A nation expects!

After months of hype and speculation, England’s first game of the 2010 South African World Cup finally arrived. The masses were out in force across the country, with painted faces, England shirts and irritating fog-horns that seem to be everywhere at the moment. Millions of flags hang from the windows of houses, flats and cars across our great nation, and it seems almost impossible to walk anywhere without being reminded of the World Cup. England fever has most definitely arrived.

It all started so well for England too. Steven Gerrard, who captains the side for the World Cup following Rio Ferdinand’s injury, looked like he’d be writing his own headlines when he scored the opener just four minutes into England’s 2010 campaign. A cleverly worked move finished with the Liverpool midfielder who calmly sliced it beyond Tim Howard, before wheeling away in celebration. Magic!

It would have been even more magical had I actually seen it live. Viewers watching on ITV1 HD, missed the goal as ITV cut away to an advert! What I’m assuming was a technical glitch was fixed just in time to see the travelling England fans celebrations as ITV replayed the footage. £10 extra a month to miss the goals? Bargain! As if ITV’s coverage wasn’t bad enough, they’re now putting adverts where goals used to be. It’s certainly a unique take on football coverage.

Rob Green tops the WC blunders list

From there on in, England had their chances to kill the game off, but the Yanks held out. Just minutes before half-time, with everything seemingly going to plan, disaster struck. Clint Dempsey struck a poor shot straight into the hands of Rob Green, but in a moment fit for the David James hall of blunders, Green fumbled and the ball rolled free into the back of the net as England’s keeper scrambled behind it.

Green went on to redeem himself a little with some good saves, but that one moment of calamity could haunt him for the rest of the World Cup. It was a mistake that can only be attributed to pressure. The enormity of the scale he found himself on at that moment must be terrifying, but the memories of that goal as he relives it time and time again, will be even tougher.

In the second half, the American’s tightened up and kept England at bay. We had our chances, but the final product just wasn’t there, meaning the match finished 1-1 and Rob Green’s embarrassment will be the talking point for a few days yet.

England fans can take some comfort in knowing we seldom do things the easy way at World Cup and often start slowly. America was definitely the hardest game in the group, so all is not lost yet.

2010 WC predictions update

Madferret leads the way in the TSS 2010 World Cup prediction league with 7.5 points, a three point lead already over Matt BB and TinyEight who are tied in second.

Madferret’s lead is largely down to him being the only predictor who didn’t go for an England victory last night. He joins just 9.9% of all the players on SportGuru who correctly predicted a draw.

Meanwhile, yours truly is bringing up the rear with my only points so far coming from Argentina’s victory. Today, I have Algeria to beat Slovenia, Ghana to beat Serbia and Germany to beat the Aussies so fingers crossed somebody delivers!

Current members should be advised that they have just over 24 hours to predict for the next round of the competition and anyone who wishes to join can sign-up at SportGuru.co.uk now. During registration, the form asks for a Pool ID; Here you should enter ‘harmboxy‘ to join TSS’ league.