World Cup Cliche Watch, Pt. 3

I don’t know if these are also soccer cliches in English, but they are widely repeated bits of wisdom in German.

First, for our friends from Japan: “The game lasts 90 minutes.” Das Spiel dauert 90 Minuten. Bayern Munich learned this most famously in 1999, when the game lasted a little bit longer.

Second, for les Bleus and la Suisse: “The round one has to go into the square one.” Das Runde muss ins Eckige. Otherwise, it’s hard to win.

Any other good cliches out there, regardless of language?

(And Brazil looked eminently beatable last night. Who’s looked really good in the games that I’ve seen so far? Croatia, Czech Republic, Argentina. Germany may be better without Ballack, as they then have to spread the offense more evenly. The Ecuadoreans look like surprise overachievers. I didn’t see Mexico, Portugal or Netherlands win, so I can’t say much there.)

12 thoughts on “World Cup Cliche Watch, Pt. 3

  1. One famous cliché comes from Johan Cruijff: “Elk nadeel heb z’n voordeel” or “There is an advantage in each disadvantage” or “a disadvantage creates new opportunities you can use to your advantage”.

    The Dutch did not look bad but they did not look good either in their opener against Serbia-Montenegro, possibly because of the heat.

  2. The Australia win was wonderful. Between supporting Australia and Liverpool, I’ve had a few stressful wins recently. It has all been worth the decade it has taken of my life I think.

  3. The Romanian soccer culture uses a ton of cliches, and, interesting enough, some of them are shared not only by the TV commentators, but by the regular aficionados too.
    Whenever you are asked about your expectation regarding, e.g., Spain – Saudi Arabia, you will say that 4-0 is a reasonable score, but you will end up wisely with “Mingea e rotunda”, translated “The ball is round”, meaning that in football one should never be 100% sure.
    Another funny thing that we keep hearing is that “2-0 is the most dangerous score”, meaning that teams leading with 2-0 are the most susceptible to leave their guard off. Of course, each 7-0 is at one time 2-0, and although the result is obvious in these games, we keep laughing about the 2-0 danger as long as it’s not 3-0 yet.
    Another cliche related to the 1999 CL final is the saying that somebody famous probably originated. It says “Pe germani nu poti fi sigur ca i-ai batut pina nu i-ai urcat in avion”, translated “One cannot be sure he defeated the Germans until he accompanies them to the airplane”. In those days I recall a lot of fun based on the fact that now one cannot be sure that the Germans defeated him until they get on the plane.

  4. Being raised in the US, I never developed much of an interest in soccor, or even “our” sports for that matter. Shame, because it’s becoming popular now, what with the women doing so well, and the men’s team not shabby themselves.

  5. As for quotes, there is of course Gary Linekers “Football is a simple game ; 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end , the Germans win”

    Cruyff really beats most when it comes to filosophical football quotes.
    A fine list to be found here:

  6. The Portuguese also say “a bola é redonda,” i.e. “the ball is round.” the other famous one is “previsões só depois do jogo” — a Berra-esque phrase indeed: “predictions only after the game’s finished.”

  7. Here’s a good old English football cliché: “It’s a game of two halves.”

    Which, I think, means that what happens in the second half could be the complete opposite of what happened in the first.

  8. They got caught on a passed ball behind the blue line. But they’ll make it up in the team time trial, or one of the hors de categorie climbs, I’m sure.

  9. I was impressed with the Americans in this game.

    Their style of football is fast and aggressive – exciting to watch when they are on form. The U.S. squad requires security let us not forget, and U.S. players have been the target of biased calls on the field. This isn’t exactly conducive to playing to your full potential.

    My impression of the Azzurri is that they are football’s primadonnas; highly skilled and accomplished, but not so good against teams that don’t show them the respect they feel they deserve. The Americans rattled them badly, and even with only nine men on the pitch managed to hold their own.

    The foul on McBride was a measure of Italian frustration. At the end of the day, Italy suffered a moral defeat. Not even the most generous Italian fan would regard a score of 1-1 against the Yankee football infidels as even marginally satisfactory.

  10. I think the referees are giving the ‘name’ teams (Brazil, Italy, Germany, etc) a really easy ride – either that, or these teams are just better at working the ref.

    The US was indeed stiffed in the match against Italy. My own team (Australia) went down 25-9 in the free kicks against Brazil, in the face of some wonderful dramatic falls. It seems like the referee loved that fabulous Brasilian footwork so much that he didn’t want the spectacle spoiled by the opposition contesting the ball.

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