20 June 2006


Allback 50  

Cole 34

Larsson 90  

Gerrard 85

One of Owen's knee’s gave way as he turned and passed. He rolled off the pitch
before being stretchered off and replaced by Crouch after a minute into the game.
The way he's going if this injury is serious he's not going to be playing by the time
he hits 30. Cole intercepted a deep clearance, almost 40 yards from goal, juggled the
ball off his chest then unleashing a stunning, high right foot volley which sailed into
the top corner. One of the goals of the tournament.

Allback equalised with a brilliant flick header from Linderoth's corner which sailed
over Ashley Cole's head. Yes, someone thought it would be a bright idea to have a
midget guarding one of the posts. A succession of corners had the England defence
reeling. Robinson made a great reaction save from a deflection off Carragher,
tipping the ball against the crossbar, Mellberg hooked a volley against the top of
the crossbar and Gerrard cleared off the line from Kallstrom. Having survived the
Swedish onslaught Gerrard looked to have stolen the points. Robinson walloped a
goalkick downfield, Crouch headed down to Cole, who was now on the right flank,
he feigned to shoot twice, forcing two defenders to back off, then chipped a glorious
cross to the back post which Gerrard placed beyond Isaksson. Daylight robbery.
Instead of fighting for possession and playing out time England went deep and hoofed
the ball back to the Swedes. From a throw-in, Edman hurled the ball into the box,
Terry missed it, Campbell turned in slow motion and tried to volley clear but couldn't
reach all the while Robinson just stood on his line, like a complete twat, watching and
Larsson beat Mellberg to volley the ball into the net and earn his team a deserved
share of the points.

Allback scored the 2000th goal in World Cup finals. I remember the first as if it was
yesterday. For those who are interested it was scored by Laurent in the 19th minute
for France in a 4-1 win over Mexico on the 13th of July 1930. Joe Cole scored goal
number 1999.

Ferdinand's injury (mid way through the second half) is a major cause for concern
especially as SGE won't do the smart thing and play Carragher alongside Terry and
opt for the liability that is Slow Campbell instead. England should be too strong for
Ecuador but I doubt it will be pretty. 2 World Cup goals average Owen is no great
loss, if, as expected, he doesn't recover. Typical Eriksson, he picks a squad of 23
and with players in need of a rest and getting injured half the team haven't kicked
a ball.

Sweden have looked a better team with Kallstrom in midfield but I still think Allback
is crap, Rosenborg is a much better player.

Attendance : 45,000
Assists : n/a, Linderoth (ck), Cole, Edman (throw-in)


Sancho 25 (og)    
Cuevas 85    
Sancho gave Paraguay the lead when he headed a free kick past his own 'keeper.
Jack, in for Hislop, made a brilliant save from Valdes and Theobald cleared a shot
off his line. In the second half Paraguay were content to sit back and despite some
promising attacks T & T never threatened Bobadilla in goal. Cuevas, named after a
famous brand of UK crisps in the, ran onto a return pass from Santa Cruz before
slotting into the bottom corner. He also scored twice in the last World Cup.

Attendance : 46,000
Assists : n/a, Santa Cruz
15 June 2006


Ljungberg 88    
Ibrahimovic drew a save from Bobadilla with an excellent shot from distance before
wasting Kallstrom's excellent cross from the resulting corner. Ibrahimovic's miss from
a goalkick was even worse. More of the same longball crap in the second half sent
Allback through on goal, he lobbed over Bobadilla and chased down the ball but
Caceres hacked away before Allback could tap into an empty net. Allback headed a
deflected ball from Elmander across the face of goal (he was aiming for the top
corner) and Ljungberg arrived at the back post to head in the winner.

