World Cup Weekend: A downpour of goals in a deluge of games
With his local pizzeria on speed dial, Ian Power embarked on a World Cup marathon
‘Messi’s strike raised me from the couch and I cracked a window attempting the ‘Maradona Seven’ with an empty beer can.’
Saturday, June 14th
How the Netherlands sizzled last night! Early days, but Van Gaal is as canny as a sack of Dutch Gold and his team, in yesterday’s free scoring form, should make it to July.
Anyway, good afternoon. Stuck to the couch for nine hours with a near fatal dose of caffeine—Japan v Ivory Coast kicks off at 2am Irish time—and budget pilsner to chug, I’m hoping some decent football might offset the saddle sores.
To Group C, where Colombia face Greece at 5pm.
Fernando Santos’ Ethniki define abstemious. Eight clean sheets in qualifying, they only managed a dozen goals in ten games, scoring few but conceding less. Colombia will rely on James Rodriguez and Cuadrado to supply front men Ibarbo and Gutierrez.
Poor Nikolas Manolas, 23 today. The centre back couldn’t turn Armero’s effort round the post and watched the ball squirt past Karnezis. No ‘anniversary bursary’ scoring bonus: the ball’s in the wrong net!
Pekerman’s charges have ceded the possession, daring Greece on. The phalanx isn’t designed to control the game and long balls result in little.
Fulltime: Columbia 3 – 0 Greece
A late goal by Rodriguez, the star, polished the scoreline. By their high standard, Greece defended poorly. Japan and the Ivorians to come, they could be out by the matinée curtain.
Dinner tonight is a cheeky Bolognese: diced red onion, sprinkle of basil, dash of soy sauce.
Group D begins here with Uruguay v Costa Rica imminent.
Cavani rifled home from the spot. One-nil la celeste. Costa Rica sit deep and allow Uruguay to chug in second gear. Gus Poyet daubs his compatriots’ efforts ‘a diesel performance’.
Fulltime: Uruguay 1 – 3 Costa Rica
Cripes. The Central Americans bite back and Uruguay—Suarez not yet fully fit—can’t muster the jaws to respond. Two goals in three minutes put Costa Rica in front, Joel Campbell clattering home the first before Duarte’s brave header set coach Jorge Luis Pinto—nicknamed ‘the explosive one’— and his bench alight. It may not be safe for England to go into Sao Paolo water next Thursday, Tabarez’s wounded side will be desperate.
To the Jungle!
The Arena Amazonas staff painted the grass green to hide raw portions from TV cameras. The surface is passable, but this is what happens when you let the Manaus Kickhams Junior 4ths train on the good pitch, lads. What’s ‘sideline cut’ in Portuguese, I wonder?
Thierry Henry provides an urbane foil in the BBC studio to Englishmen’s nerves. Roy has invested in Sterling futures through the middle and redeployed his Rooney fund wide left.
All even at the break, much bandied schemes to limit Pirlo haven’t materialised. If 2012 was the reference, England seem not to have grasped the answers.
Sunday, June 15th
Fulltime: England 1- Italy 2
Redtop back-page forecast: OUR LEFT WAZZA-N’T RIGHT. A sharp fixture to come Thursday next between England and Uruguay, it appears.
Japan and the Ivory Coast round out the day’s fixtures at 2am, giving me enough time to prepare some high-octane alertness potions. Let me Irish up that coffee for you!