Flamboyance saved for off the field

Trevor Steven
THIS World Cup has begun just as expected. Off the field it’s a fantastic carnival atmosphere, full of excitement, but on the park, it’s cagey with nowhere near the same flamboyance.

I was at last night’s game between Italy v Paraguay at a freezing cold Cape Town – and it pretty much summed up a typical opening World Cup match.

Germany aside, we are yet to see a team take control the game with cut and thrust football and attack with any gusto. Indeed, there are a lot of sides out there, England and Italy included, who are scared to make a mistake and take a risk.

In the stands and outside the stadiums, it’s a fantastic celebration for South Africa as a nation and they just love welcoming the world to their beautiful country.

Organisation is better than people gave them credit for and even at the most intense period of the tournament where they are the most games, they seem in control.

I was at the England match on Saturday night and I was shocked to see how bereft they were of ideas and confidence. It was like they had taken 10 steps back from the team of players we see, week-in, week-out, in the Premier League, passing and moving.

Here, it was like a hot potato, we had no control, no cohesion and were extremely predictable, while Capello himself got his fingers well and truly burned with his decision not to reveal his team selection until the very last minute. It wasn’t clever or affective, it backfired badly, and it’d be amazed if he did the same come Friday.