Day 24…the final reckoning….

July 9, 2006

At Italia 90’, it was the combination of Toto Schillachi’s suddenly spectacular goal-scoring abilities and Walter Zenga’s ‘none shall pass’ mentality and keeper skills, which dragged the Azzurri to a respectable showing. On Yankee soil in 94’, it was the efforts of rear-guard stalwart Franco Baresi and the divine ponytail, Baggio, that propelled a largely mediocre Italian team all the way to the final. The Brazillian team which won that summit meeting, on penalties, was the most entertaining world cup team I have seen; Romario, Bebeto, Leonardo, Dunga, Taffarel. Typically I can’t recall any Brazilian defenders from that era, but that can be no surprise then all they did was ATTACK ; one ace in goal and ten attackers outfield. Wonderful to watch, and so was Roberto Baggio once he had found his rhythm.  

Towards the end of the 90s, the wave created by Juve and
Milan’s domination at home and abroad, began to break. The 98’ World cup was a waste of time for Italian football and though a few die-hard surfers managed to stay on the 90’s wave long enough to reach the beach of Tantalization, which proved to be ruled by France (2000 European championship final defeat), the next World cup, in Asia 2002, was again another lacklustre global tournament in terms of performances and results.
 

Since getting raped by the French, Italian football has been on the slide. However, the recent (and continuing) Capicoldi scandal and Pessotto’s suicide attempt may prove to be Rock Bottom for this descent into disappointment and despair, in which case the only possible movement is now : upwards. La Signora Vecchia disgraced, Buerlesconi’s beloved
Milan in the dock and the futures of many players and clubs still in doubt. Hardly the kind of situation one would expect to produce a world cup winning squad.
But Marcelo Lippi has magically extracted a team brimming with experience, youthful vigour, determination and talent, from the shit-heap of Serie A. The Paul Newman lookalike’s success as manager of Juve was largely due to his ability to pick players who he could get the very best from, both individual geniuses like Zidane and workhorses like the aforementioned, suicidal, Pessotto. But there is more to the erudite, cigar smoking tactician. He can not only read the game from a distance, but he can also feel the flow of the  play, as it is happening, which puts him in a perfect position to make successful substitutions. His management style if fluid, not rigid.  

In this year’s world cup,
Italy have been the strongest team. They have conceded only one goal, and that was a freak ‘og by Zaccardo, so it is accurate to say that Buffon is yet to be beaten by the strike of an opponent. Despite what many cliché-lovers will have you believe,
Italy haven’t been playing ‘ultra-defensive’ football. Far from it. If there is any credence to the common statement ‘they only have world class defenders’ then I would suggest that the strikers of every team who has so far played against Italy in this year’s finals to travel to
Italy to learn how to shoot from these ‘world class defenders’. I am more than happy to agree that Cannavaro, Zambrotta and Buffon are all magnificently talented players, but I also feel the need to offer praise to the dogged, unrivalled spirit of Gennaro Gattusso, the maturity and flair of Totti, the galaxy-class passing magic of Pirlo, the electrifying attacking endeavours of Grosso and perhaps also, the endearing athleticism of Perrotta.
Played 6, scored 11, conceded 1 (own goal by Zaccardo, not caused by any pressure from an opponent). 

Cannavaro and Zambrotta have been the stars of the tournament for me and
Italy, and if it isn’t one of that pair which scoops the golden ball, the award will be meaningless.
 

As for
France…..
 

I had them down as my dark horses(with Czech Rep.) before the tournament but then lost interest in their fortunes after seeing their dire showing against
Korea. Still a team with the qualities of Thuram, Makelele, Zidane, Henry and Ribery, was never likely to fail against
Togo and it was that match which served as a wake up call to the blatantly talented frogs. Once that main core of players found form, the whole team was transformed, reinvigorated. Victories over Spain and Brazil were impressive but the slim 1-0 victory over
Portugal was bland and uninspiring, worryingly insipid. Abidol and Sagnol provide fair defensive cover on the flanks, while Malouda acts as an adequate counterweight on the left, to Ribery’s right flank routine. There is a good balance to this team, but their real strength is focused through the centre : Thuram and Gallas at the back, Makelele and Viera as the muscle men in midfield, Zidane’s divine vision and technique orchestrate the play from the halfway line and beyond… and of course in attack, there is the solitary figure of Henry. And it is Thierry who I would have chosen over Ronaldinho to be blessed with consecutive ‘world player of the year’ honours. The Arsenal front-man plays in a much more competitive league(than horse-mouth Ronaldinho) and his club form is consistently phenomenal. Fortunately for Italy, he rarely shows anything but glimpses of that special club form, when he dons the blue jersey of
France. But still, obviously a major threat.
 


Italy are in their best run of world cup form since 1982 and they have a superior team to the french. Buffon is a million times more useful between the sticks than the often baffling Bartez, and Grosso and Zambrotta are in a different class to their opposite numbers of Sagnol and Abidol. I will concede that Zidane is an overall better player than Totti, though the Italian is capable of sublime moments of majestic god-given footballing genius. The midfield battle should be intriguing where we will see the dwarf-like Gattusso biting chunks out of Viera’s ankles.
 

I was very happy to see the french make it past Portugal without acquiring any disastrous bookings(Saha is hardly an integral player) because now we are approaching a final which will see the best of Italy face off against the best of France.  

Hopefully,  whatever the result of the final, the critics will stop exchanging ignorant remarks about the ‘terrible standard of Serie A’ because all of these Azzurri players ply their trade in Italy, and they have proved, already, that they are amongst the best footballing nations on the planet. Also, we should all note that the Juve players(del piero, zambrotta, cannavaro, buffon), who are under considerably more stress than every other player at the world cup, have all performed with admirable sportsmanship and quality which has surely gone some way to adding a bit of respect to the Turin club which finds itself currently embroiled- potentially in a more serious and criminal manner than the other clubs under investigation- in the most terrible match-rigging scandal of Italian history.  

Forza Azzurri…. 

 


Day 22–Italy take on the hosts…..

July 8, 2006

Italy V
Germany
 

Before the tournament got underway I hadn’t allowed myself to look further than the potential Semi-Final with
Argentina. How-ever since Pekerman blew his team’s chances of delivering football justice, it is now the Krouts who
Italy must face in the semi-final. I didn’t see that coming at all. Those words of Gianluca Vialli keep ringing in the ears of my mind “you will never love the Germans, but you must respect them’….While we are on the subject of pertinent quotes>>>
German captain Ballack ‘all odds will be against us….Our chances are much worse than against Argentina and our hopes rest on the crowd’….. 

Totti- ‘To beat
Germany on their own turf would be maximum….We are convinced our heads and hearts are in the right place and we are in the best possible shape to make it happen’
 

Italy have never lost to
Germany in a major tournament. The most recent meeting in March of this year yielded a 4-1 stomping victory for Lippi and his lads. Both teams are in great form, their systems are well oiled.
 

Matterazzi is back in contention and appears likely to be starting in the centre of defence alongside King Cannavaro, as Allessandro Nesta still hasn’t fully recovered from injury. Zambrotta and Grosso have proved wonderfully adept at both supporting the attacking play (winning penalties, scoring goals) and defending like Pros. The suspiciously oriental-looking Zambrotta is for my money one of the greatest players on the planet, as is Cannavaro, Buffon and Gattusso….Buffon is world class but perhaps lacking that little something extra which makes the rest of that group seem like more than mere mortals…‘Defensively, there is nothing that anyone can teach the Italians’—Another great line of wisdom from GianLuca Vialli… 

The only team able to score against Italy in the world cup finals of 2006 has so far been
Italy. If Zaccardo hadn’t made that pitiful mistake against the Yankees, Buffon would still be unbeaten to this very day. There is both encouragement and concern to be had from that statistic, but all concerns can be easily avoided by keeping that villain-in-waiting Zaccardo off the field of play.
 

Lots of ‘pundits’ who lack the eye of a Pro, opt for the now boring and completely groundless cliché of ‘ultra-ultra-defensive Italy’ when they begin their match preview of any games with involve
Italy. It takes a true fool to ignore ’10 goals in 5 games’ and continue the same old bullshit approach of criticizing the mythical ’10 italians behind the ball’ formation that Lippi apparently adopts….
I have watched
Italy in every world cup since 1990 and I can say with some confidence that this is the most attacking Azzurri outfit I have seen since Roberto Baggio lit up Italia 90. Also, the defence is the best it has perhaps EVER been. 1982 Gentile and Bergomi put the germans to sleep. Let us hope that Cannavaro and Zambrotta can do the same here and now in 2006….
Toni is the main striker…A perfect target-man who can shoot with both feet and win 8/10 aerial challenges due to his 7ft frame…Totti and Pirlo are the ball players, with Pirlo the deeper running of the two…Camorenesi, if he plays, will show his Argentinian blood during the anthem but once the whistle blows we can expect a lot of flapping around of his pony-tail, typical south American gnarly grimacing/glaring and lots of running…Perrotta is comparably athletic, but much larger: midfield workhorse, who unfortunately, cant shoot for shit…..Gilardino may play in attack as the Argies proved that it isn’t a great game-plan to over-defend against the Krouts…The pretty striker has a wonderful first shot and a useful knack for getting into interesting positions in the box… 

Right…A quick Run over the Krouts, preferably with an articulated 70tonne lorry. The hosts have done brilliantly thus far in no small part due to the vociferous home support, which they connected with to perfect effect in the game against
Argentina.
I hate that saying ‘never bet against the Germans’..A phrase like that has no Right to hold such validity.  

Lehman is a lanky, determined, very able, stopper who commands from the back. Lahm is the star of the defensive line due to his barnstorming runs up the left flank which often lead to goals or chaos in the opponents box and minds. Frings, Schenider and Scweinensteiger provide an intriguing mix of youthful exuberance, german steel and rat-like aesthetics. Ballack is by a mile the most talented German player of his generation, one of the most enjoyable footballers to watch for any team. He can win games on his own. Passing and Shooting are as easy to him as breathing is to you an me. I assume that he will be lumbered with the snarl (Gennaro gattusso) from the first whistle so it wil be interesting to se how that battle of superstar v pitbull develops…Klose has the face of a petrified sparrow, but 5 goals so far proves that he is useful in the human world…Podolski is another strange-looking humanoid with more teeth than I knew existed and a smile that could instantly curdle milk; again aesthetics aside, he can score, though his form may not look as prolific as that of strike partner Klose, his toil and face makes him a constant threat,all left footed… 

There is something amiss about many of the German players. They have a darkness which I have only managed to bring to light as the ‘evil rabbits in water-ship down’, which is hardly adequate a description of what I mean. If I let the socially injected confines of political correctness blur into nothingness for a few moments and see what comes out the vortex…then maybe will I be able to make this picture of devilry come to life….Schneider, Klose, Podolski, Hamann(he isn’t playing but he has the same darkness), Ballack, Scweinensteiger, The Kaiser himself (Beckenbauer), Lehman, even sweet little Lahm…..demons…goblins..ghouls…there is evil of a kind.When Klose scored the goal equaliser against
Argentina, there was more than benevolent joy, there was something malevolent in his eyes, a zeal from the under-world.
The Italians are notorious for their vanity. And yes the footballers of Seria A  do nothing to fuck the trend. Totti for instance won’t be able to hide his disgust when he comes face to face with the smile of Podolski. How the Italians react to the physical make-up of the Germans will go some way to deciding the game. They may show horror and retreat into themselves, introvert the formation and hold on to whimper whimper out at the final hurdle of penalties, or they may take the tried and tested ‘Daniele De Rossi’ route. I am hoping for somewhere in between. 

