Friday, June 30, 2006

World Cup Diary - Day 17

The second day of the last sixteen and it was time for England against Ecuador. England were playing a different system with Rooney playing up front by himself. This is not the ideal system to get the best out of Rooney but England have had to adopt this system because of Owens injury.

This system seemed to be more balanced then previous games. I think this is mainly due to the fact that Carrick was holding midfielder in a 5 man midfield. This allowed Lampard and Gerrard to play their natural attacking game without having to worrying about defensive duties.

Rooney worked his socks off up front as he chased all the balls that were played to him. Most of the passing was inaccurate and Rooney was mainly restricted to chasing long balls. Lampard isn't having a great world cup, he seems to be trying too hard and always snatching at shots.

Beckham got the goal from a free kick. One of the best free kicks in the tournament so far.

Overall it was a solid performance (apart from the Ecuador chance where it hit the bar). But not the best England performance by far.


How can I finish my post without mentioning the Holland vs. Portugal match. What a match. It showed some of the bad parts of football. Some bad refereeing decisions. But most of all it highlighted the play acting that has become part of the game. I have talked about this before. It seems that FIFA is more interested in clamping down on bad challenges and time wasting. However when it comes to CHEATING it is a very low priority. Players need to be deterred from diving. At the moment players will try to cheat and get a free kick because they know that there will be no punishment if they are caught diving. FIFA said that divers were supposed to get a yellow card but I don't think I have seen a yellow card being produced for diving in any game. There have been a number of instances when the referee has told a player to get to his feet after diving. If they are telling the player to get to his feet surely the referee feels the player is trying to buy a free kick and there fore should yellow card him.

Anyway the game was very tense and Portugal played well with less players than Holland for most of the match.

There was a very nice moment near the end of the game when two plays from Holland and Portugal who had been red carded (van Bronckhurst and Deco) were discussing the game and the refereeing while sitting on some stairs in the stadium.

I think people need to start reducing the pressure on referees and increase the pressure on players to behave in the correct manner.


Sunday, June 25, 2006

World Cup Diary - Day 16

The last 16 started finally. So it is down to business.

Before the Germany vs. Sweden match started I thought that it would be quite difficult for Germany against Sweden. Sweden pushed England to the limit and I thought they would do the same to Germany.

How wrong I was...

Germany played really well, and Blitzed Sweden into submission. The German defense was still abit shaky but when they were going forward it was beautiful to watch. Ballack was pulling all the strings and Germany had a flow about them when they attacked.

Sweden had a man sent off and did have a chance to get back into the game when they got a penalty. They couldn't capitalise on the opportunity and Germany continue their progress into the Quarter Finals.


Next the best game so far in the World Cup.

Argentina vs. Mexico was supposed to be a walk over for Argentina. This view was understandable because Argentina had been playing the best football of the tournament and Mexico had been playing average football.

The game started and Mexico exploded into the game. Mexico scored a good goal by taking the game to Argentina and showing no fear. Argentina were shell shocked and Mexico could have doubled their lead. As it happened Argentina got a goal back.

This game ws as football should be played with both team going all out to win the match.

The second half was more of a tense afair but both teams still had chances. Mexico had some injuries and had to use some of their substitutes. At a similar time Argentina were using their stubstitutes (Messi and Tevez). The two subs stated to run at the tiring Mexican defense but could break it down.

The game went into Extra Time and just as it started Maxi Rodrigues chested the ball and volleyed in a goal of the highest quality. This seemed to knock the stuffing out of the brave Mexican team and they couldn't muster a reply.

The game ended with Argentina winning but Mexico can take a lot of credit for making a classic World Cup match.

The game showed the rest of the teams left in the world cup that Argentina can be beaten as long as you show no fear and attack them.


World Cup Diary - Day 15

France had to win by 2 goals against Togo. In the first half Togo kept with France and had some chances. France were getting into some great positions but could find the net.

The second half started in a similar way, but finally France broke the deadlock with a smart goal by Viera. The relief could be felt as the French team started to play. They got a second goal which was scored by Henry. After the second goal France went back into their shell and could have paid for it if Togo had took some of their chances.

In the end Frnace got through and will face Spain in the last 16.


Saturday, June 24, 2006

World Cup Diary - Day 14

Similar to England, Brazil needed a good performance. They were shocked into playing by a Japan goal about 30 minutes into the first half. Brazil got a goal back at a good time just before half. After that goal it looked difficult for Japan to get back.

