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 Cameroon 0 – 1 Mexico

wet football pitch

It wasn’t quite as wet as this, but it wasn’t far off.

Wet, Wet, Wet

So much for Brazil being the country of sunshine. As Nick Cave might say, “And the rain it hammered down,” making this game more like something from the First Division of the 1970s. Which kind of suited these teams as Cameroon look like a side whose best days were in the 1970s, while Mexico look like a bunch of flyweight fancy dans, with lots of skills, yet utterly vulnerable to a side who appear to owe more to Wimbledon than the World Cup.


What We Learned From Argentina vs Mexico (3-1)

Say Hello To My Leetle Friend

One of the more entertaining elements of the tournament has been the class acts that are the managers. Obviously most of them are tedious, rather serious looking rich dudes like the Fab or, less so in your international manager, tracksuited twats who’ve lucked out on some foreign dosh. But some are stars. like the various Eastern European looking, chain-smoking, corpses who haunt the African and Central American sides or Mr Disco the Portuguese manager, who has his open shirt and vaguely hairy chest and desperately, desperately needs one of those solid gold chains like P Diddy to complete his world or the Sartorially Ineligant Twin Managers of Germany, Jochim Loew and his dynamic ward Robin, whose matching outfits would be the pinnicle of bad taste if only West Ham’s David Sullivan didn’t have a penchant for kinky militarywear or that Brazillian toff Dunga hadn’t nailed the storestaff and got hold of all the pukka jackets. But best of all, top of the managerial shitpile are the entire oiled, bequiffed, pompadoured managerial staff of Argentina, who bestride the touchline like collosal gangmaster football pimps. Chief among them Mr Hand of God Maradona. He is great. Plump, fantastically well-oiled and suited in the kind of garish class act whoremeister-wear you’d expect someone in Dallas or CSI:Miami, Diego is top drawer. Just like his lovely boys.

Here is Leetle Carlito. He is good. Runs very fast. Very, how you say, agile. Very squirmy. Can find hees way through even the smallest cracks in your defence. Yes, you will lov Leetle  Carlito. Even when he is completely offside, the linesman, he makes no complaints because Leetle Carlito, he knows joost how the linesman likes it. And if it peeses off a few Mehicos, well, that’s just part of Leetle Carlito’s charm.

And then there’s Higuin. He is a big boy. Likes to lead from the front, always pulling about those defenders. They just can’t keep him under control. First it’s one side, then it’s the other, then your centre back has no idea where he is and, hoop-la, it’s in the back of the net. And if that confuses those Mexicanos a leetle more, then that’s fine.

And Leetle Carlito, you will love him so much, he just doesn’t stop. Always taunting, always teasing, he is like a leetle minx, if you have minx wherever you come from, if not, well, he is always taunting. And those defenders, they are like putty in his hands. He pulls them one way, he pulls them the other, just like Higuin, just like the big boys do, but Leetle Carlito, he is not so big, he has to work so much harder than Higuin to pull those defenders about. But when he does, Blam! Oh the goal is open for just a second, maybe only a half a second, the blink of an eye, but Leetle Carlito can tell that the goal is winking at him, the goal is a cheeky bad girl who wants Leetle Carlito. She wants him so much. Leetle Carlito, he cannot resist. 20 yards, 30 yards, who knows, who cares, Leetle Carlito he shoots and like great explosion the ball is in the net.

Only Pepito Messi is a problem. He dances, he sleeps and slides, but he cannot score. Oncle Diego is going to have to teach Pepito Messi how to behave or Pepito Messi is going to have a long talk with Oncle Diego’s leetle best friend. And that wouldn’t be good for Pepito.

Sure those pesky Mexican kids fight back, like they did against Engerland in the friendlies, like they did against the South Africans. And sure that kid Hernandez is interesting, but against Diego’s boys he isn’t much. Mexicans ptah! Breeng on the Germans.

52 Down 12 To Go 12 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?

What We Learned From Group A Eliminators

South Africa 2 – 1 France

Oh my how South Africa will rue a moment of defensive madness. Not the moment when they allowed Ribery to get goal side of his defensive marker and set up Malouda for the goal that totally deflated Bfana Bfana, but the moment in that first match when they played not one, not two, not three, but four Mexicans onside for the tap-in that allowed Mexico back into the game and dropped two vital points for South Africa. How different things would have been had South Africa won that as they really should. They might have gone into the Uruguay match on a high with a bit of momentum and got some kind of result. As it is they are down and out having just beaten the losing finalists from 2006 and in some style until the last 20 minutes when they began to tire and the French scored. It’s sad, they could have had an easier Group (with say North Korea, Nigeria, and Honduras for instance), but the truth is that they were a poor side who survived on enthusiasm and optimism rather than skill and whose top man, Pienaar, never found the form that made him so effective for Everton. Only the supercool Tshabalala really impressed and he missed a number of opportunities to increase South Africa’s lead.

