Day 3, The Big One!

As a warm up for the big match at the inconveniently scheduled closing time kick off, we had a couple of preview bouts. Columbia and Greece were first out of the traps. I predicted this as a dour 0-0. As is becoming apparent, I am no Paul the Octopus. Greece let me down here by getting a 3-0 spanking. Second up was Uruguay and Costa Rica. It seems that most people had Costa Rica down as no hopers. I had both teams down as no hopers and predicted a 1-1 draw. At least there is no money riding on this, Costa Rica finished 3-1 victors.

So to the one we were all waiting for. I certainly had no fear facing Italy and had us down for a patriotic 2-1 win, though in reality, I felt that a 1-1 draw was more likely. Bugger! My feeling is that England played well and created plenty of openings. Unfortunately, we squandered our multitudinous chances on goal, whereas Italy converted theirs to run out winners. It’s just like watching Huddersfield Town, I murmured, as yet another golden opportunity went begging. This is exactly what Town do; squander a hatful of chances in the first half, before getting punished for it in the second. And so it came to pass.

There were optimistic points to note. Sterling turned the full back inside out time and time again. Later, his glorious through pass to Rooney and his equally precise cross for an effortless finish by Sturridge was sublime. Barkley looked like he could make an impact. Cahill looked good at the back, which was comforting, because defence is where we look weak on paper. Jagielka made a well-read headed clearance off the line as well. Their winning goal ultimately came as a result of poor defending, however. From Welbeck and Baines on the left to Cahill in the middle, everyone was pulled out of shape and a superb, inch perfect (or should it be centimetre perfect?) cross for the marauding Balotelli saw him in space for a deciding header. He was Johnson’s man and I’m not a huge fan of Glen Johnson’s, but in fairness he was pulled out from the right back position to cover for Cahill’s man. These are the things that punish you at this level.

I felt a draw would have been a fair reflection. Disappointing certainly, but there is still a good opportunity to progress. On a slightly irked note, what was the point of Balotelli’s ‘2-1, shhh’ hand gesture to the camera at the end. He just doesn’t know when to keep it to himself, does he? I was glad when he left Man City so we didn’t have to endure his tiresomely trite T shirt messages, yet he continues to nauseate people from thousands of miles away. Uncalled for…

The late, late game was the Ivory Coast versus that great powerhouse of world football, Japan. Not even I could muster the willpower to stay up for this one. Just as well really, as all football commentators’ propensity to preface every reference to an Ivory Coast player with, “The Ivorian…” gets right up my (not insubstantial) hooter. The Ivorian this… the Ivorian that… I am easily annoyed it has to be said. Although, having said that, I had this one down as a 1-0 to the ‘Ivorians’, so at least the 2-1 result meant that I had a win by a single goal to add to the prediction league. I’m not pulling up any trees in the said league, however. Good job I’m not a betting man, I’d be living in a cardboard box on the embankment…

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.