Kevin Miles, of the Football Supporters’ Federation, said: “I feel a mixture of delight and relief, especially after the disappointment of missing out on Euro 2008. “But all the emotions are positive and we have the best chance in years in South Africa. A 100 per cent record in competitive international matches is a pretty good basis for a World Cup campaign. If they keep it up, then we will win.”
Brilliant, Kevin. If England win all their games in South Africa, then they will win the World Cup. And presumably, to do so, all they need to do is score more goals than the opposition. Who knew?
“Where are you?” queried the emails. “What’s going on?” “What must we do?”
Such is the awesome and addictive power of 6000 miles…that when I was struck down – pretty heavily struck down, too – by a particularly nasty illness this last week, desperation set in for some readers.
But it’s ok. I’m back. And I’ve got lots that I want to write about. Although I haven’t been able to get near a computer to actually document my thoughts, I’ve been having plenty of them. Some of the more interesting ones were sadly only accessible while my temperature was in the low 40’s. Thus, I can only remember odd bits of them. Bits that involve parrots. I told you they were odd.
While I was away on my journey to Virusville, South Africa beat England in a unusually interesting Test match in Birmingham. Through glazed eyes (via the disappointingly weak interweb surfing capabilities of my aging cellphone), I read and agreed with Brian Micklethwait’s take on Michael Vaughan’s resignation as England captain following that game.
How thin are the threads that these things hang by! In England’s second innings the day before yesterday, Vaughan was looking good, until he got himself out with a silly shot. And yesterday, South Africa’s captain Smith would have been given out, caught off the glove off Panesar, if “Hotspot” the latest analytical gizmo – it shows where balls strike by photoing heat rather than light), had been helping the umpires instead of only helping the commentators to make idiots of the umpires. Smith was then on about 70. He went on to make 150 not out and win the game for his team. England might well have won if that decision gone their way, and if England had won, Vaughan would not now be stepping down. He might have made some runs in the final test against South Africa, and gone on to lead England in the Ashes next summer. As it is…
Yet another dodgy decision with massive implications. And yes, I know that referees and umpires are only human and these things happen, but with professional sport being what it is these days, isn’t it time that the technology which is available is applied so that careers aren’t ended and millions of pounds aren’t lost simply because of the actions of of an inept official?
So now we have a South African with a South African name captaining the England cricket team and a South African with an English name captaining the South African cricket team. And, if the papers are to be believed, they hate each other. Ooh – the drama.
A couple of tossers with a coin
I like this photo from the BBC News website. Pietersen looks like he’s missing a pint pot and is looking in completely the wrong direction. Smith looks like he’s missing a brain and is looking directly at the money. Which sums them both up nicely, I think.
EDIT: more (slightly surprising) opinion and a nice pic of Newlands here.