World Cup 2010: Bafana Bafana
WORLD CUP 2010 LIVE – SOUTH AFRICA vs MEXICO: Friday 11th June, ITV1, 2.30pm ALERT ME
It probably hasn’t escaped your notice that there is a football tournament going on in South Africa this summer. People are driving around with silly little flags attached to their cars, a nation is on metatarsal alert and advertisers are using it to flog just about anything they can slap a St George’s Cross on – yes, after literally months of chat, the FIFA World Cup is here.
As ever, expectations that England will win the tournament are running ludicrously high. Due to the sheer weight of patriotic yet highly optimistic football fans betting their cash on the national team, bookmakers have installed Capello’s men as fourth favourites, ahead of talented total footballers Holland and relentlessly successful penalty bastards Germany.
Despite this fervour, reaching the semi-finals would represent England’s best showing in the competition since the tear-fuelled shenanigans of Italia 90, and after a tumultuous run-up to the competition – which saw the team’s defence go sex mental and the head of the FA accuse Russia and Spain of match-fixing – the side aren’t looking as fresh as they were during qualifying.
As has been well-documented, England have an excellent team on paper – unfortunately the games tend to be played on grass, leaving their usual performances pretty far from excellent. But all we as the country’s population ask is that they actually bother practicing a few penalties (England have exited 4 of the last 6 tournaments in brain-meltingly predictable and soul destroying shoot-outs). Here’s hoping.
At least we should make it out of the group stages though, which is more than can be said for host nation South Africa. Today’s opening match against Mexico represents the first hurdle in what will be a very testing group form the sub-continental light-weights and Everton’s Steven Pienaar is their only player of any global standing. If they fail to negotiate Group A they will be the first sole host nation to fall in the first round. No pressure then.