Oh dear! Oh no! Where to begin? Well, with a big “COME ON ITALY!” Yes, @pettitsa, we need your team to do the job for us. Two wins from Italy – one today, the next next Tuesday – and 27 goals from England in their match against Costa Rica (and it has to be 27 goals where we win, a 27-27 draw will not do) and England will still qualify for the next round where we get knocked out. Come on ragazzi (Italian for ‘lads’, possibly) we know you can do it.

And if Italy win, and madman Balotelli scores, he has demanded a kiss from the Queen. It’s your duty Ma’am!

I’m getting ahead of myself. A recap of all yesterday’s games, not just that one:

Colombia 2 Ivory Coast 1

Colombia are through to the knockout stages! Well done @SpiderMonkey987. Ivory Coast are on 3 points and are looking good, so @jayscarblue can be hopeful. This was an exciting and free-flowing match, including synchronised goal celebrations from the Colombian team.

colombia goal

Uruguay 2 England 1

Oh no! More a case of England V Suarez. He scored both goals just to make Liverpool teammate Steven Gerrard feel particularly sick. Sicker than John Parrot. On the plus side, Rooney scored. That’s it. A begrudging well done to @BottyB and a sorry to @Christian_N_Orr.

Japan 0 Greece 0

I didn’t stay up for this. A point each for @Superblouse and @gingerdisco99. You’re tournament isn’t quite over yet!

 

TODAY’S PREVIEWS AND PREDICTIONS

Firstly, we must have seen all the lovely stadiums by now, so I’m going to stop listing their capacities. It takes me too long to look up and all my charts say different numbers. Let’s just assume they all hold lots and lots, ok?

ITALY (@pettittsa)  v COSTA RICA (@jasonpettigrove)

5pm. BBC. Arena Pernambuco in Recife. Italy have to win this. For England! Balotelli will do the job. We need Italy to win, but not by too much (goal difference needs to be in England’s favour). It’s going to be tense. My (optimistic) prediction:

Italy 1 Costa Rica 0

 

SWITZERLAND (@realandrewgreen)  v FRANCE (@Zoleipar)

8pm. ITV. Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador. I’ll try not to be biased, but it’s @realandrewgreen against my wife! Both teams have 3 points. Oh, let’s go for a draw. My prediction:

Switzerland 7 France 7

 

HONDURAS (@wristwatch42)  v ECUADOR (@wasaunders)

11pm. ITV. Arena da Baixada in Curitiba. The two losers so far from the same group as Switzerland and France. Ecuador lost to Switzerland in injury time, whereas Honduras were beaten 3-0 by France. My prediction:

Honduras 0 Ecuador 4

I’ll find something fun to end on in a minute. But first a very big thank you to those of you who have donated time and time again to Alzheimer’s Society. I know a lot of you (myself and my wife included) have been affected by this horrible illness that takes away all we know of our loved ones in an almost unbearable manner. And I know some of you are going through bad times now. And yet you’re keeping your spirits up and taking part in the Tweepstake. And it’s good to see that a new pledge has been made by the government to cure dementia by 2025, with David Cameron calling Dementia one of the “greatest enemies of humanity”. That’s a long way off, but it’s something. And along the way Alzheimer’s Society is there helping, caring, and doing what it can for the quality of life of those who are affected.

Some of you have donated more than once. Some of you have come up with novel ways of donating; buying a ‘pint’, paying for goals scored and matches won, even getting some of the big name players to donate (‘Shatov’ from Russia gave £2!) Messages have been left in the languages of the nations you are representing in the sweepstake. Your imagination and fun is making the whole experience fantastic.

And for those of you who have been incredibly generous, I’m not going to ask for more. You’ve all done your bit. But if you can, please do pass on the message. Perhaps you know of friends or family who would like to help out. Just £2 from one ‘player’ in each team would raise another £64!

If you know of anyone who would like to donate, please point them in the direction of my Just Giving page here. Yesterday we raised another £78 bringing the total so far up to £878 and reaching 44% of the presposterous target of £1966. Thank you all very very much.

