Posted in Scotland, World Cup at 7:47 pm on 23 March 2013
FIFA World Cup Qualifier: Europe, Group A. Hampden Park, 22/3/13.
Wretched. That’s the only way to describe Scotland’s opening to this game. Misplaced passes galore – and in the worst area of the field to commit that footballing crime.
And yet we went in one up. From a set piece obviously. (Nicely taken by Grant Hanley as it was.)
Then it was suicide in the second half as Robert Snodgrass over-committed in the penalty box and the side couldn’t reorganise quickly enough after his sending off and the loss of the first goal.
No new manager bounce.
It is becoming increasingly obvious we just no longer have the players to compete for qualification places in World Cup and European Championship groups.
Posted in Scotland, World Cup at 10:07 pm on 16 October 2012
FIFA World Cup Qualifier: Europe, Group A. King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels. 16/10/12.
So. No miracle in Belgium then.
Given the calibre of their players it was always unlikely.
Given the calibre of ours I doubt a change of manager will make much difference.
Bottom of the group is pretty poor stuff though.
Posted in Scotland, World Cup at 9:07 pm on 13 October 2012
FIFA World Cup Qualifier: Europe, Group A. Cardiff City Stadium, 12/10/12.
All I’ve seen of this are some brief highlights on the TV news.
It seems we had a perfectly good goal chalked off and Wales a dubious penalty, albeit I’ve read they might have had a better prior claim.
Still, Wales were due some comeback on us in a World Cup game.
It was all set up for this result what with them not yet having won under Chris Coleman.
We’re second bottom after three games and we’ve still to play the top two teams in the group. It should be a through-the-fingers viewing job on Tuesday night in Belgium.
That’s the sort of circumstance in which we just might scrape a 1-0 win.
Don’t bet on it, though.
Posted in Scotland, World Cup at 6:03 pm on 12 September 2012
FIFA World Cup Qualifier: Europe, Group A. Hampden Park, 11/9/12.
Brazil 2014? You’re having a laugh.
Again I only saw the highlights but compared to Macedonia – a team fifty below us in the FIFA rankings – we looked sluggish and lacking in confidence.
They moved the ball about slickly and with purpose, we like headless chickens. In short they appeared to know what they were about and we didn’t.
Two games in and looks like we’ll be lucky to avoid coming bottom of the group; except that Wales seem to be even worse. (Then again that’s the sort of situation where they’re likely to jump up and bite us.)
Oh, and by the way, when did Macedonia lose the FYR tag?
Posted in Scotland, World Cup at 4:24 pm on 9 September 2012
FIFA World Cup Qualifier: Europe, Group A, Hampden Park, 8/9/12.
I only saw the highlights – and had managed to avoid finding out the score beforehand, which wasn’t worth it.
We made heavy weather of this but shouldn’t grumble about a draw with a team above us in the rankings. (Only Macedonia in our Group aren’t above us.) Serbia might have scored themselves.
Still, judging from this it’s “Brazil, here we don’t come.”
Posted in Football, World Cup at 1:00 pm on 11 February 2012
So, English football is in a ferment because Fabio has gone and ‘Arry may be able to take over the reigns. Hmmm.
Fabio didn’t seem to need much to make him jump. Was it just because his bosses went over his head? He hasn’t talked warmly of captaincy in the past. Might he have been looking for an excuse?
Is it at all possible that he suspected the England team is rubbish and would not enhance his reputation in the European Championship this summer? (As they hadn’t at the World Cup in South Africa.) This is a competition, after all, in which England have a dismal record – except when they hosted it. (Now, where have I heard something like that before?)
While England players seem to be high performers at their clubs their international efforts are less memorable. Is that because, at their clubs, they are surrounded by excellent footballers who make them look good, while in the national team they only have – at best – competent footballers (themselves) around them?
The situation is a boon for the FA too. Any “failure” this summer can be attributed to the fallout from the Terry affair and they can blame Fabio for running off. Win-win.
The timing isn’t good though. ‘Arry has built a good team at Tottenham – with not that many Englishmen, you’ll note. He will surely want another crack at the Champions League* next season – maybe even a tilt at the Premier League title.
Who would want the poisoned chalice, though? The ridiculous expectations of the English press and TV pundits make the job of England manager not worth having.
Posted in Events dear boy. Events, World Cup at 8:01 pm on 4 December 2011
I was sad to hear of the death of Brazilian footballer Socrates. He was a member of that second most entertaining of Brazil teams: the one that lost to Italy (well, to Paolo Rossi) in the second stage of the 1982 World Cup tournament. His goal in that game was sublime as he appeared to ghost past an Italian defender and then comprehensively beat Dino Zoff (Dino Zoff!) at his near post. He also had an idiosyncratic way with penalty kicks – which he would take with absolutely no run-up.
In his non-footballing life he was a medic, qualifying as a doctor before taking up professional football.
I remember from TV reports of the Brazil camp in 1982 he could play guitar and hold a tune. He was a smoker, though, and also, it seems, overindulged in drink.
Sad to see him go.
Sócrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Souza Vieira de Oliveira (aren’t those Brazilian names wonderful?)
19/2/1954-4/12/2011. So it goes.
Posted in Events dear boy. Events, Football, World Cup at 7:35 pm on 27 November 2011
I turned over to the BBC news today and encountered bafflement. Gary Speed dead? Surely not? I’d seen him on Football Focus only yesterday and he looked in fine fettle.
Then it became curiouser and curiouser. It seems he took his own life – which is tragic, not least for his family.
The sense of shock in the football world at this news was admirably illustrated by the one minute’s silence called for at the Swansea City – Aston Villa game today spontaneously evolving into one minute’s applause.
Speed (helped by the emergence of some fine young footballing talent from the Principality) seemed on the verge of converting the Wales national team’s perennial also-rans status into something approaching success.
It would be a fitting memorial to him if Wales were now to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.
Gary Andrew Speed: 8/9/1969-27/11/11. So it goes.
Posted in World Cup at 1:00 pm on 28 May 2011
You only had to look at who won the rights to hold the next two World Cups after 2014 to know money was involved somewhere along the line.
Russia – oligarchs – and Qatar – oil.
It’s only the degree, and whether it actually went to the members of the FIFA board or their pet projects which was in any way in doubt.
All the shock horror is a bit overdone.
But a cleaning out of FIFA’s Augean stables would be no bad thing just the same.
Posted in BBC, Football, World Cup at 10:00 pm on 2 December 2010
So. It’s Russia.
Well done, comrades. (Or don’t you say that anymore?)
Fat lot of good having David Beckham, the Prince William and Mr Irresponsible presenting the England bid as part of the team did them.
But what an outpouring of bile we got from the commentariat on BBC news in the aftermath, saying that the process was flawed, not transparent enough and must be changed.
What? You lose the vote and that’s because of the system?
This display of sour grapes is profoundly unappealing. You were acting as if it were your divine right to have the tournament. I know God is supposed to be an Englishman but get a grip. No wonder you lost.
Where does this ridiculous sense of entitlement originate? You lucked out once and have been more or less mince ever since. You continually puff up your league as the best in the world. If it is – and that’s by no means a given – it would only be because it is stuffed full of foreign players who are more gifted technically, and more intelligent in the football sense, than your indigenous ones.
And before anyone points the finger, my poor little football country has no such delusions of grandeur. We cured ourselves of any vestige of that a long time ago.
It’s indicative of the desperation fans of England feel that they appear to think that only by hosting the World Cup will they ever win it again. (I would suggest that the way the England team is going now even being hosts wouldn’t guarantee that.)
Face it guys. Nobody likes you. You’re too arrogant.