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Tonight’s Friendlies

Posted By Brian Phillips On November 19, 2008 @ 1:09 pm In Uncategorized | No Comments

Tonight’s friendlies present an intriguing crisis of choice to anyone interested in the English or the various peoples who hate them. Do you watch the festival of undying enmity [now with hand-holding children!—FIFA] that is Germany-England, a rematch of the bitter 1966 World Cup final as well a couple of highly regarded world wars? Or do you watch Scotland-Argentina, a match featuring on the sidelines the man who knocked England out of the 1986 World Cup, a feat for which—let’s try to get this straight—he is beloved by his opponents, but not by their assistant coach, who was on that England team, and who, when he accused Maradona of cheating in 1986, effectively brought things to a head by prompting Maradona to accuse England of cheating against Germany in 1966? The crosscurrents are tearing up power lines. Shouldn’t all these teams be playing on the same pitch?

Since they’re not, and since they’re playing at roughly the same time, I’m going to try to watch both matches simultaneously. I can’t miss Maradona’s debut game in charge of Argentina, a sublimely unpredictable event that also happens to come against one of my favorite international teams, but I can’t look away from Germany-England either, especially in light of the chaos around the German team and England’s horrific run of totally non-fake injuries. If I can make this work, I’ll try to check back in with an account of the experience tonight.

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