Re­sults & fix­tures

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - World Cup -

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.

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