I don’t think Lippi will play defensively against the counter-attack focussed Krouts. He has confidence in his own abilities as a manager and the players themselves. A fit, in form bunch of Itis, under the rueful, suave guidance of SIgnore Lippi, is a savagely tough opponent for any team of any era. 

The Match:

 I am fucking livid. My mood is a ugly as Podolski..I slaved away over my preview then checked fifty times that my mobile phone alarm was set to 440am, before letting myself dose away.. 

My lady woke me up at 630 to say ‘what about the game’…The first instinct was to throw the mobile full pelt into the wall, which has destroyed it beyond all usage. 

Buffon hasn’t been tested’ I hear Tiler say… 

Extra time:1 

(first half of normal time was
Italy’s. the second was apparently more even)
 

Iaquinta on for Camorenesi SUB an attacker for a midfielder – but Niko says ‘I don’t know if it is an offensive sub’..well it IS an offensive move however you look at it. That is if we are talking about the sport called ‘football’ and not whatever sport it is that Niko feels to have enough knowledge and understanding about, to call himself a Pro… 

91- Gilardino rounds 3 Krouts then hits a weak shot against the post… 

92- Corner>>Pirlo>Zambrotta shoots Off the bartwice of the woodwork for
Italy in two mins…
 

94- Corner ITI >> Pirlo>>deep..Cannavaro puts out for a goal kick… 

95- Zambrotta drags down Lahm>>FK>>goes for corner… 

96= Matterazzi takes a shot full in the head…. 

99- Podolski goes to ground just outside the box…FK>>>20 yards.wide left..100>>defended. 

Del Piero is waiting to replace Totti…102- Iaquinta body charges Ballack, but wins the free kick…clash of heads, intentional on the Sicillian’s part….104- Del Piero for Perrotta…
Italy have four attackers on now…
Completely offensive tactical change. Or as Niko would say ‘ultra defensive’ 

106 Totti checked on edge of area but ref is blind. 

106- Ondonker plays a ball in and Podolski is found unmarked in the box..but his header goes wide….a chance….rare…wasted. 

2t et108-Iauquinta set free down the left but lacks the pace to take on the defence. 

‘Very good for italy’ first half…(from Tiler’s summary) 

110- SUB GER Neuvile replaces Klose… 

112 Del Piero nearly scores, german counter. Podolski fires at goal, great save by Buffon… 

Counter lead to italian corner>>>113- Del Piero>>terrible.. 

118- Pirlo on left foot tests Lehman for 22 yards..Corner>>>GROSSOO GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL>>>90 seconds to go….Grosso is found by Pirlo, the left back hits it first time past the desperate fingers of Lehman…what a goal…fucking spectacular……left back in the opposite box in the 118 minute…..perfect hit…1-0
Italy..
 

2-0 Del Piero//////Italy counter GGOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLL Brilliant finish from the Juve man, who scores his best ever goal for his country by hitting it first time with his right boot, sending the ball past Lehman. After great work from Gilardino  who held the ball up till support arrived..
Italy 2-0 GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLL
class. 

FT 2-0
Italy win…
 

‘Well deserved’ says Niko…. 

Lippi’s subs and the Italian class won this…Grosso strike was sweet.. 

Totti//Gilardino made the chance for del Piero for the goal…….119- the Italians went to work…26 matches without defeat for Lippi’s men.MOM- Even though I didn’t watch the first 80 minutes, after consultation with trusted sources, I feel confident in awarding this accolade to Cannavaro. 

France V Portugal

At the start of the tournament, France were flaccid, static, lackluster; a pale shadow of the world cup/European championship winning team of yesteryear. Against Switzerland and Korea, France looked liked England; some great players whose talents were stifled by the manager’s system. The 2-0 victory over Togo yielded not only passage to the second round, but a return to form for two prominent players; Zidane and Viera. By the time Spain appeared, Thuram, Ribery, Makele and Henry had all suddenly found form; subsequently the French won comfortably and with more than a hint of elegance. Zidane may seem like the heartbeat of this team, and to some extent he is, but the aortic valves or Viera, Thuram, Makele are equally integral factors in the current rich vein of form where Domenech’s men find themselves. Henry finally seems to be showing glimpses of his terrifying club-form, for his country which makes him a danger to every defence bar the current Italian rearguard. Ribery has bags of energy, flair and youthful exuberance, his lung-bursting running more than counters the lack of pace in midfield partner, Zidane’s ageing calves, though in all honesty Zidane doesn’t need pace,’ he has one of the fastest and most fluid football minds in the history of the game. The wide men at the back, Sagnol and Abidol, have both seemed secure defensively and more than willing to stride forward in support of french foraging in the opponents half. Malouda’s pace and belligerence down the left wing is balanced by Ribery on the right. Zidane sits in front of the Cannavaro/Nesta of midfields : Makele and Viera, both of whom are inordinately robust. This team outplayed Brazil in the quarterfinals. They didn’t need luck; their victory, over the widely-revered Brazillians, was rubberstamped with Quality and Assurance. I hope, and expect the French to stomp the Portugese pansies . every time I see
Portugal play they show everything that is bad about the game for every second they are on my screen. After some consultation with my brother, I conceded that Grosso had ‘taken the option of falling over Lucas Neil, but not dived’ which happily, my very Australian brother agreed on. The other area of common ground we found was inre: ‘Grosso choosing to let his legs run straight into Neil’s legs is a million miles away from Ronaldo rolling over 15 times after feeling an opponents breath on his L’oreal moisturized skin. There is a difference. The single worst aspect of football is play-acting, and the most severe and blatant incidents of this nature seem to occur, in my eyes, whenever Portugal are in front of me on the green, in my screen. I really hope they get properly slaughtered by the French…but unfortunately five(possibly six if Saha takes part in proceedings) of the Gallic warriors must keep their jousting sticks sheathed for fear of inviting a YELLOW card and one match-suspension; MISS THE FINAL…It will only take on yellow because these six players are carrying a yellow from previous matches, so one more and it’s curtains. And I am sure this will affect the players mentally; Do they give their all for the team and play full blooded, gung-ho but risk getting banned for possibly the most important game of their lives???Or play it safe, take the fizz out the coke but keep it sweet?? It is dangerous to concentrate on the future before it has arrived but monsieurs  Zidane, Viera, Sagnol, Thuram and Ribery must fight their demons and find a midway point between giving their all and giving enough. I think that even the Italians would feel somewhat dejected if France made it through but at the expense of suspensions for Zidane and Viera, two of the true Greats of modern football. I would rather the best of Italy lined up against the best of France on July 9th
Prediction : 3-1 Frogs….My hope…..6-0 frogs with the game stopped by ref in the 63’ due to forced hospitalization of 10 Portugese players who got mowed down by an out of control Bobcat, driven by ex-Italy Master, Franco Baresi… 

When that radiant smile spreads across Zidane’s unmistakable face, the world of football feels his presence. 

The Match:

Blame my girlfriend’s unnaturally attractive form for the missing first 32 mins….

33- Henry is taken down in the box…He was looking for it, but there was contact…Penalty>>>GOAL for Zidane from the spot…1-0 France

48- Henry finds space down the left flank. cuts in to whip a shot towards the topright corner of the net, but Riccardo saves acrobatically.

49- The lively Ribery lets one go from 20 yards out…saved by Riccardo’s warm fingers…

 HT

2T

50-68…Torpid, dire period in which nothing of note transpired.

69-POR SUB Simao replaces the wholly ineffective Pauletta.

SUB FRA Wiltord comes on for Malouda…

72- SUB FRA Govou emerges from the dugout to relieve Robery of his duties…

78- A Ronaldo free kick is parried into the danger zone by Bartez, where there are 3 unmarked Portugese players…Figo fucks his head, placing the ball a few yards over the bar when the goal was at his mercy…comical.

 FT

Easily the least entertaining of the semis. while France did enough to win this horrible to endure ‘spectacle’, they hardly looked like world beaters. The Portugese dived constantly and whined like new born gerbils whenever they lost the ball….

MOM-Henry, for winning the penalty in true portugese style…

FINAL – Italy v Frogs


Day 21: The end of the road for England????

July 2, 2006

England V Portugese Ponces

Moment of truth…Scolari beat us 4 years ago with Brazil in the 1/4s of world cup…then 2 years later he fucked us again in the 1/4s this time with his grubby little hands controlling Portugal.. 

Rooney is the only one who can solve England’s problems.. 

Hargreaves is In..Neville returns at right back…. 

Deco and Costinha are suspended…C. Ronaldo isn’t fit, but he plays…..Simao dropped for extra muscle in midfield,…Tiago comes in…Weather 30c!! 

The stadium has a very solid roof which keeps the sun and its searing heat away from the pitch…                       

We can’t play like we have and win the world cup’– Gerrard… 

This is our best chance to win a world cup since Italia 90….The next tournament is in South Africa where it will be too hot for english blood to do anything other than boil… 

I declare that we reject racism…’ Beckham 

Figo and Beckham, Captains, both Number 7s… 

Anthems…
England- I stand….’come on then’……Beckham looks fierce..Rooney not singing…

Portugal- listless expressions…snakes in the tallgrass…
 

Before the world cup I knew that we needed Rooney to be firing on at least one cylinder for the team to have any chance of winning. We have played solidly but without spirit, which is rare for an English team; given our traditional strengths of grit and steel. Rooney has come back to fitness much quicker than we had been led to to expect, and it is now that the Toxteth Terror must begin to show the world what he can do…Our world cup future rests at his feet…. 

All the officials are Argies…The same ref that sent Beckham off a few years back…. 

1T

we’re off….lets get the bastards… 

English fans doing the lads proud ’eeeengerlaaaaaaaaaannnddd…’ 

I remember this ref…for positive reasons…. He is the brooding Argie with the stiff Collina type scowl…. 

6- Beckham FK>>7- Ricardo fists it away….. 

8- Petit needlessly concedes a throw by playing the ball straight off the park to a camera man…
England look to have a bit of zip about their play..
rule brittania,,’ the crowd sings…. 

9- Rooney brings the ball down 25 yards out, turns then shoots well..saved… 

10- Ronaldo speeds towards goal then unleashes a drive from 25 yards…comfortable take by Robinson.. 

Scolari- won 7 with Brazil, 4 with Portugal…WC record… 

13- Tiago surprised to find the ball at his feet in the penalty area after lucky rebound off Neville. 

Figo is diving scum..he falls over whenever an opposing player is close enough to breathe on him….2 Portugese dives so far… 

19- Ronaldo is released down the left flank by pinpoint pass from Figo…he has Neville for company but finds space for the left foot shot which flies harmlessly over the bar.. 

3 dives.. 

Early signs of promise for England…one touch passing in the final third… 

22-Ronaldo looks fit as a fiddle….the winger stopped in full flow by a wrap around challenge by Gerrard…no love lost there…. 

25- Rooney charges into a tackle with his head, winning the ball, but taking a bit of Tiago’s boot on his chin….Gritty…. 


England don’t look comfortable when passing the ball around in defence. It is not part of our domestic game, which is based more on speed, power and determination….than patient probing..
 

29- Terry jumps for a high ball and cracks the ball and Tiago, with his forehead….Terry is hurt…lying face-down on the turf….a warrior, back to his feet…..on;y to see YELLOW…why???for the challenge…harsh decision…he will now miss the semi, if we make it…. 

We need to dispense with this 5 man midfield and stick someone up front with Rooney. 

39- Figo flashes a 18 yarder a couple of feet past Robinson’s left post. 

50/50 possession….

