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Their Finest Hour: Wing Commander's World Cup Guide
David Stubbs , June 11th, 2014 05:14

Servant-thrashing son of Empire the Wing Commander is here to cast his xenophobic eye over the teams who will fall before England's Inevitable Triumph at this summer's World Cup. Tally-ho!

The “Wing Commander” is a Boer War Veteran, international mining magnate and overseer of the slaughter of countless foreigners in various overseas campaigns, generally for their own good. A proud supporter of the English national team and prouder xenophobe, since 2006 he has written up match reports on every major England fixture. A collection of these can be found in the volume Send Them Victorious (Zero Books). This was described by The Guardian as “pretty much the funniest book about football ever written”, though the Wing Commander would doubtless cavil at his reports being regarded as objects of mirth. While others have treacherously cast doubt on England’s quality and competence in recent years, the Wing Commander firmly believes that Rooney, Gerrard and co can do no wrong. As for their opponents, the very act of taking to the field against England is an act of presumptuousness which in decades past would have seen them horsewhipped like native boys who had accidentally strayed into the officer’s mess. As well as celebrating England’s continued excellence as a team and nation, the Wing Commander takes a bracingly dim view of foreign teams, in all their swarthy underhandedness and miserable inferiority. Here, he looks ahead to the World Cup, rating England’s negligible, would-be challengers to lift the trophy nation by nation. 

June 2014 is upon us, and that, of course, means the World Cup. As recent results have irrefutably demonstrated, England will certainly emerge victorious in the tournament. Wayne Rooney filling a huge space in midfield, Frank Lampard constituting an empty space beside him, Steven Gerrard reminding of the glorious triumph of the Charge Of The Light Brigade with his passing (cannon to the left of them, cannon to the right of them) - it is fresh blood like this which will confound our opponents, alongside the likes of Phil Jones in defence, charging after the ball like a farmer’s boy chasing a mischievous piglet with his cheese sandwich between its teeth, before pitching head first into a sty; Danny Wellbeck, who has made the transition to international level from Bell Biv Devoe with admirable smoothness; and Chris Smalling, whose comical antics at centre back will doubtless boost team morale as surely as Arthur Askey did the British Army in the old ITMA days. To see how they stand in line for the National Anthem, like cocks erect awaiting Her Majesty’s pleasure, should be sign enough of their superiority. Indeed, it would make sense for FIFA to arrange for England to be presented with the trophy at Buckingham Palace in a ceremony this week rather than oblige them to go through the tedious formality of the group and knockout stages. This would remove any lingering doubt as to the outcome, as well as leave time to make ready for the stag shooting season which commences in July. Otherwise, as in 2010, I shall be obliged to have my man Seppings dress as a stag and prance about in my grounds as I take potshots at him with my blunderbuss, while keeping half an eye on the television set.

However, it seems that in order to pander to multicultural sensitivities, we must go through the farcical pretence that teams from alternative cultures and countries are somehow equal to the English way of going about things, in some way stand a chance against our boys. And so, it falls to me to offer a “round-up”, to use the vulgar parlance of this jazz-crazed age, of England’s potential opponents, their particular failings, genetic defects, peculiar customs and odours and so forth, which means they can never truly excel in what Carlton Palmer called “The Beautiful Game”. We shall work through them group by group.

GROUP A

BRAZIL.

The hosts, who will be playing in the opening game, in which they would be advised to press high, since they will doubtless still be laying the turf and painting the goalposts in their own half well after the game has begun, preparations for 2014 having been hampered by the innately unpunctual mindset of the Brazilian. It as well also that it is the Brazilians, not some more industrious country, who have custody of the Amazon Rainforest; their tardiness in logging the place has probably prolonged life on planet earth by some 40 years, leaving plenty more World Cups for England to win. Their fancy, long range banana shots would not trouble Joe Hart, whose ability to stare and chew gum simultaneously places him foremost among football’s intelligentsia.

