Tuesday, June 27, 2006

67. Onwards They March

What an upset. England, the over-whelming underdogs in the tie against the Ecuadorians, have managed to somehow scrap through, thanks to the mighty exploits of Beckham and co. What have we learned from this match?

a) Frank Lampard is surely the most over-rated footballer in the world. 2nd best player after Ronaldinho? Surely not. He's officially taken over the mantle from Gerrard, who at least looks half decent sometimes.
b) Beckham may play like crap for 89 minutes and 59 seconds, but is apt to score a brilliant free kick in a second (when he's not busy vomitting that is).
c) Watching England is like having a bit of your soul die away. It literally breaks the spirit and saps your will to live.
d) Frank Lampard is the most over-rated foot-, oh.
e) England's plan of playing a short-passing game consists of everyone passing to Beckham and him lumping 70 yard balls to no one in particular. Pure genius.

Of course, if England were to go on and win the damn thing, I'll be stuck with egg on my face. And if they do, the rubbish they've been playing will be forgiven and forgotten. But not by me, nay. The memory of the crimes they've committed against football and humanity in general shall be forever seared in my brain, till the end of days, when the cold of night has come.

Speaking of egg on the face, when will Shebby Singh give up the good fight and concentrate on things he's actually good at? Like, err...so he might actually be rubbish at everything. But I'm sure his mother still loves him. You could almost hear the nation collectively weep everytime he utters the phrase "And yes, Paul...", followed by an incoherent sentence or two, leaving the unfortunate Paul Masefield utterly perplexed.

But enough of the Sheb for now. As I write this, Italy has done it again! The spirit of USA 94 lives on! A late penalty puts the ten-men Italians through to the quarter-finals! Brilliant stuff that!!! ITALIA! ITALIA! ITALIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, June 23, 2006


Not the best team to go into the next round by a mile, but still not too shabby. If luck and form picks up, who knows how far they'll go...best not to think of the Aussies now, who (quite worringly) play a similar robust game like the Americans, and we all know what happened in that game, don't we? Eh? Eh?

For now, it's a good day, a Blue day. Go Azzurri!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

65. World Cup Watch

Bloody brilliant I tell you. Argentina. And that goal.

Basically it was ping, ping, ping, one touch football, a one-two involving a backheel and a sublime finish. Forget Maradona's individual strike. This was the best goal ever scored in a World Cup match.

This is how football should be played. High tempo short-passing, with the inter-changing of positions, and purposeful off-the-ball running. Exactly the opposite of how England play. Pure genius.

Early days yet, but the Argies look mighty good. Unless they've peaked too early or self-destruct. That looks highly unlikely with this team though. The spirit and togetherness is prevalent in how they play. And the steady head on Leo Messi's tiny shoulders is a testament of their mentality. Don't get over-confident, he says. Too early in the tournament for that.

Compare this to the voices emanating from the Inger-lund camp. Carragher says the Kop spirit will win it for them. Uh-huh. Right. Gerrard says that the Argies were playing against inferior opponents. True, they were. So what were Trinidad and Tobago and Paraguay? Surely they were ranked 1st and 2nd in the world eh, eh? Explain that 24 pass move that led to the goal. England can barely string two passes on the ground together before resorting to an aimless punt forward.

Enough of the bloody English. The most disappointing team of the World Cup so far must surely be Brazil. Talked up as the best Brazil team in years, this one seems to be lost in it's own hype. Not as bad as England but even more disappointing considering they have Ronaldinho, Kaka and Adriano in their side. So far, only Kaka's been delivering, with Ronaldinho looking a pale shadow of his brilliant self. What gives? I'll tell you what gives. Too many cooks for the same dish.

And what of Italy? Superb against Ghana but tentative against Team U! S! A! Fucking hell, they always do that don't they? Press the self-destruct button when everything seems to be going their way (cue brilliant Zaccardo own goal). Remember, the spirit of Roberto Baggio circa 1994 watches over you, so bloody shape up will ya???

It's Germany 2 Ecuador 0 as at half-time now. I do hope it's Germany-England in the next round. Please, please, pretty please.

"Wake-up, you ass-wipes!!! Cream those Czechs!!!"

Friday, June 16, 2006

64. Muppet Watch #2

At the risk of sounding as giddy as a schoolgirl on crack, I must say that England are doing their upmost best to fulfill all lofty expectations of themselves. Lofty in the sense that they'll be the best over-hyped team of the tournament.

Against Paraguay they looked clueless, lumbering and worse of all, uninterested. Though I must admit that they did have some semblance of a team for a minute or two. Just before they took the lead with a brilliant goal. Said goal in question was of course scored by a Paraguayan player. Then it went pretty much downhill from there. Only that there wasn't much lower to sink to.

Coming as underdogs against the mighty Trinidad and Tobago, England played as the weaker team would in these testing circumstances. They lumped the ball upfield with the blind hope that their break-dancing bean pole of a striker would get a lucky deflection and score. And score he did, which was again a Herculean-feat as he used his 10 foot 9 frame to outjump the giant 4 foot defender that was marking him. He did miss the most difficult chance of the World Cup so far mind. Unmarked and only the keeper to beat from about 8 yards. But of course the wind was blowing, and the sun was shining, the fans were too noisy, and the grass wasn't green enough. Valid reasons that.

But at least he did look better than his midget partner, who seemed to scurry about aimlessly carrying the heavy reputation of being someone who used to have pace and could score goals.

And the greatest midfield in the world, as we are all led to believe, had another outstanding game. Running around bumping into one another with antics that would make the Three Stooges proud, they seemed intent at outdoing one another in being the one who hit the most aimless and misdirected passes. Ever.

But of course they were playing against a midfield that would rival Brazil, with players plying their trade in the lower regions of Scottish and English football.

The best of the bunch would have to be Lampard, who has now decided that he's Pele. Only without the skill and technique. And the vision. And the ability to pass. Nevermind pass, the ability to think straight would suffice.

Ecuador and Germany must be wetting themselves in anticipation that they'd be lucky one to meet the muppets in the second round. Oh yeah, did I mention that? The muppets are through. And so the freakshow goes on in Germany. Viva Italia.

"Everyone, look at me!!! I'm a giant mutant-retard trying to dance!!! WHEEEE!!!!"

Saturday, June 10, 2006

63. Muppet Watch

Early days yet, but I must say that the Muppet of the Week Award has to go to the entire England World Cup squad. Has the world ever seen such a over-paid, over-hyped and self-absorbed bunch? The answer is unfortunately yes. Look to the England World Cup squad of 2002.

The kick-off is in 15 minutes. They're sure to win against unheralded Paraguay, but how I wish for an upset. It's just a shame that John Terry is English. He's just about the only decent bloke in there, him and perhaps Owen Hargreaves.

Hmmm, I'm strangely fascinated as I write as I watch the new Osim horse-riding thingy commercial...

The England squad, led by Beckham (pictured carrying Sven in a basket), make their way to the stadium for their opening game

Monday, June 05, 2006

62. The World Cup Cometh

Hell yeah. Viva Italia. Screw England. But of course the best team (hint, starts with a 'B' and ends with a 'razil') will win it easily.