41 Portugal win first corner of the match>>>Figo>>header pawed away meekly by Robinson. 

43 Hargreaves wins an English corner>>Beckham>>Joe Cole is fouled on edge of area>>BOOKED- Maniche…FK>>>45->>>20 yards out, left of centre>>>Beckham>>doesn’t beat the wall 

45- Joe Cole skilfully finds Lampard who pops one in from 25 yards out..saved by Ricardo… 

When Ronaldo got fouled by Neville, he didn’t make a meal out of the tackle, like he would have done if it weren’t a club mate… (nonsense-edit)

HT 

terrible as per usual….I don’t know any premiership team who plays with only one up front. Our formation and tactics as a country are vastly different to the formations and tactics used by English club teams. Only Beckham is used to a definitely non-English style of football, as he plays in Spain where flair and possession are much more important than high tempo, all action, heart on your sleeve and growling grit. Why oh fucking why does Eriksson continue to force the players to perform in such rigid systems???Does he not believe that we can beat anybody at our OWN game???Rooney isn’t a lone striker naturally. Of course he can hold the ball up and lay it off, but his potency is released optimally when he plays off another striker…4-4-2 is a must if we are to improve…England need to stop trying to play like the continentals and get back to grass roots British spirit and toil. An even match really, with both teams creating a couple of half chances but generally playing within themselves…Only Ronaldo has looked exciting, running powerfully whenever the space appears…He seems the most likely to score….The only positive I can take from how we have performed so far is that I know we can play much better,but under this coach however, I don’t know if we will ever see that ‘better’which we all know exists but is rarely if ever seen…While I wouldn’t go as far as Ian Wright ‘I would rather England went out in the first round than win the world cup with a foreign coach’, I do see a desperate need for an Englishman to be leading the English…Eriksson has never been able to find the kind of football we should be seeing from such an obviously talented bunch of rogues and pimps…. 

2T

Nothing can change for us until Crouch comes on, or someone is pushed up front from midfield; Gerrard has shown competency… 

Lennon warms up… 

51- Beckham maybe with slight injury makes way for Lennon SUB…..the young right winger has been England’s most explosive player (in the finals)…. 

52- Corner ENG Gerrard will assume set piece duties now that Beckham has departed >>Lampard is found but his first time volley is harmless and embarrassing…great chance..Lampard is overdue a goal… 

Beckham has his head in his hands, his face contorted by grief/pain ,receiving physio…. 

56- Gerrard becoming prominent..ENG corner>>>

57->>Ricardo clutches to his chest…. 

57- England put the ball out so that Maniche can receive treatment for …???replay shows Hargreaves fingers brushed his cheek…fucking cheat…either Maniche is as fragile as a daisy or he is a cheat…good call by the ref but he should have booked him..2 minutes wasted due to the Portugese midfielder’s theatrics… 

59- Lennon bursts into the box from the right wing, Rooney mis-kicks, then Cole puts the ball over the bar….explosive start for Lennon.. 

Quality refereeing…ignoring Portugese re-enactment of Romeo and Juliet 

Simao warming up, receiving instruction from Scolari… 

61- Rooney battles like a pit fighter with two portugese players..he leaves one on the floor, RED….no fucking way,….Ronaldo was first in to the melee demanding the ref sends him off, Rooney pushed him..but RED may have been for foot left in the legs of the ‘injured’ Carvalho…… 

SUB Pauleta off , Sabrosa On……Simao on ,, Pauletta off… 

Is this the end of the road>?????NO….. 

65-Crouchy comes on,,,no-one comes off…..sneaky..( edit- for Joe Cole SUB) 

Happy and glorious’…. 

69- Ronaldo rolls 3 times after mistimed tackle by Lampard..straight back on his feet after yelp of pain earns free kick,…prick…disgusting players, they bring the game into disrepute, not Rooney.. 

Ball girls…sign of improvement in behaviour and safety at stadiums, a nubile girl in a 1920’s London derby would have been eaten alive in the midst of 100000 drunken apes…                       

The only ray of sunshine that can be taken from the dark Rooney cloud is that it is better to have a striker sent off, than a centre-back……We have lost our main incisor but still have the grinders and canines…. 

Justified boos from the crowd… 

74- Tiago subbed for Viana..wide, left footed, dribbler….Ronaldo attacking through the middle 

79- Figo shoots from 20 yards, good save from the keeper who tips it wide, out of the reach of Maniche and out for a throw… 

The way I feel about the Portugese makes my hatred for the Spanish- borne of Enrique’s fake broken nose- seem like the truest of loves…. 


England should carve a few of those pansies into paella….
 

Viana fakes injury….then pretends he has something in his eye…replay shows a delayed drop to the ground 10 seconds after contact with Crouch..another blatant show of cheating… 

81- Viana is found on the edge of the box by Miguel, but his left boot can only deliver an effort straight at Robinson… 

82- wicked running from Lennon earns a free kick for England, 30 yards out, central position..FK>>Lampard>>Well struck….Ricardo parries, Lennon is first to the rebound but his shot towards goal lacks power… 

World class teams show their class when they go down to ten men…they step up their game..like the Italians did against Australia. 

86- SUB POR Figo replaced by Postiga…. 

The stadium foundations tremble to the rhythm of the crowds ‘engerland, engerland, engerland’‘… 

Loudest fans of the tournament are England…’happy and glorious’  

92- Hargreaves battles hard then sets up Terry…Corner….The spirit..the british spirit is back…..this is what we have been missing..now with our asses firmly pressed against the wall, we are coming out fighting, like we should have done from the start…. 

Open game… 

FT

extra time it will be.. 

Et1

Hargreaves has had a storming game for England, perhaps MOM so far… 

93- ENG Corner>defended… 

Simao’s face is wreaked by tension and nerves… 

Scolari and Mclaren both gesticulating with hand signals and spitting, get forward!!! 

Riccardo’s eyes are too big for his face. 

99- Gerrard almost finds Crouch in the 8 yard area…. 

101- Simao has a shot saved by Robinson, who couldn’t hold it, lucky that Cole was nearby to clean up… 

105 Ronaldo hits a powerful drive a foot over the bar from 25 yards out… 


England have looked the more likely to break the deadlock.
 

HT ET 

ET2 

Thinking about penalty takers….Lampard(miss), Gerrard(score), Hargreaves(score), Crouch(score), Neville(score)… 

English fans lifting the players past the prospect of impending penalty doom…Spectacular support from the Brits…. 

106– Lennon was taken down in the area….good tackle…. 

107- Hargreaves BOOKED for dissent 

110 Carvalho is BOOKED for impeding Neville… 

Our best football has come when we have a player sent off and no Rooney… 

Carvallho goes to ground like a wilderbeast mauled by a Croc.

115- Terry has cramp… 

If spirit and bravery count for anything in a penalty shoot-out situation then England should win. 

118- after much calculation…Carragher is coming on for Lennon…he must be a penalty taker…. 

121- corner for Portugal>>>short…..Robinson is a bigger keeper than Ricardo….in terms of height and bulk…

122- one final chance for Portugal as Maniche blasts over from 13 yards out… 

Robinson was being told my Mclaren/Clemence which way the Portugese players tend to put the spot-kicks…advice for sure..they have been studying the previous Portugese penalties…the English keeper will be less affected by nerves..sporting a beaming smile as he strides casually towards the goal-line… 

It goes to penalties…..English average state of mind is palpably more positive than that of their opponents… 

1.

POR Simao>Robinson and ref make him wait….standing there all alone, Simao becomes anxious….he wants to get on with it…..turn thought into action before the thought starts to falter…>>>Hit to the right of Robinson…keeper went the right way.1-0

ENG Lampard>>>Saved…Ricardo read it well…..1-0 P 

2.

POR Viana….it hits the post….MISSSEDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD Robinson had gone the wrong way.. 

ENG Hargreaves>>>>have the Germans taught him anything>>??>>>>>yes they have….IN it goes, keeper got a touch but 1-1

1-1 

3.

POR Petit>>>MISSSSSSSSSSSSSEEEEEEEEEEEEEEDDDDDDDDD Robinson goes the right way, but the ball flies past the post…1-1 

ENG Gerrard…>>>can Gerrard put us in the lead??>>>>>>>Saved…..wonderful save by the keeper, leaping high to his left..1-1 

4.

POR Postiga>>>>well taken……2-1 

ENG Carragher>>>quickly despatched and IN,,,,but ref calls for retake as Ricardo wasn’t ready….>>>Riccardo pushes second effort up onto frame of goal……2-1 

5′ We are fucked…

POR Ronaldo>>to make himself the most hated man in England>>>>he scores….
Portugal are through…
 

The tension ebbs quickly out of my body, replaced as fast as it leaves by the heavy desolation of defeat…. 

Big Rio subdued by waterworks…… 

Riccardo won it for Portugal with three brilliant saves…or were they three badly taken penalties??? 

FT

It is a shame that it wasn’t until we were a man down, a Rooney down at that, and playing with our backs to the wall before we finally started to display some of the traditional british spirit and grit. We were much the better team for the majority of the match, but admittedly we didn’t create many gilt-edged goal-scoring chances. I hate to admit it- because I am a huge Beckham fan- but
England became far more spritely as soon as Lennon arrived on the pitch.
If it wasn’t for Ronaldo demanding severe action from the ref, and Rooney subsequently pushing him, then I reckon the Argentine would have given a Yellow. Still, we can’t blame Ronaldo. Rooney knows full well that a ‘come on then’ push will get at least a yellow and he should have showed a touch of professionalism and just bit his tongue and hoped for the booking rather than look for ‘afters’ with his Man United team-mate. I can’t see those two ever quite clicking for United…hahahhahahah…
I thought the Portugese were despicably unsporting for the whole match. Either that squad is as fragile as egg-shells or they are a bunch of cheating, play-acting, injury-faking swine, who should be banned from competing in international tournaments for a century. I would make such an innovative FIFA president….Before the penalties, I thought we would win due to our apparent superiority in terms of Spirit, Determination and Bravery. Those factors are usually important in the shoot-out routine but alas not on this occasion.Carragher obviously had only one penalty kick worked out in his head and was ultra-eager to take it…If only he had waited an extra second or three for the ref to say ‘go for it’, then the story may have been so different..As it was though, Carragher was unable to formulate a second succesful spot-kick in such a small amount of time. The first one may well have done the trick, but asking a defender with no goal-scoring pedigree, to score twice in quick succession from the spot is ridiculous.Too little too late.

from teamtalk::>>>
‘Shearer wouldn’t be surprised if Rooney “sticks one on” his Manchester United team-mate Ronaldo when the pair next meet in the wake of Rooney’s red card in
Gelsenkirchen. ‘

Shearer should of been offered the England job as player-manager, maybe that would have persuaded him to get back in an England shirt.. 

I know that England have much more than the Bite, as anyone who has seen any of the premiership action over this last few years will confirm. Gerrard and Lampard miserably fail to transfer their often scintillating club form onto the internationl stage. Why?I refuse to accept that they havn’t got what it takes to show their class at the top level, and my indignant gaze rests solely on the ugly shape of Eriksson. I do agree that we lack flair, but with a manager who is prepared to focus more on our strengths than weakness, I feel we can still be one of the strongest teams in the world. I guess the operative phrase there is ‘can be’…’when we can be’ is a entirely different matter.  

I am not happy about the appointment of Mclaren because from what I have seen with my own eyes his impact on
England is worthless. That is unless he basically acts like a lapdog to Sven, which I doubt…Often I have seen Mclaren shoving his notebook in front of Erikkson’s eagle eyes…
 

There can be major comparisons drawn between the Tony Blair/ Gordon Brown situation and the Sven/Mclaren partnership, which has now dissolved into a one man show…. 

England don’t have the defence of Italy or the attack of Argentina, but we do have an extremely talented, also ultra-irritable, world-beater in Rooney, and some other players of youth and quality. Lennon has showed a huge amount of promise and by the time the EUROS come round, the English team should be well into a serious transitional phase which will include the departure of both Beckham and Neville. The future still looks very bright, but this world cup must go down as an opportunity wasted for
England…
 

18 dives for Portugal and the victory 

Brazil v France 

Brazil are very relaxed…Frogs came to life in their match against Spain with Viera, Ribery and Old man Time Zidane, impressing more than most…. 