Attendance : 72,000
Assist : Allback


Crouch 83    
Gerrard 91    
Hislop spilled a long ranger from Lampard but Owen failed to capitalise from six yards
out, the ball bounced off his knee and went out for a goal kick. Yorke inadvertently
blocked a drive from Gerrard with his mangina. I told my two year old son 'he's hurt
his willy' and he couldn't stop laughing. Robinson, who had been a spectator for half
an hour, flapped at a corner but having got goal-side of Carragher, Stern 'not Stern
enough' John headed wide. Lampard blazed over from 12 yards after Owen laid off
a Gerrard long ball and Crouch, unmarked in front of goal, wasted another glorious
Beckham cross with an embarrassing volley. Right on the stoke of half time
Robinson, under pressure from the enormous Lawrence, who is about an inch taller
than Crouch, couldn't punch clear a long ball, Stern John leapt above Ferdinand to
head the ball but was denied a certain goal by Terry's magnificent overhead kick.

Owen was subbed (for Rooney) following another appalling miss from an immaculate
Beckham free kick. Crouch did the exact same thing minutes later. Lampard ruined
excellent approach play between Ferdinand, Crouch and Rooney with a weak finish,
shooting straight at Hislop from six yards but went even closer, flashing just wide of
the post with Ferdinand again involved. Ashley Cole wasted a great cross-field pass
from Downing, a heavy second touch allowed a defender to close him down before
he could shoot. Crouch made the breakthrough with 10 minutes to go. Beckham
whipped in another fantastic cross, Crouch pulled Sancho back by yanking on his
dreads and headed into the roof of the net. Gerrard received the ball with his back
to play on the edge of the box and cut inside Whitley before thumping a shot with his
weaker left foot past a helpless Hislop. Well it's about time.

I don't think 2-0 is flattering, England could have easily scored four but the football,
for the first 60 minutes, was utter shite. Most teams, even minnows like Saudi Arabia,
South Korea, Tunisia and Ecuador managed to pass the ball around, to show more
invention. SGE is a complete and utter cretin. The midfield is the teams strongest
point so why bypass it by continually hitting balls from the half way line into attack?
Same crap at Lazio, same crap at the last World Cup. With the introduction of Rooney,
Lennon and later Downing, Gerrard and Lampard were breaking forward, something
we haven't seen a great deal of so far and Downing was miles better than Joe
Cole on the left, he put in two great crosses, which is more than Cole has done
all tournament.

Attendance : 50,000
Assists : Beckham, Beckham
10 June 2006


Gamarra 4 (og)    
Gamarra headed a Beckham free kick past his own 'keeper. England wasted numerous
openings with poor passing in and around the penalty area. Valdes almost equalised
in first half injury time after a cross caused confusion in the box. The second half was
as exciting as a trip to the dentists. SGE made one of his tactically inept substitutions
replacing Owen, who looked short of match fitness, with Downing which meant Cole,
who had an excellent first half, had to support Crouch in attack. Queue Paraguay
enjoying the fair share of possession but failing to trouble Robinson and Crouch
heading on longballs to the invisible man. Lampard forced Bobadilla into excellent
saves with trademark long range efforts on the two occasions in which the England
midfield pushed upfield.

So SGE is a inept coward, what's new? What annoyed me more was the players
seemed content with the three points and blamed the heat for their performance.
Just as annoying was the awful, patchy shadow cast on the pitch by the gimmicked
roof. We missed today's Wiggles for this crap.

Attendance : 48,000
Assist : n/a


Avery John was booked for a violent lunge on Wilhelmsson who minutes later stung
Hislop's palms with a powerful drive from the edge of the box. The big 'keeper
then denied Ibrahimovic with a excellent low save down to his right after the striker
intercepted a hospital pass before volleying on the turn. Avery John got a second
yellow after the restart for another wild lunge on Wilhelmsson. I don't think he likes
his haircut. Trinidad & Tobago substitute Glenn rattled the crossbar with a superb
strike. Hislop saved another acrobatic effort from Ibrahimovic and Allback wasted the
best chance of all, shooting straight at the West Ham goalkeeper following excellent
work by Ibrahimovic and Larsson. Sweden's frustrations boiled over when in the
89th minute when Larsson was booked for hacking Gray after running into traffic.

Can someone explain what the hell the yellow stuff snowing on the pitch was?

Attendance : 62,959
Red Card : Avery John 46 (Trinidad & Tobago)
R Mehdi