Just after England’s abject 0-0 draw with Algeria in Friday night, my friend Stephen turned to me and said – “The whole world is laughing at us.” That’s the thing about the World Cup. I invariably fall into the trap of seeing the England team as representing me personally – and so their rare triumphs and frequent disasters can never be shrugged off. Searching desperately for consolation, as England head for the exits, I can only note that we are not the only big European country to be struggling: France are all but eliminated; Germany lost to Serbia; Spain, inexplicably, lost to Switzerland.
But, let us not dwell solely on the negative. Here are my World Cup highlights for the first week:
1) Best game: USA 2- Slovenia 2: A fanatstic comeback by the Americans from 2-0 down. This US team has a college-boy charm; they work hard and they are good sports. They barely protested when they were inexplicably denied a perfectly legitimate winning goal that would have made this one of the all-time great comebacks. The second best game was Denmark 2- Cameroon 1, last night. Fantastic attacking football – I was just a bit sad that Cameroon didn’t get the result they deserved.