In the second half Brazil had a ten minute period when they looked like a real Brazilian team. Ronaldo was scoring, Ronaldinho was passing and the ball beautifully. This didn't last for the whole game but it was good to see.


World Cup Diary - Day 13

Today showcased the best game so far (on paper). Holland vs. Argentina. In reality both the teams were happy with the draw and Argentina especially had a second string side out. Holland just about managed to live with the Argentinians but it was though for them.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

World Cup Diary - Day 12

I am going to change th format of the World Cup Diaries from now on.

Instead of reporting on each match I will pick out the important matches and important issues of the day.


Today was a day when England needed a performance more than they needed the result. England had a set back within a minute of starting th match. Michael Owen was streachered off with a twisted knee when he fell awkwardly when just passing the ball. Crouch came on for Owen and Endland seemed to recover and played quite well in the first half. The half was topped off with a wonderful strike by Joe Cole. He hit a dipping shot which the Swedish keeper could only tip on to the post and in. (To be honest I think he miss hit it abit and this is why it got the amazing amount of dip on it, but it was still a great goal)

The second half was a different story, as usual. Up until this match the England defence was the one thing that had looked really solid.

In this game it looked really vunerable on set peices. The first Sweden goal should have been a routine defensive header away at the near post. Straight after the first Sweden had another corner and England looked vunerable again. This time they were lucky as Robinson pushed the shot onto the bar.

England looked nervy all the way through the second half.

The second Swedish goal also came from a set peice (long throw in) and again England couldn't deal with it.

So England are through to the second round and will play Ecuador


Monday, June 19, 2006

World Cup Diary - Day 11

The Switzerland vs. Togo match was in danger of being called off because the Togo players hadn't been paid for playing in the World Cup. FIFA stepped in and met with the Togo team and got the game to go ahead.

I didn't watch the game but this result means that France will have to win their game against Togo by 2 clear goals.


Ukraine needed to win against S Arabia in order to get over the Spain defeat. I watched the second half and Ukraine looked very good going forward. Schevchenko always seems to be shouting at his team mates and looking abit stropy but he did scored a goal and made one for the team also made a goal. S Arabia were pretty awful though out the match.


Spain were on a high after their win against Ukraine. On paper Tunisia were a weaker team than Ukraine so the result should have been a formality. Watched some of the first half and Spain looked very shaky in defence. There were a few errors for the goal, by Puyol, of all people.

Tunisia held onto the lead until after half time. Spain changed things after half time and brought on Raul and Fabregas. At first not a lot changed in terms of the game but eventually it paid off. Raul got the first goal after Fabregases shot rebounded off the keeper and then Fabregas supplied the pass for Torres to score. Fabregas did do well when he came on.

Torres stole the show with his late goals and could be one of the stars of the World Cup.


Sunday, June 18, 2006

World Cup Diary - Day 10

Japan and Croatia both lost their first games so they both needed a win. Both teams were intent on going for the win but Croatia were more successful and should really have scored more than a few times. Japan, for all their good passing were mostly restricted to long shots. All in all it was a very entertaining nil nil draw.


Brazil had a bit of a point to prove in their game against Australia. On the other hand Australia were confident of getting something out of the game. In the end Australia managed to stay with a below par Brazil until just after half time. After the goal Australia had numerous half chances to score a goal but could convert any of the chances. Late on Brazil got a second and finished Australia off. The scorer was FRED, not Fredinio or Fredaldo just plain FRED.

This game highlighted the difference between good solid, hard working teams like Australia and the teams above them like Brazil. Teams like Brazil have the ability to convert the half chances that they get. Overall both teams got a similar number and type of chances but Brazil were able to convert a couple of their half chances whereas Australia couldn't convert any of their half chances. Adrianos goal was a half chance at best, being at the edge of the box with a defender in front of him. But he had the ability to convert the chance into a goal.

I think that this world cup has shown that most of the teams are well organised and hard working but the better teams have a couple of players (in the case of Brazil 3-4 players) who can make or convert a half chance into a goal. This is the only difference.

Australia still have a strong chance of getting through to the second round and Brazil are slowly getting better.


France needed a big performance in order to give their supporters confidence in the team. I only heard the first half on radio but France seemed to have good half. Henry scored and all was well for 'Le Blues'. However in the second half things changed. It seemed as though France thought they had the game won. It was understandable that they thought this way because S Korea did absolutely nothing in the first half (For the first 80 minutes to be honest). France didn't go for the second goal with any purpose in the second half and this lack of adventure eventually cost them when S Korea scored a goal that drew the game. France were trying to stroll to a win but S Korea didn't stop trying and finally got their goal.

