World Cup Diary: Day 12

Just who would play Terry Matterson in a Hollywood blockbuster about the USA Tomahawks unlikely progress to the World Cup quarter-finals?

That was just one of the questions at the post-match press conference after Matterson’s side had gone down to Scotland on Thursday night, a result that leaves Steve McCormack’s men anxiously waiting for Sunday’s game between Italy and Tonga before they know whether it’s enough to send them through to the last eight.

It was another chilly night of World Cup action, this time at Salford, although there are only three more night matches in the UK – the two at Headingley and the likely England quarter-final at Wigan.

Got parked up on the infamous Salford car park, only after being stuck on the A57 in traffic for a while. There’s no side door entry for the press at Salford, you go straight through the main reception and to the press desk, and then on to the press room. 

Managed to get through a bit of work in there, before heading upstairs for food – a slightly bizarre southern fried chicken piece on a baguette effort.

It was while waiting for the lift to get upstairs that we overheard a bit of drama surrounding the USA Tomahawks kit, which had apparently been left in one of the World Cup vans, and was stuck in traffic on its way to the ground. The police were talking to team representatives to offer their support, and from what it sounded, somebody was walking to the ground with the kit in tow, having abandoned the van in the queue. That’s where we left, and presumably it all got sorted, as USA played in their own kit. For a minute, I thought someone was going to have to give Hilda from Halifax a call.

The pre-match chatter in the press box was that of winter attire. The Yorkshire Evening Post’s Peter Smith got one up on us all at Wrexham on Sunday, with us blinded by the sun in our woolly hats, he had a cap. A different cap was on show at Salford, although it was his colleague Dave Craven that was stealing the attention, after pulling out some Christmas-themed fingerless gloves.

There was drama before the game, as Ben Fisher was helped off following the warm-up, with what turned out to be a calf injury, and he was in tears during the anthems. There was another change to the line-ups, keeping the media man Andy Morgan busy, with USA replacing Widnes-target big Les Soloai with Judah Lavulo at 17.

Salford is a good press experience, which you would expect from a new ground, and the wi-fi didn’t seem to have any problems too, which was good.

After the game, it was back down to the press room for the post-match reaction, and Matterson was a bit critical of referee Thierry Alibert, and the heavy penalty count against his side. Talk soon moved on to the quarter-final against Australia, and a possible Hollywood blockbuster if they do manage the unthinkable.

There was a lot of attention given too to the Scotland presser with Steve McCormack and Danny Brough that followed, with McCormack joking that a few of his players were more fearful of ringing their bosses asking for more time off than they might be in facing the Kiwis, their possible quarter-final opponents on Friday week.

Despite leaving the ground a good hour after full-time, I was still in a queue to get out of the aforementioned infamous Salford car park, but eventually made it home at a decent hour, and another World Cup night was in the books.

Next stop, Headingley.

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