The french are the last European team to destroy Brazil, back in 1998 at la stade de Paris..3-0..Zidane got a couple….Ronaldo had a seizure….French form has been poor but Brazil have been far from amazing themselves… 

I am a big admirer of Viera, Zidane, Thuram and Henry (though I despise, but embarassingly relate to, his petulance)It would be great for the tournament if the french could bullwhip the Brazilians… 

G Silva starts in place of Emerson…. 

Spanish refs…

There are a fair amount of Pros who will be playing their last world cup for their country…Ronaldo, Zidane, Thuram, Carlos… 

Maloudra and Ribery will support lone Striker Henry, from the flanks… 

Ronaldo and Ronaldinho up front… 

Prediction:——2-3 frogs….more from heart than mind… 

11 straight wins for the Brazilians since that 98 defeat to Zizou inspired France… 

1t 

Juninho has come in for Adriano..no more quartet..extra midfielder needed to combat the Gallic attack… 

3- Ronaldnho draws foul 28 yards out, left of centre…..>>>

4-FK>>Juninho>> over, off wall (26 goals from set pieces for Lyon) 

As France are the only team left in my Dark horses group, I will offer them the support that I previously pledged to the Brits….France V Italy final would be enjoyable….Domenech the indignant stoat/ostrich… 

Ronaldinho, with that permanent horse smile…is wearing a headband with the letter R in the centre of his forehead.. 

8- Ze Roberto skips past two challenges before running head-first into the Makalele wall…. 

Carlos has been wasteful in every match… including this one. could be culled before next WC

11- Ronaldinho free kick finds Ronaldo…..(62/96 goals/games)…..but his shot, which came of the nose, flies over the bar… 

12- Henry’s shot from 25 yards hits Lucio in the head…the Brazillian falls to the floor…Brave defending… 

Good pressure from France wins a corner

14 corner>>rebound falls to Ribery whose shot flies 60 yards over the frame of the goal..
France have many extremely robust characters who are impossible to intimidate….Viera, Zidane, Makele, Thuram…..
 

25- Cafu BOOKED for pulling back Malouda…6th yellow at world cup….a new record… 

26- FK Zidane>>>30 yards out..>>goes for goal but one to forget… 

Zizou is pulling a few tricks out the bag….

28 Corner FR>>headed clear… 

31- Corner FR>punched away by Dida.. 

Les bleus have a good balance…Abedol and Sagnol, Malouda and Ribery…mobile flanks with a granite centre of Makele, Viera, Zidane, Henry…. 

38- FK conceded by Cafu…left of centre..28 yards…Zidane>>chipped in, headed over by Malouda. 

45- Breathtaking skill from Zidane, puts Viera through, but he is hacked down from behind by Juan…YELLOW..there was a covering defender, perhaps….I think that should have been RED, the other Brazilians wouldnt have reached Viera before he had time to shoot….(Zizou beat two players before playing the through ball.. )

47- FK>>25 yards>>central>>Henry strikes it into the wall>>handball>>Another FK>>>YELLOW for Ronaldo who had no chance of moving his arm out the way of Henry’s blast from the set piece..Fk2>18.5 yard Zidane…hits wall….

HT 

France have been better in all areas of the pitch but the final third… Brazil look like their teeth are sharper but they lack the link between midfield and attack… 

2t

46- Viera heads just wide of Dida’s right hand post after pin point free kick by Zizou… 

57- Zidane’s delightful curling free kick finds Henry at the far post who volleys the ball into the net with his divine right foot GOAL…deserved on the flow of play…1-0 Frogs/…slack defending by brazil as Henry wasn’t marked. 

A chance for this Brazilian team to prove themselves worthy of their often glowing reputation as the world’s best.. 

Wonderful replays show contrast of fans reaction to the goal –Les Bleus jubilant..Brazillians-mass depression… 

France were better than Brazil when they met in 1998 and they have been better than Brazil tonight. 

63- Juninho SUB for Adriano..the famous quartet is once more in effect… 

Ribery has shown admirable tenacity and enthusiasm…he battles hard which is rare for those of the creative ilk.. 

67 FRE corner> headed clear… 

Viera imperious..Makele is also no slouch in the crunching department… 


Brazil are attacking in vast numbers, deploying the famous Ronaldinho smile as the first line of offence…

70- Henry looks for Ribery in the middle but Dida is out of goal smartly to deny him the shot… 

I haven’t seen Zidane give the ball away even once… 

73- Sagnol BOOKED for body check on Kaka… 

75- intentionally late hack by Lucio on Henry angers the nearby French bench and earns a YELLOW for Chirac… 

76- Cafu SUB Cicinho on… 

77- the hard working Ribery off, Govou on SUB FRA

79- SUB BRA Kaka for Robinho… 

81- SUB FRA Malouda for Wiltord 

86- SUB FRA Henry for Saha 

87- Saha BOOKED for ignoring the whistle 

Viera, Makalele>>hard as nails. Zidane>> vintage class. Henry>> always dangerous. Ribery..bags of spunk..Thuram/Gallas-experienced, brave, dependable… 

88- Thuram is BOOKED for taking down Ronaldo..Lilian loudly disputes the charges..replay shows minimal contact..Ronaldo dived…FK>>Ronaldinho 20 yards out..central>>>over it goes…………….. 

91- On the break, Zidane sets up Saha whose left foot shot from 18 yards is well saved by Dida…– Ronaldo forces save out of Bartez,.. 

FT..

they’ve done it…the frogs merit the plaudits that are coming their way..not now, because it is 648am here in Melbourne, but tomorrow. or rather later today…too many time zones to deal with.. 

From grey skies come blue and though England bowed out, the frogs have sent packing the only team left in the tournament who I think are capable of scoring against Italy (if that is possible….).

Henry has been my choice for World Player of the year on both the occasions when Ronaldinho has won that accolade. The brazillian plays in a considerably weaker league (than Henry) and has failed to shine in five games for his country in the world cup and the Champions league final for Brazil. He isn’t as good as Henry. La Primera offers flair players the chance to shine because there are no decent defenders in Spain. It is that simple. So Ronaldinho looks wicked for Barcelona against Real Betis, but he looks shit for Brazil against France…And who scored the decisive goal tonight???Henry of course….

 Cafu and Carlos both are well past their cull-by dates as their pathetic passing proved beyond all doubt today. I am happy to see the over-inflated brazillian egos evicted from the tournament…….good riddance I say, those bastards have been running on reputation, not talent or form, for the last couple of years.

France were delicious to watch. Domenechs team has great balance, solidarity and vigour. Ils vont tuer les portugeese….

MOM:-Zidane. The great man seems destined to bow out of this tournament in splendid fashion, perhaps as a losing finalist to Italy….He is the heart of this team, the Erudite Patriarch. Everyone lookes up to him because he is special, as a man and player. When he plays well, like he did so today, France win with style and elegance.

                                                                                   


Day 20- Quarterfinal stage

July 1, 2006

Germany v Argentina 

Huge game for the host nation against an opponent they would have rather have avoided at least until the final. Klose, Podolski, Schweinensteiger and of course Emporer Ballack, will all need to be watched very carefully by the Argies, especially in the first ten minutes of the match because it is this period when the Krouts blitz their opponents and aim to score a few early goals which in their previous matches, have proved decisive. The main problem with the Germans is that they haven’t yet played against a decent team, which – as I am sure any Spainiard wil tell you- can dramatically worsen a team’s chances of progressing past decent opposition when they do meet teams like Italy, Brazil or……The ARGIEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS…What can I say that hasn’t already been said???…This argentine squad has been the most entertaining outfit seen for many a world cup.

 Saviola is replaced by Tevez, and Cambiasso has made way for Rodriguez. There is also a change in defence with Colloccini arriving as centreback. For who? I am yet to work that one out.. 

The aussie commentator says‘ARgentinia’  

Riquelme is nothing short of spectacular, and if the Germans give him time and space, they will lose.  

Prediction:Argies 3-2 Krouts. 

I am personally thrilled at the prospect of Ballack v Riquelme. Both players are of serious class. 

Ref: Slovak Luboc Michel….linesmen..all Slovaks….. 

Ballack seems to have grown 2 ft since the last game. 

With the amount of players who love to shoot, this game could be a real fire-cracker…. 1T1-Germans out the kennels like a gang of rabid Alsations…Klose bites Mascherano…just an early taster…

2- Riquelme nailed by two consecutive body charges..FK>>>40 yards out…poorly hit. 

3- YELLOW for Podoloski for running over Mascherano’s heels…. 

German crowd is whistling everytime Argies get the ball. Argentina are noticeably smaller, on average… 

7– Heinz knees Klose in the back…FK..35 yards out.slightly right of centre…Podoloski is teed up for a tame shot that bounces awkwardly in front of Abbondarzi in the Argentine goal…

8- First corner for Riquelme…>..whistles from the crowd..>>goes near post but Sorin isn’t fast enough to get on the end…Klose and Podolski are both hard on the eye. 

The reason why Tevez has replaced Saviola is because Tevez looks more like a beast, Sorin more like a ballerina’s boyfriend…

Germany are big, strong and make use of their muscular advantage at every opportunity… 

German supporters are souring the occasion. Patriotism is admirable but the incessant high pitch locust drone of whistles, every time Argentina have the ball in possession, is ugly and detrimental to the game as a spectacle. 

Why a Slovakian set of officials? The refs for the World cup should be taken from the top leagues: England, Italy, Spain, Germany, Brazil. The pressures associated with refereeing a Slovakian league game are a galaxy away from the rigours of presiding over an Arsenal V Chelsea derby. 

17- Ballack nips into the box to head over from 12 yards out, after a disguised pass from Schneider. 

Tevez is very skilful…already two perfect nutmegs….both on Freidrich…who is very tall…so his legs are far apart. 

19- Whistles greet Riquelme corner>>again looking for Sorin at the near post, but he heads well over when attempting the flick-on. 

Klose is like the geek at school. Works hard, keeps himself to himself, looks like an eagle. no need for friends, he is a student of football. 

27-Slovak blows for a Crespo handball which nobody spotted before or after the incident. He was in a great position…terrible call by the Slovak. 

28- Podolski brings his studs down on the ankle of Rodriguez…prompting a warning from the ref…’one more and you are off, mate’…..unfortunately, for everyone with fully functioning sight, Podoloski smiles….a golem if ever I saw one. 

Little Lahm with the bandaged arm. 

Argentina are playing like Italy. Only attacking in numbers when the time is Right…Giving nothing away. 

46- Podolski falls down 1 second after he was tackled, unfairly winning a free kick wide on the right, 25 yards out>>defended by Crespo… 

HT

Argie 65% possession. 

Both teams are playing well, and despite the stalemate, both coaches will be content with the first half display of their charges. The game has produced only one meaningful chance, which Ballack placed well over. Not much to shout about in terms of goalmouth action because Germany are playing counterattack and the Argies are sitting back, keeping the ball in traditional south American style. 

2T

46- Sorin is booked for jumping, then landing on Freidrich’s ribs..he will now miss the semi-final, should his side make it that far. good news, potentially, for Italy… 

Pekerman’s face is furrowed with deep frown-lines borne of hour after hour of tense tactical analysis 

49- Corner from Riquelme>>>Met by the determined head of Ayala, GOAL…the ball flies between keeper and defender…Superb finish and delivery….1-0 Argies… 

Now the Germans will HAVE to respond. They must open up and commit men forward, which in turn will carve open gaps in their own defence for Riquelme and co. to exploit… 

I can now hear the jubilant throng of argentine chorus, above the unsporting barrage of whistles… 

60- Mascherano BOOKED for chopping Schneider…FK 2o yards wide right>Podolski-awful cross, a complete waste… 

Ayala has been a rock at the back for Argies. Heinz also impressiveand entertainingly volatile. 

