Saturday, June 10, 2006


Ecuador 2-0 Poland

This was an important match. These two teams were, according to the pre-tournament hype, giong to be battling it out for second place, so neither could afford to fall three points behind the other with only two matches left to rectify the damage. Before the action even started, though, there were other things to consider. The Ecuador flag deserves a special mention. It was everywhere. It is horizontal stripes in yellow, blue and red, but the dimensions of it exactly match someone wearing yellow shirts, blue shorts and red socks, so, from the television camera angle, it looked as if Poland were playing eleven flags. Their goalkeeper, Mora, even had it painted on his cheeks. Expect sales of white and red "Snazaroo" face paint to sky-rocket over the next couple of weeks. The badge in the middle of it also warrants attention - it appears to be a scene from "Seven Days In Tibet", with a boat on a river overlooked by a mountain. The whole thing is topped off with a giant, angry eagle. Well, I say giant... it's bigger than the mountain underneath it.

Ecuador looked organised and workmanlike. The Poles looked strangely lethargic. Both goals were well-worked, though the second came about (again) as a result of a flat-footed defence that appeared to think that it's primary job was to point out any offside decisions to the linesman rather than actually defend the ball. The Poles finally came to life after going two goals down, and I guess that, at a push, you could argue that they deserved a goal, as they hit both the crossbar and the post. On this evidence, however, Poland have got a lot of work to do in order to get through to the second round, especially with the Germans still to come. Ecuador, though, find themselves in a great position. A win against Costa Rica, and they're virtually through. Sven Goran Ericsson had better start looking at them, just in case.


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