Archive for the 'world cup 06' Category

World Cup 4: Argentinians are bastards

Saturday 1 July (2006)

I’m not going to procrastinate or sulk about England’s completely unfair exit to Portugal today. All I’m going to say is this: Argentinian referees should not be allowed to officiate England matches. I mean Jeez, it couldn’t have been much worse if the guy had been German, the cheating bastard. Boo!

World Cup 3: England, USA, predictions

Friday 23 June (2006)

Well well well. Some things never change, do they? England failed yet again to beat Sweden, and the USA didn’t do very well in the World Cup.

That’s a bit simplified – the USA aren’t a bad team by any stretch of the imagination (fifth in FIFA world rankings) and they always seem to me like a very ‘honest’ team. That is to say, unlike the Europeans and the South Americans who have mastered the art of bungee jumping whenever a defender even glances at them, or the Africans who are still trying to get their heads around the whole non-contact business, the Americans play the game by the rules. If they foul, they foul, but they don’t try and cheat other teams out of free kicks or anything. Unfortunately, this didn’t help them against Ghana, but from England’s standpoint it’s probably a good thing that the US didn’t qualify.

And speaking of England… hmmm. Tuesday was probably our best performance so far, but it was the same old story – alright, but just not enough. Joe Cole’s goal was an outstanding surprise which brought the pub to its feet for a good five minutes, but our sloppy defending in the second half allowed Sweden to equalise. I mean, there was no one marking Allback. Anyway, good old Steven Gerrard, England’s best midfielder, came on and scored a header to take us back into the lead. And then, just to add another two years to that 1968 challenge, Sweden denied us a win in the final minute with another ridiculous goal. England, you may have won your group, but you will need to up the pace against Ecuador.

And! I just remembered. There were some spooky predictions in this match… firstly, five minutes in Sally said that she thought Joe Cole was going to have a big part in any goals England might be scoring soon – he did. Then later on she said she thought that someone would score in the 85th minute… and Gerrard did. Weird! And slightly less amazingly, at the half time point I predicted that the score would be 2-2.

And as I type it’s nil-nil in both group H matches. I made a prediction of the world cup outcome from now on yesterday, and I’ve already had to amend it after Australia clawed their way back against Croatia, who I thought were pretty much guaranteed to finish second. Oh well. Here it is (subject to change…)

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World Cup 2: England 2 – 0 Trinidad & Tobago

Thursday 15 June (2006)

Hmmm. This match struck me as the England of old – well, at least a decade old, anyway. We played well and dominated the match, but we couldn't fucking score to save our life.

At the moment we have a fantastic defensive midfield, and when they're in the mood they're also a fantastic attacking midfield. Today was a 'not in the mood' day, as both Gerrard (my personal favourite England player) and Lampard seemed to forget the first thing they learned about outside-of-the-box shots and leaned back whenever they had a strike. Result? They skied it every time. Joe Cole was playing slightly better, but he always held the ball for a fraction of a second too long before hitting it. Result? The ball was charged down every time. And as for Beckham… well, Beckham is too greedy. I remember when he played for Preston North End; he was a team player and wouldn't do something stupid like jeopardising a potential good cross with an ill advised shot on goal.

Regardless of our midfield's antics, our defence is pretty much the best in the world. Whilst they didn't look like it today, John Terry redeemed every mistake with one of the most awesome goalmouth clearances I've ever seen. The man deserves a medal.

Crouch was playing crap all match (he missed at least one great chance) but he eventually redeemed himself when he realised he was a foot taller than all of the Caribbean defenders around him, and headed in a great goal. Superman Gerrard then followed up with a fantastic shot from range, and England were suddenly through to the second round to potentially face a very-much on-form Ecuadorian side.

What does this all mean? Well, England aren't playing like the second seed at the moment, and they've not come up against a decent team yet either. Luckily we're spared a match against any of the top seven in round two thanks to our performance in 2002, but that won't spare us for long. That said, England do seem to play better against good teams, so maybe all hope is not lost. We just need to remember how we can play.

World Cup 1: England 1 – 0 Paraguay

Saturday 10 June (2006)

Well, England’s first game of the World Cup is over, and what a washout. We started out great with a nice goal by Beckham – except, we didn’t. I really thought it went straight in until the third replay, where I realised (like everyone else before me) that it was an own goal. England’s good fortune was augmented by Paraguay’s terrible luck – five minutes into their campaign they’d scored an own goal and lost their first-choice keeper to injury.

I know England, and I know they play better against teams that are ‘harder’ to beat, so I’m not too worried yet – and a win is a win. Nevertheless, Gerrard didn’t play as well as he is capable of, and no-one in fact impressed me. Time will tell here, but we’re seeded second for the tournament so we should be capable of some magic.