A guy in my office just remarked, “Slovenia and Algeria are out. England and the US are in. That’s the way it should be.” There’s so much in that statement that I’ll skip any in depth analysis of it. Besides, he’s probably right, from a marketing point of view.

What I will say is that I don’t like the attitude that a smaller, lesser known country must necessarily make way for mighty Engerland or the big bad US of A. I am largely a neutral if the view of the FIFA World Cup Final tournament is taken from a political angle. Thankfully, I leave politics out of sports.

The only flag I hoist is that of Arsenal Football Club.

Otherwise I’d curse all the colonizing, imperialist bullies who’ve plundered the world and compete for sport’s most prestigious prize. For the record, said guy in my office has Greek roots. Why he feels that England and the US making it to the knockout phase (at the expense of two smaller nations) is “the way it should be” is a little strange. Whatever, man!

With England making through, the Rooney factor is always something to fear if you’re an opponent. He’s been very quiet so far – sorry, he’s been dead on his feet – but we all know that he can still end up player of the tournament. The fucker is that good.

If the US get anywhere near the final, there’ll be so many so-called fans coming out from under couches, out of man-holes, from cracks in walls of abandoned buildings, from just about anywhere you can think of, proclaiming their love for soccer and of the American stars. Oh, and the stripes too. Speaking of stripes, wouldn’t it be special if England and Argentina were to meet?

England will face Germany, and then quite possibly face Argentina if Diego’s boys beat Mexico. Oh how I’d like that! I remember when the US and Iran faced off in 1998. That was a tense battle. Of course nothing I can remember matches the Dutch/German encounter at Italia ’90.

England and Argentina have met before (as you all know) but if they meet in South Africa, it has the makings of a truly special event – Diego is now the manager of course. I get goose bumps thinking about it. We could see every man selected to play raise their game in the name of flag and country. For many, that’s what the FIFA World Cup Finals are all about.

Lastly, The Informer insists that Joe Cole has signed for Arsenal. And if he has, great! Wenger apparently doesn’t want to say anything to the press out of respect for the player’s and the team’s peace of mind while in South Africa. Meanwhile, other sauces are saying that Cole is holding out for more cash. Yes, cash. It seems that Taggart has offered to give the ex-West Ham and Chelsea man 50 Euros and a round trip ticket to Amsterdam. Little Joe wants more so he doesn’t have to restrict his Dutch excursion to an alleyway.

Chat later.

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