Monday, 30 June 2014

The Lying Dutchman

Arjen Robben has looked like a fleet-footed sixty-five year-old ever since he arrived at Chelsea a decade ago. A mazy, tricksy, old-school winger he was, in the last Jose Mourinho team that could ever have been called entertaining. Some of us were hugely impressed with everything he did, and at the time Chelsea's designated diver was Didier Drogba so we hadn't seen him at his worst.

But no player spends ten years in the game without learning a thing or to. Arjen is now just about the most terrifying attacking player any defender left in the World Cup can face. Only Messi is as dangerous running with the ball at his feet. 

However, there's an additional peril when Robben comes bob-bob-bobbing along the edge of the penalty area. Will the scrawny dancing pensioner throw himself to the floor like some hoodlum has just knifed him and swiped his shopping trolley? Erm... yes. Yes, he will. Almost certainly. 

Robben's simulation is so ingrained now I wouldn't be surprised if he's the only man on the planet who could successfully fake an orgasm.  Referees are of course wise to his skulduggery, but unfortunately he is the sort of player who is likely to get fouled by defenders struggling to contain his pace and footwork. So it's hard for the officials. 

Indeed the winning penalty against Mexico probably was a foul, although not one that deserved the now ubiquitous chest-out, arms flailing, Munck's The Scream-faced histrionics that go along with every infringement against the Lying Dutchman. 

This time the perpetually fallen idol has admitted that yes, he did do a dive in the game and that he can only apologise for it. Which, given this bloke's track record, is like stealing a million quid and admitting to £10 worth of it. 

Regular readers will know this is a HUGE FUCKING BUGBEAR of mine and has been since the Gelled Tumbler of Madeira stumbled onto the green fields of England - actually since Francis Lee hurled his tubby frame into the quagmires of Maine Road and the Baseball Ground in the 1970's. 

The debate rages as to what we can do about this. The most facile argument put forward by pundits - particularly those of the forward variety - is the conclusion that if after viewing the slow-mo footage from thirty-seven thousand angles it becomes plain that 'there was contact' then the forward is, apparently, entitled to go down. 

In other words, no one can blame you for pretending that a waft of an eyelash has deprived of the ability to behave normally. It's like the response of some particularly neurotic wife during divorce proceedings. "He had his hand on her arm, so I'm entitled to deduce that there was a full-blown affair going on." 

Another way of looking at this, and Marquez is being accused of being dim-witted in the Holland-Mexico game, is that 'if you leave your foot in, someone will go over it'. So as a defender your best bet with Robben when he's in the box is to get the fuck out of the way and hope he misses (either the goal or your innocent withdrawn tootsies). 

If you do get lazy about this, you defenders, then, well you know, even though most able-bodied people learnt to walk when they were fifteen months old and have coped pretty well ever since, you can't expect a footballer to remember this fact once he moves into that treacherous place we all know as the penalty area. 

On behalf of 90% of viewers I hereby say this to any Costa Rican centre-back. As far as I'm concerend tou are ENTITLED to make as much CONTACT as you damn well like on Arjen Robben cos it doesn't matter whether you get him or not, he's going down. 

So with all this mealy-mouthed excusing of what is essentially a determination to buy a decision from the ref using years of cynically obtained nous, it's now over to FIFA to try once more to apply some sort of moral code to the situation. Yep once again football is caught between the cross hairs of FIFA and Fair Play. (Hilarious, isn't it? If the bidding procedure to host their bloody tournaments could operate fairly that might be a start.)

Any hoo, as I've said TOO MANY TIMES before, there is one thing the overseers of the beautiful game could do immediately. Retrospective bans for divers. Every serious incidence of cheating or foul play that officials miss during the actual game can be punished retrospectively. Only simulation seems to have a special place in the administrators foetid hearts. 

Oh we can all tell nasty biting gauchos to take four months off: eating people is wrong, and certainly not part of the fabric of football. But diving...? Well, you know, everyone does it, don't they? Yes, they bloody well do, but let's not let them. All right you can't change the result of the game that's gone, but you can at least mitigate against it becoming the way to win the next one.

Here's option 1: (the cowardly option)
Robben starts the next game with a yellow card to his name. Even the remotest bogus stagger and he's off. job done. 

Option 2: (a better option)
Give Robben a retrospective red card for the dive he admitted to. And ban him for three games. He'd be out of the tournament. Holland would be scuppered. Job done. 

Option 3: (I've touted it before and I think it might be the best of the three)
If a player is proven to be, or admits to being, a diver, they should dress like a diver - wetsuit, mask, snorkel, flippers, the whole nine yards... and then they still have to play the next game. As my old man used to say, there's nothing wrong with that lad that a bit of public humiliation couldn't put right. 

And of course, the biggest sadness is that, if you took the falling over out of Robben's game he'd be the best player in the tournament up to now (yep, including Lionel and the Baby-Faced Colombian). The fact that he so regularly cheats makes him one of the worst. 





147 comments:

  1. First? Now to read the blog!

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  2. Good stuff Robbo. I'd have him replace the snorkel with a brass bell helmet but to each his own. Cheating cunt. Highly entertaining World Cup is this though.

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  3. I read it, then commented, second it seems. Anon, you are a low, cheating individual, just like Robben, who I said at the end of last comment section should be banned for admitting to his simulation. (Can we get Anon banned?) Kidding - I'm claiming second, first of the real comments. So, nyah.

