BfB Goes To The World Cup 2010 (Without leaving the front room)

The World Cup is the biggest event on the planet and that the pressure has got to some of the players is perhaps understandable. Until Jesus returns – not Navas but the Biblical one – there will be nothing that has so many pairs of eyes on it. That the pressure gets to some players is hardly surprising.

The pressure got to France the most.

Nicolas Anelka snapped at half time putting out a four letter rant at his manager that had him sent home. It is hard to imagine what Raymond Domenech had done to deserve such a foul mouthing from that player specifically considering his dedication to picking the ineffectual striker over any number of better sounding prospects but nevertheless the man they used to call Le Sulk was sent home after his fury and the following day his team mates refused to train.

One has some empathy with the players – Anelka was sent home on the say of L’Equipe rather than any due process – but the emerge as a collective who have been seen under the microscope and cracked.

Examination has not cracked England so much as dulled Fabio Capello’s side. Without losing or even being behind the English press has decided that all is lost following a goalless draw with Algeria in which it seems that no three passes could be made without losing the ball. It was a wretched performance and one that resulted in John Terry leading a “clear the air” meeting which seems to have confirmed the chasm in the England squad.

Capello wants to deal though the captain Steven Gerrard, Capello is upset that Terry has gone public and it is said that Gerrard and Michael Carrick are not that pleased with the suggestion of Terry that only Joe Cole – and Wayne Rooney – can open up defences.

Capello is furious with Terry saying he has made a “big mistake”, Terry is acting like a man who feels wronged and indeed is as Capello stripped him of the captaincy for having an affair with a team mate’s girlfriend but all in all the England camp has never looked so fractious.

Capello – Don Fabio – is now expected to make his excuses after the World Cup and leave England. A win in the third game and more will allow him to go out with some style but one doubts he fancies another two years of pressure followed by performance de-pressurisation.

Capello’s home nation Italy drew with New Zealand to the aghastment of the country who took to looking deep into the squad for replacement strikers. Two draws for the Italians and the English are not so much guarantees of defeat so much as suggestions that if the nations do progress no good will come of it. The pressure has got to them.

The Germans lost 1-0 to Serbia but called it a hangover but should any of the nations lose then – like France – that pressure will break into an earthquake.

There has been no African footballing earthquake. Ivory Coast lost to Brazil looking second rate and Cameroon’s exit – the result of a fine performance by Denmark – did for another fancied side. Ghana could have secured a place in the second round had they made the most of a ten man Australia, Algeria have a challenge to get through as do hosts South Africa.

Argentina and Holland both won second games with the former hitting stride and the latter still waiting to impress. Still they have managed to avoid the pressure.

Best Results

  1. One down early on Denmark seemed to be on the way home as Cameroon’s lions started to roar but level heads and knowing what they were good at sent the Europeans to a 2-1 win.
  2. North Korea’s resistance was solid for forty five minutes but the skilful Portugal side carved them open for a 7-0 win.
  3. No matter how much disarray the French were in Mexico’s 2-0 win was a tidy affair.

The Moments

  1. A seemingly unstoppable Gianluca Zambrotta shot is arrowing in until Mark Paston dives low to his right and makes a stunning save to preserve the 1-1 scoreline for the Kiwis agianst the World Champions.
  2. Michael Bradley smashes home an equaliser for USA as they come back from the dead to draw with Slovenia.
  3. Miroslav Klose is sent off and a minute later Nikola Žigic heads down for Milan Jovanovic to give the Serbs a winning goal against the hitherto unbeatable Germans.

The Great Performances

  1. Many good performances to pick from as Argentina put in four but the three for Gonzalo Higuaín were the result of a great centre forward performance. Mentions too for Ángel Di María, Javier Mascherano, Carlos Tévez and Lionel Messi.
  2. Danish sometimes glory Dennis Rommedahl turns it on to score one and set up the other as the Danes knock Cameroon out.
  3. Ryan Nelsen and Mark Paston – combined – were the heart of a superb rearguard action which got New Zealand a draw with Italy.

The Worst Moments

  1. When a goal down to New Zealand the task was for the Italians to show the skill to come back into the game. Instead Daniele De Rossi flopped in the box. It was close to the Thierry Henry moment for the Italians.
  2. France fall apart and Nicolas Anelka calls his manager words that would make you blush getting sent home and causing a walk out by his team mates. No criticism for any intended just the regret that the footballing nation of Platini has ripped itself to shreds.
  3. Ninety of them as England fail to string three passes together against Algeria.

Comments are closed.