Thursday, 24 June 2010
England winning, France out, Italy out
How curious, in fact how much curioser and curioser, this World Cup is turning out to be. I have to remind myself that England haven't actually lost a game while Germany have (to the Serbians, who nevertheless came bottom of their group) as have Spain (losing to the Swiss, who also failed to qualify).
Danny Baker, a Radio 5 man if ever there was one is funny and very sharp but has a radio face rather than a TV face. He put it this way (on radio): England aren't good enough to go out yet, meaning, as he explained, that England's pattern has been the same in every World Cup. Bad first game, worse second game, quite a good third game that sees them qualify for the knock-out, a real improvement in the next round, and finally going out on penalties or injuries, or bad luck, or simply to an even better team when playing their best.
Beating Slovenia 1-0 doesn't look great on paper, and was tense watching on the screen, but there was at least something nervously to smile at - some neat, thoughtful, confident football and the winning of fifty-fifty challenges - in patches only, but still with a touch of class.
Losing to Slovakia 2-3 will look worse for the Italians, who deserved to lose (I am home in the afternoon dandling baby Marlie while the womenfolk are out buying new fans to replace the dangerous old ones).
Central Europe is up and running (that is if we forget the Czechs, the Poles, the Romanians, the Bulgarians, the Croatians, the Austrians and the Hungarians of course)! I suppose we should include the Germans in that.
Western Europe is represented by the Dutch and the English.
South is Spain and Portugal.
As for France! It is more than curioser to see an implosion quite like the one the French team has undergone. There's a dangerous power vacuum forming there. They'll be tearing up the pavements of Paris tomorrow!
I suppose Argentina or Brazil should walk away with it.
On the other hand Slovakia! Another Central European Classic.