Auf Wiedersehen Pet
You have to love the World Cup. What an incredible day it was yesterday.
Group E had to be the easiest group to predict pre-tournament, yet for five minutes yesterday Japan and Costa Rica were headed to the knock-out stages in Qatar.
Spain who we all purr over don’t look as if they can chase a game, and their defeat adds to those that Argentina and France have also taken so far.
Argentina have bounded back, but Germany’s loss and Spain’s huge opening win just shows how vital that first group game is.
Every Englishmen loves a German loss, but in a broader sense it doesn’t seem right that we go into a tournament knock-out without the Germans. Mind you this is becoming a habit 😉.
Earlier in the day the Belgians were back on the plane after a poor three games, only performing when it was too late in the 2nd half yesterday against Croatia. Unlike the Germans who stepped it up, Belgium have just not been at the races.
Roberto Martinez resigned after, which he probably would have done whatever the outcome, but it is Romelu Lukaku who seems to be the fall guy. Yes, he did miss chances, but he looked as if he could hardly lift his legs. The golden generation is over not just let down by Lukaku.
No Wales, the Euro semi-finalist’s the Danes, the Mexicans, who had made the knockout stages in each of the last seven finals, Belgium or Germany in the knock-out stages.
Fantastic for Japan, who were rubbish against Costa Rica, but either side of that beat two of the most famed footballing nations. This Japanese team is quick, organized and technical and they will give Croatia quite the run around if they put their minds to it.
Their qualification is great for Asian football as Morocco’s is for the Arab nation.
The undercurrent of this tournament is still mired in geo-political uncomfortableness, and that story should keep being told, but on the pitch it is still the beautiful game, and I’m right into it.