What will you remember most about South Africa 2010?

The third day of the World Cup isn’t yet over, but I can probably conclusively answer, it’ll be the constant drone of these badboys.

Particularly during ITV’s coverage the noise like a million swarms of angry wasps is really rather prevalent.  The Vuvuzela has probably been cause of as many headlines as any on-the-pitch action, originally a tin instrument in Mexico it was popularised in plastic form in South Africa in the 1990s.  So whilst they annoy me intensely, I do have some grudging acceptance that they’re part and parcel of our hosts way of watching the game.

Many broadcasters tried to get them banned for the World Cup due to making it difficult to hear their commentators (a blessing, if you’re watching ITV coverage I suppose!), but without success.  The authorities have only expressed an interest in banning them if they find themselves on the playing surface – meanwhile players have to tolerate them not only during the games, but in to the night when partying fans continue with the soundtrack to this tournament.

It does make a nice difference to the usual discussion point during every international tournament I can remember – and that’s usually some controversy surrounding the design of the football being used for the games.  Whilst I can just about tolerate feeling like a tinnitus sufferer during the World Cup, I really do hope that none of these accursed instruments make their way to the City Ground next season!

With a bit of luck the football will start doing the talking more and more – the Germans have just put in an impressive first half against Australia, which is a relief for me as it seems to me so far that every match I’ve managed to see has been dull as hell!

Green fingers?

I must admit that the discussions around our gathering before England took on USA were largely centred around the goalkeeping selection.  Our straw poll seemed to favour David James as the best option, with Joe Hart second and Robert Green – who’s had a not particularly impressive season with West Ham – a fairly distant third.

But still, Mr Capello knows his onions, we reasoned – and well, were soon distracted from an excellent start from England where the oft-maligned Emile Heskey teed up captain Gerrard to finish with aplomb to give the Three Lions an early lead.  Maybe too early, maybe we relaxed – certainly the fatal shot wasn’t the first hopeful pot-shot from range by the Americans.

That said, a draw probably isn’t such a bad result – having suffered Algeria and Slovenia fight out a spectacularly dull game in which the Slovenians managed to profit from another goalkeeping blunder to give them a first every win in a major tournament.  That puts them top of the group, and frankly, if England can’t register points against either of these two teams, then there’s something fairly seriously wrong.

Certainly Green will need the support of his colleagues, who’ve all said the right things after the game.  Let’s face it, all players make arse-ups of things – unfortunately for the goalkeepers, their cock-ups generally end up as goals.  Whether the mistake is sufficient for Capello to replace his ‘keeper remains to be seen- but certainly the start of our World Cup hasn’t exactly gone according to plan.

Of course – perhaps a brief reminder that we’re not invincible might be welcome.  Robert Green’s mistake doesn’t excuse the distinct lack of decent chances we created in the game, it doesn’t make up for the lack of ideas – it doesn’t hide the fact that we really need to see more from Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard as key senior players.  Perhaps this could provide the wake-up call they needed.

Oh, and aren’t those vuvuzela horns the singularly most irritating contraptions we’ve seen in a while?  I really hope that we don’t see them starting to infiltrate our own league games!