Tuesday, 7 a.m. Somewhere in the Hollywood Hills
The final games of the preliminary round of the World Cup of WiffleSoccerParity are about to start. I have waited long enough. You, my three regular readers, have demanded it. It is time, for ...
DAVIES' OFF THE BALL WORLD CUP OF WIFFLESOCCERPARITY POWERPANTS (tm) RANKINGS
Methodology: The more points a team has won, the better it has played, the less it has behaved like the French, the less pants it's wearing. Got it? Don't get too carried away, these are PowerPants rankings -- and no one at FIFA is going to be taking them too seriously.
1. We're having so much fun we're not wearing any pants
Is any team having more fun in South Africa? Has any team ever had more fun at a World Cup? Does Maradona hang around his hotel bar at night with his suit jacket and tie on, but no shirt or pants? He deserves to and, yes, probably. Is Lionel Messi skinny-dipping in the Jacuzzi? My wife hopes so.
2. Dental floss thongs
They don't all look so pretty, and some of their junk is definitely hanging out. But they're cool, they move well, they're starting to feel the rhythm and they're Brazilian goshdarnit. Yes, Dunga is all uptight on the sideline wearing bright yellow ballet tights and a codpiece. And sometimes in training he sports a merkin. But they're still Brazil and definitely nowhere near pants.
3 (tie). This season's men's designer dress shorts
You're definitely not wearing pants. It's a bit colder than you want it to be, but you're ready to make a statement. You want to look professional and not like everyone else -- style is important to you. So how about trying on a pair of this season's men's designer dress shorts. You might even want to pair them with a jacket and tie. Now strut around and look like you think you're pretty cool. Everyone in the media will be impressed. And perhaps some other teams are looking at you, thinking: I wish I could carry off that kind of a style. But you know what I think? Those shorts are just a bit too short and you look a bit ... well ... too Zoolander. And Alexis Sanchez? Your sideline goal celebration against Switzerland before you realized it was disallowed? Total fail. And yet so priceless. No pants at all. Just complete underpants.
5 (tie). J. Crew Madras shorts
Kinda cool, fit well, look good on a perfect day, but still you're not being taken entirely seriously. And before you start whining, Ronaldo, or falling over or simulating outrage -- you beat North Korea. Yes, 7-0. But it was North Korea. And Slovenia? You've had a lot of luck so far -- Algerian goalkeeper error in the first game, completely bizarre refereeing decision that salvaged you a draw in the second. Fortunately for you, you're now playing an England team that plays with all the confidence and fire of the Washington Generals. Uruguay? You only drew with France and they weren't even trying. Mexico? I'm sorry, your win was against France and you only tied South Africa. Ghana? You only managed a tie against Australia, which is only the second-best team in Australasia. Paraguay? I can't remember a single second of any of your matches. Don't get me wrong, you all look good. But it's tough to take you all too seriously in those shorts.
11 (tie). Medium weight, gray flannel, flat front Thom Browne dress pants
Nice pants. Well, I think they're nice pants. In fact, one moment I think they're just about the coolest pants ever and the next I think they look like the most ridiculous pants ever. Are they meant to be that tight? That short? Did Joachim Low make you wear these? Some of you are young enough to pull it off, but some of you, and you know who you are, are just a little bit too old. These are young men's trousers. I can't tell if you're good or bad. No one can. One moment you're this season's must-have. The next you look, well, a bit crap.
17. Men's kimono
Not pants. And I respect the tradition and everything it stands for. But you still look a bit silly.
18. Man skirt
Also not pants, but in some ways, and especially against South Korea, you resemble the Scottish of southern Europe. I don't think you're going to win the World Cup of WiffleSoccerParity wearing these.
19. Saggy boyfriend pants
Yes, you can't quite understand what you're doing here wearing your girlfriend's saggy chinos she bought at The Gap last summer. It was such a strange decision. You remember, the ones she kept telling you everyone was wearing but you just didn't understand what exactly she was thinking. They look good from the front -- almost normal. But then at the back they just look -- well, weak. You've conceded three soft goals. You've had some good luck, you've had some bad luck. You need to win a game to deserve less pants.
20. Baggy white flannel cricket trousers
I can't say anything bad about my beloved New Zealand All Whites or these pants. They are classic, sporting and sharp. The rest of the world might find cricket and its trousers ridiculous, but Winston, Shane, Ryan and the lads are making me proud to have relatives in Auckland.
21. Pleated, crotch-bulging, Dockers chinos
How humiliating. Ties to lowly Paraguay and even lowlier, Para Zealand. (You can't stop Shane Smeltz -- you can only hope to contain him.) And now, unless you turn it around quickly, you'll be flying home in the signature, shapeless, most unstylish pants in history. So not Italian. No Italian would ever wear these. But look down -- you're wearing them.
Not the knickers that English women wear -- as in, don't get your knickers in a twist. But the ridiculous golf knickers descended from breeches that only Bobby Jones and Payne Stewart could ever pull off. And in fact, England, you have got your knickers in a twist. You look so ridiculous, I'm not sure I can even cheer for you anymore. Unless Joe Cole plays on Wednesday wearing no pants at all.
23 (tie). Parachute pants in national colors
France (slightly soiled)
The weird thing is that most of you are actually pulling this look off. Didier Drogba! Siphiwe Tshabalala! Faouzi Chaouchi! You all look wonderful in those pants. Raymond Domenech? Not so much.
29 (tie). Nigerian brand acid wash jeans
A search online for "Nigerian brand acid wash jeans" proved fruitless. But I'm sure they're horrible.
31. Stilt walking pants
They're 14 feet long and made of satin. And the biggest problem is, you're not actually wearing stilts. You are the third-best team in CONCACAF. Prosecution rests.
Does this look like a man who can play football? Does any team which has conceded nine goals through two games really deserve to be in the tournament? Then again, according to State television, these heroes will return to Pyongyang as boxer-short-wearing heroes holding the Jules Rimet, having stuffed Brazil, Portugal, the Ivory Coast, England, the U.S., Germany and Argentina in the final. Well played, boys.
Comments please. But if you have a complaint about how and where your team is ranked, you might be reading the wrong blog.