England v Paraguay..
Pre-match hype-The England XI should be as it was a week ago when they demolished Jamaica 6-0. Gerrard has been passed fit to play and Eriksson can boast an almost full strength phalanx ready and willing to stomp the Paraguayans. Other than Brazil, there isn’t another country which endures comparable mass-football hysteria like England. The excitement that has been building for four years, is now coming to fruition, dreams will come crashing down to earth with a bang, nightmares will leap from the underworld wreaking havoc on the surface….The impact of Rooney’s inclusion in the English world cup squad, lifted every member of the team, in fact that news lifted many of us into a dreamworld where Rooney is now destined to win the world cup for England….Anyway, back to the ground level….The little thug’s presence in Germany has increased the hope of the players themselves. Despite his officially gruesome smile, the way Beckham, Gerrard, Terry and Lampard gloat over Rooney is perhaps like a big brother, also because they know that he is special, possessing talent beyond 99.99999% of mortals. But for now, in place of Wayne, will be the bean pole, Crouch, who has been growing on me the more that I have seen him play for England.
The ultra professional captain Gamarra and lively attacker, Valdez, will prove the biggest hurdles to an English victory…
Prediction-(I refuse to predict England games–kiss of death and all that nonsense)
Eriksson says ‘we must impose our tempo of play’
Roque santa Cruz, striker, fit to play(has dodgy knee)….pretty and talented good on floor and in air, so he says himself….
Sweeter than angels voices rendition of god save our ancient queen…England look a picture of excitable solidarity…Face watch—->-Robinson was easily the most determined singer…
Its been 40 ,slow to pass, years..come on lads….lets get this show on the road…Time to show the world what we can do….
Rooney warms up with players…beautiful sight for all English eyes.
Confusion from Beckham over the toss of coin by ref..
Hot weather suits Paraguayans.
Gamarra 180cm, marking crouch who is 198cm.
I can hardly contain myself,,,kick off you bastards….
England fans roaring with pride and admirable togetherness…always touches my heart to hear so many of my countrymen singing in unison…..
‘Rule Britannia..britannia rules the fucking waves’ good chant, but not so valid in this century.
‘Come on England, come on England’ that one is better..
3-beckham free kick—typical curling cross from wide deep left position..Oh no. I don’t believe it…It was my mate Gamarra who put it past his own keeper GOAL engles 1-0..what a start…I'll put that one down as a Beckham assist.
5th- great tackling to win ball back by Joe Cole…the two Coles down the left..
6th- is Villa the P keeper injured? needs attention from Physios. caused by defensive kick out.
7th- goal replay shows Gamarra gave Villa no chance. great header!
Eriksson is the mad scientist of the managers group…
Villa hobbles off, in tears, replaced by the taller but I expect less competent, Bobadilla. Nice name though, reminds me of Bubba Diop.
Is this luck for England???never before seen at a world cup…
9th-Bobadilla saves poor defensive header destined for the goal..!
11- Bobadilla penalised, gives indirect free-kick to beckham, inside area ..tee-up for Lampard..comes to nothing
19- great double challenge by Gerrard on Pederos, then Riveros…yellow, undeserved. He didn’t touch the player who went down.(tho the Pgyuan had to jump a yard in the air to avoid Stevie’s lunge)
22- Valdez chops Beckham from behind ,Yellow for Valdez.deserved.
ref is an former Colombian coke mogul
23-firm effort from range ,Lampard, well saved.
25-Paredes, who looks like he has a shiner, barges through Gerrard’s outstretched, vulnerable leg. Gerrard down.
27- eriksson, and myself, disgusted as lampard hits one first time 50 yards over the bar after good work by Crouch.
Paredes is a nasty fucker.
Crouch regularly penalized for nothing more than his height.
I wanna see that robot….someone play the tune..
31- Joe cole down injured after nice run and crunch. Off the pitch, have a drink, then back on.
England patiently attack.
37- Ashley cole mistimes a tackle and gives away free kick near touchline left of goal.
39- Beckham free-kick, similar spot from where first goal was born. Gerrard followup miles high and anything but handsome.
40-Ferdinand trailing hand slaps Valdez down…
43- good work from Cole gives Beckham a chance to shoot. just wide though well hit.
Ref is Mexican…
Untimely Crowd Rendition of ‘its coming home..’
