22 June 2006


Tamada 34  

Ronaldo 46, 81


Juninho 53


Gilberto 59

Kawaguchi made two fine saves from Ronaldo, who looked considerably more lively
in this match than in the previous two. Japan's goal had a touch of the Argentina
about it. From a Kawaguchi pass the ball was worked from the defence to midfield,
Inamoto eventually playing it out wide to Alex, he nutmegged Juan before flicking
the ball with the outside of his left foot past Cicinho, as Tamada turned he let rip
with a left foot shot which flew past Dida. Ronaldo equalised in first half injury time.
Cicinho headed Ronaldinho's free kick high across goal and fatty profited from some
non existent marking to head into the corner.

Juninho embarrassed Kawaguchi when his speculative shot from distance went through
the 'keepers hands. Dida, whose kicking was excellent in this match (he must have
been watching Abbondanzieri), took a back pass and picked out Gilberto, who was
playing in place of that wretched dirty little cheat Bobby Carlos. Gilberto passed to
Robinho, he ran upfield (taking a player with him) before giving the ball to Ronaldinho,
he sent Gilberto racing clear down the left, Gilberto cut inside the box and fired past
Kawaguchi. Ronaldo got his second, thus equalling Gerd Muller's record for most goals
scored in World Cup matches (14) with a excellent right foot finish from the edge of the

Attendance : 65,000
Assists : Alex, Cicinho, Gilberto, Ronaldinho, Juan


Srna 2  

Moore 39 (Pen)

N Kovac 56  

Kewell 78

Srna began a memorable match by giving Croatia the lead with a fantastic free kick,
their first goal of the tournament. The Aussies should have been awarded a penalty
two minutes later when Simunic rugby tackled Viduka in the box however they got
one late in the half for a sneaky handball. Moore slammed the ball straight down the

Kovac, or to be more precise, Kalac, restored Croatia's lead when he fumbled the
midfielder's speculative shot. An amateur hour mistake which nicely brings us onto Poll
who, standing right in front of the box, missed one of the most blatant handballs of
the tournament in the Croatian penalty area by Tomas, who gave away the first.
Fortunately for the Aussies Poll also missed Kewell standing in an offside position as
he smashed in the equaliser. Simic was shown a second yellow for 'pushing' over
Kewell. Poll redressed the balance by giving Emerton a second yellow for handball.
Simunic was shown a second yellow for hacking down Kenney from behind but Poll
forgot to send him off. After blowing for full time, Simunic exchanged words
with Poll, Poll pushed him away, gave him a THIRD yellow and this time remembered
to bring out the red.

I have said in the past English referees are shite but this 'performance' was beyond

Attendance : 52,000
Red Cards : Simic 85 (Croatia), Emerton 87 (Australia), Simunic 93 (Croatia)
Assists : Kovac (won fk), n/a, Kranjcar, Cahill
18 June 2006


Adriano 49    
Fred 89    
In the third minute Kaka' intercepted Moore's clearance and headed the ball to
Ronaldo. He bounced the ball off his chest before hooking over his head towards
Kaka' and his right foot volley bounced off a post.

Three of the magic quartet combined for the opener. Ronaldinho hit a pass into
Ronaldo, his slow motion step-overs failed to bait two defenders so he squared to
Adriano who stepped past a static Chipperfield before finding the bottom corner.
Bresciano missed a glorious chance on the break five minutes later. Viduka gathered
a long ball out of defence and held off Ze Roberto before chipping a ball upto Cahill
on the half way line, as Lucio advanced Cahill slipped the ball down the left channel
to Bresciano but having ran into the box the midfielder, who is normally so good in
front of goal, hesitated allowing Ze Roberto to make an excellent recovery tackle.
A bad defensive header from Bobby Carlos forced Dida off his line but after catching
the ball he dropped it straight to Kewell who, having just come on a sub, missed with
the goal at his mercy. Bresciano's spectacular scissor kick draw a great save from
Dida. By the stage Robinho had came on Ronaldo and injected some much needed
spark into a lifeless Brazil attack. Kaka' headed against the crossbar from a corner.
Aloisi headed on a longball to Viduka who got a yard on his marker but Dida was
quick off his line and Viduka's lob bounced onto the net. Fred scored with two minutes
of coming on as a sub for Adriano. Robinho pulled down a cross from Fred and
volleyed against the outside of a post, the ball rolled across goal and the dummy
sucker tapped-in. There was still time for Kaka' to miss a sitter but 2-0 was harsh

Even though Ronaldinho has yet to come to life it's obvious Ronaldo is the teams
main problem. He laid on two chances, one of which was the goal but he barely
moved. The defence and midfield look fine and Robinho and Fred improve the team
100%. It's still Brazil's cup to lose. How does Brazil vs Ghana in the last 16 sound?

