#eyesontheprize: world cup week 1

so, we’re three days into the 2010 Fifa World Cup and what do we know so far apart from that it’s really annoying if everyone blows insect sounding drone-horns throughout football matches? well, in terms of our pre-tournament expectations here at RQT a few things have risen to meet them, but others have proven surprising.

Argentina’s somewhat underwhelming display against Nigeria more or less meshed with our feeling that what TheShortCheatingBastard’s men possess in terms of unbelievable tekkers is significantly offset by what they lack in preparation, organisation and basically anything to do with management. Not that they should be there in the first place, but France’s opening game likewise confirmed us in our opinion that they will struggle and things will probably prove more 2002 than 2006 for Les Bleu. it wasn’t that they played poorly, but just that they arsenaled it all around the place without ever looking like being able to actually score. we think not taking Benzema might just prove a critical error for Domenech.

South Korea showed yet again in their opening game that they’re not to be ignored, but they no doubt basically will be.

England (or ‘Britain’ as the New York Post would have it) showed more of the promise that began to emerge during the qualifiers, playing some very tidy football in spells against the USA. unfortunately after 15 minutes of solid passing and a stevie g special, things fairly quickly reverted to type. if there is one kind of team that you don’t want to concede a freak goal as a result of an inexplicable goalkeeping fumble against, it’s a compact team that boringly get men behind the ball and commit very few forward. It’s all OK though because Emile Heskey makes goals for other players and Peter Crouch has got good feet for a big man.

Germany showed us exactly how to deal with that sort of tie this evening as they walloped Australia’s painfully named Socceroos 4-0. one key tactic, apparently, is to make sure the opposition gets a man send off for not a lot. despite only scoring 3 goals during this domestic season, we were convinced that Lukas Podolski would be one of the players to watch out for, and if tonight is anything to go by we might be on to something. not only did he open the scoring, but alongside Mesut Özil he basically ran tings proper.

In terms of the TV coverage, we’ve been confused/bored to death by the BBC team of football ex-people, who so far have either been unremittingly dull or indecipherably foreign, but ITV has been making us laugh – and sometimes on purpose. my magical moment of the tournament so far is the amazing Rio Ferdinand “come on England” sting that played before the England – USA game. if you missed it, keep your eyes more peeled for it next time round.

James Corden’s World Cup Live is a disaster, so let’s not talk about it OK? OK. also, since when did betting stop being a vice that trapped poor people into swapping their incapacity benefit for nothing, and start being something that every advert on TV wants us to do? also again, who is so boring that when they do put a bet on, they put it on how many corners there are going to be?

In summary, we’ve yet to see The Netherlands, Brazil, Cote D’Ivoire, Italy, Portugal, Spain or Honduras, so it’s far too early to say very much, but basically England should still win.

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