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Uninterested English Beat 'Toothless' Paraguay

By any measure, England disappointed yesterday. As the second favorite to win the World Cup (according to most bookmakers), England's listless 1-0 victory over a Paraguayan team that never looked interested in drawing level was disappointing for fans, players, and certainly too for ABC, whose opening broadcast for the World tournament brought a single own goal in two games, while ESPN2's opening broadcast a day earlier produced eight. As the International Herald Tribune points out, to read today's papers you might think, judging by the mood of the players and coaches quoted, England had lost and Paraguay had won. "We are quite happy with the way the team has done," said Paraguay's coach Aníbal Ruiz after the game. Meanwhile, Sven Goran Eriksson, England's expensive, perennially optimistic coach, said "Sometimes it is good to suffer." It's unclear whether he was talking about his team, or the millions of spectators around the world, who had to endure 85 minutes (after England scored) of truly yawn-inspiring soccer. The 0-0 tie between Sweden and Trinidad & Tobago was far more exciting, as Shaka Hislop, T&T's stand-in goalkeeper, produced the standout individual performance of the tournament thus far in denying Sweden. According to the Tribune, "the English were uninterested and sloppy," and "the Paraguayans were toothless and inept." English players blamed the weather, but the Paraguayans, happy with enough the result, offered no excuses. Nevertheless, soccer is a results-oriented sport, and the English, despite their lack of beautiful play, now sit in control of Group B.

Read the whole story at International Herald Tribune »

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