Five things from….Colombia 2 Uruguay 0

So how do you follow that game?  Brazil v Chile was nearly three hours of pure football gold, as Partridge would have said.  Penalties are the cruelest way to settle such an enthralling tie but you had the feeling that neither side would have scored again if they had played for another hour, such was the tiredness of all the players.  But football is about winners and losers so whilst Chile would be heading back home across the Andes, Brazil would be able to go out on the piss until Friday night.  But who will they play?

It’s fair to say that most football fans across the world would be shouting for Colombia in this game.  Not just for the ridiculous stance taken by Uruguay over Suarez – and let’s not forget that if the average man in the street had done what he did, he could be charged with assault but because the Colombians style of play is nice on the eye, not to mention the frequent close ups of some of their more photogenic fans in the crowd.

1. Clever corner-kicks – So what was wrong with that Colombian corner-kick where he tapped it and then left it to his mate?  Not enough of this type of sneaky innovation in the game today so it should be applauded rather penalised.  There is always the danger that they will go wrong, as Thierry Henry and Robert Pires will testify.

2. Proper goal – Rodriquez’s opening goal – wow.  Wow. WOW.  Perfect control, outstanding shot and to make it even better it hit the underside of the bar.  Goals are always so much better when they hit the underside of the bar and bounce down. Not quite in the Johnny Metgod class but close…Uurguay’s response?  Keep their 5-4-1 shape…of course.

photo3. Empty seats – Where did everyone who was sitting on the halfway line go?  Ten minutes after half time and it was still a mass of empty yellow seats?  The Brazilian authorities must have been taking lessons from Club Wembley.

4. The flappy man – Remember the bird man of Colombia from Italia 1990 and France 1998? Well Gustav Llanos is back here in Rio, although he has been stuck in the corner behind the goal. But when his moment came, with a corner to Colombia, he sprung to life and flapped his big wings.  The TV cameras seem to have been told to just focus on the pretty females in the crowd in this tournament.

5. Bogie team – The last four games between Brazil and Colombia, outside of the Copa America, have all been drawn – with three goal less games.  Expect next Friday’s game to be a corker now.

Five things from….England 1 Uruguay 2

“Give me joy in my heart….” Knobhead was on the table already.  It was midnight, two hours before kick off and it appears that some people have already had enough.  The issue with the game kicking off so early/late is that some people had been drinking from 6pm, although Melbourne isn’t the cheapest city in the world to enjoy a beer in.  With Spain, Australia and Cameroon now out of the competition, the main worry was that England could well be joining them if they lost this one.  It was no surprise that the majority of the pub were supporting the South Americans – in fact the number of Ashes comments as I waited at the bar suggested that the locals would be happy to see us fail (again).

But England are made of stronger stuff.  Who can forget that epic win over Egypt in Italia 90 when our backs were against the wall?  Or Lineker’s hatrick to get us out of the mire four years earlier in Mexico.  Limping through the groups in major tournaments is quintessentially English, and we are proud of it.

photo (2)1. Sleeves – Look closely at Joe Hart’s shirt and you will see he wears a green undershirt and appears to have taken a pair of scissors to his keepers shirt and cut off the cuffs…I’m sure Nike will be pleased with that.

2. What is the point of Glenn Johnson? – As a defender he was time and time again caught out of position and the Uruguayans soon realised this and started to exploit the gap when he pushed up too far to try and make a tackle (and often missed), leaving a whole behind. OK….he did set up Rooney’s goal with a great run, although I’d still question what he was doing there in the first place.

3. Camera speed – Earlier in the tournament I noted the continuing use of super sloooooooooow motion camera work for important things like players spitting or fans in the crowd picking their nose.  What struck me tonight was the lack of Benny Hill-esque fast camera work – perhaps showing us run rings around ourselves in midfield.

4. Face painting – Why?  And why have a half/half look.  These are the people who buy half and half scarves, constantly start Mexican waves and leave with 15 minutes to go to “avoid the crush”….Who are they supporting?  Of course, it is more than possible they have been planted there by FIFA to show the happy, smiley face of the World Cup.  Like coloured boots, musical instruments and Mexican Waves, they will be immediately banned when I run world football.

5. Offside or not offside? – Suarez certainly appeared to be a yard or so off when the ball was played from certain angles, although played on by a Gerard header on others, but even so how was he given too much space?  It’s not as if the two centre-backs were playing against someone who they have never faced or heard of, yet they let him wander in between them.

So we are almost certainly heading home in five days time.  Defensive discipline has been our downfall – no clear leadership at the back has been the question mark over three of the four goals we have conceded so far.  Whilst we never expected to pull up trees, the lack of real threats on goal shows that we are simply a “functional” team rather than world beaters.  Oh how we crave a Michael Owen, a Gary Lineker and I hate to say this, but even a John Terry.

The Beer World Cup
Whitewash for England as we stuck to “home” brews  such as London Pride, Courage and Australia’s Coopers Ale, which also surely counts as English?

