Monday, June 12, 2006

In-ger-land, In-ger-land, In-ger-land...!

Peace, one and all...
The World Cup is once again upon us! The entire globe has gone football crazy and people everywhere are frantically following the progress of their national team.

I'm no exception and, as you can probably tell from the title, I'm an England fan! Although I'm not sure I expect England to win the tournament, I am watching their progress avidly.

England's opening game was a rather strange affair. A terrific first half performance: controlled, energetic, dominating and positive. A lack-lustre second half offering: pensive, uncertain, tired and lacking in ideas (so it seemed). Everybody seems to be blaming the weather. For sure, playing in 90 degrees is tiring, but don't they train it such heat? Moreover, it's not so much the tiredness that got on my nerves, but the apparent lack of effort in the 2nd half. Don't sit back, anxiously protecting a one goal lead. Get out there and try to get the second, third...fiftyseventh(!)
The problem in the infamous game against Brazil 4 years ago was that we seemed to give up in the second half. Come on guys, play with some passion! And, the whole world doesn't revolve around Rooney: if we can't win without him, we're not going to go very far. Not sure I agree with Mujahideen Ryder's anaylsis, but the graphics are cool.
Well, al hamdu lillah, thanks to the win and Trindad & Tobago's amazing 0-0 draw with Sweden (nice one lads!), England are now in a very strong group position. Having said that, we mustn't take anything for granted: T&T are clearly serious and we need to account for that. I'm hoping for a much better all-round performace, with more committment and positive play.
The rest of the tournament has been good too. I enjoyed Holland beating Serbia and Ivory Coast's positive attitude. Iran were very unfortunate: 65 minutes of good work ruined by a very silly mistake (Qadar Allah wa ma sha fa'ala). Portugal's performance seemed a lot like England's; a great first half followed by a nervy, stuttering second.
Today sees the USA go head to head with the Czech Republic (go Czechs), Italy v Ghana (I'd like Ghana to win) and Japan v Australia (not sure who I'm supporting here, but it should be a cracking game).
Ma'as salama,
Abdur Rahman

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