The Trash City World Cup, Part 4

The Final: Germany vs United States

Readers with long memories may recall that these two teams met each other before, back in the group stages, when America came out on top. However, past performance is no guarantee of future success, as they say (very quickly) in the best financial product advertisements. For the group stages were based on nothing more scientific than a quick finger in the proverbial, see which way the flag runs up the gut feeling. Or, to put it another way, I guessed.

Now, however, after the tense excitement of the semis, I feel that a more quantitative method is required. So what we have are six categories, which are all important facets of the trash experience. In each of these, we will pit the finalists together, like giant rubber-suited actors in a mid-60’s Japanese monster movie, and see who comes out on top. We will use a boxing-style scoring system i.e. the winner gets ten points, and the loser gets zero to nine, depending on their contribution.

How beautiful are their women? Some correspondents chose to question Germany’s strength in depth in this area, but this objection was rejected by the jury i.e. me. Don’t forget, I went to Hamburg not so long ago [look, it IS all written up, I just need to scan in the pics to illustrate it], and so can state that Misses Kinski, Schiffer and Habermann are merely the tip of a large, cute iceberg. However, we did accept the following impassioned plea:


How can any nation rank high on the International Babeometer Scale when the ‘Pro-Lifer licking sperm off a dog turd’ impersonator Steffi Graf can become such an object of obsessive lust to her countrymen that one of them is prepared to perforate the porcine Monica Seles to demonstrate the depths of their deranged desires?

Clearly some strength of feeling there. However, the same contributor rather blotted his copybook by going on to list Renee O’Connor — that’s the ugly one out of Xena: Warrior Princess (right) — as one of the reasons why America should win. Rather shot yourself in the foot there, didn’t we? A disturbing tendency in American towards teeth, tans, and tits means that victory in the first round goes to Europe

GERMANY 10, United States 8

The main problem in this area is one of proving origin. The archetypal American meal consists of hamburger and French fries — whose names would suggest they are German and (fairly obviously) French respectively, but this may be some kind of cultural myth. They may just have been invented by Messrs Hamburg + French. I don’t know, I just eat the freakin’ stuff, after all.

Let’s just rely on gut feeling here as to such matters. Pizza is American, and we’ll give Germany the benefit of Black Forest Gateau (or Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte, to give it its proper name — one of the few words I remember from O-grade German, along with “Kugelschreiber” — ball-point pen…), though we could argue either of these are being about as authentic as Vindaloo. The relentless nature of German cuisine (1001 interesting things to do with sausage) gets even to this hard-core carnivore, though America is penalised for being the origin of “health” food.

UNITED STATES 10, Germany 9


Not so long ago, this one would have been a foregone conclusion, with Germany romping to victory through the contribution of Bavaria alone. However, this is no longer the case, as America is slowly discovering the delights of real beer, as opposed to gnats piss cooled to the approximate temperature of liquid helium. Some of these are good. Very good. Indeed, probably good enough to challenge the best of the German beers. Patchy distribution of these is definitely a problem, and the consistency of the Bavarians, thanks to those fabulous purity laws, is unbeatable.

However, a bonus point to the Americans for taking the soft drink and raising it up to an art form. You don’t get Coke, you can get it with or without caffeine, sugar, or colour, and in “Original” or “New” varieties. And then there’s Jolt Cola (quadruple the caffeine, and twice the sugar, or thereabouts), to be found in discerning 7-11 stores up and down the land. Given it’s just past 2am, I could do with a bottle here right now.

GERMANY 10, United States 9

Wim Wenders, Werner Herzog, Jorg Buttgereit and Fritz Lang — strange bedfellows, but they are the ones whose names comes to mind when I think of the German film industry. Wenders deserves respect as the only director to work with Nastassja more than once, Herzog as pretty much the only director to work with Klaus more than once, Buttgereit for producing some of the grossest yet thought-provoking films in cinematic history, and Fritz Lang for ‘Metropolis’. Not bad, but…

You have to plough through a lot of half-heartedly trashy efforts to find true trash in the US. However, it is out there as witnessed by, for instance, this website [sadly no longer active, ten years later, so I removed the link] which specialises in women in peril (and wet T-shirts) movies. The custom videos are quite intriguing: supply a script, and for about $20 a minute, they’ll stage it — and admittedly then flog the tapes, but you do get a dollar for every one they sell. In the light of such…entrepreneurial imagination, it would be hard for any country to stand up, and that is aside from the vast slew of independent film-makers beavering away these days.

