Saturday, June 06, 2009

Kazakhstan v England June 2009



Easy enough in the end.

Kazakhstan 0 England 4 played in Almaty.

Contrary to some reports this match was not sold out and there were plenty of tickets available on the day of the game.


The locals produce some atmosphere early on (especially when the disallowed goal went in) but generally were subdued and not intimidating.

But for twenty minutes it did look somewhat dodgy for England as Kazakhstan started quickly.

However when Ostapenko went off injured - he had headed the disallowed goal - the momentum seemed to shift.

When Barry had headed in at the far post and Heskey had followed up Gerrards clever shot for a 2-0 half time lead it became comfortable.


The Kazaks couldn't really hurt England anymore.


A spectacular Rooney overhead and a decisive Lampard completed the win.

So South Africa is now very close - are we one of the favourites - judged on qualifying results we might be.


Almaty was hot and often sunny for most of my days in the city.


I'd travelled via Istanbul , for the London to Turkey trip amongst numbers of Red Bull engineers and associated staff going to the Formula 1 race (and surprisingly - as this was an Easyjet flight - one Jenson Button)

You do a lot of walking in Almaty - the grid like streets are well spread out. And it has no conventional centre.

The city view from the cable car is uninspiring - various tower blocks and some greenery but nothing to make the heart beat faster.


You would need to venture further out into this vast country to experience more spectacular scenery though the snow capped mountains to the south of Almaty provide an attractive backdrop.


For culture the State Art Museum presents some modern Kazak art (again uninspiring) and the much more interesting genre art plus inevitably some Russian paintings.


The larger and more impressive National Museum captures more of the spirit of the country.


So, as long as you didn't take a taxi ride into the forest, the visit was satisfactory enough with a flattering result and another big step towards the World Cup finals.

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