Attendance : 66,000
Assists : Ronaldo, n/a


Mid-way through the first half Prso went down in the box under minimal contact
from Miyamoto and the ref pointed to the spot. Justice was served when Kawaguchi
made a fantastic low save down to his left from Srna. Kranjcar rattled the Japanese
crossbar with a shot from 20 yards.

Kaji looked to play a one-two with Takahara who was standing on the edge of the
box, the striker hit a gorgeous return pass, ripping open the Croatian defence, Kaji
fired the ball across goal and Yanagisawa, unmarked at the back post, dragged a shot
horribly wide. Worst miss of the tournament and if I was his coach I would send him
home. In the last minute Takahara headed down Nakamura's corner and from 4 yards
out Oguru tried to volley but the ball bounced off his chest.

Typical of Japan to ruin great approach play with finishing that would embarrass most
pub teams.

Attendance : 41,000
Assists : n/a
13 June 2006


Kaka' 44    
There were only two highlights in the first half. From a short corner Ronaldinho tried
to bend the ball inside a post but Pletikosa got down smartly to save. Brazil broke
from a corner, Ze Roberto sprayed the ball wide to Cafu but there appeared to be
no danger when he found Kaka' in traffic 25 yards from goal but the midfielder
brought the ball onto his weaker left foot before bending it inside the top left
corner, fantastic goal.

A mistake by Juan when trying to cut out a longball allowed Prso to turn and hammer
a shot at goal, Dida parried and Lucio was quick to clear before Prso got a second
chance on the rebound. Kranjcar's speculative shot hit team-mate Klasnic, he turned
and shot straight at Dida. Kaka' sent Cafu down the right and his excellent cross was
met by Ronaldinho but he was once again denied by Pletikosa. Adriano almost scored
a flattering second for the holders when trying to re-direct Robinho's wayward effort.
At this point I feel asleep for only the second time in the tournament (Portugal vs
Angola was the first). Kranjcar wasted a chance to earn the Croats what would have
been a deserved draw with a weak header from Prso's cross.

The performances of Adriano and the AWFUL, AWFUL Ronaldo especially meant Brazil
effectively played with 9 men. It's a good job Ze Roberto put in the work and Emerson
kept up the systematic fouling otherwise Brazil would have been in real trouble. This
can be easily fixed if Parreira shows some balls and drops both forwards in favour of
Fred and another midfielder, which he probably won't. Ronaldo and Adriano will score
in their next two games before getting a rude awakening when they are confronted by
mobile defenders and Emerson is almost certainly going to pick up another yellow
card. He better do it in the next match, he doesn't want to miss the second round.

Attendance : 72,000
Assist : Cafu
12 June 2006


Cahill 84, 89  

Nakamura 26

Aloisi 92    
Japan went ahead in controversial circumstances. Takahara threw an elbow at
Schwarzer's chest as he came off his line to claim a Nakamura cross and the ball
trickled into the net. I'd blame the 'keeper for such a pathetic jump. As the second
half wore on the Japanese should have crucified their opponents on the break but
wasted numerous opportunities with abysmal shooting and terrible passing,
something I've seen in the past from Japan sides in youth tournaments. Cahill, on a
sub for Bresciano, equalised from close range after Kewell had a shot charged down.
Almost immediately at the other end Cahill chopped down Komano in the penalty
area, clear penalty but not given. To add insult to injury Cahill took a pass from fellow
substitute Aloisi and, from the edge of the box, whipped the ball in off a post. Aloisi
compounded Japan's misery when he danced through a dejected defence to score an
injury time third.

Attendance : 46,000
Assists : Komano, n/a, Aloisi, Cahill
R Mehdi