This World Cup has crept up on me to be honest, I had only just finished watching live league football in Spain four days before the tournament started.
I’ve said lots of times in this fanzine that I’m no big lover of international football but a World Cup in Brazil, what could be better than that? Unfortunately though I have to say that the demonstrations surrounding this tournament, in relation to the abject poverty in the host country, and the added blatant corruption and wrong doings of FIFA has really taken the shine off the whole thing for me.
Nevertheless the tournament is here now and from the games I’ve seen, at least on the football front, the game is still beautiful. Group B is the group that I’ve been asked to focus on due to the fact that I write the true faith Spanish football blog from my base in Murcia and this group contains the current World Cup holders Spain. However, I have to admit though that I didn’t see the opening group games last Friday evening, as I was actually on a train between London and Newcastle. At the moment I’m actually back on Tyneside, visiting my parents In Jarrow, but it feels like I’m in the deepest darkest Amazon forest, as they have no internet and I only have a Spanish mobile with me. Real cold turkey stuff as I have no twitter of facebook, what did we do before social networking eh?
Anyway onto Group B and the Spain versus Holland game first. I actually seen the kick-off of this match surrounded by Spanish people, in a bar in Kings Cross (home from home). The mood in the bar, amongst the mix of expats and tourists, was one of confidence and excitement but I have to say that Spain getting beat by Holland didn’t really surprise me. The shoreline of 1-5 was a bit of a shock though to say the least but I’ve been saying to lots of my Spanish friends and acquaintances, over the past few months, that I didn’t think that Spain would retain their title in this World Cup. I really feel that this current golden generation of Spanish stars has seen its best days and that even for their club sides some of these players looked jaded at the back end of the season. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying that the Spanish national team is dead, Spain will be back soon but with a new crop of exciting talent because the Spanish conveyer belt of outstanding players is still fit and well. I watched the highlights later of this game and from what I saw goalkeeper Casillas looked very vulnerable, maybe justifying why the last two Real Madrid coaches have seen him as a reserve keeper. Holland looked superb and on this form could at least match what they did in the last tournament by reaching the final, this result must have given their players a huge confidence boost and moral now in the sometimes moody Dutch camp has to be good.
The other opening game was Chile versus Australia and again I only saw the highlights of this one. I fancy the winner of the tournament to come from South America and maybe a bit of a dark horse not one of the usual suspects like hosts Brazil or Argentina. Chile have the makings of a good team and I like the Barça man Sanchez and Juve´s Vidal. Their Argentine coach, Jorge Sampaoli, is in the Simeone mould and has said that his team won’t change their approach to match their opponents and will concentrate more on their own game than anyone else’s. I think Chile can beat anyone on their day but their suspect central defence ,with its lack of height, was exposed against the Aussies when Cahill out jumped the Chileans to score in the 35th minute, this is Chile’s Achilles heel and may be their undoing. Chile won this game 3-1 and I hope Chile do well at this tournament but if they are to progress I see them going through in second place and then having to face Brazil in the next phase, which is obviously a difficult task. I’ll be back in Spain on Wednesday for their crunch game against Spain, which has taken on even more significance now due to Spain’s Dutch hammering, imagine it is possible that the holders could be out of the tournament with less than a week played!
I have to say that I have enjoyed the tournament so far, from my Jarrow bolthole, with my favourite game up to now being Columbia´s demolition of Greece in Group C. With Uruguay looking dodgy could Columbia be the South American dark horses?
Adios until next time……
Tony Higgins @higgins1892
SPECIAL is out this week and flying out the door. You can take out an annual subscription for £17.99 or a quarterly subscription for £5.99 no matter where you are in the world. You will get instant accessto this latest issue as well as everyone we publish over the next year or four months. You will also get access to the previous 30 issues we have published as well.