Dan O’Connor’s World Cup travel diary

Posted by - June 19, 2010 - World Cup

When OTP roving reporter Dan O’Connor found out the World Cup was coming to a new continent for the first time, he knew he had to witness it for himself. Unfortunately, he arrived in Asia eight years too late. And he went to the wrong part of Asia. But here is the first instalment of his World Cup travel diary nonetheless.

So the first round of matches reached it’s climax with a dramatic underdogs victory for the Swiss and the second began with a thumping defeat for the host nation, effectively eliminating them from the tournament.

I’m currently watching as many games as possible while touring south-east Asia. So far I’ve watched games in hotel rooms, Irish bars, American bars, portable TVs on the street, big pixelated screens in train stations (best seat in the house, see above) and I’m yet to hear any English commentary. My soundtrack to the World Cup has been, at best, vuvuzelas and over zealous Asian commentary and at worst pounding techno music.

It comes to something when an avid Evertonian is yearning for Mark Lawrenson’s commentary or Alan Hansen’s half-time analysis. I just want somebody to let me know about the fella who scored for North Korea. Mind you I doubt anyone knows much about him other than this is his first time out of North Korea and he’s probably saved himself from the firing squad back home (unlike Robert Green).

Watching a game without commentary shouldn’t be as difficult as it is. I do it every other week at Goodison Park. But perhaps Bangkok isn’t the best place to watch it for those of us who are easily distracted by pissed-up Dutch fans celebrating their lucky victory with a ladyboy; keepy up experts not above the age of four, or street dancing (not the Britain’s Got Talent kind, more your skinny man in shirt and trousers flailing his arms about for money).

But it was none of the above that distracted us when it came to England-USA, it was the utterly embarrassing 30-odd English fans, who’ve never watched a game in their lives. You know the type: private school kids whose parents can’t stand the sight of them over summer so send them off to Bangkok with 20 of their mates. They much prefer ruggers but when they’re abroad it’s ‘Rule Britannia’. They did, however, supply us with some pearlers for chants: “We’re gonna score in a minute, score in a minute.”

Had this been at kick-off and not 1-1 it may have been correct. My personal favourite, aimed at the three or four Americans around after the equaliser, was: “USA… you are gay.”

So if Andy Townsend’s pitchside analysis persistently calling England ‘we’ despite his countless caps for Eire or Motty’s pronunciation ‘Drogbahhhhh’ is annoying, spare a thought for those watching without so much as a score or time displayed on screen.

We’re off jungle trekking tomorrow so unless the elephants have wi-fi I’ll be as World Cup-less as the Dutch for a few days.