World Cup – Sunday 11th July

…It Is Now!

 This win for glorious homeland Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea will show the imperialist west that we are superior in every way. The lads will be welcomed home as heroes for an open-top tank parade. All hail me!


No – hang on. That’s not what happened…

Result – Sunday 11th July

  Final Spain 1 – 0 Holland


View From The Hotel Room

 Tonight we are going to do things a little differently. I watched the final in a hotel room so my normal colleagues are not around and it’s just me. Here are the match highlights as I saw them…

1 min: Referee Howard Web has polished his head in an attempt to look like Pierluigi Collina.

9 mins: Nothing happenend.

17 mins: Ohh – ahh – no, almost! Throw in.

24 mins: It’s good to see some proper fouling. In too many games up to now we have seen yellow cards given for soft fouls but Van Bommel’s deliciously crude tackle from behind that took out his man plus the mans dog was a joy to behold and much better value for yellow.

28 mins: Just when we thought that was good along comes De Jong and applies his studs to Alonso’s chest a’la Gazza. Again – excellent value for a yellow.

30 mins: BBC commentator Cliche Watch: “There will be a new name on the trophy whoever wins“. REALLY?!

42 mins: Sneijder shows consumate skill to jams his studs into a Spanish midfielder without getting booked. Now that’s how you do it.

44 mins: Cliche watch: “Van Persie has fed on scraps in the first half“. Perhaps if he would stop eating and concentrate on the game he might have been more effective.

HALF TIME
Alan Hansen bemoans the fact that the game has been tight with lots of fouls and little flair on show. Yes Alan – it’s the World Cup final. This coming from a dour central defender whose playing career (and subsequent punditry career) was hallmarked by dull thuggery.

56 mins: Johnny Heitinga receives Hollands 5th yellow card – not for shooting as the felled Spaniard would claim – but for a something-and-nothing challenge. Not in Van Bommels class.

62 mins: Arjen Robben through on goal finds his shot saved prompting the commentator to spout yet more predictable cliches

66 mins: Capdevilla clips the heels of advancing Van Persie to get his name into the book. Snidey and not nearly dangerous enough.

69 mins: David Villa picks up a loose ball 2 yards out and with the goal at his mercy manages to win a corner.

73 mins: Cliche watch: After a promising Spanish move is brought to a halt by a foul – “If Spain score from this it will be poetic justice“.

76 mins: Sergio Ramos fancies an extra 30 minutes judging by his open goal miss from a corner.

79 mins: Quote of the match – Spanish winger Jesus punts the ball over everyone’s head and out of play. Commentator: That’s not his greatest cross. True, but a little insensitive on a Sunday!

82 mins: Robben is through again and with just the goalkeeper to beat manages to emerge with a booking.

84 mins: Cliche watch: “We are at the stage where one goals means you’re world champions“. Erm, no actually.

FULL TIME and Gary Lineker is clearly distracted – If it goes to penalties it’s going to be a knee trembler. I’m not sure if he’s talking about his own circumstances or whether FIFA have introduced a new way to settle tied matches.

92 mins: Three Spanish forwards dive simultaneously in the box. It’s beautifully choreographed.

94 mins: Fabregas wants penalties and so decides to miss when clean through.

95 mins: Mathaison also fancies pens so heads over from a corner when well set.

102 mins: Cliche watch: “We are still no nearer to finding out which of these two nations will be crowned world champions

EXTRA TIME – HALF TIME
Commentator to Clarence Seedorf – “How can Holland win this game now?“. Go on Clarence – just say it, please!

106 mins: Cliche watch: Torres comes on – “It’s the story often told – a substitute comes on and wins the match“. Name one of these stories…

109 mins: Heitinga sent off for second yellow card. Nothing too malicious unfortunately.

110 mins: Van Der Weil booked for allowing Iniesta to blatantly dive.

114 mins: Cliche watch: “You have to score to win a world cup

116 mins: INIESTA SCORES! Two more bookings.

117 mins: Cliche watch: “Holland are losing

120 mins: Xavi booked for kicking the ball away.

121 mins: Torres makes his only contribution to the world cup by pulling his hamstring.

122 mins: The ref blows – it’s all over! Dutch players crowd around the referee to dispute something or other in an attempt to get some late-late bookings but it’s to no avail. Just the 14 yellow cards this game.

EXTRA TIME – FULL TIME
It’s cliche heaven. Here we go…
Commentator: “Spain have won the world cup 1-0“. Really? Thanks for that – none of us had been watching.
Alan Hansen: “The goal was scored by Iniesta – the best player of the tournament“, which seems odd since Hansen hadn’t mentioned this up until this point.
Gary Lineker: “A victory for football I think“. Bingo!
Alan Shearer: “Iniesta has got magnets in both feet“. If only the ball were metal…
Perry Groves: “There was only one team that wanted to win right from the start
Commentator: As Spain alight the stairs – “Iker Cassilas was bred for this moment
Commentator: As the trophy is lifted – “Spain are the kings of world football
Perry Groves: “Spain play football like we all want to play it in our heads

Loose Ends

Let’s wrap a few things up before I call time on my world cup blog. The blog banner graphic includes the following footballing folk, in case you hadn’t already worked it all out.
WC Banner

From left to right…

  • Ray “the crab” Wilkins
  • Hoddle and Waddle in their Diamond Lights phase
  • Glen Johnson in his Stealing Toilet Seats phase
  • “Big Ron” Atkinson
  • Jimmy Hill. No seriously!
  • Statto, aka Angus Loughran, who was declared bankrupt in 2008.
  • Saint & Greavsie
  • John “Motty” Motson
  • Carlton Palmer – former England international in all but ability.
  • John Barnes – famous for his rap song and shiny suits. And failed management career. And crap punditry. He used to be a decent footballer mind.
  • Stan “The Man” Collymore & Ford Cortina. Unfortunately his dogging notoriety is far from the most shameful incident in his career.
  • Paul “Daft as a brush Gazza” Gascoigne. Just when you thought his life couldn’t get more screwed up he arrives in Rothbury to provide his good friend the deranged murderer Raoul Moat with his last supper. Pity his agent who he shares with Roger Mellie.

