After the England-Algeria draw at nil, I was producing CBC Reporter Kim Brunhuber’s post-match report just out front of the Cape Town stadium. All of a sudden , NBA all-star (and pride of Canada) Steve Nash saunters over to say hello. He was just happy to see some Canadians and wanted to commiserate after watching his team (England) play so poorly. He obliged us with an on-camera interview for CBC Sports coverage of the 2010 FIFA South Africa World Cup . While just about everyone else is being very hard on the English side, Steve had nice things to say about the team. He was playing the role of a gentleman, as he should. Elite athletes understand the challenges, and pitfalls, of performance better than anyone else; and I understand he has some friends on the English team. Anyway, it was special moment. Read on to find out more about my view on the actual match.
The match started with a thunderous ovation for the English team, making it feel very much like a home game for their side. All eyes were on keeper David James who, at 39, was starting his first ever World Cup match, and replacing Robert Green who let in a softy against the US. However, it wasn’t long before the cheers turned to boos, and the looks were being cast at the outfield, and not the keeper. England’s vaunted stars, from Rooney to Gerrard, were unable to get anything done against the cast of unheralded Algerians.
While the Algerians were thrilled with the draw, some English journalists were already calling it the country’s worst performance in the Word Cup ever.
For his part, coach Fabio Capello said he didn’t even recognize his own team. He said he doesn’t know what happened to their spirit.
Capello faced a despondent British media group, who asked him bluntly whether he thinks his team realistically has a chance at winning the World Cup.
He said they’re lucky they can still advance with a win over Slovenia Wednesday. He also hopes to see the England team he knows, and not the won he saw Friday.