Van Persie crossing for a Dane to power home is a vision we’d like to see a lot more of, but we got a sneak preview in the World Cup today as Poulson headed his cross against Agger’s back and in, to give Holland a lead they never looked like giving away. The 2-0 scoreline gave the Arsenal contingent their first victory of the competition, and Van Persie looked sharp throughout before getting a rest for the final fifteen minutes.
At the other end, Bendtner was decent for Denmark, one glorious turn in midfield bamboozling two opponents, but he shanked his only real chance wide. Despite impressing, Adrian Chiles mocked him relentlessly at half time, presumably based on some preconceived bias – his showing certainly didn’t warrant that level of criticism.
Bendtner (and Denmark) were made to feel better by the game that followed between the two other teams in the group, Japan and Cameroon. The Africans looked lethargic throughout, stuck Eto’o on the right and left Alex Song on the bench, a pair of bizarre decisions that Le Guen stuck by all game. Japan were well organised, played for a draw and got a bonus when they pinched a goal. On that display, Denmark have every chance to come back and qualify.
It hasn’t been the best World Cup for Arsenal players yet, but then it hasn’t been a great World Cup for anyone up to now. Too many teams are living by the mantra that an early loss is a disaster, and the resultant negativity is producing a dearth of goals. Only Germany have sparkled, but even they were up against a hapless Australian side and aided by a referee who showed a red card to Cahill for absolutely nothing.
Tomorrow holds more promise – ignoring the early New Zealand-Slovakia game (placed at lunchtime for a reason), there is further Arsenal interest as the Ivory Coast kick off their campaign with a tasty looking game against Portugal in the afternoon. And then we get our first glimpse of Brazil in the evening, before Cesc’s long wait for a runout ends against Switzerland on Wednesday.
The World Cup can only get better, and it will.
After the double success of the opening day, Argentina’s narrow win and England’s draw with the USA provided a pair of winners, making day two another success despite Greece’s failure to live up to my expectations.
Day three was the first hiccup – Algeria, Serbia and Australia all comprehensively failing to achieve the results I tipped, but after correctly predicting Holland’s two goal victory, combined with Japan’s defeat of Cameroon, form was today restored. Had Italy snuck a late winner, it would have been a ridiculously successful day.
All in all, it is going well so far, with eleven £1 bets returning a healthy £24 – £13 profit. I will continue to make a tip for every match shortly before kickoff on Twitter, so you can either keep a track there or watch the panel to the right. If you fancy joining in, feel free to add your own tips to the comments, or on Twitter using the hashtag #groanswcbets – I’ll take on any good ones.
And that is that. See you tomorrow to watch Eboue make Ronaldo cry. Again.