With all due respect for Belarus’ 2-1 upset of the Netherlands, the day’s eye-popping result belongs to the nation of Kazahkstan, 1-0 victors earlier today in their Group A clash Armenia.
If you’re tired of seeing the above photograph, you’ll really hate what I have planned if Staines Town beat Stockport tomorrow afternoon in their FA Cup replay.
After being given a lifeline with Russia’s recent loss to Israel, England can advance from Group E with a win or draw later today against Croatia. With typical aplomb, the Guardian’s Barry Glendenning and Scott Murray are engaged a (one-sided?) pissing match with a certain tabloid over who broke the news of England keeper Paul Robinson being benched for today’s match.
Of course the Sun will probably argue that we stole their exclusive but published it the day before they did just to throw readers off the scent. Whatever way it went down, we’ve been snookered by our own efficiency, because yesterday’s rare Fiver exclusive means we’ve nothing left to write about today, apart from the fact Croatia boss Slaven Bilic is worried that a rubbish pitch could turn tonight’s game into more of a lottery than a plastic drum named Moonstone containing 49 numbered balls. “The top looks soft, but underneath it is hard and it is very slippery, like ice,” he moaned, getting his excuses in early. “It is not good for us but it is definitely no good for England because they like to pass the ball as well.”
Come 9.35pm tonight when England are 2-1 down and frantically looking for that all-important equaliser, it won’t matter what the pitch is like, because the Fiver can exclusively reveal that there’s won’t be any grass or mud in the areas where Second-Choice Steve is telling $tevie Mbe, Frank Lampard and Scott Carson to “pass” the ball.
(UPDATE : England 0, Croatia 2, 18 minutes.
Scott Carson failed to fully get in front of a rather stoppable long-range effort by Niko KranjÄar. The shot bounced off the left side of Carson’s body for the first Croatia goal some 8 minutes in. I’m not sure how to account for a blunder of David James proportions, but the NFL hashmarks leftover from the Giants/Dolphins game aren’t exactly a treat for the eyes. After years of making fun of the NJSEA for the very same thing, I will admit that groundskeeping is probably trickier than it looks.)