Monday, 16 June 2014

Upbeat Defeat

Right. Enough. The World Cup has begun with a magnificent flourish. Goals galore, the big players showing up early doors, the right things happening and England just happened to lose their first game against a very decent team. Which is a bugger, yes, but hardly worth getting all snide about.


First things first. The opening ceremony wouldn't have entertained a two-year-old Teletubbies fan. Garbage. Even J-Lo's arse had lost its lustre by the time it reared up out of that bollocksy chocolate orange jobbie at the centre of the stadium. If there were some undecideds amongst the Brazilian populace about whether this whole shebang was money well-spent, I'm sure that opening salvo of third-rate circus skills left 'em in no doubt.


Whether the desperate need for the hosts to get off to a good start permeated through to the Japanese referee's subconscious can only be guessed at. But Fred's ludicrous flop should not have been rewarded and we were left wondering whether the refs might ruin it.


But you know, it's settled down well now. It's a joy to watch. Lots of positive intent, and the utter dismemberment of Spain by Robin Van Persie - there's always a tinge of Sherwood Forest about his name - and the annoying bald sprite that is Arjen Robben was thrilling to behold.


Spain have problems but are not too stupid to sort them out. Iker Casillas - grand servant and all that - looks increasingly like a disorientated assistant gardener whose been given some big gloves to wear but can't remember why. De Gea or Reina need to come in. Bringing Torres on to help was like trying to stop a house fire with some damp toilet tissue. Why is he there?


There have already been some little moments to treasure


Otherwise there haven't been any major shocks save for Costa Rica's tonking of Uruguay. The Uruguayans looked amenably feeble and if England can keep up their attacking menace we should turn 'em over.


Which bring us on to Saturday night and, well, I'm not saying this in a Scottish way, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching England lose. Sterling was a delight, neat and nimble, gliding between players in an almost dare I say it Messi like way. But without the finish as yet. Welbeck had his best hour for England too, and Sturridge looked lively.


As for Rooney, well... give the lad a fecking break, okay. Yes, he's overpaid, and maybe he's overplayed, but the bloke put in a shift wide left to accommodate some Johnnie-come-lately in his favoured position. He also put over a sublime ball for Sturridge's finish and if Lionel Bleedin' Messi or Andres Ini-blinking-esta had knocked that ball across we'd all be cooing like grandmothers at a christening.


I don't actually think it's a big deal whether he plays or not. But he didn't have a bad game. The reason this has become an issue is cos the media feckers need summat to bang on about for five days and this is the best they can do. Leave it.


Let's see how he gets on against Suarez and co and maybe we can stop him pulling his hair out for a week or so. (He is looking a bit thin on top again. I thought them top-weaves were made to last.) Any road, Gerrard hardly had his best ninety minutes in an England shirt and no one's carping about him not starting the next game.


But as the skipper himself said, the last time this lot turned up at a tournament we had all the cutting edge of a space-hopper. This time we look like we might score. These are times to be optimistic not downright hacked off. Gone are the days when Owen Hargreaves and Darius Vassell represent progressive substitutions. Chin up, everyone.


The only genuine downside appears to be expert summariser Phil Neville who was dour enough to make Paul Scholes sound like Graham Norton. I mean I'm sure we all tire of that master of hindsight Andy 'he should've done a bit better there' Townsend. And no one can possibly treasure ninety minutes in the company of football's resident wag Mark Lawrenson, who lost any comedy value he might have had when that 'tache was removed. But PNev was just dull. He was Shaun Ryder on a particularly grim downer.


But what's really twisting my melon on this particular happy Monday is li'l ole Juninho, who, Teesside's sweetheart though he is, doesn't seem to be contributing much at all, bless 'im. It could be a language thing, it could be that he's not the brightest bulb in Brazil, but poor Gary seems to spend much of his time picking up the ends of Juninho's contributions like a tramp scouring ashtrays for fag-ends.


But apart from a bit too much writhing around from players as if someone's set fire to their sleeping bags, it's been a great start.


The beautiful game might just be getting its looks back.







66 comments:

  1. Cheer up robbo. You could have been us Kenyans. We sent our national team to watch.

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    1. Classic Alex. couldn't believe my eyes too when the President handed over the tickets. Morale my Ar*e

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  2. It was a good performance against an Italy that just had a little bit too much in reserve.

    The signs are encouraging,especially as Woy gave full commitment to the younger players and we played aggressively and purposefully.

    If we can continue along the same lines for the rest of the tournament we should get out of the group and may even reach the quarter finals.

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  3. One word: DropGerrardandHenderson
    Rastafairy

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  4. Oh and First to say First, Even though I'm like third or fourth!
    Rastafairy again

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  5. Fourth thanks to Rastafairy's double. Can't wait for Germany v Portugal to see what thr Gelled Tumbler gets up to. So far, this world Cup's been a bit like Jordan's underwear collection - no draws!

