Is it me, or was the football that England played not football? It was more like a film version of football. A strange dream that refused to let the sleeping participants awaken; a sequence directed by David Lynch – only minus the girl on girl action. The ball itself refused to come under control, changing its weight mid-pass and occasionally bouncing higher than expected. It swooped and dived like a beautiful kestrel floating on thermals waiting for its prey to come into view.
This all conspired to make the England players look second rate, overpaid, underachieving no hopers. But we all know this not to be true. Damn that ball and damn the lack of goal-line technology. I bet goalkeepers could do with a camera in the goal, they could chat to their loved ones on Skype during really slow patches.
The Germans should have been handicapped in the second half once the referee had realised he should have allowed Lampard’s ‘goal’. They should have had to play with blind-folds for 15 minutes, the pitch should have sloped towards the German goal for 30 minutes or the goal should have been widened by 20 metres. Any of these would have done. But no, FIFA just wouldn’t let any of those suggestions happen. They are so last century. Just like 1970.
At least that’s the last we’ll see of Heskey in an England shirt. If he had all the answers, perhaps he can now go on to a second career as a newspaper Agony Uncle. He could call the column Email Heskey. Maybe the England team should have just listened to this solid advice from John Barnes: You’ve got to hold and give, but do it at the right time. You can be slow or fast, but you must get to the line. They’ll always hit you and hurt you, defend and attack. There’s only one way to beat them: Get round the back. Simple, practical advice.
At least most of my World Cup bets are still alive (sort of). A hot, drunken week = red nose and rasping cough. It’s a good job I am a healthy and fit human. Right, down to business and a catch up of what’s hot and what’s not.
Woke up early, coughing, wheezing and generally feeling poo. Had a trixie on Portugal, Spain and Chile, plus a first goalscorer double of Ronaldo and Villa. After picking up a few quid went to see Broken Bells finish the Meltdown Festival on the Southbank. Twas rather lovely. Went home feeling all happy with just an occasional cough for company.
Cough getting worse. I mix cough syrup with wine and hope this will help. A day of staying in. I get involved with some online poker, and after four hours decide that my life is slowly slipping away. I have a Mexico and Argentina double and start getting some golf bets ready. Larrazabal, Schwartzel and Kaymer for the BMW in Munich and Brendon de Jonge, Fowler and Charlie Wi over in the Travelers Championship.
The day England must perform and annoyingly I cannot. I’d arranged to go out and meet people in a pub – get outrageously drunk and then eat rubbish food before spending loads of money in a casino. Unfortunately, my cough is now drowning out the sound of the vuvuzelas and is driving my cat round the bend. Bend it like Elvis. I stay in, drink some more cough syrup and then open some lager. Post match, everyone is talking as if we will now win the World Cup – hmmmm. A goal from a shin that went straight through the keeper… on this evidence.
Head off to Wales very early for the Australia v England ODI. I feel awful. Luckily, loads of wine and lager help me through the day. England batter the Australians. Welsh people fight. Larrazabal and Schwartzel both post good first rounds. Will I ever get better?
Spend the day in a strange bed watching the football and the golf. The Portugal v Brazil match is not the classic I was expecting. I need to go home. I don’t want to die in Wales. Larrazabal is right in contention which makes me feel better.
Home in time to watch the games that England should have been involved in. Larrazabal falls away. I melt away into a sweaty, coughy mess.
The day England are really supposed to prove themselves. I try to make myself better by drinking cold lager and watching Larrazabal get back into contention. Everything goes the way of the downhill, slippery hole to hell.
Larrazabal won the Alstom Open two years ago and appears to be getting back into form. Kaymer won last year – so I’ll definitely be backing those two. In the US, Ryan Moore has been looking good and likes the AT&T, also I’ll be backing Snedeker and Justin Rose. Rose fell apart in the final round this week, but that shouldn’t put you off. Twice Over might not go in the Eclipse if the ground is too fast.
Running total after Week 22 (-£300): £4,715
Torres – Top World Cup Scorer 12/1
Spain – World Cup 9/2
Brazil – World Cup 5/1
Holland – World Cup 10/1
Kaka – Top World Cup Scorer 40/1
Holland and Van Persie World Cup double – 66/1
Spain and Villa World Cup double – 18/1
Kieron Fallon – Jockey Championship 7/2
Twice Over – Coral Eclipse 7/2
Roddick – Wimbledon 12/1
Henin – Wimbledon 17/2
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