23 June 2010

ENGLAND 1 (Defoe 23)

The big news in the ongoing England soap opera was, not surprisingly, Capello ignored John 'big mistake' Terry's instructions to pick Cole and went with Defoe and Rooney in attack, Gerrard on the left and Milner on the right. England's goal followed six passes, well it is England, Milner swung in a deep cross from the left, Defoe got between both centrebacks, shinned the ball, straight at Handanovic who couldn't hold what was a powerful shot. Milner pumped another deep cross into the box but this time Handanovic beat Defoe to the ball and Lampard blazed the rebound over the bar. Shocking miss. Barry headed on a long ball or forced a mistake from a midfielder, the replays didn't show the incident and the real time camera also missed it, Handanovic made a phenomenal save down to his left from Defoe, Gerrard headed the rebounded to Rooney, who should have shot first time but, clearing lacking confidence, took it down, passed to Gerrard and Handanovic made another great save.

Handanovic punched out a corner, Lampard headed the ball back into the box and the unmarked Defoe flicked the ball wide of the right post. Handanovic made another remarkable save at his near post from a thundering Terry header. Rooney became the latest England player to spurn a chance that would prevent elimination at the hands of Germany in the next round when he pulled down Lampard's ball over the top but volleyed against the outside of a post. England almost paid the price for their woeful finishing. The Slovenia's countered when Barry gave the ball away in his own half, although England got men back in numbers the Slovenians fashioned a chance, Terry made a desperate block from Novakovic, Johnson hacked clear from Dedic on the rebound and Koren shot the third rebound wide. Upson made a brilliant goal saving tackle in injury time.

Much better from England, no surprise though, they were liberated from Heskey, whose shitness is so absolute it transcends through the squad. If England manage to take Germany to penalties Rooney will miss one.

Attendance : 36,893
Assist : Milner

USA 1 (Donovan 91)

The Americans had an early scare when DeMerit failed to deal with a longball into the box, Djebbour controlled the ball on his chest and rifled a volley against Howard's crossbar. The Algerians were diving in with wild tackles, to nobodies surprise, Altidore was floored on the edge of the box then Bradley sandwiched inside it, a hospital pass turned into a perfect centre for Gomez but he shot straight at M'Bolhi, fired the rebounded across goal and Dempsey stabbed over only to be denied by a linesman's flag. Just as Dempsey pulled the trigger on a glorious Donovan pass he was tackled by a defender. Donovan played a one two with Bradley, who retained the use of both his legs by hurdling over an insane sliding tackle and played in his captain with a brilliant reverse pass, M'Bolhi dived at Donovan's feet, Altidore and Donovan went for the rebound, Altidore got there first and sent the ball out of the stadium. Altidore nutmegged Halliche before tearing down the left flank, Dempsey curled his centre against the post and shanked the rebound. Buddle rose above the Algerian defence and met Cherundolo's cross with a tremendous header - straight at M'Bolhi. He threw the ball out to Belhadj, the Portsmouth defender raced upfield, centred to Ziani but he screwed his shot wide. Howard made a routine save from a Saifi header then released Donovan with a strong throw down the channel, he passed to Altidore, Dempsey was once again denied by M'Bolhi but Donovan snared the rebound. Yahia was sent off for something, dissent I think though his team-mates were the ones who were giving the awful referee some fearful abuse.

I'm not sure of the exact timing of this incident but somewhere in the second half Dempsey was punched in the face with a cheapshot that drew blood.

Attendance : 35,827
Red Card : Yahia 93 (Algeria)
Assist : n/a

18 June 2010


And following one of the best games of this World Cup, THE worst. What constitutes a chance? Gerrard with a pass back from 18 yards? Lampard failing to punish a clearance with a tame shot? Piss poor.

Attendance : 64,100
Assists : n/a

SLOVENIA 2 (Birsa 13, Ljubijankic 42)
USA 2 (Donovan 48, Bradley 82)

Birsa scored the best individual goal of the World Cup, a glorious left foot shot which curled inside the right post. Midget Torres, well he is half Mexican, brought out the best in Handanovic with a free kick from miles out on the left. The Malian referee, who was incompetent bordering on crooked, booked Findley for handball - after a corner kick hit him in the face and rebounded onto his hand. A minute later Altidore, Findley and Dempsey combined to seemingly leave Donovan with a tap-in at the back post only Brecko denied him, showing tremendous composure to kick the ball out for a corner. Having prevented a goal at one end he helped make one at the other. He dispossessed Donovan before carrying the ball upfield and passing to Novakovic, he turned the ball onto Ljubijankic before heading for the penalty spit but his team-mate had other ideas and as Howard came off his line he slotted into the bottom corner.

