23 June 2006


Shevchenko 70 (Pen)    
A strong contender for worst game of the tournament. The Ukraine, needing only a
point, could be forgiven for their negative approach but that cretin, Roger Lemerde,
showed no ambition despite needing a victory to make the last 16. He hasn't won a
World Cup game in six attempts, SHAME. Jaziri got a second yellow for a nothing
challenge on Tymoshchuk, his first was for diving. Shevchenko intercepted a poor
clearance by Jaidi and he ran past Hagui tripped over his own feet so the ref awarded
a penalty. Shevchenko converted. Dos Santos came close to scoring an equaliser but
headed wide. A Tunisian player should have been sent off for stamping on

Ukraine vs Switzerland, that sounds exciting. I wouldn't be surprised if it goes
to penalties.

Attendance : 72,000
Red Card : Jaziri 45 (Tunisia)
Assist : Shevchenko (won pen)



Juanito 36

Aragones fielded his 'reserves' - Cesc, Reyes, Joaquin, Albelda and Iniesta amongst
others and despite never getting out of second gear the Spanish were comfortable
winners. Zaid made excellent saves from Albelda and Joaquin before Juanito beat him
with a bullet header from a superb Reyes free kick. The Spanish switched off in the
second half and the Saudi's passed up several chances to score an equaliser.

Attendance : 46,000
Assists : Reyes (fk)
19 June 2006


Raul 71  

Mnari 8

Torres 76, 91 (Pen)    
Under pressure from Xabi Alonso and Pernia, Bouazizi lost possession in midfield but
got a lucky deflection off the Getafe defender and the ball shot off downfield, a
poor challenge from Puyol allowed Jaziri a free run down the left but by the time
he cut inside the box reinforcements arrived, two defenders, again including Puyol
failed to clear as he dribbling in slow motion then chipped a ball forward to Mnari,
he caught the ball on the volley, forcing Casillas into a brilliant save but Mnari
smashed in the ball on the rebound. Xabi Alonso forced Ayari into a great goal-line
clearance late in the half, the only notable effort Spain managed.

Raul and Cesc came on at half time and had an immediate impact, Cesc drawing
a fantastic save from the lunatic Boumnijel. Joaquin, on for Villa, rolled a ball
into the box from the right flank, Torres stepped over and Cesc hit a weak shot
which any competent goalkeeper would have saved, Boumnijel spilled the ball
and Raul held off a strong challenge from Trabelsi to score though the defender
got the last touch. Boumnijel, who has a touch of the Barthez about him (great
saves followed by utter incompetence) made another fine save from Cesc before
gifting Spain the lead. Cesc pushed a ball downfield and with Torres advancing
Boumnijel decided to come off his line, he got to the edge of the box and
tried to force Torres wide so Torres obliged by going wide and flicking the ball
into an empty net. Torres added a third from the penalty spot after Yahia hauled
him down in the box.

Attendance : 52,000
Assists : n/a, n/a, Cesc, Torres (won pen)



Rusol 4


Rebrov 36


Shevchenko 46


Kalinichenko 84

Rusol profited from Al-Ghamdy's untimely slip, it had been raining, to head his team
into a fourth minute lead from a corner. Rebrov doubled the Ukraine's lead with yet
another long range screamer though once again a Saudi player, this time the
goalkeeper, slipped.

In the first minute of the second half millions of fans worldwide rejoiced when
Shevchenko headed in his first World Cup goal, from Kalinichenko deep free kick.
Kalinichenko rattled the crossbar with a tremendous left foot shot and deservedly got
on the score-sheet when Shevchenko unselfishly centred on a counter attack.

Attendance : 50,000
Assists : Kalinichenko (ck), Tymoshchuk, Kalinichenko (fk), Shevchenko
14 June 2006


Jaziri 23  

Al-Qahtani 56

Jaidi 92  

Al-Jaber 84

Tukar tried to clear Chedli's free kick but the ball bounced off team-mate Montashari,
Jaziri leapt up and sent a right foot scissor kick high into the net. Brilliant goal. The
Saudi's equaliser was just as good. Dokhi hit a ball down the right to Noor, it kept
bouncing so he waited and waited before firing a volleying pass into the centre of the
box and Al-Qahtani darted past two defenders to smash the ball first time into the
top corner. A lightning counter attack gave the Saudi's what looked to have been the
winning goal. Jaziri gathered a cushioned header before dribbling past two defenders
and feeding Ameen, his exquisite pass around Hagui sent Al-Jaber, who had literally
just come on as a sub, clear and he calmly stroked the ball into the bottom corner.
Sulimani's deflected free kick rebounded off a post. The Saudi's failed to deal with a
long ball into the box, Jaidi headed down to Jaziri who was standing on the right
touchline, showing incredible composure (given it was injury time) he calmly pulled
the ball down, took one touch to push it past a defender and hung a cross in the air
for the unmarked Jaidi to head home.

The Saudi's attacking was light years ahead of Tunisia's, scoring two high quality
goals, but their defending on crosses was atrocious. Like many I didn't have high
hopes for this match but the second half was excellent. Lemerde is still without a
win in 4 World Cup games, SHAME.

Attendance : 66,000
Assists : n/a, Noor, Ameen, Jaziri


Xabi Alonso 13    
Villa 17, 47 (Pen)    
Torres 80    
Xabi Alonso gave Spain the lead with a deflected header from a corner. Four minutes
later Valencia's David Villa made it 2-0 via another deflection from a free kick. In the
first minute of the second half the ref gave Vashchuk a bullshit red card. He pulled
on Torres shorts as he ran in on goal (maybe he was trying to pull something else),
surprisingly Torres stayed on his feet and drew a good save from Shovkovsky then
he blew his whistle, sent off Vashchuk and pointed to the spot. Villa smashed in his
second but was denied the chance of a certain hat-trick (he looked very sharp) when
Aragones subbed him for Raul. Torres finished off a magnificent team move to
complete the most emphatic victory of the first round. Puyol intercepted a pass, rode
a tackle from a midfielder then skipped another as he passed to Torres, who was
fouled from behind after giving the ball to Cesc (Fabregas, that's the name he has on
his shirt when playing for Spain), Cesc swung a first time cross towards the right,
Puyol headed down and Torres rifled a half volley into the bottom corer. Beautiful.

After getting completely screwed against South Korea in the 2002 World Cup
quarter-finals Spain were due a bit of luck but they shouldn't have used most of it
up in the first match. The ref was terrible and the Ukraine got hosed on several
offside calls, 4-0 was harsh. There's a possibility Spain will play South Korea in
the second round. I can't wait and neither probably can the Spanish.

Attendance : 43,000
Assists : n/a, n/a, Torres (won pen), Puyol
R Mehdi