After the euphoria of the opening few days at the World Cup we’re now into a solid routine of early starts and working on the laptop in front of the telly. It’s a good routine to have.
I didn’t post yesterday as I actually spent much of it away from my laptop. After getting up for the France/Honduras game, school drop-offs and then the Argentina/Bosnia-Herz… game I hit the road to the Bombays for a meeting with my AFF and AFF communications colleagues about what we can do to add to the promotion and profile of the NRFL next season. We’ve got some simple but pretty good ideas, but you’ll have to wait and see what they are.
I then headed back down the goat track to the Sport Waikato office in Hamilton for the WaiBOP Federation’s Annual General Meeting. AGM’s are usually pretty mind-numbing but last night’s one was okay. We have four new, diverse faces on the board and the atmosphere in the room was pretty positive, apart from one small moment of what-the-hell-are-you-doing from a disaffected attendee. I guess there’s always one. AGM’s are the time and place for certain things, but little else.
Anyway, before that, in the morning, the French looked sharp against a pretty limited (actually, quite horrible) Honduras, then the world went crazy because Lionel Messi finally scored a World Cup goal after eight years. Yes, it was a decent strike, which turned out to be the winner, but the reaction was a little OTT.
It actually ended up being quite a long day. I got home after 11pm then still had the final episode of Game of Thrones to get through. Long but pretty decent.
Day 5 dawned with Germany versus Portugal. The Germans were impressive enough and Portugal not so much. Pepe was a dufus. Again. 4-0 and it really should have been more. I actually taped this game and watched it in the 7am slot because I wasn’t overly partial to a bit of Nigeria versus Iran. Prophetically, as it turned out.
The Ghana versus USA match had far more to it. The final match I watched live in South Africa was the round of 16 match between these two sides, which was won 2-1 by Ghana. The thing that stands out from that match four years ago was watching a big American (is there any other type) fan going absolutely off at the Ghanaian players as they ran their victory lap. He was angry. We were indifferent.
The Americans got their revenge today. Dempsey’s 32 second opener was well worked, then the Ghanaians bossed the match before Ayew’s late stroll of an equaliser. The Yanks weren’t done, however. John Brooks Jr nutted home from a corner to reverse the scores of the last two times these teams have met in World Cups. Another upset, of sorts.
My afternoon involved a bit off football too, but this time I was a participant. I’ve set up a new introductory football programme at the club here in Matamata to try to get some kids who play other sports on Saturday mornings involved in the sport. The first week of the programme was set for two weeks ago, but got pushed back to last Tuesday as the head coach was involved in a mishap on the football field (he had his cheek bone caved in by a crude late challenge) while playing for Matamata Swifts. Last week it rained. We finally got the programme running today, even though it was borderline rainy all day. It went well and I even did a bit of the coaching myself.
There’s a whole back story to this programme and other initiatives we’ve started and are looking at getting going in the community. They should have been underway well over a year ago as the club contracted a Director of Coaching, but unfortunately he turned out to be, er, not quite what we expected. As many people from other clubs have already told us so. You can only learn from living…
Score picking update
I’ve come back to the pack in the BFWCSPC, even though I got another perfect pick (Argentina v Bosnia-Herz…). The Ghanaians didn’t help me by not winning today.
Picks for day 6
Belgium 3-0 Algeria, Brazil 2-1 Mexico, Russia 2-0 South Korea.