    Definitely agree, Robbo. Again, as I mentioned in the last post comments, there are scores of cameras trained on these individuals. Should be a simple matter to review the match. And I don't dispute that Robben is a good player - it's that same frustrating element to the biter's play, and others - they just don't seem to be satisfied with being amazingly talented. Or perhaps it's that irrational hunger for goals that, admittedly, you want your striker to have.

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    1. Oh, sure, Trotts trots in as I'm typing my heart-felt, considered words. Third. (sulk, sulk, sulk). :)

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  4. Fourth, and I read the Blog! (great Blog as usual, Robbo)

    Spider

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    1. IMHO the problem is only going to stop when refs start booking players for "simulation" (aka cheating). OK, there are going to be cases where some poor individual is scythed down in the box and gets a yellow card to ge with his broken leg but, on that basis, the Lying Dutchman would have received two yellow cards well before his last minute swallow-dive. Another thing that appears to be a problem is that if you raise you foot more that six inches off the ground and there is an opponent's head anywhere near it's a foul EXCEPT in the penalty area where it's ok to all but take an opponent's head off with a flying head-high last ditch clearance kick into row ZZZ.

      Spider

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  5. In the absence of any bona fide international superstars can I suggest that England pick my mate Mat who is a nice bloke except when drunk, when he becomes a violent hair-trigger psychopath, give him a few carlsberg specials, send him onto the pitch against, let's say, Holland, and then before kick off, whisper in his ear Robben says youre a puff so he marches up to him in the centre circel, takes him out with a karate chop to the throat, and england play with 10 men against a similarly superstarfree team.

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  6. "it's now over to FIFA to try once more to apply some sort of moral code to the situation".

    Robbo, do you think the top of FIFA actually understands "moral code"? The only code Septic Bladder knows is the one to his secret Swiss bank account.


    Jedi

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  7. "If the bidding procedure to host their bloody tournaments could operate fairly that might be a start."

    Good point - what worried me when i heard they had an official inquiry into the Suarez incident was that they would cancel the tournament and award the trophy to Qatar.

    The problem with simulation of course is to establish mens rea. The only solution to this is refs equipped with polygraphs and syringes of sodium pentathol.

    The worst thing about simulation is honest men being laughed at and accused when totally innocent. I am the most honest man you will ever meet (count the spoons) but yes I have been accused of diving in the penalty area. All lies.

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    1. mens rea? Are you goin' latin on us again?

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  8. Chucklesome
    Uruguay's President Jose Mujica has called football's world governing body Fifa "a bunch of old sons of bitches" over Luis Suarez's four-month ban.
    The 79-year-old described the punishment, which also included a suspension for nine international matches, as a "fascist ban".

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    1. I agree with El Presidente in spirit, though more because he's right about FIFA, not the Suarez ban.

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  9. Just to set the record straight, he did not admit to diving where the penalty was given. He admitted to diving on another occasion, in the first half. The penalty that was given, was maybe somewhat doubtful, but was not ridiculous. The dive was exaggerated, but there was definite contact. And don't forget that in the first half a definite penalty was not given, when he was fouled twice actually. And most surprisingly, he for once did not fall over halfway through the second half (again with Marquez), where if he would have, it would have been a stonewall penalty. Instead, he jumped over the legs of Marquez and forced the goalie into another good save. So I think you are being too harsh this time. And yes, I am Dutch.

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  10. I'm happy that the Dutch keep going, progress = more beer sales for H2H

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  11. A foul is a foul is a foul. What's relevant in this circumstance, is whether Robben was fouled and NOT whether he embellished the foul. The embellishment becomes irrelevant if there was indeed a foul. Likewise, the embellishment becomes relevant if there was not a foul because NOW it is a dive. A dive in this sport is defined by a player faking a foul when no foul took place. In the event that Robben dived and there was no foul committed, then I can understand there being a controversy over the call. If I've been fouled and I'm going down, then I'm going down. Now, if I decide that I want to do a cartwheel on my way down, that doesn't change the fact that I was fouled. This type of embellishment is a universal tactic in this sport, ALL players embellish their foul whether it's in the box or outside...it's part of the sport. In conclusion, if a foul took place, then the referee made the right call and the Dutch won the game based on skill and any talk of embellishment in this outcome is irrelevant and sour grapes.

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  12. Martin is correct, this "story" has been predicated on a twisted quote, Robben admitted that he "went to ground a bit easily" but that was an incident that happened outside the box in the first half.

    Not that I feel comfortable defending him, Robben has always been a cheat, football is full of them and it's not just the furriners who do it, it's been intergrated into the game and even quasi accepted, especially by many of the couch potatoes in the analytical panels. (I have to admit that I haven't tuned into the beeb for a while. Listening to Savage trying to claim the moral high ground about anything is pretty hard to stomach.)

    What can be done?

    Retrospective bans seem the only way to go, however, as Blogidy points out, how do you prove intent?

    Plus, what will the punishment be?

    Robben's confession was for an incident outside of the penalty box. Would the location of the dive influence the sanction?

    What about incidents that are also later to be seen as going unpunished, for example the penalty that Robben should have got, what to do about that?

