World Cup – Saturday 26th June

Africa Dreams On

I’m back after taking a small breather for more public house duties. On Friday Spain squeaked through along with mightily impressive Chile to complete the group stage escapees. Today saw the first two teams qualify for the quarter finals. It’s starting to get serious…

Results – Saturday 26th June

  Round 2 Uruguay 2 – 1 South Korea
    USA 1 – 2 Ghana
Post Match Review
 Today brought forth our first two quarter finalists. Uruguay confirmed their pedigree with a win over toothless South Korea. It was a closely fought game for the most part but unlike the Koreans the South Americans had quality up front, and that is why they won out in the end.

The evening fixture saw Ghana knock out USA. From a neutrals perspective it has to be good news to see the sole remaining African side progress. They have some talented players including the impressive Gyan up front and they could potentially get to the semi-finals, but I don’t feel they are good enough to get to the final.

There was a good performance too from John Pantsil who plays for my old club Fulham. Of course there were no Africans back in my day – just local boys from the west end. Sometimes we would warm up in the park next to Craven Cottage using jumpers for goalposts. Then we had time for quick pint with the fans before kick off. Happy days!

Fixtures – Sunday 27th June

  Round 2 England vs Germany
    Argentina vs Mexico
Gazza’s Daily Football Factoids
 Germans have a reputation for having no sense of humour but scientists at the Max Plank institute have proved this to be incorrect. Professor Heinz Wolf and his research team discovered that David Hasslehoff has carved out a successful pop career in Germany proving beyond all doubt that Fritz is up for fun after all.
Mystic Ron’s World Cup Horoscope
Mystic Ron Hello again footy friends! I don’t know about you but I love the tennis and today I’ve been glued to Wimbledon as well as the world cup. There’s just too much to watch and I barely have time to walk my incontinent fat poodle!
On the plus side there’s only 2 games each day now requiring my psychic attentions, so let’s start with THE BIG ONE!

England and Germany – hmmm. How do we decide? It’s a toss up isn’t it. Well let’s have a toss then! Heads England, tails Germany… and it’s HEADS – England to win! What’s more the coin tells me that the winning goal will come from a header scored by The Queen.

It’s those Falkland thieving Argentinians later against Mexico. What does my psychic coin have to say about that one! Blast – the Argies to win that one.

What an exciting day we have ahead. Is there any other way to prepare than with a few Fox’s Party Rings?

Pre Match Comment
There is a general concensus that six teams have a statistically reasonable chance of winning: Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Holland, England or Germany. England’s match tomorrow is the first big clash involving two of these teams. All of the talk going into the game seems to be about previous encounters but that really does count for nothing.

Nobody can predict the outcome with confidence because it is too close to call. I would go as far as saying that England have more experience and more potential match winners while Germany have more youth and innate confidence. In a game of small margins it could come down to a moment of brilliance or a mistake. If both teams play to their potential I would give England the edge but when does that happen?

View from the sofa

Now that we are into the knock-out stages here is a quick review of the group stages. There were 48 games of which 34 resulted in a win and 14 were drawn. A total of 101 goals were scored at an average of 2 goals per game.

Here are my top 10 headlines from the group stages:

  • 1998 cup holders France knocked out
  • Reigning 2006 champions Italy finish bottom of their group
  • Portugal hit North Korea for 7
  • New Zealand depart undefeated
  • Rob Green’s blunder gifts USA a point
  • Yakubu is guilty of the miss of the tournament
  • Maradona reassures the world he is not gay in a press conference
  • Ghana are the sole African qualifier
  • Vuvuzelas would be a talking point if you could hear yourself talk
  • Sven Goran-Eriksson paid £2M to manage Ivory Coast for three games

Finally, here’s a quick look at the 16 qualifying teams in terms of their FIFA world rankings and country populations. There’s a few interesting statistics here.

Order (million)
Brazil 1 2 184
Spain 2 8 40
Portugal 3 13 11
Holland 4 11 16
Germany 5 5 83
Argentina 6 9 39
England 7 6 51
USA 14 1 293
Uruguay 16 16 3
Mexico 17 4 104
Chile 18 12 16
Paraguay 31 14 6
Ghana 32 10 21
Solvakia 34 15 21
Japan 45 3 127
South Korea 47 4 49

Interesting that the United States and Uruguay have similar world rankings yet the US have 100 times the population. Furthermore Uruguay are through to the quarter finals and USA went out tonight. Statistics – what do they mean?

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