UNITED STATES 10, Germany 8

On the popular level, America wins hands down, largely by sheer weight of numbers — great though Kraftwerk are, they aren’t quite sufficient to stem the tidal wave, of Papua New Guinean proportions, which is the past forty years of American rock ‘n’ roll. Oh, there is more to it than that; I would personally point to KMFDM and Rammstein as being easily the match of your average Yankee band, although I will probably get shot if I fail to mention Kim Deal at this point.

However, it is in the realm of straight-faced absurdity that the Germans truly excel, and just about manage to pull off a stunning victory. Take the Eurovision Song Contest, for example: back in 1982, it was Nicole, with ‘A Little Peace’, one of the most sickening pieces of driviel you will ever hear. This year, it was Guildo Horn, a post-post-post-ironic parody of all the oompah music. And Mike ‘Womble’ Batt wrote their World Cup song. Against this, all the Americans can offer is a fondness for letting celebrities massacre the National Anthem at baseball games: first Roseanne, and now Caroline In The City star Lea Thompson, in her greatest contribution to popular culture since a certain scene in All The Right Moves. Or indeed, Howard the Duck.

GERMANY 10, United States 9


The biggest problem with German TV is that it is, understandably but still unhelpfully, in German. And sadly, they don’t discuss Black Forest Gateau and ball-point pens often enough for me to able to appreciate it. This limits its appeal, and indeed its distribution, though things may change when digital television brings in 500 more channels to be filled…somehow. On the plus side, they are remarkably unfettered about what they show: when we came back to our apartment in Hamburg, we’d bet on how many channels we’d have to go through to find some naked flesh. The answer was, almost inevitably, no more than three.

American television comes in three distinct flavours: network, syndicate and cable, in increasing order of pleasantness. Network TV possesses all the flavour and appeal of vanilla blancmange; syndicated television has moments of charm and originality, while on cable, your are talking a free fire zone as far as concepts like ‘good taste’ are concerned. Which is precisely the way it SHOULD be — something for everyone, even if they are depraved gun-freaks with an interest in rubber. That’s a TRUE minority interest, Channel 4 please note. But you can hardly go against any country where it takes half-an-hour to channel surf, and the variety is a telling blow for the land of the free.

UNITED STATES 10, Germany 7

And the final score is:

United States 56, Germany 54

leaving the winner of the inaugural Trash City World Cup as:

The United States

Congratulations to them and their 250 million inhabitants.

And I can assure you, it will certainly be another four years before I will even contemplate repeating this little exercise. Thank you for bearing with me!

Yours, Ref Hunter J.

Thanks are due to Mal Aitchison and John Spencer, for service above and beyond the call of duty. Even if, curiously, both of them do like Renee O’Connor.

The Trash City World Cup, Part 3

The Semi Finals

After last time, 28 of the 32 teams who had taken part were elimated. Just as in the real competition, the Asian and African teams had all taken an early bath — looking at the pairings, there was still the possibility of the TC World Cup having the same final line-up too. But not everyone has been quite as impressed — witness the following email from Tom, presumably located somewhere in America:

The only reason you Scotspeople (and everyone else in the world, according to you) don’t like basketball is, you can’t play it – it takes athletic talent. I suppose non-American football is good for something: war vets with no arms can play. American games require arms, legs, and often brains.

Hmmm. The World Cup is the biggest sporting tournament in the world. More countries take part than in anything else, and the Final is the most watched sporting event. How does this compare to the NBA finals? Or the “World” Series (snigger — America and Canada!). I’ve never denied you need athletic talent to play basketball. However, the problem is that at the highest level, you almost inevitably have to be freakishly tall, and this reduces the game to a farce.

