Well that’s a been a pretty breathtaking weekend sports-wise. Let’s start with the RWC. That match between Wales and Fiji was the key talking point I guess. For me it was the best match in RWC rugby I’ve seen since France beat NZ back in ’99. It was simply riveting. I know there’s a lot of heart-wrenching in Wales over the result and the coach has been dismissed for failing to take the team into the final stages but I believe it’ll be one of the sports’ great matches of all time and the Welsh team should be proud of the part they played.
Unlike the Irish lads I think, who must be bitterly disappointed at their whole performance throughout the RWC. They were well beaten today by a simply brilliant and inspired performance from Argentina, who must seriously believe they can make it through to the final. England and Scotland, in the end, deserved their victories but it was close in both cases especially for the Scots. France must be kicking themselves that they now find themselves playing the tournament favourites in Cardiff. I said in my earlier posting that I sensed some twist and turns in this competition but bugger me. What a final series of matches we now have and who dares predict the finalists and winners now? I think all the teams left will quietly fancy their chances now. It’s opened out as a genuine tournament.
Football’s definitely taken a back seat this weekend but it’s not been without interest. Portsmouth’s 11 goal thriller with Reading was park football but glorious. Chelsea’s melt-down continues, sadly. Arsenal continue to look good but they’ve yet to face some stiff competition and City are suddenly playing the hot football in Manchester. Perhaps we bought the wrong Brazilian….? Benitez simply cannot not play Torres can he? He is going to romp that golden boot award if he’s allowed to play, what a player. My teams had mixed fortunes; Man U are continuing to win ugly, Boro’ lost today and are going through that win one, draw one , lose one sequence which is so infuriating. Millwall lost yet again – for JP and Rick this must be getting very demoralising to watch. But Blackpool drew away to table-topping Watford and are continuing to not only survive but positively thrive in the Championship. Yesterday they were drawn to play Spurs in the 4th round of the Carling Cup – could that be the match which sees Jol depart? I doubt it but it’s heady days again for the ‘Pool.
So to motorsport and a superbly cool and nerveless drive by Lewis Hamilton in Japan gave him the Grand Prix victory which has probably secured his first world title. He’s 12 points ahead of Alonso with two races left. I can only see Alonso winning now if he resorts to Schumacher style tactics. First point for the Torro Rosso team with Liuzzi. Good on yer JW but what on earth was Vettel doing when he drove into the back of his colleague Webber’s car to deprive Red Bull of two probable podium places. That must have been v v tough to take. Button looks increasingly like a busted flush to me. How much did he pay to drive in the Honda car?
The women’s football World Cup was won by Germany, yawn, beating Brazil 2-0 (I think). Thank god that as a nation they don’t play cricket and rugby. Like a prat I said in an earlier posting that as a footballing line-up Brazil v Germany is a rarity that I couldn’t recall happening before in the men ‘s game at the WC. Er…except they met in the 2002 final. D’oh! Ah well I’m getting old and it was a truly forgettable match.
Today also saw the Great North Run up in Geordieland. Paula Ratcliffe came second on her comeback – that was about the only story of the day other than Mike ‘Porky’ Parry making it round in a little over 3 hours. I’m not gloating; that’s 3 hours quicker than me but you sense that whatever he lost in weight on the way round has been swiftly replaced down the Quayside this evening. Did you see that McQuiff did the run too. I’ll not pass comment as he was running for a good cause but there was a nice cartoon in the ST today showing two runners in the race with one saying to the other that ‘Steve McClaren will start badly then scrape through in the end’. That’s about the level of England aspirations under his leadership sadly. Oops I wasn’t going to comment.
Never mind, GB and Ireland walloped Continental Europe in the Seve trophy. But can you smell that? It’s a feint whiff of something going horribly awry with the Ryder Cup under Faldo’s stewardship.
But let’s end on a positive note. I heard today that the appointment of Avram Grant by Roman Abramovich is a master stroke; he’s done that deliberately, knowing that for a period Chelsea will play really rubbish football, fall out of the Champs League as huge disenchantment sets in with the players. Then as Chelsea drop into the relegation zone and the fans start chanting ‘Roman outski’ he’ll introduce his knight on a white horse, new manager_______(fill in the blank yourself). That way the new manager will be welcomed like a saviour, whereas at the moment the fans wouldn’t give any new incumbent a chance. It’s a lovely theory and I’m sure it’s true – but it doesn’t seem fair Roman, you gifting Man U a 20 point advantage. But if you must …….Za Vas Comrade, Spasiba! Ho, ho, ho.