Day 3…

Day three

Serbia v Dutch
Both teams undefeated in qualifying…Recent Dutch friendly against Aussies showed attacking flair and purpose but fragile defence, though Van de Sar is still world class. Van Nistelroy will be dangerous as ever with
Chelsea’s Arjen Robben, whose former team-mate, Mr Kezman, is the main chance of a goal for the Serbs. Slav defence is rock solid.(conceded 1 during qualifying)…
Holland have been touted as troublesome. Stankovic, of Inter, has the ability to make things happen.
‘finding the key to the Serbian door is often very difficult’ martin
Prediction ….Dutch 2-1 Serbia

warm, but light breeze
slow start.
Serbs sitting back as expected…

brazil of the Balkans’?
Back on the vodka..saving dinner till 1pm break…
Quiet here without the lady. The voice on the box and the sound of these keys, only sings of activity.

10- free kick from range. Serbs
12- Robben flopped to the ground, FK close to 18 yard area. Dutch left. No joy
13- Georgovic does well down Serb left, cuts in, squares ball but Kezman and Milosevic collide…
I can’t help thinking of Mladic, And karadizc…Those bastards need to be got….politics and football don’t mix..In the upcoming European championship qualifiers will there be separate Serbia and
Montenegro teams…
15-Stankovic sets up Milosevic, whose shot is accurate but embarrassingly weak. He should be subbed immediately.
17GOAL..Robben finishes with aplomb after one on one with keeper, made by lovely through ball from Van Persie. Class Goal, Robben acceleration phenomenal. Serbian fortress breached!
Holland lead 1-0.

22- ball falls to Robben. 30 yards out, shapes up for shot that stings keepers hands. Poor Serb. midfield. Allowing Dutch players to run through.

23- Van Persie knocks ref to the ground…
Savo Milosevic is a lost soul trying to get home.

As a fan, when I read about teams I remember their strengths more than their weaknesses. The positive points seem to be easy to absorbed much more easily and readily than the negative.
It is easy and enjoyable to allow oneself to get carried away with football hype, with hype of any kind I suppose.

Milosevic manages a half-decent shot from a distance which is never going to trouble Elf man Van De Sar
33- Van Basten sponging his face dry of sweat and urine. Serbian fans above his dugout are so transfixed by events on the pitch that they refused to even entertain the notion of making the trip to the public toilets deep within the Cologne catacombs…

Holland and Ivory kits are identical orange. Away colours???
37- Robben cuts in from left, shoots inches wide with right boot.(left is his main weapon)

Robben is the main difference. A real handful. Great control, pace combined with quality on the ball is always useful.

Van bommel ‘left one or two in a heap during his career’ Kezman latest to add to that list.
Carefully applied aggression.
Vodka coke, 50:50 or 60:40
memories of smoke filled student union bar in Manchester, on king st, with stench of alcohol permeating every orifice….

Van Bommell a giant.
43- SUB Koroman on for Djordjevic. more attacking.
Intention is for ultra important just before whistle morale boosting equaliser.

Very slow pace to the game.
47- chance for Koroman after knockdown, just outside area, by Milosevic.

Robben has been the main difference between the teams. Not really that much to shout about. Slow, pedestrian pace to the match, with most of the Dutch play hinging on Robben's pace and dribbling exploits. Van Nistelory is working hard though hasn’t seen a sight of goal as of yet. Not many clear cut opportunities. Serbs need to commit men forward which should open the game up nicely, from a neutral point of view. Robben is the best player on the pitch.
67% possession in first half for holland.

Zigic on for, essentially, use-less Milosevic,. 2metres 2cm…

Relentless repetitive baseline from upstairs uncivil scum,. Nothing but noise since they moved in two weeks ago…I am not planning on being here long enough to warrant starting a feud, with some still unseen foes who party, on a nightly basis, only metres from my thumping-almost in time to the beats- head….

50- Robben diving
what will become of this fan destined for a month of self-imposed football arrest…I need fuel.1207am.pungent but welcome aroma of garlic wafting on the draught imposed by the open kitchen window…

Serbs need to pick up the pace. This is the world cup after all, not a leisurely kick about down the park on a sunny weekend afternoon. The Balkan barbarians seem bereft of ideas, creativity.

56- Yellow for Van Bronkhurst…
The Kaiser, Beckenbauer, is in attendance.

Kezman penalized for high kick,,,,turns to the ref and asks ‘why’…’your foot as too close to your opponents head’ I reply on behalf of the ref…

Garlic bread-1218am
Almost as nice as a kebab when I am drunk.

