World Cup

England miss the double...

Congratulations to South Africa (no Kiwi-style whinging, please England supporters!). They prevented England from making history by retaining the World Cup. England just didn't get through on the night. The game was one of forcing errors (it'd be interesting to analyse which players, and which premiership teams, gave away more penalties.

One controversial moment was the try that wasn't. It wouldn't on its own have changed the result, but it might have provided a lift to encourage further scores).

It was a tough call to make, did the foot graze the line or not? My impression was that the call was good, unfortunately. A difficult decision to make, but the correct decision.

It was beyond wildest imaginings that England would make the final, especially given where we had come from, with big losses in the autumn of 2006 - and with the 36-0 loss to South Africa, we certainly gave them a run for their money last night. England did fantastically well to get into the finals, and the wins against Australia and France were classics.

No, overall, we can be very pleased with England's performance.

A big downside is that the RWC has really eaten into the premiership, with many games already being played. Surely in a world cup year, something has to give way to avoid fixture congestion? Putting the anglo-welsh competition on hold for a year, and maybe even (shock) the six nations would be sensible?

Yesterday in the premiership, Quins beat Wasps by one point. Dave Walder missed the last-gasp drop-kick. There were some unusual decisions during the game, that I didn't quite understand, and would love to see some video of. The ref was probably right (he was a lot closer than I) - but from where I was sitting, he looked like he was having a bit of a shocker. Penalty Try to Quins? Really?!

England 12 - 10 Australia

Strewth! My blood pressure is through the roof. I'll be hoping for a French win tonight - NZ would be a bridge too far in the semi. I really thought it'd be Australia's day - and Wasps would get our players back (Wasps are having a bad run right now)

Still, we have a Semi Final place, if someone had offered that before the tournament we'd have snapped their hand off.

England vs USA

We went to France this weekend, we saw the Rugby World Cup match between England and the USA live. We expected England to dominate proceedings, but it was not to be. England were rather slow and turgid, and the US truly dangerous as a result.

Unless there is a massive improvement, South Africa will stomp all over England on Friday.

We arrived in France to catch the end of the Argentina vs. France game.... Well done, Argentina.

Midway through Wales vs. Canada I couldn't believe the score either, and Namibia have just put up a phenomenal display against Ireland. Whilst the expected teams won these games, they were not won comfortably - Namibia especially should be celebrating tonight.

Divisive Dallaglio?

Dallaglio Will Carling has claimed that Dallaglio is a divisive personality to include in the England team for the World Cup. Carling said: 'Sometimes the nature of someone like Lawrence can be a problem in a squad if he's not a captain and there are not very strong guys to keep him in check.'

Rubbish. Phil Vickery, otherwise known as 'The Raging Bull' and Wasps team-mate, has been named as Captain - so that argument doesn't track - they'll have a good working relationship.

When Dallaglio comes onto the pitch, he brings an energy which invigorates his team-mates. He may be good at sledging his opponents, and that's part of the game, but he brings a passion which is palpable even from the stands.

From Brian Ashton: 'he's been totally the opposite. He's pulled the squad together when it's needed it and he's been incredibly supportive and positive, he has massive belief in what can be achieved and he just a real asset to us.'

If that's divisive, let's have more of that.

Lawrence's verdict? 'I always thought Will was a decent bloke. I'm not sure now'

Dallaglio signed my shirt

Ronaldo vs. Valencia

This was sent to me by an email acquaintance:

Pass it on..................

There is a very real danger that Cristiano Ronaldo will be voted the fans' best young player at the World Cup despite his pouting, diving, pretty boy antics designed mainly to get himself a lucrative transfer to Real Madrid and thus avoid the good kicking he deserves from Wayne Rooney at Manchester United training.

He is currently 1st in the FIFA voting just ahead of Luis Valencia of Ecuador. Please can everyone go to:

http://fifaworldcup.yahoo.com/06/en/w/bypa/eligible.html

and do the decent thing by voting for Valencia. It doesn't matter who you support or if you haven't seen them play, just stop Ronaldo.

Takes 30 seconds...You know it makes sense!!!!

Well, we don't want Ronaldo to win, do we?... wink wink....

It's currently 27% Ronaldo, to 25% Valencia, with almost 211000 votes to Ronaldo. Valencia is on 195000, and the next (Messi of Argentina) is on 115000. Theo (why bother going) Walcott is on a statistically insignificant 3000.

Update: The deadline for voting is today (5th July). If you're going to vote, click through now!