There’s also no such thing as ‘non-American football’. There is football, and there is American football. We’ve been playing the game of football since well before your Civil War, so we kinda have rights to the name. As for American games requiring brains, it that why American football scholarships have to get their results fudged so often? Oh, and “war vets with no arms” would have problems playing in goal. 😉

Right, having disposed of that little matter, on to this:


Brazil vs Germany
To quote one reader, “In view of what actually happened perhaps Brazil should win through if only in the interests of maintaining Anglo-Brazilian relationships (or relationships with Brazilian babes?) and continuing supplies of corned-beef! However, don’t try the one that contains sweet pickle – bought by accident and fairly disgusting. Tastes more like tinned salmon (ie vinegar) with the occasional lump of turnip.

I suppose getting the pickle already WITH your corned beef would save a few seconds in preparation time, but in general, the warning above is probably somewhat superfluous. But I am also impressed by Drugstore, whose Brazilian singer performed her World Cup song (one long piss-take of England/paean to Brazil) live on Radio 1 for a room full of drunken Scots in St Etienne last week. It was ‘warmly received’.

Against this, however, we have the following in favour of Germany: “Lexx, particularly Eva Habermann (Zev). Incidentally, do you know Jorg Buttgereit is working on the new series? I’m not sure in what capacity, but this has the potential to be Trash TV par excellence. Claudia Schiffer. Okay, this one is a bit vague (spot the understatement) but I’ll call the next entry ‘Germany’s answer to Traci Lords’; I once saw a German porn film with a blonde, school uniform-clad Teuton (at this point I’ll quickly point out that although she was *playing* a school student she was about as convincing in the role as Janet Krankie – how come *she* got left out of the Scottish entry? – and that the comparison to Traci Lords is purely based on physical appearance!) whose large, but completely natural, breasts wobbled in such a mesmerising way during the more vigorous ‘action’ scenes that, for that reason alone, my heart (if not a certain other part of my anatomy) has a soft spot for Germany, penalty shoot-outs notwithstanding.”

Brazil have managed to get through this far with a limited squad, consisting of some strippers and a tinned meat — which must prove something, and it’s probably not how much I love corned beef. However, despite the callous disregard for English sensitivities (not to mention the gratuitous reference to Janet Krankie — quite put me off me kebab, that did), Germany get the nod, for strength in depth, tactical superiority and, yep, Eva Habermann.


France vs United States
The host nation always performs above standard, and here we find a nation famed for good food, good wine and good women, even if they couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery, if selling tickets was involved. [Though since they got to the final, they can probably claim that keeping all the seats for themselves worked out okay in the end…] But despite the babes – an area in which they are unrivalled: Beart, May, Adjani, Cash, Miou-Miou circa ‘Les Valseuses’ – you really have to ask very, very serious questions (this works best if you say it in an Alan Hansen voice) about their trash capacity. Even their film-makers…Besson, Jeunet + Caro, are they just too COOL? I do recall seeing a rather disturbing film called ‘SexAndroide’, but that was probably Belgian: every other gross and icky film in French seems to be.

Such worries are unlikely to pose any threat to the cultural vacuum which is America; I love the place deeply, but never cease to be amazed how tacky, shallow and banal the place is. Which is probably *why* I love it. Just spent five days in Orlando, which proved my point perfectly; our attempt to head for the coast was somewhat screwed up by bush fires, providing the local TV stations with superb opportunities to ask people incredibly dumb questions. I almost found myself wishing the firestorm would spread, just so that the po-faced panic coverage would continue. And our readers apparently agree:

I’ll pass over the scurrilous reference to J.J.L. being “fucked up” and just mention; Frederic Brown (pulp fiction writer without whom Dario Argento’s early works could have turned out rather differently – ie plagiarism free), particularly for ‘Night of the Jabberwock’. Bill Hicks (RIP), Michael Moore. Going to ValleyURL, typing in the URL of a Diana tribute site and watching the heartfelt expressions of grief turn into vacuous valley speak; “It was, you know, grody to the max when Diana, like, croaked. Totally.”. Minutes of fun for the whole family.

