1 July 2006



Henry 56

Ronaldo passed up what was by most forwards standards a great chance from a
Ronaldinho free kick but then in the air he's about as useless as Henry. On the
stroke of half time Zidane received possession on the edge of his box and burst
forward, pushing the ball wide of Lucio's despairing sliding tackle and leaping
over Gilberto's dangerous challenge before threading a pass through the heart of
the Brazil defence but Vieira's run was cynically brought to an end by Juan.

Early in the second half another chance went begging for Vieira when he headed
an immaculate Zidane free kick wide of a post. However it seemed only a matter
of time before the French would make their dominance count and in the 56th minute
they broke through. Zidane, standing on the left touchline, floated a free kick towards
the back post and the unmarked Henry slammed the ball into the roof of the net,
Zidane's first ever assist to Henry in a France shirt. Ribery mugged Lucio on the left
touchline, rolling the ball away from the powerful defender before firing the ball
across the face of goal and as Juan tried to clear he almost sliced into his own net.
Dida saved at the feet of Ribery on a Henry lead counter attack. Govou and Saha
wasted chances on the break and it would have been a travesty had Ze Roberto
equalised in injury time but he volleyed substitute Cicinho's driving low cross well
wide of a post.

A magnificent performance from a France side in which Zidane was at his
enchanting best. Vieira and Makelele absolutely massacred the Brazilian midfield
with an awesome display of power. France should have won by a larger margin and
playing football of this quality who would begrudge them a second World Cup?

Attendance : 48,000
Assist : Zidane (fk)


Lennon came on for the injured Beckham on 51 minutes and manufactured the games
first genuine chance. Running inside from the right flank, he skinned Valente, took the
ball past Carvalho and Meira, let it roll to Rooney who miss-kicked horribly, the ball
fell to Cole and he ballooned high over the bar. TWAT. Rooney stamped on Carvalho's
bollocks after the defender wrestled him to the ground. He appeared to be sent off
after Ronaldo had a word with the ref, which was irrelevant as he deserved to go.
The Portuguese, who were even less of an attacking threat then 10 man England
finally drew a good save from Robinson when Figo almost caught him out with a
clever first time shot. A minute later Portugal's joke of a 'keeper Ricardo (yes he's
good on penalties but he's hopeless at everything else) parried a Lampard free kick
up into the air but substitute Lennon's weak follow-up was easily saved. Miguel made
a fantastic clearance as Crouch, who was climbing all over him, was about to head
in a Gerrard cross.

Penalty Shoot Out

Simao drills the ball low into the bottom corner

Lampard. What did I say about the player most likely to miss a penalty? Telegraphed,
low, right of centre and not hit with enough pace

Viana strikes the outside of a post

Hargreaves strikes a firm penalty low to the left, in off a post

Petit goes to the left and, just like Viana, hits a post

Gerrard. Despite shouts of 'Come on Gerad you bastad' from my 2 year old (don't let
toddlers in the room when watching shoot-outs) Liverpool's captain hits an awful
penalty too centrally and at a poor height, no challenge for a penalty expert like

Postiga sends Robinson the wrong way. Robinson is FAT and needs to go on a diet

Carragher scores but has to re-take as the ref hadn't blown his whistle. Predictably
his second effort is saved

Ronaldo curls the ball over Robinson who finally tries something different by actually
diving but misses completely

Portugal win 3-1 on penalties

England bottled it and despite playing with ten men had the chances to win the
match, well two of them. I was disappointed in Scolari's negative approach but that
isn't going to work against France. What must be galling for England is that this is
a decidedly average Portugal team who were missing their best player (Deco) and
they still couldn't take advantage. Typical of the limp-wristed performances we have
come to expect of England under Eriksson. On the bright side they've sparred
themselves a through thrashing from the French in the semi-finals and Hargreaves
was great.

Attendance : 52,000
Assist : n/a
30 June 2006


Zambrotta 6    
Toni 58, 69    
Camoranesi had already gone close for Italy before Zambrotta hit the back of the
net. He started the move with a ball into Totti, the Roma captain returned it with an
extravagant back heel as Zambrotta cut in from the right flank, he ran unchallenged
towards the centre of the box he let rip with a left foot drive from 25 yards which
found the bottom corner via Shovkovsky’s left hand, he probably should have done

Having failed to show up in the first half Ukraine came out fighting in the second.
Buffon was almost KTFO when he collided with a post when saving Gusin's point
blank header. Milevsky turned onto a miss-hit shot and played in Gusev with a
superbly weighted pass, Gusev hit the ball with everything he had, Buffon parried
and Tymoshchyuk's follow-up was chested off the line by the outstanding Zambrotta.
Less than a minute later Toni broke his duck. Totti worked a short corner with Grosso
before whipping a teasing cross to the back post and despite Gusin's concerted
attempts to concede a penalty for shirt pulling, the giant striker headed low into the
net. Italy had another escape when the unlucky Gusin headed a free kick against the
crossbar. Zambrotta capped off a stunning performance by laying on the third goal.
Grosso volleyed a pass inside Gusev, a sharp turn took Zambrotta away from
Vashchyuk and he poked the ball forward to a delighted Toni.

Italy have a fantastic record against Germany and won't be too concerned at the
prospect of playing underdogs. They seem to be peaking at the right time of course
if it goes to penalties Italy are doomed.

Attendance : 50,000
Assists : Totti, Totti (ck), Zambrotta


Klose 80  

Ayala 49

I'm not sure of the intention of the teams in the first half. Maybe they were conserving
energy for the second half because they did nothing with the ball, Argentina especially
who had most of it. Ballack had the only chance following a superb counter attack but
headed wide.

Ayala, who but for Cannavaro would be this tournaments outstanding defender, gave
Argentina the lead with a spectacular header from a Riquelme corner. The game began
to open up. Crespo intercepted Lahm's hospital pass, Tevez tried to dribble past the
German defence but spotted Rodriguez in a better position free on the right of the box,
the midfielder lashed wide. Germany won a throw in near goal. Borowski flicked on
Ballack's cross and Klose got in front of Sorin to header into Franco's bottom corner
(Abbondanzieri went off with a injury in the first half). Rodriguez was booked for diving
in the box two minutes from time, with team-mates in the centre waiting for a cross,
match point.

Extra time was... thirty minutes of my life I won't get back.

Penalty Shoot-Out

Neuville's kick is at a good height for Franco but hit with too much pace

Cruz smashes the ball into the top left corner

Ballack sends Franco the wrong way

Ayala hits an awful, power puff shot which Lehmann saves with ease

Podolski drills a low shot into the bottom right corner

Rodriguez is only a fingertip away from seeing his penalty saved

Borowski's penalty is almost a carbon copy of Podolski's

Cambiasso's strike the ball wide of centre and at mid-height, Lehmann takes a step
off his line before saving

As the Germans were celebrating Cufre, who was an unused sub, kicked Metzelder
square in the balls, sending him rolling to the ground in agony and a bench clearing
scuffle ensued. Heinze had to be restrained from getting to Bierhoff and Maxi
Rodriguez leapt over a posse of bodies to slap Schweinsteiger in the back, pussy.

Pekerman's decision to substitute Riquelme and replace him with DM Cambiasso
on 72 minutes is one of the all time moronic and arrogant decisions in World Cup
history, as was taking off Crespo on 78 minutes and replacing him not with Messi or
even Saviola but Cruz. Pekerman resigned in disgrace minutes later, and so he should.

Germany win 4-2 on penalties

Attendance : 72,000
Red Card : Cufre 120 (Argentina)
Assists : Riquelme (ck), Borowski