    And while we're at it, what about all those claiming throw ins and corners that are not theirs, that's cheating too isn't it?

    Or is it just, as the pundits would say, "gaining an advantage".

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    1. Part of the problem is that refs usually won't give a penalty for a foul unless the attacker falls over (which is nonsense). So attackers tend to "emphasise" the fall to get the ref's attention. In some cases (Robben, Stevie Me, M Owen and others) this turns into outright diving (which is cheating, but, frankly, cheating is pretty much "part of the game" these days, and diving is better than trying to break someone's leg.


      Jedi

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    2. The problem with the penalty rule is that somebody can go to ground easily even if they na

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    3. ....have lost the ball.
      You often see a winger going round the outside of a defender, over run the ball for a goal kick then trip over the leg of the defender.
      Maybe if the attacking player was deemed to have lost control of the ball, fewer of these crappy decisions would be given.
      Robben had clearly lost control when he tripped over Marquez

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  13. IT's all moot now anyway.

    http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/28089487

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  14. Seen the purported apology by Suarez? What does he mean by "suffered result of a physical bite."? Say you bit him. nktest.

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  15. Robbo, in a past life, were you sent off for conceding a phantom penalty?

    Honestly, if you dive well enough, you can get away with it. As soon as you flail about or go swannier than an Elizabethan banquet, you should be given a yellow card if there was contact--or a red if there was none. You might still earn the penalty if it was indeed a foul--defenders get theirs back for all the grabbing in the box on set pieces, anyway--but you earn the card for being an ass.

    And the dive gear when you return from your suspension.

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  16. retrospective action is impossible to implement unless its taken on all all decisions. every yellow card, every red, every corner leading to a goal. everytime time evra wraps his arms around the striker at a corner (ok evra would never play again if they look at that) and every time a player fakes an injury and... and... and where do we stop. i hate the cheating as much as you robbo but robben had 3 shouts for penalties in that game, 2 of them stonewall and not given, one of them dubious at best and given. will the retrospective action be taken against the defenders for the 1st 2 incidents? or is that just part of the game?

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    1. Hey! Evra is just being friendly! It's not his fault if the intolerant striker doesn't want to share a moment...

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  17. This match was played in temperatures of 39C, and two water-breaks were allowed. Qatar wants matches to be played in air-conditioned stadia but the whole world wants the venue changed -- the slave labour thing is just there for embellishment. When we've killed so many innocents in the Middle East already, what are the lives of construction workers worth?

    Profile

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  18. Well put Robbo, agree with you again.

    There are always people around who want to defend these cheats, usually because the cheating pricks play for their team. . Robben is a cheating arsehole, end of story. This WC is not the first time he has shown himself for what he is. He dives in league games, European champion league games and tournament games. He cheats to try to gain an advantage for the team he is playing in; that is offensive to most people but obviously not all.

    No football governing body is serious about bringing simulation to an end. It is rarely punished with a yellow card, especially when the simulator is a big star. Referees hide behind the excuse that it is difficult to know if there is any intent to gain advantage. It is easy really: a player goes to ground and appeals for a foul, if the ref deems it to be a foul he awards a free kick or a penalty depending where the incident occurred otherwise he shows the offender a yellow card, maybe red if the incident occurs in the penalty area. The player has shown intent to gain advantage by appealing for a foulto so there should be no doubt in the referee's mind. It may not put an end to simulation but after receiving a number of yellow or red cards repeat offenders like Robben and Ronaldo may think twice about going to ground so easily.

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  19. "The truth is that my colleague Giorgio Chiellini suffered the physical result of a bite in the collision he suffered with me," An accident?

    " I vow to the public that there will never again be another incident like this."

    How does that work then; how can you promise that an accident will never happen again.

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    1. BBC Sport presenter Gary Lineker made reference to it in a BBC video and tweeted: "Suarez has finally apologised for biting saying it will never happen again. I hear that Barca insisted on apology if transfer is to proceed."

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  20. Suarez for president of FIFA!

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    1. He'll take a big bite out of corruption.

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    2. I wonder if he'll have any teething problems settling into the job.

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  21. What England need are players with the commitment of Mauricio Pinilla. Lampard should have done something similar back in 2010.

    http://www.thefootballramble.com/latest/entry/mauricio-pinilla-one-centimetre-from-classy

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  22. The best part of this world cup is there has really been no easy game. While most teams have been equally good, in today's Argentina-Suisse game, both were equally bad. Winner of Belgium-US game with a great chance of making the semis. Probably the most unpredictable cup ever.

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  23. you're right Robbo, but its not just Robben - he's just the best player doing it. Thousands do it. Its the cancer that is killing the sport. Its embarrassing, disgraceful, and needs to be cut out of the game.

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    1. agree wholeheartedly. The ref is on a hiding to nothing. He's there to referee a football match and winds up having to referee a cheating contest as well, thankless task.

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  24. Ugh, USA playing as they used to - lumping it out of the box instead of bringing it out under control, giving away possession cheaply, and some frightening chances already for Belgium. Plus, Klinsmann just did the "book him, book him" gesture to the referee on a foul I believe Beasley drew to the contact on to give the squad a little rest. If this is the level of 'coaching' we can expect tonight...

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  25. Lukaku. Unstoppable. So long, USA.

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    1. We can't, can we? CAN WE? Tim Howard unbelievable tonight.

