I’m not generally a superstitious person. Religion is all hocus pocus to me. Black cats crossing my path have no effect on the rest of my day. Walking under ladders is a favourite past time, a poke in the eye to bad luck. But when it comes to football, I do get peculiarly drawn into to patterns, superstitions, habits and other silly nonsense. The fact that England wore all red today made me feel that bit more positive.

I went to watch the game in the Zocalo, on the Fifa Fan Fest screen. Of the six important matches so far of the competition, the three England games and the three Mexico games, only two of them were won. Well, won by the team I wanted to win. And I watched both of those games at the Zocalo. Coincidence? I think not!  Therefore, I must watch all future England games at the Zocalo, and England are guaranteed, yes guaranteed, to win the World Cup….

England’s performance today was such a turn around compared to their efforts against the US and Algeria. For the first sixty minutes in particular, they simply blew Slovenia away. With class, if not with an avalanche of goals. We could have had a half dozen though. In fact I’ll go so far as to say that that was the most impressive sixty minutes of football I’ve watched at the World Cup so far.

That late, late goal by the US was unfortunate though. Although you could say we should have scored a second goal and secured first place in the group without relying on other teams to help out. To win the World Cup, we’ll now have to do it the hard way. After the next round against Germany, Argentina will possibly be waiting. Then Spain. Then Brazil in the final. If all goes as it is expected to go….

But anyway. Bring on the Germans! The Hun. The Krauts. Let’s have at old Jerry! Sink the Bismark – oh and has anyone mentioned Hitler only had one ball? And who won the war anyway?! Yes, it’s time for the English tabloids to go into a nationalistic, rhetoric filled, literary overdrive. It might be politically incorrect to be abusive towards blacks, asians, jews and the rest. But the Germans are still fair game. Red heads too. And of course, the French. That goes without saying. I wonder if they could hear the gut wrenching belly laughing on their side of the channel when South Africa scored yesterday…?

I won’t go so far as the tabloids though. I actually like Germans. They make excellent travel companions. But there’s 23 Germans I’d rather were back in Alemania come Monday morning. Instead of abuse, I feel it’s time for some cheesy England music…..although this was the best England World Cup song of all time, even if it was unofficial.

If you’re in the mood for some old skool, then there was 1990’s World In Motion by New Order- if you’re looking for history to repeat, you’ll surely have noted that in 1990 we drew our first game 1-1, the second game 0-0 before going through by winning the third game 1-0. And then onto the semi final. Let’s have some of that rather than what happened in Mexico in 1970. No one wants to come back home just yet….Hopefully, this time we’ll get it right.

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14 thoughts on “Redemption

  1. Opatije says:

    Boy, speaking of drama hoy…:)

    Close call for England and without a doubt the next one against Germany will be exciting to watch.

    Next, bloody Algeria letting US go through…miserable spectacle – enough is enough!

    Looking forward to Ghana’s progressing to the next round…I may take hit for that but I think it was a well calculated loss for Ghana – especially in the latter stages of the game.


    • Ghana have a reasonable chance of progressing a bit further yet. They’re better than the US. But it is indeed the england Germany game I’m looking forward to. It’s going to be tight…


  2. Dan in NC says:

    England did great , but their goal REALLY filled the sails of the US today. I have not seen so many close – shoulda been a goal! – moments, and had such heart stopping moments since Valvano and the ” Cardiac Pack” at the NCAA basketball tourney. Glad to have England go through. I just dropped the missus off to fly to LHR tonight. I just hope my brother-in-law (Algerian) “remembers” to pick her up tomorrow morning! 🙂 😉
    Dan in NC


  3. Michael says:

    This world cup has left me conflicted so far….

    Happy for Mexico making it through, not happy about them playing Argentina. Make sure you are at the Zocalo for that one.

    Happy about the US win, not happy about playing the last African team in South Africa next. In fact, I think you need to be at the Zocalo for that one too.

    Happy for the England win, hope that Germany does not wake up from the funk they are in. I already know you made plans for that one.

    In this World Cup so far, my favorite match was today’s Australia and Serbia. Watched it with a buddy who grew up in Spain. Halfway through the match he remarked that the match reminded him of watching his kids play in Spain. “Naive” was the word he used. The point he was trying to make is that there were no professional fouls, no diving, no drama, just two teams running their @sses off trying to score goals. Chasing the results of the concurrent game.

    I look forward to Spain/Chile and Brazil/Portugal next.

    Good luck with zee Germans!!!!


    p.s. Thanks for the postcard- sits proudly above my desk. Nice conversation starter.


    • I think Serbia are the disappointments of the tournament so far. I know..France and Italy went out, in bottom place of their respective groups. But that wasn’t a huge surprise. Serbia qualified so well, have so much talent in their team, and they just didn’t turn up.

      Spain’s progress hangs on a knife edge too. You’d expect the Swiss to beat Honduras. In which case Spain have to beat Chile. And whilst I expect them to do that, it’s far from a foregone conclusion. The Chileans are pretty handy. A draw is a distinct possibility.

      Glad the card arrived!


  4. Obet says:

    I saw you yesterday at the Zócalo Gary! I was going to approach to you and say hi! but I was seeing the game of Algeria and US on the other screen (it was more exciting) and when it finished I did not see you.

    If England continues with the level of futbol showed until now, I see almost impossible they can reach the cup, the good news is Capello understood what’s the place for Heskey…the bench!, now I hope Aguirre understands that Franco should stay out of South Africa.

    Now Mexico and England will face his “black beasts” (an old beast for England and a new one for México), I don’t believe that any of the two pass to the quarterfinals, but at least we reach further that France and Italy :D. My personal prediction for the final is Netherlands and Argentina.


    • It’s official….I have a stalker! 🙂

      Did I look nervous? I’d have felt a lot better if we’d got a second and killed the game. I was keeping an eye on the US Algeria game, and watched the highlights this morning. A cracking game. Algeria had their chances too…

      Capello definitely needs to stick with Defoe. As for our chances against Germany, I’d say they’re pretty good. The bookies are making England slight favourites at the moment, but there’s little to pick between them.

      Rooney has disappointed so far this World Cup. But he looked a lot better yesterday. If he really finds his form, I think Germany may regret topping their group. If he doesn’t, it’ll still be very tight. Schweinsteiger is a serious doubt for Germany, which could also help England plenty.

      This German team are still pretty young – they’ll do better in 2014. More so perhaps in 2018. Despite a good opening match, against dreadful opponents, Germany have looked very shaky indeed at the back. And a bit goal shy up front. Ghana gave them a good run for their money. In fact I thought Ghana were marginally the better team, especially going forward.

      But to leave on a high note…..the last time England played Germany competitively wasn’t a bad night at all for the English!


    • Netherlands v Argentina in the final….could be. I’m favouring a Spain Brazil final if England don’t make it though. Netherlands have been solid if unspectacular so far, but I do still think they don’t have sufficient strength all over the park to last the tournament. Argentina are second to none when it comes to going forward. But there are still question marks hanging over their defence. Hopefully those will be exposed to the fullest on Sunday!

      While I’m posting videos of old matches, if England bump into Holland along the way (I think it would be the final now?) I can only hope for a repeat of this one!


  5. I’d agree that the Netherlands haven’t been particularly spectacular thus far. Though I just spent some time in Amsterdam, so I hope they get better! You should check out Julia Dimon’s post about sampling tequila in Mexico, Jose and World Cup would probably go great together!



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