Before the games began, the experts spoke
of Belgium and their chances. Would they choke,
and leave the dark horse pundits stony broke?
The first half of the match, they didn’t look
like genuine contenders. Most folk took
the view that they would swiftly come unstuck.
Great footballers do not a great team make
and backing them made many bellyache
for taking one whole half to come awake.
But then the critics had to take a hike.
The second half, their substitutes did strike
and suddenly we all found much to like.
The victory was no good-fortune fluke.
Algeria were well above rebuke
from big-screen fans assembling in the souk.
But Belgium’s strength of mind and of physique,
combined with skill and single-minded streak,
means they might well surpass the second week.
Go all the way? Who knows? They’ll need a break
if maybe they’re to make the top teams quake.
But dissing them could prove a big mistake.