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    2. Nope - we couldn't. But we almost did.

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  26. Replies
    1. Would have been completely undeserved if Wondolowski had nicked it at the end of regulation. Not only that, but we would have been deprived of Lukaku showing his quality, and a couple dozen more (it seemed) Tim Howard saves. Mirallas, another Everton player, also effective as a sub.

      U.S. needs more quality and mental toughness going forward. I think the youth in the squad will get better. Depth is coming along, subs who came in were pretty effective. Best performance was definitely v Portugal, from their early goal until the last minutes of stoppage time.

      Not saying he would have made the difference, or even have been used, but I think tonight it would have been nice to have had Donovan as an option. First time I could say that this tournament.

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    2. Nah, they would have never played with as much heart and team spirit, if Donovan had been there. It's obvious from Donovan ESPN commentary, he thinks he has better understanding of the game than Klinsmann. This is despite Klinsmann's record as coach and player proving otherwise. That's not conducive for team to develop a winning esprit de corps. It was a smart decision to leave him in LA. I doubt they would have gotten out of the group stage with Donovan's ego present.

      This was the US Men's best World Cup performance to date. It was a great game for all football fans. It been one entertaining World Cup for all nationalities despite any FIFA corruption, civil unrest, and sweaty climates.

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    3. If the US had scraped a penalty shoot out they wuld have deserved their victory for that rally towards the end - really exciting football. ANd Tim Howard was just unbelievable but like the guys in the studio I didnt understand why the belgians time and again hit it along the ground where he was like the Maginot line and lukaku finelly scored by outflanking his legs and lifting the ball up into the ardennes. Like always thought the US arrived late in the battle when the damage had already been done. not a perfect metaphor given the outcome but im sticking with it.

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    4. Christ, get over him already, 7! I just inadvertently trolled you with an off-hand comment about the possibility that his skill and experience might have helped the US win a match, and you come out again with guns blazing like the guy keyed your car while stealing your girlfriend and kicking a puppy, all within 15 minutes of shooting your best friend stone dead. He was a talking head like all the others, for fuck's sake! Here's the formula: 1) Praise the boys and their effort. 2) Express what you thought the team did well. 3) Express a worry, or something you thought they could have done better. 4) Summarize. 5) Collect your paycheck. I'm sure it's written on a card that is distributed to all the pundits.

      Here's an example:
      Bob Ley:"Okay, let's go over to Scott for his thoughts on this thrilling match, which sees the US out of the World Cup. Scott?"

      Scott:"[1] Thanks, Bob! What a match [shakes head in mock disbelief] - the lads really fought for 120 minutes, and for 90-plus, kept one of the tournament's best teams at bay. [Serious, almost reverential look into camera] Tim Howard was simply a legend in goal tonight. [2 - expression brightening, brisk speaking tempo] They really came alive after Belgium scored in extra time - passes started finding their mark, and the ball moved forward with real purpose. Bradley's delivery and Green's touch on the goal were exquisite. The free kick gambit was brilliant, and deserved to have worked. [3 - a bit more serious, slightly worried look] The team did look sluggish and a bit intimidated for the first 90 minutes. Defenders and midfielders gave the ball away far too cheaply, creating many chances for Belgium that, absent Howard's performance, could have changed the result dramatically. [4 - smiling with whitened teeth] But all in all, a match and a World Cup performance that the US can be proud of and look to build on in the future. Back to you, Bob!" [5 - Camera light off, face relaxes into normal hateful expression, snaps at ESPN lackey] "Where's my #@&%$ money?"

      The best U.S. World Cup performance to date? You must not have been watching in 2002, my friend. Fearless against Germany in the quarters. Torsten Frings, that's the guy you should be hating! Well, and that @$&%er Landon Donovan, waiting too long to pull the trigger 1 v 1 against Kaaaaaaahn!

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    5. Scott - Sorry to get under your skin, my friend. No guns a blazing or the like at all, I was only responding to your thoughts with my thoughts on your thoughts with a healthy dose of hyperbole. Donovan unfortunately provokes my ire much in the same way, I believe, The Gelled Tumbler of Madeira does Robbo at times.

      As for Donovan's ESPN commentary, the time delay didn't do him any favours.

      WC2002, I do remember despite the mind numbing time difference. I wasn't impressed by the USA's performance as a team, as whole. As you mention above, there was too much hanging on to the ball waiting to score the most beautiful goal in WC history. Yes, that may be a a bit hyperbole, but I found it that frustrating. I just don't think the team wasn't as a cohesive unit in 2002 as it was in 2014.

      Interesting that you should mention Torsten Frings, as his international career ended in the same way Donavan's did. He had his 'issues' with the coach, resulting in lost his place.

      Blog - I don't know if the USA's collective footballing heart could have survived a penalty shoot out. No doubt, it would have added more thrill to an already thrilling game. The metaphor was timely.

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  27. Well played USA. Not the most stylish side, but for a side without any stars (due apologies to Jozy Altidore) they gave a team chock full of stars a right run for their money. Every player committed to the cause. A performance to be proud of.

    Tim Howard was superman today (unfortunately will go back to being a toffee tomorrow).

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    1. Chortle! I hope Lukaku goes back to being a Toffee! Probably a faint hope, that...