45-crouch defending from the front…
48- Valdez makes room, good solid shot, not far wide. Paredes, finally, down injured…cheers erupt from my flat…
England, deservedly due to possession and endeavour, hold the lead at 1-0, but they have been by no means convincing as potential world-beaters. I think the Paraguayans, understandably, shut up shop after the terribly unlucky Gamarra opener. This didn’t help the game flow. As the half wore on, the south Americans came more and more into the game with Paredes and Valdez looking particularly up for it and dangerous. Crouch has done well, showing maximum effort and some nice touches to set up team-mates for shots from range. Owen has been completely anonymous, maybe we could see Walcott??The Paraguayans have a chance, but the English defence hasn’t looked at all shaky. I am happy that we are winning, but must state my hope for more invention in the final third, and importantly more goals….Beckham is fearsome from every set-piece. Best English player so far might well be Crouch.
We need to kill these Paraguayans off, before they get cocky and consider an equaliser…
Largely Gerrard and Lampard have stayed back.
Importantly, we look very solid.
Crouch also very useful in defensive situations. Is he tallest player at the world cup?
53- ‘drastically mishit’ free kick from Acuna.
56- Joe cole moves into attack, more central, and Downing replaces the ineffectual Owen and slots into left midfield.
57- 2nd foul throw for Paraguayans. poor at any professional level.
59- J.Cole wins ball, makes a fair strike, comfortably saved.
60- Bonnet cross causes concern of Robinson whose weak palm away set up Paredes who shot over but could have scored…
Worrying patterns are emerging.
62- first sign of Downing driving down the left flank…
63- Yellow for Crouch. Undeserved.
65- Robinson clears ball onto top of building! Ref needs ball..restarts with indirect free kick.
Paraguay playing much better, but still just the one real chance from Robinson’s parry.
66- Crouch fights for and wins ball. penalized by ref after Paredes writhes in agony. Bad decision. crouch won ball fairly.
70- A cole performs the third foul throw of the game..
71- Joe cole concedes free-kick despite his being sandwiched between two Paraguayans! amazing call by the ref.
73- wicked cross field pass from Beckham finds Downing who sets up Lampard..good shot well saved-corner.
South American way- mark player not ball. Wise methodology.
Rooney itching to get on the pitch…
79- Crowd give a big Mexican wave to the ref.
82- Hargreaves for Joe cole. Maybe Gerrard can go forward for final ten minutes of play.
88- Lampard half volley, clean hit, saved->corner.
94- Full time .England win 1-0.
Report-The early own goal from Paraguay Captain Carlos Gamarra was enough to give England 3 points in their opening Group B fixture. Crouch and Beckham were the only two above average performers for England, and while they never looked like conceding a goal(apart from one chance which came from a weak parry by Robinson) Eriksson will be a touch concerned about the lack of creativity in the final third. We didn’t look like world champions-elect but equally we didn’t look in any way weak…Conclusion for England: solid start, would have been nice to get more goals, but three points and a halfway step towards vital qualification for the second round. For the Paraguayans, Valdez was the most industrious player, closely followed by the evil Paredes who consistently fouled and won free-kicks….
Enough from England, and while no real need for concern, it is apparent that we need Rooney back on the field as soon as possible.
Ultimately disappointing, but three points on the board and I can’t complain. The group decider will be with Sweden.
(The searing 30C heat and accompanying sunshine will have played a culpable role in the lacklustre English performance. Still no excuse)
Sweden v Trinidad and Tobago
The swedes are set to destroy world-cup first timers, Trinidad, who will no doubt bring some flair and Carribean celebration to proceedings but who also obviously lack any recognizable talent. Stern John and Dwight Yorke in attack for T and T probably won’t trouble the Swedish back-line. The Scandinavians have a wealth of wonderful talent; Ibrahimovic, Laarson, Ljunberg, Kallstrom, many very attack-minded, energetic players who are desperate and capable of going a long way in this tournament. I expect Shaka Hislop to be as busy as a hooker in Wormwood scrubs with only one hour to ply her trade. Really the Swedes should crush this upbeat but class-less Trinidad team.
Times must be hard for Trinidad because Gillingham superstar, Brent Sanco, has made it into the starting XI…I think due to an injury to certified psychopath, Marvin Andrews. First choice keeper, Kelvin, pulled a muscle in the warm-up, resulting in tears of despair for the shot-stopper and Shaka Hislop’s inclusion, with only ten minutes notice to prepare himself mentally….
Sancho versus Laarson!! Frankie Dettori versus Mike Tyson.
Prediction- 3-0 to the blond lads…
2- consecutive corners won after Sancho slip, allows laarson to run..
3- Ibra double in goal for Swedes.
4- Sancho two footer takes out Ibra..Ljunberg chopped just outside area,,FK!
