Five things from….Netherlands 2 Mexico 1

I could get very used to weekends like this.  The beauty of having games on at 5pm and 9pm is that you can do a day of family stuff, get home, watch game one, cook dinner/do chores and then settle down for game two. The heat was always going to be the deciding factor in this game as to whether we were going to see a match of all out attack like the Brazil v Chile one, or a more tactical one like Colombia v Uurguay.

1. Holland v Netherlands – Are ITV right in referring to the Netherlands as Holland?  Holland is actually a region and former province located on the western coast of the Netherlands. The name Holland is also frequently used as an informal term to refer to the whole of the country of the Netherlands. This usage is generally accepted, but some individuals, particularly from the other parts of the Netherlands, dislike the use of “Holland” as a substitute for “the Netherlands”. So it’s like New York being part of New York, right?

photo (2)2. “Let the ball do the work, the chance will come” – Exactly how will this happen?  Clarke Carlisle is suggesting that if the players simply play it to feet without any running then someone will get a chance?  Did he not see Germany v Austria in 1982 where this was exactly what happened?  Then 10 minutes later Carlisle bemoaned the Netherlands play as they did exactly what he said they should do, saying that it was “dull and defensive football”.  Wisdom of a former professional player.

3. Cooling Break – Preparation for Qatar 2022?  Imagine the temperature 10 degrees hotter and you will need breaks every 15 minutes.  Whilst I can see the medical sense in it, who benefits the most out of that five minute break in the first half?  The TV companies who can sell an additional TV advert break? Absolutely.  The coaches who have a chance to alter things? Correct.

4. Girl in the crowd – Surely a record for “most number of attractive girls given a close up on TV at a football match”?  There must be one cameraman whose job it is to troll the crowd looking for attractive girls to zoom in on.  Hard life.

5. “Van Gaal must be dreading this going to penalties” – Another great Carlisle line.  If you are trailing 2-1 in injury time do you think the Dutch manager will say..”tell you what, it is a bit hot out there.  I don’t want us to equalise and take this game to extra time.” So when Snejder’s 88th minute equaliser went in, he would have been absolutely fuming.  Almost as good as Glenn Hoddle’s comment that the final minute challenge on Robben was a “double penalty”.

The Beer World Cup

After a trip to the sunny Kent seaside it was a very pleasant beer match enjoying a cold Sol in the first half, with a twist of lime of course, against a chilled Amstel in the second.  Tough choice and one that eventually went to penalties with a bag of Totilla chips against a chocolate pancake….close but there could only be one winner.

Netherlands 2 Mexico 2…Netherlands won 3-1 on penalties


Five things from….Mexico 1 Cameroon 0

PeraltaDay two of the World Cup and after our view of events last night we were forced to watch this one at our desks, which of course meant NO BEER….so the score in the Beer World Cup was a washout.

 1. Bloody Brazilian weather – I can just see the Qatar delegation preparing their Powerpoint presentations now to mitigate all of the criticism of their bid by just putting photos of the rain in Brazil on every page.  Their new strap line for the tournament will be “But at least it doesn’t rain in Brazil”.  Straws…clutching at..

2. Coloured boots – Sorry but now is the time to BAN these.  How come players have to wear “undershorts” the same colour as kit, sock tape has to be same colour as the kit and then you can wear any bloody colour boots you want.  Any political party that stands for bringing back traditional black boots gets mine and Ben Anderson’s vote.

3. Oi! Linesman – Wrong, just wrong.  Already we are talking about the poor decisions of the referee rather than the ladies in the crowd…Two first half goals and a blatant penalty were scrubbed out for the Mexicans.  Surely the best officials in the world should be chosen to referee the biggest and best tournament in the world?  Why should a chap from Bahrain or Taihiti be judged to be better than someone from La Liga or The Premier League who referee regularly in the Champions League?  The issue here is the nomination system is based on quotas and not on how good they are.

4. Parking the Cameroon Bus – 6-3-1 in your first game against potentially the other weakest team in the group?  Biggest stage in the world and there is no ambition to try and win the game based on those tactics.  Yet they still argue about bonuses?  For what?

5. Spurs have really bought some rubbish in the past – Is there any team that doesn’t have a player that “Spurs fans may remember…OR NOT!”.  It either shows they have a great scouting network but rubbish coaches or vice-versa.  Or neither.  I’d imagine most were bought by ‘Appy ‘Arry anyway.

Beer World Cup

Desperados A Guinness Export Strength A

Life before the Mexican wave

To be sixteen again – who wouldn’t want to go back to such innocent days when compared with the stress and strains of modern life.  Sixteen when some of the good things in life were now legal, although growing up with a slightly wayward elder brother meant that I had tried them all long before the 13th FIFA World Cup kicked off in Mexico on the 31st May 1986.

Quite how the tournament was able to start was a miracle in itself.  Columbia were originally chosen to host the tournament but due to the escalation of civil unrest they withdrew their candidacy in 1982.  The USA, Canada and Mexico threw their respective hats into the ring and FIFA went with the safe choice of Mexico who had previously hosted the tournament sixteen years previously.  Just three years later the country was rocked by an earthquake that left the tournament in the balance.  FIFA were prepared to postpone the tournament by a year but the Mexicans insisted that all was in order so on the 31st May World Cup holders Italy took on Bulgaria in the Azteca stadium in the searing midday Mexican heat.  And so the curse of the champions continued as Italy failed to win the opening game of their defence. Continue reading

It was 40 years ago today

1970 – Mexico
I was just 6 months old when England took the real/fake Jules Rimet trophy out to Mexico to defend their crown of 1966.  We moan today about the distractions off the pitch for players, but it was no different forty years ago.  The squad assembled by Alf Ramsey was regarded as stronger than in 1966, with many players now seen as at their peak.

World Football was still in its infancy in 1970.  Only 75 teams entered the qualifying competition, fighting for just 14 places as England (as holders) and Mexico (as hosts) had qualified automatically.  The European group consisted of just 29 teams – a far cry from the 53 that went through the qualification for 2010.  In the Asia/Oceania group there was Rhodesia (now known as Zimbabwe but at the time excluded from the African group for political reasons) and Israel, now in UEFA, who went on to qualify for their one and only World Cup finals. Continue reading