    Spider

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  6. Arthur Fuksake16 June 2014 at 16:58

    It was indeed a rare joy not to sit there after an England game wondering why we were such a useless shower of shite.

    The only major gripe would have been the second half tactics. What the fuck did they talk about at half-time, 'cos it clearly wasn't the fact that Italy were killing us down our left flank? They just carried on in the same fashion and ultimately that's what cost them the game.

    That can only be down to Woy.

    Should beat the Uruguayans though - them and Spain showed that 'old' teams will struggle in the conditions.

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  7. good stuff Robbo. Plain sailin' now.

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  8. Did anyone notice England's "plan" to negate Pirlo. It seemed to me that it consisted of standing 15 metres away and hoping he'd fuck up.
    Rastafairy

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  9. Good blog Robbo. After watching a replay of the England match I have to say I was probably a bit harsh .on Rooney. He certainly wasn't inspirational but he was busier than I gave him credit for.

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  10. Team USA look more like a circus acrobatic troupe than a football team, however that hasn't stopped them taking a one goal lead into half time. Dempsey scoring in very quick time. Ghana has had most of the the ball since without looking too dangerous.

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    1. I felt Ghana had finally broken the US down and had the momentum to go on and win after their equaliser. They took their foot off the gas, and if there's one thing the US is good at, it's set pieces...quite fortunate. But we'll take it!

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  11. BROOOOOOOOOKS! As American as Apfelstrudel!

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  12. Whew... USA off to a better start than England. Both destined for similar fates... possibly maybe almost just barely making it through to the quarters. And through similar players. A sprinkling of vets backed by young Europeans out for glory.

    As for Landon Donovan... http://youtu.be/4KKgR5YWmYg

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  13. Oh, and Koeman takes over the remains at Southampton.

    http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/27859958

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  14. Pirlos 2 nits 1 England stitched up, i know corny but it will grow on you

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  15. The Greek,Spanish and Portuguese goalies were not at their best,which may have added to the overall enjoyment of the tournament so far.
    All as been great after the first game which felt like Brazil must win at all costs.
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  16. Top stuff as ever Robbo, and I've got to agree. Anyone who bets against Brazil needs to take the Sepp ("Vince McMahon") Blatter factor into account. Brazil and Argentina will improve. Football's been pretty good so far on the pitch. Quality of corruption off the pitch: best ever from FIFA and the organisers (though I confidently expect Russia and Qatar to do even better).

    I'd go with the general view on England; played well and look like the makings of a very good team - for a future tournament. Not quite got the class to deal with a top team yet. Uruguay will need to improve though too.

    The worst news from the world cup so far is the happy United fans. I'd guess the Oranje are a bit more interested now too, H2?

    The worst aspect of this world cup (predictably) is the corporate greed of FIFA, the Brazilian Government and the sponsors. Apparently the fan zone on Copacabana Beach is covered in advertising to the point where you can hardly see the screen even if you can get in. I think the fan zones started in Germany 2006, and were a way for fans to watch on big screens. Trust FIFA to take a perfectly good idea and screw it up due to greed. I believe Blatter has told the TV cameras not to show his face on the big screen because of the booing. This can only improve the coverage, to be fair.


    Jedi

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  17. Brooks? Mel's grandson is it? A product of SpringTime for Hitler?

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    1. Yup. Where else would you find a black sheriff?

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  18. Even if we lose on thursday to uruguay, I hope we stick with Roy and his boys. This is definitely the best I've seen England play in a long time. Heck, even Welbeck looked sharp.

    That being said, I think we will beat Suarez and co 3-1..

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  19. I was watching one of those dodgy 80's sci-fi movies last week, it was about a team of super rich highly privelidged athletes travelling to a game in an ultra modern verchile, flanked by military police and guarded by gunship helicoter like spaceships. While on route to the golden complex that was situated in a post apocolypse looking slum town, the unwashed masses were rioting in the street, demonstrating for basic needs like schools and hospitals, modern comforts like power and running water, not the down the wall type that was common in their shanty town corrigated iron and cardboard abodes. Then it dawned on me, this wasnt a film, it wasn't the future, it was now, welcome to the World Cup 2014.

    But, putting social economical politics and that pathetic excuse of an opening cermony aside, I must admit to thoroughly enjoying this WC, teams have actually came to play football, there have been great games, dodgy decisions, goals, sending offs, all in all everything that you'd want in a tournament. Apart from the slightly amaturistic Nigeria v Iran game yesterday they've mostly been pretty good.

