The ecstasy, then the agony!

I rushed home from the Mayor’s Garden to run some errands and grab supplies before settling down to watch what I had expected to be a glorious England victory over the USA.

With so much talk about the special relationship, and the recent Britain versus USA discussions emanating from the BP Oil Spill disaster, I was hopeful of a resounding victory and things got off to a fantastic start with Gerrard’s superb goal in the 4th minute.

However, that was the point at which we seemed to peak – allowing the USA to come back with a tame equaliser that was only scored as the result of a shocking goalkeeping howler from Rob Green.

I will never quite understand what happened; he simply seemed to let the ball slip through this hands into the goal. Even the Americans seemed embarrassed to celebrate.

The look on his face said it all – a combination of dejection, shock, anguish and shame.

It could well become a career-defining moment, and the important thing is that it happened now, rather than in a more critical day.

I suspect that the experience of David James is suddenly looking very attractive and Capello will not sleep easily tonight wondering whether or not he made the right selections for this opening game.

That said, we mustn’t underestimate the USA; they are ranked 14th in the world (compared to England’s position at 8th) and have a number of Premiership players in their side.

However, the Press will turn on Capello quickly, and he will have a restless night thinking about what has happened and what could have happened.

For me, there are several questions for him to answer:

1. Was Green the right choice for goal?

2. Is Ledley King really ready to be playing at this level considering his injury record and lack of match fitness?

3. Was it sensible to leave Walcott at home when pace and ingenuity are of critical importance in a tournament like this?

It’s early days,  but, like many England supporters, I’m feeling subdued and nervous.

The only positives were an incredibly solid performance by Heskey, who was a commanding presence on the pitch and brilliant play from Johnson who is may Man of the Match.

Come on England – you can do better!

Come on England! World Cup 2010 is nearly here!

I am so excited about the World Cup that I have taken a week off work from 11 June to watch the beginning!

Football is clearly something that one never grows out of, because I am just as fired-up by the prospect of England’s opening game against the USA next week as I was about the 1990 World Cup where the late Sir Bobby Robson inspired his team to such greatness  – and where Gazza left his indelible mark on the British psyche with his tearful reaction to his yellow-card during during the semi-final match against Germany.

Looking back on World Cups also shows us how much the world has changed; 1990 World Cup was the first tournament in which African nations featured strongly, with Cameroon stunning Argentina in the opening game – countries like West Germany and Yugoslavia fielded national teams then, but no longer exist in those previous forms.

Football is one of the few things that genuinely brings the world together – even America is getting in on the act now!

The only fly in the ointment for me has been the steady commercialisation of football in the last 20 years – something that some would argue is inevitable, but that makes it no less desirable.

I typically shun the adverts of major brands tied into major sporting tournaments, but the ‘Adidas Originals – Star Wars Cantina’ advert is pure genius and has certainly got me in the mood.

If you haven’t watched this video, you should – David Beckham only has one line, but it is a classic!

Come on England!

Arsenal 4-2 Bolton – who needs strikers?!

via BBC Sport – Football – Arsenal 4-2 Bolton.

When I heard that we were 0:2 against Bolton, I should have panicked and worried, but my faith in the Arsenal is so strong that I just knew something would change.

However, not even I could have predicted that we would turn it around so comprehensively to secure a famous victory that has put as at the top of the table.

Whilst Liverpool and Spurs scrap it out for fourth place, there is a real belief amongst us Arsenal fans that Wenger’s Young Guns are now coming good, and that silverware is not far away.

It’s not just about winning cups and titles, though – as an Arsenal fan, one has come to appreciate the beauty of Wenger’s team’s football and the importance of doing things the right way.

Sometimes it is frustrating to watch our players attempt to walk the ball right into the net, seemingly passing-up simple shooting opportunities, but when it works – as it did for our final goal – no other team in the world can match it (great finish by Arshavin).

Whatever our position at the end of the season, I’ll be proud to be a Gooner!

Arsenal through to the fourth round of the FA Cup!

FA CUP: West Ham United 1-2 Arsenal – Report | Fixtures & Reports | Fixtures |

Arsenal came from behind to beat the Hammers 1:2 at Upton Park in demonstration of the kind of resilience that makes Arsenal special.

West Ham went ahead late in the second-half after a lacklustre performance by Arsenal, who looked like they were saving themselves for the next Premiership game.

However, when the Professor brought on Nasri and Diaby, the change was immediate and Ramsey soon equalised (on 78 minutes) with Eduardo heading beautifully in the 83rd to put the Hammers out.

I did feel a little sorry for West Ham who fought with spirit and energy, but quality shows at this level and the result was never in doubt.

We’re off to Stoke in the next round, and I’m not looking forward to it as they always cause trouble with their dodgy tackles and those extraordinary throws, but I plan on being there to make some noise in the Britannia Stadium – if only to protest the on-pitch thuggery!