WC2014 Brazil 1 – 7 Germany

Relief for world as Brazil declare the World Cup officially closed almost a week ahead of schedule

Relief for world as Brazil declare the World Cup officially closed almost a week ahead of schedule

End Of The Line As World Cup Closure Achieved 6 Days Ahead of Schedule

Brazil finally managed to put the nightmare of its inadequate World Cup preparations behind it by successfully closing the entire tournament a whole 6 days ahead of schedule. After years of criticism for its ballooning costs and inability to meet any kind of construction deadline, the Brazilian organisers were delighted to be able to shut the whole thing down prior to their final, final, I really mean it this time final deadline.

“Ever since we won this bloody thing, people have been trying to put us down,” said one local organiser jubilantly. “They’ve given us nothing but gyp for our catastrophically wasteful, spendthrift ways, our managerial incompetence, rampant corruption, and general stereotypical South American slaggardliness. Now, thanks to our magnificent team and the hard work of millions of ordinary Brazilians, we’ve been able to wrap up the World Cup many, many days before anyone could possibly have imagined.”


WC2014 Brazil 0 – 0 Mexico

Sadly the idea that a pan-galactic 'God' entity has a birthplace appears flawed

Sadly the idea that a pan-galactic ‘God’ entity has a birthplace appears flawed

God Conspicuous By His Absence Despite Use Of Placatory Hair Colouring

In the end not even the combined works of Kaka (who famously belongs to Jesus), Neymar and Danny Alves (who co-dyed their hair a resplendent urine yellow in homage) could bring God to the table today. Despite the fact that God is, self-evidently everywhere, always, the Lord of Creation failed to make an on-pitch appearance to help push the Brazilians to that magical six point mark and qualification for the impossible to find a decent name for Round of 16.


WC2014: Brazil 3 – 1 Croatia

Top Footballer Neymar

Easy peasy. Neymar celebrates possibly the softest penalty ever.

The Corruptocracy Strikes Back

Four years after the good ship Gerontocrat set sail from South Africa and pointed its way Westward, it has finally hit land. Or not so much hit land as impaled it with a gigantic spike that oozes filth and pus like a good ‘un.

Fresh from a diet of pure bribes and firstborn, the FIFA undead have docked in a land full of lovely fresh meat, an innocent land full of dreams and expectations ripe for bleeding. And who better to begin the bleeding than the tax ignoring, self-aggrandising corruptocrats of Blatter the Hutt and his merry pranksters?

Now they have finally sunk their claws into Brazil, burrowing like disgraced ticks into its lusty flesh, we’re ready for the football.


What We Learned From Brazil vs Holland (1-2)

Adrian Chiles In Sensible Statement Shock

I don’t normally bother to take any interest in what the ITV panel has to say as I’m quite capable of devising lukewarm footballing banalities myself, but one thing Chiles said struck home, “If you’ve got no discipline and you can’t defend set pieces, you aren’t going to stay in the World Cup”. Not the most complete dissection of the Brazilian team, but it cut to the chase and erased all the bullshit. He may never make such and authoritative, Hansonesque statement again in his hideous sofa-confined lifetime.

It’s All About The Basics

Much as everyone would have liked it to be, this match wasn’t about flair, individual skill, touches of footballing genius, dribbling or total football. It was about what the FA Director of Coaching Charles Hughes thought football was all about, few touches good, many touches bad. It was about the techniques of direct football rather than the artistic machinations of intricate interior passing. Brazil’s goal, like Germany’s first against Engerland was about a single, clinical pass through the middle to your frontman and catastrophic defensive play. Holland’s first was the result of the first genuinely dangerous cross into the box in open play, while their second was from one of only two genuinely effective corners.

Looking at the most effective and dangerous moments of play, these too conformed to Hughes’ maxim. At the tail end of either half, both teams were playing an almost infectious kick and rush style of play as the ball was swiftly moved from one box to the other and back again. Unlike English football, where this is achieve by hoofing the ball over the midfield trenches, the movement here was mainly on the ground, the reason for the swift motion from one end to another was that both midfields had almost completely disappeared and there was a cavernous 30 yard gap surrounding the half-way line. This meant that Hughes’ few touches principle worked beautifully. Conversely, once either defence had settled down to it’s organised 4 – 1 – 4 on the 18 yard line formation, there were no ‘few touches’ moves to be made other than genuinely good crosses (which neither side could apparently deliver with any regularity), so the many touches, eye of a needle footwork needed to take prominence. The real key at this point was not number of touches, but speed of movement, both on and off the ball, and even then it didn’t conjure up very many serious chances.

This Ball IS Shit

So. Two of the best football playing and dead ball specialist sides and no one can take a free kick that is on target? I know it’s the whole bad workers blame their tools thing, but all of the best players bar the Japanese can’t be wrong. This ball doesn’t deviate and dip like others do and thus makes free kicks more difficult to take. This means not only do we not see as many free kick goals (total so far something like 3 and one of those was a mistake by the keeper and two of them were by Japan), but it becomes a much safer option for a defender to foul an attacker around the 18 yard line. Take the free kick, neutralise the attack, get the defense back in position. It’s a no brainer.

