Archive for June 17th, 2010

What We Learned From Mexico vs France (2-0)

Suddenly Everything Matters

After the blatant tedium of the first Round, it’s clear that everyone has woken up. Hey, they say as they greet the morning, It’s the fucking World Cup and in some cases they appear actually quite interested in being there as opposed to fartarsing around on a beach (or in some alleged cases a variety of international class brothels). Not so the French. Shrugging their shoulders as only the truly French can, they take a spectacular puff on their Gitanes and mutter some gibberish about sardines and how they really need to propose to that good looking girl over there before some filthy Eenglish peeg gets to work. Given their total paucity of ambition, their spectacular lack of tactical nous and their awesome ambivalence, you kind of wonder why the French even wanted to be here and why Henry set himself up for such opprobrium by cheating his country into the World Cup. The Irish you sense would actually quite like to have been here, indeed you suspect they might actually have made an effort to, you know, attack, or score, or heaven help us actually win a match. You would have thought that the French, with the cultural memory of Japan 2002, where they played three, scored none and went home on the first available plane, might actually give a shit this time. You might have thought that on the 70th anniversary of Marshall Petan’s surrender to the Nazis, when the very existence of the French state was in doubt, Les Bleus might, you know, move themselves to play the beautiful game. But apparently not.

Apologies To The Mexicans

Now, previous posts like this and this might have led people to believe that I thought the Mexicans were a team of lightweight losers who pretty passed the ball around to no great effect and fell over a lot, who were led by a bunch of makeweight kids from Tottingham and Arsenal and who had no chance of ever getting out of the Group unless the French or the Uruguayans fucked the pooch. Thankfully for the Mexicans the French well and truly fucked the pooch, doing all the things I said prevented the Mexicans from beating South Africa. The French held a high line without the pace to defend it, allowing the lightweight Mexicans to skin them time and time again. Mexico, by contrast, kept a tight deep back line that prevented the French from running at them and then compounded this by dominating in midfield.

Who Wants Some?

Not apparently Ribery, the first of the ‘soccer stars’ to go home; not apparently Anelka, Malouda, Touloulan, or any of the other French players. And definitely not Domenech, who looks like he can’t wait to get home to the many lurid headlines that will greet him. One player who did look like he wanted some was Mexican Old Boy Cuauhtemoc Blanco, who is all of 37 million years old, came on as a sub, didn’t so much run as amble about before scoring the second goal from the penalty spot. Given his enthusiasm, as well as Mexico’s position in the ConCaf Group, which basically ensures qualification, there’s every chance that he’ll be at World Cup 2014 in Brazil. Which is more than can be said for any of this spastically useless French team. They truly lived up to the Rumsfeld description of them as Cheese-eating Surrender Monkeys.

Not So Much Adios As Au Revoir

A bientot Frenchies. Don’t call us, we’ll call you.

20 Down 44 To Go

Archive for June 17th, 2010

What We Learned From Greece vs Nigeria (2-1)

A Win Is A Win, But The Greeks Are Still Shit

Only the unbelievable implosion of the Nigerian team, whose self-immolation hasn’t been seen since Rafa Benitez went on his “that is a FACT” rant when Liverpool were still a team with a realistic hope of winning the Premiership, saved the Greeks from looking like the miserable, bankrupt losers that they are. Only when their opponents were down to 10 men (thanks to a thoroughly mindless Beckhamesque kick out at your opponent) did the Greeks appear to even bother to get back into the game and even then they needed a deflection to gift them an equaliser. They are thoroughly shit and should be sent home immediately irregardless of how many points the get.

Samaras Is Like A Shit Butch Wilkins

Like ‘The Crab’, Samaras seems only capable of movement in the horizontal direction. Now for a midfield player the horizontal option might be alright, for a forward it is tantamount to suicide. And even when he’s crawling horizontally across the pitch, he’s ineffective.

You’ve Got To Make The Breakaways Count (pt 2)

2 – 1 down and defending their own goal, the Nigerians manufacture a fantastic, free-flowing break very reminiscent of Man U, Arsenal or Chelsea at their best, the kind of break that gets the adrenalin rushing and leaves you screaming, “Pass it, pass it”, and they do and there’s a one-on-one with the keeper and… they fluff it. At this level, you’ve got to take these chances.