‘1st day at school for T and T’ taken by Laarson. hit hard and just wide.
Floating white shards of paper all over pitch.
Sweden dominant. A matter of when not if they can score, and probably, how many.
Ibra swapping flanks.
15- Valhelmsen brilliant skill, past two players then superbly halted by the studs of Avery John. Definite yellow!
18- Hislop slams Ljunberg, nice to see amicable, professional, handshake,
I am proud to see Sancho safely shielding the ball from Ibra..
31- Sancho diving header to make safe for a throw!
Samuel on left is very useful with the ball at his feet also blessed with the acceleration and hunting skills of a cheetah
33- best shot of the game- Edwards for T and T from 30 yards. Good effort.
38- quick movement from Ljunberg sets up Laarson for power header well wide. good technique though.
40- Valhelmsen stings Shaka’s bear paws from 15 yards.
42- Ibra brings the ball down with one touch, then powers shot in from the edge of box which Shaka scampers across his line to save well.
Even Edwards, TT right back getting forward to join in TT resurgence..or arrival.
The courageous Caribbeans have acquitted themselves better than the majority of the sporting press-including myself hahahah- have predicted. Sweden started the stronger and enjoyed the majority of the subsequent possession. Though, T and T looked perhaps as dangerous on the counter attack with left winger Samuel proving a handful for the Swedish right. Defending more like wolverines than international class defenders, Sancho and co, in the TT rearguard have stood often painfully firm in the face of the attempted and much publicized Swedish onslaught. You don’t often see players using diving headers to make the ball safe for a throw….So far, everything Sweden have done, the Trinidadians have matched, and dare I say, threatened to return with interest.
Best players on the pitch– Right midfielder, Valhelmsen for Sweden, looks to charge forward at every opportunity and has shown some nice touches, but as the first half wore on he was pegged back to deal with the explosive TT left midfield, Samuel. Sancho has been very strong, dealing with Ibrahimovic and Laarson with his own unique style of ‘use all the body as a defensive weapon’.Fantastic fighting spirit and approach from the Trinidad team and manager, notably, on their world cup debut.
Sweden- must do better.
Ominously, the oil in Ibra’s boots seemed to be reaching optimum working temperature just as the half time whistle brought a close to events on the pitch.
46- Two footed savage lunge from Avery John, crumples Valhelmsen (second time), collecting his second yellow and the world cup's first red….Oh dear. Great tackle! The Swede with the curious hairstyle is in a spot of pain, but looks like he will continue.
An incredibly difficult task for the TTs now.
I think that Trinidad were well prepared for the possibility of playing with ten men. Players very quickly slotted into position to cover the gaps. Good management skills displayed. Strong connexion betwen coach and players.
53- Samuel, off for Glen, attacker for defender.(TT)
The stadium is filled with a chorus of Carribean rhythm, their fans lifting the players to block out the Swedes….
I am warmed by the fratellity displayed between players who have shared a league, like Yorke and Ljunberg, little pat on th head for the swede after Yorke blocked his route to goal with a crafty elbow…
59- Lighting quick attack down right sees (TT) Cornell Glen hit frame of the goal after powering in shot from acute angle.
60- superb reflexes from Shaka deny Ibra from close range.
The game has come to life….
Half hour to hang on, or snatch victory…
Trinidad deserve something from this game.
62- Svensson off for , Allback. midfielder for striker. Three in attack for the Swedes now.
65- Ibra pounds his chest into back of mid-air Sancho who hits the deck in a heap, before slowly regaining composure..
66- TT Theobald for Whitley..
So much noise in stadium from both fans. A roar.
67- Stern John dive-bomb into Linderoth who falls awkwardly, the left leg twisting in its socket as the impact of his fall to the ground hits the body…
69- Linderoth off on a stretcher…
70- Yorke chatting in the ear of Allback,
Ibra hugs Lawrence.
‘Time to make friends’
74- Yellow for Yorke after he obstructed the free kick :time-wasting…
75- Shaka warned for time-wasting….luscious, dusky, nubile beauties bouncing up and down with joy and sexual invitation…
78- Double change for Swedes. Kallstrom for Linderoth…Jonson on for Welhalmson. Kallstrom has vibrant rep as an up and coming attacking midfielder.
80- Laarson threads ball through to Allback, but his shot is expertly parried by red hot Shaka, who is having an outstanding game.
Westin Indians deal with pressure much better than the Scandinavians. I don’t see it in their nature to worry.
82- world class tackle by Edwards halts Ljunberg 3 yards from goal…
Shots flying into the Trinidad area/..
