Colombia 3 Greece 0
Uruguay 1 Costa Rica 3
England 1 Italy 2
Ivory Coast 2 Japan 1
These were the results on Day3, and in case you weren’t counting, that’s 13 goals in 4 games, a ridiculous tally considering at the past few World Cups it felt like every other game in the group stages ended either 0-0 or 1-0.
I thought teams would be too scared to lose games to make the early rounds exciting: either due to the heat, bad defending or managers saying “Let’s make football fun again,” the first 72-hours of this competition alone have already made it the best World Cup I can remember watching.
And there are still three and a half weeks left to go…
The regular downpours meant I watched half of the day’s games in my apartment with friends, one in front of a small screen outside an acaí restaurant, and one in a petrol station, (which happens to serve great food, have wifi, two screens, and cheap beer!).
This random mix of venues was largely due to the fact that, with thousands of tourists and locals wandering around the streets and beaches of Salvador, somebody took the genius decision not to show all of the games at the FanFest, (which cost who knows how much to build), only Brazil matches, any game played here in the city, and the semis and final.
Anyway, the England game ended exactly as I had predicted in my sweepstakes, with a 2-1 Italy win, but not at all in the way I had expected: England actually played well, having great chances, and Italy weren’t diving and time-wasting, and generally keeping up the great level of football so far.
Colombia had scored some beautiful goals earlier in the day, (including one from Teofílio Gutierrez, ex-player of my beloved Argentinian team Racing whose shirt I was rocking at the time);
I don’t think anybody expected the spanking Costa Rica gave Uruguay, (but for which I could practically hear the entire continent of Africa cheering, after the South Americans’ quarter final shenanigans four years ago), and it certainly made this guy I met happy;
and a dozen hours of football ended with Japan opening the scoring with a stunning goal from AC Milan’s Keisuke Honda, before two goals in two minutes from Ivory Coast broke Japan’s, and my, heart.
Some final thoughts for today:
-There have already been some great goal celebrations: Colombia’s co-ordinated dancing yesterday was lovely, but trumped by Hugo Almeida’s moustache=twirling when Portugal beat Ireland in a friendly last week. We will find out on Monday if I will get a chance to see it live or not when Portugal take on Germany here in Salvador.
-Apparently, the pitch in the England vs Italy match in Amazonian Manaus was so bad they were spray painting it green. It seemed OK on the night, though.
-And finally today we get to see if the greatest player I have ever seen play live can live up to his reputation as Lio Messi and Argentina open their World Cup against (a team I actually favour to do quite well) Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Keep reading, commenting, sharing, and enjoying!