Four years ago The Azzurri only conceded 2 goals in the campaign: an own goal and a penalty. They went out to a Slovakian team that couldn't believe their good fortune last night. No shots on goal in an hour and finally conceded three and home to their mamas.
Les Bleus had already touched down in their charter flight at Le Bourget Airport outside Paris and kept away from the press and public. Thierry Henry had a chauffer driven trip to The Elysee Palace and a meeting with President Nicolas Sarkozy. HOW DIFFERENT than in 1998. I was in the Champs Elysee the hours after their triumph over Brazil at Stade de France and jam packed singing of Les Marsellies, Zinadene Zidane's face beamed onto the Arc de Triumph in lights,as I clung up an ornate lamp post and Legion D'Honor's and an open top ride through the streets the next day.
New Zealand never threatened to win the Cup and bowed out with three draws after losing all three in 1982. They held Paraguay in Polokwene and can be satisfied with their performances including a tie with Italy and a questionable penalty for the Italians.
At least the Loftus Versfeld people listened to me a couple of years ago. I was at the Cup Final and it rained heavily earlier in the day. ALL the seats were flooded with water and you had to scoop it out with a newspaper or whatever. Now the seats have a hole in the bottom so that they can drain. SIMPLE !. There must have been at least eight thousand empty seats, many in the corporate boxes that are always full for Blu Bulls rugby but not favoured at PSL soccer or this World Cup.
Bill Clinton, who learned about The Beautiful Game, and obviously beautiful women, while a Rhodes scholar at Oxford University is hooked. He went to meet Landon Donovan and the team in their dressing room at Loftus and will be in Royal Bafokeng Stadium near Rustenburg for USA v Ghana on Sunday. Maybe they will barbecue one of the Royal goats on the brai for him?
Those puff pastry boys from DANMARK!. Definitely not a Viking performance in South Africa. The swords of the Blue Samurai sliced through their defence as if it was Danish Lurpak butter. It was a MARERITT, that's a nightmare in Dansk according to my friend Joaquim.
Today I hope to be entertained by Chile and Spain here in Pretoria with a capital performance in the capital city. Last night in my hotel bar we had a table full of Chilean fans plus a couple of Aussies, some French, Italians and Mexicans. In Durban at Moses Babhida Stadium, the Selecao from Brasil and Portugal should be just as entertaining at sea level, 4,500 feet(1,350 metres) lower than here on The Highveldt. It's ROBBIE v RONNIE.