And it's not tea anymore, it's FREEDOM COFFEE

So, about the new header. Yeah, I'm getting into the spirit of things, I admit it. But I realize we need to put all this into perspective.

For one thing, there's more than the Coppa Della Special Relationship going on here.

"LOVED 'Battle of Algiers'! I could NOT stop laughing! By the way, is Zidane playing for you guys this year?"

That's one way to infuriate any of your Algerian fans who feel like talking smack about Group C. You could also talk about how, when it comes to great World Cup games, nothing stacks up to the style and tenacity of West Germany-Austria in 1982.

In response, Algerian fans might tell you to pick up Ian Hawkey's [ame=]"Feet of the Chameleon,"[/ame] the new book on African soccer. There's a very, very informative chapter on the FLN team from the 1958 to the early 1960's, which toured and toured in favor of Algerian independence. Algeria, like so many other nations, might not be a traditional football power, but they certainly have the sport woven into their culture. I guess that's everyone, though, except for us, Oz, and the Kiwis.

The attentive reader will have noticed that the late 1950's was, like, a few minutes ago. Others who have enjoyed Hawkey's book will have noted that among the members of the FLN team were French internationals Rachid Meklhoufi and Mustapha Zitouni, and the whole FLN side were French first division veterans.

That's not the case today. A lot of them play in their domestic league, and only a few of them play for middling to goodish international teams, like Gladbach and Rangers and Hull City...what? That doesn't sound distressingly familiar at all, why do you ask.

Okay, so, England.

Let's try to look at this objectively. We should absolutely fear and respect England. After all, they beat Spain, the number one team in the world, and took a two-goal lead on Brazil, in games actually played in South Africa. If you're not cautious about facing a team that can do that, then you're just being a complete idiot.

We can talk briefly about the respective quality of the Premiership and MLS. Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey* go to England, and own the place. David Beckham comes to America, and he's schooled week in and week out by guys who moonlight at Goodwill.

Seems pretty evenly matched to me. In all honesty, I think we should expect a tie.**

And yes, the word should be "tie." As long as we're in for months and months of soccer v. football blithering, we might as well get all the vocabulary sorted out while we're at it. If an evenly-scored game is a "draw," then what was that with the ping-pong balls and Charlize Theron? Thank you.

Also, boots and bonnets are things you wear, not things on a car. "Lift" is a very good word, but a little too generic - everyone knows exactly what you mean when you say "elevator." Let's give Aerosmith the last word here, since "Love on a Lift," while catchy, seems a little too Air Supply for a title.

"Cookie" sounds yummier than "biscuits," even if there isn't a completely different form of food reserving the "biscuit" name. Unfortunately, Nabisco is taking your side on this. If they were real Americans, it would be Nacookco.

...yeah, that's the real problem with this game. It should be, in all honesty, an incredibly intense match. Instead, we're stuck with Copa d'Austin Powers.

At first you'd think, "Well, sure, until after June 12, then we go onto the next games." No chance. We're still cracking on Jeonju, for heaven's sake - you can't spell 2002 without 2-0! Sure, half as many people on the morning of the 13th will be making horrible jokes, but those jokers will be twice as loud. Imagine a keyboard typing out dentistry smack...forever.

Just say no

While it's still 2009, we should draw some boundaries. I promise to take the pledge on bad teeth smack, if you guys don't tell me how fat I am. I mean, how fat we are. You don't mention Britney Spears, we stay away from Amy Winehouse. And let's just both quit bickering about taking credit and admit the Red Army actually won World War II. We won't talk about the slow and ugly decline of your exploitative worldwide empire, if you promise not to talk about the slow and ugly decline of, we really do have a special relationship.


Besides, Slovenia's the real easy target here. All you have to do is ask them why they broke away from the Czech Republic. Or what it was like under the USSR. Hell, that's playing nice. Confuse them with Serbia if you really want to see steam. "Hey, why did you guys start World War I?"

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to finish my Liberty muffins.

*If Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey had a baby, this is what it would look like:

I got sick of waiting to use that joke.

**Keep in mind, even if you burn the White House? Still a tie. Read our textbooks.