Day: June 21, 2010

John Terry & English Expectations

On Friday night in Cape Town, the England 2010 World Cup team played as if they had passed into the spirit world. All but invisible, they made an absolute mockery of their pre-tournament hype (which, in spite of everything that we know about know about them and the realism of the ordinary, everyday supporters, ended up as high in the media as it always does). Since then, the distinct impression coming from their Rustenberg headquarters has been of a group of players that is desperate to pin the blame for their shortcomings on just about anybody but themselves. Wayne Rooney has apologised for his comments on Friday night, but he can consider himself likely that, in the torrent of future chip wrappers that have poured forth over the last three days or so, his half a dozen or so words will be drowned by those of The Man That Would Still Be Captain: John Terry. Terry’s press conference yesterday morning already seems likely to be the defining moment of England’s story at the 2010 World Cup finals. It could be overshadowed by a colossal turnaround on the pitch, but expectations of those at home are now so low that it seems almost inconceivable that this team will be able to arrest their fall from grace against Slovenia on Wednesday afternoon. Furthermore, it now feels as if a growing number...

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World Cup 2010: Spain 2-0 Honduras

The part-timers from Honduras took on the mighty European champions Spain with it all at stake: a loss for the Spanish side would see the tournament favourites eliminated at the first hurdle. What could possibly happen? Well, naturally enough, Spain won at a canter. However comfortable the performance, though, the margin of victory could yet cause some furrowed brows and frenzied abacus work come this Friday evening’s Group H deciders.

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World Cup 2010: Portugal 7 (SEVEN) North Korea 0

It was a transformation more complete than a Doctor Who regeneration. “North” Korea went from “well-organised, but more than that, they can play” just before half-time to “this lot” by the end of the BBC’s coverage, by-passing “plucky” completely. In fact, the transformation was quicker than that. In between Portugal’s second and fourth goals, seven minutes in total, Korea’s record in the run-up to these finals had changed from a series of good draws with 1-0 defeats against Paraguay and Mexico “who have done well here” to “no wins in six matches.” Stalinist revisionism at it’s most clinical. The Beeb haven’t stinted on the stereotyping with the Koreans, or at least the communist, totalitarian ones, especially regarding what will, or more to the point, won’t be shown of the Chollima’s games “in Pyongyang.” According to match commentator, Simon Brotherton, they “only showed highlights” of the Brazil game and not until seventeen hours later. And he adds, without a shred of evidence I’m sure, that they wouldn’t have shown a minute if Korea had lost heavily. Of course, this might well have been down to the cost of taking the coverage, which has been a stretch for better-resourced broadcasters. And only eventually did Brotherton explain that 17 hours after the game was actually “prime time” in Korea. But, you know, facts…good story etc… “Technically known as the Korean Democratic People’s...

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World Cup 2010: Chile 1-0 Switzerland

Well if I’ve only got one pre-tournament prediction right so far, I’ve got it right even more convincingly than I imagined – that the South American teams would all do well. Their combined record for the first two rounds of games reads Played 10, Won 8, Drawn 2. (Compare and contrast with the combined records of Europe’s big five: England, Spain, France, Germany and Italy can boast Played 9, Won 1, Drawn 5, Lost 3 – with Spain still to play this evening.)

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Mungo in Africa, part 4

The final group games in the 2010 World Cup are imminent and results are getting critical.  Like all good television channels, Clack TV is not afraid to stick its bloody nose right in and make all manner of useless suggestions for how any of the 31 teams still mathematically in the competition can secure their place in the knockout rounds.  Even if they require WD40 and spanners.  Mungo McCrackas, definitely proving to be the latter this summer, to the rescue! Mungo in Africa was churned out by...

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