Retrospective: 2014 World Cup: Four

25th June Honduras 0 Switzerland 3

 
11.02pm
“I totally admire Lionel Messi and think that he’ll drag his side to a World Cup final victory but Xherdan Shaqiri and Tim Cahill have scored better goals.

You leave with love and respect, Honduras. Your violence in the France game caused guilty chortles but also, Paul Pogba aside, made us admire the France side for being so extremely professional and disciplined by not retaliating. The Ecuador game offered massive entertainment, heart and ‘tasty’ tackling but also showed some great skill too, from both sides, and it annoyed the purists – moaning about the lack of “technical” quality – so that was a bonus too. Tonight you got found out by a decent side with an on fire striker.We loved the stories about players getting shot in the head yet still driving themselves to hospital; we cogitated about what, precisely, Carlos Costly kept chewing on; and we realised that you all seem more comfortable with the ball at your feet than the ‘superstar’ England side.”

26th June Bruce Springsteen says that “Biting has no place in sport”

9.34am

“Luis Suárez replied: “Meh. I’ve always been more of a John Cougar Mellencamp man myself.”.”

26th June Luis Suárez banned for four months

10.41am

“Can Uruguay, without Luiz Suárez, become the World ‘Chomp’-ions?”.

3.10pm

“Wherever you are in the UK, stick your head out the window, in the direction of Anfield, and you’ll be sure to hear the weeping and a-whailing.”

3.15pm

“The ludicrous nonsense from Uruguayan mouthpieces (the English media hates him so much that they made him their player of the season, er…), speaking in his defence, should have exacerbated the ban. Maybe it did and they were going to treat him even more lightly?

The £66,000 is so tokenistic that they shouldn’t have made such a lame, vague gesture in monetary value.”

 

26th June Germany 1 USA 0

7.36pm

“Why were Germany playing in QPR’s away kit?”.

 

26th June Portugal 2 Ghana 1

7.48pm

“”…Biggest cheats in world football……”.

At least they won that title, then. I don’t know, though, there’s some stiff competition and that disgrace Pepe didn’t cheat, for once in his life, as there was nothing surreptitious about his offence against Thomas Müller. It was there for all to see clearly.

I know that footballers care about image rights and trademarks so it was nice that Cristiano Ronaldo regained a tight grip on ‘Big Game Bottler’ (‘TM’).”

8.11pm

“”…That’s why the Pepe/ Muller incident was so funny. Poetic justice I believe it’s called.”.

Yes, and on that point, lest we forget – which we will because it was ‘Mad Dog’ Suárez – that if someone had to be the victim of a madman biting him, the odious con man Giorgio Chiellini would have received many votes from people all around the globe.”

 

26th June Algeria 1 Russia 1

11.17pm

“Capello to ‘get his jotters’ from the Russian FA; his ‘people’ will “sadly” have to activate the small print clause; a fleet of trucks, weighed down with gold bars, set out on the long trip to a Swiss bank of his choice.”

11.20pm

“*Shakes head, sagely* This is what you get when you disavow Marxism-Leninism.”

 

27th June Denials from Suárez’s stooges

10.03am

“Like ‘Tuco’ in ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’: “I’m innocent of anything!”.”

11.50am

“Uruguay’s president Jose Mujica is my favourite world leader. WIkipedia him, if you don’t know about him and his history of giving away of 90% of the money he makes etc. etc. etc. However, he’s talking a load of bollocks regarding Luis Suárez. Very disappointing.”

 

27th June Match of the Day’s pick of the Group stage goals

10.13am

“Switzerland’s Xherdan Shariqi’s hammer shot against Honduras didn’t make Match of the Day’s best goals of the group stage!? Supposedly, there wasn’t enough room. Of course, those that made it were all great but both of Messi’s cut-in-from-the-right-and-shoot goals made the cut. Shariqi’s was better than either: surely one of Messi’s could have been given up to Shariqi? As much as I like Messi, of course that couldn’t happen because they subconsciously want an imposed ‘narrative’ of a small number of genius footballers within the World Cup rather than a number of outstanding footballers all doing well.”

 

27th June Feature about Giorgios Samaras offering to fly Celtic fan and family out to Brazil

1.10pm

“Christ! That’s a utterly stupendous Irish Independent story about Giorgios Samaras. C’mon Chile; Mexico and, now, Greece!

