England and the World Cup

We’ve watched several of the World Cup games including quite a few that didn’t involve England – and it’s certainly been a strange tournament so far. Some big teams have gone already (France, Italy…) and we’ve seen some of the world’s best footballers missing chances and mis-passing the ball. I do think this ball, coupled with the altitude in some of the South African stadia has given players some problems.

As a viewer, I HATE those wretched vuvuzelas thoughaccept the point made by a South African based City fan – that

…the problem is that so many none football fans were there and don’t know how and when to blow the vuvuzela.If you go to PSL game they help create the atmosphere as they are blown rhythmically and if the user is really good even tunefully.It is also used to represent a fighting stick and is used to point while singing “hit the dog” in Zulu. So you would almost see a crowd wave moving backwards and forwards towards the pitch rather than around as in a Mexican wave.

(Thanks blubok1, hope you don’t mind me sharing that with a wider audience)

As for England – what can I say? It’s just like watching City! After the first game v USA I wasn’t impressed but hoped we could up our game. Like most of the country, I was fairly optimistic that we’d beat Algeria so was not particularly worried about this game. After a beer and hotdogs meal to get us in the mood, Billy and watched the match together. And were shocked at just how poor it was. You could have been forgiven for thinking the players had never met before, hated playing football and had no desire to win at all! The passing was woeful and no-one looked comfortable on the ball. Having given the team their full support (somehow it was possible to hear this despite the vuvuzelas), the England fans were perfectly justified in booing the team after the full time whistle. Not at all good enough boys!

So it was with little optimism that I settled to watch our last group game, England v Slovenia, on Wednesday afternoon (having booked the afternoon off my clinic weeks ago – lucky I have a nice boss πŸ˜‰ )On the plus side – we were being shown on the Beeb and not ITV (who like to play with artistic camera angles, meaning missed action, and they have awful commentators and pundits. We also usually lose on ITV!) and we were playing in red instead of white – we seem to do better in red.

It was a better team selection and tactics I thought, and the players looked more interested and energetic. We kept possession, passed well, knew where team mates were and trusted them to do their jobs. Once Defoe scored, the players relaxed even more and looked more confident – and had more chances, but the game remained a one-goal-affair. (It has to be said that the Slovenians played a VERY defensive game and even though a point could see them through to the next stage, they really should have just gone for it, I felt.) It was slightly nerve-racking to watch in the late stages of the game, as only one goal wasn’t much of a cushion. However, it sufficed and England got the job done – it even looked like we’d miraculously top the group. Eventually though, the USA scored late in their own game to take first place. Still, England are through to the last 16 which, based on the game against Algeria, looked in serious doubt so let’s be thankful.

So the last 16 teams have now been decided and the first knockout round looks like this:

26/06 – 15.00 Uruguay – South Korea
26/06 – 19.30 USA – Ghana
27/06 – 15.00 Germany – England
27/06 – 19.30 Argentina – Mexico
28/06 – 15.00 Holland – Slovakia
28/06 – 19.30 Brazil – Chile
29/06 – 15.00 Paraguay – Japan
29/06 – 19.30 Spain – Portugal

It’s difficult to predict how England will play, but I’d hope they will be up for this game against the traditional rivals, Germany. I’m not confident though as Germany look good and play quite a slick game – then again, maybe we’ll enjoy a nice open match. (We’re on the Beeb again and playing in red, too πŸ˜‰ ) You’ve got to think Argentina are likely to beat Brazil, so even if we do get past Germany, I seriously doubt we’d beat Argentina – who I think have every chance of winning the competition. I won’t mind eating humble pie if I’m proved wrong though πŸ˜‰

Of the other games, Spain v Portugal should be good – hopefully Spain will win that one. My predictions for the next round then, are: Uruguay; USA; Germany; Argentina; Holland; Brazil; Paraguay; Spain. Then again, it’s been a funny competition so far and anything could happen. Which is, after all, why we love the beautiful game πŸ™‚

Comments

  1. Uraguay 2 – 1 South Korea. My first one is through. πŸ™‚

  2. USA 1 – 2 Ghana (aet) Very well done, Ghana.

  3. Germany 4 – 1 England. Poor from England but well deserved by Germany – and just what I expected/feared.

  4. Argentina 3 – 1 Mexico – as expected it was a brilliant game. Another controversy filled decision notwithstanding, a fair result.

  5. Netherlands 2 – 1 Slovakia – another one right. (Only one wrong so far, note πŸ˜‰ )

  6. Brazil 3 – 0 Chile πŸ™‚

  7. Paraguay 0 – 0 Japan aet. Paraguay won 5-3 on penalties.

  8. Spain 1 – 0 Portugal πŸ˜€ (Ronaldo, What’s the score? πŸ˜› )

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