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Additions to the U.K. World Cup Etiquette Guide


With the Soccer World Cup matches just a few weeks away, national teams are busy training and strategizing for the big opening, and also preparing tens of thousands of soccer fans who plan to go to Germany to cheer their own teams on. Our sports brothers, Randy and Jason Sklar, offer their special take now on the sport's rowdier fans.

Mr. RANDY SKLAR (Co-Host, Cheap Seats, ESPN): The soccer...

Mr. JASON SKLAR (Co-Host, Cheap Seats, ESPN): Or as anyone who's not American says, futbol.

Mr. R. SKLAR: ...hooligan, has become as much a part of the world of international soccer...

Mr. J. SKLAR: Futbol.

Mr. R. SKLAR: ...as the penalty shot. These violent bands of rogues have been known to travel to other cities for soccer matches and start bar fights, light cars on fire...

Mr. J. SKLAR: Break storefront windows.

Mr. R. SKLAR: Urinate freely on historical monuments, and this is all before the game even starts. Now, it is widely known that the quintessential futbol hooligan comes from England, so the English government, in anticipation of its fans mass exodus into Germany this summer...

Mr. J. SKLAR: ...and no doubt in hopes of stemming a potential media relations disaster...

Mr. R. SKLAR: ...has published some handy travel tips for even the wildest of its futbol fans to use when they descend upon Deutschland this summer.

Mr. J. SKLAR: The tips include translating common phrases that will be useful to the British soccer fan; and I'm telling you, we are not making this up.

Mr. R. SKLAR: One of the phrases translated into German is, "can I have a beer, please?" Now, we're not here to tell England how to run its media relations, but it's probably not the best idea to encourage soccer fans to drink more than they already do.

Mr. J. SKLAR: That's like reminding Exxon that they could raise gas prices if they wanted to. Is it really necessary?

Mr. R. SKLAR: So we've compiled a list of more useful phrases the British government should translate for its fans.

Mr. J. SKLAR: Phrases that may help save the world from another international conflict, and dare we say, preserve the sanctity of the European union.

Mr. R. SKLAR: Phrase number one...

Unidentified Man: (Speaking foreign language).

Mr. J. SKLAR: Translation - excuse me, is that the police? Now, this is a key phrase. Properly identifying authority figures helps facilitate decision making, i.e., whether or not to throw a trashcan through the storefront window of a local apothecary. Phrase number two...

Unidentified Man: (Speaking foreign language).

Mr. R. SKLAR: Translation - there's no I in glockenspiel. Well, there might be one, but right now I'm too drunk to care. This phrase shows a slight willingness to at least acknowledge German culture while excusing oneself for being unfamiliar with the intricacies of that culture on the grounds of severe inebriation.

Mr. J. SKLAR: Phrase number three...

Unidentified Man: (Speaking foreign language).

Mr. R. SKLAR: Translation: I'm sorry I crushed your Schnauzer's windpipe. No, it's not going to bring Schatzi back to life, but this phrase will endear you enough to the owner of the dog to allow for a possible escape on foot.

Phrase number four. Seriously, how much blood is coming out of my head? Seriously is the operative word in this phrase. By simply asking someone how much blood is coming from your head, you're threatening to prematurely terminate an evening of debauchery with a trip to the German emergency room. By adding seriously, you're establishing a deeper level of truth seeking that forces integrity out of your fellow revelers. And finally, phrase number five: I'm from Canada.

Mr. J. SKLAR: It's an old European backpacker's trick, and can be accented by sewing a maple leaf onto your clothing before making the trip from Brighton to Munich. The claim that you're Canadian seems to give you carte blanche to do anything...

Mr. R. SKLAR: ...short of murder.

Mr. J. SKLAR: And we've never really figured out why.

Mr. R. SKLAR: No one in the international community ever has anything bad to say about Canada.

Mr. J. SKLAR: So this summer, when the World Cup begins, and you see a small blurb in the international section of your newspaper about how two Canadians roughed up an Affenpinscher while urinating on statues of Helmut Kohl, you'll know that the English government has done its job.

ADAMS: Randy and Jason Sklar, hosts of the show Cheap Seats, which airs nightly on ESPN Classic. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Jason Sklar
Randy Sklar
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