I suffered from withdrawal symptoms yesterday , for the first time in 15 days there was no football on the telly. Partly due to my virtually retired status and partly due to the convenient timings of the matches, I have realised that I have watched over 20 games in their entirety and bits and pieces of many others.
In terms of quality, whilst not yet a vintage world cup, there have been some memorable games and incidents. Some of the expected big names have delivered: Neymar, Messi, Robben, Van Persie, Benzema, Mueller and Suarez. Some other names played well although lack of quality in the rest of their teams has meant that they will not grace the next round: Ronaldo, Rooney, Iniesta and Pirlo come to mind.
The failure of the Europeans and the not entirely unexpected dominance of the South Americans in particular and the New World (USA, Mexico and Costa Rica) in general has been more pronounced than many would have anticipated. What odds would the headless Ray Winstone have given on the failure of Spain, Italy, England and Portugal as a group to progress. ” Ere, Algeriah and Costa Ri’ah to go frew. Ave a bhang on that!!”
In those 20 games, some have seemed like a waste of life’s precious hours. Iran v Nigeria, Most of the Russian games and the England Costa Rica dead match. Thanks go to world’s most talented footballing hyena for providing a compulsive reason to switch channels. Clive Tyldesley’s ” Bye-Bye everyone” is up there now with “they think its all over..”
Brazil 2014 so far has given us Van Persie’s equalising header against the Spanish, Messi’s goals, Ghana’s temporary exposure of the Germans and their tribal dance, the Lucho Libre goalkeeping of Guillermo Ochoa, the streetfighters of Chile, Cahill’s goal for Australia and the best kit marketing stunt ever with those blue and pink boots.
So bring on the next round with no more cold turkey to suffer until Wednesday and Thursady next week.