What a difference a day makes.....
- 23 Jun 06, 07:20 PM
BERLIN - When you´re constantly travelling, swotting up on players you´ve never seen before and simply thinking about the next game it´s difficult to assess the overall quality of the World Cup so far.
If, like me, you saw Brazil´s second-half exhibition against Japan you´d still be purring about the beautiful game but then sit through Ukraine´s laboured win over Tunisia (me again) and you´d wonder why people bother putting it on television.
Dortmund is a fantastic venue and made for Brazil at the World Cup. The whole city was buzzing all day and Japan´s sporting decision to make the holders angry by scoring first produced half an hour of breathtaking football from a team with five reserves playing - even Ronaldo broke into a trot now and again and still made the headlines for officially not having more chins than shots on target this time.
The night-train back to Berlin was certainly an experience. It was a relief the Brazilian fans samba-ed themselves to a standstill by about Bielefield so I could get some sleep before concluding my commentary stint at the Olympic Stadium for Ukraine v Tunisia.
It´s a real privilege to work in such great stadia. Sadly the players didn´t agree and plodded through a dreadful game which forced the 72,000 who´d had to pay for their seats to show their displeasure very quickly.
Shevchenko was the game-breaker and it was great to see the players and supporters united in a real nationalistic pride at the finish. The World Cup is there for moments like that and if they´d tried to entertain even remotely like the other team in yellow it would have been a perfect day.