Friday, 18 June 2010

Thursday 17 June 2010 – WORLD CUP DAY SEVEN

My Panini World Cup stickers came through the post today. I cannot believe I spent almost £10 on so few packets. I remember back in the day (1986) when you would get ten packs for a quid and your parents would accuse you of wasting money. Of these twenty packs I get three foils, only Glen Johnson and Aaron Lennon from England and strangely Ghezzal and Khune in a same pack of five (two players that have been sent off). I also get a Waldo Ponce! I really should not have bought football stickers, I am 33 years old! That said who needs to buy the actual stickers when people are putting this up online.

Elsewhere just when I thought the vuvuzela couldn’t get any more annoying or better (delete as applicable) I discover this website.

At domestic level George Burley was today announced as the new manager of Crystal Palace. That is hardly Puff Daddy. On a brighter note the upcoming fixtures for the 2010/2011 English leagues were announced today. Those days will be here within weeks.

The coverage of the day begins on ITV and Edgar Davids is again on board to lend his expert opinions while looking like a rasta Mr Magoo. Please ITV if you can send Robbie Earle home you can send this guy home too.

Elsewhere as I look up Gary Lineker on Wikipedia (don’t ask) I am enlightened by these facts I previously did not know about him: “gary linekar is actualy 72 but had a major face lift and people say he is english but hes actualy japanies because his parents wouldnt let him imagrate”. Would you ever?

The Maradona show flies back into town today as he goes head-to-head (at a managerial level) with the man that man marked him at Mexico 86 (Huh Jung-moo). The match begins well but soon Argentina are stamping their authority on proceedings despite the best efforts of South Korea. For me it resembles a match of a different area, a well paced game in blazing/glorious sunshine. This is what I think of when I think of the World Cup. As South Korea play deep Argentina press and unfortunately it is the South Korean striker Park Chu-Young who puts through his own goal after 16 minutes. Later Gonzalo Higuain of Real Madrid adds a second with a free header at the far post from a freekick in the 33rd minute. With the game remaining competitive it heads towards halftime with Argentina looking in control when one minute into injury time Lee Chung-Yong picks the pocket of Demichelis and pulls a surprise goal back as he tips the ball over Romero. As things roll into the second half a key moment occurs when in an amazing move South Korea almost equalize in the 57th minute. From here Argentina take control of proceedings as Messi remains a constant danger and when on a run in the 76th minute he smacks the ball of the post with a second effort which Higuain promptly knocks in for his second. Four minutes later Higuain completes his hat-trick with a simple nod in and it finishes up 4-1 to Argentina. At the end of the game a jubilant Diego Maradona trots onto the pitch hobbling much in the style and fashion of a dictator such as Hugo Chavez. This man is going to win his nation the World Cup by any means necessary.

In a fixture that fails to hold much enthusiasm for anybody but we’ll soldier on regardless. After 15 minutes a Kalu Uche free kick flies straight into the goal for Nigeria as goalkeeper Tzorvas makes a real howler diving in the wrong direction for Greece. Unfortunately on 32 minutes Kaita gets sent off for Nigeria after pushing and kicking out. From here the flow of the game visible changes as suddenly Greece work their way back into the game and they really step up towards the end of the half. With this in mind Nigeria were probably hoping to reach the break and recoup but unfortunately on 42 minute mark Salpigidis scores with a wicked deflection. At halftime back in the studio “the readers wives” review the half and as Alan Hansen describes the Greeks as “the whites”, referring to their shirts, by accident he sounds comedically racist. The second half begins with Nigeria looking a bit more organized and when they break on the 58th minute Obasi misses a very good opportunity for Nigeria to regain the lead. From here the Nigerian keeper Enyeama repeats his exploits of Saturday making a particularly impressively save in the 68th minute. Unfortunately in the 70th minute he spills a shot which Torosidis scoops in to slot home on the rebound. Eventually a Russell Brand lookalike appears on the pitch in the form of Samaras and when the final whistle blows despite being European Champions in 2004 this is Greece registering their first ever win at a World Cup finals.

Again today Thierry Henry is not in the France starting lineup amidst rumours of great dissent in the French camp. From a distance and with stupidity this game physically looks like France v Ireland again. To back this up in the crowd is some annoying wacky guy dressed as Henry’s hand. I guess this is why people don’t like the French. The match begins relatively sparkly with Mexico looking dangerous, more dangerous than France. After only two minutes Dos Santos hits the post (albeit they are offside at the time). Again in the Mexican lineup tonight is Franco the Jimmy McNulty lookalike. I wonder if he is wearing a wire. Right now word is that things are pretty chilly in South Africa and this is a point laboured by the French team as they sit on the bench beneath tartan blankets. I new this team was old but this is ridiculous. The first half turns out to be a pretty decent game, less guarded than a number of games so far this tournament. Despite this yet again another game reaches halftime with the score 0-0. Tonight in the crowd a number of Mexican supporters are wearing wrestling masks, it looks awesome. Finally there is a goal in the 63rd minute when despite looking a mile offside (it was tight) Javier Hernandez winds up on a one-to-one with the French goalkeeper and slots the chance away. Later in the 76th minute Mexico’s Vela gets upended in the penalty box by Vera as it gets given to old man Blanco (a minor Jon Favreau) to knock the penalty home and make it 2-0 to Mexico. From here the remainder of the match plays out like a wake and an obituary as the cameras keep focusing on Domenech and his apparent failure to harness the French team. The point gets laboured that this is likely to be the final time many of the French stars will play in such a tournament and it turns into something of a dour spectacle. As Henry remains wrapped up on the French bench elsewhere substitutes apparently begin hanging out behind one of the goals away from the scapegoat’s instructions. When the final whistle blows it’s a gesture of people the game of its misery.

So far today represents the best day of the tournament so far.

The night ends with a trash piece documentary on Thierry Henry’s mate Tiger Woods. They’re not mates really it would appear.

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