Thanks to all of my guests. BTW: Who’s going to pay for the massive biscuit and cake bill? And this poodle is going for a walk “down by the canal” tomorrow.
No thanks to the jobsworth “celebrity” agent who tried to close down my blog on the grounds that it somehow posed a threat to his D-list client.

Apologies to my non-footballing readers for the last months output – normal travel/baking service will be resumed forthwith.

As my grandfather would have said – “That’s yer lot

World Cup – Tuesday 29th June

Misery has a name – Alan Green

We are down to the final eight now. The match schedule is thinning out and any respite is drowned out by the sound of punditry. At least we might have time to cheer ourselves up between Alan Green commentaries…

Results – Tuesday 29th June

  Second
Round
(pens) Paraguay 0 – 0 Japan
    Spain 1 – 0 Portugal



Duncan’s Dive Watch – Spain vs Portugal

 Who hasn’t been looking forward to this competition between fierce Iberian neighbours Portugal and Spain! It promised to be a feast of falling but did it live up to it’s billing? Here are the highlights…

16 minutes: After a slow start we have our first dive – and who else could it be but Ronaldo? He raids down the right, cuts in between two players and it’s a classic legs together full length dive. No marks awarded by the referee who waves play on. I think that lacked a little commitment.

 34 minutes: Ronaldo again. Left flank run across the halfway line. He over-runs the ball and a defender gets there first. Ronaldo launches into the defender and executes a passable mid-air half twist culminating in a traditional arse landing, garnished with quizzical hands in the air. Still no marks from the referee, which seems a little harsh.

49 minutes: Man muppet Carlos Puyol – the sort of character parents tell their kids lives under a bridge – gets tickled from behind and slumps to the ground wearing the expression of a slain samurai. It’s disappointing fare with no technical merit and a lack of expressive arm movement so once again no points.

 57 minutes: David Villa plays a one two with Iniesta on the edge of the Portugal box. He’s not going to make the return ball and pulls off the imaginary trip with some aplomb. The ref waves away his appeals but I’m giving him 3 out of 10 for fake boyish innocence. “What me – diving?!”

74 minutes: Controversy! Substitute Pedro Mendes thinks he has pulled off a majestic fouled-from-behind back flip with an exquisite double leg slide. It’s a high scoring move, but what’s this? The referee actually awards it as a genuine foul! What a shame, that would have been a lovely dive.

 84 minutes: It’s Ronaldo again – you can’t keep a good man up. This time it’s an innocuous mid-air collision with Capdevila which Ronaldo free-styles into an awkward landing. It’s desperate stuff now with just 5 minutes left and once again there’s nothing given

88 minutes: The stroke of genius we have been waiting for Capdevila brilliantly pulls off a text book ghost slap in the box. He rolls around holding his head and Costa is shown a red card! Video replays confirm there was no contact – it’s a brilliant deception and that’s a full 10 to the Spaniard!

The whistle blows and it’s a Spanish victory despite Ronaldo’s bravest efforts. The king of collapso has his head in his hands and knows he will have to work hard on the training pitch to work on those polished cons he is famous for.

View from the sofa
You may think from my (seemingly) endless reportage of the World Cup that I catch all the games live on TV. Alas, my up-tight employers weren’t amused when I asked if I could spend a month at home on full pay watching every match live. I thought I was being reasonable as I had intended to go to South Africa and pass on my costs as expenses, but it seems you can’t get away with anything nowadays.

Anyway, the upshot of my workplace incarceration is that I have followed a fair few matches on Radio 5 (you see the BBC let their employees go to the world cup on full pay and expenses) while commuting. One of their principal commentators is Alan Green and if you have heard him you will probably know what I am about to say.

There can never have been such a negative, permanently dissatisfied football commentator in broadcasting history. He can suck the joy out of any occassion. The man must be a rain god because I can only imagine he walks under a continuous heavy black cloud of negative energy.

To repeat myself let’s just remember – he is paid to go to sunny South Africa and attend the worlds biggest sporting event. All he has to do is talk for a couple of hours, and yet even this can’t bring any light into Mr Green’s dark and burdensome life. He watches every game with disdain picking fault with everything he beholds. The games are all unremittingly dreadful and the players on show were born under a bad sign because they can do no right. The officials are always a disgrace and woe betide anything distracting him off the pitch because whatever it is will be a sham.

I can imagine his response to accusations of misery. “I’m not here to dress things up, I tell it like it is“. Let me put if to you Mr Green, there have been a few tense matches with little beauty on show but I have been listening to your commentaries for years and they are ALL THE BLOODY SAME. Driving home today you described Paraguay vs Japan as if it were some personal slight upon your unworldy standards. Well I got home and caught the end of the game and what I saw was an admittedly stuttering affair with plenty of honesty, grit and no shortage of half chances. It had an enjoyable tension that real football fans would recognise. When the stakes are high that’s what you get – if it makes you so unhappy pack in your job.

And on the offchance that you have children I would like to offer them my support and say that they must cast off the burdens of your impossible expectations and realise that nothing they could ever do would be good enough to warrant fatherly praise. It’s just your way.