Saturday, June 10, 2006

Day 2

The usual excess expectations before the England game. As it turned out a game of two halves. In the first, England dominated, with an own goal from a superb Beckham free kick. It looked like England were going to cruise it. However in the 2nd half Paraguay came back into it and started pressing England back. Sven's mysterious response was to replace Michael Owen with Stuart Downing, changing to a 4-4-1-1 formatiuon with Joe Cole playing behind Peter Crouch. Result: Crouch became isolated and inneffective and England got pushed further back. A worse substitution was to come when Cole himself was replaced by Owen Hargreaves which further aggravated the situation. England clung on, but it was a game that left both sets of supporters frustrated, England's by a seeming attempt to secure defeat from what should have been an easy victory, Paraguay's by a failure to score against a side on the ropes.

Then Sweden v Trinidad & Tobago, the latter springing the tournament's biggest surprise yet. Cliinging on, despite having had a player sent off, and launching a good few attacks of their own, T&T stepped into the valiant underdog role, which Brits always crave (though that may well be forgotten when T&T get to play England).

Not so sweet for Cote d'Ivoire coming up against Argentina, though. Can't help feel the Africans got really short-changed in the draw, they're a superb side and in any other group would have qualified for Round 2; but with the deadly finish of the Argentinians and the all-round excellence of Holland, their chances aren't good.


Post a Comment

<< Home