1. Narrative Buster Of The Day
‘He’s rubbish, that Messi. It’s alright doing it when Xavi and Iniesta are behind you but what about Mascherano and Maxi Rodriguez, half of the midfield who propelled Liverpool to the dizzy heights of seventh in 2009/10? He’s useless. Ronaldo’s better. He’ll never do it at a World Cup. He’ll… oh.’ *Sound of tweets being deleted*
2. Player Of The Day
Forget the hilarious ‘debate’ over France’s second goal (well, until point eight at least) and also forget the fact that it was ‘only’ Honduras. There was nothing about Karim Benzema’s performance for France which deserved to have inverted commas placed around it.
The forward was strong, imposing and led the line with all the aplomb of a forward who will score goals throughout this tournament, and if France can hold their act together for long enough – something that emerging with their limbs intact here will improve the chances of – then the Golden Boot isn’t out of the question.
3. Valencia Of The Day
A landslide win for Ecuador’s Enner over his anonymous captain Antonio here. The Pachuca forward scored his fifth international goal in the last nine months to give his side the lead against Switzerland in Brasilia, and he was a constant thorn in the side of a defence which admittedly included Johan Djourou. Valencia and Valencia aren’t related, but Enner – the Mexican Premier League’s top scorer – could soon be following Antonio to England.
4. Scuffle Of The Day
Paul Pogba versus Wilson Palacios. One a 21-year-old midfielder with all of the attributes to become one of the next decade’s greats, and the other a workmanlike journeyman (two words which could have been invented for him) who battles for the affections of Steve Bruce and Mark Hughes.
In the event, an incident which could have ended up featuring written large in the stories of their careers was handled pretty well by referee Sandro Meira Ricci, as was Palacios’s foolishness when he was dismissed after conceding a penalty minutes later.
5. Clearance Of The Day
Marcos Rojo. As they say in South America, ‘if in doubt, Rabona it out.’
6. Alternative Use For A Football Of The Day
Is that Maradona?
7. National Hero Of The Day
Never mind the last gasp winner from substitute Haris Seferovic, Switzerland’s real hero in the 2-1 victory over Ecuador was Valon Behrami. The midfielder put his body on the line to block a last minute effort from the South Americans and then, with the game remarkably stretched, he tore forward, went down under a challenge, got straight back up and continued the move which ended with Seferovic’s magical moment. Forget stereotyped neutrality, the Swiss should be building a statue for him.
8. Men Arguing With A Machine Of The Day
Jonathan Pearce and Richard Keys, keeping the Luddite movement alive well into the 21st century.
9. Stat Of The Day
Benzema is the first France player to score two goals in a single World Cup match since Zinedine Zidane in the 1998 final.
Keep the Real Madrid forward away from Marco Materazzi and the French No. 10 shirt could be re-entering World Cup folklore…
10. Playground ‘I Want My Ball Back’ Of The Day
Emilio Izaguirre, who presumably didn’t hear the bell go for the end of playtime.
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