France, meanwhile, go out on something of a high, they have done marginally better than they did in 2002. Sure they finished bottom of their group, which included Uruguay, they played three, lost two and drew one, and they had a goal difference of -2, but this time at least they scored a goal. And quite a nice one it was and Malouda will want to keep that in his scrapbook. They also outdid themselves in the uniquely Gallic sulking stakes. Whereas in Japan in 2002 they were merely grumpy, stroppy, miserable tossers, this time they’ve added a whole new contemptuous angle to their behaviour. The players it seems prefer their bling and sloppy-mouthed gangsta verbidge to actually training or playing or anything. They seem to have no shame. Henry performed another blatant handball takedown, hoping maybe for that to become his signature move in the luscious advertising filled world he will now inhabit now he has renounced football for socca. Dominatrix, meanwhile, showed that he genuinely has no class whatsoever by refusing to shake the South African manager’s hand after the match. So, winners in their own special way, the French have elevated being sporting c**ts to something of an art form. They cheated to get to South Africa and were miserable, unpleasant tossers the entire time they were there. Thank f**k they’re leaving on a jet plane this evening.

Uruguay 1 – 0 Mexico

Who’d a-thunk it? Two teams who only required a draw for both to go through produce a result with honest to goodness shots and goals and the like. Having spent the time watching the South Africa vs France match, I’ve no idea who started it but it seems like one of those playground arguments that got seriously out of hand – “Miss, Miss, he’s tooken my ruler”, “No I didunt”, “Cheater”, “Liar” etc – before the nuclear option of “Your Mum” is played by one of the little brats and things go massively downhill. Given that Uruguay would have topped the group if things stayed at 0 – 0 and thus avoided Argentina in the next round (which has to be the reason for this no draw score),  you have to think that it was Mexico who first employed the playground tactic of actually having a shot on target, after which the Uruguayans must have immediately dished out the “Your Mum” response and gone for goal. I can particularly see Diego Forlorn as the messy-haired belligerent toddler ever anxious to take offence an given his performance so far he’s a dangerous man to upset.

So Bye-Bye South Africa And France

Two teams who fundamentally weren’t good enough to get out of what was a eminently winnable Group. South Africa just weren’t given the breaks they needed by FIFA, France were just shocking.

34 Down 30 To Go 27 Teams Remaining

Extra Extra What We Learned At The Halfway Point

The Competition Has Kicked Off

Yes, the Second Round of Group matches were certainly better than the First Round. Most teams understood that they couldn’t simply defend all the time and play for a draw, even the Swiss, whose adoption of an almost ‘Neutral Country’ option has seen them regularly top both the Haven’t Conceded and the Haven’t Scored tables, realised that at some point they’d have to come out and have a shot, although to be fair they did have something that vaguely resembled a shot in the First Round and it paid off handsomely. The games got faster and more meaningful as we saw Matches That Mattered and teams realised that there was a very real danger of their World Cup ending later this week.

The Goals Are Coming

As teams threw off the shackles of defensive cowardice and started attacking we began to see more goals. Few teams were content to sit on a one goal lead and continued to press their opponents. Some goals were even good, although few of them were up to the Tshabalala standard. However, I distinctly remember exclaiming, “What a goal” more than once during Round 2.

The Cheating Has Started

Grab and Dive, with or without pirouette, is the order of the day. Compulsive penalty box wrestling at every set piece. Not that much deliberate diving, but plenty of subtle blocking and writhing around. All in an attempt to cheat your way to a free kick or some colour of card for the opposition, or both. Not good. I think if it continues, we will see some kind of tv replay system introduced on the fly, if only because the whole world is watching.

Lots of Empty Seats

Now that it’s getting serious I suspect we won’t be seeing too many empty stadiums, but I’d lay money that there will be empty seats at the Uruguay Mexico match, where both teams need only to draw to go through (0 – 0 anyone?). However, too many venues have been conspicuously less than capacity.

Who Has Been Naughty?

It’s goodbye to South Africa, France (very naughty), Nigeria, Greece (very bad),  Algeria,  Oztralia (awful), Serbia (painful). Cameroon, New Zealand (rubbish), Slovakia (tedious), Ivory Coast (unlucky to get Group of Death for the second World Cup in a row), North Korea, and Honduras. You are all officially too crap for the World Cup. Book your flights now.

Who Has Been Nice?

And it’s hello to Mexico, Uruguay, Argentina, South Korea, Ghana, Germany, Holland, Paraguay, Italy, Brazil, Portugal, and Chile. Nicely done South America.

And Who Is Bricking It?

Group C is totally up for grabs with two of Engerland, USA and Slovenia, the permutations are excruciating, but basically all teams have to win to be sure that they will qualify. In Group E Japan and Denmark will duke it out, a draw being enough to take the Japanese through. Group H is so complicated that Spain, Chile and Switzerland could all end up with 6 points and theoretically identical goal differences and goals scored, in which case as Spain will have beaten Chile, who have beaten Switzerland, who have beaten Spain lots would have to be drawn.  Makes penalty shoot outs seem tame by comparison.

And Who Is Really Bricking It Most?

Has to be ever-optimistic no-hopers Engerland, who just seem utterly unable to cope with the pressure of having to play a few matches away from home in front of large television audiences. Basking in unwarrented media acclaim and with performances getting more inadequate by the day, Engerland are a disaster waiting to happen. And while the French are imploding with a farcical degree of hilarity, Engerland can’t even manage an effective internal coup d’etat. One thing is clear, Wednesday could be the most excruciating game of football ever played.