Catch up with Day One here
Bonjour! Welcome to the 2nd day of the CM9798 World Cup, where you are quite right to question how long I can keep this make believe French-ness up for. Another 4 games for you today as two more groups get underway, and we start with Group C.
You’ll never beat the Irish! Except that can’t be right as Ireland have never won the World Cup. Not all chants are 100% accurate. That said, Rob Tait is now in the hot seat and if this Ireland side can achieve even half the success his Roma side has, they’ll be just fine.
It’s Colombia first up for Rob, here’s his adaptation of the formation we all love to play.
Colombia only have Tino Asprilla has a “real” player but don’t be put off by the fake names, their skills will match up with the reputation of the nation. One in the hole you say…
Call it nerves or maybe even lack of ability, but Eire (I miss calling them Eire) were like rabbits in the headlights. Phil Babb managed to avoid sliding nuts first into the post but he did slice a cross past a helpless Shay Given, who seems to have taken the blame for some reason. The unimaginatively named Alexander Alexandre got Colombia off to a a great start and it was downhill for Rob from there.
Despite going 2-0 down inside 23 minutes, the Irish did rally a bit but the damage was already done.
The second half was largely a “hold what we have” affair as Colombia were unadventurous and Ireland were unable to make headway.
A dissapointing start then, leaving Rob needing a big turnaround from the next 2 games if they are to make the last 16. They’ll fight for it though…
Attention turned to group favourites the Netherlands, managed by Ash Rose. You’ll all know and love Ash from Alive & Kicking, the 90s Football Podcast. It’s really rather good so make sure you check it out. Even if he has lined the Dutch up in a 4-4-2.
It’s still some team though, with Arthur Numan benefiting from Frank De Boer’s unfortunate pelvic injury. It’ll probably be too much for the expected wooden spoon recipients South Africa, who do at least boast Mark Fish and Doctor Khumalo.
This is the World Cup though, where every team is here on merit. Eric Tinkler has had a Premier League season with Barnsley and fancies himself as the new face of African football, so puts his team into an 18th minute lead. It lasts 10 minutes before Dennis Bergkamp equalises.
South Africa’s goal came from one of their rare foray forwards so Holland just have to compose themselves and trust that they can complete the turnaround.
Sure enough, ten minutes into the second half Bergkamp nets again and puts Dutch hearts at ease. Jimmy Floyd is introduced for the final 17 minutes but he only has a yellow card to show for his efforts, but with few other alarms, Ash is off to a winning start.
Tinkler at least takes home the champagne. Which is odd considering South Africa didn’t muster a shot in the second half.
Not exactly a walk in the park for the Dutch but as far as first games go, it isn’t a bad acid test.
That’s Group C well and truly underway, let’s head across to Group D where we’ll see a great World Cup rivalry renewed.
What a group. England and Argentina will of course take all the headlines but there’s the wonderful undercurrent of England vs Australia and the fact England played Tunisia in 1998 as well as in 2018. It’s all happening. Sort of.
Friend of the blog and 90s enthusiast Dan Barker has gone for a 4-3-1-2. It’s a good team but this is the era where England had no left footed wingers. It probably won’t matter.
Chris Darwen, who so famously took Real Madrid to a first round defeat in the CM9798 Cup, has come back with vengeance on his mind. He’s got 36 year old Maradona back in the International fold despite having not played for a whole season, but at least he’ll be fresh. He’s the creator in chief for Crespo, Batistuta and Balbo, with Ortega in reserve.
You can watch the match at this recorded video, or if you scroll down you can enjoy it described by screenshots and hope.
Argentina enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges but poor finishing meant Seaman was rarely tested. England had their traditional sluggish start, failing to even get a shot on target in the first half
Very few performances of note in that turgid first half. The second half could only get better…
It didn’t, really. England improved and dominated the half in terms of chances created but again, Roa was barely tested. Then, DRAMA. In the final moments, Teddy Sheringham was slipped in behind the defence ane he finished with the coolness he so often demonsrated, before turning to the linesman and telling him to fuck off. The flag was up. It finishes 0-0.
Simeone spends the whole match sticking his finger in Beckham’s ear with no reward, whilst Maradona keeps his hands to himself. You do expect both of these teams to advance but here, they rather cancelled each other out.
The other game in Group D is also a draw, as a late Robbie Slater goal snatches a point for Australia. It’s a result that definitely favours our two human players and Group D is no further forward after the first game.
I’m not putting the groups up after one game, mainly because I didn’t screenshot them but also because it’s one game. They all have one point. We’ll see how it plays out.
That’s it for day two, but we’ll be back tomorrow with two more groups where we’ll see Spain & Germany, among others, join the party.
Give our pal Ash a listen in the meantime…