62- SUB GER Schneider off for Odonkor.(powerful, pacey attacking midfielder) 

Replay shows Ballack’s shirt was illegally pulled back by Ayala, as the last corner flew in….

64- Ballack receives ball on the bounce, 15 yards out, but hits the shot into the ground then off the crowd of players milling round the goalmouth…he got the chance because Klose took out Abbondanzier(Argie Keeper)…. 

The Kaiser looks ready to start WWIII. 

If I was a combative player who was holding a yellow card from the previous match, I would intentionally pick up a yellow in this match, then serve my one-match suspension during the semis and be back in contention for the final…this is why Sorin smiled when he got the Yellow. No kid dreams of playing in a world cup semi, they dream of the final.

70- Abbondanzier can’t continue. He lies down on the grass signalling the end of his participation…A stretcher is needed to take the big man from the pitch. Looks like rib or hip injury….Franco comes on SUB…

72- SUB Argies Riquelme is subbed for Cambiasso…who strolls off at a leisurely pace, happy to increase the volume of the whistles… 

73– Lahm fucks a pass across defence, Crespo just misses the interception but the ball still finds it’s way to Tevez who drives towards goal then lays the ball off to Rodruiguez whose shot powers into the side netting. 

75- Scweinensteger stamps on Rodriguez’s neck, who lies writhing in pain on the floor, but ref is having none of it, waving away the stretcher and medical staff… 

Klinsmann urging everyone into attack…14 mins left of  the German dream… 

SUB Borowski, mean looking giant, replaces Schweinensteger. 

78 Sub ARgies Crespo off, Cruz on….No need for Messi… 

Oh dear. 

81- The eagle has landed..Ballack cross is flicked on by Borowski, then headed into the net by Klose….GOAL 1-1  

Why did Pekerman take off Crespo and Riquelme???Argies do need Messi, but they can’t use him… 

I have that horrible feeling of an impending Krout victory. 

Tevez and Ondonker are squaring up to each other…replay shows the German as the protagonist… 

85- GER Sub Neuville, the rodent, replaces Klose…. 

Replay of Klose goal celebration shows the German facing the sky, grimacing, shouting at the top of his voice, obscenities, perhaps ‘fucking come on then…..’ or something along those lines…. 

What I enjoyed most about the Italian victory over Australia was Lippi’s decision to lay all his cards on the table in the hope of deciding the issue sooner rather than later.. Down to ten men, and drawing the game 0-0, he had to do something, and rather than make one or two changes and wait for extra time, Lippi made all three. His calculated risk paid dividends when Totti struck the ball in the net with the last kick of normal time… 

88- Gonzalez is booked for diving, though replays showed it wasn’t as clear cut an acting effort as the ref had deemed…. 

94- Ondonker BOOKED deservedly, for scything through the back of Cambiasso…

FT 

The Argies have thrown this one away. 

Group hug for Argentina… 

Both teams have endured three world cup shootouts in their history, both teams have won them all.(so far)… 

With no subs remaining, I would be tempted to hack a few players with the firm intention of crippling them so they would be unable to take a penalty… 

Extra time part 1 

94- Tevez finds the knee of Fringes with his face…blood from the nose…off the field for treatment.. 

95- YELLOW for Cruz, for leading into the aerial challenge with an arm… 

Ballack faces up to Ayala..eye2 eye….Ballack falls over as if he has been hit in the face, clutching his nose…despicable dive by the Krout…no contact to his face..idiot… 

102- GER Corner>Metzelder heads well over… 

The Argie defending at corners is criminally lame…. 

Lehman is one of few international keepers who I would expect to save at least one penalty in a shootout, the others are Buffon, Cech and Carlos. Lehman single-handedly put his club team, through to the Champions league final with a save from an Argentinean, Riquelme not long ago… 

End period 1 

Period 2                                                                                  

109- ARG Corner> easy for defence to deal with…. 

Argie 30-21 on fouls.

110- ARgie Corner> Rodriguez>Cruz get’s his head on the cross but can’t direct the ball. 

114- Freidrich YELLOW for kick at Tevez ear. 

PENALTIES….. 

I hate to type this, even think it, but I expect the Germans will triumph…Lehman is a tall, talented keeper. But The ARgies are more naturally skilled in shooting…pressure for both teams, more so for Germans perhaps…I Hope the German fans can avoid whistling for every Argie penalty… 

There would be a set list of takers, but by the time the shoot out comes round, mentality and events on the pitch may change the names, and the order of the list.Can Germany continue to ride high on the wave of vociferous home support???? 

1.

Neuville…..GER>>>well taken, he looked to the left, then struck it to the right….1-0 

Boos and whistles..Cruz ARG, has looked shit so far….>>confidently put away, hit calmly into the right side of the net…great strike. 1-1 

2.

Ballack GER>>>>Hammers it IN …2-1 Krouts 

Ayala>>>ARG>>>saved…weak pea-roller easy for Lehman to save to his left…poor penalty…2-1 Krouts 

3.

Podolski>>GER>>In it goes to the keepers left…3-1 Krouts… 

Rodriguez>ARG>>sneaks it under Lehman’s dive to the right….inches away from the keepers hand…3-2 Krouts.. 

4.

GER>>>Borowski…stunts his run, then places the shot into the right side of the goal….4-2 

ARG>>Cambiasso MUST Score>>>SAVED>>>>>>>Great save by Lehman whose right hand puts
Germany through to a semi final..
 1-1 (4-2 on pens)

Typical Teutonic efficiency in the shoot-out… 

Pekerman will surely rue his choice of substitutions, the keeper exempt. 

Heinz is in the centre of a nasty looking melee of players on the pitch..there were punches thrown…Oliver Bierhoff, huge man, is trying to cool things down… 

Argies are devastated 

strange scars on chest and neck of Tevez… tribal initiation from his youth???

Tears from Cambiasso.. 

Replay shows Lehman celebration : stern face, waving finger in a ‘fuck you’ fashion in the vague direction of Cambiasso….no wonder the poor lad was crying… 

FT 

The most talented individual from both these teams put together is Lionel Messi, but he didn’t get to kick a ball even in anger, despite been fit. Pekerman’s formation and choice of personnel paid too much respect to Germany, and it intended to stifle. Which was stupid, because the major strength of the Argentine team is attacking flair and skill. Rather than start so defensive, he should have had Messi playing on the left behind a front two of Crespo and Tevez.  

MOM: Difficult one to call, but painfully I give this to Klose, who simply never gives up.

Italy v Ukraine. 

Matterazzi is suspended, Nesta still injured, so Barzagli will continue the partnership with Cannavaro that began in the second half against Australia. Interestingly, he is the only remaining available centre-back in Lippi’s squad, so any injuries across the defensive line could spell trouble for the Azzurri. De Rossi is still suspended for the now infamous elbow attack on McBride, so Gattusso will continue as the hack in the middle for Italy. Thankfully, Iaquinta is suffering from a muscle strain and his absence makes the attack look immediately better from my point of view…Italy have appeared, at times, like potential winners of this tournament. Cannavaro apparently ‘has as much sex as he wants’. I am not sure if that is noteworthy, but the Aussie punditry team have devoted a generous 5 minute discussion to the subject so I thought I would chuck it in for balance/contrast… 


Ukraine have been the most boring team in the finals. Their only class player is Shevchenko. The rest of the team are defenders. Kulichenko has shown more promise than his countrymen.
 

The winner of this game will be decided by Italy; on paper and form the azzurri are far stronger than their eastern European opponents in every department, but the latin blood has a tendency to, without warning, rise in temperature and cause self destruction, often for no apparent reason…. 

BUFFON

ZAMBROTTA CANNAVARRO BARZAGLI GROSSO

 GATTUSO Pirlo

 PERROTTACAMONERESI

  TOTTI TONI

4-3-2-1

I read an article in The Guardian earlier this evening which described the form of Luca Toni as ‘a man whose amorous advances are constantly refused by a lady’. Personally I think he been the most impressive out and out striker for Italy in the finals, and it is only a matter of time before he starts banging in the goals….He has a great touch for a big man, and any player who can score 30 goals in the notoriously defensive Serie A, must be respected.

Deceptively handsome, in a strangely fascist style, Cannavaro and beastly Shevchenko, take turns to read an anti-racism message. 

Anthem watch- 

Gattusso, eyes shut, singing proudly…Solidarity, a smile from Buffon. Camorenesi not even bothering to mouth the words, looks mean. Zambrotta doesn’t care, he wants to get on with it. Cannavaro–pretty cyborg..is he human?? His stats for tackles attempted/tackles won suggest otherwise. 


Ukraine- Nervous…5 players with shoulder length blonde hair..at least they vary in height…
Gattusso, Grosso, Zambrotta…all on yellow. 

Buffon recently said ‘it is my biggest night-mare..I used to dream of winning on penalties..that was until we lost to AC Milan (on penalties) in the champions league…”. But I would still choose him between the sticks over any other keeper, if a match was to be decided in that cruel fashion. Buffon is a saint…His fear is healthy. 

Ref + Linesman are Belgian. 


Ukraine- 8 clean sheets in their last 9 games…formation is 8-1-1.
 

Damn it, Iaquinta is on the bench… 

1T

Weather 22C 

Blokhin–1975- European player of the year. 

4- Camorenesi skips past one challenge, drives towards goal then unleashes a weak but accurate shot that nips just past the post..good work…for a traitor! 

5- Zambrotta scores a great GOAL……Running up from the right, Zambrotta shoots, left footed from 25 yards out, and screams with joy as he watches the ball fly past the keeper’s hands and into the right side of the Ukrainian GOAL wicked work by the Chinaman….1-0 Itis… 

14- Gattusso is down injured after been gunned down by Totti….He returns, gritting his teeth in pain; a True Pro….. 

16- BOOKED -UKR Sviderskey for kicking Toni in the back of the legs for the second time in the space of two minutes.FK 36 YARDS >>>Totti>>accurate, but simple to save… 

Italy are playing four players who are downright use-less defensively :> Totti, Pirlo, Camorenesi and Toni, yet the Aussie ‘expert’ continues to describe Italy as ‘ultra defensive’….dickhead… 

19- SUB- Sviderskyi replaced by Vorobey….defender exchanged for attacking mid/striker.Add a tooth to the bare gum-line…                                                                                   

21- Kulichenko BOOKED for slicing Carmorenesi…FK>Pirlo>>38 yards wide right>headed over. 

26- Gattuso lying on the field holding his right hand..replay shows Timushenko look down as he strides by, then stomp his right boot onto gattuso’s hand…he’ll be back…I hope… 

28-The Snarl returns to the action with a bandaged arm…With Timushenko firmly in his sights. 

Totti loses the ball, then runs after his man to win it back….Teamwork and tenacity by the former swine…Perrotta and Camorenesi hugging the wings… 

32- Perrotta gets crunched…but recovers….he was the tip of a lovely Italian iceberg of one touch passing which was started by a typical Gattusso interception at full stretch diving for the ball with his toes…. 

33- Timoshuk takes Ukraine’s first shot from 35 yards out. it was never troubling Buffon… 

35- Maleski throws little Gattuso to the floor…. 

35- Perrotta nailed again, Shevchenko with studs hard on the Italian’s shin..FK Pirlo 35 yards out wide right>good cross, well defended… 


Ukraine are tackling like a bunch of unnaturally large townie teenagers…I think the ref has been overly lenient so far. But I prefer over leniency to the opposite. Discretion is far more admirable in a ref than megalomania.
 