CROATIA

Having emerged victorious, or defeated, from war in the 1990s (it is hard to tell, or care which), Croatia are certainly battle-hardened, although vowel-rationing has evidently persisted into the postwar period if their captain, a Mr Srna, is any indicator. Straitened conditions evidently mean that the country faced a stark choice; tablecloths for their cafes, or shirts for their team. Given Balkan restiveness, it is, as ever, a debatable point as to whether their country will still exist by the time they have exited the tournament.

MEXICO


One of those nations whom it seems the Lord created for comic relief, it is unlikely that a nation whose primary contribution to human advancement is to bludgeon effigies of donkeys tied to trees will trouble this competition unduly. One understands the calls from our former colony America to keep them out of their country. I have already tendered to Washington a contract via one of my companies to build a large wall stretching across the United States-Mexico border. To keep construction costs down I shall principally be hiring cheap illegal Mexican labour.

CAMEROON
It is well known that Africa is not a continent but a country, a single entity, with a single mindset, which can be summarised in a single image; a man staring blankly into the distance, clutching an assegai, as if to say, “Please, come and relieve us of our mineral deposits, as we would doubtless use them to make preposterous necklaces, or something.” That they have more than one team representing them strikes me as political correctness having taken leave of its senses. We might as well have England variously represented by Yorkshire, Oxfordshire, Kent, Rutland. Cameroon did once had the temerity to beat Argentina in a game that was, if anything, more violent than England’s own skirmish with the country in The Falkland Islands in 1982.

GROUP B

SPAIN
Let us not tiki-taka around the issue. With the Spanish economy having plummeted faster than a donkey from a bell-tower, it sticks in the craw that they are sending a team to this tournament at all. Surely every Spaniard of working age should be back home, labouring round the clock to pay off their debt to the banks; working as waiters, perhaps, to those splendid, ex-pat British, who, having detested immigration to their native country, duly became immigrants themselves. Their playing style certainly makes one pine for the days of Franco and his firing squads, or for the trigger-happy days of the Spanish Civil War; “JUST SOMEONE SHOOT, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!” Given that their national dish resembles what the average Englishman would vomit on a weekend, they should not be a threat.

HOLLAND
Insisting on cladding themselves in high-visibility orange doubtless accounts for the atrocious performance of the Dutch in recent wars. In the last campaign, I believe all it took was a bicycle battalion armed with peashooters to have the nation waving their tulips in surrender. This is a nation whose means of circumventing a hosepipe ban involves standing in their gardens attempting to pronounce the letter “s” - theirs is not so much a language as a speech impediment - whose idea of a mountain range is a series of speed bumps and whose sole contribution to world culture, a few pictures of grazing cows apart, is a way of dividing a restaurant bill and elm disease. An ambivalence as to whether to play on grass or smoke it has always hampered the Dutch team; it will continue to do so.

AUSTRALIA
That this ghastly, fly-molested, sheep-dips-for-goalposts penal colony should be taking part in an international association football tournament beggars belief. Certainly, the time they spend in Brazil should be added onto the ends of the players’ sentences, while wardens should only unlock their manacles upon their reaching the touchline, re-attaching them during the half time interval. Who in blazes did they have to beat to reach these finals? The Easter Island Statues? A small rock 2000 miles into the Pacific which they decided to call Wongajumbla? The Lost Kingdom of Atlantis (bye awarded)? New Zealand? Expect them to lose each game 34-0 on average, as they thunder the ball repeatedly towards their own goal in the vain hope that it will boomerang the other way. “Strewth, you’d think we’d realise after a while that the ball’s not boomerang-shaped,” they would say to themselves. Before adding, “But then, again, we’re so stupid, half us think we live in Austria, not Australia.”

