Monday, June 26, 2006

[Insert own pun-based title]

England continued their triumphant stumble to FIFA World Cup (TM) glory, while Portugal and Holland sorted the whole thing out with a good old fashioned fight.

England 1 - 0 Ecuador

We watched the England game at the Vibe Bar on Brick Lane as part of the Xbox360 Believe events. The atmosphere was good in the Vibe Bar arena, with plenty of chanting and cheering, and slightly too much throwing of beer onto other people's heads.

There were still a lot of people there who needed to have the rules explained to them, but I guess that's what you'd expect. It's been said that you can't expect anything else if you pay for something you can get for free, but I reckon it would be pretty much the same anywhere in these heady days of football and hay fever.

I'm beginning to suspect, however, that I should watch the England games alone in a darkened room - just me, a TV and the FiveLive commentary. I need the comfort of the commentary to coax me through the trauma, but I don't seem to be able to put up with anyone other than Martin Tyler and Andy Gray these days. And watching England's not about singing or dancing or drinking to me - it's about shouting at the screen and watching the clock. It's better than watching the players at least.

Portugal 1 - 0 Holland

This game was pure comedy. Possibly the most entertaining game of the World Cup so far, it went almost exactly as I'd have liked, with plenty of sending offs and the odd injury. If everything goes according to plan, Portugal could be without their entire midfield for the England game - though Figo seems to have got away with his head-butt. Ideally, the game would have gone to extra time to allow time for a few more sendings off and a bit more dehydration.

I'd say Portugal deserved to win though. Holland hit the bar and had a couple of other chances but I was largely unimpressed. They dived too much, refused to give the ball back to the Portuguese after play had been stopped for an injury, and blatantly went after Christiano Ronaldo, who still managed to play his part in the goal before going off injured.

To underline the inadequacy of modern co-commentators, David Pleat came out with some classics - most of which I can't remember but notably including "[That shot] was as swift as a shot".

Portugal's victory set up a third consecutive quarter final meeting between Sven's England and Big Phil. Third time lucky eh?

Can't beat a good old fight on the football pitch, can you?!

I thought it was hilarious because, as you pointed out Joe, Portugal will now have literally no players left to play England.

And any that do make it on to the pitch won't actually be able to do anything because they won't want to risk getting another booking and then missing the semi if they beat England. But we all know they aren't going to beat England, its only those Portugese who are disillusioned about the who will win that one.

Roll on Saturday - anyone want to go to Gremany for the weekend?!
Other Pleat classics included:

"It's like a game of chess. All the pieces are aligned. Now it's going to explode."


"That [shot] was as wide as it could possibly be. Inches."
"It's been said that you can't expect anything else if you pay for something you can get for free" - by me.

I ended up watching it at a friend's house - everyone seems really against going to the pub. They convinced me with the logic that if we win, we can go and watch the next round in the pub against a good team, and if we lose, the last place you want to be is the pub!
Yes - that was indeed said by you Mike. Well done.

I definitely agree with the thinking that if we lose I'd rather not be in the pub.
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