65- Scrappy handball allegations after Kezman cross innocently smacks into XXX shoulder. No pen…
…But free kick won, which Stankovic puts high and wide.( He switched the tv off in disgust when he saw his country’s group take form….)

My body, hungry for energy giving sustenance…will need to buy more garlic bread and garlic cloves to see me through this campaign for total coverage…

67- Ljuboja for Kezman. SUB
69 SUB Deadly Dirk Kuyt replaces subdued Van Nistelroy..
71- Koroman, for the Serbs, drives in from the right to force a save out of VD Sar. Who now has cramp…
Stretcher comes on then leaves, no need…who called those guys??for cramp?for fucks sake….

I always dress kinda strange on a Sunday as it is then when I make my weekly trip to the laundrette, washing every item of clothing I wear, save the odd combination that I don for the said trip…Blue chequered shirt, covering DKNY charity job office shirt, black, cheap black office trousers..socks are regularly odd. No change there….spiffy.

78- first chance for Robben of second half, makes room for shot from edge of area, but metres to left of goal.

81- Yellow for Serb left back after Van Persie checks back onside then wins run to through ball.
FK=Van Persie on left boot. Workable angle…inches wide of goal,, just needed a touch.

Easily the most spiritless match so far.

85 yellow for (HOL)Heitenger. Time-wasting

No sex for five days. Biggest gap since she arrived back in October. Ominous, despite the football.

90- Robben run curtailed by Gavranjic, YELLOW .FK. 20 yards out…

Poor game. Both teams lacking talent, determination and class. Only Robben’s first half performance worth noting. The Serbs were too concerned with conceding a second goal when they should have focussed their attentions on finding the equaliser. Comfortable victory for the Dutch, but on this performance, I doubt that either of these teams will make a meaningful, long-lasting journey towards the final….

Iran v Mexico
Ali daye 109/147 international goals. 37 yr old.
Three of starting Iranian eleven play their club football in Germany. Home advantage/comfort.
Mexico have a lot of quality. Talented GK Sanchez had to rush home for funeral of father who died last week from a heart attack-, Jared Borgetti 14goals in 14 games
Marquez ,defender of Barca fame. Mexico- semifinals last years confederation cup, beat brazil on the way.
Ali Karimi- 'the Asian maradona'..
Mexico. hands held horizontally above heart…..anthem left hand behind ,tight2back.pride.

Could go either way. Mexico have more experience and pedigree….Prediction-3-1 Mexico

Mexico players kissed flag and swore allegiance with president before departing for Germany…
Italian referee–Rossetti…
Huge gift from Iran captain to Marquez…4 ft painting…

Iran form, pre-tournament was very impressive.

Mexico coach, Suarez, looks dodgy, shifty .ill at ease..
Oswaldo Sanchez, prays to God. Brave, patriotic and obviously religious man, no doubt playing for his father.
Iran mean business.
3- Iran shot from distance. Worth a pop.
6- Marquez applauds refs decision after his inch perfect tackle dispossess Karim in the box.
Karimi is everywhere.
Five officials. 4th official is reserve ref. 5th official reserve for linesman.
Marquez slick like his hair.
11- lovely play down right, cross misses everyone, falls out to Karimi, who puts ball back in the box, this time at head height, great header by Hashenie saved by Sanchez. Wicked save,. Corner.
Right midfield Mahdavikia, Iran, looks very lively.
18 Yellow for Torrado(MEX). Silly kick to Iranian knee, right in front of ref. poor discipline.
Mirzapour, (resembles van Nistelroy)IR gk, mean looking bouncer.
28- Omar Bravo sweeps the ball in GOAL,,,free kick from deep right, headed down by Franco to the right boot of unmarked Bravo who was three yards from goal. good finish 1-0 Mexico. Iranian keeper had arms in the air, not near the ball, looking for a never to appear offside decision.
Possession 50/50 on 32'

36- GOAL- Golmohammadi cleans up from 4 yards after keeper saved header from corner…1-1good game. parity restored.
No stoppage time…
An even game with Iranians perhaps just shading it on attacking endeavour. Karimi has looked quality and his team-mates are full of spunk. Mexico are noticeably small, physically. Only the isolated Borgetti and Sanchez in goal are of an acceptable height, and his save midway through the first half, was world class. If I had to pick a winner, it would be Iran who I would speak about in more depth if I had any grasp of their names….skunk and second by second football reporting don’t mix as well as I had hoped.

