So Dirk and Fernando will line up on opposite sides in the World Cup final.
I’m particularly pleased for Dirk. It’s one in the eye for those who constantly seem to slate him despite his knack of coming up with vital goals for us. They say hard work and perseverance does pay off and in Dirks case he has plenty of it. I noticed that Clive Tyldesley followed the pack and sought, to find a negative in a positive, by stating that the cross Dirk supplied for the Dutch third goal against Uruguay was “behind” Arjen Robben. However the manner in which the goal was taken, maximum distance from the keeper by kissing the post before going in, suggests it was perfect! Every side needs a Dirk and I like our version!
I suspect the Dutch will have to move up a notch in the final to beat Spain who once again subjected Germany to a “death of a thousand passes”. Wednesday’s game was probably the best of the tournament. Others have been more dramatic and have obviously produced more goals but it was fascinating to see if Spain could open up Germany which, after much patience, they eventually achieved but via a good old fashioned English type goal, a crashing header from a corner. However, some of the close passing was superb and add to that the constant threat of Germany raid (sorry not in that sense) and it made for good viewing.
Sadly Fernando Torres finally reaped the results of his indifferent form in the tournament and found himself starting on the bench. Although he reappeared in the second half he still failed to show any real signs of recapturing the form we have enjoyed in the past although he would have surely scored if the otherwise impressive Pedro had passed to him late on the game instead of going for glory?
I suspect Torres’ problem is still match fitness and coming back from injury in such a big tournament, where the pressure to do well is more intense and the opposition less forgiving, hardly helps? Perhaps this has, albeit temporarily one hopes, dented his confidence? Some have suggested that speculation surrounding his future hasn’t helped but this isn’t the first time it’s happened so he should be used to it?
Although The Chairman has stated that we don’t need to sell Torres or Gerrard if either player wants to go then clearly it will difficult to stop them. Reports that Roman Abramovich has flown to South Africa to tap Torres seem slightly far fetched to me. I suspect Arabramovich is simply at the World Cup because er… he likes football and it’s the World Cup! Roy Hodgson has apparently phoned the striker after he’d got the post but clearly we, or any one else, won’t get anything from Torres until after the World Cup?
“I want to finish the World Cup, go on holiday, as I haven’t had a holiday for three years, rest and then there will be time to talk about all of that. The situation isn’t going to change whether we talk soon or later. Honestly, teams won’t be able to do anything until the World Cup has finished. The players here prefer to wait – there is time.”
So, another reason for his indifferent form, he could be knack*red!
Elsewhere there are encouraging signs from the Steven Gerrard camp that he might stay with us. I believe Gerrard is more likely to leave the club than Torres this summer. He’s thirty and if he doesn’t make a big move now will he ever? Perhaps he doesn’t want to but deep down will harbour thoughts of what might have been, if only for the experience? Nonetheless Roy Hodgson has suggested that Gerrard has given “no indication” that he wants to leave.
“I anticipate there might be a situation where other big clubs will try and sign Steven, but he gave no indication that he wanted to leave. Nobody at the club wants him to go so I will be doing my utmost to make sure he stays. I am confident he will.”
If he does stay he will be lining up against Milan Jovanovic who after ages of speculation and association, finally signed for us the other day. Javanovic can play up front or on the wing which along with Ryan Babel perhaps puts Albert Riera position under the microscope – nope not going to go there after the last piece! Clearly the likes of David Ngog will also be thinking what opportunities he will have next season. However competition for places is clearly to be welcomed and Hodgson seems upbeat about the talks he had with is squad so far.
“I think they went splendidly. I was very happy to meet the players and, of course, Kenny who I already know so well. I was delighted to see how positive they are. Everybody is looking forward to the new season.”
Strangely enough so am I. Despite everything I am gradually feeling more positive than I did in May. Unlike last season, where after finishing second we were tipped by many to go one better, nothing is really expected of us this time? No pressure? Nothing to lose? We can play with freedom and who knows? We might not win anything but I’ve feeling it could still be breath of fresh air?