Sadly, there have been
eleven eighteen more World Cup related fatalities. The World Cup Death Watch increases to 36 43 as we head into the second round of play.
Happily, my own death is not included in the tally, notwithstanding the many death threats that this series has inspired. But should I die at the hands of football hooligans, let it be known that this was how I wanted to perish.
That would make me the first to die of standard football hooliganism. Of the 36 World Cup fatalities we've seen so far, not a single one has been due to rioting or classic hooliganism. In Kenya, a man died after being stabbed during a fight over the Iran-Portugal game. The stabbing took place in the Feel Good Bar in Nyaribo. China leads the way with World Cup deaths. A South African website reported that six Chinese people have died of heart attacks or stress related to the beloved game. Since one of these death could have been the over-drinking death in Hunan I reported earlier, I'll count this report as five, not six. Another two Chinese fans were killed in a car crash after a night of World Cup festivities. Why so many deaths in China (nine so far) when they don't even have a team in play? The prevailing theory lays the blame on time zones. It is late at night in China while the games are played in Germany, a perfect recipe for drinking the night away. The same theory is being blamed on the recent spate of Chinese Facial Paralysis.
Other Asian countries are checking in as well. A man in Thailand died of soccer-related drinking injuries, only the drinks in question were coffee and an unspecified energy beverage. In Vietnam, a 45 year old man suffered a fatal heart attack while watching the Germany-Costa Rica game. And finally, Nigeria was home to the first 2006 World Cup related strangling, where a man was murdered by three boys while all four of them watched the opening match.
To recap the 36 World Cup deaths so far: there have been eleven heart attacks, ten shootings, six electrocutions, two stabbings, two car crashes, one strangling, one death of natural causes and one coffee related fatality. What accounts for the high number of heart attacks? German doctors are using this World Cup to determine exactly that.
No deaths in these United States, despite the hapless American team which would have been eliminated days ago if Italy had not scored a goal against itself. And not only has the US been eliminated from play, we were also humiliated during the World Cup Beer Bowl.
You would think that America would love Soccer, given it's similarity to war. George Orwell described the game as "war minus the shooting," and there has even been at least one full fledged international Soccer war, the 1969 "Soccer War" between El Salvador and Honduras (via Cynical C-Blog).
But it is not to be. Americans like their war straight up. While the rest of the world is hiring witchdoctors, importing prostitutes and nannies, painting their naked women and letting their spiritual life go to shit, the World Cup registers barely a blip on our national radar.
And we'll even be denied the notoriety of being the absolute worst at the game. American Samoa, despite being ranked dead last among the 205 FIFA teams, will be denied the great tradition of determining exactly who is the stinkiest, most worthless team in the bunch.
Oh, the indignity.
(Pics are from this soccer fanatics picture page. Check out these cool World Cup panoramas also. All previous World Cuo Death Watches can be seen here. Thanks to Rob and Amanda. If you have any World Cup links, send them to me at ken at wfmu dot org )
UPDATE: The count jumps from 36 to 43. One adult and two children were killed by speeding cars during the celebrations that followed Ghana's victory over the US. Another person died after being stabbed in Toronto during a Ghanaian victory celebration. And in South Africa, three men died while watching the World Cup when they suffocated on the exhaust of the generator which powered their television set.