    I have the advantage of being bilingual so I can choose which games I watch in which language. I feel the Beeb have done well to add Seedorf and Henry to the team, Lineker lights up when interacting with those two, I even find the wobbly lipped Rio quite insightful, however you're only as strong as your weakest link and they have a pretty flimsy chain.

    There are members of yet undiscovered tribes in the middle of the rainforrest, that have never even heard of the phenomenem that is football, that could deliver a better post match analysis then that couch potato in a fancy shirt. Alan Shearer, I wouldn't really mind, because I've come to expect a very low standard from him, but what really gets my goat is that even when he has delivered dribble from the bottom shelf he still manages to look smug about it, kinda like a toddler who's just learnt to pick his nose and quite likes the taste of his own bogers, but no where near as cute or forgivable. But for all his faults at least he does have some kind of claim to fame, he scored quite a few goals in an England shirt and made a number of WC appearances in which he found the back of the net too..........

    What the fuck has Robbie Savage ever done?

    I think his World Cup claim to fame is that he almost completed a Panini sticker album in the 90's, just missed out on a few Golden Stickers and some geezer in an East European team, but I digress. I wouldn't really mind if he had something decent to contribute, but that isn't the case. I did like it when Henry got one over on him though with the "we managed" burn.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYD67WvtWZ8

    Yeah, Savage is a bit of a half wit, but we all knew that anyway, again, not his fault and he does his best to entertain which is more then can be said of Phil Neville Who's bright idea was it to put him behind a mic? Did someone at the beeb catch a bit of Skysports and thought - oh, this GNev lad's not too bad, let's give his brother a chance. It's kind of like seeing a film starring Frank Stallone, Don Swayze or any of the Baldwin brothers that is not Alex. He really is the audio equivelent of watching milk turn sour or paint dry without all the thrills and spills. Booorrrrrinnnnng.

    I'm still hooked though.

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    1. I think the BBC have now produced a disclaimer about Phil which reads "He ain’t Gary, he’s his brother” I had to give up watching the England match about twenty minutes before the end and had previously blamed it on starting on el vino a bit too early in evening and not pacing myself but I now know better!

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    2. Phil put you to sleep didn't he?

      Some bright spark needs to tape him and sell it as a natural cure for insomnia.

      Belguim v Algeria now.

      I'm watching on Belgian TV just to be safe, can't be nodding off behind the bar.

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    3. Ooooo one nil to Algeria.

      It's a bit risky giving the spray can to a Mexican official.

      He'll be tagging everything in sight.

      "El Refos Locos"

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    4. The road is long, with many a winding turn, Bells.

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    5. H2H, Robbie Savage was commentating on Ghana v USA when he lambasted one of the Ghana players for a crude tackle. My immediate reaction was, "Pot, Kettle, Black" but, on second thoughts, I was a little hasty as Robbie is a hands-on (feet-on? usually on someone's, ankle, knee, gut, head etc.) on crude tackles!

      Spider

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  20. For those who inquired;

    Oranje World Cup fever at epidemic proportions, more on that another time.

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    1. Nothing like thrashing the World and European champions in your first game to crank up the expectation level. Performance of the first round of matches, to be fair (though Germany ran them close). Can they maintain it?


      Jedi

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  21. Fellaini to the rescue. United fans will be hoping for more of the same next season.

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  22. Brazil not that great.

    Probably have done enough to qualify as they are up against a weak Cameroon next, but will struggle in the knock outs.

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    1. Unless they get that Japanese ref again



      Jedi

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  23. Good thing ESPN3/WatchESPN offers commentary in English, Korean, Spanish, and Portuguese. Though the English-language commentators aren't as bad as in the past, as they've cut back on the excitable yet idiotic Americans. Not that the Brits and motley South Americans are necessarily geniuses, but it beats the bombastically verbose yet vacuous meatheads.

    Before the end of the World Cup I'll watch at least one match in each language. Given that unlike H2H I am monolingual (flat American English studded with Britishisms and a smattering of "did you take a year of Latin eons ago"?), I'm thinking Korean may be a step too far. On the bright side, it can't be worse than Adrian Chiles.

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    1. Are you sure Adrian Chiles doesn't speak in Korean? It might as well be.


      Jedi

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  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  25. Opening Day Fixture: 16 August 2014

    Arsenal v Crystal Palace
    Burnley v Chelsea
    Leicester City v Everton
    Liverpool v Southampton
    Manchester United v Swansea City
    Newcastle United v Manchester City
    QPR v Hull City
    Stoke City v Aston Villa
    West Brom v Sunderland
    West Ham v Tottenham

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    1. More importantly

      09 August Port Vale v Walsall

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  26. Tricky start for Everton, with Chelsea and Arsenal visiting in August, and the first leg of the Merseyside Derby away in September. Come on, Roberto, quit being charming on ESPN, and get those brilliant signings in! :)

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  27. Manchester United announce their European fixtures for the new season;

    Man Utd v Swansea Sat 16 Aug
    Swansea v Man Utd Sat 21 Feb

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  28. So near but yet so far for your Aussies in both games sy far Noel. Very enjoyable style of play.

