After what seems like months, but is in actual fact only 23 days, the threatened outbreak of actual football appears to be about to materialise this afternoon when the World Cup kicks off in Germany.
At long last!
The hours and hours of NO NEWS that we have been force fed regarding Rooney’s injury and other “national obsessions” have almost bored me into actually turning off the television and reading a book at times during this last month or so – it will be joy unbounded in my house when I get to actually see some football players kicking a ball later today.
All I have heard since the Champions League final is “So-and-so Misses Training” and “Thingy May Miss First Game” – and yet, after all the speculation and reports, it seems that the England players who were possibly injured are actually all fit and ready to play in tomorrow’s first game against Paraguay. Who’d have thought it, eh?!
It’s been laughable, particularly regarding Rooney and particularly on Sky. After his scan, on Wednesday, they had “BREAKING NEWS – Decision on Rooney’s foot due shortly” scrolling across the bottom of their screen in bright yellow from 7pm until midnight! How shortly is “shortly”? Is it “imminent”, “coming up” or “any minute now”? No, it’s none of those things, the decision wasn’t made publicly until the next day – pathetic.
BUT THEN!! Horror of horrors “Steven Gerrard says he’s only 50-50 for the first game” … “Oh, wait a minute, hang on, he’s ok after all”. ARGH!
It’s all very dull and frustrating, but finally the football is about to start – how will England do this time? Well, my opinion is that we have a better group of players in this squad than we have had for many years but that the manager’s tactical inability and bizarre substitutions will, yet again, undo us at some stage.
On the one hand, a team that can leave players like Shaun Wright-Phillips and Jermaine Defoe at home would appear to be a very strong side indeed – until you realise that Eriksson has taken Owen Hargeaves and Jermaine Jenas with him instead! And whilst I am looking forward to seeing him play, I can’t understand how Theo Walcott gets to go to Germany without ever having played a Premiership game!
My other worry is that I don’t understand how a Swedish man who has already handed in his resignation for the end of the summer is going to be THAT committed to making the right decisions and motivating the England team! If you’d quit your job, but you were still working your notice, would you be totally devoted to your work?
Having said that, if you take into account the number of players we have in the squad who have experience of winning trophies and playing at the highest level, mixed with a few untried youngsters who are likely to play without fear, we do have a great chance of doing well.
Brazil are the favourites, obviously, but I still think that their defence is very weak. So my pick is Argentina. If they can get out of their group (of death) then I think they could win it. I thought they looked superb when they played England a while back and the only reason they didn’t win that game was due to the sort of England performance that we need to put in throughout the tournament in order to come home with the gold.