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    2. At least when Howard returns he won't be pelted with toffees. (Not sure if he likes toffees, but he'd definitely save them.)

      http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-28095829

      Funny enough, the coverage of the South Korean toffee incident almost always mentioned players being pelted by the candies, etc. Yet clearly the man throwing them was simply making a gesture of dissatisfaction by throwing them in front of the team. Besides, if he had hit the target, he might have been drafted in for the next World Cup run.

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    3. Was that the South Korean national team, or a K-Pop group? (NOTE: I am only aware of Korean Pop because I am a teacher, and some of my Asian students are rather obsessed)

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  28. Barcelona will begin negotiations with Liverpool on Wednesday over a deal for Reds striker Luis Suarez.

    Liverpool are likely to accept an offer of £80m for Suarez, however, Barcelona are understood to want to pay closer to £60m.
    _-------------------_---
    Take the 60million and be done please. Get this sordid saga done with ASAP.

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    1. Bollocks to that. Hold out for the £80m (if Bale is worth over £80m then Suarez is worth £100m) or insist on getting Alexis Sanchez and a wad of cash instead.

      Sanchez if one of the few players in the world (like Suarez) who has that certain something different...that capability to do something out of the ordinary. Only Sanchez plus cash will do!

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    2. there should be a 25% discount as he seems to spend more and more of each season suspended and the suspensions keep getting longer. On his current trajectory, three years from now he'll only be eligible for 4 games a year.

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    3. The irony that the something out of ordinary for Suarez also includes taking a bite out of someone... I guess you do get the whole package eh?

      Zed

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  29. How many years of hurt is this now, 48? and counting. One day ...one day ...

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  30. Unfortunate qotd…Tim Howard sounding like Linda Lovelace….."None of that really matters to me," he said. "I signed up to do that, to put my face in front of balls……..

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    1. Well, I just hope he keeps his head up, despite the flaccid performance of his US teammates in regulation v Belgium. I look forward to seeing him stand proud, noble, and erect in goal at Goodison next season. With his firm determination, he will certainly remain a hard man to beat.

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    2. Nice one Scotty. Chucklesome.

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  31. Great performance from the U.S last night, that's whar a proper "team" effort looks like. Tbh all the games in the knock out round were great, with the exception of maybe Arg v Swi, very impressed with the effort of the Algerians too. Roy Hodgson should be looking on in shame and. if he has any honour, he should hand in his regisgnation with immeadiate effect.

    This may go against the grain here a bit, but I've been thinking it since the group stages, just hadn't really had the time to post it, plus I still had a niggling doubt, but that last round of games blew that away.

    I've heard a lot about the inexperience of the England team, yes maybe there are a few new young lads in there, but they all play in the PL ffs, they're not plucky amatuers or a rag tag band of happy go lucky misfits like in a cheesey Disney production.

    I sat silently by while I read and heard all and sundry congratulate England for their effort while losing to Italy, MEH, that's tantamount to giving the fat kid who managed to wheez over the line in last place in the sack race a medal. They were clueless. The best player of the first half was made to switch positions with the most inefective player, that was the great master plan!?

    The second game was basically the same, huff and puff for not much, no real resemblence of any tactics, concede a goal, pull one back and then again proceed to throw it away, the naivety was borderline criminal, this wasn't a game they had to win, just one they couldn't lose...... They failed miserably.

    Sorry, I have no ireal nsights into the last game, because quite frankly I switched off just after the start of the second half as it was too awful to watch. A dead rubber maybe, but a bit more effort might of been nice. Plus omiting Gerrard and replacing him with Lampard??? Fuck me, that's forward thinking.

    I now read that our players just aren't good enough, sorry, I don't buy into that, look at the England squad and then compare it to the USA team. daMarcus Beasly was realesed by PSV years ago, Bradley couldn't make the cut at Aston Villa and many were bemoaning the loss of their biggest goal threat......... Jozy Altidore FFS, the guy who makes Englands Emile Heskey look like Emile Heskey in Australia.

    Take a look at the Dutch squad, be honest, all but the most hipster of footy followers probably hadn't even heard of half of them, five of the first team play for Feyenoord, I live here and I struggle to recognise who most of them are, but like many teams in this tournament they are a team greater then the sum of their parts.

    First game, down 1-0 to the reigning champs, a slight tactical change leads to the equaliser, a reshuffle at HT saw them run out 5-1 victors. The second game found them 2-1 down, again a reshape of formation lead to a win, the next two games were won by goals from subs, against Mexico the manager even had the balls to take off the captain and one of the main man, would an England coach do that?.

    What doesn't England have that the afforementioned teams have?

    Simple.

    A decent manager, that can neither rally his troops, or has the insight to change tactics and/or players to grind out the desired result.

    Roys a nice enoughhbloke, sure he is, a bit like a cuddley uncle with a humerous speach impediment. He's the safe choice.

    Is he the man to take a new young England team forward?

    I very much doubt it.

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    1. hallefuckinglujah... thanks h2h that sums us up perfectly. the england team has had the talent for some time. but there hasn't been a proper manager for a long time. and the situation is compounded by the F.ucking A.rseholes who "run" the game.

      rjs

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    2. I no what you mean h cos we were frigging abject. Despite basement level expectations they still managed to disappoint.