CHILE
A country that has lost its way since turning its back on the firmly homicidal but fair General Pinochet. He was a good man, Mr Pinochet; we would break wind together on numerous occasions. There are agitators who sneer about some of the necessary measures he took to maintain order and the natural, upward flow of the nation's riches. Yes, pregnant women were thrown out of aeroplanes but, as they say, you cannot make an omelette without throwing a few pregnant women out of an aeroplane. The country's most prominent folk protest singer was among those executed but I strongly suspect that there were many even on his own political side who were grateful for that. Hundreds, thousands of political dissenters went missing but this is a matter of no significance. After all, Frank Lampard went missing for most of the previous fixture between these countries and no commentator saw fit to remark that this was anything out of the ordinary. 

GROUP C

COLOMBIA
Given that the country of Columbia is, in fact, illegal, any match between them and England should be considered a “bye” to England, with any goals scored by Columbia confiscated by the authorities. We have sniffer dogs who can tell if a person is Columbian, you know.

JAPAN
In 2002 the Japanese co-hosted the World Cup, in which they featured. They have full backs from that team still scurrying around the pitches convinced the tournament is not over. In the 2006 World Cup they faced Australia in their opening game. However, when the tannoy system announced the the two teams and came to the name “Harry Kewell”, the Japanese team took it as a direct imperial order to commit suicide with ceremonial swords.

GREECE
It is well known that Western civilisation was founded by the English, in 1600 with the establishment of the East India Company. Western philosophy was also founded by us at the same time, its cornerstone the motto; “Here’s a spade. Now get digging, you dusky blighters, unless you want a backside full of musket shot.” God Almighty knows what the Greeks were doing at this time; doubtless imbibing themselves into an aniseed-induced stupor, while staring blearily at goat carcasses hanging from trees drying in the sun, waiting for someone to invent some crockery for them to smash. It hardly needs stating that such a nation barely qualify for the world, yet alone the World Cup.

IVORY COAST
Africans. See Cameroon.

GROUP D (England’s opponents, playing for second place)

ITALY

If I might quote myself, from the last European Championships; “A blubbering, imploring, dough-throwing, volubly jabbering, nipple tweaking, pointlessly gesticulating, manbag wielding, gelato-guzzling, match fixing, power ballad murdering, Berlusconi electing, homophobic yet homosexual being, crocodile skinning, women-minding-their-own-business annoying, against themselves betting, octopus boiling, opera ruining, prostitutes for referees arranging, artichoke drowning, banker assassinating, flare throwing, jumper around neck draping, law of the land flouting, mother suckling, moped worshipping, building code violating, dog maltreating, calf slaughtering, corruption-to-the-level-of-haute-cuisine-elevating, freely urinating, too many children having, far too old growing, olive oil lacquering, checked scarf around mouth wrapping, red trousers tolerating, horse abusing, Germany helping, as-a-result-of-the-television-stations-broadcasting-nothing-but-crap-outdoors-all-the-time-staying, around-London-in-loud-groups-of-sixty-wandering, zucchini munching, Zucchero-producing, tight shiny suit wearing, caffeinated tar slurping shower of effluent in sub-human shape, and rotten rascals to boot.”

URUGUAY
It is a matter of some debate as to whether the nation of Uruguay exists at all. One is aware of its football team, a brigade of swarthy fiends whose style of football is such that their opponents would do well to be inoculated against rabies, especially if the notorious fangster Suarez is playing. However, there is no known evidence of Uruguay the country ever having done anything newsworthy. More, it seems happens on Uranus than in Uruguay. I certainly would not put it beyond these bandit cheats to have made up an entire country simply to gain admittance to the World Cup.

COSTA RICA
Given that the country famously does not have an army, I can assume they will be playing a 0-6-5 formation, and dispensing with a goalkeeper. England will most certainly demonstrate to them the folly of not making military spending a top priority. Expect them to win 104-0, with no shame to be attached to Wayne Rooney if he does not get on the scoresheet.

GROUP E

SWITZERLAND
As ever, one need not worry about the Swiss taking any active part in this tournament; doubtless, they will squat on the touchlines, looking after the gold watches of the German team, or, if bored, beating out a rhythm on each others’ leather-bound arses.