This result leaves France in a precarious position because they will have to beat Togo by to clear goals in order to be sure of making it out of the group stages.


Saturday, June 17, 2006

World Cup Diary - Day 9

Portugal have had a similar World Cup to England, they scraped through their first game with a 1-0 win and today in their second match they left it late to get a 2-0 victory. Ronaldo scored a penalty but didn't have a good game at all. None of his tricks worked and he was greedy in promising positions. The heart beat of the team is Figo. When he plays well the team starts to play well. Deco was also very good and scored a really good goal.

Iran just didn't have the quality in the final third in order to convert the few chances they had.


In one of the surprise results of the World Cup so far the Czech Republic lost to Ghana. I only watched the first half. Czech Rep looked like a very different team to the one that beat USA so well earlier on in the week. Against Ghana there was no fluency or urgency. They seamed lethargic and slow. On the other hand the Ghanians were quicker to the ball and played with determination and passion.


There is always one or two freak games in the World Cup. The Italy vs. USA match was one of them. Italy started off quite slowly but the USA looked a transformed team from the slow and pointless team that turned up against Czech Rep. USA had a great tempo to their game and were causing Italy lots of problems. Then it all changed Italy had De Rossi sent off for an elbow against McBride. It was a horrible moment and it definately deserved a red card. Just before the sending off USA had brought themselves back on to level terms with the help of a own goal, after Italy had gone ahead earlier on. It looked like it was going to be a very open and attacking match before the sending off.

After the sending off the game changed but USA couldn't take advantage of the extra man. Then USA had their midfielder sent off for a rash callenge. Then straight after the break USA had Pope sent off fo a second yellow card. After all these sendings off the game got very streched. To be fair USA had some of the best chances even though they had a player less. Italy should have killed off the game during the second half but they couldn't, so it ended all level.


World Cup Diary - Day 8

Day 8 and it was time for Argentina to lay down the gauntlet for all other teams in the World Cup. In the past 8 days Spain and Argentina have impressed the most. Argentina played Serbia and Montenegro. S&M are supposed to have one of the meanest defenses in football. Unfortunately for them they had a bad day and Argentina had a great day and scored 6!.

I didn't get to see the match live but I made a point of watching the highlights. The goal that Argentina scored with 24 passes was class and their all round movement and passing was breath taking. When S&M had their player sent off the Argentines brought on their substitutes and what substitutes they were, Tevez and Messi came on to add more woes to the S&M team. On this kind of form Argentina are the best team in the tournament so far...

ARG 6 S&M 0

Holland are making steady progress through the group stages and it seams like they no one is talking about them. I heard alot of the game on the radio and it seamed lke Holland are playing good football.

Unfortunately Ivory Coast had a batism of fire for their first World Cup. Playing Argentina and Holland in the group of death wasn't the ideal way of starting the world cup. IC have some good players and they have a good style of play. In any other group they would have got through to the next round. Unlucky.


I went to play football in the evening and caught the second half of the Mexico vs. Angola match. Angola defended really well and even had a few chances to score. As the game went on Mexico became more and more frustrated. The Angolan keeper had a really good match (and abit of luck). He is the keeper who has no club at the moment and trained by himself to be fit for the World Cup. Thats what I call commitment.


Friday, June 16, 2006

World Cup Diary - Day 7

Ecuador have been the surprise package of the world cup so far. Before the tournament started most people were saying that Ecuador could only win games at home where they play a 8000 feet above sea level. They have shown that they are more than capable of playing European teams at lower altitudes and still beat them handsomely. I didn't see the Costa Rica match but from what I heard of it it seemed that it was more of the same.

Although Costa Rica played quite well against Germany they seemed to lack the defernsive disipline to go further in the tournament.


It was England time again and I finished at 4pm to get back home in time to watch the match. Everybody was saying that Rooney would play some part in the game.

My verdict of the game was as follows. In the first half England play to slowly and deliberatly. The commentators were saying that up to the Trinidad and Tobego 3rd of the pitch the England players were not being pressed at all by the TandT players so they had lots of time to find the pass. The problem with this is that if you have too much time then your instincts don't work as well so you think too much about things and it doesn't work. If you have quick passing then instinct takes over and things start to flow. This is what happened when Lennon and Rooney came on. Things started to flow abit more Lennon was running at people and Rooney was running about abit. Rooney didn't do much but atleast he was trying. This seemed to lift the team and lift the crowd.

