Saturday, June 10, 2006

Day two of the world cup promises even more action than day one did. England is up first, and they want to bring football home. I myself, keep my fingers crossed for England. Not only are many of my friends English, I have swayed drunken over the streets of Birmingham singing, 'Shit on Da Villa'. I lived shortly in Birmingham. Football is as much as a religion in most of England, and it has been exactly forty years since they held the cup. Football originates from England and when the cup returns to England, football is coming home.
Coach Ruiz Anabel of Paraguay does not share these sentiments, he would like to see his nation topple the results of 1998 and 2002, when they finished with the last sixteen, and coach his team minimum to a quarterfinal. Losing today against England is not an option.
Again there is not much pre-game coverage on the TV, if you don’t count the ads. The kick off comes shortly after 'Budweiser’s' message.
England gets a free kick a few meters from the penalty box within two minutes. Beckham looks at the ball and then at the goal, I wonder if he still got it. The answer is not far away, as just as quick as the game started, the ball lands in the net. It looks like an old fashion curved ball of Beckham has found the target. Actually, the ball comes off the head of a defender of Paraguay.


The English confidence grows fast, early in the game. Paraguay find themselves under huge pressure.
The eleventh minute another free kick, England holds their breath as Beckham looks at the ball and slowly steps back. The ball fails to bend around Paraguay's wall for the two nil.
Crouch, playing for England, shows of his skills soon after, and the commentator is waiting for the 'Robo-dance', the victory dance of the young English player. The first shot of Paraguay, on target, comes in the 17th minute, but a co-player deflects it wide. England stays comfortably in control. The first yellow is for Gerard in the 18th minute. Moments later Par gets their first one as Beckham is swiped from his feet. However, England is all over Paraguay.

After half an hour play, we see only the second shot on the goal by Paraguay, this on from even further then the previous one.
From the stadium we here the rhythmic clapping and the firm sound of hundreds of fans shouting 'England'. The commentator now praising the English side calling Beckham, 'the best player of the world'.
I have not heard that for a while.
In the second half England keeps on pushing. Like Germany looked sharp yesterday, England even looks better today. The necessity to score has faded though, and the game shifts to midfield.
A canon ball by Cole from at least twenty meters ends in the crunched stomach of the keeper of Paraguay.
The action dies a little, but Crouch manages to liven it up by talking back to the ref, yellow card.
"If you take a card, take it for tackling somebody, for a professional foul.”
I am shocked.
Moments later the commentator calls, "The save of the day." As the keeper of Paraguay can tip a rocket-ball, from the number eight of England, over the crossbar.
"God save the Queen," is coming from the stands. England celebrates.
The last couple of stoppage time carries the most suspense of the game. Paraguay's best organized attack on England, and some breath-holding seconds for the fans in all the pubs.
The result looks shaky for the English, a one nil win from an own goal, but on the field they looked good enough to be taken serious when they say, football is coming home.