Sunday, July 02, 2006

Kill! Kill! Die! Die!

I wonder how I could've missed it over the years. The Italians were boring and the Argies were a bit dodgy. This time round, there were stark positive improvements in their overall game-play.

Italy were bloody attacking the opposition and Argentina had a wonderkid by the name of Lionel Messi which to a certain extent, made me ignore their bargy side.

Now it seems that Portugal is the team to hate. I should've seen the signs during the Euro C'ship finals 2 years ago. It was bloody apparent during the Holland game and as much I hate to admit it, I found myself rooting for the English on Saturday night. Yes, those Pourtegeezers never fail to annoy me with their dives, play-acting, whining and the bloody cockiness to top it all of.

It seems though I am not the only one.

Sissy Crybaby given something to reaaally cry about.

Typical Scouse greeting for Londoners

So, there's little doubt on where my allegiance lay with reagrds to Thursay's s-final match-up. Allez Les Blues!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Predikatorisms

I'm in a particularly silly mood, so here goes some silly predictions for the quarterfinals.

Germany to thrash Argentina 5-1, with Maradona scoring the Argies' consolation goal, after being so frustrated at his teams utter pathetic-ness, that he came down from the stands to join the game. The ref let this one go, cos he was drinking from the same spiked soda can that Graham Poll left behind before he left for home.

England to beat Portugal 15-0. All the goals coming in the last 10 minutes, after the last Portuguese player dies of boredom - along with every other spectator in the stadium.

Ukraine to beat Italy 6-5. All the goals will be scored by Shevchenko in the first half, the first 5 for Italy until he realised he wasn't playing in Serie A anymore. Then, just before the second half commences, the Italian magistrate arrives on the scene and arrests half the Italian squad, while the other half are detained by the FBI for suspected involvement in organised crime. Referee has no choice but to abandon game.

France to beat Brazil 3-0. Just before kickoff, Ronaldo is seized by fits and is then sensationally included in the starting line-up, and then Zizou scored 2 headers, while... wait a minute, that's like so deja-vu, innit?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Quarterfinals here I come!!




Prediction


Italy vs. Australia.. 1-0 to the Italians.


Swiss vs. Ukraine.. Ukraine to win 1-0.


Brazil vs. Ghana.. Samba boys to win 2-0.


Spain vs. France.. 2-1 to Spain.



Actual

Italy 1 - 0 Australia


Swiss 0 - 0 Ukraine (Ukraine through on penalties, 3-0)


Brazil 3 - 0 Ghana


Spain 1 - 3 France





And so, the die is cast. For the Quarterfinals, it will be..


Germany vs Argentina (Argentina to win. 1-0?)


Italy vs Ukraine (Italy to win. 1-0)


England Portugal (England to win. 1-0)


Brazil vs France (Brazil to win. 2-1)








Friday, June 23, 2006

Mouth Watering Ties Ahead..




Hmm....maybe Spain should have let Saudi Arabia spanked them.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The secret revealed...



Now we know our G's secret plan to win the World Cup by 2020.. by using naturalised citizens from Indonesia...




****************



I'm a bit sad with the exit of the Croatians & the Czechs. The two of them, together with Poland, were 3 of my picks for the 2nd round that did not make it.



Let's see if France and Tunisia can restore some of my street cred. TGIF!



Daring to dream

On paper it wasn't going to be much of a match. A mis-match, more like it. The best team in the world, bar none; vs. an Asian side with a nary a major scalp to their name. Brazil vs Japan, I felt, was going to be an academic match - with the Brazilians doing the teaching. But, as was quite rightly pointed out to me, you don't play football on paper. You play it on grass.

The Brazil team - long since slated as favourites for the tournament - were going through a bit of a rough patch. They won all their games thus far, but in a manner that was less than convincing. A scrappy win against Croatia; a 2-0 scoreline against Australia that was a tad flattering; and the threat from their South American neighbours in the form of a resurgent, creative, entertaining Argentina side who convincingly won their Group of Death underlined by a 6-0 mauling of Serbia & Montenegro... could the team that made it to the finals of the last three World Cups finally be dethroned?

Japan, on the other hand, did not come with much hope to get any further than perhaps the second round, if at all. The furthest they have progressed was the second round, and that was when they co-hosted the tournament with South Korea; Japan's only other appearance was at France 98. If Brazil needed to remind the world that their samba steps were still alive, this was perhaps the game where they had the most space to showcase and strut.

And even from the beginning, you could see the difference in the style. The fluid, hypnotic, almost dancelike moves of the boys in yellow contrasted with the more stoic, disciplined movements of the Japanese side. Brazil were never short of the stepovers, the shimmies, the backheels, the nutmegs and neat short passes that make them such a pleasure to watch. But in the opening minutes of the game, as much as Brazil tried to break them down, Japan would not be moved, perhaps inspired by an above par performance from their goalkeeper Kawaguchi. Anything the Japanese defence let through, Kawaguchi would stop short and in spectacular fashion, too.