      But I don't blame Hodgson, I blame firstly the lack of time they get together (the Germans and Spanish all play together for 2 teams) so no great surprise I guess that they play like strangers but mainly i blame the players. From the age of 9 these kids are cosetted wrapped in cotton wool told how fucking great they are, paid stupid amounts of money etc etc. Result -they're not fully formed adults. Look at Gerrard - a thirty five year old teenager. The paedophile chocolate loving Belgians and gun nut yanky rednecks by and large have gone out into the real world, out of they're comfort zone, grown up some and they played like men.

      Maybe culturally it's something deeper. but I personally can't see anyone doing much better than woy with this talented bunch of children.

      Delete
    3. I agree with most of what you say H2 but I still believe that as miserable as the results were, there is more to be upbeat about with this England squad after this WC than there had been after the previous 3-4 WC's. Maybe Woy is at fault, maybe not. I agree he is no great shakes tactically but the same can be said for all England managers after Robson, it's just that we didn't get out of the group stage this time which makes it look worse for Woy. I had no complaints with the way we played against Italy, if I had to lay blame at all it would be with Hart, his performance was pretty bloody awful and Rooney didn't do enough to justify his selection, In the Uruguay match, neither team deserved the three points they both played poorly but Uruguay wanted the win more than we did.

      What we are lacking is an Arjan Robben, someone that can get us a penalty when things get desperate.

      Delete
    4. Someone like Michael Owen you mean Bo?

      Delete
    5. The central problem here may just be that English players generally are so well paid by their clubs that they just don't give a toss about playing for their country.


      Jedi

      Delete
    6. Jedi

      At least they didn't follow the examples set by the squads of Nigerian, Cameroon and Ghana and demand to be paid in cash to play in the world cup!

      http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/01/sports/worldcup/world-cup-2014-african-soccer-overshadowed-by-protests.html?_r=0

      Zed

      Delete
  32. Tabloid reports that John Terry has bought replica kit of all 8 remaining teams so he can collect the trophy on the winner's behalf are wide of the mark. .... He actually bough all 32 kits, just in case
    Rastafairy
    Ps does nobody think Lahm should have been sent off for his outside the area foul? If he wasn't the last man, who was?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. JT for FIFA president! He's eminently qualified to warm the seat until Suarez retires.

      Delete
    2. fuckin' Maradonna, cheatin' cunt should have been sent off for that hand ball in '86. Maybe this Kraut is the Lahm of God?

      Delete
    3. Perhaps the French fancy a bit of Le Gigot d'Agneau?

      Delete
    4. Sorry, obvió isla i meant Neuer, not Lahm
      Rastafairy

      Delete
    5. Is Obvió Mauricio's younger brother?

      Delete
  33. Germany will twat this Brazil team

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let's hope so. And that the Belgians can spank the Argies too.

      Delete
    2. I'll take Brazil for 5 lines posted by loser saying "I don't know wtf I'm talkin' about"

      Are we on?

      Delete
  34. A little bike race starts today. Can't fucking wait.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Looking more forward to mcc v ROTW today

    ReplyDelete
  36. They finally took out the most (Scolari calls it hunted) marked player at this WC. Neymar had come in for a lot of bad tackles that were not always picked up by the referee like the knee in the back by Colombia's Juan Zuniga. Zuniga claimed it was a "normal" tackle, the referee obviously agreed because no foul was given. To me it looked a deliberate attempt to put another player out of action.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And you think that Brazil played a clean, fair style? Up until the penalty and yellow card I thought Referinho was once again Brazils best man
      Rastafairy

      Delete
    2. James (pronounced ha-mez) won the ball cleanly, gets a yellow after being kicked around the park all day and Sideshow Bob scores from the resulting free kick. Football sucks.
      Rastafairy, obviously supporting Colombia.

      Delete
    3. Looked a bad tackle on the replay but I must admit on first showing I was insulting Neymar 's masculinity and telling him to get up you puff.

      Pity he's out because sort from Thiago Silva he looked like Brazil's only star. The attack lacks fredibility without him and hulk looks like a bar dressed up and sent into the pitch to scare the pigeons.

      Germany look unstoppable at the moment but as long as Robben and Messi still have intact spinal columns there could still be a few surprises in the denouement of this magnificent tournament. So good I've almost forgiven Fifa.

      Delete
    4. I am saying that Neymar has been targeted by all teams that have played Brazil not just Colombia. He only just managed to play against Colombia after being kicked around the park by the Chilians. Rodriguez has also come in for his share of heavy tackles too but they pale compared to what Neymar suffered.

      I agree Blog, Brazil will struggle against Germany without Neymar and Silva but I think they may still have the edge over the Germans. Then again I haven't managed to pick a single fucking winner so far so you most likely will be proven correct.

      Delete
    5. What do i know, bo? And I don't care much either. I used to live in Holland so should incline towards them but I can't stand robben and van gaal it's forever tainted by association with mufc and in any case the winners of the WC will be 'Not us'

      Delete
  37. You have much to learn, grasshopper. Unless you're this grasshopper, in which case, you've learned a great way to get on television.

    http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/28174087

    ReplyDelete
  38. This is one deep dark valley for English support, football, eggchasing, cricket, Hamilton off the pace, now cav in hospital.

    Not until you've been in the deepest darkest valleys can you appreciate the view from the highest peaks.