I think England needs to play at a high tempo. This is the way the players play in the Premiership and this is the way the English team play when they are playing at their best.

All countries have their own style of play. Brazilians have their own style, Germans have their own style. If Brazilians tried to play like an English team, it just wouldn't work. This is why England should play to it's strength and play a pacey game and press the oposition. They shouldn't try to copy other countries style of play and stick to something they are familiar with and play the English way.

Obviously there are times when you have to adapt to the conditions but this shouldn't mean that you abandon your way of playing and copy other styles. It won't work.

Another win for England they will get better as the tournament progresses.


Sweden needed a win to against Paraguay. Although they got into good positions lots of times. They were unable to find the net until the 88th minute. Paraguay defended really well and had a few chances of their own but they were unlucky to be caught by a late goal by Ljungberg.


Thursday, June 15, 2006

World Cup Diary - Day 6

Every time the World cup or the European Championship, I always used to say that Spain had a great chance of going very far in the tournament. Every time I said something about Spain they would fail at the early stages. About six weeks ago I was in Madrid and was very close to buying a Spainish top but didn't. This would have been a big deal for me because I have never had any football team top except for a Bradford City top that my aunty gave me.

Anyway this World Cup I haven't said anything about Spain and it's chances. So it is typical that they go and beat Ukraine by 4 goals to 0 and also play the best football of any side in the World Cup so far. i havent seen the match yet but everyone was saying that Spain played some wonderful football.

Ukraine in there first World Cup have to pick themselves up and could still qualify becuase of the other result in the group. Schevchenko needs to be on top form


Tunisia and S Arabia both knew that they would have a great chance of progressing if they won their match. They both tried as hard as they could but in the end both teams had to settle for a draw. When Al Jaber scored for S Arabia it looked as though they were to be victorious but this was not the case as Tunisia came back on level terms in the last seconds of the game. It was an opportunity lost for both teams


Even though Germany had Ballack back in the team after injury I was still un impressed with the German team. All their players are workman like, they don't have a flare player of any quality. Poland are similar in style to Germany but they are not as good as the Germans. I have to say that they defended valiantly for 90 minutes but with seconds to go they lost concentration and let the Germans score. This was partly due to the many substitutions that Poland were making in order to eat up time. Again an unimpresive Germany still managed to grind out a result (some thing they are past masters at doing). It will probably be good for the tournament if they get to the latter stages of the tournament even though I doubt that they wil win it playing as they have so far.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

World Cup Diary - Day 5

I was at work for the S. Korea match against Togo and didn't see any of the goals but from what I heard Togo were abit unlucky an the match changed when the Togo plyer was sent off


Probably the most frustrating match I watched so far was France vs. Switerland. Both teams seamed devoid of ideas. It was an interesting stat that France haven't scored goal since the 1998 world cup final. But remember it is only 4 matches ;-))

Zidane had a bit of a shouting match with Gallas and Henry looked like a different player from what he was doing with Arsenal only a few months ago.

Switerland had some guilt edge changes to cause a bigger upset but could put the ball in the net. One of the craziest chances was when the ball came into the box from a free kick with two Swiss player going for the ball. One of the Swiss players couldn't reach the ball with his head so instead he handled the ball eve though the other Swiss player behind him was in an even better position to score. Definately 2 points lostfor Switzerland


It was billed as the biggest match so far. Brazil vs. Crotia. Brazil didn't live up to the hype. I don't agreed that they were purposly playing at half speed. Crotia had 3 or 4 great chances to score but just couldn't find the corner of the net. The ball always seemed to be drawn to Dida in the Brazilian goals. Kaka and Cafu played well going forward but the two 'stikers' up front for Brazil (Ronaldo 'El Gordo Gordo' and Adriano 'El Gordo') were just out for an evening walk. It was like Brazil were playing with 9 men just to make it fairer for the other side.

So we know they are definately beatable now. Brazil maybe very dangerous when teams think they have a chance against them.

Hope to see a better Brazil in the next game.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

World Cup Diary - Day 4

Australia have always puzzled me because we see alot of their players in the Premiership. It should mean that they have a strong side. This has not always been the case. I think that this time they may surprise some of the teams they play. They have big time players like Viduka, Cahill and to a lesser extent Kewell.

I didn't watch the Japan vs. Australia match (I was at work) but I heard it was a really good match. Japan led for most of the game but Australia came back with Cahill who got two quick goals.


