v. . The England v. Argentina game has come to pass, and The Group of Death is living up to its name.
v. Let’s start with Eh-Spain and Paraguay over in Group B. There’s this crazy Paraguayan keeper named Jose Luis Chilavert, i’ll tell you more about him another day, but he was talking big before this game. And it didn’t do them any good, they lost 3-1, and Spain did Paraguay the favor of scoring Paraguay’s goal for them. Good sports, those Spanish. Morientes had two of the three goals that they scored on purpose. But you don’t care about this, do you? You came for the main event. This game was Neko Case opening for Nick Cave, There’s a time and place to get excited about Neko Case, but not when Nick Cave is backstage.
v. Ah, this is a bit closer to home, in the Group of Death. Are you sick of hearing Group F called that yet? Me too. From now on it’s the Group of Def. Sweden won, of course, with two goals from Larsson, of course. And Nigeria is mathematically eliminated from the second round, although England will get a crack at them first. So when they say “Group of you-know-what,” they’re talking about the 11 teenagers from Nigeria, bless their dear plucky hearts. You hear “plucky” used a lot at the World Cup, it means “a crap team that hasn’t done anything abominable yet.”
v. Bwahhahaha, it’s today’s main event, the battle of Sapporo, Becks vs. Simeone, Round II. Truth was, it was a beautiful game, both sides played elegantly and gentlemanly, other than Batistuta’s yellow-carded assasination attempt on Ashley Cole in the 12th minute and Kily Gonzales’ Andrew W.K. impersonation in the 39th.
Celebrity ref Perluigi Collina kept everyone in line, and the game started with Argentina somewhat dominating the lads until Beckham deigned it time to touch the ball for the first time in the ninth minute. Now, I’m no Beckham fan, but the kid did well today, and stayed very calm, so props to him. Gascoigne used to be an obnoxious little cuss, and he mellowed out into an adorable alcoholic plush toy by the end of his career, so maybe Becks learned something from Kim Neilsen’s red plastic rectangle four years ago. By the middle of the first half, England was in control with a couple shots and corners. In the 23rd minute, Little Mikey Owen came this close –>
Argentina dominated possession throught the game, but England dominated the play, they kept the pressure up with good attacks from Owen, Sinclair, Scholes, and even Ashley Cole. Argentina had some chances, too, but everything they shot flew ten feet over the crossbar or into Seaman’s sticky hands. (Surely you didn’t think I could get through this without a joke about Ol’ Spunky?)
This went on for a while, back-and-forth-like, until Owen was fouled in the box by Pocchitino right before the half, and all eyes looked to Signor Collina, who signaled a penalty kick. Then all eyes went to Mr. David Beckham, who beat it in and England won. The end.
Just kidding. he did hit it in, and England won, but that wasn’t the end, there was still 47 minutes of back and forth nailbiting-at-the-time action, but now that it’s over, it’s not worth talking about. Old Man Sheringham came on for Owen, which caused me to cringe, but he put on a good show and almost scored a goal or two himself. Eng-er-land went to a 5-man defense, and gave up about thirty corner kicks, and Crespo came on for Batistuta, who was spanked by England’s defense. I’ve never seen him contained so well. Crespo didn’t help much, and eventually the whistle blew and red-and white flags waved, and fat bald guys (self unfortunately excluded) binge drank, and Sweden and England sit atop the Group of Def. Until next week, when Argentina meets Sweden, and England meets Nigeria, and anything could happen. Unless you’re Nigeria.