    -R Nixon

    ReplyDelete
  39. Martins Indi could have had six yellows and Costa Rica should have had a penalty. Also, can't decide if Van Gaal looks more like Liberace or Bill Beaumont. However, and most importantly, the match was extended as long as possible and with a Dutch victory, beer sales at the Wagonwheel must have broken all records!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree Trott. Indi should not have got through the first half and Campbell was definitely push in the back in the penalty area. There was another shout for a penalty earlier also when a Chilean player (I forget who now) was being held down. If these types of infringements happen to defenders a free-kick is given but referees are not keen to award penalties for them

      Delete
  40. Tactical game today. The Dutch: same as previous game; wait until the opposition tire then throw everything at them... didn't work today; switch GK's for penalties.... worked very well. Costa Rica: Hold out for extra time; worked but ultimately didn't.

    Robben was well behaved today, just one dive, the resultant free-kick hit the upright. Even though the referee was keeping a close watch on Robben he still managed to fool the ref, he's bloody good.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Rumor has it Van Gaal will bring himself on as the keeper if they go to penalties again. Plans to stand naked, unmoving, allowing his massive balls to stop the shots.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Different sort of diving got the Dutch through this time. Van gaal's report grows....

    ReplyDelete
  43. I'd just like to say what an amazing effort the people of Yorkshire (and those others that have travelled there) have made for the start of this year's Tour de France. The crowds that have gone to see the two stages so far have been incredible. If only we could eradicate people's stupid urges to take selfies whenever they get the chance, then it'd be perfect.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. it's been such a success that the entire Tour De France is moving to Yorkshire next year.

      Delete
  44. Oh dear Lord, so Suarez to Barca was obviously planned for before the whole biting incident, which explains the sudden availability of funds. lambert, emre can, lallanaa, origi and now supposedly markovic and eventually Lovren. We seem to be doing a Spurs-Bale thingy. Didn't really work out that well for them did it? Atleast we're doing it early in the window, so hopefully that gives plenty of time for all that 'gelling' to happen, whatever the hell that means.

    Personally, I dont think there was all that wrong with the team to start with. Instead of buying a new team with the Suarez money, better off buying one or two expensive but proven reinforcements. What do I know though, I'm finishing 3rd in a 4 horse race at the WC 2014 fantasy league.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You still get a medal for 3rd AH. I did think when I saw the latest reports of Origi and Markovic signing that you were 'doing a Spurs'. Combined with having to deal with midweek games in Europe, Stevie being another year older, Utd having a proper manager and Skrtel still being in your team, you may struggle for top 4 next year.

      Delete
    2. For more omens- Markovic is costing us almost exactly the same as lamella did for you guys. Happy days.

      Delete
  45. Markovic sounds great in a scouse accent, a real throat clearing surname.

    ReplyDelete
  46. The next few world cups have been secretly decided.....

    Russia 2018
    Qatar 2022
    Iran 2026
    North Korea 2030
    Hell 2034
    Stoke-on-Trent 2038.

    Nah just kidding, I love my home town. The girls aren't as loose as in Upholland, but the pies are better. I love it. I should never have left but there's no going back to the shithole now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hate to be the one to break this to you but Wigan has some of the best pies in the World.
      http://poolespies.co.uk/about-us/the-story/

      And for all I only knew the one lass there, she wasn't loose by any stretch!

      Delete
    2. That web link suggests Charlotte bronte ate Poole's pies which is up there with "i did not inhale", "these blood stained perfectly fitting gloves dont fit me" and "i thought an intruder was impersonating my girlfriend in the bathroom".

      My Learned friend, this fatally undermines they credibility of your defence of the sexual morality of the Women of Upholland. I put it to you they are slappers of the first magnitude.

      Delete
    3. ..and the pies are pedigree chum

      Delete
    4. The only recorded slappers in UpHolland are the family of 16 thieving sisters that moved there from Stoke in the hope of stealing the pie recipes.

      Delete
    5. You make upholland sound like a nunnery with advanced pie theory, but no evidence apart from some cock and bull story story off Charlotte bronte eating all the pies off any practical knowledge of pie making or the erotic arts

      Delete
    6. http://www.cockandbullnyc.com/index.php?action=page&id=1886

      Cock And Bull is a fantastic pub in NYC. Best bangers and mash I've ever had, way better than Stoke even. All their pies and virgin serving wenches are imported from UpHolland

      Delete
    7. Look, say what you want about the sexual continence of stoke girls, trotts, id probably agree with you but dis their dexterity with pastry and offal one more time and i'll.... i'll do such things... what they are yet i know not....but they shall be the TERRORS of the earth....

      Delete
    8. Look what happens when they take the footie off telly for two days...

      Delete
    9. Alright, I'll shurrup now.
      (muttering fkn dog shit pies)

      Delete
    10. actually. you know what, wrights pies were never as good when they made them smaller and changed the recipe. in fact they taste like dog sh....

      neverthelss, i expect the fall out from this pie-related spat to be wide-ranging or non-existent, one of the two.

      Delete
  47. The saddest thing about this world cup is the really poor quality of referees, some with balls would surely stop the diving and award penalties such as the early foul on Robben, who may have decided to stay on his feet up to that point and then decided ah sod it lets go back to diving. And the Colombians who should have had a penalty in the first half were never going to get one against Brasil in Brasil. No card for the thug that took Neymar out? Because of all the diving going on a really bad challenge gets overlooked, I have not seen such a bad tackle since Mike Doyle used to kick george Best around the pitch or the job Nobby Stiles did on Eusebio in 66 ahh 66 what a year, good job we didn't have goal line technology then.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WOuldnt have mattered as it was 4-2.

