Saturday, 5 June 2010

Saturday 5 June 2010 – 6 DAYS TO THE WORLD CUP

With one week now until England’s first game against the USA people are flapping somewhat regarding the reality of the absence of Rio Ferdinand. To be honest though he hasn’t be the Rio Ferdinand of old for a long time now. This season for me Michael Dawson has been genuinely fantastic for Tottenham and his addition to the England squad is a solid one.

Elsewhere news then filters through that John Obi Mikel is now out of the Nigeria squad. Chelsea players are quite literally dropping like flies.

The Guardian has its GUIDE TO THE WORLD CUP today and unsurprisingly it is top notch and probably the best guide to the competition that I will likely see. That said I haven’t seen the News Of The World equivalent yet.

Today there is a genuine plethora of friendly matches on this the final Saturday before the competition begins on Friday.

From the England group (Group C) Algeria score a 1-0 victory over the United Arab Emirates through a penalty in the 51st minute from Ziani. The victory hardly sounds resounding, hardly suggests the team will be much of an issue when England have to face them in their second game.

Elsewhere from England’s group the USA pull of a much more impressive performance by beating Australia 3-1 through two goals from Buddle and an injury time third from the impressively named Hercules Gomez. Former Millwall star Tim Cahill scored an equalizer for Australia before the Americans sealed the deal. With Australia being the Group D there is a slightly possibility that this could be a fixture in the first round of the knockout stages, should results not go to expectations.

Also from Group D, Ghana scores a 1-0 victory over Latvia via an 89th minute goal from Owusu-Abeyie which suggests the Africans made a meal of not necessarily the most difficult of opponents. Surely cause for concern at their end.

Another team not looking too good against non-qualifiers are Honduras who go down 3-0 to Romania. Additionally also from Group H Switzerland register a 1-1 draw against the faltering Italians which suggests neither side will be flourishing in South Africa.

As to South Africa they register a seemingly impressive 1-0 victory over Denmark as Mphela scores the winner in the 75th minute. With this fixture Denmark were probably trying to get a feel for playing against African opponents in preparation for their Group E fixture against Cameroon who themselves went down 4-3 against Serbia despite twice taking the lead. For Cameroon Webo scores a brace while Choupo-Moting scored their third as Krasic, Stankovic, Milijas (a penalty) and Pantelic scored all the goals for Serbia in the first half.

Looking devastating from Group E were the Netherlands who ran out 6-1 victors over Hungary with a second half five goal rout after actually falling behind after six minutes. Van Persie scored in the first half before Sneijder, Robben (twice), Van Bommel and Elia grabbed the remainder in the second half. On this form the Dutch will be a match for anyone at the finals.

Elsewhere from Group F Slovakia registered a comfortable 3-0 win over Costa Rica through a Costa Rican own goal followed by contributions from Vittek and Sestak.

With today being my final free weekend before the World Cup I take the opportunity to head to London and indulge in some final culture before football melts my brain. The first event I hop to is a matinee of the Daniel Kitson one-man show 66A Church Road at the New Players Theatre. As an amazing stand-up with shows that tend to carry a theme/narrative the move to theatre is a natural one for Kitson who performs an ode to his old flat in Crystal Palace, his warmest home and the longest relationship he has held. After the show I head to the BFI for a preview screening of Greenberg starring Ben Stiller which turns out to be like the Steve Carell character from Little Miss Sunshine doing Garden State via Mumblecore. It’s a tremendous movie that serves to celebrate dysfunction in a celebratory manner. After this I fly back to Colchester to attend the Dead Air event at Slackspace. When I arrive there is a video piece playing out from Kelvin And Crease, which reminds me of Nigel Buckland and the great lost late night show Vids. After this Big In Albania puts in another great video set mashing up all sorts of exploits sampling amongst other things Zardoz, the Miami Vice theme and Big Black while various military visuals play out in the background. The night ends with a headline set from former Warp Records artist John Callaghan who turns in another crazy electronic clown set that creates much suffrage and amusement before climaxing with a spot on take of Bono turning “Where The Streets Have No Name” into “When I’m Cleaning Windows”. Now you come to think of it, it was obvious all along.

By this point my iPhone has long since died and as I head home the day has been long and I am exhausted. Will the World Cup be this hard on me?

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