83- Sancho clears from box, he is having game of his life.
88- Ibra goes for glory, turns sharply in box but blasts over.
90- Laarson runs across outside of area, marshalled well by two defenders, then lashes out to get a yellow. Nasty tackle. Deserved booking. And a good chance for ‘victim’ to waste more time while he ‘recovers’!! Off on a stretcher. looking like he enjoys the ride.
94 its all over..wild celebrations for the Trinidad players and fans, you would think they have just won the fucking final..
The biggest shock so far in the tournament, Sweden huffed and puffed, and had a whole 45 minutes to break down ten men, but they couldn’t. Because Trinidad were determined, passionate, bloodthirsty, entertaining and as their nickname suggests, soccer warriors. I got to take my hat off and say ‘you done wicked’ to the much maligned, (by me), Brent Sancho who played tremendously well in the heart of the Trinidad defence. Behind him, Shaka Hislop made several outstanding reflex saves. Both these players were only playing due to late injuries to Marvin Andrews and Kelvin Jack, which makes their individual performances all the more spectacular. Even with ten men, the soccer warriors looked equally, if not more, dangerous than their illustrious, much fancied, Scandinavian opponents.
Sweden didn’t play badly, but their link up play in attack was either piss-poor or thwarted by a highly spirited Trinidad rearguard.
The two tackles by Avery on Welhalmson were savage, but entertaining…
Well done Trinidad.
Ref watch- Singaporean fellow did well, dishing out yellows when Deserved. Linesman weren’t really called upon to make any controversial decisions. 8/10
Man of the match– Unbelievably, Brent Sancho, shared with Shaka Hislop.
Too tired to drink. 413am. The lady has left. In what feels like a mock-breakup, the only source of affection and love in my life has moved her sleeping venue to a workmates couch. Her 6.45am start to the day just will not be married to the gruelling world cup schedule. So there is no-one here with who I can share my shouts of irritation and squeals of pleasure.
I Need fuel…too late to sleep,,or maybe I grab a quick 45 mins? through experience, if I let my eyes close and my mind take over fully, the invitation to the dreamworld will become impossible to resist. Maybe because physically I am pretty inactive, almost …Jesus…the more intense this fatigue, the less able I become to reach into certain areas of my memory banks..My [i]ram is depleting….I can hear the keyholders of the dreamworld calling my name, in spine-chilling tones not fit for this waking world in which I must remain at least for another two hours…ARgies v the tough guys of the Ivory coast is coming right up…..[/i]
Argentina v Ivory Coast
Excited about this one despite feeling like sleep is a long lost memory…I have fancied the Argies as potential world cup winners, for most of the last two years. Ivory coast will offer a very stern physical examination of the Argie credentials…superstar Messi starts on the bench…So I guess we will have to make do with Crespo, Riquelme, Mascherano, Sorin and Saviola, for entertainment. What disappointment …HoHo! Premiership stars Toure and Drogba, line up for the Ivorians. The Argentine bench constitutes 2/3rd of a world class team…The starting XI is superb.
Prediction- Tight one to call. Hopefully, argies 2-1. Though 5-4 would be better and maybe enough to keep me awake….
And They’re away…
1st- FK after foul on saviola.
Chipped goalwards by Riquelme, neither good shot or cross..woefully wide and wasted.
3- early scare down argie left, Akali stride through ,crosses to Drogba who gets nothing meaningful on the ball.
The Toure brothers???Kolo’s elder brother plays in midfield.
6- Akai long range effort with power flashes wide..
IC have settled quickly. Looking confident.
End to end..Argies starting to play but ivory coast strong and very dangerous.
11- IC left back Boka loves to get forward small, skilful, fast.’the African Robert Carlos’
14- Riquelme deep corner, met on head by Ayala, hit post then into goalkeepers arms???calls that it went over line..one replay later– Looks like it his keepers hand then went over line before he grabbed it back into his arms..need more replays and different angles. Very tight. two more replays- ball hit keeper then post, then maybe over line, then back in keepers arms..
Blue haired Keita. Right wing IC.
20- Zacora surge into box wins corner..
Akali right wing now, swapped with blue hair.
The Argie keeper's kicking is immense, he finds Crespo miles up the field, nearly every time.
25-GOAL! Crespo in the right spot to score a scrappy but well taken goal, after Riquelme freekick from deep, caused momentary confusion in the IC defence…Lucky.1-0 argies.
Heinz and Drogba fight, then are ordered, by the ref, to makeup, but the hatred is there for all to see. Heinz is vociferous.