Bob Bradley threw on Edu and Feilhaber in place of Torres and Findley at the start of the second half but it was a mistake that let the Americans back in the match. Cesar slid in to clear Cherundolo's pass down the left flank but missed the ball, leaving Donovan with a run on goal, he looked in the direction of team-mates who made a break for the centre circle before hammered high into the roof of the net. Similar to a goal Zidane once scored. Donovan's poor free kick was hurriedly cleared and fell to Altidore who shot straight at Handanovic. Altidore headed down a Donovan longball and Michael Bradley made one of his trademark runs from deep to equalise. The Malian referee jobbed the USA out of three points. Donovan's wicked inswinging free kick sailed over defenders and onto the left foot of Edu who appeared to have smashed in the winner but the ref had already blown for pushing despite the fact that both Bradley and Altidore were being aggressively hugged by their markers. Scandalous officiating and his positioning was perfect. Howard made a strong save down to his left to deny Radosavljevic shortly before the ref blew for full time.

Attendance : 45,573
Assists : Radosavljevic, Novakovic, Cherundolo, Altidore

13 June 2010

SLOVENIA 1 (Koren 79)

Halliche had the best/only chance of the half, blowing a free header from a corner. Ghezzal was booked within a minute of replacing Djebbour. Krim hit a weak side foot shot at Chaouchi following the first bit of decent play around either penalty area. Bougherra made a great tackle on Novakovic as Birsa put him in on goal. Ghezzal blew a chance with a hopeless header and minutes later was sent off for trying to control the ball with his hand. Handanovic underhit a backpass and Ziani snapped at Suler to steal the ball but his first touch was heavy and Handanovic smothered at his feet. Koren beat Chaouchi with a tame shot from the edge of the D. Another dreadful goalkeeping error but to be fair to Chaouchi he's never been the same since Joanie left him. The ref bottled out of further red cards. Komac chopped down Belhadj with a side on sliding tackle and Yebda took a shot with his studs at Pecnik's ankle.

Attendance : 30,325
Red Card : Ghezzal 73 (Algeria)
Assist : Jokic

12 June 2010

ENGLAND 1 (Gerrard 4)
USA 1 (Dempsey 40)

ITV's HD picture switched to an advert just as Gerrard gave England the lead. That would never have happened on the BBC. To make matters worse replays showed anti-footballer Heskey made the assist. Lampard collected a throw-in and overhit a pass into Rooney, Heskey knocked the ball to Gerrard who was free on the right and he took one touch before flicking past Howard. Donovan was allowed to measure a cross to the back post and Altidore, America's Heskey, got above King and headed hopelessly wide. Heskey headed a longball down to Rooney, he released Lennon but the Spurs winger fluffed his lines and bottled the chance to shoot, instead slamming a centre against Cherundolo. Clumsy oaf Heskey almost took out his second World Cup player, having injuring Ferdinand in training, when he crashed into Howard when attempting to meet a Johnson centre. On the half hour mark Wright-Phillips, who along with CIV's Boka, is one of two players in the tournament that can milk a cow while standing up, replaced Milner who had already been booked. Dempsey gathered a loose ball in the England half, turned Gerrard inside out then hit a speculative shot from 35 yards, the ball bounced into Green's hands before he suddenly lost it and time stood still as it squirmed into the net. Another high profile calamity from an England goalkeeper.

While Heskey's supporters, like that bell-end Clive Tyldesley who was awful on commentary, will point to his role in England's opening goal his detractors, and there should be many, will point to his treacherous finishing. Put clear by Lennon he shot straight at Howard and later ballooned a Gerrard cross high over the bar. Altidore destroyed Carragher on the left as he chased down a Donovan pass, he cut inside the box but scuffed his shot, Green once against fumbled, as he tried to catch the ball it bounced up off his left hand, hit his head and ricocheted off the left post and crossbar and bounced to safety. Rooney flashed a shot wide of the right post then played in mental midget SWP who having got into a good position predictably shot straight at Howard. Frustration set in as Carragher and Gerrard both picked up yellow cards.

The injured King was replaced on half time and despite what Capello says he must be a doubt for the rest of the tournament. Capello got this completely wrong but then did we really expect anything less? New coach, same old England. Good performance by Terry.

Attendance : 44,026
Assists : Heskey, n/a