41- Shevchenko shoots from 20 yards out on the left, taking a boot to the jaw from Cannavaro just after the ball leaves his big toe..Buffon winks at Cannavaro as he collects the ball safely.. 

Perrotta has been the only Italian player to disappoint. 

45- Rusol sits down on the turf, takes off his boot, rubs his toes then shakes his head as tears stream down his face….The physios deliver the magic spray….

47- Sock-less, Rusol departs from the field..SUB Rusol for Vashuk 

48-HT 

I am wholly satisfied with the Italian performance and the only minor bone I can pick is regarding the shooting capability of Perrotta, which is non-existent. Gattusso has been the best player on the park displaying his usual mix of doggedness, energy and relentless will to kill. Ukraine have shown only their ability to foul, and a ref of a more average disposition would no doubt have either dished out more yellows to the yellow shirts, or even a red or two. Very comfortable for Italy from a result perspective but if the eastern European savages continue to adopt their openly gruesome tackling policy, then there are likely to be a few injuries…The only grumble is Perrotta’s piss-weak final third skills. 

Niko Imaloudmouthprickopoulos, the SBS pundit, attempts to make up for his obvious lack of knowledge/understanding by consistently producing, aggressive ludicrous statements…Every time
Italy plays he says their opponent is ‘weak’. Never will he concede them any praise. Why??Racist scum, he should be bull-whipped by the Kaiser himself.
 

2T

47- Cannavaro goes down after a 50 yard pass lands on his balls….replay shows the big man went straight to the ground on impact.. 

A smiling Ciro Ferrara sits on the Italian bench. His presence is helping maintain the spirit of this azzurri team. 

49- Barzagli’s weak clearance gives Ukraine their first corner>defended…..ball is put back into the box, where Buffon reacts smartly to save a close-range header from Gusin .The stopper banged his head on the post as he made the save….can he see straight????

51- Corner>>>Out by big Luca Toni… 

Buffon looks like a fish gasping for air…still rubbing his head and wincing his eyes… a blind buffon is still superior than 99% of other keepers.


Ukraine playing with re-invigorated purpose.
 The Gaffer must have had a few choice words at half time.

55- 20 yards out Totti is gruesomely taken down by Gusev….FK>>slightly left of goal

56-FK>>>Pirlo>>chips it to Grosso who made a good run down the left channel but the defender does a good shielding job. 

58- Buffon makes his first truly world class save, after a rebound falls kindly to Kulichenko who sets up Gusev to blast at Buffon..the clearance is hit back towards goal but a posse of defenders are on the line , Zambrotta clears to safety….danger signs for Italy… 

59- Corner ITI>>>Luca Toni GOAL…That will shut those bastards up….Totti collects a short corner, crosses perfect ball into box where three Italian players are cueing up to head the ball in the net, Toni the man to make the decisive lunge 2-0 Italy…. 

It is encouraging that the first time I see Buffon truly tested, the reaction from Italy is to go straight up the other end and score, with ease……class…every team can be threatened, but not every team can make good on their threats… 

62- Kulichenko FK is met by Gusev whose header hits the top of the bar…he was allowed no space on his jump to direct it towards goal..close attention from Cannavaro, but a chance, of sorts… 

66- Carmoneresi is chopped in the area, goes down, ref gives nothing but a grin….replay shows definite contact….that should have been a penalty.

67- YELLOW for Milevsky.high footed tackle on Cannavaro SUB Carmoneresi for Oddo, Pirlo for Barone……Oddo RB, Barone DM. 

68 GOAL….Toni gets his second.. 3-0… brilliant play from Zambrotta cutting in from the left, then stretching out his boot to prod the ball between defender and keeper for Toni to slot home from 3 yards…wicked goal……Italy 3-0…. 

72- UKR SUB Milevskiy for Belik. 

77- ITI SUB Zaccardo is coming on!!!!I guess Lippi sees this as an opportunity to start rebuilding the poor lads confidence after that shock own goal in the yankee game….Gennaro makes way, to  resounding, deserved, galactic applause… 

80- FK Ukraine…. Buffon screams and roars like a solider from Alexander the Great’s infantry phalanx…Shevchenko shoots straight from the set piece. 35 yards.. comfortably blocked by Buffon.. 

86- Bellek heads towards goal from 12 yards out but Buffon needed only to raise his hands to catch it at the first time of asking. 

Kalinichenko is given smelling salts on the sidelines after collision with Cannavaro leaves him slightly concussed,,,(98th cap tonight, final would be his 100th).                                                                       

90- Toni through on goal for his hatrick, but his effort is blocked… 

FT 


Italy win deservedly 3-0.

Ukraine have come the closest so far to scoring a goal against Italy, but on the other hand they were comprehensively outplayed from start to finish, on every area of the pitch. Cannavaro, Zambrotta, Buffon and Gattusso continue to perform at peak levels, while honourable mentions must also go to Toni for rekindling his love affair with goals, Totti, for continued effort and flair, and also Barzagli who deputized well, earning his second cap for his country. The most encouraging part of Italy’s performance came when Ukraine almost scored; Italy went straight up the other end and scored themselves.Unremarkable, but a job very well done. Nesta will be needed against Germany. 

MOM: The Snarl-a fiery, fearless, feverish ferret…outstanding work from the pit-fighter turned professional footballer.(Zambrotta was a close runner for MOM, but he is always amazing. Gattusso appears to be playing the best football of his life) 


Day 19: Brazil v Ghana

July 1, 2006

Day 19–Ghana V
Brazil
 


(Africa v South.America…)
 

Michael Essien is the main man for Ghana. Muntarro returns.. 

BRA:>Ronaldo and Adriano start in attack..Ronaldo has scored 14 goals in world cup tournaments,,,equalling the record of Gerd Muller..one more to make that title his own.. 

The queer quartet. Kaka Ronaldinho Adriano Ronaldo… The loss of Essien is huge for GHANA…he is their heart,their engine,their dynamo, and their warrior-king…. 

IN THE TUNNEL:>Appiah hugging all the Brazillians…Adriano pinched his ass… 

Asamoah Gyan 9 goals in 15 games…(GHA) 

ref is Slovak..linesmen Aussies 

Ghana are the ‘brazil of Africa’.

Prediction.

Essien is Ghana’s best player by a mile. Without him they will be significantly weaker…
Brazil 5-2

The best I can hope for is an all out blood-bath which puts brazil through but at the cost of 8 of their first team players, who will be hospitalized after ferocious Ghanaian hacks… the worst that could happen would be for Brazil to demolish the Africans, with all their players getting in the goals, warming the samba machine up to fever pitch….. 

1t

the weather is grim, I hope it stays like this for England’s match with Portugal…the Brits will do better in rain and wind… 

3- Muntarri knocks Ze Roberto to the ground…. 

5 GOAL...Ronaldo scores after his step-over fools the keeper…great ball over the defence from Kaka, Ronaldo the quickest to react, he shimmies past the stopper and guides the ball into the net for his 15th goal in total in the world cup finals. He is now the top scorer in history at the world cup…..lovely way to steal the accolade from Gerd Muller… 

7- ADDO YELLOW– he kneed Kaka in the cheek…deserved, on both counts. 

11- Muntarri YELLOW for slicing through Kaka… 

13- Adriano is brought down by the Ghanaian keeper after trying to round him…NO..Adriano BOOKED for taking a dive…replay —inconclusive. 


Ghana’s defensive line is pushed very close to the halfway line….extremely vulnerable to balls played over the top into the huge gap between defence and keeper.
 

19- First shot for Ghana by Drummond, is a belter struck from 35 yards out, saved by Dida, out for corner> 

24- Muntarri threads a ball to Amaoh who turns sharply 18 yards out, and shoot just wide of the post..great chance… 

All Ghana now… 

29- Ghana get in the Brazillian box…Amoah shot is saved..counter-attack leads to YELLOW for Pantsil who ran over Kaka’s flurry of ankles….. 

30- Ghana counter attack leads to a 3 on 3. But the midfielder shoots wildly over from 25 yards when the pressure became too much to bear… 

Neither team knows how to do anything but attack.. 

31- Crowd noise is rising like a kettle coming to the boil….Emerson injured…escorted off the pitch. Gilberto Silva could replace him if need be, who is for my money, a more useful player than Emerson..injury not serious. straight back for Emerson. 

31- Ghana 57- 43 possession!!! 

Appiah always available for team-mates..a constant outlet.

35- Ngam shoot over from 6 yards after great ball in from the left…Emerson did enough to make it near impossible for the striker to get a clean strike away… 

38- Addo booked for sticking his foot into the spokes of the Adriano wheel.,.. 

FK>>
Brazil>>35 yards out>>central position>>>Ronaldinho–disappointing.
 

40- Addo on the floor, …replay shows Ronaldinho brought his studs down on Addo’s shins…

42- Ghana corner finds Menza whose downwards header is saved by Dida’s right boot….he should have scored… 

44- Juan Brazil BOOKED for two footed studs on Muntarri…FK 25 yards out>>just left of centre..Appiah drives it a yard or two over the bar… 

46- GOAL—Adriano scores….fast counter-attack ended by the big man…Adriano was offside when the move begun, but wasn’t interfering with play. He was also offside when the assisting pass was made, when he most definitely was interfering with play because he fucking scored… 

That was the most undeserved, wrong goal I have witnessed in this world cup. Ghana have been dominating this match since one down, and in the least deserve to be level with Brazil..Australian linesman doesn’t know the rules, or has very bad sight because he was in direct line of play for both passes….idiot. 


Brazil are very lucky to be 2-0 up. Ghana have produced some Brazilian-esque flowing attacking football of their own; very easy on the eye and obviously tough on Lucio and Juan.
 

2t

48- Ngam booked for kicking the ball away after refs whistle for free kick… 

Amoah and Drummond both spurn good chances for Ghana… 

57- Carlos is found on the overlap…but his shot is well saved by Kingston… 

58- Drummond brings his sharpened blades down hard onto Juan’s delicate left thigh… 

59- Gha SUB Addo off for Boateng. 

61- Bra SUB Adriano off for Juninho… 

SUB Brazil Emerson off for Gilberto Silva 

69- Ngam is found in the box after great work by Appiah..Ngam shoots, Dida saves….Amaoh almost beats Dida to the rebound…Amoah off for Mensah….SUB GHA 

79- Jam shoots well from 12 yards out, solid, but easy save for Dida… 

80- Painstill aims one at his own goal!!saved in style by Kingston…. 

81- Gyan gets his second yellow >>RED>>>for one of the worst dives ever to sour a world cup match…the nearest player was 3 ft away from Gyan when he fell to the ground like he had been force- fed cyanide… 

83- SUB BRA Kaka leaves the fray for Ricardinho…(left sided midfielder)

84- Ze roberto is sent clear behind the Ghanaian defence..kicks the ball past the keeper then walks the ball into the net for 3-0 GOAL….. 

This is too much punishment for Ghana. They don’t deserve to be 3-0 down.. 

88-Kingston makes a brilliant one handed save from Ronaldo’s powerful drive from 15 yards out… 


Ghana proved there is not truth to the common adage ‘you make your own luck’
 

90- Cafu is found in the box., but the Brazillian right back’s chip is well saved by Kingston… 

93-Kingston makes another world class save when he reacts smartly to smother Juan’s shot from 8 yards… 

FT 

Brazil weren’t the best team on the pitch if you look at possession, shots, passes, tackles…but the Africans couldn’t shoot for shit….and Brazil most certainly can, and will shoot, with divine brilliance whenever they are given the chance…Ghana entertained and showed that the Brazillian defence ain’t great, but they also clearly displayed major problems of their own inre: putting the ball in the net….(and ill-discipline and violence…) 

                                                      

Other Result:

Spain 1- 3 France.