England 7 Uruguay 0

Five things from….Uruguay 1 Costa Rica 3

Game two of Super Saturday and we’ve just had time for some Bacon steaks cooked in maple syrup before we are back on the sofa for a mouth-watering desert of Uruguay v Costa Rica.  So far we have seen the positive side from every team, bar Cameroon with the South Americans having a 100% record – I can’t see that changing for this game.  The media will be fawning over Luis Suarez even though he wasn’t in the starting XI, but this for me would be all about Edinson Cavani.  Him and some beers.  After a dry afternoon I had hoped to be tucking into some Costa Rican and Uruguayan beers.  However, it seems that every off-licence in South London only seems to stock Stella, Foster, Carling and a range of a dozen Polish beers so this would be another bore-draw.

photo (1)1. Different coloured boots – Coloured boots are bad enough but a different coloured boot for each foot? Seriously??? Rodriguez, Stuani and Godin hang your heads in shame. Clough would be turning in his grave at such disrespect for the beautiful game. And don’t get me started on that get up Muslera had on!!! Why not go the whole hog and wear one of those spandex body suits that people think are so funny to wear at the cricket until they need a wee.

2. Uruguayan hair – Come on chaps, what other social situation would you wear an Alice band? Forlan and Cavani – you both earn more in a week than some people earn in a decade – invest in a haircut once in a while. Even Paris has barber shops. And Caeres? Do you seriously have your hair in a bun like a British Airways air hostess???

3. The pitch – As soon as Uruguay kicked off on the brand new turf, Diego Forlan scuffed up the centre circle. In both penalties areas it looked as if a murder of crows had been let loose on some stale chips. Looks like the groundsmen have gone on strike. And what’s with the dull stripes pattern? Surely with technology these days they could have cut the World Cup logo into the pitch?

4. The hands of Diego part 2 – what’s with Lugano and throwing his hands in the air. Yes, there was a little push as he defended at one end, and yes there was some pushing and shuvving in the area at the other end for the penalty, but did the former West Brom player need to act like Tom Daly?  Uruguay were like petulant children for the final hour of the game and there was some inspired words at half-time in the Costa Rica dressing room to lift them.  Uruguay were beaten by their own mentality.

5. The Shock of the Tournament – NO, NO, NO!  When the third Costa Rican goal rolled into the net, the ITV Commentator proudly exclaimed this was the “shock of the tournament so far”.  Of course he had conveniently forgotten the drubbing of the World Champions just 24 hours ago…perhaps because it was on BBC.  I’m not going to have a pop at the ITV coverage yet but I will…


Beer World Cup

Unfortunately another A-A….two unclassified results can only mean one thing…a double roll over for the 11pm kick off.  A Fuller’s selection pack at the ready to take on a four pack of Birra Moretti.  Bring. It. ON

Football, Futbol, Futebol

Many thanks to Paul Whitaker for providing the following article.  It can be read in detail at our sister site Budget Airline Football here.

tickets_to_utopiaI know many football supporters (myself included) are prone to spinning yarns when regaling friends and family with stories from their latest football trip abroad. The local constabulary were ‘baton-happy’ in Rome. The hostel in Barcelona was so rough I could have been paid for my room by the hour. So when I told my partner I had finally discovered my football utopia, she rolled her eyes, shook her head and sighed “didn’t you say that after Istanbul”?. OK maybe I did, but this time I really mean it. I’ve have just returned from a city……

………. where twelve, yes that right twelve of this major football country’s top football clubs are all located within a train, taxi, or bus ride of my hostel. The football clubs’ close proximities to each other ensures a large number of “local derbies” will be played during any typical weekend fixture

………… where television’s influence on football there is a force for good for the visiting football traveller. With the league fixture spread out over the Friday , Saturday and Sunday, you had the opportunity of not only attending 2 to 3 football matches over the weekend, but with staggered kick -off times varying from 5pm to 9pm, it was possible to attend two football matches in one day!. If live football three nights a week is not enough for you, why not check to see if any of these twelve clubs here are playing any Copa Libertadores or Copa Sudamericana fixtures between Tuesday to Thursday?

……….. where many of the young players on show in the football league there have both the technical skill and natural flair that will eventually propel them to the promised lands of the Camp Nou, San Siro and errrrrrr Eastlands

………..where you can stand in a packed football terrace participating in some of the world’s most passionate match atmosphere and all for the distinctly un-english premiership price starting from £6-10. The cheap prices continue outside the stadium, where a post-match steak dinner, away from tourist areas will set you back about £6.

…………where even if you arrive to find its football league fixtures have been suspended due to hooliganism (well I told you they were a lively lot over there!), you have choice of at least two other countries in this part of the world who can boast as many exciting football fixtures and an equally rich football history, great players, famous clubs, iconic stadiums and charmingly lunatic supporters.

Read more here.