Talking of football people out in Brazil doing great things, I remember hearing about Phil Neville and his wife insisting that they paid for the whole family of a terminally ill Everton fan to go on holiday to Disneyland a few years ago.

Maybe it’s something to do with this suspicious glass pipe that’s in my mouth but I think that football might just save the world.”

 

27th June Feature postulating that Brazil’s Fred might have a chance of coming good

10.24pm

“Fred can flourish in homecoming”
‘JFK’: Jim Garrison: “…..Theoretical physics can also prove that an elephant can hang off a cliff with its tail tied to a daisy! But use your eyes, your common sense….”.

11.26am (Someone asks if I think that Fred shot JFK)

“That’s insane. Fred hitting a *moving* target? Pffffffffffffffffft”

11.49am

“Actually, Fred could have fired the diversionary shot, to get people looking the other way. Fred could have hit thin air….probably.

I want Chile to win but if Brazil do have to win, I’d love Fred to score the winner. People do win the lottery so why not Fred scoring the winner? All human life has been in this World Cup so far so why not Fred scoring the winner?”

 

28th June Brazil 1 Chile 1 (3-2)

8.20pm

“Since when did McNulty from ‘The Wire’ start playing in midfield for Chile under the name of Marcelo Diaz? That first half was like a Tex Avery/Chuck Jones cartoon and Fred was like Daffy Duck, in the pitch dark, striking a match to find out that he’s in a room filled with TNT and other explosives. Fred’s not going to get a winner’s medal, is he? Also, always, always distrust any player who seeks to gain easy admiration from the ‘football tourists’ for gesticulating to the crowd for more noise. Do what you’re paid to do on the pitch and you’ll get the crowd going, don’t take the easy route of conning people into thinking that you’re ‘whole hearted’, so ‘committed’ and other cliches.

Shearer was pedalling the usual English nonsense about not being able to recreate the atmosphere of a penalty shoot out. The point being that the more that you practice, the more that you engender a technique, the bigger a safety net you have to fall back on when you’re shitting yourself. Having said that, he was right about thinking that Brazil would win after Pinella tried to shatter the crossbar. Who wasn’t feeling the same sense of foreboding?.

Brazil are a woefully unconvincing side but they might bluff their way all the way through until the very end of this competition. Hats off to Howard Webb for the disallowed the handball goal. Gutted for Chile. Jesus, always try to win a game in the 90 or 120 minutes. Even the deciding penalty was *this* close to being described as a perfect penalty; well as being almost as good as Aranguiz’s anyway, nothing could be as perfect as that one.”

 

28th June Columbia 2 Uruguay 0

11.18pm

“I love the fact that that supreme James Rodríguez first goal just would not be denied. The goalie managed to get a hand to it, it hit the bar, but still it just had to go in. God, I hope that Columbia put the leaden, lucky, unconvincing Brazil to the sword in an Akira Kurosawa/Takashi Miike/Kill Bill fashion but organised goal celebrations do so make my teeth itch. Any goal celebration should only be a variant of ‘the Tardelli scream’; the organised ones show that the player(s) are *not* so delirious with joy as to forget their tacky, icky, dance moves. Yuck.

I’m guessing that it’s probably advertising driven but I wish that ITV would stop being quite so much of a panderer to the ‘Little Englander’ demographic. Uruguay are a decent side, Luis Suárez is a world class player and they’re a great footballing nation who’ve won two World Cups, including the first one ever; won the Copa América 15 times and a number of other titles too and in José Mujica they have the coolest country leader in the world. Yes, they’ve made delusional arses of themselves over the Luis Suárez fiasco (their intelligence-insulting denials made me think of the U.S. jury who looked at the Rodney King beating on video and let the police officers go) but England are the past masters of mass delusion when it comes to football.

The blind eye turned to the diving of England players while being the first to fingerwag about other teams’ divers; the belief that England are a good side by dint of just being England; the previous hiring of non-native mercenary managers for colossal amounts of money, to try to paper over the cracks of English players’ lack of technique; the tabloid press; thinking that God’s against them rather than their crap penalty taking skills ad nauseam.”

