The Football Neutral World Cup: Uruguay vs England

Soccer - World Cup Italia 1990 - Semi Final - West Germany v England - Stadio Delle Alpi

Before we start… should you like the stuff that I write, do feel free to download my Football Neutral 2013/14 season review on Kindle.  Well over 300 pages of daftness. Less than £2! Thanks!

Pre Match:

Oh god, we’re on ITV.

The wife is home and watching this with me.  She’s both Welsh and utterly hates football, so expect some zingers from her corner.

There’s a stand behind the goal that looks really unsafe. Proper Maude Flander death territory.

It is a seriously jaunty anthem, the Uruguay one.

Whilst an England win would of course be the preferred option (see previous blogs for an explanation of who I support internationally and why I still like England), if they do lose and go out tonight it would mean that my gig in Coventry next Saturday night will go ahead.

Hands up if you’ve done this Simpsons joke today?

1: OH PLEASE SHUT UP ANDY TOWNSEND

2: Muslera in the Uruguay goal is properly wank. And whilst I am commenting on his football skills, the wife is referring to him as “a human refresher”.

3: Wife on Suarez: “he’s got teeth, hasn’t he?”

4: Suarez, as if hearing the abuse from my wife, tries to score from a corner like the cheeky little bitey racist that he is.

6: Wife just asked if the players can tell the difference between a whistle blown by the ref or one in the crowd.  I said that they can’t. She is now patenting a special whistle that has a frequency that only footballers can hear.  Of course, this could then be bought by the fans and we’re back to square one.  I don’t think she’s as emotionally invested in this game as me right now.

7: England free kick. Uruguay make a wall. Wife asks me if it’s called a “ball wall” because they have to stop the ball AND they guard their nether regions.  I reply in the negative.

9: MAN IN CHAINMAIL SPOTTED. Possible UKIP voter. They just look the sort, you now?

10: Rooney had a free kick and hit it within 20 yards of the goal. BIG IMPROVEMENT ON SATURDAY, WAYNE!

13: Debate about heading the ball led by the wife. Quote: “How can they head the ball when it’s coming out of the sky but roll around like little whiny girls when they get tackled?” Good point.

15: I miss England wearing navy shorts.

17: The Uruguay defender Pereira has a face that looks like it has been sucked into a hoover.

18: Rooney a lot better than the other night. Unfortunately Uruguay are also a lot better than the other night.

19: Still baffled at the unsegregated seating for the games.  Can anyone else imagine this happening a few years ago?  Tis madness.  Seems to be a tad more segregation for England games, although there are still are pockets of England fans sat with Uruguay lads and Brazil neutrals.  Very odd indeed.  Although if everyone is behaving, fair play. That said: It’s not fucking rugby, is it?

23: Feels like a nil nil right now.  I’m saying that so this ends up 4-3 and proves me wrong.

25: Wife just shouted “topknot wanker” at Martin Caceres.

28: Diego Godin may as well just have hit a lariat on Daniel Sturridge there.  Commentators saying he’s lucky to be on the pitch, but it wasn’t an elbow nor intentional.  The same guys were saying that Muller was scum for going down under a similar challenge the other night. DOUBLE STANDARDS, LADS!

31: England hit the bar – and they’re having a decent spell. Rooney SHOULD have scored if we’re being honest, but it was harder than it looked.  I’ll give him some credit.  ITV commentary team DESPERATE to have him score.

34: Still a lot of fight in England. They are not the most gifted side for sure, but it means a lot to the fans that they seem to be trying as hard as they can.  As a neutral, it means a lot to me knowing that both of their matches have already been more entertaining than the whole world cup.

39: GOAL – URUGUAY – LUIS SUAREZ: Had to be him, didn’t it? Headline writers demanded it.  Edinson Cavani – who had done NOTHING thus far – loops the ball in from the corner of the area and Phil Jagielka isn’t close enough to Suarez who heads home.  Glen Johnson should have been picking Cavani up really.  Sturridge heads straight up the other end with a chance, but now Uruguay are in charge.

41: Rooney takes a corner and it doesn’t beat the first man. So frustrating. Let Sterling or Baines or Gerrard take them for crying out loud.

43: What’s annoying is that this has been a BRILLIANT World Cup so far and a limited England have been doing OK in a tough group.  If England go out tonight, does that overshadow how excellent the tournament as a whole has been?  Not for me, but I suspect it will for a lot of people.

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Half Time:

Really not sure how England are losing.  Good header from Suarez and proof that a finisher of his calibre is hard to come by, but England have had enough of the play and decent enough chances to be winning, or at least level.

Fairly sure that Adrian Chiles breaks a journalism rule by referring to England as “us”. Especially as there are people watching in Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland…

Andros Townsend seems a good lad. Surely his press pass says “A Townsend” on it? Just saying we could have him in the commentary box instead…

I’m eating a fruit pastille lolly. Annoying that lemon is the most prevalent flavour.

46: Wife Quote: “I’d be well good as a steward. I’d happily not watch the game”.

