Day Seven…

Ecuador v Costa Rica

Espinoza and Hurtado, together in the centre of defence are ruthlessly secure….Tenorio can be lively…good width..Delgado very tidy.

Rwandan ref

Costa Rica

3-5-2 Wanchope….want to come back to Europe..

Prediction 3-1 Ecuador. they are bigger, stronger and more determined..

4–4-2 for Ecuador against 3-5-2 of CR


poles watching anxiously..

2-first sign of Wanchope running at defence with cruel intentions…

4-Ecuador look more up for it,.

5- GOAL,,2nd goal of the finals for Tenorio, he gets on the end of a great ball in from Valencia ,powerful header, he was eager and hungry…1-0 Ecuador

10-Marin booked for crafty slice.Hurtado down..stretchered off!

13-Ecuador corner dominating the game..

17-Nice nutmeg from rising star Valencia…ECU

better work from CR but they cant get past a very strong, well organized Ecuador…

28-Yellow for CR Solis. nothing more than a little push

29-Saborio on for Fonseca CR early SUB

Gomez behind Wanchope and Saborio

CR more comfortable. Lion share of possession..

Medieval EC hack on Centeno by Riazco

35-dangerous position Fk wide left…25 yards..over

7-1 shots to EC

36-Hurtado recovers to win ball from Morales..

The kaiser is in the house…

41 Valencia cross almost goes in! keeper dos well to react..

42-best chance for header at far post but put over…

Castillo booked EC fr a tackle that didn’t even make contact..bad decision

46-again great play down right, Mendes crosses but Delgado fluffs it


Costa Rica have some nice ideas but Ecuador are fierce and particularly dangerous when attacking down the right wing.


49= CR looking more interested

53- Valencia good work again, his ball in is behind Delgado who turns and hooks a shot towards keeper.

KAVIEDES came on for CR SUB

54-GOAL Delgado, pushes Ecuador through to the second round with a powerful strike through the keeper..the big man shot from only a few yards off the near post…great goal..better keeper may have saved…2-0

56- SUB CR Gonzalez comes off for Hernandez LB for a attacking midfielder..

59-Mora denies Salis for the Costa Ricans, after he breaks through down right wing, cuts in, then has a pop..good work..

60=Mora booked for time wasting

refs are officiously cracking down on time wasting….

61- Valencia looks in torment….

Costa Rica have lots of the ball but haven’t been able to break down resolute Ecuador, who look extremely solid.

68- Espinoza annoyed to be subbed….he has had a great game.

70-first sign of Wanchope in the area with ball at his feet, but crowded out by defence..

72- Shot from range by CR by too little too late..

73-Valencia SUB CR for

77- calm game. Ecuador not looking like conceding…

79-Kaveides has a snapshot from just inside the box…should have done better..saved..

With Wanchope well marked, the costa Ricans have been completely toothless. Not lacking effort, but lacking class and strength..

86-Saborio for CR hits the bar from 18 yards, speculative effort….

GOAL..Mendes amazing cross…Kaveides finishes with style……it was a perfect ball delivered into the box

MOM-Espinoza/Hurtado- they made mince meat out of Wanchope’s dreams.

(Mendes on the right wing made countless opportunities for his team0mates with world class crossing throughout the match)

FT 3-0

Ecuador yet again looked very impressive. In fact I would say that they are looking like the most in form team at the finals..both games have seen them stay organized, efficient and dangerous for the whole ninety minutes..they don’t seem to have a major weakness, though if I am being necessarily picky, I would say that their free kicks were poor..

Costa Rica huffed and puffed but could blow the Ecuadorian house way.

Ecuador direct all their attacking play down the wings..

ENGLAND V Trinidad

We were stuffed in the searing 50C heat in our first game, against Paraguay. Rooney is available..two medical professors who flew out from UK checked Rooney, and then cleared him to play….Neville is injured but the rest of the squad is fighting fit..Rooney should play from the start in my opinion. best way for him to get sharp is to play against a shit team, which Trinidad are, despite their shock 0-0 draw with Sweden.

