Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear on so many levels. What is there left to say about England’s performance last night? Other than that, well, there wasn’t one, was there? Even worse, the “unexpected” result (we put “unexpected” in quotation marks because deep in our hearts we knew England would dig deep and find it in themselves not to win) marked the first time that our entire panel got the predictions wrong.
Actually, that said, our psychic Laura didn’t technically predict a result yesterday. In fact, re-reading her input today, it is surprisingly prescient, noting that “this seems to be quite a strong game, with both sides standing their ground, though I feel England ‘playing it safe’.”
Laura also observed that “I don’t feel it will be an easy game for England”, although sadly her final remark that there may be “some goals hopefully being scored in the last few minutes” proved wishful thinking. Frankly, anything happening in the last few minutes would have been nice to pull us out of the coma we’d imperceptibly slipped in to.
Maybe a giant beach ball thrown on to the pitch. An Algerian streaker. A small dog running in to the penalty area. Anything, really. When the most memorable aspect of the game was the pigeon sitting on the Algerian crossbar in the first half, I think that says all we need to know about the game. “Poor again tonight”, as our goalkeeper panelist Chris Day pithily observed this morning.
Anyway, onwards and hopefully upwards. Today’s focus is Ghana vs Australia. Australia currently find themselves languishing at the bottom of the overall World Cup table, having shipped four goals and a captain in their opening match against Germany. But now, with the Germans falling to Serbia, Group D has been blown wide open. Suddenly, it doesn’t matter so much that they got spanked in their first game: Australia could still very much qualify, if other results went their way.
Ghana, too, have as much chance as anyone in Group D of progressing to the knockout stages, with only goal difference separating Germany, Ghana and Serbia once the ref blew the whistle to hand Serbia three points yesterday afternoon.
Saying that, England fans could only enjoy a few hours of hand-rubbing glee in savouring that historic German defeat before their own dear team failed to beat a team ranked 30th in the world (England are 8th, shortly to be demoted to 88th, if they carry on like they are). Oh yes, the Germans will have been dancing on the streets of Schadenfreude from around 9.15pm last night.
Here are today’s predictions from our panel:
- Dr Ian McHale, a Senior Lecturer in Statistics at the University of Salford: “Ghana.”
- David Williams, head of PR at Ladbrokes: “Ghana win”.
- Chris Day, goalkeeper for Stevenage FC: “2-1 to Ghana.”
- Laura Daligan, ‘psychic, artist and pin-up’: “I feel Ghana will have some issues early on in the game. Possibly with injuries. I feel it will be a close one, though I feel Ghana will just get it!”
Another clean sweep, this time in favour of Ghana: our panel continues to live dangerously. What price an Australian upset? These are just predictions, of course – what will the reality be? Why not add your comments and predictions below?
We’ll leave you with another sage observation from Chris Day this morning: “Bigger teams need to step up now – us included!” With Italy and Spain the focus of our next two games, two of the biggest teams in the tournament will presumably be focused on salvaging their pride. But if the World Cup 2010 has taught us anything, it’s that anything can happen.
Remember: this is just for fun and all predictions are for entertainment only. Any mortgages lost or other sums squandered based on the information supplied are your own responsibility! And yes, I will keep mentioning this every day.
Incidentally, if you want to read our magazine feature on the science of football prediction, I can heartily recommend it. If you’re not much of a reader, wear your eyeballs out on the accompanying football predictions video.