Argies are champs
Argentina are the deserved winners of the inaugural WAGs and Stags World Cup in South Africa.
Last Updated: 12/07/10 7:38pm
I must have been watching a different World Cup final to the rest of you. The tabloids and broadsheets have been united in lamenting a final that allegedly brought the beautiful game into disrepute, while fans have been flooding message boards to voice their misgivings over what ensued in Johannesburg.
Meanwhile, amid this incandescent outrage, I was raising a glass to a WAG/Stag pairing who I believe have provided some of the most illuminating performances in South Africa. Not least in the final when Holland proved no match for the Argentine couple of choice.
Pablo Mouche and Luli Fernandez, two of the most outstanding Argentines since Diego and Che, I salute you.
Prior to kick-off Rafael van der Vaart had taken umbrage at one journalist who said he and his wife Sylvie, the pre-tournament favourites, were at odds with the Dutch tradition of Total Football; accusing him in particular of lacking the style of 70s alpha male and Stag forefather Johan Cruyff.
Meanwhile, his Argentine counterpart Mouche looked like the proverbial pig in excrement, given he was picked to represent his country despite scoring less often throughout his career than John Merrick. The Argies were all about luscious Luli.
The final was a classic with both couples campaigning well into the night to secure a vote that eventually saw the Netherlands cast as the bridesmaid yet again, as Argentina secured a 53 per cent to 47 per cent majority. At one point the votes were so close there was even talk of a coalition taking place - only for discussions to break down when Luli snubbed Rafael on the grounds 'blondes don't do anything for her'.
In the skysports.com office we regularly chew the fat over whether life does in fact imitate art, or if the reverse is true, so you can imagine our delight when we discovered some striking parallels with the lesser competition played on grass. Eventual WAGs/Stags winners Argentina arrived in South Africa expected to qualify from their group with minimum fuss only to suffer a shock reverse to South Korea that threatened their participation in the latter rounds. Sound at all similar to Spain's defeat to Switzerland on 16th June? Spooky....
Meanwhile, the Dutchies were as rampant off the pitch as they were on it - cue Carry On style sniggers - as like their footballing counterparts, Sylvie and her beau qualified from Group E with a maximum nine-point haul. Their biggest test in the knockout stages came in the last four as Peter Crouch and Abbey Clancy were disposed following extra-time, after what were comfortable victories over Italy and Paraguay in the last 16 and quarter-finals respectively.
It was, though, a case of history repeating itself in the final as a familiar Achilles heel of failing to perform on the biggest stage flared again. As in 1974 and 1978, Argentina got the better of them on that day too, the occasion seemed too much for them.
Meanwhile, the scenes in Buenos Aires upon Luli and Pablo's return this morning have not been matched since Eva Peron spoke from the balcony of the Presidential palace to her adoring public back in 1946. In her post-match interview with Geoff an emotional Luli muttered the immortal lines 'don't cry for me Argentina' but her pleas fell on deaf ears as there was not a dry eye in the house.
It's not every day you come home with the inaugural WAGs and Stags World Cup. Diego Maradona, as has been his wont in South Africa, was in attendance to greet Pablo with a hairy tongue sandwich and offer Luli a firm handshake.
The WAGs and Stags World Cup could not have been the success it has been without all of your votes and support, so we thank each and every one of you for engaging with the competition in the spirit in which it was intended.