28- Saviola has a cross goal shot, well hit but inaccurate.
30- one/two between Kalou and Arkawi results in drive, saved. good chance. Flowing move.
32- Ayala makes unbelievable challenge to block Drogba, shooting only yards from goal…
Kalou looking lively. shot from 20 yard, first time, wayward.
35- Keita places header from two yards into grateful arms of Argie keeps after Drogba set it up on a plate…
Berdissio extremely solid, fast, good anticipation. Un-trickable.
Mascherano, increasingly dominant in front of Argie defence.
38- beautiful attacking play from Argies,,,,,,,Saviola puts deft, clinical touch on defence splitting through-ball made by Riquelme. Very fluid movement, loveliest goal I have seen so far 2-0 GOAL.(Crespo was offside, though apparently not interfering with play)
Maradona, still a magnet for the beautiful, surrounded by young nubile Latin types…A middle aged football god hippy,,off the coke, into the LSD and weed…
41- goal scorer Saviola petulantly booked for time wasting; obstructing IC free-kick
43- Riquelme audaciously shoots direct from corner..good effort.
Scoreline doesn’t tell the whole story. Ivory Coast have caused problems with explosive pace and power, and will remain likely to snatch at least a goal from this game. However, the Argies are playing with a mix of class and confidence which at times is intoxicating to watch. Only Rodriguez has been anonymous, Saviola, Crespo and especially Riquelme, have grown in stature since the early stages when IC ruffled the Argie feathers. Sorin has done well as has Mascherano in the anchor man role. Ayala made the finest challenge I have seen so far in the finals, when denying Drogba a probably goal. Kalou and blue haired Keita have impressed for the Ivorians, who are unfortunate to be 2-0 down at half time…It would be a delight to see Messi replace the off-colour Rodriguez. Great for me as a supporter, but terrible for the Ivorian defence….
Flashes of true brilliance from the Argies. Power play and brute force from the IC…
Both teams are playing open, attacking football. Most exciting match so far.
IC must attack like hounds from hell, right from the off….
602am- wholemeal bread, Philadelphia, fresh tomato.
48- Saviola pushes ball to the right for Gonzalez to steam through and blaze over.
49- two footed angry tackle, by Heinz, yellow card. He caught him.,missed ball. good decision. Go in two feet you gotta get ball first. Drogba limping. But pace is rarely his game.
Saviola growing in confidence and presence….
Riquelme extreme calm. More than confident. he knows.
Heinz and drogba re-acquainting..
54- K.Toure runs 30 yards for clean slide to stop Crespo latching onto Riquelme through ball.
56- SUB Kalou for Dindane, striker. 6 goals in 8 games, during qualifying.
Messi for last 30 or 20?
Argie keeper has been very reliable. Hard name to remember, let alone type repeatedly.
IC pressing, Argies keeping more players behind ball. Sorin constantly winning possession then finding riquelme…
Full control for blue and white ….comfortable..
61- Eboue booking for running through little saviola..
62- SUB Akale off for Kone..IC
64-SUB Palaccio(striker) the argentine, comes on for Crespo who has done well.
70- Drogba fouled in area, but stays on his feet, almost scores, then Kone fucks up the follow-up.
71- long range free kick, hits Drogba on the way, but pushes his shot just wide..
Maybe not the best time to bring Messi back into competitive action i.e. against an angry army of Africans…
76- Drogba dragged to ground by Sorin, just outside area.
SUB Gonzalez on for Saviola
77- Keita off for peroxide blonde, Kone..another Kone, that’s all we need!
79- Dindain intercepts some patient, possession by argies, gets into area but Heinz takes him and the ball out of play…great tackle.
Apart from Drogba, there doesn’t seem a IC player who can shoot with any semblance of accuracy.
81 YELLOW Gonzalez for chop.
82- Pressure down right, ball played across box, then back in to Drogba. hit first time left boot, quality finish. deserved. GOAL. 2-1 (24 goals in 33 games for Drogba)
84- Rodriguez goal disallowed for offside, Riquelme’s run and shot had caused parry from keeper.
MOM Burdisso or Drogba or Boka
91- Yellow for Drogba. For the opposite of time wasting, time hastening?
92- diminutive, experienced Pablo Aimar comes on for Riquelme…’the clown’
Madonna swinging a flag round……93–all over…
Argies win, deservedly, but only just, 2-1..I am buoyed by the accuracy of my predictive powers…one out of four so far, not counting the England game as I won’t look into their future, cos their future is directly linked to my future and I prefer to see my own madness unfold naturally…
650am bed time///