    Saints, city, spurs and Everton among our first six games. Still better than last season's opening 6 games.

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    1. Watford, Forest, Boro, we're doomed!

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  29. 2-0 to Chile at half time. The Spanish Armada to sail back home so soon? I'm loving it.

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    1. What a tapastrophe for the Spanish (and us Chelsea fans with Torres and Diego Costa as our strikers!)

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  30. Aussies very unlucky, the dutch were in a fight and they know it.

    The reign of Spain is comming to an end.

    Back to the celebration drinkies........................

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  31. The new Spanish Navy has glass bottomed boats so they can see the old Spanish navy.

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    1. (Love Boat Theme)
      Vincente del Bosque - as your Captain
      Xavi Hernandez - as Your Doctor
      Iker Casillas - as Your Yeoman Purser
      Xabi Alonso - as Your Bartender
      Fernando Torres - as Julie your Cruise Director

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    2. I'll go with the Tiki-Taka-Titanic.

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  32. Fuck the World Cup - New South Wales won State of Origin last night!! 8 years of Queensland dominance is over. My work here is done, I can go home now.

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    1. Noel, one of the greatest moments from the final. Wembley '66

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKnjaKkHBNc

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    2. A toe poke from 60 metres, with no kicking tee, and a proper commentator. What's not to like?

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    3. that's right Noel, it was the winning goal too!

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  33. It occurs to me that the Premier League's player of the season, sports writers award winner, PFA award winner and general cunt, now has the chance to knock half of his LFC teammates and England out of the world cup, however, he won't, he'll focus on rebuiding his reputation, spreading the love, deliberately missing 3 sitters and a penalty before making an early exit with a recurrence of his knee problem, fingers crossed.

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    1. He'll be biting fingernails, but whose?

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    2. Well, he went off before full-time, anyway...

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  34. Replies
    1. On the bright side (of life)? Wayne Rooney got his goal, Blog! We can all rejoice. He won't have to go home to Colleen's nagging: "All your friends are scoring goals..." and so on...

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    2. True Scott but I don't particularly like Rooney.

      I hereby do solemnly swear that I will NEVER watch another England match. EVER*

      what the point? Haven't enjoyed a single one since 2006. the national team just offer the prospect of crest fallen fucking misery from here to eternity. Where's fun in this? The quality of the football is usually poor and it never, as a proud Englishman, enhances my sense of national identity, it just makes me feel a bit shit about it, get grouchy the kids and fall out with the wife because she can't possibly understand why affects me like this. I can't understand why it affects me like this.

      I'm not blaming woy or the players here, they did their best, I'm just stating a fact.

      And if there are any Scottish Scots out there feeling smug, do us all a favor, vote yes and fuck off into obscurity.

      *If we ever get to the final of something ever again, I might perhaps watch the second half, as long as we're 2-0 up, on the recorded highlights, three days later. Don't think so though.

      How are we doing in the cricket. On second thoughts, don't tell me.

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  35. Seen this so many times before. Fantastic pass from Gerrard to Suarez who makes no mistake scoring the winner. Ahem.

    Will be a bit of a travesty if we make it out of the group with 2 losses and a win against Costa Rica but I'll take it! (Some of Trott's optimism seems to have rubbed off on me).

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  36. Just been watching the highlights and a wonderful solo goal from Gervinho.

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  37. well lads, we were robbed by a very well paid referee and a bunch of players suffering from performance anxiety so we can blame the ref and the shrink at a minimum.

    I have a really good feeling about 2018 though!

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  38. Odd... I keep watching the US despite the fact they're frustratingly not all that great. You were decent when the rest of the world sucked. Now that they don't suck as badly and you haven't improved accordingly, you just give up? That'd be like the US throwing in the towel on education because other countries... oh... wait... Or you receding uncomfortably but quietly to a secondary power now that your empire has... uh.. yeah.

    Might as well go watch a sport you're best at. Cricket... no. Field hockey? Um... Netball? Darts? Curling? Never mind.

    At least we have the good sense to be best at sports that are wholly contained within our borders (Canadia, being the 51st state) so we can soak up anyone good from elsewhere and ignore international competitions. Baseball, ice hockey, basketball, our brand of football, etc.

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    1. "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor!?!? Hell, no!!"

      ("Germans?") ("Forget it, he's rolling...")

      "And it ain't over now! 'Cause when the going gets tough..."

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