Thursday, June 15, 2006

Day 6 Review

A Basque friend of mine gleefully said to me on Tuesday "Have you noticed how all the big teams in this World Cup are playing their matches in the evening when most people can watch them? Italy, France, Argentina, Portugal, Brazil... that's why Spain are playing at 2pm tomorrow..." and with that he laughed with the cynical air of someone who had obviously lived under the brutal regime of General Franco for many years.

For the rest of us, the only cynicism came in the form of a general whinge about how Spain never live up to expectations in the world's greatest football competition. But that was soon forgotten as the Ukraine were forcefully swept to one side in Leipzig yesterday. Two goals in the first half and two in the second came either side of Vladislav Vashchuk being sent off for pulling back David Villa when clean through on goal.

Ukraine barely figured in the match to any serious extent. Andriy Shevchenko was passed fit to play and promptly went unnoticed for the next 90 minutes, and their first shot from Andriy Gusin finally came in the 32nd minute - easily saved by Iker Casillas.

Alonso, Villa and Torres got the goals that led Spain to an impressive 4-0 win which did much to restore their reputation in the World Cup. Their running, passing and shooting arguably brought about the best performance of the tournament so far, and must be sending shivers down the spine of the other two teams in Group H, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.

They played each other in the 5pm kick-off and, well, how can I put this... I didn't think it'd be worth watching, so I went off to get some shopping at Sainsbury's instead. I'll therefore give you a resumé of what that was like rather than the match, so here goes...

The first thing I noticed was that they had some Cos lettuces in stock which was nice as they never have them when I want them. Very important if you want to make a decent Caesar Salad. Then they had some '2 for £2' offers on tubs of pasta salad which was tempting, but I've already got some at home in the fridge so I gave them a miss, ultimately. Then it was off to buy a roasted chicken, straight off the rotisserie. Marvellous. Just the thing to go with some roast potatoes, baked lovingly in a rosemary and parmesan coating and frozen for later use on those nights when only comfort food will do.

I won't bore you with the rest, so I'll just sum up by saying that Tunisia and Saudi Arabia drew 2-2. Moving on, the final game of the day saw the competition come full circle with Germany and Poland playing their second games since the tournament began last week. The hosts, despite showing a weak defence, impressed a lot of people in their first game against Costa Rica while Poland had it all to prove after a poor performance against Ecuador.

It came as no surprise, therefore, when a close match transpired with Germany carrying on where they left off last Friday. Launching wave after wave of attacks on the Polish goal, Germany threatened time and time again while Poland held strong - a vast improvement on their defensive play against the Ecuadorians.

Sadly, it was all to be in vain as right at the end the pressure finally paid off for the Germans thanks to an Oliver Neuville goal, set up by fellow substitute David Odonkor. It means the Germans are now all but through to Round 2 where they could face England, and if they do, they'll certainly provide a serious challenge for the likes of Terry, Ferdinand and Ashley Cole. 5-1 to England it won't be...


Anonymous said...

I know it is a bit late in the day to contribute to this particular article - but while we are on the business of 'observation':

Spain might have been palying their games at 2PM so that people taking their traditional afternoon 'siesta' can watch.

Chris said...

Ah yes, very true. When will England adopt the 'siesta' as part of it's daily routine, I wonder? I think we should lobby the government and ask for it to become law with immediate effect...

Such a civilised idea! :)


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