Retrospective: 2014 World Cup: One

Immediate reactions to the games of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. I couldn’t see all the matches. I was working a full time job and painting and decorating while still trying to cram in all two or three games too. I was pretty frazzled. Some things I got right; some woefully wrong. Much probably doesn’t make sense, as we’re out of the original context of having just watched the game but here it all is anyway.

4th June 2014 Friendly: England 2 Ecuador 2

“Ah, the World Cup’s in the bag!………of someone going to somewhere else other than England.”.
7th June 2014 Feature: World Cup 2014: Who Will Win The Top Prize In Brazil?
“England will fall at the first fence but Spain will collapse too as other teams will have them all figured out. Argentina FTW.”.
7th June 2014 Friendly: England 0 Honduras 0
“To listen to Andy Townsend, one would glean that England merely have to turn up to get through the group stage: something about Uruguay being ‘workmanlike’ and something like ‘I don’t think very much of Italy…..they’re obviously a team to be respected’. Townsend is either completely delusional or he knows that it’s his shtick to appeal to the perceived ‘Little Englander’ demographic and, therefore, he knows which side his bread’s buttered if he wants to keep collecting ITV coin. Either way, Townsend’s bullshittery is very wearing on one’s nerves.”
8th June 2014 Feature: Are England Being Prematurely Dismissed Before The World Cup?
“England were so shithouse-awful under Svennis and Fabio that they could have had no complaints if they were banned from this World Cup on general principle.”.
12th June 2014: Brazil 3 Croatia 1
“A scandalous penalty award. A wrestling match at a corner in the first half and the referee ‘has a word’; a defender shares the same postal district as an attacker in the second half, and a penalty gets awarded. Look out for a benevolent Russian linesman in later Brazilian games.”
“Nice to see TV criticism going the ‘direct action’ route with people throwing stones at ITV’s window.”
10.11am 13th June
“No debate, it was a jaw-droppingly scandalous penalty decision. It took the piss out of everyone watching that game. Just sickening.”
13th June 2014: Spain 1 The Netherlands 5
“Holland’s shame: they should’ve scored nine!

Like many, I subscribed to the received wisdom that Spain were going to get badly found out in Brazil but I never thought that they’d collapse in a heap of debris. A rubbish, rubbish penalty after Costa make sure to stand on the defender’s trailing leg and then look pleadingly at the referee as he hit the deck; Torres not being able to score when the goal was a-gaping; and what a motherfucking shambles from Casillas.

Van Persie did nothing wrong for the third goal, he was perfectly within the laws of the game to try to head the ball, it was just that Casillas made a cock of himself for coming when he wasn’t going to get it; Casillas’ lack of ball control was hilarious for the fourth; and I’d even point the finger at him for van Persie’s great headed first goal. If keepers have the time to stand still and admire a great goal that loops slowly over their head then they’ve got the time to readjust and make an effort to dive backwards, however forlorn their effort might be. Keepers are on the pitch for one reason above all others: to keep the ball out of the net. It should be something that they don’t even have to think about – like when you’re in the kitchen and you knock a mug off the kitchen unit but you catch it before you’ve even lucidly considered that it might fall to the floor and break. Casillas was such a clown that I was waiting for him to throw a bucket of ‘water’ over Robben only to reveal that the bucket contained confetti. What a great game to watch. Belly laugh inducing.

13th June 2014: Chile 3 Australia 2

1.41am 14th June

“Blimey, that was another really fine, entertaining game. Chile have such potential but, unlike Flavor Flav, they believed the hype and started to phone it in after they went 2-0. Australia really impressed as a very brave, ballsy side who didn’t panic, held on and finally got a grip but credit back to Chile for digging in again, working hard and getting the third that they probably just about deserved. Then again, it was a very even game for a large chunk of its ninety minutes. It was like two boxers taking it in turns to pound on the other. I suspected that Australia would get a toe hold after the ‘dead hand’ commentary of Lee Dixon ludicrously pronounced them already beaten being only 2-0 with seventy minutes still to play. It only takes a second to score a goal and then, all of a sudden, the winning lead has been cut in half. Honestly, you’d almost think that some of these “experts” had never seen a game of football before.

Spain might well be toast. Their confidence and morale will have been shot to pieces after tonight’s laughable fiasco. Both Australia and especially Chile will feel that Spain are a drunk, rich man lying in the street, just waiting for his pockets to be picked.”

14th June 2014: Costa Rica 2 Uruguay 1
“Hey pigeons, here’s a feline.

Maximilliano Pereira: what a disgrace. No doubt that he’ll play the Rooney-esque: “Sorry, I was frustrated.” card with the Uruguayan media but the pitch is the footballer’s workplace. If I assault someone at work on Monday because I’m ‘frustrated’….you know the rest.

Martin Caceres: how the Christ did he manage to stay on the pitch for that off the ground, two-footed lunge? That was like Burt Kwouk’s Cato trying to attack Peter Sellers’ Clouseau in one of the Pink Panther films.

Much respect to Keylor Navas for his save from the deflected, looping shot just before half time, especially for rejecting the patented Iker Casillas-style comedy shtick of just standing and watching it go over his head and instead doing what he’s paid to do: to try to keep the ball out of the net.”

14th June 2014: Italy 2 England 1

1.12am 15th June

“A decent, promising side gets beaten by an extremely impressive, high quality side. England just come up a wee bit short in their play but well done to England for playing in a positive manner and attempting to play to their strengths. Rooney, though, needs to look at himself and maybe have some grace the next time that he decides to shake his club down for another pay rise. The really exceptional sides have eleven players on the pitch who all love to have the ball at their feet and can use it constructively. I’m confused, though: Andy Townsend said that he didn’t think that Italy were too impressive a side, during the Ecuador friendly, and implied that England just had to basically turn up in order to get through the group. Townsend can’t be a gobshite, can he?…..Oh.”.

12.51pm 15th June

“The difference in microcosm: Pirlo was hemmed in in the left back position at one point and played a ball to a team mate who quickly laid it off and Italy worked their way out of a tricky situation. Ostensibly, it seemed like a risky ball from Pirlo and it would have been a risky ball to an England player, from an England team mate, but all eleven Italy players like to have the ball and look comfortable with the ball at their feet while the England players are just slightly lacking that second nature of seeing nothing amiss with having the ball in sticky situations. However, on another day, England could well have won. No disgrace at all for them last night. England are a promising side and played progressively and positively.



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