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World Cup 1/7/10 - Day 21

Those of us in the talkSPORT lodge who write the occasional blog for entertainment purposes are finding lots of common ground lately i.e. we're running out of things to talk about!

We've done England to death it seems - although the papers have barely started on one or two members of the squad - and there have just been 2 days without any games. At least there's DIY SOS on back home, so I'm told - South African telly makes you rather wistful for 'Big Brother' to be honest. And 'Doctors'. Even 'Come Dine With Me' has now taken on a televisual status of almost biblical proportions. It's what's fast become known as the 'Theo Walcott' effect - what you've left behind immediately seems better than what you're presented with, when it isn't necessarily THAT much better.

Ray Parlour did me up like a kipper last night good and proper. I'd finished presenting the 7-10pm show with Alvin, and then Ant (producer) and I thought we'd meet some of the others for a pint at the local enormo-complex in Sandton called Montecasino.

I was, frankly, looking forward to having a swift half or 3 as I knew today was a day off where I could sort out last minute preparations for my trip to Port Elizabeth at my own pace with no worry about presenting stuff. Ray, within 2 minutes of meeting up with him, had me utterly convinced that Mark Saggers had decided he couldn't be bothered to present 7-10 with him the next day and had told the bosses to put me on instead.

I'll say this for Raymond - he keeps a very good poker face and I bit hook, line and sinker, wondering out loud what the hell was going on. The little bleeder - the subterfuge was only revealed this morning, by which time I'd thankfully yet to confront Saggs himself. Phew - I'll get him back.

Ray's poker face didn't work so well when he and Villa Matt went to the casino inside the complex and proceeded to...shall we say lose a bob or two. I did see a well known manager from the English game throwing his money around on a roulette wheel, mind. Hope he doesn't gamble as much on his new signings based on his chip stack.

Quarter finals start tomorrow, and Ray & I are watching Holland/Brazil which promises so so much. Of course, a Holland quarter-final wouldn't be right without a row simmering in the camp, with that delightful individual and team player Robin Van Persie having a right cob on because he was substituted against Slovakia in the last game and not Wesley Sneijder! Nice man clearly - he has a pool table at his house where the baize is not blue or green but instead is a design featuring a picture of him scoring for Arsenal. Pool table pool table in my room, who is the most egotistical loon?

That said, Holland could well be upsetting the odds rather than themselves in this one. Brazil have looked irresistable at times, but the Dutch defence, much maligned ahead of the tournament has looked solid, with 75 year old Gio Van Bronckhurst looking particularly impressive. Couple that with Brazil's lack of numbers in defensive midfield positions and Arjen Robben's return to just get the feeling that extra time at least is looming. We'll see.

And what of Uruguay vs BaGhana BaGhana as they've become known in Africa, with the hosts adopting the Black Stars as their very own? Well I have to back the South Americans - if only because my step-daughter drew them in her school sweepstake and her excitement is close to fever pitch!

Anyway, early to bed and all that - taxi at stupid o'clock to take Ray & I to the airport. Thermals are ready to go once again - bet all that nice weather will have bloody well long since disappeared when I get home, I imagine. Boo and indeed hiss....nope, still can't detect any sympathy from you!! ;o))

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