23 June 2006
TOGO 0-2



Vieira 55


Henry 61

A nervous France, minus Zidane, played considerably better football without him
but missed a boatload of chances, Ribery in particular was guilty of Japanese level
shooting and Trezeguet, whose movement was outstanding, was continually denied
by an inspired Agassa in the Togo goal. Captain for the day Vieira made the
breakthrough. He collecting a pass from Ribery, brought the ball under control, turned
and swept a right foot shot inside the post. Henry missed an absolute sitter but made
amends minutes later by scoring France's second. Vieira took an elbow to the face
when heading on a cross, Henry resisted a strong challenge from Tchangai and fired
into the bottom corner.

People have been complaining about the officiating at this World Cup, claiming that
contact is no longer allowed and attacking players receive too much protection.
Nonsense. I'll tell you what the problem is the Europeans and to a lesser extent
South American's have forgotten how to tackle. Togo, like Ghana put on a World
Class display of fast, aggressive, fair tackling. The speed and the precision of the
challenges coupled with unreal composure the players showed when playing the
ball out of defence after winning possession was breathtaking. I believe there was
one passage of play in the first half in which Tchangai ripped the ball off Makelele
no less leaving him on his backside. Salifou, who I think is the DM, and Senaya
(right sided midfielder) were also outstanding in their tackling. What a shame Togo
didn't show up for their first two games.

As for France Zidane castrates Henry as an attacking threat. He has to sit on the
bench for the match against Spain but I doubt Domenech is brave enough to make
that decision. Are Spain pretenders or contenders? We'll find out Tuesday.

Attendance : 45,000
Assists : Ribery, Vieira


Senderos 23    
Frei 77    
Barnetta was giving the Korean's problems early, Choi Jin Jul made a phenomenal
recovery tackle after a mistake put Barnetta in on goal and he drew the foul which
gave the Swiss the lead. Senderos smashed his nose into the back of Jin-Cheul when
attacking Yakin's free kick and didn't seem overly concerned with blood streaming
down his face as he wheeled away to celebrate his goal. Frei scored a controversial
second, the lineman had his flag raised as the Rennes striker ran onto a pass,
rounded the 'keeper and tapped into an empty net while the Koreans held their arms
aloft waiting for the referee to stop play. The ref let the goal stand because Degen's
pass took a deflection off a defender which was a moot point anyway as it appeared
as if Frei was onside. Great refereeing but more poor officiating from the linesmen
at this World Cup.

Attendance : 43,000
Assists : H Yakin (fk), n/a
19 June 2006
TOGO 0-2



Frei 16


Barnetta 89

Having brilliantly turned Senderos, Kader, who has actually only scored one league
goal in the last two seasons, failed to trouble Zuberbuhler with a lame finish.
Adebayor missed an easy header before the Swiss took the lead with their first
attack. Magnin swung a cross over to the back post, Barnetta volleyed the ball down
to Frei and his first time shot flew past Agassa. Just past the half hour Togo were
furious when the ref waved away what appeared to be a strong penalty appeal when
Muller tripped Adebayor however the replays showed Muller stuck out a leg before
swinging forward in a kicking motion without making any contact, despite what the
idiots at the BBC said. Get your eyes tested. Great spot by the ref but Muller is lucky
as hell to get away with it.

Frei and Yakin missed easy chances before Barnetta sent Togo out of the
competition when he met Lustrinelli's pass with a crisp low drive which flew in
off a post.

Togo got what they deserved nothing, complaining over bonuses, threatening to
boycott this match and player power (that prick Adebayor) forcing out the coach
that lead them to the World Cup finals (Keshi) makes African football look so Mickey

Attendance : 65,000
Assists : Barnetta, Lustrinelli
18 June 2006


Henry 9  

Park 81

Henry scored France's first World Cup goal since Petit's third against Brazil in 1998.
Wiltord, who after one great season at Lyon (2004-2005) is back to playing like
the Arsenal Wiltord i.e. rubbish hit a shot against Nam-Il the ball bounced at Henry's
feet and he controlled with his right before shooting past Woon-Jae with his left. Vieira
scored one of those ball crossed the line jobs that we get every tournament and will
continue to get until the current crooked regime at FIFA are no longer in charge.
He headed a Zidane corner over the line, Woon-Jae quickly punched it out and the ball
was cleared. No one protested.

France didn't bother to attack in the second half having comfortably dealt with what
passed for Korean attacks - longballs into the box. They paid the ultimate price for
their complacency when in the 81st minute Park equalised. Ahn volleyed a longball
out wide to Ki-Hyeon but having fought off Abidal he overhit a cross, Jae-Jin
headed the ball down, Thuram should have cleared but only succeeded in helping
the ball forward to Park and shortarse Barthez, who never lets France down, could
only tip his volley into his own net to the absolute fury of Gallas. The goal, not
surprisingly, brought the French to life. Henry turned onto a rare pass from Zidane
(he's never made an assist for Henry) and clean through on goal he hit his usual
sissy finish which Woon-Jae, who was off his line like a shot, saved. With two
minutes to go Domenech decided it would be a good idea to play Trezeguet.

Zidane was booked for pushing over a Korean player which means he will miss his
teams final group match against Togo.

Attendance : 43,000
Assists : n/a, n/a
13 June 2006


Midway through an excruciating first half Barnetta lobbed a free kick into the box,
Senderos got a touch but the ball came back off a post and instead of heading it the
useless Frei waited for it to drop before attempting a volley giving Abidal time to
block. A terrible mistake by Senderos gave Ribery a free run on goal instead of
shooting, with most of the goal to aim at, he bottled it and overhit a pass to Henry,
after digging the ball out from under his feet his shot hit Muller's hand right in front
of the ref, no penalty. Substitute Gygax made poor contact with a fabulous right wing
cross from Magnin, allowing Barthez to clear. In injury time Saha chested down
Zidane's cross to Dhorasoo, who rarely scores, and he did exactly that, volleying wide
of the left post.

The Germans have a word for matches line this - 'NEIN'. Why ever since Jacquet left
have the French national team coaches been such spineless cowards?

Attendance : 53,000
Assist : n/a


Chun-Soo 54 (fk)  

Kader 31

Ahn 72    
A magnificent goal brought this wretched game to life. Tchangai launched a hopeful
ball upfield, Kader burst through two defenders, took the ball on this thigh and struck
a right foot shot which went in off a post. Senaya almost made it 2-0 with a free kick.

Abalo got a second yellow card for tripping Park as the midfielder ran onto a hospital
pass. From the resulting free kick, Chun-Soo who with his ridiculous hair looks like an
old women, bent the ball over the wall into the top corner at extreme pace. Fantastic
goal and the first free kick to hit the back of the net in this tournament. Ahn turned
onto a pass and tried his luck from 25 yards, the ball took a wicked deflection off
Dare leaving the impressive Agassa no chance.

Awful first half but in the second Korea played a bit like the Korea of 4 years ago.
The France game is going to be very interesting.

Attendance : 48,000
Red Card : Abalo 53 (Togo)
Assists : Tchangai, Park (won fk), n/a