Friday, 18 June 2010

watching Algeria-England in Cairo

My Egyptian friends told me to expect it, and I knew from experience to expect it, but still it was strange: almost all Egyptians were cheering hard for England against Algeria tonight. The bad blood between Algeria and Egypt has grown so thick. (One remark overheard from an Egyptian: "I would support Israel against Algeria.") One of the Egyptian students with me was wearing a Lampard jersey, in fact.

The obvious amusing angle on this match was that both teams had benched their goaltenders for exactly the same reason.

In the end, disappointing though the night may have been for England, it's not even a terrible disaster. England, Slovenia, and the USA all still control their own destiny, and advance automatically with a win (and Slovenia even with a draw, and possibly with a loss under the right conditions).

However, as an outside observer I remain surprised at England's inability to finish. I realize they've been criticized for a lineup filled with non-scorers, but have to assume that this means there are no genuine scorers available, right?

As for the USA, as depressing as the 2-0 hole was, and despite the fact that I haven't even seen highlight footage of the match yet, the fact that the USA can dominate a half offensively against a Slovenian team that shut down Russia to qualify has to be good news for us.

I did see most of Germany/Serbia, and it confirms the point Mark keeps making about not overreacting to recent results. Many of us were too quick to be blown away by German prowess after the opener. Suddenly they look full of holes and soft in the heart.


  1. But they do have players who can score - Defoe and Crouch who came on, and Joe Cole, who Capello doesn't seem to like at all.

  2. "...benched their goaltenders" indeed.