It's just like watching Brazil. Course it was. Cos it was watching Brazil. What made it special?
For me Brazil - Croatia was one of the best games so far. Not probably for many others who will want 4-3 rather than 1-0 to make a game any good.
I think at one point the level of technical proficiency in this game, and not just from the Brazilians, made me purr. And I hate cats.
To put my finger precisely on what was special, it was the level of technical ability on the ball exhibited by both teams allied to the extent of their ambition once they got it. Defenders on the edge of their own penalty area could see that if they could just beat one player they'd have an advantage and a break on. So outrageous dummies were thrown by defenders who, had they been caught in possession, would have been a laughing stock. This level of terror about failure may be England's biggest handicap. Losing the ball in your own half is seen as such a sin that no-one risks it. A Brazilian centre-half may well crop up on the right wing having played a one two to get there.
Croatia, with a bit of luck, could have scored three, although I suspect Brazil's ambition would simply have increased had the Croats got even one. It's like poking a tiger with a stick, scoring against Brazil.
The luck? Well when you hit a long and powerful shot it is hard to aim for anywhere more specific than the goal. The best way to get a long power-drive on target is to aim at the middle of the goal, where a good goalkeeper will be standing all the time, and hope your aim is off a bit. Croatian fowards hit three cracking long shots and all went straight at the goalkeeper. It is very unlucky to be that accurate.
Now England, Portugal, Holland and Brazil have all started with 1-0 wins over 'tricky' opposition. It's building up. The good teams are not losing.