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England. The time is now. The slate is clean.

It’s here.  The day has arrived.  In a few hours England will face Germany in a knockout World Cup match.   The last was 1990 and the nation was transfixed by the tears of a clown.     We’ll soon experience this years rollercoaster.  In 2030 will we remember tears of joy? 

So far it’s been a traumatic tournament for England.   Rumours of mutiny and boredom following the bafflingly incompetent showing against Algeria led to some vicious condemnation.    Fortunately a football match broke out on Wednesday and we put aside the distractions and won in (relative) comfort.   That’s all in the past now.  When knockout stages start it’s like  a new  tournament.   It’d be fantastic if  Wayne could ‘Write the Future’.   Imagine in twenty years looking back on the night we beat Germany!!   To make the difference on a stage like this is to become immortal.   No reason to feel afraid.  There will only be a billion people watching.   The time is now.  I can’t believe I wrote this paragraph and didn’t use the words ‘Penalty shootout’.  AAAARRRGH dam!!  

Both knockout games so far have been excellent.  Both filled with spritely attacking football and teams going all out for the wins as opposed to waiting to take a chance on penalties.    It was thrilling to watch the USA play their way back into their game against Ghana and exciting to see Ghana’s resilience in getting back in front.  Both sides were a credit to the game.   It’s becoming a great tournament now.   Let’s hope it continues. 

Much of what can be achieved is down to attitude and approach.   Brazil and Portugal were both qualified for the second round but even bearing that in mind their boring violent dirge on Friday was vile.   Is that the best they could conjure up?  Two sides filled with talent and excitement yet they just spent all game barging into each other and arguing like a load of little kids.  Spain have clicked into gear though.    Iniesta’s goal against Chile had the swagger and execution Barcelona have shown for the last two years.  Villa took his chance well but you can’t help wondering why the keeper dashed out.   If Spain continue to improve the only future Christiano will be  writing next week will be on postcards from his holiday home in the Bahamas.  Wouldn’t that be a shame!!


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