Category Archives: Der Irische Berliner

Irish-born and Berlin-bound: An Irish expat blogs about the 2010 World Cup.

All hail San Iker and Pulpo Paul!

Germany Fan by Ines Eiban

Germany Fan by Ines Eiban

Just like four years ago, the biggest star of the World Cup has hung up his boots after it. Like Zinedine Zidane before him, Paul the psychic octopus has had enough and opted for retirement.

Both used their heads to great effect in their respective tournaments, but it was ‘Okrakel Paul’ who used his to great effect throughout, correctly predicting all eight matches he was asked to and making a mockery of his chief rival, Mani the psychic parakeet, who declared The Netherlands would win the final. Hmmm…

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May the best team win

Photo (cc) flickr user craig Quimby

It turned out that Paul the Octopus was right. Photo (cc) flickr user craig Quimby

So the Deutschland dream is over. Buried in a wave of tiki-taka. Yeah, Spain was much superior to Germany and totally deserved their win, but how boring is it to watch them play? Pass, pass, pass. Then pass, pass, pass again. And again, for 73 minutes until they broke German hearts with a goal ‘made in Barcelona.’

It got ugly here in Berlin once the final whistle blew. Schland der Tränen. Everyone annoyed and crestfallen. Frustration at not getting hold of the ball, being unable to do anything worthwhile with it when they did, and the dawning of reality; things too good to be true usually are.

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Tentacle of doom predicts Albiceleste defeat

Germany fans are hoping for another win in Saturday's game against Argentina. © ATP Yoshihiro KOIKE / dpa

Germany fans are hoping for another win in Saturday's game against Argentina. © ATP Yoshihiro KOIKE / dpa

So-called experts are notorious for getting it wrong. As soon as they open their mouths, a curse is cast on whoever has the misfortune to be spoken about.

“Ronaldo’s in great form. He’ll bring Portugal far.” Cue Portugal’s exit.

“Franck Ribéry will take the competition by storm.” Cue France’s ignominious exit.

“Wayne Rooney will explode into action at any time.” Cue England’s exit following Rooney’s perplexing lack of combustion.

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Irish feeling patriotic for Germany ahead of der Klassiker

Germany’s Miroslav Klose celebrates his goal in the national team’s match against England in the second round of the 2010 World Cup. Germany went onto win 4:1. Photo: picture-alliance / M.i.S.-Sportpressefoto

Germany’s Miroslav Klose celebrates his goal in the national team’s match against England in the second round of the 2010 World Cup. Germany went onto win 4:1. Photo: picture-alliance / M.i.S.-Sportpressefoto

Now that the French are out of the way with the unexpected bonus of more Schadenfreude than we could possibly have asked for, Irish World Cup ambitions revert to seeing the English knocked out as soon as possible. For me personally, this takes on added significance as the task falls to Germany, the country I now call home.

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The Jabulani Ball: Kicking Controversy

The Adidas 'Jabulani' football, the official ball of the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa, being tested in a wind tunnel. © dpa

The Adidas 'Jabulani' football, the official ball of the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa, being tested in a wind tunnel. © dpa

Nobody’s happy. Not the coaches, not the players, not the officials in charge, and certainly not the players. Nobody is happy with the ball to be used at the World Cup, despite having had weeks to get used to kicking it in frustration.

The new Adidas ball is ironically called ‘Jabulani,’ meaning ‘to celebrate’ in the native South African isiZulu dialect, but nobody is celebrating its apparent unpredictability.

First Spain’s Captain and Goalkeeper Iker Casillas had a go at it, said it was too light, and described it as a “beach ball.”  Brazil shot-stopper Julio Cesar wasn’t complimentary either: “It’s the same as the balls you buy in the supermarket,” he said.

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Lena Had a Little Lahm

What's in a name?  Photo (cc) flickr user essjayNZ

What's in a name? Photo (cc) flickr user EssjayNZ

Germany won, England came last and — most importantly — Ireland finished above England. Everybody happy! Was Eurovision a taste of things to come? Evidently not as Ireland didn’t even qualify for the World Cup (as I’m sure England fans will be quicker to point out than French ones), but Berliners are taking Lena’s success as a sign, an inspiration, a beacon of hope…

Jungs, jetzt müsst Ihr die Lena machen!” urged Bild on Monday — (Lads, now you must do the Lena!) — with mock-up pictures of the players with long black hair like Germany’s new Eurovision queen. An improvement for most of them actually. Schweini looked particularly dashing with his new look.

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Yogi Bear and Jogi Löw

Photo (cc) flickr user Leo Reynolds

Photo (cc) flickr user Leo Reynolds

Poor Jogi.  While Germany was still digesting the news that talismanic captain Michael Ballack wouldn’t be able to lead out his team, one of his potential replacements was also ruled out. Christian Träsch cropped his ankle too and will now have to watch the World Cup on TV like the rest of us.

The national media, Bild in particular, is in mourning, believing Jogi Löw’s men now have no chance of bringing the coveted trophy back from South Africa. On the ground however, among the commoners with whom I spend my time, the feeling is different.

“Who do you think will win?” I asked a teammate on my local team as we returned from one of our customary thrashings.

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