Call it Vuvuzela’s Revenge: Europe’s traditional soccer powers have certainly been stinking up the pitch. After they ran roughshod over the Aussies, Germany missed a penalty and lost to Serbia (although some would say there is no shame in that). European champions Spain threw the kitchen sink at Switzerland but couldn’t break them down, losing 1-0. Yesterday, it was the Italians’ turn.
Italy? Defending World Cup champions. New Zealand? Ranked 78th. But on a free kick in the seventh minute, the ball went off Che Capitano Cannavaro and into the path of Shane Smeltz; 1-0 to New Zealand on their only shot on net. The Italians would eventually tie the game on a penalty. But the Azzurri have yet to win a match, and now need at least a draw against Slovakia to go through.
Which leads us to The Three Lions. After Saturday’s lacklustre display, Captain Schtupping — who really isn’t captain — decided to hold a captain’s conference, saying the players shouldn’t be afraid to challenge the manager. Fortunately, the players wanted no part of it. They reminded John Terry that: a) he is no longer their leader, and b) they aren’t going to speak out against Capello. I think they were afraid Don Fabio would have them all whacked…
Of course, the British press are spewing theories on why England have been terrible. Some say fatigue after a long Premier League season, others say a lack of preparation, yet others say the players are afraid of making a Robert Green-esque error. Meanwhile, England fans just want them to get on with it.
BTW, best cheeky bit we’ve read so far:
The England football team visited an orphanage in Soweto today. “It was great to be able to put a smile on the faces of people without hope,” said Mbutto, aged six.
Mais oh la la la la la. England and Italy don’t have it as bad as La France. Nicolas “The Incredible Sulk” Anelka was sent home after directing some swears at French coach Raymond Domenech. Then the French players showed up for practice but wouldn’t get off the bus. Then they did. Then captain Patrice Evra had a bust-up with the team’s fitness coach. Then Domenech had to read a statement saying the players wouldn’t practice because Anelka was sent home… because Domenech had told the FFF about the swears. The French are kings of irony but this is a bit much. If you listen carefully, you can hear Irish laughter…
Oh yeah, Brazil qualified yeseterday, with Luis Fabiano scoring two lovely goals against the Ivory Coast. Too bad the game was overshadowed by Kaka being sent off because of Kader Keita’s Rivaldo-like performance.