Night between Friday and Saturday
a) I am very very seldom disturbed by my neighbors in the apartment building where I live in Stockholm, but tonight one apartment is really loud. I did some research in the hallway, and it turns out it is my favorite neighbor, a guy a some five years younger than me, who is having some friends over for drinks and a lot of serious jumping around. Since I have had quite a few late parties in my apartment, I decided just to stick with it and stay up for a while.
b) I am receiving text messages all the time from international friends (mostly Brits who also are members of the Labour party) about the World Cup draw that was presented tonight.
So, Sweden will play in group B in Germany against England, Paraguay and Trinidad/Tobago. I think it looks quite ok and the newspapers are even talking about a “dream ticket”. Maybe they are right.
Trinidad/Tobago will most likely lose all three games. In theory Sweden will get at least a draw against England, and then it is all up to the game against Paraguay. I don’t know too much about Paraguay except for the stability of their defense, but since Sweden actually has a lot of creative players these days, I am not that worried (Zlatan, Ljungberg, Larsson).
England will be the same old story; if they get it together, it might be 1966 again, but there are quite a few question marks. (Just like the Italian left in a way, it just struck me; always good on paper). Do they have a top-class goalie? How do you solve midfield with both Gerrard and Lampard? Can Owen and Rooney find a golden formula together, or do you need to complement one of them with a true target player? Or can Rooney fit in that role?
As I am writing this, one of my best English friends is telling me through sms that England will be ok as long as they don’t play with any Kopites (i.e. players from Liverpool FC)... This joke is presented to me by my good friend Karim who grew up in Liverpool, but who is an Everton-fan... And I think my friend Karim and I would agree that Carragher and Gerrard must be in the England-starting eleven!?
So, it was a good day for Swedish football. Group C will be the toughest (Argentina, Ivory Coast, Serbia/Montenegro and the Netherlands); we are not in the "group of death" this time. England will make it from our group if they decide they really want to. But both England and Paraguay have strong teams, which is good for Sweden since we play better when the other team is decent. And Trinidad/Tobago we should beat easily (but since I have an old dear friend from T/T, I am still glad they qualified). So I am quite pleased tonight, in spite of the noise in my apartment building, and in spite of the fact that my neighbor now is singing and playing guitar...
And if Sweden mess up totally in the World Cup in Germany, there is still another eleven World Cups to go if I reach the average age of a Swedish male. As Liverpool FC manager Bill Shankly said:
"Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I'm very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that."
Now the noise has stopped (almost), so it is time to say goodnight. Sweet dreams about World Cup-medals!