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Ben Trovato

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Your Guide to the Nations of the 2010 FIFA World Cup (i.e., “Waiting for the Barbarians”)

Our government keeps telling us to be nice to the visiting soccer fans, but are their governments telling their citizens to be nice to us? I doubt it. Here, then, is a brief guide to some of the 32 nationalities that are poised to descend on us in a gabbling, yawling, brawling morass.


A country with 192 million highly excitable people crammed onto 7500km of topless beaches. Main exports are coffee and cocaine. Dancing naked in the streets is a popular activity. Less popular are jokes about the pope. Although most Brazilians describe themselves as white, this is not always obvious to the naked eye. Think twice before complaining about the bloody coloureds taking up the whole bar. It could be Ronaldo and his cousins from the favelas.

Spain & Mexico

Although not strictly one country, they are similar to Brazil, only Spanish-speaking. They have something of the Zulu about them and are fiery people, especially when doused with tequila and set alight.


Afrikaners Lite. Without the Dutch influence, South Africa would be a very different country today. Draw your own conclusions. Netherlands has the potential to win the World Cup depending on access to home-grown product. Holland and Cape Town have much in common, like tulips and dykes, except Cape Town has no tulips.


Known for robbing us of the World Cup four years ago. Also known for invading Poland and, later, Camps Bay. Serious about their football. Serious about their beer. Serious about their sex. Nine months after the 2006 World Cup, Germany reported a 30% increase in births. Expect a new generation of ruthless property barons with blue eyes and guttural Cape Flats accents come March 2011.


Replacing the English as Ireland’s number one enemy, France is tipped to win the World Cup because their strikers have been trained to use their hands when the ref isn’t looking.


A country that has produced some excellent footballers and some truly appalling human beings. And I’m not just talking about the Beckhams or the Thatchers, or even the royal family. This nation of shoplifters will be here to steal the World Cup by any means necessary. Unable to hold their drink, let alone a halfway decent conversation, the British will be looking for trouble. Good. Let them try it. Isandlwana will seem like a picnic in comparison.


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