We held our breath and we finally got the result we were hoping for. England at last came good and thanks to Jermain Defoe's first half strike against Slovenia, we're through to the last 16. England played better today, they needed to. There was a spring in the step and purpose to the attack. We got through and head the group however, we didn't look world class. Certainly not in the league of Argentina who played last night and looked simply unbeatable. It was good to see the team unite on the pitch after the final whistle and we now know it's not a split camp but a group coming together under Capello's new-found passion. Great to see and long may it continue.
I was thinking about this World Cup and how it's so far been a little on the strange side. It's not really come alive in the way Italia 90 did. There's been the controversial and somewhat annoying drone of the vevuzela - the South African instrument of torture. There was the slow starts from the top teams and shock results with Spain losing their first match and Germany storming theirs then losing the second. It's been a tournament of red cards, kidding the ref with imaginary facial injuries, imaginary card waving and general bad temper amongst the players and coaching staff. Is it just me, or have the teams looked unhappy and uncomfortable to be there? The weather has been cold and has given a drab feel to the matches. England were utterly rubbish with discontent in the camp, injuries and goalkeeping howlers.
And then there was France. Mon dieu! What was all that about? Never before have we witnessed such a great team of the past sink so low as to having players sent home and total capitulation on the pitch from a group of players. Wouldn't it be nice for the French FA to fine each player and the manager (who I assume is being paid a shedload of Euros for his services) and refund each French fan who paid a vast amount of money to travel to South Africa to follow the French team. I think the team and all concerned let themselves down, but they let the fans down even more. Ireland would have given it a great go in the tournament and would have no doubt gained loads of new fans had they had their chance in the qualifiers and the ref spotted that Henry plays for France and not the Harlem Globetrotters. Poetic justice I suppose but France have not left the tournament with many admirers.