Monday, July 10, 2006

World Cup Diary - Day 21 - 26

I thought that I should conclude my World Cup Diary by briefly discussing the remaining days of the World Cup in one final blog.

ENG 0 POR 0 (Portugal won 3-1 on penalties)

was a familiar end to England's hopes in the World Cup. It was a tense
and subdued perform ace by England again. Rooney's sending off was not
a sending off. Rooney was looking for the ball with his foot and
accidentally stepped onCarvalho. All the commentators and pundits were just waiting for the opportunity to have go at Rooney and they got their chance.

England showed a bit of passion after going down to 10 men but didn't have the flair to open up Portugal.

are not a nice team. They have the mentality of trying to win at all
cost without any notion of sportsmanship. This has been drilled into
them by Big Phil. I am glad he is not going to manage England.


old men of France gave the Brazil team a lesson in how to play. This
was the Brazil team who thought they had won the world cup before a
ball had been kicked.

Zidane ran the show in Midfield, with Viera and Makalele tidying up behind him. It was really good to watch a great player playing at his best.

couldn't cope with how the French team was setup. The game was
definitely won in midfield, where Brazil were distinctly lightweight.

Henry's goal was good and it was just what France deserved.


The Italians had cruised into the semi finals with wins over a plucky Australia and a poor Ukraine.

This was a great match with both teams attacking from the outset. After normal time it was goalless.
In extra time Italy decided to attack because they knew that Germany
have a superb record in penalty shootouts. This tactic paid off whenGrosso who has grown into a great player during the tournament curled in a shot that will be remembered for a long time to come. Del Piero finish off a break away late to seal Germany's fate.

Germany were refreshingly good to watch through out the tournament and they should be proud of what they achieved.


Zidane scored the penalty that sealed his date with destiny. Portugal were poor and deserved to go out.


ITA 1 FRA 1 (ITA win on penalties)

In an incident packed final Zidane
was the centre of attention. After 6 minutes he scored with an amazing
chipped penalty. You really have to have guts even think abut scoring a
penalty like that.Matteratzi had conceded the penalty that Zidane scored. Fortunately for Matteratzi he was able to make an amends for the penalty when he powered in a header from a corner.

There were no more goal in the match. But the major talking point of the whole match happened when Zidane head butted Matteratzi
in the chest during extra time. There are a few theories about why he
did it but I will leave them for another post. A photo taken at the
summed up the situation beautifully. It showed Zidane walking past the
world cup into the tunnel after he was sent off. It just summed it up.
France were visibly shaken after the sending off and went on to loose
the final 5-3 on penalties.

It was a dramatic end to a good
world cup. Italy were the team that grew as the tournament went on.
Even though from a purist point of view they dived to get past
Australia. I think they won the World Cup on merit especially as they
had the back drop of the scandal at home and alot of the players didn't know who they would be playing for in the season to come.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

World Cup Diary - Day 20

I was looking forward to the Germany vs. Argentina game. I caught the second half and then, extra time and penalties. Germany did well to come back from a goal down but they were helped by the tactics of Pekerman.

Pekerman decided to take off Riquelme after they scored. This changed was designed to sure up the Argentinian defense so that they could hang onto their lead. Unfortunately it didn't work. The change made the Argentinians loose their impetance and they became really defensive. They lost their fluid passing and became quite ordinary.

Germany took the initiative from Argentina and got the goal. Extra time was a tense affair and penalties seemed enevitable.

The Germans were their old efficient self's in the penalty shoot out. Each one of their penalties found the net. Argentina were mentally drained by this time and they couldn't cope with the Germans.

It was a pity how Argentina played because in the early rounds the team play some super football.

In this match they went defensive and forgot to play the football that got them to this stage.

ARG 1 GER 1 (Germany win on penalties)

Italy and Ukraine played in quite a poor match. Ukraine played a very defensive game with Sevchenko the only attacking player. They played as if they were happy to be in the quarter finals and didn't want to go any further.

Italy were clinical as they finished off Ukraine with some goals.


Sunday, July 02, 2006

World Cup Diary - Day 19

Spain vs. France was the match of the day. Spain started extreamely well by taking the game to France and showing the form that had taken them this far.

Spain got a penalty early on and it seemed that they would go on to take the match. However they were unable to do this. France managed to get back into the game and deservedly scored a goal before the break.

After the break the game was fairly even but Spain couldn't get to the level of play that they had in the early games. Just when we thought that the game was heading for extra time, Viera managed to score a vital goal. The goal came from a free kick that was won by Henry, it was a free kick because Puyol elbowed Henry in the chest. The reaction from Henry was poor because he cluched his face in his hands and fell to the ground as if he had been elbowed in the face. It was bad to see a player who has condemed diving in the past, do such a thing.The Viera goal knocked the stuffing out of Spain and they couldn't recover. Zidane finished the game off by scoring on the break.


I didn't see the Brazil vs. Ghana match but it was a below par performance by Brazil again.


World Cup Diary - Day 18

Italy seemed to have an easy route to the Semi finals with Australia and then Ukraine or Switzerland standing in their way. I watched half the match. It was quite a poor match with Australia not able to capitalise on the Italians red card at the start of the second half. The Australians couldn't turn their possesion into a goal.

The legendary Italian defense withstood all the Aussies attacks without much trouble.

In the end the Italians got a synical foul with one of their players just falling over an Australian defender. They got a penalty and Totti stepped up to convert it. I felt sorry for the Aussies who deserved to go to extra time atleast and only were stopped from doing this, by the gamesmanship of the Italians. The Australian defender went to ground to early in the box but this is no excuse for the Italian to take advantage so cruelly.

Some Australian supporters were interviewed after the game. They were disgusted by the antics of the Italians and asked if this kind of thing was common at the top level of the beautiful game. Unfortunately it is all too common.


I think I was one of the few people who watched all of the Switzerland vs. Ukraine match. Both teams were so scared of losing that they wouldn't go for the win. It was a really poor game (especially the second half) and it seemed that the match would never end. Fortunately it did end with Ukraine winning on penalties

UKR 0 SWI 0 (UKR 3 SWI 0 Pens)