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) 

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