World Cup update

The first set of matches is complete; every team now has played once. The only surprise was the absence of surprises. There were no upset victories and only two unexpected draws (by Trinadad and perhaps Switzerland).

This is not a terrible thing. It suggests that the best teams are in fairly good form. England was an exception — they were dire in their 1-0 win over Paraguay. But help should be on the way once Wayne Rooney is match fit, and Steven Gerrard and maybe Michael Owen become fitter.

In my view, no team played at the level needed to win a World Cup. The only possible exception were the Czechs, but they are an aging side and may not hold up. Argentina, Spain, and Italy were perhaps the most impressive of the rest. But we should keep in mind that every team in the competition is still a work in progress, and great performances are not to be expected the first time out.


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