      Delete
  48. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  49. RIP Di Stefano. What a great player he was.

    ReplyDelete
  50. The O's are now Italian owned. Hearn sold his share in the club to one Francesco Becchetti for an undisclosed figure. Maybe Pirlo can be can be induced to come play for us. Baggio is just a tad too old.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. DOnt be too surprised if your team ends up in a toxic waste dump in Albania. Yer man owns a company mentioned in this scandal..

      http://www.tol.org/client/article/23437-italys-toxic-waste-vanishes-into-albania.html

      Delete
  51. 2-0 to germany is my predo and at least one brazilian to get sent off. probably luiz, who is starting to forget it's just a game

    ReplyDelete
  52. I'm not going to lie down and neglect corruption and bent refs. Follow the money. Brazil in the final.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gonna take a very bent ref now!
      Bisq

      Delete
    2. holy shit, didn't see that coming, I know Jack. It was like watching that other famous semi final; Bolton v Stoke.

      Delete
  53. in other news...Peter Odemwinge has shown up at Brazil's team HQ with his great Grandmother in the passenger seat.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Apparently, it's Germany's biggest victory since 1940......

    Spider

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. (With a nod to The Onion) - I wonder if the French surrendered today...

      Delete
    2. That was last week.

      Vor you, Felipe, ze World Cup iz over, heh, heh, heh.

      Spider

      Delete
  55. Some quotes from my 78-year-old Ma (from Frankfurt am Main) during today's match, with necessary translations:
    "AUFGEHT'S!" ("GO!")
    "Rot/Weiß vor, noch ein Tor!" ("Red/White forward, let's have another goal!" - one of her old sports club's chants)
    "With (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7), you get egg roll!" (Kind of culturally insensitive, but hey! She's 78...)

    ReplyDelete
  56. Nobody saw that coming Trot. It's funny how 0-0 can be entertaining yet 1-7 can be fucking boring. The only way you can enjoy a scoreline like that is if you support the team that scored the 7 goals (unless of course it was Un**ed on the end of the thrashing.)

    Ze Germans were brilliant it has to be said but the Brazilian defence was abysmal; I have seen better defending in pub football. Their attack didn't offer too much either. Even had Neymar and Silva been available for selection today Brazil would have struggled. Their inclusion may have altered the scoreline but not the result.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sideshow Bob? Krusty the Clown today (sorry Blogs.)

      Spider

      Delete
    2. You're right, Bo - most entertainment was seeing my Ma having a great time (see above), but even she got bored in the second half, unless it was to yell at David Luiz for that kick out at...Muller, I think? It was very disappointing not to see a closely contested game in a World Cup semi-final. I also think Brazil weren't very creative or organised offensively, until far too late.

      Delete
  57. How many more would the Germans scored if Löw had named Torsten Frings to the starting XI?

    ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, but "Frings ain't what he used to be." (Sorry)

      Spider

      Delete
    2. Aw, you beat me to it, Spider! :)

      Let's see - I think I have a set of Torsten Frings for a '78 Datsun...

      Delete
    3. I'm so quick, I could be in the Brazil defence. Mind you, a Galapagos Tortoise would be faster than the Brazil back four!

      Spider

      Delete
  58. Best commentator line went something like: "Klose had better enjoy his all-time scoring record, because Muller might beat it - in the second half!"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Muller would have scored another goal in the second half if Schurrle hadn't nicked it off the end of his toe. Mind you, Schurrle's second was unstopable. The most relieved people watching? Those who'd bet on BOTH sides to score! That would not have happened if Ozil had made it eight seconds earlier!

      Spider

      Delete
    2. Yup - and if you think the Germans didn't care by then? They were pissed off at Ozil for that miss!

      Delete
  59. Ninety what s terrible game of football. Brazil and luiz in particular lost their heads completely. As I predicted above coff coff. They seem to have bought the line that passion is enough.bo is right footballing suicide doesn't make for entertaining viewing.The only suspense wad..how many? .in fact I was glad to be English again- crumb of comfort we weren't fucking humiliated the way this brainless bunch of Brazilians were.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Helluva match. Did not see that coming. By the look of it, the Brazil side didn't either. In fact, I don't think they saw much of the match.

    ReplyDelete
  61. So it's either going to be a repeat of the 1990 World Cup Final (Yawn) or a repeat of the 1974 World Cup Final (Wow). Come on you Dutch. Whatever the score tonight, the winners will be Germany as I predict critical injuries (Messi) and red cards.

    Spider

    ReplyDelete
  62. Brazil got Manschafted.

    It was ridiculously easy too. Brazil were bloody awful.

    I suppose it was coming. The great Brazillian teams had players like Zico, Jairzinho, Pele and Socrates, names that conjure up images of wizardery.

    This one had Bernard, Jo and Fred, names that make you think of a bunch of overweight, friday night, back room in the local social club geezers from a cribbage team.

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
  64. This is a sneaky test post to see if my little picture has changed (changed my profile)

    ReplyDelete