Marmalade sandwich may make it a real picnic
If the Peruvian footballers seek a compatriot who knows how to foot it in a foreign environment for this afternoon’s World Cup qualifier, look no further than Paddington Bear.
Then again, with players of Alberto Rodriguez, Christian Cueva and Jefferson Farfan’s calibre in their side, perhaps they might just back themselves.
Still, Paddington, he of “deepest, darkest Peru”, seemed to adjust well when he moved away from his Aunt Lucy and Uncle Pastuzo to foreign climes.
As a spectacled bear, he was a native to the Andes mountain range. Despite his tendency to bare all in his native habitat, he had the street savvy to deck himself out in Wellington boots and a duffle coat when he was discovered at the London station named in his honour*.
Those accessories could prove handy if the capital city turns polar today and the players get grizzly. Showers and south-east winds are forecast, with temperatures dropping out of the teens.
Bear in mind Paddington spent his early life at altitude, meaning his blood cells lapped up the extra oxygen at sea level once he settled in Britain for his famed adventures. The Peruvians should bear up fine if they’ve done the same.
A couple of slices of toast lathered in marmalade also probably wouldn’t hurt to ensure they’re energised for the occasion, but both teams are advised to stay away from any form of marching powder if they want to complete the trek to Russia next year without calamity.
However, Paddington’s renowned politeness might not be as effective for the Peruvian players in the Westpac Stadium cauldron come kickoff at 4.15pm.
Referring to the All Whites as Mr Wood, Mr Reid and Mr Durante et al is unlikely to curry favour with a World Cup spot on the line.
Employing one of Paddington’s customary “hard stares” on those who rile them up might get better results, without resorting to anything which might incur a yellow or red card. That wouldn’t be in the Ursine Code of Ethics.
Still, if Peru are ranked 10th in the world and New Zealand are [excuse the pause as this writer scrolls down the Fifa rankings] 122nd, the bare facts suggest the visitors should survive in this habitat.
* To allay any risk of fake news, the station may have been named more than a century earlier than Paddington Bear’s arrival.
Paddington Bear may be Peru’s deepest, darkest secret weapon.