World Cup – Saturday 10th July

All Of Nothing

By my calculations there were 736 players at this years World Cup finals. Statistically that means 61 one of them will be a year older at the end of the tournament than the beginning. I suspect many more than this will feel that the World Cup has been going on for a year. Can we just have the final please?

Results – Saturday 10th July

  Third Place Germany 3 – 2 Uruguay
Post Match Review
 Everyone had been looking forward to this clash but I thought tonight I would let the fans do the talking. We have staunch German fan Fritz and Uruguayan supporter Carlos here to talk us through this exciting third place play-off match. The match was end-to-end with countless chances for both teams. Carlos, your team went a goal down but then fought back to take the lead. Did you think Uruguay were going to win at that point?

 I don’t know. I didn’t watch the game. I took the dog for a walk and when I got home I watched Uruguay’s Got Talent instead of the second half. Who won then?

 Urm, well Germany did. They showed real heart to come back after losing the lead to win. Fritz you must be very pleased with your teams performance.

 Ja, my neighbour told me we played very well. I was washing the car but he kept telling me the score.

 Well you both missed a great match. Forlan almost equalised at the end – it could all have been so different. It’s a shame you missed it.

So Carlos, who won Uruguay’s got talent then? Please tell me it wasn’t that singing Llama. That’s a complete load of rubbish but the audience seemed to love it last week.

Gazza’s Daily Football Factoids
 Did you know that most Spaniards are allergic to vegetables? While Columbus and Drake brought potatoes and exotic fruit back from their travels to new lands the Spanish explorers of the age sailed back to their King with ostrich steaks and turkey twizzlers.
Scientific Siegfried’s Rational Assessment Of Football Results
Scientific Siegfried Fussball’s komming home! Ze ladz done gut. Eine match left jetz – Spainland against Holland. For zis very komplicated prediktion I haff much thought over. Spain zey are ze favouties, no? Holland ze underhounds.

Hmmm. Tricky.

Ah – hier ist mein assessment. Ze vinners of the 2010 world mug vill be Holland! Ja – naturlich. Zey haff done just enough every time und Sontag zey vill do zis also. Die Grossen Frau sings soon!

Und dass ist alles. Mein predictive verk ist now over und I must return to ze Max Plank Institute where I am writing a paper on dust particles. Of course I couldn’t say auf wiedersehen without one last item of kuchen…

Vat else than Dutch Apfel Kuchen?

View from the sofa

What is the point? Really. After several weeks away from home two teams have narrowly failed to make the final just when they are dead beat and want to get on a plane they have to play one more match to ascertain which of them is the bigger loser. The players just want to go home and many of the supporters don’t really care.

OK, rant over. The good points.

  • The unlikely appearance at a match in South Africa between Germany and Uruguay of an England flag behind one goal with “Chesterfield” written on it.
  • The opportunity to debunk the ridiculous notion that an octopus can predict the result of a football match.
  • The sound of Suarez (the guy who cheated Ghana out of a win with his last minute hand ball) getting booed every time he was on the ball. This was the only time you could hear fans above the vuvuzelas.
  • Another chance for Joachim Lowe to show off his wardrobe. This time a fetching Mourinhoesque scarf.
  • The sight of two teams who, at last, play with free abandon because they have nothing to lose. Against all odds it turned out to be one of the most entertaining games of the tournament.

World Cup – Saturday 3rd July

Germany Calling

I recently mentioned how well the South American sides were doing compared to Europe and suggested Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay could make up the last four. This from the genious who swapped David Villa into his fantasy world cup squad tonight but contrived not to put him in the team (he scored). Needless to say, my blog is not a betting service…

Results – Friday 2nd July

Germany 4 – 0 Argentina
    Spain 1 – 0 Paraguay
Post Match Review
 If ever a game flattered to deceive. Nobody gave Paraguay a chance in this encounter and who didn’t expect Spain to win comfortably. What we got was a curates egg of a game with long periods of inaction interspersed with short bursts of drama.

Spain dominated the first half without testing the keeper while Paraguay had the ball in the net but were unfortunate to see the offside flag. The second half opened up a little and Paraguay were correctly awarded a penalty after some obvious pulling by Pique. Casillas saved the lame attempt and within a minute Spain were awarded a penalty at the other end. Alonso scored but was forced to take it again. His next attempt was saved and somehow it remained 0-0. Manager Del Bosque must have wondered if had walked under a black cat.

With Paraguay starting to tire Spain started to create chances and they finally took the lead after a shot rebounded off the post to Villa who put it in himself off both posts. Paraguay stormed forward and there were good chances at both ends but ultimately it will be Spain playing Germany for a place in the World Cup Finals. They are going to have to up their game for that one.

World Cup Classifieds
For sale: Small shiny suit. Only worn 5 times. Mostly good condition, just a few white powder marks. Would suit fat child. Ask for Maradona c/o Hotel Ranchos, Cape Town
Lost: Mojo, last seen in Barcelona. Believe I brought it with me to South Africa. Could be somewhere on a Jo’berg training pitch. Phone Lionel.
Found: Tall well built footballer found alone on football pitch in the dark still trying to score a goal. Answers to the name of Emile.

View from the sofa

I checked my mailbox today and thought I had an entrant for my Golden Mullet World Cup competition. I was therefore somewhat taken aback to discover the following message awaiting my attention…

“ i was wondering if there is a retractable clothesline that measures longer than 20 feet.looking for one that would cover at least 25 feet.if so i would appreciate where or how i may purchase one.i am located in
southcoast area of ma.(new bedford) thanking you in advance for any assistance that maybe fourth comming

      jim patraeus”

I haven’t the heart to disappoint Jim about his erroneous choice of message recipient and as such I have suggested the following product…

Clothes Line

Between you and me this baby is only available in the UK so the last laugh is on Jim – revenge for USA’s lucky equaliser against England. Ha ha ha!

A couple of years ago England played Germany in a friendly and the Germans were truly average at best and defensively poor. They were described as a team in transition and they seemed to have no spark. Coming into the world cup you might have upgraded their status to “useful but limited”. Now every time they take the field they seem to do what the great teams do – play seemingly simple effective football that wins matches without too much fuss.

England made it far too easy so that we might have been excused for thinking Germany were handed the match. Argentina looked tremendous going into today’s game and yet they were dispatched in a 4-0 beating. I’ve not seen the stats but I suspect both sides had similar amounts of possession and shots.

The key to Germany’s results has been getting the most out of their players, being tactically astute, disciplined in their play and liberated when going forward. Do you really think striker Klose is better than say Rooney or Messi? Well he has 4 goals this tournament now and the other two failed to score.

Don’t kid yourself, the Germans do have some very good players but the scale of their achievements so far is largely testament to Joachim Lowe’s management and the teams execution of his plans. Germanys results might look a bit exaggerated based on comparison against opposition players but think Lowe vs Capello or Lowe vs Maradona and suddenly it starts to make more sense.

Whatever you think about the players or the managers I think you might agree they are a team you want to watch. They face Spain next for a place in the final. What are you doing on Wednesday evening?