Friday, June 18, 2010

'Never write off the Germans' ?

No European team has ever won the World Cup outside their home continent, and although it's still early days (and those Italians are such notorious slow starters), there's really no sign of that particular duck being broken down in South Africa.

England's off day last weekend now pales in comparison to the slow starts we've now seen from the likes of Spain and France; and Italy needed yet another instance of kamikaze goalkeeping in order to scrape a 1-1 draw against Paraguay.

The Germans had such a lively opener against the Aussies that one German paper declared the next day that 'We're going to blow you all away.' They did seem to have one slightly unfair advantage over the other European teams in that a German firm (Adidas) designed these dodgy Jabulani balls and then gave them to their compatriots to practice with long before everyone else.

Enter the Serbs...and what's this, Germany misses a penalty?!

Meanwhile Klose was sent off just before he managed to equal Pele's World Cup scoring record. He'll miss the next match, which might just be the Germans' last in the competition. (If England want to avoid the old foe in the last 16, it might now be an idea for us to allow Slovenia to top Group C!)

After the French went down 2-0 to la Tri yesterday, The Guardian's Barry Glendenning declared that to a man they were a 'disgrace to their country'. A bit harsh, because the French had played positively at times, but the Mexicans had just a bit more determination about them on the night. Anyway, Glendenning is Irish and no doubt has a greater sense of the karmic implications of this particular looming debacle.

Slovenia is often described as the Switzerland of the Balkans and right now they seem to be doing a bit of a Switzerland on the USA, who will surely be heading home early if the score stays the same.

Talking of Switzerland, Paul Doyle reported earlier this morning on The Guardian's live World Cup blog that "the marketing team at Swiss supermarket Migros ran a big, patriotic, advertising campaign before the Spain game, promising 10% off everything in store for one day if Switzerland won. The only problem being, they did win. Migros reckon the exercise has cost them CHF5m (£4.18m), though I'm betting that in reality the publicity generated and extra customers brought in have probably made it worth their while."

Next up England v Algeria. We'll see what they're made of now. It does seem that even a manager with an ego the size of Fabio Capello's couldn't face the implications of putting Green in goal again and David 'Calamity' James will be putting on the No1 shirt this evening in Cape Town.

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