Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Italy 2 - Ghana 0.

First off, I should say that I said "A pearler from Pirlo" out loud, along with Motty, much to the confusion of David at whose house, and on whose big screen, I watched the game. And it was yet another blinder. Ghana look, as everyone thought they would, pretty great in midfield, but the combination of the draw, some fairly shakey defending, and a lack of movement in front of the midfield means I can't see them progressing. I had predicted a draw for this game - the Italians always start slowly, don't you know...But apparently the Azzuri have forgotten that they're supposed to be rubbish in their opening game and played an absolute blinder. It will be a worry to Lippi that they looked a far less impressive team when Totti limped off (and, frankly, for the good of the tournament, let's hope it's nothing serious, because he looked really really impressive) and although they did play a lot more defensively when they went 1-0 ahead they did look as if they seriously wanted the second - whenever they broke it was with significant intent, and they could (and indeed perhaps should) have had more.

Essien went achingly close from distance, but 'big Gianluigi' (as I'm sure they call him [actually, they probably call him 'big bung taking buffon']) wasn't called into action too often. Talking of keepers, the Ghanaian keeper came from that breed of keeper that you don't really get in England - an excellent shot stopper, but VERY dodgy on crosses - he raised a chuckle from the ever-dour Lawro. Who, and I may have mentioned this before, is NOT FUNNY.

Ghana were unlucky not to have a penalty, but if the chap (I forget who it was) had not dived like he was leaping off the side of a yaught and trying to impress a young lady who was enjoying a picnic on the deck, may have got more sympathy from the ref (who was fairly poor by the way.)

Anyway, it was another great game - is it just me, or might this be the most engaging world cup in recent times?

It's my (French) mum's birthday today, so allow me to say Allez Thierry! Allez Zizou! Allez Barthez! (enfin, peut etre pas Barthez. Vous pouvez rester sur votre ligne sil vous plait est ne jouez pas comme "David James".) Althogether now "Alons enfants de la patrie, le jour de gloire et arrive!"