It’s been an odd World Cup. I’ve wanted to write screeds about it but it’s outfoxed me at every level. Through flowing, stinging tears, I typed furiously about the operatic tragedy that was Italy’s early exit but reading it back, I realised that I couldn’t separate my arias from my elbow. I’ll leave that one for now.
There is, however, one aspect that has delighted me beyond words, and has become something I look forward to more and more as the rounds go on. It is, of course, the excitement, the momentous, nail-biting anticipation, followed by the staggering, awe-inspiring revelation of what Germany manager Joachim Loew will be clad in. Let me state for the record that this is not backhanded praise based on the fact that his skillful young squad humped and dumped The English* out of the tournament; let’s just look at the evidence:
So far, Loew has combined a beautiful, fitted black suit with a (shirtless) lightweight, blue v-neck jumper; next he looked resplendent in a tight black cardigan over a white, v-neck vest; then, in round 3 of the first phase, on a chilly night against Ghana, he warmed the bench with a glossy black greatcoat, worn over a crisp white shirt and finished with a grey, looped scarf. The man truly is a style God. It’s hard to believe that Italy coach Marcello Lippi remained stuck under layers of garish sports/leisurewear while a German rival was tanning his arse in the fashion stakes.
Of course, what elevates Loew from mere notable fashion follower to style icon is the fact that his trusted assistant coach Hansi Flick turns out in exactly the same gear at every match. Just before Germany’s 4-1 massacre of The English*, the BBC’s commentator somewhat disparagingly suggested that Loew and Flick really ought to ring each other before going out for a match. If anything, it made the result all the sweeter – that England’s band of lumbering, overpaid thugs and thicks had been outwitted and outclassed on the pitch by what looked like a pair of camp interior designers.
Naturally, I am throwing my inconsiderable support behind Germany now. Much as Maradona’s player-mauling antics make him the rough-and-tumble choice for many neutrals, I cannot wait to see what outfits Messrs Loew and Flick (who clearly have the best surnames of any double-act anywhere in the world) turn out in next, as they try to send Argentina back to that large continent just across from the Falkland Islands. Me, I’m making sure my fanboy tight black cardie and white vest are nice and clean for the occasion.
* Since the BBC and ITV (and even RTÉ, strangely) have some kind of problem with saying “Germany”, and only refer to that nation as “The Germans” (surely some Fawlty Towers-related throwback), I am now only referring to the national football team of that country south of Scotland as “The English”. Not that I need to refer to them any more, of course.