Day: July 2, 2010

World Cup 2010: Netherlands 2-1 Brazil

Into the quarter-finals then, and now it starts getting serious.This was the first clash between two teams with serious winning credentials – or at least, Brazil’s pedigree was beyond dispute. Maybe there were still some doubts about the Netherlands, coming into this game, for all their long unbeaten run and their hundred percent records both in qualifying and in the group phases. It still remained to be seen how they’d fare against top class opposititon. And to be honest, for all that they won this extraodinary match, I’m still not entirely sure. The game was turned on its head by a series of critical Brazilian errors in the second half, in a game they looked to have well in control, and they’ll go home wondering quite how it happened.

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The England Obituary, Part Five: A View From North of the Border

In the last of our responses to England’s World Cup campaign, Gavin Saxton presents a view of the campaign as seen from Scotland, and is less than impressed by the manner in which the nation reacts to its team.

It’s not really an obituary, this. For a start our lot lost 4-0 to Norway in qualifying so I’m in no position to start flinging mud. I’d be only too delighted if many of your underappreciated players were allowed to declare themselves Scottish instead. I’d even take Heskey. So it’s not about the team – mostly I just wanted to have a bit of a rant about the English press, first and foremost because they’ve been annoying the hell out of me over the past few weeks and I wanted to get some of it off my chest, but also because there’s a more serious point involved. For all the many and various reasons that have been suggested for the (perceived) malaise in the English game over the past few days, the impact of the media itself, and the responses and reactions of the nation and the supporters in general, is itself, I would submit, a more active impediment to the success of the national team than any other single factor.

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