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June 23, 2006

Not watching the Sheilaroos

Yesterday was the first time that the Greek TV coverage of the World Cup really let me down. At the conclusion of the group stages in the UK I understand ITV have been broadcasting matches on different channels, and the BBC has been reinforcing the digital divide by using the red button and the internet to stream the additional match. In Greece we get them one after the other.

That worked fine for the early evening game yesterday, as we happily watched Italy versus the Czech Republic. I muted the sound for the last ten minutes in case they gave the score in the other Group E match, and then we were able to settle down to watch the "as live" replay of Ghana - Team God Bless America, well, erm, "as live". Knowing that qualification was at stake for one of these teams made the match quite gripping.

Especially once our initial disinclination to support Team Go! Go! Go! USA in anything sporting on the grounds of cultural, financial and demographic imperialism, gave way. Leading by example, Essien's Ghana seemed incapable of staying on their feet under any sort of physical contact, and frankly we got so aggravated at their cheating we ended up hoping the American team would get back into the match. Despite, in Bruce Arena, the USA having one of the ugliest coaches ever to "grace" a World Cup Finals. ANd one of the filthiest mouthed as well, judging by the lip-reading we did during the incident-packed Italy-U.S.A. match.

The late night games were a huge disappointment though. In the UK I would have exercised my viewer choice to watch the Sheilaroos versus Hrvatska, or Australia versus Croatia as I understand most people would call it. Not here though. Even though the Japan/Nike-Brasil result was inevitable, it was samba show-boating time on ΝΕΤ, and the Australia game didn't get replayed until after Bad Boys go to Goalywood, at 1:30am, finishing at 3:30am. As we have to get up at 6:30am I couldn't contemplate staying up to watch it.

I videoed the match - and did countenance spending the whole day today trying to avoid the score in a homeage to The Likely Lads until I could get to see the video - but in the end tempatation was too much and I had to look the result up on my phone. Which was a shame, because it sounds like it was a cracker of a match. Unless you were Graham Poll.

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