It’s Business Time

From today onwards, the third round of group matches take place: All four teams play head-to-head in decider matches.  After the warm-up stages, we are now at the business end of the group stages.

Today, France, South Africa, Uruguay and Mexico play at the same time (3pm), and this evening Group B is decided.  Tomorrow, England’s fate will be sealed as they face Slovenia, and by 5pm tomorrow we will know whether the two soap operas of this World Cup will continue in South Africa, or will be transplanted back home.

There is little consolation for English football supporters right now, but what consolation they can find is located over the English Channel in France, where the word “implosion” is probably quite apt.  After striker Nicolas Anekla insulted manager Raymond Domenech and was sent home by the French Football Association, the players went on strike, refusing to train, and now government ministers and even President Sarkozy is getting involved.  Domenech has described his players as imbeciles, and government ministers have apparently lectured the players on how they have let down the entire nation of France.  Always good fun when politics gets involved with football…

England, on the other hand, have simply had something of a mutiny from within.  John Terry, their central defender and former captain (until he had an affair with the girlfriend of another then Chelsea and England teammate Wayne Bridge), held a press conference on Sunday discussing the difficulties the players were having with the Capello regime.  If Terry was hoping to lead a mutiny, that quickly dissipated as amongst others his Chelsea teammate Frank Lampard spoke out to say all was well and Terry did not have the support of the rest of the team.  Then, ominously yesterday Capello himself described Terry as having made a “big mistake, a very big mistake” in speaking out.  In the British tabloid press Capello is now Don Capello.

Needs dictate though: England has two central defenders injured and another suspended, and hence Terry will still play despite his outburst.  Would be great fun to be a fly on the wall currently in the England dressing room though…

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