England can go all the way!

England can go all the way!

Since I last wrote I have flown out to Johannesburg to work for TV out here and since arriving in South Africa I have been amazed to see the quality of the stadiums and how well the tournament is going. There were concerns raised prior to the competition about whether South Africa would be ready to host a competition of this magnitude and even whether the stadiums would be finished in time. But from my experience everything seems to be running well. 

As far as the tournament itself, obviously England didn’t start well and their two opening draws left them under a lot of pressure going into the final group game.  Add to that the speculation about problems in the England camp particularly surrounding John Terry’s press conference, and the talk of a crisis meeting with senior players and Capello – all didn’t bode well. Fortunately these were quashed pretty quickly. Having been in that situation myself I know that things can be reported and blown out of proportion. It was great to see the lads come through it all and put in the sort of performance against Slovenia that we knew they were capable of.  From a Spurs point of view it was great to see Jermaine Defoe starting and getting on the score sheet.  It was not just about the win, we created lots of chances and looked like a side that can now go far in the tournament.

However, to win it we are going to have to be at our absolute best. I have been really impressed by the likes of Argentina and Brazil as well as Spain in their second game. Before the tournament began we all expected the European sides to do well because of the climate in South Africa. With some of the games being played at night in cold temperatures, we expected the European teams would adapt a lot better than other teams. In fact the South American sides in particular have impressed me in how they have adapted. Both Uruguay and Paraguay have looked really good.

For me the surprises package of the tournament has been the Japanese who have put in some good displays.  It was hugely disappointing watching the Italians and French both blow the tournament in different ways. Italy going out as bottom of their group was a real shock. The French were disappointing for different reasons. As a player you dream of playing in the World Cup and to treat the tournament as they have is hard to take especially for the Irish I would imagine!

It was a real shame to see only one of the African sides in Ghana, progressing past the group stages. I think everyone was hoping that with it being staged in Africa, that the African nations would give a good showing. There was big expectation surrounding nations like the Ivory Coast and Nigeria who have a host of premiership players really going far in the tournament  and it has been a shame as the African support has been fantastic.  Since Nigeria in 1994 people have talked that it won’t be long until one of the African sides make it the final or even wins a world cup. But looks like it is back to the drawing board for many of these sides.

For England to win the World Cup they are going to have to perform even better than how they played against Slovenia but I fancy them to beat Germany and then who knows what will happen.

I have been enjoying the tournament and savouring the great atmosphere out here. Sincerely hoping England can go all the way. Come on England!

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