The third day of the World Cup was a dream for both football fans and borderline alcoholics. There were four games – the first starting at 11am and the last finishing around 10pm – and it was a Saturday.
It was even more of a perfect storm for me as two of my closest friends were moving to Australia and having a flat-cooling party of sorts. There would be copious amounts of alcohol and a barbecue (no shrimp; shame on you for making shrimp jokes).
Unfortunately, alcohol and food distractions ‘do not a good match report make’. I will, however, also be reporting on the food and booze consumed during each match. So enjoy that.
WORLD CUP GROUP C: France 2-1 Australia
As he was soon to be making the move Down Under, my mate has already decreed that we would all be supporting Australia. As underdogs and with Tim ‘actually 38 y/o’ Cahill in line for his fourth World Cup, I was well on board.
While we thought this one would be a walkover, the Aussies were looked surprisingly comfortable against the favourites. Just before the hour mark the deadlock was broken however as the Video Assistant Referee awarded France a penalty which Antoine ‘Captained in Every Fantasy Team’ Griezmann converted.
The Socceroos were given a lifeline moments later when VAR was once again called on and were given a chance from the spot themselves. Cue Mile ‘Hipster Beard But Definitely To Hard To Be A Hipster’ Jedinak to level proceedings.
For the rest of the game Jedinak’s boys defended valiantly and looked like they could nick it but the party was spoiled when Aziz Behich scored an own goal to allow France to take all three points.
That, plus Tim Cahill never got off the bench and we had to watch three people we’d never heard of come on in his place. Let downs.
11-1pm Food/Alcohol Consumption: Two bottles of beer, half a tube of Pringles and some cheese and chive dip.
GROUP D: Argentina 1-1 Iceland
Iceland. Plucky, plucky Iceland. Despite this being their first World Cup, we’re very familiar with Iceland after their fairytale run to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016. And for their “Viking Clap.”
Everyone was on board with Iceland – whose entire population is roughly the size of Coventry – pulling of an upset. Everyone except for me.
That’s because Argentina had arguably the greatest of all time (or GOAT as the kids say), Lionel Messi in their ranks. And because once the wonderfully-named Alfred Finnbogason had cancelled out Sergio Aguero’s goal, I put a bet on Messi to score the next goal. 11/4? For the GOAT? Against Iceland? Hello £5.50!
It looked as though I would be quids-in (five-and-a-half of them, remember) but Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Halldórsson saved it. Hannes Halldórsson, who was a filmmaker only six years ago. Hannes Halldórsson whose name I had to copy to get the ‘ó’, just cost me £5.50 I was going to spend on delicious, caramelised-onion burgers.
I hope you’re happy, Hannes Halldórsson.
From then on, Against a Messi-led onslaught, the Iceland defence stood compact and resilient like a freezer full of fish fingers and ground out the draw. Kerry Katona would be proud.
2pm-4pm Food/Alcohol Consumption: A Tesco meal deal, half a bottle of Coca Cola and three more beers.
GROUP C: Peru 0-1 Denmark
By this point, the barbecue was fired up and we had the beginnings of a split in the party group. Half had gone outside for an afternoon of cheerful conversation, freshly-cooked, succulent burgers and arguments over who would have control of the tongs.
The other half of us watched Peru vs Denmark.
Now I’m not saying I didn’t think this would be a fun watch. I’m not saying it was the least-attractive game on the Saturday World Cup billing and probably shouldn’t have been shown at 5pm. But I did put a pound on each goalkeeper to be man of the match.
While the Peruvians were initially quick off the mark, Danish experience told as they soaked up the early pressure and even survived a skied penalty before taking the lead through Yusuf Poulson. After that, a series of fine saves from Kaspar Schmeichel gave them the win, even though he was robbed of the man of the match award by the goalscorer. Still, I got some grub at half-time so it wasn’t all bad.
5pm-7pm Food/Alcohol Consumption: Two burgers, a veggie sausage and the remainder of my crate.
GROUP D: Croatia 2-0 Nigeria
I’ll be honest, this one didn’t really get watched at all. The World Cup had effectively been on for eight hours at this point, everyone else had arrived and someone rightly pointed out that a group of men shouting mispronounced names as a TV is not Good Party Vibes.
I will tell you a little about the party games though; namely the Pictionary* game that are team would have definitely won had the quizmaster not repeatedly given the next prompt to the other team when we were there first. Not that I’m bitter.
*Yes it was Australia-themed. Yes somebody suggested Rolf Harris as a prompt.
8pm- Food/Alcohol Consumption: A Huel flask filled with gin and lemon & lime-flavoured sparkling water (try it) and some parma violets from a smashed piñata.
Check out more World Cup recaps here!