The Trash City World Cup

The Second Round

Once again, we enter the competitive arena, as the world's finest purveyors of trash culture battle against each other for the coveted TC world cup. See last time for the group stages, which weeded out the libertarians from the religious fundamentalists, and left us with the following pairing in the round-of-16:

Brazil vs Austria

Italy vs Scotland

France vs Bulgaria

Spain vs Denmark

Belgium vs Germany

United States vs Holland

England vs Argentina

Japan vs Romania

And now, over to our commentators, lounging around the front room with a bottle of beer and some chocolate biscuits:

Brazil vs Austria

In the group stages, I ascribed corned beef to Argentina, but shortly afterwards, I was told in no uncertain terms that the best corned beef is, in fact, from Brazil -- and also, recommended to avoid the stuff from Zimbabwe. The breadth of knowledge of TC's readership never ceases to amaze me... Anyway, between that, and a recent visit to Brown's where I renewed my, ah, "acquaintance" with some of Brazil's most popular exports, this was not a result ever seriously in doubt, and the South Americans sail serenly on.

Italy vs Scotland

Even as a Scotsman, I really have to applaud the spectacular way in which our football team inevitably self-destruct. After seven previous failures, you think we might get the hint, but even I was optimistic on Tuesday. For about 20 minutes. What impressed me most was Craig Burley's adoption not only of Gazza's hairstyle, but his psychoses, providing Exhibit A for the next FIFA referees' video. Still, at least Morocco didn't get through. Despite this brave attempt, Italy has better babes, better cult movies and (with the exception of haggis) better junk food. Still, at least we reached the second stage this time...

France vs Bulgaria

The lucky Bulgars were fortunate to make it this far, coming through the feared Group of Tedium against such superpowers as Nigeria and Paraguay. How many famous Bulgarians can you name? In terms of contributions to world culture, they must be one of the worst in Europe: all they can offer is really cool poison-pellet shooting umbrellas, for the removal of pesky dissidents. Neat, admittedly, but given the choice between that and the fluttering eyelashes of a Beart...well, we've all made more difficult decisions. Bye-bye, Bulgars.

Spain vs Denmark

This one was a tight little clash, with not really much to split the sides; both are creditable countries, maybe not quite in the forefront these days, but still with their merits. In the end, it was the TC readership who decided the result: I am under strict instructions to mention Lola Forner, or suffer the consequences. She was the babe who starred alongside Jackie Chan in a couple of his movies -- and until Udo Kier can do the same, it's just enough to give them the edge, along with that really cool cathedral which took a while to finish.

Belgium vs Germany

Ooh, another very tough one to call. I *almost* went to Belgium at the start of March, but I *did* go to Germany last month, and it's hard to see how Ghent could have been as entertaining. However, Kriek cherry beer remains the greatest in the world, and I do look forward to getting over there at some point and trying out a few more. Both have produced their fair share of cult movies, so this one goes to extra time, before the Germanic babe quotient proves enough to squeak out a narrow victory.

United States vs Holland

Probably the match-up of the round, two titans of Trash struggling with each other like...like...like two titanic struggling things. America may produce more stuff, but the Dutch conveniently have the same video format AND they politely subtitle films. Fabulously liberal attitudes towards media sex and violence can only help their cause, but there is one over-riding factor here: I'm not going to Holland for my summer holiday. For the second year in a row, it's America, and that says a great deal.

England vs Argentina

Oh, dear... With the loss of corned-beef, Argentina get thrown back on the sole talents of Gabriella Sabatini. Admittedly FINE talents though these are, it's not what you might call strength in depth. Disturbingly, as I write this, this tie looks like it could well be replicated next week in the real World Cup. Heart-warming though Maradona's single-handed defeat of England a couple of tournaments ago was, it's not really comparable with 'Cool Britannia' in its myriad chameleon forms. Much as it pains me to say it, England go through to the next round -- which ends any similarity to the football, I imagine.

Japan vs Romania

According to a friend who has recently been to Romania, he thoroughly recommends the strip clubs there. This sort of thing does help to make this match a little less one-sided than I initially thought, but I spent much of last Sunday putting together a "best of Japanese women's wrestling" tape, and whatever the delights of vampiric lap-dances (I confess to being a few pints down the line when he explained it all to me), I doubt they can compete with the goddess Manami Toyota in full flight. A brave attempt can't stop a stake being driven through Romania's heart.

The Quarter Finals

Carefully putting the above winners into the free wallchart (and probably confusing the rest of the office as a result), we get the following quarter-finals. Let battle commence!

Brazil vs Spain

Italy vs France

Germany vs Japan

United States vs England

Brazil vs Spain

It's interesting how the four matches have thrown together countries with what might be seen as similar approaches. Here, it's two neo-Hispanic cultures, noted for passion and intensity. As in previous rounds, the major strong suit for Brazil is their women; of course, it's a LARGE country, so you'd expect a few pearls, but apart from corned beef, babes do seem to be a major export. Also, I must confess that football itself does weigh in their favour; in full flow, no side is better to watch. Never been to Brazil, and my last trip to Spain was easily a decade ago, but while I'm in no real hurry to go back, going to Brazil has definite major appeal.

Italy vs France

Two next door neighbours, both possessing history, art, wine and a lot of other things which count for nothing at all here. I do love France, and Paris is among my favourite cities. I've never found their reputation for being rude and aggressive to be justified, providing you make SOME attempt to speak the language, even if it's one sentence which peters out in a shrug. Italy...no-one makes better video nasties, sure, but I've never really got into cannibal flicks. Take the best of both cultures, and you would have a side that could take on anyone, but here, I've got to give the nod to France.

Germany vs Japan

Japanese culture is somewhat like Godzilla; from a distance, it's very impressive, but it's not something you'd necessarily want to LIVE with. Having experienced living with it, or at least one of its products, it is a hard, unyielding thing, full of surprises, most of which are unpleasant. Extrapolating from this may be unfair -- no, make that IS unfair -- but this whole event is just an exercise in generalisation, cliche and stereotype. And, hey, who cares? On the other hand, I can hardly think of a single facet of German culture which I've encountered, that I dislike. This typically Teutonic consistency means they pull a perhaps surprising victory out of the bag.

United States vs England

Two nations divided by a common language [and different attitudes to sport. England invents games, then lets the rest of the world beat them. America only plays games no-one else wants to]. The States are, undeniably, the most fucked-up nation in the world. The only vote I had in their favour consisted of three words: Jennifer Jason Leigh, a viable contender for the title of most fucked-up actress. This is the land of Henry Lee Lucas (scheduled for execution on Tuesday), Oprah (sadly, not scheduled for execution anytime), South Park, South Central, California Uber Alles, Oliver North, Tipper Gore and Star Trek. Sorry, England.

And there we pause, while I head off to examine the credentials of one of the semi-finallists in person. The line-up for the last four is:

Brazil vs Germany

France vs United States

As before, all comments, votes, suggestions and input are welcome -- but may be ignored on a whim. Send them in anyway. Mail me at jmclennan@trashcity.org.

Yours, Ref Hunter J.

To the next stage!


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