 

Quarterfinal line-up>>>

Germany v ARgies

Italy v Ukraine

England v Portugal

France v Brazil                


Round 2: Italy v Australia

June 27, 2006

Round 2: (Day 18)

ITALY v Australia 

Gianluca Vialli represented Italy, Juventus, Chelsea, Sampdoria and other glamourous clubs as a player, and also managed Chelsea for a short period a few years back…He is/was a true Pro. A gentleman on and off the pitch. I will allow his words to be mine for this part of the preview:(the interviewer was a chap from SBS broadcasting and while the questions re-printed  aren’t verbatim from the original report, the Vialli answers ARE.) 

SO how do you rate our chances, Gianluca?

I am sorry about this you guys ..but I think we are stronger’.-V 

DO Italy have any weaknesses?

‘defensively we have nothing to learn from anybody..We just need Totti to keep improving……… (he)needs to do something special to repay the faith shown in him.’-V 

Have you been impressed with the Aussie spirit?

‘I don’t think football is your best sport….(Hiddink)Fantastic coach….Enthusiasm and spirit….very difficult to beat because you never give up….A TOUGH SIDE TO BEAT BUT WE ARE READY FOR THAT…..   

Who else do you fancy in the tournament??

‘You might not love the germans, but you must admire them…Really nothing new so far….not many surprises……

 A Millione grazie for the interview, Gianluca. I wish you a wonderful evening.

‘A pleasure, pleasure….’ vialli.. 

Shock—del Piero has replaced Totti….that must be Lippi resting Totti, under-estimating the Australians or he is intentionally shielding the roman talisman from the initial aussie onslaught…..wise Lippi….if that is his ploy, it is a master stroke…let del Piero be the punching bag for Lucas Neil and Chipperfield… 

These are…..ahhhh.. …..rather….. key players, and they will be missed..’ -Hiddink 

Nesta is out still for Italy so Materazzi keeps the position he occupied with respectable competence in the last game… 

Kewell and Emerton are out for the Socceroos…Emerton’s stamina and bulk will be sorely missed as will the sporadic brilliance of Harry Kewell….which leaves a mighty job for their team-mates.. 

Kalac has been dropped, thankfully, from an aussie point of view…Schwarzer and Wiltshire come in as does Bresciano………. 

This game pits the masters of defence, and in my view the strongest team in the tournament, against the country where I live and loathe…. 

Luca Toni is back to play up front with del Piero on his left, Gilardino the right…This is a very attacking formation for Italy…defensively we have nothing to learn from anybody’ as Vialli said… 

Buffon, together with King Cannavaro, Matador Matterazzi, Zambrotta and Grosso, constitute the toughest football wall in the contemporary world game. The only way to stop Gattusso from biting ankles is to put him down with a .44 magnum, even then there might be a chance he come straight back at you…Pirlo is the composer of the Italian attacking opera… 


Australia have a weaker team, and will be relying heavily, almost exclusively on the guile of Hiddink’s genius and their renowned fighting spirit. However I don’t think the Aussies necessarily have more spirit than the Italians…ask de Rossi, ask Gattuso, ask Cannavaro…..Passion isn’t a factor that will be decisive in this one because neither team is lacking spunk; all players are snapping at the muzzle, trying desperately to find a victory in which to sink their teeth…
 

Kewell is fucked…on crutches… 

Schwarzer

wiltshire moore neil chipperfield

 cahill bresciano grella culina

Viduka sterjovski 

buffon

zambrotta cannavaro matterazzi grosso

perrotta gattusso pirlo

gilardino toni Del Piero

anthem watch–Italians singing loudly…Those oh so blue eyes of Cannavarro…a real charmer… 

Ref- spaniard… 

1T

we are off…. but sbs has lost the pictures…radio commentary only…. 

Weather 23C 

the screen re-appears… 

A game like this calls for Stolyncha... 

3- Chipperfield chips one in, but Cahill’s header is weak… 

4- del Piero finds space down the left flank before crossing deep to find Toni whose header flies inches wide of the post….. 

7- Gilardino battles his way into the area…dispossessed by Neil…selfish of the Italian as he had support waiting nearby… 

Italian fans the loudest…but whistle every time their lads pass the ball back to Buffon. 

Lippi ‘paul newman’ Hiddink ‘the wizard’lucky guus’ 

12- Gilardino again finds space in the box, but his shot is charged down by Chipperfield. Quality block… 

Even game so far but Italy’s teeth look sharper. 

20- Gattuso chips the ball to Toni who lays it off to Gilardino who lets it drop then hits it on the bounce…well saved..corner>>Pirlo>>>dealt with… 

Ref gives a warning to Gattuso for high tackle…

22- Toni turns his man in the area, then shoots with his left..saved brilliantly by Schwarzer’s trailing feet….great save..lucky

23-Grella BOOKED Australia 

24- Bresciano FK…finds Viduka, but the header, though accurate, was weak..he had no space… 

28 YELLOW for Grosso for a sneaky elbow in the guts of Sterjovski… 

30- FK by Bresciano….rebound falls to Chipperfield who hits a half volley straight down the throat of Buffon.. 

34- patient play from
Italy results in another chance for Toni, who heads over from 3 yards out…..
 


Australia seem to get 6 men always in defence….
 

42- Moore defends well but puts his boots through Luca Toni….painful looking for the Italian…but it was a fair tackle… 

HT 

A tentative first half by both teams with Italy creating the only real goal-scoring opportunities which so far Toni and Gilardino have failed to put in the net…The best player in the pitch is surprisingly Chipperfield who has supported the attack and held stubborn at the back. Considering the differences in history and quality, I would guess
Australia will be far more happy than the Italians, going in half time at 0-0….
 

2T

SUB ITA Gilardino off for Iaquinta. 


Italy last beaten in regular time— 1986, by the frogs
 

I am not an admirer of Iaquinta… 

49- Iaquinta down the right, crosses ball in along the floor…Perrotta fluffs his shot then Toni’s effort was lashed over the bar… 

49 Cahill the rat is BOOKED for leading into a challenge with an elbow and catching Materazzi….It isn’t a good idea to get on the wrong side of Materazzi… 

51- Materazzi RED…..for slightly late tackle on Bresciano and Zambrotta… 

Harsh, stupid refereeing. which has now completely changed the game…idiot…possibly ruined
Italy’s chances of getting through…
 

FK.>Bresciano..wide 

Gattuso is dropping back into defence but we need a big man in there…. 

No sub yet by Lippi… 

55- Toni, Italy’s biggest threat comes off for Barzagli…(centre-forward for centre-back) 

10 Italians are still technically superior to 11 Aussies but Italy have shown in recent matches that they can lose their heads a bit when life gets crazy…still, a world class team can rise above adversity… 

59- Chipperfield is found in the area, he shoots hard, but straight at Buffon who saves with ease and assurance… 

61 YELLOW for Wiltshire after he took a hack at del Piero’s ankles… 

64- Gattusso wins the ball with typical tenacity then looks for an unmarked del Piero in the box, but the pass is too long…great chance…. 

6- FK Pirlo…35 yards out…slightly to the Italian left…>>>shoots..great save..it was creeping under the bar///corner>>Pirlo>defended… 

The last plausible sub for
Italy is Totti..who will come on for del Piero if the game stays as it is…
 

Grosso getting forward well for the Italians. 

If this game goes to penalties.
Australia will have less pressure to deal with and will win….
 

Here he comes….

75- SUB Totti is coming on to whistles but applause from me, for the ineffective, tired, del Piero…. 

We need Totti now more than we have ever needed him…Time to show what you are made of Francisco…. 

77 Totti, surrounded by 4 aussie defenders, twists then plays a superb pass to Iaquinta whose shot is blocked… 

ALL ITALY SUBS HAVE BEEN MADE….Lippi has no more cards to play… 


AUstralia have 3 subs left….
 

80- Cahill jumps well and heads just over from the Bresciano corner… 

Cometh the hour, cometh the Totti?? 

81- AUS SUB the steamroller arrives, Aloisi, replacing Sterjovski…
Italy have won only one out of their five world cup penalty shoot-outs….
 

84- Bresciano tries one with his left foot from 22 yards out…It was never going to trouble Buffon. 


Italy 9-8 on shots…
 

85- Viduka sniffs a chance but Buffon’s hands are clasped tight around the ball before the thought has a chance to into Viduka action… 

88- Aloisi squaring up to Gattusso who is BOOKED for the original tackle on Chipperfield…. 

I haven’t felt this tense in any game up until now….the skin on my fingers is suffering…

91- BOOKED Zambrotta, for shoulder barge on Aloisi…3rd yellow for Italy to go with the red….who says
Italy are a bunch of divers???? only the cliche lovers, that’s who…
 


Italy turning the screw….Aussies staNDING TOUGH….
 

93- Grosso does amazing to get past the right back, cuts into the area…then is crudely chopped down by Neil….Grosso couldn’t get out the way….deserved penalty..he did impede Grosso blatantly… 

PENALTY>>>>Totti>?>>>can he do it?>?>>>>tension rises to fever pitch…..totti looks unsure…..ref asks ball to be replaced….Totti?>>>>>>>he scores…..GOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLFT
italy win 1-0…..
The penalty was hit with power and great technique into the left side of the net…wicked penalty….But why was Totti sucking his thumb in celebration?>????? 

FT

Gattuso struts around the pitch bearing his midget muscles, practising his dancing in front of the aussie players who stand dejected,, gutted, distraught…none more so than the big man Neil who is trying to fight against the un-masculine tendency to cry that affects all players when they realize that they are OUT OUT OUT…….. 

The funniest moment for me was Foster, fighting through the tears saying ‘there was no contact at all’ 

My brother is an Aussie, and he reacted badly to my analysis of the match, insinuating that Italy were ‘boring’ and that the Aussies ‘deserved’ to win…But I don’t think that the Aussies deserved to win. Of course full marks for effort, but effort alone is not enough to win football matches. This is a sport in which class really matters. Gus Hiddink is undoubtedly a master tactician but there is only so far wonderful tactics, team spirit and effort can take a team. For all the charging up and down the pitch and valiant defending, before Materazzi was sent off,
Australia had looked completely toothless. Whereas when the Italians had made inroads into the Aussie 18 yard area, they had looked eager and more capable of sinking sharp canines into a goal.

Australia didn’t/don’t have the quality required to break down that Italian defence.
Italy may have looked more defensive but a quick glance at the ‘shots taken’, and ‘shots ON GOAL’ statistics shows a different story.
Even when Italy were wrongly reduced to ten men,
Australia could only control the midfield area. They never looked like creating a gilt-edged goal-scoring chance. WHy? Because they don’t have a player with the class of Totti….
I knew that Lippi was saving the Ravenous Roman  for the second half, not due to fitness, but in order to shield him from the early Australian siege. Lippi waited until very late on to bring Totti into the fray, but within a minute of stepping onto the pitch, the flair-merchant had already fashioned yet another brilliant chance for Italy when surrounded by four Aussie defenders, he found the killer pass to the unmarked Italian midfielder (Perrotta)..The shot was missed, but that moment wonderfully illustrated the main difference between the two teams i.e.
Australia don’t have a player with world class defence unlocking talent.
The penalty I agreed with, because the only other move Grosso could have made was to have kicked Lucas Neil in the face. The Italian was moving at speed, and his path was blocked by the body of Neil. Despite the emotionally inept Craig Forster commenting ‘there was no contact at all’, every angle I saw the tackle from, showed contact. It wasn’t a nasty tackle, but it was a very unprofesional tackle given the circumstances. Lucas Neil played the player, not the ball.

