Sunday, June 13, 2010

It starts (again)

The World Cup is back with us! It'll be a fun month. Fun, but also filled with intensely nerve wracking, heart in mouth, excited, nauseating tension when watching England play (hopefully I won't work myself up into this state again). So far I've seen at least bits of all the games except the South Korea vs Greece game - not too much spark in the tournament yet, but I'm sure it'll pick up.

Yesterday saw England's first match of the tournament with a game against the USA. Our group is, or at least should be, a relatively easy one to qualify from (unlike group D, who's teams are playing today, which may be this World Cup's group of death!), but as usual we want to make it hard for ourselves. Before the game started I managed to get myself into the normal pre-match bundle of nervous energy, which everyone knows is best tempered by beer. When the game kicked off it was hard not to fear the worst, but after a goal from Steven Gerrard in the fourth minute (which due to ITV HDs slight hiccup, we missed) things settled down a bit and I could relax slightly more. We generally seemed to dominate the game from then on, but up front weren't producing much to test the US keeper. The nightmare struck when a reasonably long range effort on our goal by Clint Demspsey was woefully mishandled by keeper Robert Green and carried on into the net just before half time. We made a good attempt on the break after the restart, but went in at half time 1-1. There were some good pieces of play by England in the second half, but still we lacked anyone able to finish - in fact the US were closest to getting a goal, only denied by the ball luckily rebounding off Green (or maybe he produced a save, but I don't know how much he knew about it) and onto the post rather than into the net. We pressed forward more towards the end and kept the ball in the US half (which was good as we could easily be outpaced at the back, especially if they took on the aged, and now rather slow, Jamie Carragher), but it ended 1-1. It's not a score that's the end of the world, but it would have been nice to start with a high. From the looks of the other two teams (Slovenia managed a 1-0 win over Algeria earlier today, but it was through another goalkeeping howler) they should pose too much threat, but then again who knows what might happen!

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