FRANCE

I learned all I needed to know about the French from a clothback book of my nursery days, entitled Timmy And Pierre (A Guide To Deportment And Breeding For Very Young Gentlemen Of The Empire). On the left hand page, entitled 'Virtue', was the rosy-cheeked, eight year old Timmy, who, the embroidered text properly told us was a) Polite b) Punctual c) Kind to his spaniel d) Scrubbed his face well e) Patriotic f) Did not associate with the knives and boots boy g) Attentive to his Governess. On the right hand page, entitled 'Vice', was eight year old Pierre, who, we learned was a) Rude b) Uncouth c) French d) Oversexed e) Rank f) Drunk g) A collaborator. Expect to see all of these defects in the French team in this tournament, particularly the worst of all, c).

ECUADOR

In my youth, I spent many months among the indigenous peoples of Ecuador. If I had expected hostility, I was to be surprised. They invited into their homes, bade me share their meals with me, evidently regarded me me as one of their own. I soon put them straight. I had several of the savages build me a house high in the trees of the forest, from whence I would take potshots with my blunderbuss at any of the natives persistent enough to approach me with one of their ghastly pots of banana stew. A more backward, leaf-chewing, goat slaughtering shower you could not hope or wish to meet, and overly familiar to boot. The purposes of my visit to Ecuador were commercial not fraternal, as I was obliged to convey to one or two of them with the steel tipped end of my stick. The recent 2-2 thrashing England meted out to these upstarts only confirms that England still hold the whip-hand.

HONDURAS
Honduras is the Spanish word for “depths”, and the depths were certainly plumbed by the Honduran XI last week when they were annihilated 0-0 by England. A platoon of hulking, sullen, baleful sorts still smarting at having been conquered by half a dozen boatloads of seasick Spaniards a few centuries back. Being conquered by the Spaniards is a humiliation akin to being beaten up by TV’s Manuel, of Fawlty Towers fame. You can be assured that when those paella-frying, bankrupt little donkey hurlers tried the same trick on John Bull with the Armada, we dismissed him with a sharp, “This - smack on head!” for his troubles.

GROUP F

ARGENTINA
We biffed them famously, of course, in 1982, although, of course, we had home advantage in that fixture, the game being played on sovereign territory. I was, and remain, all for taking the tie to an away leg, so to speak, by having our invasion force steam over to Argentina in extra time to take over the whole country lock, stock and barrel, coming away with all the corned beef we could carry. Meeting them in the World Cup would be the next best thing, however; eliminating them from the tournament, and then, as the squad made an early return by boat to their homeland, sinking it and drowning them.

BOSNIA
Adversity builds character in the common man; some of our finest young Englishmen were tested in the trenches of World War I and on the beaches of Normandy. Were most of them not dead, I’m sure they would give three hearty cheers and throw their helmets in the air in thanks to we who sent them to their fate and made men of them in the process. Thanks to all this, England won the World Cup. As for Bosnia, they have recently suffered severe flooding, civil war, mass slaughter of the menfolk and economic hardship. Yet they barely qualified for the World Cup, let alone have any chance of winning it. All of which is revealing about the character of the Balkan; he doesn’t have one to be built in the first place.

NIGERIA
African. See Cameroon.

IRAN

It is an indictment of the backward society that is Iran that they will be sending an all-male team to this tournament; male and female football teams are strictly segregated according to Islamic custom, with alcohol also strictly forbidden. It would be a most fitting indicator of English superiority, therefore, if, in the event of meeting and beating Iran, we fielded a team consisting of Wayne Rooney, Phil Jones and nine drunken women.

GROUP G

PORTUGAL
By contrast with Iran, Portugal will be sending an all-female team, or certainly female as most of us understand it, led by one Christine Ronaldo. Should England find themselves playing Portugal at any stage, I, for one, should not blame them if they drilled a hole in the dressing room wall to steal a glimpse of Christine and the rest of the Portuguese “crumpet” in a state of semi-undress. These are the sort of healthy, bawdy antics which made England great. Of course, thanks to Gordon “Stalin” Brown and political correctness, you cannot say anything these days, even though I just have.

