Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Mundial (2)

Yellow shirts everywhere in Soho last night − what Motty once famously described as "a kaleidoscope of colour". The queue outside Salsa! began at 5:30 and tailed back along Charing Cross Road to Borders. Their team won on the night, but look beatable. They play a one man defence (Lucio) and when the others do get back to defend corners and set pieces they look vulnerable. Ronaldo barely had the energy to come back on the pitch for the second half and Adriano didn't make much of an impression. Flashes of individual flair...but none of the symphonic movement that made Brazilian teams of old such a thrilling experience.

From what Kovac has been saying, it seems that marking Ronaldo was rather like standing guard outside Buckingham Palace. An important duty, but not one that requires much running around.

The demeanor of the Croats as their national anthem was played could best be described as un-dead. Compared to this lot Wayne Rooney looks positively metrosexual. The lettering on the back of their shirts hints at an ancient historical pogrom against vowels and, as Surfer pointed out (we hadn't yet eaten), when they hit the ground the opposite side looks like the perfect platform for a few glasses, a candle and a pizza.

The fancied teams continue to win, but the unfancied teams continue to go down fighting. Only the US has been comprehensively thrashed and only the French have been comprehensively unwatchable. No penalties so far − they are saving them up for the knock-out stages.

I was starting to fret this morning that I might have to support the Germans tonight, as a second defeat for Poland would almost guarantee either Ecuador or Costa Rica passage through to the next phase. Yet I know that the heart will win over the head and that I'll still find myself willing on the Poles. Maybe a defeat for the Krouts coupled with a win for the Ticos tomorrow will set the group up nicely for a sudden death finale − all four teams would have three points going into the last game.

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