Back to top

World Cup 29/6/10 - Day 19

Well everyone and the neighbour's terrapin have had their say on England it seems. Being removed 5000 miles or so from the 'word on the street' so to speak, you're reliant out here on the online content of our newspapers and the general malaise amongst my facebook friends, most of whom have been using swear words even they never thought themselves capable of using.

I've vented my spleen at players & FA bigwig coaching idiots in my previous blog, and there is no point in repeating yourself unless you're AC/DC, who are quite fantastic at it. So be it.

I was so busy being miserable on Day 17 that I gave scant regard to how good Argentina were at Soccer City in knocking Mexico out the other night. Performances like theirs, Brazil's, Holland's and - dare I say it - Germany's simply serve to remind us all not to be so bloody insular and remember that this tournament has 3 or 4 class side capable of sweeping all before them.

Then there's the dark horses of Uruguay & Paraguay who've progressed almost silently into the last 8 without anyone noticing. Their names rhyme and their styles go in tandem too - a solid unspectacular back 4, obdurate defensive midfielders who seemingly find it hard to supply their talented strikers with consistent service, and all too keen to revert into their shells in a game they can't control. As opposed to England, who carry on thrashing around blindly when it's all too apparent that they're out of their depth.

But Argentina have so much going for them, even allowing for Messi's brilliance. Tevez, Di Maria, Higuain...and they have Sergio Aguero and Diego Milito straining at the leash from the bench. Delicious alternatives for Maradona, who has surrounded himself with a staff that helps him get his basic visions across in greater detail. Demichelis is a certain weak link at the back, but you've got to get the ball out of your own half first. The quarter final against the Germans will be legendary.

The talkSPORT lodge is now mirroring the Big Brother house with a series of 'evictions'. Alvin, Goughy and now Mike Parry have flown the coop, leaving us not so much 'down to the bare bones' as 'right down to the marrow'.

It means bloody hard work for Liam, Matt, John and Ant, our production team out here - and also for folk like Jim Proudfoot and Stan Collymore, who, by way of an example, finished their Brazil/Chile commentary at Ellis Park late last night, came back here, slept for a few hours and then caught an early morning flight to Cape Town in order to be at the Green Point Stadium for their commentary on Spain/Portugal tonight whilst Ray Parlour and I caught a cab to take in Paraguay/Japan from Pretoria in the afternoon.

I've done something like 13 commentaries in 17 days and Jim's workload has been even more strenuous. But we LOVE the workload, and we also love to bring the excitement we feel about being here across in our on-air delivery. This is the World Cup for goodness sake, and if you spend half your time on-air complaining about how cold it is or how uninspired you are by the game in front of you, you deserve to be lynched.

As it goes, the production lads can take a bit of a well-earned breather with 2 days to come with no games ahead of the quarter finals that start Friday. Some will go to the gym, some will fritter time (and possibly cash) at the nearby casino complex and folk like me will type nonsense like this.

Ray Parlour's arrival out here has been a great tonic for all of us during a stressful run of games and travelling. He has a great slew of stories about his Arsenal days to tell, but is just as wide-eyed and enthusiastic about being at games as the rest of us are and I'm looking forward to covering more matches with him.

Add new comment