Well, it amused me. Works quite well with the TC home page too. But that’s not important right now. America’s problem lies not in its breadth of trashness, but more its depth, or lack thereof. A lot of stuff is *fairly* tacky, but there isn’t much that stands out of the mire. It’s a volume thing: for example, given the sheer number of films put out by Hollywood, it’s inevitable that some of them will be good — at least in a TC sense. But is this any more than the cultural equivalent of Brownian motion?

On balance though, we here at TC Towers simply don’t CARE. We cherry-pick the best stuff, and the 99% of everything which is shit just doesn’t concern us. America may have produced more of said excrement than anywhere else, but when even the remaining 1% is pitched against the charms of La Belle France, it is with much regret that we must sent Beart and Co. to the showers for a rub-down with a moist towelette. And so, we reach the final pairing:

Germany vs United States

I was going to sit and do the final now, but it’s 02:35 on Sunday morning, and I’m thus about to get even more incoherent. So, instead, I’m going to finish with the usual plea for comments, votes, suggestions and input, to be sent to the usual address, and we’ll wrap up this whole sordid affair next weekend.

Yours, Ref Hunter J.

The Trash City World Cup, Part 2

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

Yours, Ref Hunter J.

The Trash City World Cup, Part 1

The Group Stages

It may have come to your attention that there is apparently a minor football tournament taking place in France. Now, in some matches it’s obvious who to support (Scotland or England’s opponents) but in most cases, you will have no clear allegiance. Chatting to my mate John, during the Austria-Cameroon game, it became apparent that loyalties could be decided by evaluating each country on several factors:

  • What babes come from there
  • Cult movies the place has spawned
  • Any miscellaneous TC factors involving sex, violence, beer, junk food or a good laugh

Taking this Damascus-style revelation to its ultimate conclusion, why not run the entire World Cup on this basis. Discussion raged — could Cicciolina play for Italy, since she’s actually Hungarian? Was Ulrika Johnson Danish or Norwegian? Did we know ANYONE from Paraguay at all? But, finally, after much argument (and beer), we have come up with the following results. Please note that all referees’ decisions are final, no matter how arbitrary and factually wrong they may in fact be…


Group A:Brazil, Scotland, Morocco, Norway

This one always looked like being a tight, low-scoring group, with none of the countries greatly renowned as exporters of trash culture. However, Brazil does export large numbers of the artistes for the London strip-pub circuit — and VERY nice they are too — so this gave them the edge. All Scotland can manage on the babe front are Sheena Easton and C.P.Grogan, neither of whom are exactly world-ranked totty, though the Shallow Grave/Trainspotting cartel does give them a solid second place. The only Norwegians we can think of offhand are Ibsen and Grieg, but that is at least two up on Morocco…

  1. Brazil
  2. Scotland
  3. Norway
  4. Morocco

Group B: Italy, Chile, Cameroon, Austria

Italy are definitely one of the leading contenders for the trophy. Despite my severe reservations about much of their horror output, they are at least TRYING, and people like Michele Soavi put them well ahead in the cult movie category. They also lead for babes, with Asia Argento and the girl in Dellamore Dellamorte easily surpassing anything the other contenders have to offer. Austria do great pastries, however, and the double bill of arse-kicker, Sybil Danning and Arnold Schwarzenegger give them the runners-up spot. Cameroon come third, purely because I like the idea of a country named after a coconut-covered piece of confectionery.

  1. Italy
  2. Austria
  3. Cameroon
  4. Chile

Group C: Saudi Arabia, Denmark, France, South Africa

France hit heavy here, a front-line of Beart, Adjani and May proving more than enough firepower to take out the opposition. They are potentially weak in the field of cult movies, with only Luc Besson really pulling out of the “pretentious” category. But Paris is one of the world’s great cities and so their victory is solid. Denmark follow in second, with Lars Von Trier captaining their side. Besides, how can you NOT like a country which has an amusement park slap bang in the middle of the capital, and where people think sawing heads off mermaids is a bit of a lark? South Africa beat Saudi Arabia, simply because the latter don’t like you drinking alcohol. Bastards.