SUB Perez and Zinha on MEX
(Franco and Torrado off)
48-disgustingly wide snapshot from Perez goes for a throw…
50- Borgetti injured–forced into early final substitution, big man takes decision to come off for Fonseca..hamstring…he was half-smiling. Borg.
55- Nekounam- booked for nonsense.
Marquez is playing in midfield now for Mexicans.
58-Marquez delightful backheel chip, then a one-two, bursts into box for diving header/or got smashed by defender into an motion that looked a little like a half-hearted diving header..
Great play from the Mexican captain.
Little Mexicans building up steam.
62 SUB -3goals in7. Excitable youngster, coming on for the main man for the big one versus Portugal.
67- Ali Daye close from close range header…
Strange sound of huge buzz saw, to urge players into action…
Uncompromising Reazai IRAN centre-back. Horrid face.
Iran now lacking ideas. Mainly defending.
76- terrible clearance by Iran keeper, although he didn’t have much time to deal with bad pass from defender, finds its way quickly to Bravo, after mistake by Rezai, and the Mexican cooly slots his second GOAL 2-1 Mexico

79- Zinho finishes flowing move that he himself had started, running into box after laying ball down right, then meeting the cross with a great header powered past keepers right. Its was a free header…very poor defending but lovely looking move and finish…GOAL 3-1.Mexico
81- IR SUB, Borhani for Nostrani.
Iranians dead and buried.

Old couple asleep in the crowd…
how can anyone sleep’?commentator asks
.maybe they’re dead’ I suggest, but he isn’t listening..

Good win for Mexico in the end though they were helped immensely by Iran’s defending. the Mexicans 2nd goal was a direct result of the farcical defending in the Iranian defence, and Zinho’s header which brought up 3-1, was completely unchallenged despite his run starting way outside the area. Without the skilfull Karimi, Iran found it difficult, near impossible ,to create any meaningful attacking moves with old man Ali Aldea proving a lonely figure up front for the whole second half. Marquez and Goalkeeper, Carlos impressed most for the Mexicans. A nice Mexican flurry late in the second half gave some shine to a pretty lightweight game which offered two scrappy goals and two gifted goals…To their credit, the central Americans made their own luck.
Man of the Match- Marquez, a perfect Captains display, unbeatable in defence, roaming all over the pitch and very efficient with the ball when asked to make things happen.
Mexico will no doubt get through this group, but they are too small to go all the way…they would do well against other midget outfits, South Korea and Japan. Should have put all the little guys in one group..

REF WATCH- the Italian had a high number of fouls to deal with and did his job very well. let the game flow by turning a blind eye to a few niggly tackles…made one mistake only. 8/10.

Angola v Portugal

Only African coach at world cup..Offered life long contract..8 of Angola team play club football in Portugal. Scolari has already won the world cup with Brazil and taken this Portugal team to a European championship final. He knows how to win..Angola haven’t been given a chance by any pundits, and who I am to disagree. On paper, this looks like an easy game for Portugal, but if the Africans can upset the latin rhythm through crook and hook, who knows what may happen…I am hoping for a spectacularly vicious show of strength from the Angolans. Many peoples favourites for the World cup itself, Portugal have a vast amount of talent but often lack solidarity. Their coach is quality, but can the players lessen their egos enough bring Scolari’s undoubted tactical experience to the field for group success, instead of personal gratification missions…Figo is old but still capable of match-winning moments of magic. C.ronaldo has an absurd amount of flair, but can’t use it at will. Akwa is the one to look out for in the Angolan line up, 37 goals in 76 games.
Scolari—movie star looks. Old man movie star.
Prediction 0-4 Portugal, but publicly I would prefer 3-2 for Angola, with half the Portugese team hospitalized after getting crunched under an Angolan stampede…

.1- Pauletta clean through and puts his left foot snapshot, just past the post…
4- Figo runs towards defender, gets past him with surprising speed, and sets up Pauletta who makes no mistake GOAL 1-0 Portugal.
The men in red look hungry for more goals..
8 disgraceful playacting from Ricardo, Portugese keeper, who didn’t notice his ‘injury’ until he caught the refs glance. This is why I never like the Portugese(football team, not pupulace as a whole), they are weak and often try to get other players sent off for nothing but their theatrics…
Both goalies are called Ricardo!
11- Akwa over-head kick, three yards off the ball…
Angolan defence can’t deal with players running at them with pace…Figo and Ronaldo will have fun.
15- ANG Ricardo charges out, drawing shot from Pauletta, who misses but follows through to boot the keeper in the chest/bollocks..quick on-field massage from mobile physio team.

