So for once, my weekend was not dictated by sport and I actually managed to get some things done that I definitely would not have been able to do so, had there been sufficient sport on. By sufficient sport, I mean Premier League. I have lost a major interest in international football since the World Cup and I find the breaks extremely inconvenient and destroy the rhythm of an intense domestic competition. However, in this case, with particular reference to United, it has finally worked in our favour, giving players the chance to recover and return from injury and so far, I hear all our players have are so far unscathed. Please let me same the same by the end of the week!
I will begin my summation with a special shout out to Bafana Bafana, who managed to overcome Egypt with the last kick of the game, setting themselves up for qualification for the African Cup of Nations, something we have missed out on for some time. A late, late Mphela goal secured the victory. Well done, boys!
Other results included a 2-0 win for England over Wales (without Bale) with goals from Lampard (pen) and a great team goal finished off by Darren Bent, who has now scored in his last 3 games for England. There was a Dutch romp of Hungary 4 nil, with 3 of the 4 goal scorers coming from the Premier League. France managed a 2-0 away victory over Luxemburg, the Republic of Ireland beat Macedonia 2-1, Serbia beat Northern Ireland 2-1 and Antonia Valencia played a part in Equador’s 2-0 defeat to Colombia.
And finally, a special mention must go out to United’s Chicharito, who continues to shine in both domestic and international football with a brace in Mexico’s 3-1 victory over Paraguay. This kid is something special. I have attached a link of his best bits from the game, worth a watch! (http://therepublikofmancunia.com/video-individual-chicharito-highlights-vs-paraguay/)
I am working my way backwards this time, starting with yesterday’s epic game of rugby between the Sharks and the Crusaders at Twickenham. Wow. That was some scintillating game of attacking, skilful, tense and passionate ruggers, with the two Southern Hemisphere teams showing the Northern nations how to play the game. First mention must go to the Crusaders team for the victory, they played with intensity and a will to win for the Christchurch victims and they did not disappoint, securing the bonus point with a team performance of individual brilliance. Yes that’s correct. Individuals like Carter and Sonny Bill Williams were sublime, off loads from tackle, line breaks and pinpoint passing made to look like mere basics of the game. The two provided a true master class of performance and are beginning to secure what looks like a deadly combination for New Zealand in the World Cup later this year! The Sharks though did play their part, with Willem Alberts putting his hand up again with a solid try-scoring performance.
Please look back at my previous article about the Stormers coming right with tries sooner than later. They delivered on their promise and took the first step towards fulfilling their attacking potential, obtaining the bonus point try against the Force who did not manage to score a point in the second half, against the meanest defence in the competition. People must relax before they moan at the only undefeated team at the top of the log. Just like in football, those scrappy 1 nil wins are still wins and fans must be patient. A special mention must go to Peter Grant who has continued his fine form this season, slotting over 9 kicks and putting his hand up for a Bok place. Elsewhere, there were victories for the Reds, Blues and Waratahs as well as the Bulls getting back to winning ways after back to back defeats with a victory over the Lions.
I am not going to begin talking about the Protea’s psychologically demoralising and emotionally heartbreaking defeat, which has left the team and the country extremely disappointed that the team could not overcome the easiest team to draw for the knockout stages to show the composure and BMT required to progress. Massive sigh. The tag is still very much there and I hope there is no long term effect from their continued poor World Cup form. New captain and coach have a massive job on their hands. I wonder if Gary Kirsten would be keen after his India stint?
What odds could you have got had you predicted 2 teams in the knockout stages would win by 10 wickets? England followed West Indies, being swept aside by a powerful Sri Lankan team who produced a great all round display. After restricting the English with the ball, the opening pair of Dilshan and Tharanga saw off the total, with both players passing their hundreds.
The semi-finals see New Zealand take on Sri Lanka and India against Pakistan. Personally, I would like to see an India-Sri Lanka final, but one can never be sure. The World Cup has flown by and with just 3 games left, the tournament has been a success, over and above the initial crowd trouble that occurred. Great atmosphere’s in the ground, especially when the home teams play, which have contributed on the overall quality of the event!
The week ahead sees more International football to be played on Tuesday, along with the first of the cricket Semi Finals taking. The second game will be played on Wednesday with the final taking place on the weekend. Premier League also returns on the weekend, but more on that to follow closer to the time!
Have a good week people, make the most of everything and don’t forget, not matter that you do, do it with PASSION!