You can’t complain, really. They did very well right up to their final game, and it was Brazil. In any case, it’s not as if I could claim they’d let me down after I’d had such faith in them, is it?
So, quite a few pluses to take away from Japan. Rio Ferdinand emerging as a world-class player just in time to dump Leeds. Trevor Sinclair looking quite plausible on the left. Sven Goran entrenched in English hearts as manager and sex machine. Only the captain looking completely stupid (oh yes, and half the population of Japan).
More importantly, there was a collective air of confidence about the team which bodes well for Euro 2004.
7 out of 10, I think.
Germany 1 USA 0
It’s been a kinder, gentler tournament, notable for the casting aside of historic rivalries and a new spirit of forgiveness for past misdeeds, so I supported the USA in this one. Not that it did them any good though – teams must be anxiously checking this blog in the fond hope that I’m slating them.
America were quite unlucky, though, having had a definite penalty turned down after Berhalter handled on the line. Germany had previously deliberately ignored the handicap system by failing to play Carsten Jancker.
If Germany should go on and win, it will be a tournament remembered for the easiest path to victory any champions have ever had. Saudi Arabia, Ireland, Cameroon, Paraguay and the USA to get to a World Cup semi-final. Hardly compares with Sweden, Argentina, Nigeria, Denmark and Brazil, does it?
Oh I'm sorry, have I mentioned this before? Well, frankly I don’t see how anyone could possibly mention it enough.
I suppose now the Koreans will beat Spain before going out to Germany on penalties, and Turkey will beat Senegal and Brazil, then fail to field a team after a virulent attack of the gastric flu.