Sometimes it's one of the joys of football to be able to watch a bunch of over-played, under-performing and egotistical players get their comeuppance... but that's enough about England's second round elimination from the World Cup, let's get back to Giant Killing!
Despite finally treating us to a goal last episode, the game still wasn't over, so with twenty minutes left we looked likely to be left to sweat it out for another instalment to see if East Tokyo United can finally record their first victory of the season. It certainly looks in danger early in this episode, with Itagaki finally deciding that simply trying to beat Kuroda isn't working, leaving him to adopt a "shoot on sight" policy that threatens to play dividends.
However, there's another twist in this game yet, and it comes via the goalscorer Tsubaki, who is certainly having the game of his brief career so far. While much of his early influence in this match was defensive until the goal, this time he gets to show his attacking potential, using his pace, a little strength and some trickery to beat even Carlos and bear down on goal... only to find himself dispossessed at a key moment. Fear not though, for Gino finds himself free to make the most of the loose ball and slam home the second to make it 2-0 with less than five minutes remaining - A scoreline that even a desperate all-out attack by Nagoya Grand Palace can't alter. So, the final whistle blows, and our zeroes of previous games become heroes with Tsubaki taking most of the plaudits, from the man of the match award through to the respect of the opposition's Brazilian trio - Not that he knows what the devil is going on in the latter instance.
I've said it before with this series, but I'll say it again - Giant Killing does a great job of capturing and distilling the atmosphere and excitement of football, to the point where finally getting to see that sweet ETU victory has softened the blow of another atrocious England performance. Anyhow, that aside this episode didn't have quite the tension of previous instalments but it still managed to be entertaining, while also giving us a great exchange between the two managers, with Tatsumi's defeated opposite number actually making a great point about the key to success in league football (i.e. being a good team in your own right rather than only relying on the weak spots of opponents) as opposed to cup competitions and other tournaments. That said, some teams can't even seem to find inspiration or motivation from the knock-out stages of the biggest competition in the world... now, whoever could I mean with that statement?