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Portuguese Men Of War

Angola 0-1 Portugal One can only presume that, tomorrow morning, the Portuguese press will be howling, gnashing their teeth and writing off their team’s chances going much further than the second round of the tournament. Because they would do if Portugal were...

The Persian Gulf

Mexico 3-1 Iran I should be careful. I’ll be using up all of my decent title puns before the end of this week. Mexico are possibly even worse than Spain in terms of their under-achievement in the World Cup. It’s a big country, and it’s football mad....

Going Dutch

Holland 1-0 Serbia & Montenegro We’re always going to feel to down by the Dutch. You see the luminous orange shirts on a football pitch, and instantly your mind turns back to Cruyff & Neeskens in 1974, Arie Haan and his fabulous long-range strike in...

The Real World Cup Starts Here

Argentina 2-1 Ivory Coast If you believe the press reaction to this match, football has been taken to a new plane of skill, athleticism and excitement. Like so much press reaction, the case has been overstated to a frankly disproportionate level. It was, to be fair,...

The Perfect Result

Trinidad & Tobago 0-0 Sweden From a jingoistically English perspective, we couldn’t have asked for much more than this. Trinidad have lost a man for a game. Sweden have now got something of a mountain to climb, and could be out by the time they play England...