With the weather cooler, England should be excellent in the company of their West Indian opponents. Sancho and co performed miracles against the misfiring Swedes but England will prove way too strong, they damn well should!!if not heads must roll;  taken by the eager, rusting blades of the guillotine…


Rooney back much sooner than they had let the media conclude…

Anthem watch—

classy Hitler salute from Eriksson…

Trinidad– surrender.


Carragher in at right back for injured Neville, rest of team same as first game.

Rooney on bench.

Weather cool

jap ref.

4- early problem for A .Cole who had forgotten to tie up his boot laces.

6-Lampard has a go from 25 yards out, it bounces off keeper then Owen puts a shot wildly over the bar from 5 yards out….not much time but shit effort. It was good work from Crouch who made the chance.

Good to see Sancho flying the Gillingham flag…

11-England corner Beckham> stands deadly still. Good ball…

England more possession but passing is still off-colour..

15-Owen twists in between two players then delivers the ball safely into the arms of Hislop.

16-Joe cole down the left wing swings ball in , Crouch at far post stretches legs out, saved by Hislop. corner, Beckham>…>>To nobody…

18- Joe Cole through ball…Gerrard pulled back, YELLOW for Theobald…

Beckham freekick . 20 yards out, right of goal. straight into wall.

19-Beckham heads down to Gerrard who is chopped by Whitley, YELLOW.

FK Beckham>> same as last one..third time lucky???(re-take)crosses far post —-Crouch puts over..

Crowd sings ‘god save our queen’…..trying to stir the troops..

27- Gerrard shot charged down by Yorke, who goes down injured..Gerrard’s shot hit him in the balls…he is in a lot of pain…Yorke manages a smile as he hobbles off pouring water down his shorts…

Rooney on the sidelines…the spark is there waiting to ignite the tinderbox…

30- Yorke back on.(both balls intact)

31-Corner from left. Beckham>>lamentable.

32-Sancho almost caught out by Owen..Corner .Beckham>>>abysmal.

‘I may finish top scorer’ said Owen recently..there is confidence then there is Owen’s case the latter.

34-Long range drive from Lampard..2 metres wide.

36-first corner for TT>>Robinson misses with his leap and Stern John wastes the chance to score…too close for anything but horror.

Hardly seen Owen..long ball isn’t working against a determined, spirited defence. Owen is too small and weak to get the ball on his own. A real problem for the attack because if there is any physical confrontation he is bound to lose out…If/when Rooney appears, then I would like to see him playing off Crouchy.

40-‘For fucks sake’ mouths the usually polite Crouch in response for yet another foul been called solely due to his height.

41-Owen found on left side of goal near the line, by long Gerrard pass, he sets up lampard, but Owen’s hesitation before playing the pass put lampard off his stride, wasted….Owen out of sorts..bring him off and let Rooney play and delight…

Gerrard beginning to show trademark accurate long passing at pace.

43-Gerrard plays fabulous ball down right, Beckham picks it up, crosses to Crouch, free, unmarked in box, 6 yards, but the stickman hits it first time 15 yards wide…great chance. Awful, shocking miss…take them both off. Lets see Rooney and Walcott.

Owen/Crouch is the obvious weakness in an otherwise formidable and satisfactorily functioning team.

44-Beckham concedes corner to TT >>>Sancho threatening at far post but Terry clears to halfway line..

45- Terry –world class defending >ball off the line after shot deflected of Stern John and Ferdinand, after looping off the head of Lawrence who had jumped with Robinson.

Two very REAL scares for England now.

waiting for Rooney. its like we are treading water in a swimming race…..

England have done okay, but failed to create many meaningful goal-scoring chances. We should be a couple up, but saying that…TT could easily have taken the lead themselves if they had made more of one of their two guilt-ridden opportunities…


8 years since we scored a goal in the second half of a game at the finals….


Rooney warming up

47-Hislop booked for time wasting 4thbooking for TT

England lack inspiration.

Aaron Lennon warming up with Rooney on sidelines..

When Lampard and Gerrard don England shirts they don’t play as well as they do when wearing their club shirts. Rooney plays like a god in any shirt, or even in a full piece suit with clogs instead of boots.

55- Joe Cole plays a back heel down the left wing, which Ashley Cole crosses, Crouch brings down then kicks way over his head and the goal behind…

56-YELLOW for Cyd Gray who smashes Owen from behind…

Rooney getting instructions from Eriksson..

