Count ’em

by Kieran Healy on July 2, 2006

Is “this”: some kind of record?

bq. France began this tournament saddled with worries about the ageing legs at the heart of their team, but they have changed their tune.

We’re just missing a fascist octopus singing its swan song.

{ 1 trackback }

Crooked Timber » » France v Portugal
07.05.06 at 10:31 am



talboito 07.03.06 at 2:04 am


Great players make great plays.


Tom Scudder 07.03.06 at 3:23 am

You could sub “kicked off” for “began”. Otherwise, it’s perfect.


Jasper Milvain 07.03.06 at 4:08 am

For extra points, the worries could be a monkey on their back (never nice being saddled with a monkey) and it’s a bit unimaginative calling the team a “team”. Band of brothers, surely, at the least?


bad Jim 07.03.06 at 4:39 am

Nevertheless, the hearts and heels, the eyes and toes of the unimpeded centipede that bears the tricolore before it will evermore defy the fear that the way the ball bounces is the way the cookie crumbles.


rea 07.03.06 at 5:25 am

“You could sub “kicked off” for “began”. Otherwise, it’s perfect.”

No, no, Tom! Kicking off with ageing legs almost makes sense . . .


dearieme 07.03.06 at 5:34 am

Their lungs have been given fresh wings.


abb1 07.03.06 at 5:40 am

I hope they won’t throw the baby out with the bathwater to push up daisies over the hill and deep-six their last ditch effort when push comes to shove.


Michael Dietz 07.03.06 at 7:55 am

Fans of this sort of reach-exceeding-grasp sports writing should really know the name Selena Roberts, who writes for the NY Times. There’s scarcely a column under her byline that doesn’t deliver at least one scrotum-tightening passage or other. While it doesn’t have quite the metaphor-munging quality of the above, this (for instance) makes its own excruciating surrealist poetry:

[Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt] Schilling is the symbol of resilience and of insufferable confidence. He is the embodiment of a front-runner and of a Velcro aura. He is the personage of his city’s World Series mentality and the envy of his rival’s flummoxed fan base.

The embodiment of a Velcro aura! The personage of a city’s mentality! And this stuff made it all the way through editing and into print, too. Top that, Grauniad blog.


Jared 07.03.06 at 10:04 am

I do like what follows, “allez les vieux,” although I suspect she didn’t come up with that one on her own.


G. Jones 07.03.06 at 10:53 am

Harry Shearer sometimes says “No two ways can do, Jose.”


Sam Kington 07.03.06 at 12:58 pm

“Allez les vieux” is a fairly common French supporter’s chant at this World Cup. I’m sure I’ve seen it on banners, flags etc. as well.


previously pre 07.03.06 at 2:52 pm

France began this tournament saddled with worries… but they have changed their tune.

So, the baggage was noteworthy?


yabonn 07.03.06 at 3:11 pm

They shared a private joke in front of thousands of prying eyes here in Frankfurt

According to my significant other, the dialog was :

– How is it, grandpa?
– Good. And how do you do, fatso?
– Huhuhu
– Hohoho

I like to think it was that.


yabonn 07.03.06 at 3:12 pm

Bleech formating.


hilzoy 07.03.06 at 3:14 pm

I see your Orwell and raise you.


Bernard Yomtov 07.03.06 at 3:36 pm

So, the baggage was noteworthy?

Maybe, or maybe they just their tune after seeing the score.


Zrblm 07.03.06 at 3:49 pm

Remember, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t teach an old dog to make a silk purse out of a pig in a poke.

(Shamelessly stolen from Berke Breathed, of course)


John McKay 07.03.06 at 4:25 pm

My all-time favorite mixed metaphor was made by Jay Hammond, the governor of Alaska in the ’70s, when he bragged, “The ship of state is breaking new ground.” It was truely said of Jay, he never metaphor he didn’t like.


Jame 07.03.06 at 5:56 pm

Allez les Bleus!!!


David Schraub 07.03.06 at 9:00 pm

Does it count if it’s a scripted line from Futurama?

“If we can just hit that bullseye, the rest of the dominos will fall like a house of cards. Checkmate.”


stevensieragreg 07.04.06 at 12:15 am

The world cup has lost its spice. Brazil coach Carlos Alberto said his plan was perfect and he would go with it even if he was given another chance. But anybody with some sense of football will vote against it. Brazil packed the midfield-a clear indication of defensive play. It was simply not their style and everybody knew it. France knew it better and it took just one push from Thierry Henry to do the rest. Brazil never recovered from that goal.


Beryl 07.04.06 at 12:24 pm

If that’s not a metaphorical apostrophe in your heading, Kieran, shouldn’t it be facing left, not right?


Rob G 07.04.06 at 2:48 pm

Did Rodney Marsh just say “it’s a chess match on a knife’s edge”?


magistra 07.04.06 at 3:15 pm

How about the surreal comment in a recent Daily Telegraph editorial on the US: ‘What binds its people together is an ideal encoded in America’s DNA’.


dj 07.04.06 at 9:49 pm

There’s more thsn one way to let the cat out of the bag.


shane h 07.05.06 at 11:22 am

“While Grosso and Del Piero will grab the headlines, the man of the match, the gladiator who gave Italy their belief, was Fabio Cannavaro. The will to win of Italy’s captain illuminated the bear-pit that is the Westfalenstadion.
Whenever the Germans sought to light a candle of ambition, Cannavaro arrived to snuff it out.”
“Now the blue waves were being pushed back and it was Germany testing the ramparts of the Italians’ defence.”

Gladiator illuminates bear pit by snuffing out candle, brilliant! Both from the same article in the Irish Indo.


shane h 07.05.06 at 11:38 am

“Had the unpaid, unregarded Africans held out, the amount of ordure dumped over Domenech’s grey locks would have made the parting shots aimed at Sven-Goran Eriksson look like volleys from a cap gun.”

“Not since the July night in 1966 when Eusebio’s brilliance was neutered by Nobby Stiles have Portugal come this far.”

“…in 1986 it was Maradona who hauled Argentina to the summit with a virtuoso performance. Now Zidane, whose two goals in the 1998 World Cup final put Brazil to the sword, looks poised to repeat the feat by inspiring a rejuvenated France to their second World Cup triumph.Dueling has always been seen by the French as a gentlemanly way to restore one’s honour and, once this tournament became do or die, Les Bleus exploded into the type of form that most felt was beyond this squad of experienced but ageing players. Conducting this orchestra has been 34-year-old Zidane…”

More from the Indo, looks like I’ve really hit the jackpot in striking this rich seam of sports journalism gold.


Carolyn 07.06.06 at 2:23 am

I hope I may be of some assistance.

France kicked off the ball rolling saddled with a monkey on their back: the ageing legs at the heart of their team. But they have changed their tune, and now appear to have their lame ducks nailed down in a row. And so for French soccer fans, the question remains: how many eggs will they have to break in the woods to make a sound victory?


abb1 07.06.06 at 5:01 am

“In scenes reminiscent of the Florida recount in the U.S. presidential vote in 2000, the divided nation bit its nails as first Lopez Obrador and then Calderon had the upper hand.”

Comments on this entry are closed.