Results & fixtures
THIS World Cup is a lot like the new city centre fountains.
We’ve waited ages for them to come along, gone through plenty of stress on the way and, let’s face it, they’ve both been damp squibs.
I had the pleasure of navigating my way through the Peterborough pond while on a shopping trip yesterday. I purchased Prozac and motivational music to get me through another day of World Cup watching.
But thanks to ‘ The Madman’ and his men I didn’t need them. All I required was a towel after being splashed by a couple of the city’s new little squirts.
It was obvious a team crammed full of attacking talent and playing in red would finally bring the tournament to life yesterday. It wasn’t clear that would be Chile.
All they had to show for a highly-impressive hourand-a-half against Honduras was a Jean Beausjour goal. But Germany’s destruction of Australia aside, it was the best performance of the tournament to date.
I take my hat (well backto-front baseball cap) off to Marcelo Bielsa (the man with the nutty nickname). Finally we have a manager prepared to go on the attack.
None of that negative 4-5-1 nonsense where he is concerned. Bielsa is the South American answer to Barry Fry.
He’s renowned for his cavalier playing style, has been known to conduct press conferences which last for up to four hours and probably wouldn’t have much joy trying to shift Ben Wright or Kwesi Appiah either.
WHILE Chile blew hot (no pun intended), World Cup favourites Spain were cold.
Vicente Del Bosque’s boys are by far the best team in Europe and let’s be frank, noone expected them to slip up against the Swiss.
But Spain’s awesome attacking arsenal failed to fire and Gelson Fernandes stuck the knife in to send shockwaves round world football.
They’ll be yodelling over this result in the Alps for years, but speaking through my wallet, I’m convinced Spain will still go all the way.
We have now caught a glimpse of all 32 teams involved in South Africa but the first 16 games produced only 25 goals.
C’mon lads. Forget about not losing – it’s winning that counts.
IT is not unusual for a player’s stock to rise while out injured, but it seems that Gareth Barry has become the saviour of English football.
His return for the Group C game against Algeria tomorrow will apparently be the answer to all our prayers.
His simple passing and de- fensive screening will, they say, be the difference between a disjointed display against the States on Saturday and one befitting a side with aspirations of going all the way.
Forget about the raw talent of Rooney, the class of Lampard and the dynamic brilliance of Gerrard, it is the basic job done by Barry that makes England tick.
The holding midfielder role is crucial in the modernday game. Real Madrid were never the same after letting Claude Makalele go.
When the player dubbed the ‘water carrier’ was allowed to leave Los Galacticos it brought a backlash from his former team-mates, even though David Beckham arrived in his place.
Zinedine Zidane apparently said: “Why put another layer of gold paint on the Bentley when you are losing the entire engine.”
England were more like an old banger in their opener – sluggish, handling poorly and not at all easy on the eye.