57 Down 7 To Go 7 Teams Remaining

What We Learned From Brazil vs Chile (3-0)

It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (But Not Mad Enough)

So the fantastically deranged maddest side in the World Cup take on the most successful, most assured, most bloody excellent footballing nation in the world. And for the first half hour they held their own. Only Chile don’t know how to hold, they don’t know how to defend, they barely know how to midfield. No, all that Chile know is how to attack. So that is what they did. I guess some wars were like this, wave after wave of devoted patriotic fighters launching themselves at the enemy with no thought of their own safety. Sadly the Brazilians have no sense of romance for things like this (plenty for all sorts of other things, but not this).

The Brazilians are like a seabreak, their defence extends from the halfway line and the wave upon wave of Chilean attacks ended up broken and diffused. They simply could not make any headway beyond the 18 yard line. No matter how mad the attack, how ambitious the movement, there was nothing they could do.

And then the Brazilians came. Last year in the Confederations Cup Brazil surprised everyone. Not because they won it, but because of the way they won it. Lots of set pieces, corners mainly. Headers. Not the sort of thing you normally associate with Brazil and the beautiful game, but somehow quite enticing. Anyway, they did it again. Juan scored from a corner, a  nice, well timed header. And then it was game on.

Because Dunga’s side don’t just embody the old skool Brazil, they epitomise the very best of the Mourinho Discipline. The tightest of defences, well not the tightest of defences, because they’ve conceded two goals, one of them to the North Koreans, the North Koreans eh, remember when we thought they might actually be worth a damn? Seems like a thousand years ago, but it was actually only last Tuesday week. But, in any case they run a pretty bloody tight defence. Tight enough that the mad, mad, mad, mad Chileans couldn’t get through it.

And as the Chileans tried, so the Brazillians just had to get back at them and started playing some neat football. Not so neat that you’d call it crazy samba football or anything, but neat nonetheless. Sort of Inter on a very, very good day. Nice.  But not that nice. That is coming later.

54 Down 10 To Go 10 Teams Remaining

Extra Extra What About Them Second Rounds Then

Group Of Ease

Yeah, so one of Uruguay, South Korea, USA or Ghana is going to a World Cup semi-final. And, let’s face it, that should have been Engerland not USA in that list. Out of these I give the Koreans little or no chance, for while they have a great team with a couple of decent players, they’re up against Uruguay, who have the excellent Diego Forlorn, who seems to be one of the very few players not to have been overwhelmed by the scale of the World Cup and has actually seized control of and dominated games. I see Uruguay going right the way through to the semi. USA have a great team with a never say die attitude, but attitude aside all they really have to offer is Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey and I’m not convinced. Ghana are a great strong passing side, who haven’t managed to score goals other than penalties so far. You can see them riding the wave of African euphoria, but they’re going to have trouble when they come up against a quality side.

Group Of Death

Forget any previous pussy, lame Groups of Death, this is the real thing. Germany, Engerland, Argentina and, well there’s always one, Mexico. For Engerland to get to the semis, we’re going to have to beat both the Germans and the Argies. If we get that far life will be very sweet indeed and we’ll probably only have to beat Spain and Brazil to win the big lump of gold. So no pressure there boys. If we want to win it, we’re going to have to do it the hard way. Heart says we go through and win, rational analysis says it’ll be the bloody Argies (again).

Group Of Football

With both Holland and Brazil, this should be a group of total football. Holland, I suspect have been playing a very cagey game and not really over-exerting themselves. Straight wins throughout their First Round matches means that they haven’t really been tested yet and I don’t see the conquerors of Italy, Slovakia, giving them any trouble at all. I think the Dutch will open with their wingmen and then we’ll see some football. Brazil and Chile should play off a great South American cup tie, but given Chile’s attack only policy and Brazil’s excellent defence I see Brazil wiping the floor with Chile’s poor quality defending. Brazil v Holland will be a cracking quarter final, which will provide Brazil with a really serious test, but this Brazil side is pretty formidable and, like the Dutch, just beginning to find their form. I see this as Brazil’s group.

Group Of Unexpected

Ideally, Spain and Chile should have switched groups, but they didn’t so this group has the Tweedledumb and Tweedledumberer match up of Spain and Portugal, in some ways it hardly matters which one of them comes through. Spain will have a tough game, they seem to have lost their way mentally and don’t know which direction to go in. Now true World Cup Champions always undergo some kind of transformation during the tournament, but the transformation Spain are undergoing is tortuous. Will they sacrifice the beautiful game that got them here for a pragmatic hoof and wingplay game we saw them trying before Chile gifted them the game? Portugal will be a hard test, they have a rock solid defence and are really hard to play against and when they’re in flow as they were against North Korea, they can’t half knock in the goals. I see Portugal going through. Paraguay and Japan will be a fantastic, open game, the Japanese will not give in and Paraguay are a decent team. This match should be a cracker and I see Portugal going out of this group.

The Semis

I see these being

Uruguay vs Engerland

Brazil vs Portugal

Can’t help being optimistic eh?