21 June 2006
I missed the battle for bottom of the table games in these pools. That's Trinibago vs. Paraguay and Poland vs. Cpsta Rica. They may have been good games, but I'm past caring.
I didn't get to see this game, because,as you may have guessed, I was working. Fuck. And not only that, when I get done I can't duck into any old bar on the street and join the cluster of football crazed men and women around the TV. Nope, not in Italy. But that complaint is getting tired. Anyway, Miroslav Klose is filling the net with balls, he's currently the front-runner for the Golden Boot with four goals. That's more than a one a game average for the first round. Nice. However this game didn't matter too much, since both teams were going through anyway.
This game I got to soak a little World Cup flavour up for. I met up with Hoard Hudson, my well-named mate from London, for pizza at the Little Moustache (da Baffetto) Then we hit the Irish Bar across the street. Clogged up with the English. Still it would've been a good place to enjoy the game and have a beer, if only it were possible to get served there. Anyway, it was awkward to see Michael Owen's knee-wrenchingly shitty beginning to the game on such a big screen. I'm glad I didn't see the Angola-Iran game which had it's arm-snappingly painful moments.
The place lit up well after Joe Cole hammered in a deceptive shot from well outside the box. It seemed to be heading harmlessly out-of-bounds, I only had time to think "Joe, why'd you have to waste possess-" before the place erupted in cheers. Though he's not on my Fantasy Team I can cheer a good goal when I see one.
We relocated for the second half at an outdoor bar in Campo di Fiori, where there was a mix of fans, warm summer air, a waitress who brought drinks, but a smaller TV. No problem.
The Brits we were with disputed our second half locale when Sweden equalized early in the second half. Their disappointment wasn't soothed by the Swedes nearby loudly clinking glasses and shouting "Skoll!" afterwards.
However maligned English manager Eriksson looked like a genius after he subbed out Rooooooney for Steven Gerrard late in the second half. He actually didn't look like a genius until Gerrard scored 15 minutes later. Then he looked like a genius. 84 minutes gone. England up 2-1, this is gonna be it right? The end of 42 years of England not beating Sweden in international football? Nope. England blew up and shit the bed right in the 90th minute. Henrink Larsson evened the score off a late corner. As Howard said "Geez, if you're gonna mark anybody, mark Larsson!"
Shoulda listened to Howard. Anyway, Englands top of the group, Sweden is second. Which means the matchups for next round are Sweden vs. Germany and England vs. Ecuador.
England should beat Ecuador. Not easily, but handily. If they don't, the alleged "best ever" from the country that invented football will all have their passports revoked and never be allowed home.
Sweden and Germany is harder to call, both are not terrific, but are hard to beat. Germany's got home court advantage, but Sweden isn't very far away, and there'll be plenty of blonde Volvo lovers dressed in yellow to cheer on their boys. Too tight to call, but i'll give Germany the edge on the basis that they're the hosts, and Klose is scoring tonnes of goals. Ballacks a shitbag but they may should squeak out a victory.