been some fine games and some poor games with surprisingly thrilling conclusions. Ronaldo, with possibly the worst haircut I have seen on a human being ever, provided a wonderful chipped cross for Portugal to equalise against the USA; neither team, one suspects will trouble the big boys and I doubt the Portuguese will get out of the group. Good! Russia may also fail to do so and have been exactly as boring as Russia always are when it comes to the final stages of a World Cup. Belgium, meanwhile, look rather less menacing than all the experts suggested they would be. The one big disappointment for me in this tournament, other than England deservedly going out after their worst performance in sixty years, is the French looking horribly competent. That is down largely to the excellent manager, Didier Deschamps, who pruned from his fractious team the dickheads and the dorks and instilled a certain solidarity. On paper, they are not noticeably better than either England or Spain.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • StephanieJCW

    They’re my second team:


  • Pier66

    ITALY are OUT of World CUP
    YNWA and TORY all THE WAY

  • dado_trunking

    On paper it would not surprise me if the FIFA world rankings weren’t entirely rigged. But let’s pretend we only need to talk about Ghana.

  • Sweary Expat

    I yield to no-one in my loathing of Ronaldo, but on this occasion it seems his dodgy haircut is a symbol of something quite admirable, if the stories are to be believed.

    I’m still looking forward to seeing him cry when Portugal crash out, of course

    • Rush_is_Right

      Ronaldo has not been a hate-figure (or at least not to anybody sentient) since he left Manchester United.

  • Robertus Maximus

    I see your “girlfriend” Yasmin was back on Channel4 News the evening following your encounter with her, Rod, and being given a thorough going over by James Dellingpole – if looks could kill! If she loathes you then what she felt for James is beyond comprehension. BBC News then had her reviewing the newspapers last night – what a confused, pathetic, bile-filled old bat she looked.

  • FrankieThompson

    I think, like a great many others it would appear, that this is a very good world cup, which, if it produces exciting knock-out games, could be in the running for the best ever. It is a pity( and I speak as an unreconstructed Scot) that England have crashed and burned so early. I know there is a national clothes-tearing about to take place, and that all kind of theories as to the reasons for the poor showing will be dusted down and aired.
    However, Rod’s comment on France sums it up for me. Ever since the disgusting and disgraceful decision to deny the genius Clough his birthright as England manager, the FA have picked the wrong man for the job, or, having picked possibly the right man, have bulleted him for obscure reasons( Venables) or absurd ones( Hoddle). Greenwood, Taylor, Keegan, McLaren, and now Hodgson were never up to the job, a fact crystal clear about each of them from the beginning of their tenures.
    That current crop of English players, properly organised, properly inspired, properly coached, and properly made aware of proper tactics by a manager who knows what he is talking about, would be able to become some kind of contenders, surely?

    Roy, good football man that he is, was the safe choice, the steady choice, the Ron Greenwood to ‘Arry’s Clough( not that I’m saying ‘Arry’s in the same league) and look what has has happened. The old Marxists would have had to come up with something in addition to tragedy and farce to catch the nature of English national football management.

  • gelert

    What a difference four years can make.

  • Sean L

    Is anyone noticeably better than England on paper, as opposed to grass?

  • disqus_JXTaH3N9kU

    Given that Rod doesn’t seem to like any of the competing teams one little bit, I’m assuming he is hanging on for a scandal to arise of such astonishing proportions that the tournament is rendered invalid by Monsieur Blatter and everyone goes home empty handed.

    • rodliddle

      I do, I do! I like the Germans and the Dutch and the Croats. I don’t actively loathe the Koreans or the Japs. I’m so-so on the Swiss. And of course I like our new allies, Iran.

      • Tron

        The Iranians were so handsome as well !
        I liked the Algeria.

      • Rollingstone

        The Dutch are looking good.

    • Rollingstone

      I think the scandal just arose..

  • Grey Wolf

    Have they included any Gauls in the French team or is it just a mix of the diverse-vibrant types? Just asking.

    • skara_brae

      Quite. The French do look quite good they just don’t look quite French.

      • M K

        Come on, are you serious? You can’t say this anymore. Especially considering the world we live in. Difference is beautiful.

        • Grey Wolf

          Yes, sure it is. Therefore you must go live in Yemen or Pakistan and enjoy the vibrance and diversity there.

      • StephanieJCW

        What on earth does a ‘French man’ look like. All the men featured are equally as French as each other.

        Can the racial purists please p*ss off!

        • Grey Wolf

          So if one doesn’t agree with your diversity dogma then they must be made to p i s s off, is it?

    • Flintshire Ian

      Only four of the team that started the last game appear to be Gauls. The rest are Maghrebs or African heritage. It’s barely recognisable as a France team at all.

      • StephanieJCW

        Only to idiots. Being of ‘African heritage’ isn’t incompatible with being French.

    • StephanieJCW

      All of the French team are French

      • Grey Wolf

        But some are diversity-compliant, aren’t they?

  • Hexhamgeezer

    World Cup Dairy – France? Where to start with the ne plus ultra of milky marvels. Yoplait, Petite-filous and creme anglais. They’ve got it all tout sweet.. They’ll doubtless churn out results until the (semi-skimmed) finale.

  • tjamesjones

    maybe you do something else with your time rod, now the world cup’s not interesting anymore. A daily diary on ISIS’s adventures in the middle east?

    • Geoff

      And where did this ISIS name come from? A river in Oxford? A very old car?

      • tjamesjones

        nice of ISIS to come up with a friendly English acronym I thought.

      • dado_trunking

        You never read ‘Wonder Woman vs. Isis’?
        Then you won’t know how it all ends.

  • Hiro

    no mention of the liberal left? or muslims? or london metropolitan elites? you’ve changed liddle.

    • gelert

      He’s a changed man since he was hand-bagged by Ali Baba 😉

      • Robertus Maximus

        Behind Alibhai-Brown’s vitriol and Rod’s look of incomprehension, love was blossoming.