Day 2 it is, and the big news is that the Vocal Minority Podcast is out. Some TFC stuff obviously, and then our authoritative World Cup preview, the only one you'll need, fearless predictions and all. As we're about to talk group A and B, here's a sample.
Group A: Brazil will qualify because, just because. FIFA has their most corruptible referee standing by to make sure that happens (see! we know what we're talking about.). Also Cameroon, because they have Roger Milla AND Lake Chad, how can you not root for that.
Group B: Australia will not qualify because referees are now wise to their tactic of smuggling extra players on to the pitch in the starting XI's shorts.
Anyway, day one in the bag and it all followed a similar theme of pleasant surprise then inevitable letdown. The opening ceremony was better than I expected, if only due to it being fairly short and relatively sensible, but then it all went horribly and predictably wrong at the end when pitbull showed up.
The opening game went the same way really, a lot better than the drudgy scared game I expected, with plenty of attacking intent. It was helped of course by Croatia taking a lead early before Neymar did his thing, and from there it was a good game, Brazil were probably still going to win, but they'd been forced to earn it. Then a soft soft penalty, with minimal contact (think the penalty Jermain Defoe won against Columbus, but even softer.) let Neymar make it 2-1.
Bah. Follow that up with a Croatia equaliser called off for a very soft foul on Julio Cesar (though to be fair, the same sort of call that often gets infuriatingly called.) and you get a very bitter taste and a lot of cynicism. Poor Croatia. Aside from that, well babyfaced Oscar did well, and Neymar got any 'is the big homeboy star going to flop' questions nicely out of the way early. Dani Alves though, yikes.
Anyway, today there's 3 games. The other group A teams, Mexico v Cameroon, go at 12 o clock. Let's go Concacaf? Maybe, I guess. Mexico probably has hopes of getting out of the group and if they're serious then they'll be looking at this game as the must win. Same for Cameroon I suppose, certainly Mexico don't seem all that impressive so it's definitely up for grabs.
After that it's on to group B, group of death! for Australia anyway. First up it's Spain v Netherlands at 3, repeat of the 2010 final of course and the first big test for Spain. Are they still the all conquering possession hog juggernauts of the last few years, or like Barcelona, are they done? There for the taking? After causing Atletico Madrid to burn subs early in repeated big matches, is Diego Costa fit enough to play a full game and play effectively?
Then it's Chile vs Australia at 6pm, a must win really. If either team has hopes of qualifying from the group they'll have to get 3 points from this one.
Most importantly though, it's a big test of us, the viewing public. The build up and the soft lead in of just one game is done, now it's down to the serious business of 3 or more games a day for pretty much 2 weeks. A lot of football to watch, a lot of words to type, a lot of drinks to drink. Do you feel ready?