Like sparrows, bees and exhaust fumes, revolution is in the air. Yes, you may have believed that this FIFA World Cup 2010™ was just going to tick along mindlessly, boringly, and offensively shite for the next month without anyone doing anything about it, but you’d be as wrong about that as you were about that shirt you have on. That old blowhard Lenin once said that it is impossible to predict the time and progress of a revolution, that it is governed by its own more or less mysterious laws. Poppycock! What would he know about revolution? He spent most of it on a train huddled under a pile of jackets playing boggle with his missus. We already have our Trotsky and even as you read, oh dear handsome leader, in vuvuzuela-proof bunkers, the conspiratorial whispering is as hushed as a one-lunged priest in a confession box. Action is being taken, and pegamequemegusta, as always, is risking our one good typing finger to bring you the news.
Indeed, revolutionary committees had already been set up around South Africa in order to combat what had been forecast as the problems of this World Cup: empty seats, maddening, dimension-twisting horns and marketing-based oppression of South Africans and tourists alike. Now, however, our dedicated agitators find themselves faced with a unique problem: the football is shit, no-one attacks or does so woefully, and there are no goals.
Many reasons have been put forward at the cell meetings and discussions have gone on late into the night, but no real, meaty proposals have been banged on the BBBQ so far. It would appear that Mourinho’s success has led to an outbreak of plagiarism that not even IMRO can prosecute. Artistry is in short supply and there’s precious little appetite for mould-breaking. Like the ANC, football at the World Cup in South Africa has stagnated. For all of their radiance, none of our radicals’ ideas looked capable of achieving significant, short-term change.
Until last night. The revolutionaries were dangerously low on biscuits when a letter was found attached to the neon sign outside our top secret headquarters. There was much hubbub and grimacing as our anarchists hoovered up their official anti-FIFA World Cup 2010™ beer, Bavaria, in anxious expectation as to the contents of a letter they had already learned was titled ‘Stop being such pussies.’ Or to give it its full title: ‘Stop being so bloody useless, you fucking pussies.’
At first, some members were out off by what they perceived as a horning in on their own revolution-fomenting activities. Others were critical and suspicious of the lack of a signature. Yet the scientists in cell number one – indispensable in any revolution, as readers of Arlt and Cendrars will tell you – were already wheeling in their latest invention: a handy, discreet x-ray gun that can turn piss, also known as official sponsor of the FIFA World Cup 2010™, Budweiser™, into beer. The whole team were felicitated heartily. Stage O’Irishman cackled and wondered aloud whether the ‘science men’ had used some kind of ‘jelly ray’ on ‘perfidious Albion’s’ goalie last Saturday. “No,” came the reply, “he’s just shit.”
They set to work trying to identify the author and before long they had discovered an acrostic hidden in the letter’s text. ‘Verily, you disgust me’, it began – V. ‘Actually, i’m not surprised since your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries’ – A. ‘Mongoloids! Oh how you have shamed our game!’ – MO. ‘Sickening has it been’ – S. Yes, the first paragraph spelled ‘VAMOS’.
And faster than an Israeli’s trigger finger in a kindergarten, they had the note decoded. The scientists swilled back the last of their flat, flavourless Boer beer, tightened the laces on their Doc Martins, admired each others’ shiny black shirts and announced that the acrostic hidden in the opening paragraphs of the manifesto: VAMOS CHILE.
Like icebergs, Terry Phelan or mayonnaise, the acrostic may just have been a freak of nature. Yet the team of experts huddled in conspiratorial ecstasy knew from the style, the content and the missive-penning previous of their man, that there could only be one one author of such a message: Marcelo Bielsa.
El loco‘s Chile were going to make their debut the following morning and they were sure that Bielsa’s team were going to bring an end to the tedium and poverty of the World Cup so far. The plan of action detailed in the manifesto, a pegamequemegusta exclusive you will recall, was relatively simple: ATACAR, ATACAR, ATACAR, or ATTACK, ATTACK, ATTACK!
After the appeal to the Muse and the opening lament of which we gave some details above, Bielsa, a master of rhetoric as his moving speeches in Chile over the last few months have proved, moves on to the argument of his exposition. In his signature style, the Chile manager speaks of his reaction to the Ingerlaand v USAUSAUSA match last Saturday:
“Anguish comes from being utterly powerless. In this house of reinforced concrete where I live, next to the river, the only thing that moves, that trembles, is a sense of foreboding, caused by impatience.
“Daybreak, dreams, black velvet were torn apart and vanished plummeting into the abyss, and then there were sirens that screamed like asteroids giving birth, squawking sea birds carrying the depths of the sea in their prophecies, howls frightening not for their savagery but because they were all too human.”
