World Cup – Tuesday 22nd June

Reasons To Be Cheerful

On the eve of Englands (latest) crunch match I have a good feeling about it. Groundless optimism? Not so – as I explain in View From The Sofa below.

Elsewhere Groups A and B are decided. Through go Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico and South Korea. Meanwhile office bins across the country will tomorrow be full of bits of paper with the words South Africa, France, Greece and Nigeria written on them. Anyone for a Wimbledon sweepstake?

Results – Tuesday 22nd June

  Group A : France 1 – 2 South Africa
  Group A: Mexico 0 – 1 Uruguay
  Group B: Greece 0 – 2 Argentina
  Group B: Nigeria 2 – 2 South Korea
Spotlight on France
 There can be no doubt that the World Cup has been a disaster for France. They were poor in qualifying, they cheated Ireland out of a finals place with that well publicised hand ball and are going home early with just one point from their three group games. If anything their off the pitch antics have been even worse with players threatening to strike, the manager a figure of ridicule and Nicolas Anelka sent home early. Marcel, speaking as a typical Frenchman dans la rue how do you feel about the state of French football?

. . . . .

 I’ll take that to mean you’re speechless

Fixtures – Wednesday 23rd June

  Group C: England vs Slovenia
  Group C: USA vs Algeria
  Group D: Ghana vs Germany
  Group D: Serbia vs Australia
Gazza’s Daily Football Factoids
 Sheep outnumber people in Australia 6 to 1, yet none feature in the 2010 world cup squad.
Mystic Ron’s World Cup Horoscope
Mystic Ron There are some huge ties today and today I’m going engage the ancient art of “spin the bottle” to predict the future. Ghana and Germany …. Germany to win. Serbia and Australia ….. Serbia to win. USA against Algeria is … USA. That’s your lot punters.

I’m just teasing! You want to know about England vs Slovenia. Here goes … Oh blimey, the bottle fell off the table and broke! Let’s say England then. I hope there aren’t any bits of glass in my plate of chocolate bourbons…

View from the sofa

As you know England have suffered the usual setbacks on and off the field since they arrived in South Africa and at times the doom and gloom has been overwhelming. On the eve of our final group match it’s time to find some positives, so here we go…

  • If England beat Slovenia they will qualify for the second round.
  • Fabio Capello says there are no rifts in the squad.
  • Tohn Terry backs the manager. We must have imagined his previous interview.
  • France are going home with squad problems that make the England camp look like the Waltons.
  • Plenty of other major teams may be going home this week.

…and your final reason to be cheerful…

Update from the Scotland camp with Kenny Dogleash:

 Things are quiet today as the squad continue to recuperate from last seasons domestic rigours. Some of the lads have gone on holiday to Benidorm. Others are playing a lot of X-box and watching the World Cup on TV. Of course it’s not all relaxation – there’s also an eye on pre-season training. The boys each have personal plans to hit the Glasgow night clubs, drink until they can barely walk and wind up at the kebab shop. It’s the Scottish way.

Are you feeling better about things? In a dog-eat-dog world the important thing is that there is always somebody worse off than you. Unless your name is Yakubu that is. If you haven’t seen his miss click here and prepare to suspend your disbelief. Forget miss of this World Cup, this must rate as the worst miss in any world cup ever. Enjoy!

World Cup – Thursday 17th June

That’s why they call it Les Blues

We have now seen every team. Most of the opening matches have been cagey but now teams have to start getting results and that can only mean desperate measures. The last resort – they are going to have to actually play some football…

Results – Wednesday 16th June

  Group H: Honduras 0 – 1 Chile
  Group H: Spain 0 – 1 Switzerland
  Group A: South Africa 0 – 3 Uruguay

Results – Thursday 17th June

  Group B: Argentina 4 – 1 South Korea
  Group B: Greece 2 – 1 Nigeria
  Group A: France 0 – 2 Mexico

Fixtures – Friday 18th June

  Group D: Germany vs Serbia
  Group C: Slovenia vs USA
  Group C: England vs Algeria
Gazza’s Daily Football Factoids
 England’s Glen Johnson was arrested in B&Q for stealing a toilet seat along with Ben May of Millwall.
Mystic Ron’s World Cup Horoscope
Mystic Ron Can Germany continue their fine start to the world cup? Ja, naturlich! The force is strong in this one and they will deal with Serbia with little problem. The US face Slovenia and will be on a high after their draw with England. They will have to settle for a draw however as Slovenia will be feeling stubborn. The big one – England against Algeria? It won’t be a walkover but Fabios men are on a biorhythmic upturn and will win! Hooray!
Pre Match Comment
Today will go down as the day France imploded. We knew there were deep rifts within the squad and management team and the question was when and not if France would come a cropper. Manager Raymond Domenech knows that even a win in their final group game to secure qualification may well not be enough to secure his tenure beyond the world cup.

After their sticky start all eyes are on England and they are expected to improve. There’s a belief within the camp and it would be no surprise to see a more attacking formation to face the Algerians. There’s no doubt that the surprise defeats inflicted against Spain and France will have taken the spotlight off the England players. Let’s see how that translates to performances on the pitch.

View from the sofa

Apologies for the lack of a post yesterday but life rudely intervened. Three fascinating games took place that really shook the competition up. First the Chile team won their game with a confident attacking verve that has marked them out from most other teams so far with their conservative performances. The final match of the first round of games saw the shock of the tournament with average Switzerland stunning joint favourites Brazil with a 1 – 0 victory. That result came from nowhere and we won’t know till the next game whether it was just an off day for Spain. The evening match saw hosts South Africa sensationally thrashed 3 – 0 by Uruguay. They were as poor as Uruguay were good and their participation beyond the group stages looks to be highly doubtful

Today served up more drama – things are certainly hotting up. Argentina followed up their dominant but narrow vistory against a useful looking Nigeria with a 4 – 1 defeat against a resilient South Korea. There’s no mistake that this team are genuine contenders – at least until manager Maradona screws it up. The appalling Greeks remained appalling but somehow contrived to beat Nigeria largely due to a sending off. They remain crap however. Yet more drama in the evening when France’s anticipated capitulation finally materialised. A dreadful performance saw them dispatched by Mexico and they are clinging onto hopes of qualification, although this would only prolong the inevitable.

It’s England tomorrow and suddenly our belittled victory over Mexico in a recent friendly is looking more impressive. I’m confident that our formation and performance will improve and – unless we are very unlucky – this should be enough to give us a much needed win against Algeria.

Anyway, this world cup thing. Is it worth it? FIFA have insisted that the Jules Rimet trophy is made of solid gold but Martyn Poliakoff of Nottingham University has calculated that this cannot be the case because the weight would prevent players from easily lifting it.

His contention is that it must be hollow. I feel that his theory is only half formed. The logical extension of his assertion is that it is not only hollow but made of chocolate and contains a toy. How great would that be – if the winning team hoisted the trophy, then sat circled on the pitch ripping off golden foil and breaking chunks of chocolate off. We can all dream…