Saturday 1 July 2006

The World Cup now bores me

No goals for this year anymore

And so the level of concentration regarding World Cup 2006 moves into the realm of disinterest and detachment as the one one main purpose of engagement falls by the wayside. 1966 would remain our greatest moment in football till 2010.

I would suggest that England did acquit themselves well seeing that being reduced to 10 men did not leave us too vulnerable to the Portuguese attack machinery. However, Rooney's red card leaves me wondering how he would have stepped out of that melee without giving the poor guy's crown jewels a bit of a foot massage.

It also brings to mind David Beckham's red card against Argentina in France when being felled he gave an ankle kick to an Argentine, and the absence of the play-maker lost us the match. We need both talent and cool heads in football, that should be a lecture given by Gary Lineker - a man never booked and winner of fair play awards.

Probably the wrong referee selection

I would not question the integrity or vigilance of the referee but I do have my issues with the choice of referee and I think this was wrong.

Much as it is almost a generation since England went to war with Argentina and we have re-established diplomatic ties with the same country, it would be naive to think all is forgotten and forgiven such that no one involved in the World Cup can be compromised.

Add to that the fact that the referee's home country had only been knocked out the day before amidst the hopes and expectations of many - you suddenly have the makings of something that could go awry, I'm only human, so is the referee, you really cannot divorce history for the context of today's events. It did not pass my notice that the dives and gymnastics of the Portuguese went unsanctioned.

Well, the verdict would be left open on that matter.

In the end, I must commend the Portuguese keeper who combined reflex and agility to save a few penalty kicks and intimidated Jamie Garragher well enough that he kicked the ball straight into the keeper's hands.

It is a shame that England have not mastered the game of penalty kicks and we have always fallen at this stage and twice now to Portugal, simply, if our game is not going to improve we need to apply technique and psychology to this problem which will haunt us every championship games we attend.

South Africa is the next call

Now, as I have been jubilant with England's success, I have to find ways of disengaging and detaching myself from the negative pall of defeat as we look forward to 2010 when I hope that both England and Nigeria would be available to display legendary talent.

Meanwhile, as France plays Brazil, let us hope 2006 would be a year of European football in the expectation that all South American influence and football hubris can be put paid to today.

Now, in need of a medium rare steak and Paris is the place to get a decent one.

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