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World Cup 19/6/10 - Day 9

Words fail me.

No, I'm not talking about England 0-0 Algeria - I'm referring to a sign we passed on our way to Rustenburg this morning. It said "World Record In Progress - 1 man living in house with over 40 deadly snakes - 114 days and counting!" Perhaps that's where Joe Cole is hiding. I then started wondering to myself, 'do the snakes give him an hour off every 24 for a comfort break?' Perhaps I'm turning into Karl Pilkington...actually, maybe it's him in there, with Ricky Gervais looking through the windows laughing at him incessantly.

Rustenburg has one road in and one road out, thus our exodus from Johannesburg fully 9 hours before kick-off here between Australia and Ghana in order to beat the traffic. The one good thing about betting up at 6am was that the sodding pigeon didn't get the pleasure of waking me up at 7 like he's done for the past 8 days. I could just shoot the bleeder, but then knowing my luck pigeons aren't classed as vermin here and I'd be up before the beak - I'd use Fabio Capello's team selection as my alibi & motive I think.

It wasn't so much the traffic we had to avoid en route but the potholes that dotted the entire journey - some were as big as the Sarlac Pit off Return Of The Jedi. It was a bumpy ride that's for sure. It'll be a bumpy ride for talkSPORT's cricketing legend Darren Gough all day...fancy choosing today to have him sit with the Aussie fans here the day after England look marginally worse than the Townswomens Guild of Sheffield 2nd XI at that game in Cape Town. That said, Goughy has enough one-liners in reserve to deal with the expected brickbats that'll come his way. Or maybe he'd rather be in that snake house down the road.

If our party here at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium are in a bad mood, I can only imagine how peed off Stan Collymore, Mike Parry et al are as they fly back from the Cape to our base today - it's like Mexico '86 all over again for England...problem is you can't see who's going to do a 'Lineker' and score a hat trick to see us through. The 'gallows humour' jokes were doing the rounds on everybody's phones after full time, none of which can be printed here. It was funny though to see 7 grown men bolting their dinner down when it was served 20 minutes before kick-off like a young boy who wants to watch Thunderbirds so bad on Sunday lunchtime, he'll gladly suffer a headache from eating his Artic Roll too fast. I can't think who that young lad might be.

I have to admit I got a little carried away with my commentary on USA/Slovenia earlier in the day, as the Americans showed once again that they don't know when they're beaten. Credit to Michael Bradley, the manager's son, who popped up in the right place at the right time from midfield to slot him Jozy Altidore's knock down to make it 2-2 late on from being 2-0 down at the break. It looked like Heskey playing in Lampard....but only on the Playstation when you select England to play St Kitts and Nevis in a challenge match - and even then you'd struggle to get those 2 to link up, no matter how skilled you were at pressing X & O whilst holding down the left shoulder button. Bloody England - always ready to let you down when you least expect it.

What must it be like for Michael Bradley, anyway, to be picked by his Dad to play for his country? You'd have to be on top form every single match to avoid the lazy accusations of nepotism. Steve Bruce had that problem picking his son Alex to play for Blues at West Ham in place of Nicky Butt a few years ago - I tried to get a view on the controversial selection from Brucie's assistant coach that evening...but Grandma Bruce wouldn't comment.

I know all Englishmen want us to do well, but for the tournament to succeed out here, an African team needs to step up. And that's where Ghana comes in - strong, youthful and fearless with no small amount of skill, they're threatening to run away with Group D should they do what the Germans did to Australia. And if England miraculously end up qualifying in 2nd place, they'd meet the Black Stars in the Round of 16. That'd be a bit of a knotty one, never mind the Germans.

Ghana to win 2-0 here and then it's International Pothole Dodging on the drive home. That would've made it onto World Of Sport too back in the day.

It's still cold by the way

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