Group of Death is hilarious part of a World Cup's quaint rituals

Group of Death is hilarious part of a World Cup's quaint rituals

But I just can't forget

How your love left a hole

Like a penalty kick

Right to my soul

A Shakespearean sonnet this is not, yet these jocular lyrics have their own curious tale. They arrive, if you believe it, from a hastily-concocted heavy metal band hilariously called Group of Death. Just to continue the footballing joke a little further, these lyrics are from a song ironically titled Your Love Is Like A Boot In The Face. Which is what Australia and the US might feel like after the World Cup draw.

The Aussies are drawn with Spain and Holland, the Americans with Portugal and Germany. Tough luck, mates, but please remember, as all true football fans do, that the authentic Group of Death is usually the one England insist they are in. This time they have Italy and Uruguay, difficult rivals but not fatal, yet already the self-flagellation has begun.

But, really, this is just part of the hocus-pocus of the Cup. In truth, the Group of Death (GOD) can be a boon to concentration. No coasting, no fiddling around, no experimenting: it demands you play well from the start. History is proof of what is possible.

In 1958, the Group of Death - and we are all allowed to have our own versions of this GOD - was Brazil, England, USSR, Austria. In 1970, Brazil, England, Romania, Czechoslovakia. In 1978, Argentina, France, Italy, Hungary. In 2006, Italy, Ghana, Czech Republic, US. I hope you're paying attention... because in all those years the eventual Cup winner came from this group.

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