“Yeah. Often a bit cagey.” Well that’s what I told Mr TLF last night as I gave him his pre-match briefing about the opening game. Croatia and Brazil of course were not listening to me (to be fair Mr TLF probably wasn’t either) and provided the ideal tonic to some opening ceremony tedium and the depressing realities of general FIFA-ness and a day where the smoke might come from celebratory fireworks or tear gas.
Brazil’s brilliant belting out of the national anthem (a jaunty affair at the best of times) was not quite matched by a pitch perfect (see what I did there?) 90 minutes from Big Phil’s team but you can’t argue with a 3-1 win….Although I think Croatia might want a small argument-ette with the ref and certainly drew the equivalent of a big red arrow down Brazil’s flanks with a sign that said, “Opponent’s attackers welcome here.” Important thing is we’re officially up and running, we had gratuitous use of goal-line technology and I predictably established that I don’t like ITV’s studio, credits music or even the font on their scoreline caption…A fussy Fox indeed.
And so to the weekend where the Brazilian equivalent of a Smorgasbord of football awaits. A Sambasbord perhaps? Any World Cup veteran will know ten group games does not guarantee 10 x 90 mins (plus time for stoppages) of high tempo and exciting football. Particularly in this heat. And can I stop you there boys. YES we know it’s hot and humid. We get it. It has been done to death before the tournament even started. In fact you could say there was a bit of a pre tournament warm-up. (BOOMBOOM)
I do have a bit of a hankering for unfashionable and unlikely to succeed Honduras. No real logic to it (that will not come as a surprise to regular readers) – there is no Honduran bloodline going back through the Fox ages…Nor was I lucky (!) enough to win them in an office sweepstake. No, it’s their shirts. So easy to replicate. One blue T-shirt, a bottle of tippex to paint you a big capital H where normally a fancy badge might go and jobs a good un.
At least no one can accuse me of being a glory hunter. At least not for that game. Tonight I shall be festooned in orange and hoping that even if Holland can’t get 3 points against Spain they do at least remember this time around that they are playing football not the sport of tag-team wrestling which was their preferred modes operandi in the 2010 World Cup final against the same opponents.
I shall be watching out too for Mexico, their coach sounds like he will be offering touchline VFM plus their “all action midfielder” (copyright The Guardian guide) Hector Herrea’s nickname is the fox. Top man.
Saturday there will of course be three nervy lions on my shirt. Optimistic fox has high hopes that Roy’s boys are prep’d and ready to show the world that we can every now and again play possession football and display some youth inspired nerveless football. Pessimistic fox, suspects that OF has been at the cooking sherry and can’t believe this naivety. PF plans to watch the game from behind the sofa and at the final whistle, raise eyes skywards and mouth, “do you never learn?”, followed by a list of tournament disappointments, where we watched them and whether I cried, as a Pirlo inspired Italia take England apart. That man is everywhere – I have enough Paninis of him for a sticker 5-aside team.
Eagle-eyed readers might have noticed a slight tweak to the blog header (the bit at the top of the page not a forehead coming into contact with a ball). Thanks to Mikey B for the sprinkling of global dust.
Prepare for the weekend my petit World Cup warriors. The pitches might not all be ready but we are. Time to commence negotiations more delicate than anything that has ever taken before in the Middle East, as you work tirelessly with your fellow house sharers to come to some suitable agreement that gives you full land rights to the remote control and clear unfettered access to the fridge and snack drawer (Stella and bacon fries? So kind. Don’t mind if I do).
El Lost Zorro
Brazil 3 Croatia 1
5pm Mexico v Cameroon, Grp A,
8pm Spain v Netherlands, Grp B
11pm Chile v Australia, Grp B
5pm Colombia v Greece, Grp C
8pm Uruguay v Costa Rica, Grp D
11pm Italy v England, Grp D
2am (DO ME A FAVOUR!!!) Ivory Coast v Japan, Grp C
5pm Switzerland v Ecuador, Grp E
8pm France v Honduras
11pmArgentina v Bosnia, Grp F
Phrase of the day – Italian
Malato come un pappagallo
Sick as a parrot
Website of the day – Brilliant deck of cards, featuring World Cup starts from over the decades
Dish of the day/weekend – Bosnia
One for the meat eaters today. With easy to follow instructions and pictures…..back of the cookery net!