Calling a football coach a louse is a term of endearment. And they’re just loving Miguel "El piojo" Herrera. His Mexico team disarmed the potent Brazilians in their second game in Group A. The Mexico keeper Guillermo Ochoa led a charmed life. He was lucky and brilliant in equal measure. The hard-working Mexicans just need a draw from their final game against Croatia to advance to the last 16.
Don’t plan on arriving on time. At a press conference four years ago in South Africa, Ricardo Teixeira, the head of the Brazil football federation, said his country should
concentrate on three things as it prepared to host the World Cup. They were? “Aeroportos, aeroportos, aeroportos.” Well the old rogue’s gone. Had to step down due to some dodgy dealing a couple of years ago. But Teixeira’s words ring out from yore. The authorities don’t seem to have looked at the airports. The daily review has taken two flights and do you know what? They’ve both been delayed. Of course it begs the question, if you haven’t got a decent system, why get the teams to move around? What we particularly liked at Curitiba airport was getting on the coach from the terminal and being taken to the plane on the tarmac and then being told to wait inside for a few minutes with the door shut. The bus eventually moved on to another plane and we were allowed out. The stewardess looked somewhat startled when a nervous daily review asked if the plane was going to the destination on the ticket. Quite stunned that the baggage turned up at the same venue.
There’s a hair thing going on in the Belgium squad. Marouane Fellaini came on as a second-half substitute and scored as Belgium came from behind to beat Algeria 2-1. Fellaini's hair-style can be classed as old school afro. The Belgium defender Axel Witsel also sports a very 1970s arrangement. Well, anyway, the ‘fro bros were all aglow on day six as Belgium successfully launched their World Cup campaign.
Players haven’t learned that the video is all-seeing. Especially slow-mo, high-def that the review likes. Jan Vertonghen really made a meal of his defensive duties during the Belchum game. The Tottenham Hotspur defender was the wrong side of Sofiane Feghouli and grabbed his shirt as he tried to connect with a cross. Vertonghen tumbled over the sprawling forward to try and con the ref. But the man with the whistle was having none of it. He awarded a penalty. As Feghouli prepared to take it our friend slow-mo, high-def showed us the shirt-tugging and hugging. Really very impressed that Vertonghen tried to protest his innocence. An acting career beckons.
There really is pressure on Brazil. It’s not something that one would want to believe. But the poor lambs drew 0-0 against Mexico and there was searing analysis raging on the TV. People, don’t panic! It’s not over. They’re still in control of Group A.