Freekick from Beckham lands on Owens head, but the ball then flies 2 feet wide of the post…

Here he comes….

Lets keep strikers on..4-3-3 or stay 4-4-2 and striker for striker?

Crowd roar louder than ever before…

Rooney’s lady is in the stands to watch the rascal raid and pillage..


the world shakes as everyone stamps the ground and cheers….

Carragher off for LENNON

3-4-3 Lennon wide right….

Defence-Beckham ,Ferd, terry, cole,

Midfield-Lennon, Gerrard, Lampard, Cole,

Attack- Crouch Rooney

61- FK-Beckham—wasted..

Half hour for Rooney to show the world who he is and what he has come here to do..

Excitement in my bones when Rooney got the ball…

England look a different team already.

Lennon: fast and skilful on right wing..

63-Rooney plays nice ball for Ashley cole..cross meets empty space…

16- 5shot count to England

64- YELLOWfor Lampard for scything down Sancho as he took ball out of defence. Dirty Lampard.

Rooney focussed…until he hugs Sancho giving in to the Trinidadian’s obvious magnetism.

England camped in the TT half now, resolute, brave defending.

69- Gerrard to Beckham who crosses…Crouch gets a firm contact but shot flies just over, Sancho did enough to put him off.

70-Glenn comes on for Jones. TRI SUB

73- FKfrom wide left, Beckham>>gives ball to TT who attack…brilliant block.

England move from defence back to attack seamlessly…

Ball comes out to Rooney….stopped by Yorke..

74-Yorke thigh/hand stops Lennon's tame cross…Corner..Lampard, in box, first time shot, wide..

75- SUB J.Cole for natural left footer-Downing.

76-Glenn on the counter, Ashley cole calling for handball..gets done by the speedy TT striker, but enough cover(Terry and Ferdinand) to allow Cole chance to recover and win ball ..

77-Lampard shoots on his left boot from 8 yards, accurate but straight at keeper.

78-Rio finds Lampard who shoots across goal and over line for GK…

80-Yorke FK finds John with back to goal, turns, shoots wide.

82-Beckham -good defending, sets Lennon away who wins corner..Beckham>>>

83……..dealt with(the corner).

84- At last Crouchy scores…….finally……///Beckham, of course, picks out the big lad near the far post..Crouch easily out-jumped Sancho, who didn’t show his Gillingham class by allowing the England frontman to score past SHaka..

Good goal..the delivery made it…GOAL 1-0ENgles.

Nice shot of Beckham hugging little brother Lennon…all smiles and warmth…

91- GOAL wicked strike from Stevie Gerrard’s LEFT boot…receives ball 30 yards out, shimmies past one player onto his left side, shapes up, then finds the top left side of the net..phenomenal hit.


92- Stern John scores with cheeky back-heel>> but offside!


The first half we controlled the game but had no end product; Owen was a flimsy presence who fluffed every chance he had to pass or shoot, Crouch winning the ball in the air-unsurprisingly given his 8ft frame- but generally lacking a nearby team-mate to bless with the chance to follow on the good work. Ten man Trinidad was enough to keep eleven Swedes at bay. But we see eleven Trinidadians can’t keep eleven Englishman subdued. Defence looked strong, and well organized though there was one or two fortuitous chances for the Trinidadians, though they weren’t conjured from incompetent defending. So many shots from the usually consistently amazing Gerrard and Lampard, were going embarrassingly wide…But..>>>>when Rooney and Lennon came on, early in the second half, England came to life very quickly. Beckham was able to play a holding right midfield role, which allowed a platform from which Lennon could launch himself energetically down the wing, and for Beckham himself to find more time and space to deliver his trademark cross-field passes that beg to be buried into the roof of the net…Rooney, when he did get the ball, looked wicked. Crouch’s welcome goal had been coming since the start of the first half, with Lampard the most wasteful culprit of England’s 16 shots for no goals (before crouch knocked in his header).. Beckham has played two, and created two goals. Gerrard showed what he does more regularly for Liverpool, using his generally unseen left foot with world class efficiency to score one of the most enjoyable to witness goals seen so far in the finals…

There were signs, after the Lennon/Rooney injection, that England were warming up…

Disappointing… but that seems a bit harsh when we have won two out of two games, scoring three goals and conceding I will have to say….encouraging signs and welcome back Rooney..