Over-elaborate C Ronaldo.
Too busy looking for free kicks, should be watching play. Figo with hand in the air as ball ricochets past him…priority should be the ball…
20- Delgado pushes arrogant Simao to the floor but no whistle blown…good ref.
23- smart interplay between Simao and figo ends with shit shot…should have passed to Ronnie.
23- Matteus- unleashes wild pile-driver from 20 yards,,,worth a go- to lift the spirits-, but lacking accuracy.
25- Akwa overhead kick connects with ball, but way over. Good technique. He is getting there. Maybe third time lucky?
Three consecutive waves of Angolan pressure.
26-C Ronaldo booked for 50/50 challenge, studs showing, but so were those of his opponent. Unfair.
28 Yellow for Jamba. Body-checked the advance of C.Ronnie.
31- Akwa shot from right of box, nowhere near the goal. Impressive power.
Angola now more in the game than Portugal..but Figo and co. on the break, look capable of scoring every time they scream forward in numbers.
Figuerero ANG likes to shoot badly from distance.
35- Figo corner headed against the bar by Ronaldo..
End2end till Simao fluffs his shot. Poor finish to some frantic action.

37- Delgado pushes Ronaldo…who stands there, huffing and puffing, waiting for someone to put Right the blatant Wrong he has suffered.
Loko of Angola has pitiful hairstyle, how can that help his team? selfish.
43- Maranga ANG drive from 30 yards draws safe from Ricardo,
45- good work down right by Figo, ball worked to Ronaldo in middle, who shoots hard first time, great save from Ricardo.
47- Yellow for smiling buffoon Loko, puts his boot through Figo, then plays on as if nothing had happened…deserved booking.

Portugal have dominated proceedings, and in all honesty, could be 3-0 up by now. However, they haven’t taken all their chances and their opponents, the Angolans, have grown in stature since conceding the early goal. Mateaus and Akwa are making a nuisance of themselves in, and around the Portugese box, Del Galdo and Jamba have stood fiercely firm in defence and Goalkeeper Ricardo recovered well from a kick to the gulags to prove a dependable last line of resistance. The problems for Angola come whenever Figo or C.Ronaldo are given time and space with the ball at their feet. Both of those players can run with speed and trickery that has caused chaos when employed against the African rear-guard. Ronaldo shouldn’t have been booked. Tiago has been a solid performer, reminiscent of France’s Didier Deschamp. A useful ‘water-carrier’ if you are using Eric Cantona’s often-insulting but highly amusing dictionary…

England have asked FIFA if players can drink water during games….

45- Akwa shoots from kick-0ff.pouring valuable football water down the drain…
The longer this stays 1-0 the more confident the Angolans will grow and the more worried the Portugese will become.
52- Macanga clatters Figo,,,
53 Macanga booked for winning ball from Figo. Portugese revenge.
Kali makes constant quality slide tackles..his trademark.
58- Sharp turn and shot from Pauletta. doesn’t trouble keeper.
58- Pauletta wins ball in midfield, runs towards goal but end product is weak, well saved.
59- SUB Bigfoot Mantorras, of Benfica, for Akwa, Captain exchange…
60- SUB Ronaldo off for defensive Costinhia.
Why take off their most creative player? Scolari shutting up shop, Angolans building up momentum and power for assault…THE HUNT FOR AN EQUALISER INTENSIFIES..
62- Tiago is allowed to shoot…saved…too central.
Angola committing men forward…Portugal reluctant to counter with more than two or three bodies…
Strange shape to the game..
70- SUB Kalanga off for EDSON. Angolan winger
Kali takes no prisoners. Full throttle into every challenge.
72-(SUB) Mourinho favourite Maniche replaces Petit..
73- Figo changes boots.
79-Valene crumples Mantorras..Yellow. good decision

82- ex-Newcastle flop Hugo Viana takes the field at the cheap price of Tiago who callously spends an age walking to the touchline…helping those seconds tick away a bit faster..
Ronaldo longs to be more important.
92- Maniche forces save out of Ricardo with fine hit from 20 yards.

Despite Angolan enthusiasm, Portugal didn’t look like conceding and their attacking play, orchestrated mainly by Figo and Ronaldo, was of a consistently high quality. Valente, the left back gets up and down the flank well, Carvallho and his co-defenders seem competent though it was hard to tell their worth against such an ill-equipped Angolan attack…Portugal would have wanted more goals, but their manager will be happy with the performance and more importantly the three points gained, against a typically fiery African nation who, on reflection at a later date, could well turn out to be their hardest opponents in this group.

MOM- Kali, the Angolan centre back was a commanding presence through-out, and must have made at least five all or nothing tackles with a 100% success rate. He kept Pauletta quiet for most of the game. Would be enjoyable to see more of him.


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