Noel Gallagher : 'I'm Del Piero's lucky mascot'
Noel Gallagher, musician
Noel Gallagher is the main songwriter, guitarist and sometime singer of the British band Oasis. Together with his brother Liam, they were at the forefront of the 'Britpop' phenomenon in the mid-1990s when they enjoyed huge success with the albums Definitely Maybe and (What's The Story) Morning Glory?. Be Here Now, the 1997 follow-up to Morning Glory became the fastest-selling album in UK chart history, shifting almost 500,000 copies on the day of release alone, and the band enjoyed a recent, critically-acclaimed return to form with their sixth studio album, Don't Believe the Truth. The 39-year-old is a keen follower of his hometown club Manchester City and is looking forward to attending his first FIFA World Cup Final on Sunday.
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Where have you been watching this FIFA World Cup?
I actually went to the best game of the tournament, Germany v Italy the other night in Dortmund, which was just one of the best nights ever, and I went to England v Sweden too. I watched a few games in Ibiza and the rest just at home on my own.
The atmosphere looked amazing at the semi-final in Dortmund. The German supporters could not have done anything more to lift their team really. I've been to a lot of big football matches in my time but I have to say the atmosphere there was just sensational.
How about the match itself?
I think Italy deserved it because they went for it in extra time and it looked to me like the Germans had run out of gas and were playing for penalties. But I think Germany have been brilliant the whole tournament and the Italians are coming good just at the right time.
Do you have a prediction for the Final?
I think (Zinedine) Zidane has played his great game against Brazil because Brazil let him play. He is not going to be allowed to play on Sunday night. As for (Thierry) Henry, this is going to either be the defining moment in his career where he is going to be absolutely amazing or, as I think, he won't actually get a kick.
Do you think the Italians are that good?
Much of that French squad have won it already but the Italians need to win for Italian football. I said to my Italian friends the other night, 'If you beat Germany you'll win it', because to beat Germany in Dortmund is pretty special.
Were you watching with your Italian friends?
I kind of know (Alessandro) Del Piero so I was sat with a couple of his friends and his wife and (Francesco) Totti's wife as well.
Is Del Piero a fan of Oasis then?
He comes to see us when we're over in Italy and he's been to see us in France. We did an interview with him once for the Gazzetta dello Sport and we got to know him. He gives us shirts and he gave me a pair of his boots once, but I had to split them with Liam - he's got one boot and I've got the other.
I don't suppose you're going to the Final, are you?
Well funnily enough I am. It was the first time I'd seen Italy play and before the game we went to the hotel and Del Piero was a bit upset because he wasn't starting but he then said, 'I'm going to come off the bench and score'. After the game he said I'd become his lucky mascot so I've got to go to the Final and wear the exact same clothes and underwear and socks to bring him good luck.
So what will you be wearing?
I'll be wearing a white T-shirt and dark blue jeans and adidas trainers. I'm flying over Sunday morning and hopefully it'll be great. I've never been to a World Cup Final and you only get the chance once, don't you.
What are your overall impressions of this FIFA World Cup?
World Cups always follow a similar pattern before the knockout stages they are always quite wild and brilliant because of all the lesser teams who are just going for it. The knockout stages are a bit cagey but I think it's been the best World Cup over the last two decades.
How have you found the organisation of the tournament?
It very well organised. Everything just runs like clockwork. Getting in and out of the grounds has been amazing and although the grounds are full to capacity it doesn't feel like it. If I was in charge I'd have it in Germany all the time and just be done with it.
Which players have caught your eye?
I liked some of the Mexicans and (Carlos) Tevez, who plays for Argentina, the little rough-looking fella, I thought was brilliant. But it is strange because the big players who we thought were going to be great have not turned up. Apart from Tevez, I'd go for Owen Hargreaves.
What did you make of England's campaign?
Just average. Not as bad as everyone was making out, though. English players are very valued in a team where they are surrounded by players from foreign countries but if you put 11 Englishmen together in a football team it is just dreadful. Back in England they're giving Sven (Goran Eriksson) lots of stick but there's too much talk of tactics we have not got one player as skilful as Henry or Ronaldinho or Ronaldo, nor any goalkeepers who are as good as (Jens) Lehmann. We've only got (Wayne) Rooney really and (David) Beckham but he is coming to the end of his career. All our best players like Steven Gerrard, (Frank) Lampard, John Terry are powerhouse players - they are famed for their tough tackling and they can run all day.
What is the first FIFA World Cup you remember?
It was 1974 in Germany. I remember watching the Final and feeling really sorry for Holland and then in Argentina too as they lost out for the second time in a row.
Who was your first FIFA World Cup hero?
Probably Johan Cruyff from that brilliant Dutch team.
If you could go to one FIFA World Cup game from the past, which would it be?
The game where Holland beat Argentina at France 98. Or the Final in '66 would have been pretty good. But I have to say, the other night in Dortmund if I never see another game in my entire life, that will do for me.