MOM-Dwight Yorke- defied the years to give his all for Trinidad, even after taking an agonizing blast to the balls from a well hit Gerrard shot in the first half….he did well to recover and lead the valiant effort to hold out the globally and justifiably despized Engles….

Swedes V Paraguay

swedes were shut out by a very resilient TT in their first game when many including myself expected them to destroy the west Indians..Larsson and Ibrahimovic, if they combine well, should cause havoc in the Paraguayan ranks and own goalscorer Gammara will have to be on the top of his game,,The giant Issakson is back in the stocks for the Swedes after recovering from the KO suffered in training before the first group match..Williamsen on the right of midfield was impressive against the Trinidadians, until he got crunched a few times..Kallstrom, the much talked about attacking midfielder is starting for Swedes..

Prediction::Sweden 3- 1 Paraguay


3-YELLOW for Caniza PAR for slice on Laarson in full flow..

5-Nunez gives away another dangerous FK.20 yards..central..

6 -FK>>Kallstrom hits it hard at wall..

9-Kallstrom drives a left footer, from range, towards the top corner, well saved by the enjoyable to type and pronounce…Bobadilla…

Sweden look very eager…

13-Willhamsen, tries from 30 yards out on the left, 3 metres wide….should have taken it on further..

14-Linderoth booked for Swedes..YELLOW

16-Ibra powers through left channel, into box, his cross beats keeper but rebounds off defender back into goalie's grateful hands…

22-Valdez doing well but needs support when he charges forward.

24- Swede coach looks like Vic Reeves (English comedienne)

28-Paraguay defenders not giving Swedish attackers time to think in the box…

33-chance for Laarson, in 6 yard box but he heads straight at Bobadilla.

35- Swedes had 60% possession but nothing to show for it

40 –Nunez breaks free down left for Paraguay, he cuts in then lashes ball across goal looking for Valdez who is a yard away from the cross….

41-Ibra in behind defence, but he slips over!!!!!!!!!should have at least tested the keeper…

43- careful build up play by Swedes results in corner…>>4 -1 swedes win on corners…

45 HT


lots of effort, but no real action.

Best chance fell to Ibra who lost his footing and fell over like a village drunk trying to make his way home after 20 pints of Carling Black Label…


Ibra SUB for Allback– Sweden

46- electrifying start for Paraguay, Valdez has a pop that ends up in side netting…

53-Ljunberg fouled just outside the box….great position for free kick…

FKLarsson, on target..good save Bobadilla!

59-Allback through on goal, lobs keeper, defender gets back to make brilliant block– puts ball out for corner…quality defending.

Allback booked for groping.

61FK 30 yards, central for swedes…

62Dos Santos SUB Paraguay. for Riveros

64- SUBPAR disappointing Roque santa Cruz for Lopez

68-Jonson comes on for Wilhelmsun SWE

74-Paredes YELLOW (PAR)for unsporting behaviour…

85-Barretto YELLOW (PAR).

Sweden are piling on the pressure, forcing the Paraguayan into some desperate tackling…

89 Elmander delivers a sumptuous cross to the far post where Allback chose wisely to head the ball back across the 6-yard box where livewire Freddi Ljunberg arrived in the nick of time to steer a clean header to brave Bobadilla's right and into the net…GOAL Swedes 1-0 

91- FT

Sweden, for all their dynamic, lively approach play, lack players capable of providing a real spark, a moment of magic. Ibrahimovic has been suffering from a groin strain and that has been apparent from his performances on the pitch. I expect the useful Allback will start with Larrson in the game against England. Defensively the scandinavians are sound, but in the final third they are puny. But I certainly don't want to beat them down only to see my words invalidated by a strong showing against me beloved Engles, so I will end this by confirming that the Swedes are effervescent and spirited.

Paraguay are all but out of the finals after this heart-breaking defeat. They had their chances but failed to capitalize when it mattered…

MOM: Ljunberg- 'cometh the hour, cometh the Ljunberg!' as they say in Stockholm.


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