By Michael Davies
Special to Page 2

Editor's Note: Michael Davies is blogging the 2006 World Cup for Page 2. Each day throughout the monthlong tournament, he will file reports from Germany (and back home in New York). Check back for more updates.

Tribeca, New York, June 30, 9:10 p.m.
It's Friday, it's about to be my least favorite holiday of the year, and those awful Germans have made it to the Semi Final of the World Cup. Play the music and fly the graphic (but try not too obscure too much of the football match going on under it) here's what I'm for and against today.

Here's what I'm for and against today:

FOR: Cancelling shoot days during the World Cup, bicycle helmets, post match fights, the redcoats.

AGAINST: Scheduling shoot days during the World Cup, talented people riding bicycles, penalty shootouts, losing the United States because you lot called in the French.

Previous Entries
Day 19: Minor nations need not apply
Day 18: Down with England's medi
Day 17: Bless you, Becks
Day 16: Germany 2, Sweden U-11 Girls 0
Day 15: Picking the final 16
Day 14: Down goes the U.S.
Day 13: A long walk spoiled
Day 12: Another pants problem
Day 11: Rank and file
Day 10: Sea of yellow
Day 9: America, the beautiful
Day 8: Cheer up, America
Day 7: Pants ... again!
Day 6: Sweat and sausage
Day 5: Back in the U.S.A.
Day 4: Welcome, America
Day 3: Clarity at 190 kph
Day 2: England are pants
Day 1: I kiss football
Complete World Cup coverage

I have lived in the United States for seventeen of my forty years. Many British born, revolutionary war generals had lived in the colonies far less long when they took up the rebel cause and led battalions of farmers armed with pitchforks against the British crown -- or rather the thousands of German mercenaries the German King of Britain had sent to the New World to defend the colonies against the troublesome mob who refused to pay taxes to him.

I am a patriot. I can never give up my allegiance to the British Crown which paid for my primary school education, to have my appendix removed and not only my entire college tuition, but gave me about $2000 a year to spend on beer and haggis at the University of Edinburgh. To this day I pay vast amounts of taxes in the US and yet have no vote (plenty of taxation without representation). I love America, and would have loved it back in 1775. But I have no idea whose side I would have been on in Operation Yankee Freedom. Given a chance to take a pot shot at a German soldier with a musket, though, it might have been a difficult opportunity to pass up.

It was a long time ago, that pesky revolutionary war thing. And though I have no doubt, we would have done horrible job running your country (and your teeth would be horrible) -- it still kind of hurts.

But you, lot, do seem to like the English (who you fought against) a lot more than you like the French (who were on your side). Most of you, though, are not nearly anti-German enough. So I imagine it's going to be difficult for you to understand the true depth of my sadness at the Germans having beaten Argentina today.

On illegitimate penalties.

It takes a lot for me to root for Argentina who we were also at war with in the 1980s over another colony, the Falkland Islands, which we had somehow managed to hold onto despite it being basically, nowhere near Britain, right next to Argentina, and by all accounts, a pretty desolate and awful place to raise sheep.

England also have a turbulent history with Argentina at the World Cup with bad tempered and controversial matches in 1986 (Maradona's intentional "Hand of God" handball goal), 1998 (Beckham sent off for lightly kicking Simeone who collapsed to the ground as if felled by a Samurai sword) and 2002 (which we actually won after Beckham was trash talked as he stepped up to take the winning penalty).

In fact, we seem to have been at war with basically everyone left in the World Cup. Maybe not Portugal. But we don't like them much as a football team. They're managed by Big Phil Scolari who managed the Brazilian team who knocked England out of the 2002 World Cup. He also managed the Portugal team who controversially knocked England out of Euro 2004 (a football tournament only marginally less important to the English than the World Cup). Recently, we tried to hire him to replace Sven and he said no. So we don't like him much. But we kind of do. We're basically afraid of him. And yet seek his validation. It's a highly dysfunctional relationship.

Fortunately, I managed to watch both quarter final games in their entirety today. I was really worried that I wouldn't be able to, I was meant to be in the studio shooting three episodes of a new tv show. But our host broke a rib when he was hit by a car on his bicycle (we pay great money) in Queens this morning. So we had to cancel the whole day.


