Bryan Hemming

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Scoop! New statistics question validity of German soccer success

Here’s something spooky for those who think the universe is one great religious conspiracy to keep the concept of God alive.

I can’t believe I just wrote that without taking one too many of my gran’s prescribed tranquilisers. Anyway, living in Spain it’s impossible not to get caught up in the soccerfest madness which is the Eurocup. Even Anji, who doesn’t know one end of a soccer ball from another, has watched a couple of matches. Though I think I might have to show her a red card for the final and send her out of the room, as she keeps asking me why do they do this? and why do they do that?

But with Spain’s win over Portugal to reach the final. I begin to scent something very weird happening. Very weird indeed, when analysed from a global economic perspective. That’s the sort of thing you start doing once you begin tackling the entire planet’s failing economy. Just got a couple more columns to add up before I present my conclusions to Christine Lagarde at the IMF. It’s amazing how many numbers you can get on the back of an envelope.

To get back to the point. What was it again? Ah, yes, if a savvy amateur global economist, such as myself, takes a gander at the countries that made it through to the semi-finals of the Eurocup he might notice three of them are members of PIGS, the unkind acronym bestowed on countries being forced to pay for the incompetence and corruption of of the world financial community. The cruel irony of it is that those responsible should have reserved the term for themselves, as they are the ones who got caught with their snouts in the trough. You’ve got to admit that has to be odder than mere coincidence could ever be. I mean the actual coincidence, not the bit about the snouts in the trough, that wasn’t a coincidence at all. I digress. No, I don’t.

Nevertheless, though Greece and Ireland didn’t make it, Portugal, Italy and Spain all got through to the semi-finals. That’s threequarters of an acronym, a whopping seventy-five per-cent in statistical terms. Now I’m no mathmatician, but threequarters of an acronym has to account for something. I mean a whopping threequarters of the vote in a national election makes most politicians lifelong dictators, doesn’t it? That makes this Eurocup very suspicious indeed. For if success on the football pitch is so closely connected to financial ruin, as the figures so clearly demonstrate, Germany has no business being in tonight’s second semi-final against Italy. Greece or Ireland belong there. Well Greece does, otherwise the acronym would come out as PIIS. You don’t have to take my word for it, the figures speak for themselves.

Now, I’m not a financial guru or a football pundit – not yet I’m not – but I can add two and two together. And I can spell well enough to make PIGS out of four countries, even though I think it’s cruel. OK, Germany begins with ‘G’, but it still doesn’t explain why they should take the place of Greece. Add it up for yourself. Now do you still believe in God? I mean a nice, kind one.

Update: 29/6/12 Seems as though God might exist after all, as Germany lost 1-2 to Italy last night. And a nice, kind one as far as Italians are concerned. I take it all back. Please confirm my reservation in heaven, Dear Lord, and turn your divine thoughts to Spain this coming Sunday night. At this point I have to admit Anji is German, and wonder if I harbour some deep, subconscious desire for petty revenge over her ruining ny favorite T-shirt five years ago. That’s the nearest to a confession you’ll get out of me. Amen.

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