I was pleased to see Ryan Giggs and Tom Cleverley put away their penalties for Team GB last night. The penalties Aaron Ramsey took in the game and Daniel Sturridge’s in the shoot out were totally spineless. The South Koreans secured their semi-final spot in style, putting away five top class penalties. Why cant all professional footballers manage that? The press have been singing Cleverley’s praises over the past few weeks and Giggs, despite scoring, probably didnt play as much as he would have liked, but I’m sure it was a nice enough experience for them.
Having got up this morning just in time to enjoy the hotel breakfast (although I would argue cucumber and hot dog sausages aren’t strictly breakfast foods), today we took advantage of having some time before the game to check out Oslo. The Museum of Contemporary Art is free on a Sunday and after having a look around, I’d suggest this was a fair price. I’m no art expert, far from it, but there was nothing that grabbed my fancy. There was a Drawing Room though so I took five minutes to sketch Eric Cantona to put up on their wall. Drawing isn’t my strong suit but that was a work of art.
By lunch time, the city centre was packed full of people wearing United shirts. There were reds everywhere you looked, most of whom were wearing the new gingham shirt. I hoped maybe it would grow on me but I’m going to have gingham patterned nightmares tonight.
After eating, we made the ten minute tram journey to the ground. Despite being forecast rain since yesterday, we’ve been spoilt with boiling sunshine. There were 1000s of people milling about around the ground when we got there with Euro pop being blasted from speakers outside. I was honestly taken aback to see how many fans there were there. You hear the new signings always banging on about how crazy people go for United when they’re on tour and obviously I knew that, but I guess I just hadn’t been anticipating it to be like how it was. Sat in the home section of the ground, I was expecting to be more of a minority than I was, but when Valerenga’s pre-match “anthem” (the most drab and uninspiring song I have ever heard) began, it was like playing Where’s Wally trying to spot the home fans who were standing with their scarves.
The atmosphere was as quiet as you would expect, with the area behind the goal we were attacking in the first half getting some songs going. I was bemused to hear “stand up for the champions” sung repeatedly though. Have they not been paying attention in Europe? Brand new shirt, check. Green and gold scarf, check. Singing about United being champions, check. I’m sure this lot were doing a disservice to the “real fans” we have abroad though…
United played well today, despite not scoring, and showed lots of attacking promise. Danny Welbeck probably should have scored a couple in the first half but it’s only pre-season so I’m happy enough with him hitting the target. For most of the game Antonio Valencia, who looked smashing in his new #7 shirt, and Nani played down the right wing together, with Tony at fullback. They were frightening. It makes you think that when we play weaker opposition, particularly at Old Trafford, it would be good to see us line up like that. They absolutely battered that side of the pitch and linked up incredibly well.
Our defence didn’t have much to do but it was great to see Nemanja Vidic back in the starting line up. It’s so important he gets some games under his belt before the season starts, and we are one short considering we won’t be playing the Community Shield for a change.
Wayne Rooney looks like he’s enjoyed his break and I’m pretty sure his shirt fits him a bit more tightly than it did in May, but his involvement was good today. During the warm-up he was spraying 30 yard balls with his left and right foot with perfect precision. He played well with Welbeck and had a few nice exchanges with Shinji Kagawa before he was subbed off. Kagawa looked good again today, always keen to get the ball and read his new team mates well. I’m really excited to see him in the Premier League. I reckon people will be raving about him.
As far as other signings go, despite Bob Cass’ “exclusive” in the Mail on Sunday, claiming Lucas Moura would be completing a medical today, we appear to be no further forward. Reports from Brazil claim we haven’t even agreed a price for him so talk of a medical is way off the mark. However, after City’s game against Limerick, Roberto Mancini said Robin van Persie wasn’t going there in an interview with Italian TV. Watch this space…
Anyway, time to make the most of what time we have left. Until next time.
@r_o_m on Twitter and r_o_m7 on Instagram.