The Legend of Wooley Swamp

What ever happened to nuance? Jabberwocky is being spewed up by the left and right as they try to drag us into their Wonderlands. This blog charts a path out of this swamp of simple truths and false certainties. And from time to time, it'll be a place for more light-hearted musings.

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Location: Palms - L.A, California

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Zlatan's Midsummer Night's Dream

This pundit knows who'll be making the meatballs next time
(text reads: "Old Swede, they're tasty")

Today, it's Midsummer. On this day the moon and stars are aligned for Swedes, showing the opponents the way to premature retirement in Valhalla. It is also the day of the Maypole Dance.

In less than 18 hours, it’s GAME time: Sweden takes on Germany back at the Munich Allianz Arena. To remind you, we were there for the Tunisia-Saudi Arabia game and it sure looked like just the place for an epic battle.

The German media continues to hyperventilate about moose, kippers, meatballs, IKEA, Volvo while coming up with lame anti-Sweden songs sung to the tune of Abba's hits. Funny as is "ha ha", but at least der Spiegel is on to something with this piece:

Thankfully the German tabloid Bild is on hand to assist today, and offers a handy appraisal of Sweden's top players by comparing them to household items commonly found in IKEA. "Ever had problems with the instructions for your new piece of IKEA furniture?" asks the paper. "Bild explains how to take the Swedes to pieces!" And, if the German players follow the Bild assembly instructions to the letter, then they'll surely throw a spanner in the works come Saturday.
Take the bearded Olof Mellberg for example. He plays in defense, so obviously Bild thinks he most resembles a gnarled wooden cupboard -- or "Defensive Cupboard Olof" for short...

(click here to read the entire piece, scroll down past the sex part....)

Finally, the German coach Klinsmann upped the ante by calling a potential defeat “a catastrophe”. Dunno about that – going to Valhalla has its advantages, sire!

Swedish Fan Foretells Great Victory while drinking
Giant Danish!? Beer. Kudos: Erin T.

It will be sad to see the hosts go home, I mean stay here, but it’s the way it has to be. Enough trash talk: here’s my take on a sad discussion about which strikers should play up front for Sweden.

Everyone from fans to ‘experts’ in Sweden wants Marcus Allbäck to play. Yes, the guy who never scored for Hansa Rostock or Aston Villa. Conversely, they want to see Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the bench. Yes, one of the most gifted players around (watch the videos on, the kind of guy who puts fear into the heart of the German defenders. The same defenders who had Allbäck for breakfast all last year. So what explains this irrational thinking?

Lots of theories abound in the Swamp’s mind. It boils down to Allbäck supposedly being a team player, more ‘Swedish’ (yes, he is blond too….) I’ve heard enough from Swedish commentators over the years and read a media analysis of the Swedish attitude to Zlatan to say there is a more than a measure of discrimination here.

When this Swedish-born son of a Bosnian father and Croatian mother first emerged on the stage, he was the future of the Swedish game. Simultaneously, he became THE symbol of diversity – that Sweden like France, with Zidane, Henry, Thuram et al, was now emerging from the mire of ethnic chauvinism. Sadly, that assessment is wrong.

When Zlatan plays well, when he signed for Juventus Turin, one of the best teams in the world, all the experts beat their chests for “Zlatan the Swede.” But when he doesn’t, he’s called “temperamental” and “not part of the collective” or "enigmatic". Puh-lease. Other more individualistic players on the Swedish team, i.e. the ethnic Swedes, are simply not held to the same standard. And when Allbäck failed to score for umpteen games in a row that was somehow ok.

Zlatan after scoring the goal against
Hungary that put them in the World Cup.

What can I say? Zlatan HAS to play for Sweden to have a chance. He shot them all the way to the finals in the first place. Talk about amnesia!

No matter, there are fools everywhere, Zlatan doesn’t care. He’ll still score that goal and off Sweden goes. May the Maypole dance comenceth.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who's that cutie with the meatballs? Hmmmm.....

12:27 AM  

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