Maybe it was just a hiccup, Bielsa goes on to wonder. After all, France are shite and even in qualifying Uruguay didn’t tear anyone apart – sure besides Venezuela, they were the only team Argentina managed to beat twice!
Yet with the passing of the days and the interminable minutes of utter filth as Nicolas Bendtner hoofs one into the stands and Van Persie complains about the noise of the vuvuzuelas, as Slovakia manage to cock up move after move and Serbia love as sexy as a one-eyed bat covered in mustard. Indeed, as regards the missed passes in Paraguay’s game against Italy, he reflects: “even microbats have the ability the distinguish between vertical and horizontal stripes.”
By Tuesday night, the eve of his own team’s debut, Bielsa was feeling sick:
“I felt sick, nauseous as if i’d been drinking some cheap spirits. I couldn’t walk and I wasn’t sure if it was because I couldn’t or if, on some level, I didn’t want to.
“I wasn’t afraid. On the contrary, I was doing things mechanically, almost as if I didn’t care. […] At that moment it felt like a cheap montage from some B movie – but it wasn’t a montage and it wasn’t a B movie.”
Chilling stuff, i’m sure you’ll agree, dear handsome readers. Like Taranis, Celtic God of Thunder, however, pegamequemegusta don’t like our thunder being stolen, so we will just give a summary of the rest of the letter.
As we said above, the plan of action is quite gloriously simple: ATTACK! There has been an absurd amount of negative play and a worrying lack of quality when teams do go forward. Yet neither has almost any team been outstanding in defence: our moaning about the lack of goals is not just the result of an idiotic need for phony excitement. Pegamequemegusta doesn’t want the size of the goals increased. But we find it quite unbelievable that so many teams seem to be trying to play on the counterattack, when it’s a surprisingly hard thing to do.
Argentina had a four on two the other day against Nigeria and even they managed to balls it up. South Africa had three or four one on one counters in the first game and they only managed to convert one of them. South Korea, too, had plenty against Greece and only Park was able to score his. It’s not as easy as it looks, even if you have good players, and especially if they’re not great.
What to do, then, if the other team is reticent to attack and you can be quite sure the rock their defence is founded on is at least as porous as a flat slab of sandstone? Bielsa says: attack the fuckers! Attack them! Pressure them up the field, keep the ball in their half as much as possible and get as many players forward as possible! Bielsa put out his traditional 3-3-1-3 against Honduras, an encounter which another man might have regarded as a potentially cagey encounter, one to pinch on the counter making use of the coal-powered pace of Alexis Sanchez.
As Chairman Mao once said, “passivity is fatal to us. Our goal is to make the enemy passive.” Or: attack is the best form of defence. Argentina don’t have much of the latter, so the ‘mad’ Maradona decided to make the most of his strength, attack, and only profligacy up front and ‘the best game of my life’ by Vincent Enyeama meant they didn’t win by several goals against Nigeria. Germany, too, pegamequemegusta heard in several quarters afterwards, had played in an old-fashioned WM formation complete with wingers, strikers and a playmaker. The rush of barely disguised man love for Germany in the days and hours after their 4-0 hammering of the Flaming Sheilas inevitably led to the counter that their defence isn’t great. Fair enough, but we haven’t seen that yet – Australia didn’t get near them as, besides being crap, Germany played high up the pitch and swarmed them like the thousands of bees that usually sound like they’re engulfing the stadiums in South Africa.As pegamequemegusta’s cat never tires of saying, bollocks to Shakespeare – ambition just is sterner stuff. The revolutionaries dedication to spreading Bielsa’s message seems to be having success: playing three up front, Uruguay today were rewarded today with the biggest margin of victory of the World Cup. It is conceivable that the heretofore cafardic French, the Nigerians, the Yanks and the Heartless Lions of Albion will not just take up the mantle by put it on their heads and streak about the pitch in an outburst of genuine footballing joy.
As you will surely have heard, hence our somewhat digressive entry today, Argentina will play with the same formation tomorrow against South Korea, the only change being the entry of Maxi Rodriguez for Juan Sebastián Verón, who’s injured. It’s slightly more defensive since Maxi is sure to offer more support to Jonás down the right wing, where South Park are wont to generate most of their moves. Still, the double playmaker Messi-Tevez tandem will be seeking to link up with Higuaín and, hopefully, an Ángel Di María with plenty to prove, so the emphasis will remain on the attack. It won’t be easy but if they can put away the kind of chances they created last week, we could yet see this World Cup take off.
Although he was ostensibly talking about FIFA Fair Play™, el Diego defended this approach today in his pre-match press conference: “We came here to see football. Whoever doesn’t want to play can go home.” Not being able to is no excuse. Your opponents probably can’t defend or attack either. So just bloody go for it, you pussies.