All bark and no bite gets you nowhere

2010-06-22 00:00

IT’S the year of the underdog, apparently.

Who could ever imagine that New Zealand could have the same number of points, after the same number of games, as the mighty Engerrr-land?

Well, you better believe it now.

Who knew that the likes of France and Italy — finalists just four years ago — would slip so dramatically in 2010?

Well, one of them is in total disarray, while the other has just shared the points with a country better known for shearing sheep and performing the Haka.

It truly is the year of the underdog.

It’s a pity that someone forgot to tell the Bafana brainstrust.

I was told that the “underdog memo” was in the post, so I sincerely hope it reaches them before 4 pm today.

If ever there was a time to play France, it is surely now.

Nicolas Anelka has been sent home for using too much French towards the coach, while the rest have looked just about as organised as a taxi rank on Friday night!

Surely, this will be Bafana’s best chance to take a major scalp.

A major football nation — heck, a winner in 1998!

But, as we all know, it is not as simple as Bafana turning up and picking up the goals and points.

There is the stain of last week’s non-showing against Uruguay, which still haunts any daydream we may have of Bafana clicking into gear.

But, as this World Cup has already shown, there is nothing that is totally impossible in football.

Bafana do owe us a full showing, though. Limited though we are, the absolute meltdown against Uruguay left an entire nation simply not feeling it.

Well, “it” being everything except the freezing cold, that is. Today is a chance to at least restore pride in the jersey.

If the footballing gods decide to grace us with a few goals, a concurring result from the other game and passage to the next round, then so be it.

As for the casualties that are mounting in the competition, it is a bit funny that it seems to be happening to those with the biggest yap.

England, for all their money, fluffed their lines incredibly against an Algerian team whose only motivation was to shut up the arrogance of Wayne Rooney.

For all his world-class abilities, Rooney’s temperament in the heat of battle still leaves a lot to be desired.

His demeanour against Algeria was that of a bull in a china shop. And his criticism of the crowd booing at the end was the cherry on top, especially after his swagger in the build-up suggested that all England had to do was show up.

Talk is cheap, folks, even if it comes from the mouth of a £100 000-a-week brat.

By the end of the week we could have plenty more sob stories.

It is a grim reality, though, that most of the tears are coming from Africa. Eish.





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