South Africa 2010 World Cup Diary 14 June 2010

England 1-1 USA (Rustenburg)
The World Cup really kicked into life over the weekend. The hill at my old university was awash with red and white and the plumes of smoke from makeshift BBQs floated above Canterbury Cathedral in the distance. “WHO ARE YA, WHO ARE YA” the Bulmers-bathed students shouted when three Americans waving aloft the Star-Spangled Banner waltzed through the masses. It was like the WWE had come to Kent.
The sound of drunk twenty-somethings carried on into the bars around campus. There was the sound of beer splashing into plastic cups, the sound of beer splashing onto tiled flooring and then the sound of Jamie Carragher’s old knees creaking as Jozy Altidore strolled past him. For tired joints Jamie, try Castrol Magnetic oil.
The funniest thing is that Fabio Capello almost had to get down on his hands and knees to bring Carragher out of retirement. Personally I doubt that was true, more likely it was Carragher playing hard to get on the phone while secretly pumping his fists in sheer delight at the other end. The Scouser did what he does best: made England to look desperate and ragged. As Altidore sped by I fully expected Theo Walcott to go rushing past Carragher in hot pursuit of the American while screaming ‘leave it to me old timer.’
The performance wasn’t the worst from England although the finishing left much to be desired. Emile Heskey tried his best to make the roundest football ever turn square when he unloaded a shot straight down the throat of Tim Howard, and Shaun Wright-Phillips also picked out the American keeper from point-blank. Theo can’t cross or assist, but it didn’t look like it mattered either way because nor could the rest of the team finish, except of course for Steven Gerrard. Aaron Lennon rarely pulled away from his marker and failed to make the most of his speed. Then with the injury to Ledley King, England are beginning to look every bit as tired as the squad Capello picked.
Netherlands 2-0 Denmark (Johannesburg)
Was at work hitting the refresh button for this one so could only watch the highlights. The television in the staff-room was missing a scart lead so couldn’t even watch the first-half at lunch-time. Some of the Year 10 kids managed to break into the media department and take full advantage there. I think I’ll join them tomorrow.
Robin van Persie was involved in the first goal after one of his excellent angled runs. He skipped past the committed Thomas Sorensen in goal and then crossed the ball from left of the penalty area after some sharp foot-work. Simon Poulsen headed the ball onto team-mate Daniel Agger for an own goal, not that RVP could care and he seemed to take most of the credit from The Oranje boys. Emmanuel Adebayor was brown-nosing in the studio saying RVP is one of the best he’s ever played with. If they swapped seats I’m sure RVP would say he was one of the shitest.
Things didn’t go quite so well for Nicklas Bendtner at the other end. Arsenal’s lanky Danish forward put a free header wide at the back post. He’ll be looking to get off the mark in the next game against Cameroon.
Japan 1-0 Cameroon (Bloemfontein)
Burst a lung to get home for the second-half only to find a stray Space Raiders packet in the front-garden, a Nat West bank statement on the hall floor, but no Alex Song on the television. I could only imagine that Paul Le Guen wanted to match his passive Asian counterparts and attempt to get through the game without seeing a booking, which we all know Song is a little partial to. Either that or Song was having a bad hair day and would rather wait until he is looking good.
If not, then the last slap in the face for Song came when Le Guen brought on 31-year-old Geremi as the third substitute. The former Newcastle man now plays for Turkish team Ankaragucu alongside Darius Vassel. Fairly bored not being able to watch Song, I looked at Vassel’s Wikipedia page. Here’s an excerpt:
“Vassell later became a victim of unrest at Ankaragücü when, in November 2009, he and teammate Gustave Bebbe were thrown out of the hotel they were staying in due to the club not paying the bills.
“Following the hotel room ordeal, Vassell found it hard to settle at the club. He later announced that he was on medication for both mild depression and anxiety, due to the off-field problems surrounding him at Ankaragücü.”
A club which gives its players all the right preparation needed for a World Cup then. No wonder Geremi got the nod over Arsenal’s outstanding performer this season.
Next up, Italy vs. Paraguay. Safe to say no Arsenal players involved there, but who can name the Italians to have played for The Gunners? The first to answer correctly gets to punch Adebayor in the face!

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