THE World Cup, a four yearly occurence that brings together the soccer playing nations in an opportunity for sportsmanship on the field and violent hand to hand combat off it.
English hopes spring eternal despite a forward line of two orthopaedic patients, the captain of someone’s school team and a man on stilts.
We have, at least, survived the national disgrace stages thanks to a victory over Paraguay and dehydration before dispatching the world renowned Trinidad and Winibago.
On then to the losing on penalties stage, which is usually preceded by the key player sending off incident. It is normally expected that all will culminate in a large party on the streets of Rio.
And all this has got what to do with cars? Well it’s a huge boost for the roof-mounted flag industry for a start. Then there is sponsorship. Hyundai is one of the main contributors and have enlisted Peter Crouch to stand by a Santa Fe to show how tall he is. Actually if, heaven forbid, someone should whack him in the top of the head with a fire axe he would make a damn fine clothes prop.
South Korea may be no-hopers on the pitch but Hyundai have got behind a few defences with this one.
You would, for instance, have thought that VW would give its very Jurgens to support the World Cup on German soil. That’s without consideration for how many other countries VAG has an interest in.
Currently driving a Skoda Octavia Rs? VW solid to the core. It may be made in a country where celebrity chef shows are all about interesting ways to cook cabbage and potatoes, but like the Czech Republic, you would be mad to ignore its potential. Bought a Passat recently? Own goal.
Then there is the Italian connection with the ownership of Bugatti and Lamborghini and while we would thank you not to mention it, the English, our very own Bentley.
For goodness sake, it was only in 2003 that a man with a big moustache stopped hammering out old style Beetles in a Mexican mountain blacksmiths.
If German football is a question of ordered power then the Spanish game is one of style, all soft curves and lightness of foot. Imagine if the commissions for the Brandenburg Gate and Gaudi’s Cathedral had been swapped. The Germans would have got an archway of egg boxes and squids while the Spanish enjoyed 40 kilomters of good motorway and a sturdy tower block.
SEAT combines the two and adds the pricing of cheap holiday beer. The 20-valve 1.8 litre 160PS Ibiza Cupra, for instance, is £15,300. I have had some fun over the years at VW’s expense, the Golf R32 springs to mind, and this was another bellylaugh.
I was a season ticket holder of the old model. It was hard, charmingly hooligan and a positive boost to dental practices everywhere.
The new Cupra is pleasingly rounded. Redesign has produced more subtle lines although there is still a clodhopping badge-cum-hatch handle.
It has the pace we used to love Michael Owen for at 7.5 seconds to 60mph.
I suppose a list of equipment wold be handy but there is little point. It would not be a long list and, anyway this is not one to buy to push buttons. Family car? Only if your family is called Dave and he buys the beers.
Cupra is about taking corners better than Steven Gerrard, the firepower of Argentina and, because VW is behind the moving bits, it’s not Wayne Rooney’s foot. It won’t break.
How German is it? Well the brochure shows two nudists running away from a TDi.
Of course, by the time some of you read this the Englanders’ 2006 invasion of Germany may be kaput. In which case I would suggest switching allegiance to the Spanish It’s not a bad idea if you are hunting a value-for-money hot hatch, either.