…blocking everyone’s view of the Mexico / Portugal match in front of Stereo Exchange…well, very pricey when they start throwing rocks and garbage.

Der Spiegel’s Marc Young openly admits to “pimping for a Dutch victoy” when the Netherlands face a red-hot Argentina side today.

Today, all Germans must be Dutchmen. Despite how horrible and unnatural that sounds to most Teutonic football fans, Germany must support a Dutch victory this evening when Holland plays Argentina — at all costs. That’s because the last Group C match between the effective Dutch and utterly lethal Argentines on Wednesday could have serious repercussions for the World Cup hosts down the line. Just as importantly — to me at least — it could have serious repercussions for the quarter-final match in Berlin for which I have tickets.

And let me tell you, I have absolutely no wish to be surrounded by 60,000 weeping Germans after seeing their side surgically taken apart by the South Americans. But if Argentina beats the Netherlands tonight and tops Group C, that’s the most likely outcome after the knock-out round. Now I’m not saying Argentina absolutely, preordained, supercalifragilisticexpialidociously would beat Germany in the quarter-finals. I’m just saying I don’t want to risk it. No sir.

After making it through the first round of the World Cup, Germans are collectively in the best mood they’ve been for years. Seeing the party end right before my very eyes in the stadium would be grim.

According to the Guardian’s Simon Tisdall, there’s relatively little drama back home surrounding Iran’s poor showing in this World Cup.

Iranians are not especially demonstrative by nature. Unlike younger nations, such as England or America, they rarely shout or lose their tempers in public. They don’t throw things at each other or the opposition. Until they get really mad, that is, as Saddam Hussein discovered during the eight-year Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. Then they don’t give up. Either they win, which wasn’t an option in the World Cup but was in Iraq, or they go down with all hands. George Bush please note.

As with other countries, politics is never far away when Iranians compete against other nations. Mr Ahmadinejad’s adviser, Ali Akbar Javanfekr, issued a rallying cry on Monday to chastened compatriots – and a sinister warning about the dangers of politically incorrect despondency. “All teams participating in the World Cup are not supposed to win and become champions,” he explained, in case anyone was in doubt.

He went on: “The national football team have problems. The press should highlight these problems through constructive criticism. By creating a negative image, the Iranian nation will be even more disappointed. The sports press should be cautious in this regard.”

Imagine telling Sun or Guardian or Washington Post sports writers to pull their punches for the sake of national morale. Then again, imagine tacitly threatening them with the sack or worse if they disobey. It might work.

I think you can safely assume Newcastle United will be shopping for a striker.