So we are half way through the Round of 16 in the World Cup, which is about half way through the tournament. As a keen footballer, I am pleased to say that I will have something in common with Ronaldo and Messi, the two greatest footballers of our generation. We will all be watching the final in the same way, at home! Whatever happens, it won't be the Germans knocking us out on penalties! Gareth Southgate has confounded all expectations in the press and managed to string three coherent sentences together in a row on several occasions, England managers are not meant to be sane rationial, intelligent people (unless they are foreigners, when they have rather different foibles). They are meant to stamp around under umbrellas, losing the plot and exclaiming "Do I not like that!" according to the tabloids. Then there's the players. Rather oddly, none of these overpaid zillionaires have so far broken curfew. The chosen bogeyman, Raheem Stirling has completely failed to live up to his billing as an obnoxious, overpaid prima donna. It was revealed that he bought his mum a house, in recognition for her efforts cleaning bogs to pay the bills when she was a young widow. Somehow I find it hard to dislike him for that. Southgate told us that Harry Kane was "great" about being rested for Belgium, even though it could scupper his bid for the golden boot.
It is almost bizarre watching the Good Ship England serenely sail on as the Germans, Spanish, Portuguese and Argentinians implode. I am starting to wish I'd put a fiver on an England vs Japan final. The team that looks to be in form are the French, although conceding three goals to a rather useless and disjointed Argentinian team should give us all hope. This could be Belgiums tournament, although it is hard really to assess them as they comfortably beat two rubbish teams in the group game and then put out a B team to play the England B team for a dead rubber.
Yesterday we had my nephew round for the two games and a rather tasty barbeque in the middle. The males in the house had a wonderful day, although Mrs T was rather miffed that she had to wait so long to watch Poldark. On realising that Denmark and Croatia would play extra time then pens, there were many cries of "This is ridiculous, they should have penalties after 90 mins so we can watch Poldark". She even suggested that if both teams were so useless that they couldn't win after 90 mins, both should be slung out of the tournament. That would be interesting!
My moment of the Tournament so far has to be this.
I suspect that Batshuayi has made himself a world cup legend. The sun is shining, the beer is cold. England play perhaps the hardest team between themselves and the semi's tomorrow, what could possibly go wrong.