A win for the All Whites against Italy tonight in the second round of World Cup group play would be like the Netherlands beating the All Blacks in pool play at the Rugby World Cup -- it isn’t going to happen.
Both teams are on one point with one game played. Expectations on Italy are sky-high. Expectations on the All Whites are moderate, although many Kiwis seem to be of the opinion that the team can get something from the match.
We can give them a fright. The set piece will again be our strength, the challenge will to be to get into a position where the set piece can be of some use to us.
The Italians are considered a bit underpowered in this World Cup and we’re fortunate that goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and especially playmaker Andrea Pirlo are injured. Their main attacking threat will likely come from Daniele Di Rossi. But they will be strong all over the park and exceedingly hard to break down with the likes of pocket battleship Fabio Cannavaro running the defence.
My pick is that we’ll go down 2-0. How about you?
Ode to Robert Green
In the 2007-8 Premier League season, Rob Green wore a set of keeping gloves with “England’s No 6” transcribed on them. It was an in-joke, Green was clearly the best English keeper playing at that time but he couldn’t get a look-in from the England team management. Nowadays he’s a part owner of the Sells company that makes his gloves. Nowadays they have “Robert Green” inscribed on them with a St George cross.
Green has probably dropped below No 6 in the pecking order now, having had his international career summarily executed by an increasingly bereft looking Fabio Capello in favour of David James. The dropping was harsh but the fact he’ll now go through life with the awful “Hand of Clod” headline hanging over him is almost too much to bear.
Because Rob Green is different. A thoughtful 28 year old Surrey man, he supports Woking (because when they win it really means something).
He has 10 GCEs and is studying psychology and law just to keep his mind busy. He writes poetry and loves cricket (to play and watch), his ideal post football job would be as a cricket correspondent in the media. He has a flat at Canary Wharf and prefers to take the light rail and Tube to work rather than drive.
While his football peers were packing up their peroxided girlfriends and heading to the beaches of Southern France and the USA last summer, Rob grabbed a tent and backpacked his way around the UK’s music festivals. He’s really not interested in football culture, hates Big Brother and has taken Homer’s The Iliad as reading material down in South Africa. Previous summers, he’s done charity work in Africa for his holidays -- including climbing Mt Kilimanjaro for charity.
If Green never plays for England again he’ll go down as a bit of anomaly. He was listed by Rio Ferdinand as the most ‘serious’ member of the England squad, and it’s hard to imagine him gelling with cheeky little Joe Cole, cock-monster Ashley Cole, or the king of the fake tanned fucktards, John Terry.
Rob deserved better but he was never likely to get it.