The World Cup began for England last night and after squeezing 21 people into my small living room to watch the match, we all left with a certain sense of disappointment with the result – which aptly emphasised the fine margins in football, those margins that make the game fascinating for those that watch.
England took an early lead, and their status of strong favourites seemed justified as they cruised towards half time with their lead intact (bar a couple of hairy moments), until a basic goalkeeping error by England’s Robert Green gifted the USA a goal to level the scores.
In the second half England pummeled the US goal but without success with many chances being missed, keeping all viewers with any stake in the game fixated on the screen. Despite this though, the US probably came closest to winning, when Altidote put a shot onto the post via Green.
The game eventually finished as a draw, leaving both the US and England hoping to beat the two weaker members of the group by bigger margins than the other to take first place in the group, with likely last-16 opponents of Serbia or Ghana.
Of the predictions I’ve made from my statistical model pre-World Cup, very few have happened as predicted (Slovenia’s tight 1-0 win over Algeria, and Argentina’s 1-0 win over Nigeria the only ones). But that’s the beauty of the game, and surely part of the reason we all watch it? It’d be boring otherwise and not worth tuning in for…