Things are getting pretty tense here as we count it down to tonight's semifinal, or as they call it on the continent, the Half-Final. So tense, in fact, that home-country fans have planned some pretty heavy retaliatory strikes after Sky Italia TV footage out of the Argentina-Germany aftermath resulted in a hasty FIFA
railroading disciplinary hearing and a suspension to key Mannschaft midfielder Torsten Frings (if that punch could have broke a pane of wet kleenex, then I'm Diego Maradona's love child). They're actually considering -- get this -- phoning local Italian restaurants at the 9 p.m. kickoff and placing large orders! Like Rooney, I'm gobsmacked.
Here's some excerpts from Der Spiegel Online's World Cup blog (no permalink, alas), one of the millions of news organizations here that have added blogs (but not this one, I assure you. JABS was
barely ticking over well down the road to mediocrity adulthood long before this World Cup was even a gleam in Juergen Klinsmann's eye):
Andreas Wenzel has announced the games of the German national team for the past 13 years. But he was briefly suspended by FIFA for not remaining neutral when addressing the 70,000-strong crowd in Berlin's Olympic Stadium last Friday. As Germany was trailing Argentina 1-0 in the second half, Wenzel announced a substitution in English. However, as he repeated it in German, he apparently couldn't keep himself from telling the home crowd that "our team could use your support right now." The seemingly harmless comment got a response from the fans and, naturally, FIFA.
But what will happen at tonight's match-up? Earlier today I got a forwarded e-mail from my friend Maike, which ordered fans of the German national team to dial the number of their favorite Italian place promptly at first whistle at 9 p.m. and place a large order. The spoiler tactic is a small measure of revenge for FIFA's decision to bar German midfield star Torsten Frings from tonight's game -- a decision some Germans believe was set into motion with the help of TV footage helpfully provided by broadcaster Sky Italia.
"No Frings? No watching the game together Squadra Azzuri!" went the spoilsport e-mail.