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(June 02, 2002)

World Cup Day 3

Honestly, I never expected that. To take the lead, dominate the pitch and then concede a needless goal and end up hanging on against inferior opposition, with the stronger teams in the group still to come.

Still, at least they won. Spain that is. England did the usual, and I'm not getting involved. Thirty years of hurt, never stopped us dreaming - bollocks. Once bitten, twice shy mate.

Not that England have ever flattered to deceive quite like the Spanish, to be fair. Ever since the Armada they've been putting out quality sides which always seem to get blown off course. Try 414 years of hurt for size. If only they could send Real Madrid they'd be fine - unfortunately most of Real's best players are foreign.

Still, this time they've started with a bang, with a 3-1 win over Slovenia - for those of you who missed the results from Eastern Europe, Slovenia are the northernmost part of the former Yugoslavia (whilst Slovakia, not in the World Cup, are half of the former Czechoslovakia). They impressed in Euro 2000, going 3-0 up against Yugoslavia (confusing, that) and getting the egregious Sinisa Mihailovich sent off before being pulled back to a 3-3 draw. They were probably just relieved they didn't have to play the entire Austro-Hungarian empire.

I'm sure the England fans will take comfort from our wartime successes in the last century. Victory in the 2 major championships, and a good record in all the (un)friendly fixtures. Ironically, the only major disappointment was the score draw in Korea - good thing that didn't go to penalties.

Still, they know how to win - get 50 Russians to invade the pitch from the other end.

In today's other game, Argentina beat Nigeria 1-0, looking absolutely unbeatable in the process. Nigeria looked a bit vulnerable at the back, but fortunately for them they only have to play Sweden and England.

More tomorrow, but no more of the football-war metaphor, which is probably meaningless to anyone not familiar with the intricacies of both (ie girls). If you have been offended or just baffled by today's post, you can always cover the screen with a piece of semi-transparent cloth.

posted by Jon 21:42
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