 

29th June The Netherlands 2 Mexico 1

7.32pm

“Today, millions saw a robbery; they know the ‘perp’ and they know the victim. What a sickener with both Chile and Mexico going out within 24 hours. The Netherlands are such a cynical side who get brown-nosed. They’ve got a bratty child in van Persie who’s always a sending off waiting to happen – if a cynical defender plays it right and a referee has some balls – and a talented winger in Robben who is an unsavoury diver and bullshitter. Their Spain victory was the Iker Casillas insanity show; the Netherlands merely extracted confectioneries from infants. Australia gave the Netherlands a good going over and deserved something while the Netherlands ‘Mourinho-ed’ their way past the people’s champions Chile. Having said that, Holland did damn well today in keeping going as they looked out on their feet at half time but save us from teams who try to ‘see a game out’ and, by doing so, don’t make the team that’s behind have to think or put any doubt in their minds. I hate to say it but Mexico got what they deserved today. Everyone knows how that scoundrel Robben rolls: don’t give him the opportunity to get ‘hit by a sniper’.

Adrian Chiles was interesting in saying that Robben “deserved” a penalty today. It made me think of the Spurs game years ago when David Ginola dived four times and never got a penalty. At the end, Ginola held up four fingers to the referee, as if he should have got at least one having ‘Ashley Young-ed’ it so many times. Ginola was on the BBC panel of pundits at the time so it was all perceived jokingly rather than the cheating that it was. Still, it’s only a game and, surely, the Netherlands will get found out later in the tournament?”.

 

30th June Costa Rica 1 Greece 1 (5-3)

6.31am

“More great drama last night and the super slow motion camera footage of both sides when Greece got their last minute equaliser was like something by Godfrey Reggio. The television company should have put a Philip Glass score under the pictures. Konstantinos Mitroglou should actually buy Keylor Navas a drink as Navas’ save in the 120th minute stopped Mitroglou’s shot from rolling past the post and making him look even worse than he is.

Lee Dixon was tying himself in knots regarding penalties. ‘Decide which side you’re going to put it and don’t change your mind’ then he had to watch as almost every player did not follow his advice by stuttering their run up, waiting for the keeper to commit himself before putting it in the other corner.”.

 

30th June Feature looking back at previous day’s games

8.22am

“Not a lot of coverage about the public’s protesting against all the money being spent on the World Cup when it should have been spent on the wealth inequality gap in Brazil but it looks like their anger is increasing. They’ve now taken to employing a sniper, judging by Robben at the end of the Mexico game.”.

8.31am

“Robben’s ‘yes, I dived earlier in the game’ is plainly disinformation: including some truth within the bullshit to hope to get away with the bullshit. Very Blairite. I don’t understand this notion of ‘I should have got a penalty earlier’ to in some way assuage diving later. A referee doesn’t actively decide to not give a penalty when he thinks that it might actually be one; a defender might accidentally mistime a tackle and still foul a player: both are honest acts of getting things wrong; to foul or to miss awarding a penalty aren’t necessarily acts of chicanery but diving always is a act of cheating.”.

10.05am

“”….Rafael Márquez stabbing his foot down on the Dutch attacker’s left boot…..”.

Oh, please. If that was the case then Robben would have remained ‘nailed to the floor’ rather than starting to sing the Nelly Furtado song: “♫ I’m like a bird, I only fly away…..♫””.

 

30th June Question asking if Robben should have got a penalty

1.28pm

“Hell, no but a bit of common sense from the Mexico defence was sorely lacking. Even tribes native to the rainforest, otherwise untouched by civilisation, would make the diving motion if you said the words ‘Arjen Robben’ to them. Everyone knows Robben’s shtick.”

1.33pm

“”… He kicked Robbens leg so hard in the box in the first half that he broke his leg….”.

??? Robben: what a player. Diving around the place, even while his leg’s broken. Hats off to him.”.

 

30th June Germany 2 Algeria 1

11.42pm

“Manuel Neuer: rush goalie extraordinaire. All that was missing was the game being illuminated by the lights from neighbours’ kitchens rather than stadium floodlights. Respect to Algeria for giving it a real go. Algeria played with much bravery and heart but they just lacked that cutting edge. Germany had such fortitude to take them over the finishing line but they look beatable.

One thing: there seems to have been an awful lot of headers being directed straight at the keeper in this World Cup, when either side of him, it would have been a certain goal. Some of the goalkeeping in general has been truly outstanding but, despite the overall goal tally, I feel that there should have been quite a few more goals from headers.

Extremely compelling football tonight, yet again, from this magnificent World Cup. I’ve lost what was left of my social skills from watching these brilliant games so I’m dreading the end of this amazingly enjoyable tournament.”.

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