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Lorient War Memorial

Lorient has an airy feeling with relatively open streets lined with trees. Its War Memorial lies to the edge of an open area off the Quai des Indes opposite the Parc Jules Ferry and is flanked by trees. It is an imposing structure with stylised figures.

The inscription reads “Lorient, A Ses Morts, 1914 1918, 1939 1945. There is an additonal plaque for Indochina, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria 1952-62.

Lorient War Memorial

Close-up:-

Lorient War Memorial Close-up

Reverse:-

Lorient War Memorial Reverse

Germany 4-1 England

Free State Stadium, Maungang/Bloemfontein, 27/6/10

Well, this humiliation was coming.

Here, after dismal performances against the USA, Algeria and (despite some whistling in the dark) Slovenia, a bunch of over-blown, over-paid, cosseted individuals who perhaps believe their own hype too much but played as if they’d never seen each other before were roundly horsed by an opposition who worked together as a team and actually looked as if they knew what they were doing.

Yes, the ball was over the line from Frank Lampard’s shot but it wasn’t a goal. It wasn’t a goal because the ref didn’t give it. End of debate.

And forget about goal line technology. It’s not needed. For big games like this the fifth ref – as introduced in the Europa League this season – would surely have spotted this one.

Back to the game.

There was a telling stat which unrolled a few minutes before Germany scored.

Shots: Germany 4 England 0.

Yet England had had the greater share of possession. They simply couldn’t do anything with it.

At half time I was thinking that Argentina would probably take both of them. Germany’s confidence will have an almighty boost now, though. A 4-1 win does that to you. And we’ll see how Argentina fare against Mexico tonight.

As far as England is concerned, was it a case of good players not living up to their potential?

Maybe it’s really that they’re not actually very good, that in their club sides they are surrounded by people of other nationalities who make them look better than they are.

Anyway, I can relax and enjoy the competition now. No more references to 1966 to spoil it.

England 0-0 Algeria

Green Point Stadium, Cape Town, 18/6/10

Well; this was dire. Apart from Algeria, of course. At least they could pass to each other.

Emile Heskey in this game managed to redefine the epithet “donkey” as applied to a football player. The ball kept bouncing off him at all sorts of odd angles as if he was composed entirely of sharp edges. “Donkey” is way too complimentary. I couldn’t understand why Crouch wasn’t sent on to replace him at half time.

During the second half my thoughts kept going back to 1986 when England’s start was even worse than this. (Yes that is possble.) They reached the quarters then, if you recall.

A more chilling parallel is with 1990. They drew their first two games that year. Surely they can’t reach the semis with this team?

Accordingly I fully expect them to hump Slovenia on Wednesday.

TV bloke’s moment to make you splutter?

Adrian Chiles before the game moaning that England never seem to get any luck.

Oh really, Adrian?

Have England ever been drawn in a group of death? (As opposed to a deathly group, that is.)

I didn’t see their second half but congratulations to the US for their comeback.

Algeria 0-4 Egypt

Africa Cup of Nations, Semi-final, Ombaka National Stadium, Benguela, 28/1/10

Well: if the first sending-off ruined the game, the second killed it as a spectacle.

Full of incident of course:-
four goals, three sendings off, a player seeming to try to headbutt the ref. I’ve never seen that before. (But I don’t frequent the parks much.)

Egypt were the better team in the first half but only because Algeria were happy to sit back and not take the game to them. The last ten minutes of the half were something else.

Seems like refs are refs the world over.

The first sending off was harsh as the booking before had been for nothing. It was compounded by the way the penalty was taken, though. I was under the impression that the taker could not stop in the run-up to the kick; which Hosny did. The Algerian keeper appealed for the infringement which wasn’t given, while the goal was. (He should have played to the whistle of course.) I’ve looked at the law relating to penalties on FIFA’s site. No mention of the taker not being allowed to feint in the run-up. Did they change this sometime recently?

The keeper lost the heid, which he then tried to put on the ref but he was only booked.

At the start of the second half Algeria were looking quite good to make a game of it, pushing forward in a way they hadn’t at eleven men apiece, but the Egyptian second goal – lovely finish by Zidan – obviously made Belhadj lose his cool. At nine men and two goals down there’s not much hope. The game was done.

By the end it had degenerated into farce with the ref making up for not sending the keeper off by …… sending him off.

“Football. Bloody Hell.”

World Cup Finals Draw

No sooner had the tedious process finished than Motty was at it again. England willl win it, he said.

At least Alan Shearer and Mark Lawrenson went for Spain and Brazil – though, historically, Spain have an even poorer World Cup record than England. (Not so in European Championships, of course.)

There was a degree of unseemly euphoria at England’s “good” draw and first place in the group was taken for granted. Already it was so-and-so (possibly Germany, though the likely alternatives, Australia – even Serbia and Ghana – could be tough prospects) in the last sixteen and France in the quarter finals.

Let us be clear about this. The USA are no mugs. They could have won the Confederations Cup last summer. If the USA play to form, England will be stretched to beat them. Algeria beat the African Nations champions, Egypt, to qualify and Slovenia may well spring a surprise.

[By the way, judging by how France struggled to qualify, they will only get to the last sixteen if Uruguay and South Africa are mince. I expect at least one of them to be tougher.]

As for the quarter finals, that will be your lot. Overseas it usually is.

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