GERMANY
As I lamented in 2007: “Prior to the disaster they visited on Europe and the world in the middle of the 20th century, the Germans were every inch the paradigm of the modern, progressive state. They were at the forefront of civilisation, advanced in their social and political thinking, with strong, sympathetic links to similar nations such as the United Kingdom. Then, as their people were led astray by a collective madness, they were plunged into a dark age. I speak of 1945, and the Germany that has persisted to the present day - a nation of European Union wafflers, tree preservers, muddle-headed beatniks and Volkswagen drivers, of provocatively effeminate synthesizer collectives and decidedly low quality disc jockeys, a nation whose sartorial sense, their byword during the 1930s and 1940s, has been reduced to the spectacle of grown men wearing mauve tanktops and bright yellow leggings in the shopping malls of Hamburg, a city which once marched to a prouder rhythm than its present day strains of DJ Jurgen And The Rock Till You Are Hot! Hi Energy Boom Boy Disco Club remix of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by the semites Simon And Garfunkel.” I see no reason to revise this assessment. They shall never prevail; no umlaut shall ever hover over the vowels of the word England. And, with Phil “Corporal” Jones in our back four, we shall exploit their peculiar aversion to having sharp lengths of cold bayonet steel thrust up their anus.

USA
The former colony would present no footballing threat. After all, if their previous record is anything to go by, they would not even take to the field until mid-way through the second half - only then would they see fit to join in. Moreover, given their poor grasp of dates as shown in their invocation of “9/11”, they will doubtless not turn up in Brazil until December 6th. Furthermore, whereas England have proven themselves against the major powerhouses such as Germany and Argentina in recent decades, the Americans have struggled and failed against even minor South East Asian nations.

GHANA
African. See Cameroon.

GROUP H

BELGIUM
A land that has lost most of its lustre since the benign era of dear old King Leopold. It is the Uruguay of Europe - a country one is not entirely convinced actually exists. Each year, the country attempts to come up with someone famous, to match the existing, unimpressive tally of Tintin and Tintin’s dog. Each year, they fail. However, Belgium is also home to Brussels, civic centre of world evil, who presume to regulate even on the colour of our bananas (is there any reason why we cannot have them as red, white and blue without fear of a summons from the European Court?) England would certainly beat Belgium 7-0; however, the Gnomes of Brussels would then declare English goals to be common European property and therefore rule the match a draw. This madness will not stand.

RUSSIA

As I noted when riding alongside the White Russians in the 1920s putting village after village to the sword, the Russians are a curiously sullen bunch, lacking the cheerfulness of his English counterpart. This sullenness was especially notable during the Great Famine of 1924-1937, the Grand Famine of 1938-53 and the Planned Famine of 1954-66. Come the 1980s, Russian teams were notable for their ability to keep the ball; this was in order to sell it on the black market, the proceeds divided between the players to be spent on beetroot soup. Today, the referee, hopefully English, would do well to uncover that their curious 5-3-6 formation is due to their fielding additional Ukrainians.

SOUTH KOREA
In 2002, the South Koreans co-hosted the World Cup. As their mysterious progress to the semi-finals attested, it was no more appropriate for them to host this prestigious footballing tournament then it would be for them to host Crufts. It is said, by those who resort to simplistic, nationalistic stereotyping, that the South Koreans are inscrutable. This is not so. There is only one simple and obvious fact that everyone knows about South Koreans; they eat dog. All, therefore, the England team would need to do to prevail against South Korea would be to bring along their bulldog mascot and have him sit on the touchline. As the Korean players stared at the hound with wistful, famished longing, the English players would dance through them at will, scoring freely, 20 or 30 nil, though once again, no shame should be attached to Wayne Rooney if he fails to get on the scoresheet.

ALGERIA
African. See Cameroon.

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