49: Suarez keeps trying to score from corners. Greedy bastard.

51: England not at it right now, still asleep. Cavani and Suarez scaring the shit out of Cahill and Jagielka.  Wife sums it up with “I know Uruguay are doing better because I keep seeing the little green man”.  That’s Joe Hart.  The Uruguay keeper is the little orange man, apparently.

53: There is the little orange man, Muslera.  Great save from Rooney, who is still searching for his first ever World Cup goal.  Great work from Leighton Baines down the left leading to the chance.

55: Multitasking whilst Muslera is down faking an injury.  Starting a campaign to get the awful new iPhone “Chicken Fat” advert banned from our TV. Why? The song is AWFUL and I hate Apple.  Part crusade for better ads, part personal vendetta against a massive company that I despise.

59: England pressing but just don’t have a load of ideas. And who do you throw on? There’s nobody better on the bench really, although I’d like to see Ross Barkley get a runout.

61: Pereira takes Sterling’s knee to the temple and is knocked out. Horrible moment as he’s splayed on the pitch in real trouble, but toe medics bring him around and he then throws a massive tantrum as the doctor tries to insist that he is substituted.  That’s some passion right there, good lad.

64: Barkley now on, yay! But for Sterling, boo.

67: England just don’t look like scoring. Suarez then hits a hit and hope at Joe Hart, known within World Cup circles as a “Ronaldinho against David Seaman”.

68: I’m sure the commentator just said the population of greater London was 3 and a half million.

70: Lallana on for Wellbeck, who has done nowt.

72: Wayne Rooney’s hair-hat is the reason that a balding man like me doesn’t bother with hair implants.

73: Sturridge does a little turn and rattles off a shot. Muslera holds it easily. Uruguay aren’t doing anything much, but England aren’t really pressing them at all.

75: GOAL – ENGLAND – WAYNE ROONEY: Wonderful work by Sturridge, even better work from Johnson and a tap in for Rooney. He finally scores at a World Cup and is delighted. Great seeing the England fans surge forward in their “end” – and it’s what England have deserved.

77: Sturridge close now.  England could actually win this, you know.

79: Atmosphere has been properly booted up a notch now, I tells thee.

80: Not so much in this house, mind. The wife has buggered off elsewhere.

83: It would really be excellent if England got another now. They have, on balance, been the better team and Uruguay sat back until Rooney’s goal.  They’re now charging forwards too and it’s like watching a game from the knockout stages.

84: GOAL – URUGUAY – LUIS SUAREZ: Steven Gerrard fluffs a header and merely directs it into the path of the sprinting Luis Suarez who puts the ball past Hart.  And that’ll probably be that for England.  Two decent chances for Uruguay, two goals.  Steven Gerrard manages to top his slip against Chelsea in the league with a pretty decent assist.

88: People on Twitter rightfully pointing out that Gerrard has been awful during both games.  They’re right. The system Liverpool play mean that he can play that “quarterback” role that people bang on about. He can’t for England.  Everyone else is putting in the effort, he’s just past it.  But he’ll “retire” from England duty before the next manager (because Hodgson will be sacked, unfortunately – it’s not his fault he doesn’t have the players to choose from) has time to not pick him, just to save his own face.

90: Five minutes of injury time. Suarez now off and crying on the bench. Mate, you’re winning! Wacky South Americans.

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Full Time:

England are probably out, barring Italy winning both of their remaining games and England somehow twatting Costa Rica out of sight.  They’re not good enough.  It’s not the fault of Roy Hodgson; he’s trying his best but there just aren’t the players available for him.  Gerrard is past it, Rooney (I know he scored, but still) isn’t as world class a player as the entire nation seemed convinced he is, at the back England are a bit static and slow and the rest of the team – small glimmers of hope for the next four years in Sterling and Barkley to one side – just aren’t very good.

Suarez, like him or not, is an amazing centre forward.  He gets two chances and he scores two goals.  He is the difference between Uruguay being an also-ran South American team and a pretty decent one.  They won’t get to the semi finals like last time around, but they remain a tidy side when he’s fit.

I don’t think that England fans are shocked by the result, because nobody would have seriously expected England to win the World Cup.  There needs to be a better focus on team spirit and work ethic going forwards.  The 1986 and 1990 World Cup sides were full of unfashionable players who grafted as part of a team.  The next England manager (because let’s be honest, Hodgson will be sacked shortly) needs to take more chances on unfashionable players from smaller teams; Lallana and Lambert from Southampton are a start, but there are more players hungry to pull that shirt on and push the “superstars” in the side harder for their place.

We await the Gerrard memes.

Man of the Match: Luis Suarez

Match Rating: 5/10

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One thought on “The Football Neutral World Cup: Uruguay vs England

  1. If “the wife”‘s comments are true and not just a fabrication for the purposes of adding spice and humour to the narrative, I think we would prolly get on famously. She’s a funny gal with a sharp sense of irony. Dunno what she sees in you though !

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