24 June 2010

DENMARK 1 (Tomasson 81)
JAPAN 3 (Honda 17 fk, Endo 30 fk, Okazaki 87)

The Japanese proved the South Koreans were not the only side with mastery of the Jubulani ball when Honda scored with a magnificent 35 yard free kick absolutely miles away out of the left wing into the bottom left corner. They scored with another 13 minutes later though this time Sorensen was at fault. He was standing left of centre, took a couple of steps to his left as Endo struck the ball and was still beaten on his left post. Inexcusable. Substitute Larsen almost scored one of the goals of the tournament. With his back to goal he trapped a longball on his chest, swivelled and hammered a left foot volley against the crossbar. Agger did a De Rossi to win a cheap penalty. Tomasson became the first Danish player to miss a World Cup spot kick but in despatching the rebound equalled Poul Nielsen's international record of 52 goals. Honda sold Rommedahl a dummy on the edge of the box, turning sharply, and with just Sorensen to beat unselfishly centred for Okazaki to kill any hopes of a comeback.

Honda has been, until this point, the outstanding midfielder at this year's World Cup.

"I offered (David) Bentley for Honda, but nobody will swap a Bentley for a Honda" - Harry Redknapp

Attendance : 27,697
Assists : Matsui (won fk), Okubo (won fk), n/a, Honda

CAMEROON 1 (Eto'o 65 Pen)
NETHERLANDS 2 (Van Persie 36, Huntelaar 83)

Van Persie played a one-two with Van der Vaart, ran into the space left by Kuyt who intelligently stepped forward to take a defender with him, then shot through Hamidou's legs. Eto'o converted a spot kick awarded for a Van der Vaart handball. Sneijder sent Robben at Rigobert Song with a magnificent driven pass, Robben's first touch took him wide of goal but he showed no ring rust from his injury as he dribbled past the veteran and hit a trademark left foot rocket, the ball came back off a post and THE HUNTER, another substitute, tapped in the winner.

I hope we don't see the dreadful Rigobert Song in another World Cup. FFS retire already.

Attendance : 63,093
Assists : Van der Vaart, n/a, n/a

19 June 2010

CAMEROON 1 (Eto'o 10)
DENMARK 2 (Bendtner 33, Rommedahl 61)

This was a BRILLIANT game of football. Rommedahl ran clear of Assou-Ekotto onto a great ball from Christian Poulsen but hurried his shot, sending in into the stands. Three minutes later Cameroon took the lead. Sorensen passed to Christian Poulsen, he underhit a pass to Kjaer allowing Webo to intercept and Eto'o slammed his centre past Sorensen. Kjaer hit Rommedahl with a glorious 60 yard crossfield pass, Rommedahl destroyed Assou-Ekotto again and Bendtner ran between two defenders to slide in his centre. Tomasson should have ended his two year wait to match Poul Nielsen's Denmark goalscoring record of 52 goals but shot straight at Alex Song after Bendtner dispossessed his Arsenal team-mate and released Rommedahl who this time checked inside Bassong before laying on the chance. Seconds later Cameroon also wasted a 100% chance. Jorgensen failed to control a Sorensen pass, Eto'o intercepted and passed to Emana who drew out Sorensen before returning the ball to Eto'o and his shot rebounded off a post. Terrible miss.

Sorensen made an excellent save to deny Mbia from a corner. Webo turned onto an Assou-Ekotto centre but scuffed his shot. From that kick-off the Danes made it 1-2. Bendtner collected a ball out of defence and sprayed wide to Rommedahl, he teased Makoun on the edge of the box, accelerated suddenly and curled a left foot shot into the bottom right corner, brilliant goal and thoroughly deserved for a Maicon level performance. He set up another chance, laying off a ball over the top but once again Tomasson failed to hit the target with a clear sight of goal. A Cameroon played jumped in the air to back heel flick on a cross to Emana, he was too quick for the Danish defence but Sorensen thwarted him with another World Class, fingertip save.

Game of the tournament so far. Cameroon are out. On this showing Denmark should have no problem beating a poor Japanese side.

Attendance : 38,074
Assists : Webo, Rommedahl, Bendtner

NETHERLANDS 1 (Sneijder 53)

Van Persie touched back the ball after a Japanese defender made a poor attempt to clear a cross and Sneijder hit blistering first time shot, measured at over 60mph, goalkeeper Kawashima overshot his dive and got a touch with the outside of his left hand, deviating the ball into the net. Substitute Affelay wasted two excellent late chances, shooting at Kawashima on both occasions. The Dutch almost paid the price in injury time. Otaka flicked on a longball, Okazaki pulled off the shoulder off his marker but lashed a half volley over the bar.

BORING. The best thing about the Dutch at this World Cup is Edgar Davids' post and pre match analysis.

Attendance : 62,010
Assist : Van Persie

14 June 2010

JAPAN 1 (Honda 39)

Le Guen tried to be a smartarse and imitate Mourinho by playing Eto'o wide. Needless to say it didn't work. Matsui's sensational cross, the best of the tournament, sailed over the heads of two Cameroon defenders and Honda took a touch before poking over Souleymanou. Kameni must have been injured. Mbia got hold of a loose ball and from 30 yards thundered a right foot shot against the crossbar. Shit game, really, really shit.

Honda has to be the most improved player in World football. Two years ago he was playing in the Dutch second division for VVV-Venlo. He was excellent for CSKA Moscow in the Champions League and has already made his mark at this tournament.

Attendance : 30,620
Assist : Matsui

NETHERLANDS 2 (Agger 46 og, Kuyt 85)

Denmark had the best chances in a dreadful first half. Bendtner headed an Agger cross wide then turned Mathijsen before releasing Kahlenberg with a excellent pass and the Wolfsburg midfielder drew a good save from Stekelenburg.

At the start of the second half and I do mean literally at the start of the second half De Jong clipped a fantastic diagonal pass between two defenders, Van Persie touched the ball past Sorensen as he came off his line, turned and sent a cross towards the back post, Simon Poulsen headed in off the back of Agger, the first og of the tournament. Agger almost scored a second og, Sneijder took a pop from the edge of the box and the ball cannoned off his arms and against the top of the crossbar. Elia replaced the awful Van der Vaart and gave the one paced Dutch attack some speed on the flanks. He raced onto a Sneijder pass and shot, Sorensen was quick off his line and got a touch but the ball bounced off a post and at the feet of the awaiting Kuyt, who bears a resemblance to England's T20 Cricket Captain Paul Collingwood. Simon Poulsen made a fantastic overhead clearance to deny Affelay a third.

Shocking, laboured performance by the Dutch - until the introduction of Elia.

Attendance : 83,465
Assists : n/a, n/a