  1. France
  2. Denmark
  3. South Africa
  4. Saudi Arabia

Group D: Paraguay, Bulgaria, Spain, Nigeria


This one was known as the ‘Group of Death’, and from the TC point of view, it’s renamed the ‘Group of Bored to Death’, as only Spain has even the slightest pedigree, and Pedro Almodovar can’t direct traffic. Despite this, him and breast-obsessed Catalan Bigas Luna are sufficient to lead this group, simply because none of the other three contenders score any points at all. Bulgaria go through, being slightly nearer the beginning of the alphabet than the other two — that it comes to this, is some indicator of the weakness of this group.

  1. Spain
  2. Bulgaria
  3. Nigeria
  4. Paraguay

Group E: South Korea, Mexico, Holland, Belgium

Possibly the closest of the groups. Neighbours and rivals Holland and Belgium fought it out, toe-to-toe, right up until the finish. Belgium snatched the lead after cult films: Man Bites Dog, Rabid Grannies, Crazy Love and Daughters of Darkness are a four-pack any nation would covet, while Holland only have the early works of Paul Verhoeven (now playing for the US team, of course). Holland do fight back under babes, with Renee Soutendijk and Audrey Hepburn, but Belgium clinches it thanks to multiple scores in the “food and drink” category, notably chocolate and beer [I’m sitting here with a Stella as I write this], and this pushes them to victory. S.Korea pip Mexico, but so far back it’s not worth discussing.

  1. Belgium
  2. Holland
  3. South Korea
  4. Mexico

Group F: Yugoslavia, Iran, Germany, United States

Germany, of course, have the TC equivalent of Ronaldo, in a certain N.Kinski, backed up with C.Schiffer and a bevy of other babes, as witnessed on the recent Hamburg trip. On the cult film front, Werner Herzog and Jorg Buttgereit team up as an effective force, and the staple diet of beer, sausage and more beer naturally endears them to us. But America virtually INVENTED trash culture, and are still among the best in the world; behind Fred Olen Ray and Roger Corman, you’ve got Las Vegas, Jerry Springer, and Pamela Anderson, all of whom are TC icons. Such a performance naturally installs them as among the favourites. Yugoslavia are third, beating out perhaps the second least TC-esque country in the world, Iran. I don’t think Afghanistan took part this time…

  1. United States
  2. Germany
  3. Yugoslavia
  4. Iran

Group G: England, Tunisia, Romania, Colombia

Of course, as a true Scot, it pains me to see England winning ANYTHING, but it has to be said that they do deserve their place here, if only because few of the other teams have anything much to offer. Oddly, the strongest suits of Romania and England tie in: the coolest thing about Romania is the vampiric traditions of Transylvania, and the best-known cult movies to come out of England are the Hammer films. Perhaps this will allow Romania to claim Ingrid Pitt and Winona Ryder as honorary Rumanians, but even so, they can’t really compete with the likes of Jenny Agutter. Colombia beat Tunisia for no readily apparent reason.

  1. England
  2. Romania
  3. Colombia
  4. Tunisia

Group H: Argentina, Japan, Croatia, Jamaica

Finally, one of the most lopsided groups, with Japan strolling to the title, a country mile ahead of their rivals in every way. The Godzilla films alone would be enough to give them victory in this group, and that’s discounting anime, women’s wrestling, Gunhed, Yukari Oshima, selling schoolgirl saliva, techno-obsession, and all the other facets of life there which delight and entrance (at least from the safe distance of 8,000 miles, it’s a lot less pleasant to have it living with you, let me assure you). Nobody else is even in the same park, Argentina just edging it, largely for being next to Brazil, and being the home of corned beef.

  1. Japan
  2. Argentina
  3. Croatia
  4. Jamaica

The Second Round

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

At this stage, we take a pause. The first two knock-out phases will take place next week, and we welcome all comments as to who should win these games. These will be taken into account, along with our own prejudic…er, opinions, to decide the eventual winners of the tournament. Mail me at

Yours, Ref Hunter J.

On to the next phase!