24 June 2010

SLOVAKIA 3 (Vittek 25, Vittek 73, Kopunek 89)
ITALY 2 (Di Natale 81, Quagliarella 92)

De Rossi underhit a pass out of defence Montolivo, Kucka intercepted, fed Vittek and he squeezed a shot inside the left post. Former Udinese hit-men Iaquinta and Di Natale missed great chances. Well Udinese play in black and white, the same colour as Juve and under Lippi that qualifies for a cap. Pirlo, on after 55 minutes, and Pepe worked a short corner, Mucha tipped Pepe's cross to Quagliarella, the Napoli striker bounced the ball off his chest before hammering a left foot volley towards goal only to be denied by Skrtel's fantastic goal-line clearance. It was NOT over the line. The Slovakians forced two corners in quick succession and scored from the second, Pirlo failed to close down Hamsik and Vittek got in front of Chiellini to beat Marchetti at his near post. Italy pulled a goal back on the break, Quagliarella played a one-two with Iaquinta on the edge of the box, ran onto his return pass and shot, Mucha parried, Di Natale tapped into an empty net. A linesman's flag wrongly denied Quagliarella the equaliser - it was an English ref after all, they hate Italian teams. Kopunek killed off Italian hopes within three minutes of replacing Strba. That bastard Cannavaro failed to track Kopunek on a throw-in and he lobbed the ball over Marchetti as he dived at his feet. De Rossi had a shot charged down but quickly recovered the ball and from 25 yards Quagliarella lobbed over Mucha. Brilliant goal. In the sixth minute of injury time Pepe should have equalised as the Slovak's failed to clear from a throw-in but he missed the ball. At full time that crook Lippi refused to shake hands with his opposite number Weiss.

For some reason my DVR cut out and didn't record so when I switched on the TV after getting home I saw the fat face of Adrian Chiles and the score in the bottom left corner as the titles rolled. F*CK SOUTH AFRICA and their stupid kick-off times. If Africa hosts another World Cup this century it will be too soon.

Lippi, already public enemy #1 before the finals, will get the rotten tomato treatment and he deserves it for using the Italian national team as a Juventus vehicle and closing the door on any players he feels slighted him i.e. Cassano and Miccoli. While Italy's poor showing at the World Cup comes as no surprise to Italians, failure to get out of an easy group does. The head of the Italian FA, Giancarlo Abete, should also reign or be forced out not only for re-appointing Lippi but for also presiding over Italy's failed bid to host Euro 2016. In Prandelli Italy have the right man to take the national team forward, a coach not afraid of playing youngsters, a coach who can realise the potential in flops and misfits and a coach whose teams can play great football.

Attendance : 53,412
Assists : Kucka, Hamsik, n/a, Jendrisek, De Rossi


Caceres was booked for stamping on Fallon's ankle, which rules him out of Paraguay's last 16 match against Japan. Awful game, probably.

Attendance : 34,850
Assists : n/a

20 June 2010

ITALY 1 (Iaquinta 29 Pen)
NEW ZEALAND 1 (Smeltz 7)

New Zealand stunned the outgoing champions when that bastard Cannavaro failed to clear a free kick, the ball struck his arm and Elliot poked past Marchetti. Pepe swung in a corner, the ball hit Cannavaro, Chiellini controlled it but lobber over. Montolivo curled a shot against the inside of Fallon's left post. A couple of minutes later Smith grabbed hold of De Rossi's shirt when challenging him for a cross, De Rossi punished his stupidity with a late dive and Iaquinta converted the resulting penalty. Substitute Wood flicked a pass over Cannavaro and sent a shot skidding wide of the right post. Paston, who gave away rebound after rebound in the first match, made an excellent two fisted save from Lippi's pet Camoranesi. Nelsen throw himself at a goalbound Zambrotta effort and then the Kiwi's comfortably held on for a point.

The Italian press will savage Lippi over the next few days and he deserves it. Hopefully they'll save some of their abuse for the king of frauds Cannavaro, who enjoyed the best years of his career when being carried by Thuram. When Thuram wasn't around at Inter and Real Madrid, Cannavaro sucked. Coincidence? Of course not. And he was carried at the last World Cup by Materazzi.

Attendance : 38,229
Assists : n/a, De Rossi (won pen)

PARAGUAY 2 (Vera 27, Riveros 86)

Paraguay scored after recovering the ball from a Slovakia throw-in, Vera ran onto a Barrios' lovely reverse pass and toe poked the ball with the outside of his right foot past Mucha. Salata became the umpteenth player to send a free header over the bar, it's DEFINETLY the ball. One season wonder Santa Cruz should have punished a hospital pass but shot straight at Mucha. Vera should have scored a second but headed wide after super slick approach play down Slovakia's left. Da Silva headed a free kick against Straba, team-mate Cardoza ran into him as he tried to strike the rebounded but kept his composure and laid the ball back to Riveros, who planted a shot inside the left post.

Attendance : 26,643
Assists : Barrios, Da Silva

15 June 2010

NEW ZEALAND 1 (Reid 93)
SLOVAKIA 1 (Vittek 50)

Sestak exchanged passed with Weiss and should have at least troubled the NZ goalkeeper but shot wide. Sestak played the last of a fine ten pass move with an inswinging cross which Vittek headed inside a post. Reid's excellent last ditch sliding tackle prevented Vittek from making it 2-0 on the break. Smeltz, who earlier wasted a fantastic Lochhead cross, turned Hamsik and floated a cross into the box, Reid got above his marker and headed in a dramatic last second equaliser.

A lot has been made of the new ball, which is the case at every World Cup as Adidas spin more nonsense to boot sales however this ball definitely hangs in the air on crosses.

Attendance : 23,871
Assists : Sestak, Smeltz

14 June 2010

ITALY 1 (De Rossi 63)
PARAGUAY 1 (Alcaraz 39)

Alcatraz got above Cannavaro to head in a free kick. There's no way that would have happened if Bonucci had played in defence. Marchetti replaced the injured Buffon at half time. He should have been picking the ball out of the net but Vera failed to punish sloppy defence when he blew a shot over from close range. Italy were transformed following the introduction of Camoranesi, who is too ugly to be Italian, and the subsequent switch to 4-4-2 though they owe the equaliser to Paraguay's goalkeeper. Pepe swung in a corner, Villar did a Superman punch, missed the ball completely and De Rossi volleyed in at the back post. Villar got down low to tip away a decent effort by Montolivo.

If Juve are smart they'll cash in on Buffon. He's been breaking down for the last two years.

Attendance : 62,869
Assists : Torres (fk), Pepe (ck)