The bookmaker Paddy Power is offering odds of 250-1 on England winning the World Cup: 250-1 for new customers.1 The form-book is the FIFA world rankings: England at 12th with Tunisia lagging at 21st. Sure enough the form came through with an England win of 2-1 but this game might also show that Paddy Power aren’t actually generous. For the first time spectators did the dreaded Mexican Wave, which is normally interpreted as a raspberry. (There wasn’t a Mexican Wave in the Spain/Portugal match the spectators were too engrossed.)
If one of the key performance indicators is that of pass success then the England backs must be on a bonus. At one stage there were ten cross field balls in their own half. The BBC’s commentators grumbled about the speed of England’s play in the second half. Unfortunately it sounded like whining, “It’s very hot down at pitch level.” There were also midges that were sabotaging the shimmering skills of Sterling, who looked hapless.
Both England goals were scored by Harry Kane who in truth did very little else- why should he? The Tunisian goal was a penalty, which the commentators acknowledged was indeed a penalty. This momentary lapse into objectivity was quickly rectified when they then went on to claim that England should have had at least one penalty but England never get the rub of the green.
Given the failure of the giants2 of the World Cup England’s result is decent and I look forward to their next game.
1 Old customers have to make do with 16-1. This sort of discrimination, in a sane world, would be outlawed.
2 Germany being defeated by Mexico; Brazil’s draw against Switzerland; and France’s narrow win against Australia via an own goal. I draw a veil over Spain/ Portugal, which was a brilliant game but I don’t suppose Paddy Power are offering 250-1 on either of them.