Back to the football. We need Italy to help us out tonight. Here’s negramaro singing their Muse-like hearts out for the ragazzi.

Ok, so my predictions have been a bit wide of the mark so far, but I did predict wins for Brazil, Mexico, and Chile. How could I miss out on Holland? 5-1 over Spain! Are Brazil and Argentina still the favourites? Will Van Gaal manage the same amount of success with Manchester United next season? Do I sound like someone who has had a quick look at the papers?

A quick recap of yesterday’s games from a #tweepstake2014 perspective:

Mexico (@bluebox99) beat Cameroon (@Arfablue) 1-0. The scoreline should have been higher for Mexico, one clear goal being ruled wrongly offside.

Holland (2010 World Cup runners up and represented in the tweepstake by @Braggovic) beat Spain (current world champions and represented by @NiicNok) by a staggering 5 goals to 1.

In the night shift, Chile (@dusted1969) beat a battling Australia (@zwanzig20) 3-1.

And so Holland and Chile top Group B, and Spain go to the bottom! Spain face Chile next Wednesday.

Brazil and Mexico top Group A. They will face each other on Tuesday night.

Blimey! That was like proper football stuff. What have I got myself into?

Before looking ahead to today’s matches here’s an update on prizes. More bigwigs have promised me some great goodies. All will be revealed in time.

And if you would like to sponsor my #tweepstake2014 effort please just donate a pound or two to Alzheimer’s Society here at my Just Giving page. My plan is to get to £1966. If I hit the 50% mark today my wife Zoe will do her rendition of the John Barnes rap from World In Motion by New Order. I may get involved too. It will be bizarre at the least.

And so to today’s games. FOUR!!! The last one kicks off at 2am!

First up Colombia (@SpiderMonkey987) take on Greece (@gingerdisco99). Kick off 5pm on the BBC). They will play at Estadio Mineirao (built in 1965, capacity 62,547) in Belo Horizonte. I think the Greeks are ordinary but, even without Radamel Falcao, I am looking forward to watching Colombia. I think they will win their opening game, although I doubt it will be a classic. Because it is the opening game, Greece will be even more defensive than usual but Colombia have got enough quality in their attack to break them down.

(Ha! Fooled you all! I just pinched all that from Mark Lawrenson on the BBC website! I don’t think that at all! I don’t think anything.)

Colombia 7 Greece 1

The second game is Uruguay (@BottyB) against Costa Rica (@jasonpettigrove). It kicks off at 8pm. It’s on ITV. It’s being played in Fortaleza in the 1973 constructed Estadio Castelao (capacity 64,846). This is a difficult one to call. Costa Rica abolished its army in 1949 but then Uruguayans “have access to more than 100 private daily and weekly newspapers, more than 100 radio stations, and some 20 terrestrial television channels”.

Costa Rica 1 Uruguay 2

And now the big one! 11pm, BBC1. England (@Christian_N_Orr) against Italy (@pettittsa). They will be playing in the stadium in the middle where the grass has been painted green. The humidity in Manaus will cause Italy to shrink. They will sweat and they will shrivel inside their tight blue tops and, by the end of the game, they will be no bigger than Subbuteo players. England don’t have to worry about this. Thanks to technology developed by Richard Dawkins (or Stephen Hawking… I can’t remember which… some big name scientist… maybe that one from D:Ream… or Magnus Pyke… Can’t remember. It’s not important. the technology’s there) they won’t shrink.

England 3 Italy 1

And, if you’re still with us, Ivory Coast (@jayscarblue) take on Japan (@Superblouse) at 2am! This match, for reasons unclear to all (even FIFA… especially FIFA) is being played in Brazil’s only unfloodlit stadium. It is the Estadio Esdarkio with a capacity of… Well, know one knows. Could be 10, could be 100,091: Until they play in daylight, or sort the lights out, we are all in the dark. Kick off 2am on The Adult Channel. This match will be won by Manchester City’s Yaya Toure.

Yaya Toure 3 Japan 0

Good luck, one and all. Here’s a song to end on.