11 fired up Aussies were not able to beat 10 fired up Italians. Australia went out of the world cup because they lack teeth and class, not because of one mistake by a referee. Well done on the effort front, and the future of AUstralian football still is looking brighter than at any previous point in history, and it is this that the Aussies should concentrate on, NOT whinging like my pommie brothers!!!! I have never seen the ‘bad loser’ side of the australians shown so vehemently as I have done in the past few hours. Maybe Australians have got to used to their sporting heroes winning on effort and heart??I am unsure.
Well done Australia, you fought gallantly and with great spirit. You should all be proud…As for me, I will continue to offer my rigid support for my latin cousins and british brothers…. 

No-one could criticize the effort of the aussies, but they have blatantly lacked talent. Spirit, energy and determination were put to the sword today by talent…….

12 hours later…> I wouldn’t ever say what Grosso did was ‘class’. At best : proffesional. It is just plain nonsense for anybody to be declaring that Australia deserved to go through on effort. They certainly did not outdo the italians in terms of skill or professionalism. Italy carved out the better opportunities, and why Australia huffed and puffed, showed bravey and gallantry, courage and belief, but lacked SKILL and TALENT… I dont think only flair is needed to win football matches. In truth this is the least colourful italian team for many years, in terms of flair. Apart from Totti there is no player who can create something out of nothing, who can turn the game just through his presence on the pitch. Pirlo can pass to perfection, but Totti has a spark of brilliance (and also an unsavoury character). Italy have Totti. England have Joe COle, Rooney and Beckham(who makes it into this group due to his unnaturally accurate passing and free kick abilities, which have already won two games for his country).Argentina have Rodriguez, Riquelme, Saviola, Messi, Tevez.Brazil have Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Kaka, Robinho. AUstralia simply lacks the world class talent -that runs through the ranks in varying levels of intensity-of the powerhouses of the world game; england, brazil, argies, italy….After watching another 50 replays of the Grosso incident, I will concede that- after he had made progress into the area- the Italian was looking for the decision. But if Mark Viduka had raced down the left flank, brushed off Zambrotta (impossible, but try to imagine it just for my example!), then burst into the area where he notices Cannavaro flying towards him studs- first, Viduka would be faced with the same decision that Grosso had to make:
1. jump the tackle, lose the ball \(both feet needed to be jumped HIGH in the air to avoid the bulk of Neils body) and take some comfort from the fact that you haven’t got the defender in trouble!!!???
or 2.
Let your momentum naturally continue and accept the body block and hope for a penalty.
..

Now do any of you really think that ANY australian player would have chosen option number 1?

Also:>
to the ludicrous suggestions of match-fixing….Are we then to assume , if the official was that way inclined, that Australia paid him to send off Materazzi???
If that is the case then this ref needs to be banned. Each ref should only accept bribes from one of the two teams playing.
the australian media is pathetic and degrading, in their constant search for fellow ‘australia were robbed’ supporters…SBS said The Sun (uk tabloid) ‘confirms that it(the penalty) was dubious, questionable and dodgy’…So I guess I will have to accept it now eh?  

Due to the lack of a decent ball-player and/or match-winner, Australia were patently unable to give anything but minor concerns to Cannavaro, Zambrotta and Buffon (Matterazi and Zarbaglio were solid also, but not spectacularly so) in the Italian rearguard. These bitter comments that keep cropping up about Italy doing their utmost to make the match into the ‘most boring game of the finals’ are indicitave of the one-eyed logic shown by many Aussie supporters. Whenever Toni or Gilardino got forward there were 6 defenders to deal with. The only difference between the teams, from a movement point of view, was that Italy didnt run up and down the pitch, pointlessly, they waited for the chances to come and then moved decisively.
Lippi is a great coach and the italian team has the greatest defence of this tournament, perhaps one of the greatest in history…
Italy have conceded one goal in 4 games because they have the world’s best defence, not because they play 10 men behind the ball.

I repeat: Well done australia, but all this whinging is really starting to tarnish the commendable achievement of the players who have battled their hearts out on the pitch.Take the praise. quit the moaning. 

 Other Result:

Ukraine 0-0 Swiss

Ukraine won 3-0 on penalties AET.

   

                                                                                                                                   


Round 2: (Day Seventeen)….

June 27, 2006

The big One::

ENGLAND V ECUADOR

England take on south American opposition with the hope of the bucking the annoying trend of the past two world cups that shows England going out to south American opposition… 

Rooney is playing on his in attack…Hargreaves, who has played this position for his club, is in at right back for Carragher…which seems bit strange as Carragher has done fine and Hargreaves is a more comfortable defensive midfielder…in midfield Gerrard is back, and Carrick comes in to add stability and athleticism….. 

Tenorio and Delgado are back for the Ecuadorians..the team that lost to German included 6 reserve players; it was NOT the first XI that got done by the Krouts… 

Hurtado and Espinoza impressed me in their first two games….
Ecuador are very strong in midfield on the wings……
 

 I can understand why Eriksson is packing out the centre of the park, but am a little worried about the roles of Lampard and Gerrard…perhaps Gerrard will be playing as a second striker??? 

The weather is hot..28C and set to rise…this will hand a definite advantage to the South Americans….And it forces
England to go hell for leather from the first whistle in search of an early goal…the longer the game goes on the more the heat will affect us….
 

Venue- Stuttgart: they drink 12 times the average amount of wine for Germans, and they also have the highest number of patents….red wine leads to invention… 

The pundits say Beckham is too predictable… I think what is more predictable is that he always passes with astounding precision..that is the worry for opponents. I doubt the Ecuadorians will be saying ‘ ahh beckham is predictable all he does is pass the ball better than most other players in the world,,nothing to worry about….’Not sure where the base of this line of attack originates… 

Victoria Beckham pouting in the stands… 

If England can secure the flanks, they will win this, if they don’t….. 

Anthems..Terry sounds likes an accomplished tenor…Every players singing ‘happy and glorious’…apart from Hargreaves… 


Ecuador- relaxed…
Suarez- ruthless as always. 

1Tref is
Belgium.
 

Carrick in central midfield should allow Gerrard and Lampard to take turns supporting Rooney in attack… 

Suarez seen smiling…..!!!!! 

We are off… 

Cloud cover provides respite from the scorching sun. 

5- Rooney gives a half hearted thumbs up to Beckham for the through ball that was a bit too powerful…. 

Lampard has yet to show his true colours for his country. 


England starting positively.
 

100 English supporters arrested in last 24 hours for hooligan issues….Nothing properly horrible and no-one killed thankfully…..minor skirmishes 

10- Rooney pushes the back of Hurtado,then offers instant hand of friendship…. good sportsmanship…The English are exemplary; no diving, no whinging, they get on with it… 

11- mistake by Terry on the header, lets in Tenorio who brings the ball down, shoots, ball deflects slightly but significantly off Ashely Cole then onto the bar…..fuck././/that was close….Amazing defending from Cole..Terry must make amends…Outstanding defensive work from the left back… 

18- Gerrard is set up by Lampard to try a shot from 25 yards out….it flies well over the bar.. 

18- Terry BOOKED for flying kick on Carlos Tenorio, who made the most of the small amount of contact.FK in dangerous position…30 yards out. Left of centre…Mendez takes it, Ferdinand deflect it clear but ref gives a goal kick…should have been a corner. 

20 FK 30 yard outs for
England…central…Beckham>

21->chips it to Gerrard on the edge of the area, who pumps it back into the danger area..defended… 

22 Corner for
England>Beckham>headed clear.
 

23- Corner for Beckham>wasted… 

24- BOOKED
Valencia…chopping Beckham
Tenorio smashes through Joe Cole…… 

Come on
England , give them some of the rough stuff…
 

Two Ecuadorian players down..Delgado and Edwin Tenorio… after Beckham jumped on them…

28- Rooney links with Lampard before the
Chelsea man hits a fair drive that is comfortably saved by Mora in the Ecuadorian goal..
 

Hargreaves is playing right back instead of Carragher because he is more mobile and gets up and down the flanks easier and more regularly.. 

31- FK 25 yards out wide left for Ecaudor>Mendez> doesn’t clear Beckham….

33- Corner for
Ecuador>put out be Gerrard…
 

35- Beckham FK 32 yards out.central>great effort…2 metres wide… 

37- YELLOW for Tenorio for pummelling Terry, more the result of many niggling fouls than one savage one. 

The mexican wave dies a sudden death when it reaches the gnarly english gurners… 

42- Espinoza falls to the ground and his arm stop the ball when Rooney would have been in on goal….not seen by the ref, or ignored. 

44- brave block from Hargreaves leaves him lying in a heap of pain and suffering after Delgado’s boot hit him firmly on the thigh… 

Another ECU corner..Hargreaves is back… 

HT 

Far from entertaining, this has been a war of attrition for both teams…The midfield of Gerrard, Lampard and Carrick is stifling the Ecuadorians. Joe Cole is proving typically mischeivous and forcing Valencia to defend instead of charging forward and crossing into the box…Rooney has shown glimpses of quality but nothing to shout about as of yet. The onl real chance came from Terry’s misjudged header which put Tenorio in one o one with Robinson who wasn’t anywhere near the shot, but thankfully A. Cole was, and it as his boots flying through the air that saved a definite goal, pushing Tenorio’s shot onto the bar. Eriksson must decide how long to persevere with this 5 in midfield. I am sure that Rooney needs Crouch. 

We must stop been so concerned with the Ecuadorians and start focussing on playing to our own strengths… 

2T46- Riaso stamps on Gerrard’s foot, but the ref gives nothing….

55- corner ECA >poor delivery. 

‘Beckham should come off’ the commentator keeps repeating…. 

59- FK 30 yards out left of centre Beckham>>BECKHAM scores.GOAL 1-0 england…fuck all you haters….what a free kick…..brilliant…perfect strike, he found those few inches between Mora’s hand and the post….Captain Courageous leading by example..that is how the Pros do it…Ole ole fuck off
Ecuador..!!……’
the crowd sing jubiliantly…
‘your’e not singing any fucking more’ ……chants Erikson enthusiastically from the English bench… 

63- Lampard tries a snap shot from 20 yards, the ball fizzes past the post.. 

66- Valencia shoots hard from 20 yards out, Robinson saves well..corner>keeper’s ball. 

67- De la Cruz BOOKED for handball… 

69- Tenorio wins a free kick by falling to the floor before Hargreaves even reaches him Lara the little devil comes on for
Ecuador…E.Tenorio makes way. SUB
 

Rooney needs support,,, 

72- Kaviedes on for Tenorio 

73- Rooney does brilliantly then sets up Lampard whose shot flies high and wide..Lampard’s shooting has been terrible in these finals.. 

Since the goal,
England have been very comfortable and should have scored again.
 

77- SUB ENG J Cole off for Carragher…Carragher goes to right back and Hargreaves joins Carrick in the centre of midfield… 

78- YELLOW Robinson,,,time-wasting.. 

‘Fuck off’ Rooney growls…….when he loses the race to keep a misplaced pass in the field of play. 

82- YELLOW for Carragher time easting.. 

84- Robinson throws the ball out of play so he can receives medical attention for an injury… 

87- Lennon replaces Beckham…terry is captain. 

92- Gerrard SUBBED for Downing… 

FT

in no way a classic. We are winning matches but certainly not acquiring any new admirers. The press are going to focus on the lacklustre, un-cohesive, static nature of the performance but all I can see is a quarterfinal place…Rooney battled away like a Pro for the full match, showing some nice touches and importantly building up his fitness…we remain, in with a shout, but obviously much is going to depend on our star striker when we come up against a team of real class like the Argies or Italy……

Other result:

Portugal 1-0 Holland. (four players were sent off, the winning goal was scored by Maniche. Deco is amongst a posse of portugese players who will miss the showdown with England…