Sunday, 13 June 2010

Sunday 13 June 2010 – WORLD CUP DAY THREE

As I awaken into the morning with a headache the country appears to share a similar state and collective panic over how the England v USA game went yesterday. Personally I can remember a time when we would have beaten nations such as America, Algeria and Slovenia 5-0 every time. It now feels/seems a long time ago since The Sun was proclaiming the group as “E.A.S.Y.” The less said about the New York Post the better.

From here I spend all morning listening to various World Cup podcasts and reading various World Cup supplements and magazines. On the Guardian World Cup Daily podcast Barry Glendenning is harsh but spot on, the least sympathetic but most accurate commentator of proceedings. Elsewhere I’m trying to learn about Honduras you see. Them and Chile and Slovakia and all the other countries that will be gone come two weeks time.

Today is my third birthday invitation in four days. The temptation is to not turn up as lessons were learned hard yesterday. I’ll pull myself together though. While at the occasion my friend and his girlfriend show me their vuvuzuela iPhone app. Its crazy shit.

Just after midday the build up for the first game of the day begins, it being the second match of Group C and the opportunity to scout out England’s next two opponents. Naturally more coverage (on the BBC) is lent to England’s inability to win last night. Some people are panicking but others are staying cool. The game itself is a typical early rounds match of two potential non-qualifiers. Thankfully Algerian substitute Ghezzal with his crazy hair and crazy actions livens up proceedings when he performs a pointless handball and gets sent off for a second yellow card. By now the Algerian coach is beginning to look his age of one hundred years old. In the 76th minute the Slovenian goalkeeper Handanovic almost adds to the farce as he knocks a clearance straight to an Algerian player which fortunately for him does not serve to punish. A couple of minutes later however and the Algerian keeper Chaouchi finds himself performing along the lines of Robert Green as a shot from Robert Koren slips through his hands and produces the only goal of the game. It ends Slovenia 1 Algeria 0 meaning Slovenia are the early leaders above England of Group C.

I get back from the birthday thing a few minutes into the second half with the game still at 0-0. Very quickly it is becoming evident that this is going to be a tight tournament with low scoring games. Perhaps one game will open up the floodgates. We can only hope. Unsurprisingly this game is more entertaining than the Algeria v Slovenia one as Ghana look skilled as promised/expressed. At the hour mark Gyan hits the outside of the Serbian post with a header. With about fifteen minutes left in the game Lukovic picks up a mystery second yellow card which reduces Serbia to ten men. At this point they pick up their game briefly until Ghana wins a penalty five minutes from time. As pressure builds Gyan steps up and puts the ball away that comes with a lengthy celebration. Soon afterwards the game finds itself in injury time where Gyan again hits the post before the game ends in a 1-0 victory for Ghana.

The third game of the day comes with the promise of being an exciting one. Tim Cahill is in the Australian team and strangely in the lineup it would appear that he is to be the lone striker. Is this Australia being negative or revolutionary and inventive? Years ago Cahill once played up front for Millwall (because of injury) and he did score but it just wasn’t his position. After a lively start from Australia, in the eighth minute Podolski fires in a rocket to give Germany the lead. Later halfway through the half Klose adds a second with a brilliant header from a brilliant cross as he chases the all time World Cup finals top scorer record. These are two strikers that only scored three times a piece this season for their respective clubs in Germany. The second half begins a bit more livelier for Australia but the game ends as a competitive match when in the 55th minute the referee sends off Tim Cahill for a foul on Schweinsteiger. It is a very harsh decision. Inevitably Germany adds a third goal when in the 67th minute Muller scores. A couple of minutes later substitute Cacau adds a fourth and suddenly Germany are doing what Germany always seems to manage to do: terrify in the early stages whenever not much is expected of them. It ends 4-0 and suddenly the threat of England potentially having to play them in the next round is a genuine concern.

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