Then the unthinkable happened. A neat play from the left side of the field saw Brazilian-born Japanese player Alex cross the ball into the box, for Keiji Tamada volley home a spectacular ball that beat Brazilian keeper Nelson Dida. Japan 1 Brazil 0. Brazilian mouths were probably gaping, Japanese mouths screaming in delight and neutrals everywhere rubbing hands in delight at the prospect of a real tasty game served up. Surely Brazil were going to turn it on now, they would not take the goal kindly.

It wasn't long before Brazil responded, and respond they did. Out-of-form striker Ronaldo, whose continous selection in the Brazilian first eleven baffled fans and pundits alike, soared into the air and headed home Brazil's equaliser. 1-1 at half time.

You knew, really, that Brazil were not going to let this be an upset. A dam, if rammed down many times by a log, would eventually crack and break. And in the second half the dam broke many a time. Ronaldo went on to score again to equal Gerd Muller's 14 goals scored in the World Cup Finals - not bad for an overweight lad. The final score was 4-1 but it could have been more of a mauling.

Brazil, indeed, were a joy to watch; and are beginning to remind us what they are capable of achieving. But to their credit, Japan didn't lie down and let Brazil trample over them. And for those twelve short, precious, magical minutes, Japan - and perhaps Asia, and champions of underdogs the world over - knew what it felt like to be a step ahead of the best.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Bore Draw


Maradona with Dutch fans

Yaawnnn..

Sure, it was nice to see a game containing the likes of Messi, Cambiasso, Van Der Vaart & my all time favourite, Cocu but all in all, it was pretty subdued. Even the Argies weren't their bargy self last night.



This is how you mug someone back in Buenos Aires

So, here's hoping for a repeat in the finals. Sorry Italy.


Someone's really impressed with Riquelme's butt.

Pening La - Last Part

Rite last part, hope I can finish this before dozing off.

Group G:

Swiss needs a draw to gurantee a place in the last 16. A draw might even be enough to top the group if France do not win by more than a goal. A win would gurantee top spot.

South Korea needs a win to be absolutely sure of qualifying. A win would also secure them top spot. A draw might take them through as runners up if France win by a goal (and do not score more than they do), draw or loses. They could still qualify if they lost, but that would require France to inept for the third time in a row and not win against Togo.

France need a win, pure and simple, a two goal win would ensure them a place in the last 16.

Togo are out.

Group H:

Spain are through to the final, and unless Ukraine and Saudi could somehow conjure up a miracle they should be top of the group.

Ukraine needs a win to be sure of qualifying. A draw should do it, providing that Saudi do not trash Spain by 4 or more goals.

Tunisia needs a win, a win would ensure them runners-up in Group H. Drawing or losing would put them out.

Saudi needs a miracle, it's still possible for them to qualify, but they need to beat Spain by a good margin and hope that Ukraine v Tunisia ends in a draw (preferably a low/no score draw) or a Tunisian win.



Right that's it. I think I'm a bit more confuse now then I was before.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Cornerheads

Stevie G = 2.
Frankie Lamps = 0 (but not for want of trying).

Lampard looks like he’s heading for a new record - the most shots on goal without actually scoring.

Must be hard being one of the few Chelsea players in the tournament to have yet to make a mark.

And, yes, that was kind of a compliment to Chelsea. Don’t expect many of that from me in months (or years) to come.

Pening La - Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of Exdua's Guide to the Mathematically Challenged Manager. Lets continue with group E...

Group E:


Group E is the most haphazard group of them all. No team in this group has guranteed a place is the last 16 yet all four of them still are in with a chance of getting there with destiny seemingly in their own hands. This is of course due to the incompetance of Italy being held to a draw with 9 men USA and Ghana turning the table upside down by beating Czech. There just might be one more twist to come. Oh, I like this group because everytime USA play it reminds me of United what with all the chanting:)

Italy can qualify as winners if they beat the Czech Rep., a draw would also see them through as either winners if Ghana fails to win their game or runners up if Ghana do win. Italy could still go through if they lose as long as 1) Ghana v USA ends in a draw and Italy loses by a goal or 2) USA beat Ghana as long as the goal difference is both matches doesnt add up to five or more (figure that one out, heh).

Czech Rep can gurantee qualification if they beat Italy, but would have to beat Italy by a bigger margin than Ghana v USA if they want top spot. If they draw, they will have to hope that the Ghana v USA game also end up drawing or that USA wins by less than 4 goals.

Ghana needs a win to be sure of qualifying, a draw might see them through if either Italy wins or Czech wins by more than 2 goals. They are out if they lose.

USA must win to qualify. If they somehow can beat Ghana by five or more goals then they will qualify regardless of whatever happens in the other game. Although their best shot is probably to hope for an Italian win, since they would only need a simple 1-0 win to go through.

Group F:

Brazil are through and needs just a draw to confirm top spot in Group F, the only way australia can pip them to top spot is if Brazil loses and Australia wins and surpass their goal difference.

Australia needs a draw to confirm qualification. They are out if they lose.

Crotia needs to beat Australia to go through, nice and simple.

Japan are definitely out.


I'll have to make this a three parter since its getting late here. later ppl.