The Czech Republic are supposed to be 2nd in the world rankings. They played really well against USA. Although USA didn't have alot of spark going forward, apart from Johnson, they are still quite solid. Nedved and Rosicky were the difference. They say Czech Rep are an aging team but the heat didn't seam to affect them that much.The one downer for them was the injury to Koller.( I have got Czech Rep in my sweep stake at work )


I have always had a soft spot for Italy, ever since Italia '90 when Baggio and Scilachi came onto the scene. It was the first world cup I remember properly. When I look back at it there were some great moments in it including Roger Milla and his extravagent Cameroon side. David Platt and his last minute winner against Belgium. Gazza and his tears (obviously ;-)). Baggio and the great goal when he started off on the half way line (I think it was against Czechslovakia) and went all the way.

I know it wasn't the best world cup ever but it will aways be one of the best for me because it was my first.

Anyway I digress...

In 2006 Italy are one of the favourites again. They have a solid defense (as always) and are good going forward aswell. Against Ghana they looked in control most of the time. Try as Ghana and Essien did they couldn't break the Italian defense and players like Toni and Totti were always a threat. A deserved victory


World Cup Diary - Day 3

Holland 'the best team not to win the World Cup'. I didn't see Hollands match against Serbia and Montenegro (S&M ;-) as it happened but I did manage to catch the high lights in the evening.

Robben was all over the pitch. He scored from van Persie's pass. For all of Robbens good work there were times whe he was a bit greedy and went for the shot, rather than picking out a pass.

HOL 1 S&M 0

Mexico looked like a very slick side. Their captain, Marquez, is a class act. I think he plays for Barcelona. He was playing passes all over the pitch. Mexico always seem like a team that looks good against weaker opposition, but who falter against the big boys.

Iran have some good players but they don't have the killer instinct infront of the goal.


Portugal are one of a number of team for whom this maybe the last chance for the current generation of players. It is probably going to be the last World Cup for many of the Portugal players. Figo was a different class. His running with the ball is a diferent class.

Angola was a good team to watch but it seemed to me that the game went on, they didn't really believe that they could beat Portugal. Similar to Iran they didn't have enough quality in the last third of the pitch.


Sunday, June 11, 2006

World Cup Diary - Day 2

3 Matches 1 Day. I'll have to pace myself a bit today!

First Match is England vs. Paraguay.

England started very well got the goal and then in the second half they they started to play the all to familiar 'all out defence and start to panick' style of play. Yes the heat may have been a factor but surely they know it going to be hot, so they should have been prepared for it. They have known about the problem for 4-6 years. So they should have a solution for it in that amount of time.

Anyway it is a win. so to the next game.


Sweden were supposed to stroll a win against Trinidad and Tobego but that was not the case. TandT played really well especially Shaka Hislop the TandT goal keeper (he only knew he was starting the game about 10 mins before the game).

Sweden did look slick going forward but they just couldn't find the net.


Next the most awaited game so far. Agentina vs. Ivory Coast. Two really attacking teams who went at each other all the way through the match. Apart from abit of play acting from Drogba and Sorin it was the best match so far.


Today just goes to show that there is no easy games in the World Cup

World Cup Diary - Day 1

This is the first time I am am going to be working while the World Cup is going on. In order to cope with the fact that I will not beable to watch every match I am going to keep a diary that will tell you how I feel about the days games.

Day one had the opening ceremony (something that no football fan will want to miss !!??!!). A guy at work brought in a portable tv so I heard bits of the first half of Germany vs. Costa Rica.

I got home in time for the second half and saw a few goals. The last German goal was swerving all over the place. Germany didn't look like they should go that far, but it is 'Germany', so no matter how they play they will probably go very far.

Costa Rica didn't look that bad, they have Wanchope, who I always liked as a player.


I went to play football between the Friday matches and got back to watch the second half of Poland vs. Ecuador. I was very impressed with Ecuador, they had a good style of play. Poland had all the ball but they didn't do anything with it.


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Need to keep a record of our Boliyan

It was my cousins wedding at the weekend. The wedding went really well.

After the wedding we were at my cousins house. It was about midnight and one of my cousins friends was coming out with some of the funniest boliyan I have ever heard.

During this week I had the urge to look for boliyan on the Internet. To my surprise I couldn't find many boliyan.

Here is what I found

The lack of central source of boliyan has got me thinking. I am going to set up a site where you can post boliyan the site is going to be completely searchable so that you can search for your favourite boliyan.

I will let you know how it goes...