The ‘Green’ Strikes Again

As if opting to go down to 10 men and then gifting your opponents a jammy deflected goal wasn’t enough, the Nigerians decided that imitation was the sincerest form of flattery and basically duplicated the Rob Green howler to gift the Greeks with a tap in. All of which doesn’t excuse the cack-handed Engerland goalkeeper, who deserves all the opprobrium that is obviously coming his way.

19 Down 45 To Go

Archive for June 17th, 2010

What We Learned From Argentina vs South Korea (4-1)

Who’s Your Main Man?

No, it’s not little wizard Messi, it’s not even hat-trick hero Higuan, it’s the wee tiger tank Tevez. I love Tevez not simply because he kept West Ham in the Premiership, while at the same time almost bankrupting them; not simply because he massively fucked off Man U by helping them win the Premiership then flounced off to Man City; no, I love Tevez because he has the jawbone of a bull chimp and the attitude of Mike Tyson. In the same way that Tyson in his prime would just flip his switch and walk from one corner of the ring to the other while simultaneously giving his opponent the face pummelling they so obviously richly deserved, so Tevez simply rampages through opponents cleverly using his body strength to maximum effect. You sense that he is one of the few players in the Tournament who will always threaten to be a game changer.

The Argies Are Like Deputy Commissioner Rawls (Not Bunk Moreland)

For when it came time to fuck the lovely Bunk Moreland-like South Korea they were not gentle, they put the boot in, especially after the plucky Bunk Moreland’s delivered a stone banker murder clearance to make the score 2 – 1. No, nasty Rawls threatened to put the Bunk on the boat patrol with naughty boy Jimmy “What The Fuck Did I Do” McNulty.

You’ve Got To Make The Breakaways Count (pt 1)

2 – 1 down, the South Koreans have the best break of the game, a fantastic flowing move down the right side of the pitch, giving Yeom Ki-Hun the perfect opportunity to level the game. He missed and the Rawls juggernaut just kept a-rollin’. Goals change games and at this level you’ve got to score them. Still, hopefully the plucky South Koreans have done enough to get through this Group as you’ve got to bank them to stuff the Nigerians, while the Argies should roundly fuck the Greeks.

18 Down 46 To Go

Archive for June 17th, 2010

What We Learned From Uruguay vs South Africa (3-0)

And So It Begins…

A bit like the second half of Gladiator, it started off slowly but now it’s time for Maximus Gladiatorius Violentius to walk out alone and stab a whole load of bastards to death. This round of matches matter. There will be those who will effectively be out of the running by the end of this Round, so unlike the first match, where not losing was, apparently, more important than actually winning, winning is everything. Let’s say it again, Losers Will Go Home. Starting now.

Who Was The Star Of The Show?

Anyone remember Poborsky, the topiary-haired Czech winger Man U bought on the back of Euro 96, who stumbled and fell and never quite managed to live up to the promise of a couple of good matches in the Euros? Well imagine everyone’s surprise when a player who was deemed even less successful at Old Trafford (no not Eric Djemba-Djemba or Juan Sebastian Veron) appears to be the Star of the Show here in Aferica. Yes, while Rhino, Ronalda, Messi, Kaka, Juan Sebastian Veron, Uncle Tom Cobley and all, misfire like a bunch of badly converted starter pistols, the one-time useless boy of the Stratford End has become the tournament’s top scorer and the influential lynchpin of Uruguay’s campaign. He scored a fantastic long range whammer, then helped cement the victory by whacking in the penalty to make it 2 – 0. Who’d have thunk it?

That’s The End Of South Africa Then

Despite the blaring noise of vuvuzelas and the overwhelming enthusiasm of pretty much the entire non-Uruguayan world, a distinct lack of footballing talent wasn’t quite enough to get South Africa through this game. Unless they achieve the super-double-bonus miracle of having France and Mexico draw and then beat France in their final match by something like 4 – 0, South Africa are on their way home. Fortunately for them as the tournament is being held in South Africa, they won’t have far to travel. Sadly for them they will be the first host nation to fail to make it through the Group games.

17 Down 47 To Go