He's fine, which is a relief. But as I told him when he finally made it over in his neck brace  he picked a great day to get in an accident.

Having said that, the football (especially in the Germany/Argentina match) was pretty poor. But here are:

The Davies' World Cup Diary Non Football Related Higlights of The Germany versus The Argentina versus

The Italy versus The Ukraine

1. Marcello Balboa's hair
Just as silly looking as Argentina's Sorin, who I am pretty sure was an evil Wizard in the Lord of the Rings. Has there ever been a funnier looking double act than he and Dave O'Brien. I can't wait for the Simpsons parody.

2. Klinsman's sideline dance
Really iffeminate dancing after Germany score. Needs to work on that.

3. Bastien Schweinsteiger's skin
Could be the poster child for Retinol-A.

4. Pekerman's loopy substitutions
The Argentinian coach was so embarrassed by his inexplicable substitution decisions  he took off Riquelme and left Saviola and Messi on the bench, and watched as his team were eliminated for the World Cup they probably should have won  that he resigned right after the match. It might save him from being shot when he gets back to Buenos Aires.

5. Players getting hit in the nads
Not sure I've ever seen more players hit in their manhood in one day of football. Is this some weird byproduct of the Adidas Teamgeist ball.

6. Post match fight
At last, a real post match melee with kicking, the preferred method of causing injury, on and off the field, by professional footballers everywhere.

7. Medieval Ukrainians
Honestly, half that team look like they're extras in some kind of sweeping Medieval epic  The Pied Piper of Hamelin, perhaps, from Spielberg or Bruckheimer.

8. Italy Managing to Play Well
Even attractively, in the most uncomfortable and scratchy World Cup shirt since the Uruguayan, woolen, turtle neck pullovers of the 1930s.

Sheva gave all us blues fans a scintillating preview with one outrageous, ball-dribbling, cross over, fake-his-opponents-out-of-their

9. One moment of Chelsea Magic boots-move-down-the-left-wing.

But Germany are now illegitimate semifinalists based on an illegitimate win using the illegitimate method of the penalty shoot out. If they win the World Cup, they will be illegitimate winners, just as they were in 1990 after beating England on illegitimate penalties in the Semis. In fact, any team who wins this World Cup having won on an illegitimate penalty shoot out is illegitimate in my view. Except if it's England or Italy, to make up for their illegitimate losses on penalties in 1990 and 1994 respectively.

Fair enough?

So now I've got to try and go to sleep even though I can hardly take the pressure, excitement, fear and loathing of tomorrow's epic England versus Portugal encounter.

Quickly, here are:

The Davies' World Cup Diary Possible Keys To An England Victory Against Portugal

1. Which Frank Lampard will show up? The one who scores buckets of goals for Chelsea and, until this tournament, England? Or the barely recognizable half man-half biscuit who has taken more shots than any player in Germany without hitting even the woodwork?

2. Which Joe Cole shows up? Versus Sweden Joe Cole? Or versus Ecuador Joe Cole? We need the first. He sucks out defenders creating space in the midfield, creates chances and is capable of scoring sensational goals.

3. Is Rooney finally ready to dominate a World Cup game? If he is, we go through and are capable of winning the whole thing.

4. Will Christiano Ronaldo play? And if he does, will he pass?

5. Is Gary Neville fit? Can he finally provide the overlapping, man drawing support that Beckhma desperately needs on the right.

6. Which Chelsea defender will make the first mistake? Terry for England? Or Carvalho or Ferreira for Portugal?

7. Can Owen Hargreaves cover as much ground as he did against Sweden or was he on speed? If it's the latter, can he take more speed today please.

8. Who will make the substitution that could win the game? Always aggressive Big Phil? Or usually timid Sven? Every England fan wants to see Aaron Lennon at some point. And Peter Crouch off the bench is never a bad option.

9. God forbid, but who would be England's penalty takers? I would vote for Rooney, Gerrard, Lampard, Cole and Beckham in that order.

You can tell how big this game is because even my wife is nervous. She knows what kind of a weekend this is going to be if England lose. Long and silent.

Michael Davies is a British-born television producer whose forthcoming projects for ESPN include the World Series of Darts and the documentary film "Once In A Lifetime" about the New York Cosmos, which will air on ESPN in October after being released theatrically by Miramax in July.