Dispatches from the 2005 World Cup

HELLO, FOOTBALL FANS - that's football, not "American" "football" which is a travesty and actually legally illegal - and welcome to the 2005 World Cup, which was announced unexpectedly by a mysterious caped figure at FIFA headquarters in the centre of the earth.

As no teams have yet entered, due to widespread doubts about any mysterious caped figures being known accredited FIFA officials, allow me to introduce you to the history of the World Cup.

The World Cup, or Jules Rimet Trophy, is contested every four years by representatives of every country on Earth except the Vatican City and other such improbabilities. Countries are arranged into groups of one, twelve, seven or thirty-six, according to geographical disposition and moral fibre. Countries in these groups then take turns wiping the floor with the American Samoa youth team until someone bribes a FIFA official and thereby qualifies.

Once a sufficient number of teams has qualified, they are brought forward into another stage of eighteen months of soulless and unsatisfying group matches. Advancement from this stage is determined by:

a) points accrued
b) goal difference
c) wolves

Of these, c) is the man's way to progress.

Once the teams, or as in some years, the wolves, have entered the final stages, interest is spontaneously generated, and five billion faces turn like sunflowers towards the sunlight of the TV screen. The other billion are either American or actually playing.

From here on in the contest is determined by several rounds of knockout stages. Certain teams have taken this literally in the past, for example the Irish team in the era of Roy Keane's captaincy. During this period the only Irish player was Roy Keane, who had slaughtered the rest in a frenzy of testosterone, devoured the entire league structure of a number of small African countries, and scored a delicately looping freekick over the Togolese defensive wall to snatch an important quarter-final victory in 1990.

The Golden Goal rule, much-maligned by critics and players alike, has been scrapped due to all the goals being melted down for profit. FIFA are now experimenting in infinite periods of extra time.

The final is the world's biggest sporting event, overcoming even the Olympics. The crowd is of such size that it often collapses under its own weight and goes supernova. This has made it impossible for non-deific observers to ascertain the exact results of all, or indeed any, of the actual finals played. However, a tentative list might read as follows:

2002 Brazil
1998 France
1994 wolves
1990 Brazil
1986 Brazil (twice)
1982 Argentina
1978 Mecha-Brazil
1974 Germany
1970 Brazil
1966 England, although you'd never know it from the BBC; barely gets a mention these days; English never drag up the past; quite unlike the national character even to have it cross the mind
1962 Brazil (Germany sent off after six minutes)
1958 Brazil
1952 Brazil (six times)
1948 Germany
1944 wolves
1940 Trophy invaded by Germany but later awarded to Luxembourg for no reason in particular
1936 Brazil (won by such a margin that the losing finalists, Italy, were abolished as a country until 1938)
1932 wolves
1928 Guam (disputed)
1924 Revisionist Historians FC
1922 not yet decided (Germany lead Norway by one goal to nil)
1920 Brazil
1916 Switzerland (only country to enter or, indeed, to know about the competition at all)
1912 Guam (disputed)
1908 Everyone except Finland
1904 Brazil
1900 Austro-Hungary
1896 Worcestershire
1206-1892 Brazil (except 1364: wolves)
1202 Uruguay

Great players of the past include Stalin. Of these, only Stalin was a goalkeeper.

The only players to appear in every cup final were Stalin, Pélé and Bobby Moore. Of these, Stalin is the only player to have appeared in every final simultaneously.

The wolves are the only team to have retained the trophy, having eaten it.

Worcestershire remain the only country to have won the trophy under the belief that they were playing a different sport.

Of all the winners, Argentina were the least drunk.

The 1922 final was unfortunately held in a temporal anomaly. Results are expected in the Neocarboniferous era of geological time.

The 2006 final will be held in Belgium, or, failing that, in a state of anarchy.

The 2010 final will be held in Peru, South Africa, Canada, or the endless wastes at the end of hope.

The 2014 final will be rubbish.

What do you think, did we get it right? Comment here...