Friday, October 21, 2011

It's been a long week at work...

so it's just as well we've now got a long weekend.

The World Cup has almost reached its dénouement. Kicking off soon is the Bronze Final, which is a contradiction in terms really. I'd just call it a third-place play-off, but it has to have a snazzy name these days, even if it makes little sense. It's a bit of a meaningless game (and why does it have to be at Eden Park?) but there seems to be slightly more riding on it than usual. I'll watch it and hope it's a good game (that Wales win).

As for the big one, well I think France are extremely lucky to be there. I've heard some people say, "they're in the final so they deserve to be there" but I don't subscribe to that view. That's like saying the guy (or girl) who nicked my car in early 2010 deserves to have it. Tonga beat them in one of the all-time great upsets (which I was privileged to see in person), and if the schedule had been fairer on the less-fancied teams they might also have beaten Canada, in which case France would have been on the plane three weeks ago. Before the tournament I talked to one of my work colleagues (who unlike me actually knows something about rugby); we estimated the All Blacks' chances of lifting the trophy at 45%. Now I'd say it was twice that. The ABs look very businesslike in their approach; they're taking nothing for granted. There's always the possibility Les Bleus will pull something out of the bag, but I don't see it happening. The French theme tune to this World Cup is "On ira tous au paradis". I think the ABs will send France à l'enfer in a 28-10 win.

In other sport Birmingham had a sublime win in Bruges last night. Pablo Ibáñez, one of Blues' defenders, suffered a nasty head injury and was stretchered off after a lengthy stoppage in play. Then in the 100th minute (how often can you say that?) up popped Chris Wood to give Blues a famous 2-1 win, the first ever by an English club in Bruges. Several thousand Birmingham fans made the trip to Belgium; they would have gone crazy at the end of the match I reckon.

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