Day: June 23, 2006

Sick Of The World Cup?

Well, a team of boffins have come up with a genius idea: The Unofficial World Championship. The idea is simple. England and Scotland played the first international match in 1870. Scotland are unlikely to ever be caught as the team with the best overall record (thanks to the quirks of the long-lost Home Internationals), but can you guess before clicking who the current holders...

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Fight Fight Fight!

Watching too much football on the television can do funny things to you. Sitting here, watching France trying desperately to batter down the Togolese defence, my mind turned (yet again) to the commentators of days gone by. This time, Gerald Sinstadt. He was of the old school – physically, there was something of the Alan Whicker about him – and was what one would describe as a stalwart of the television screen. Rarely actually seen, he worked for Granada in the north-west and TVS, down here on the south coast, before seeing out his days at the BBC. Not a bad way to spend one’s Indian summer, I think you’ll agree. What I did find out (which caused a curious mixture if near hilarity and extreme disappointment) is that it is widely believed that he was caught knocking one out in a mucky cinema at some point. I now, obviously, desperately need clarification of whether this actually happened or not. But I digress. My thoughts quickly turned, as they are wont to do, back to The Gubba (cf: previous posts on this blog). Who would win in a fight between them? Now, I’m more than happy to email the BBC and request Inter-Commentator Deathfights (it would fit quite tidily into BBC3’s schedule), but I’m not over-optimistic that they’ll go for it, so we’ll have to go with a Googlefight...

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Siesta Time

Ukraine 1-0 Tunisia / Spain 1-0 Saudi Arabia After all the excitement of last night, it was back to the dull and the ordinary this afternoon. Spain decided to field their entire reserve team against the Saudis, but still had enough about them to win, in spite of a surprisingly heroic performance by Zaid in the Saudi Arabian goal. Juanito scored the only goal, but they should have had a hatful. Al Harthi blazed a simple chance over the crossbar from eight yards out towards the end, but it would have been a scantly deserved point for the Saudis, who now haven’t won a World Cup finals match since 1994, despite having qualified for each of the last three finals. Back to the drawing board for them – and a farewell to Sami Al-Haber, who was probably playing in his last World Cup finals. I daresay we’ll see them again in four years time. All the “drama”, for the want of a better word, was at the Ukraine-Tunisia match. The first half was one of the worst forty-five minutes of football I’ve ever seen. I dozed off for about fifteen minutes of it, but woke up in time to hear Simon Brotherton say that there had been one shot on target, so I wasn’t that concerned. The sending off of Jaziri was a talking point – a second yellow...

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Brazil Nuts

Brazil 4-1 Japan / Australia 2-2 Croatia What, exactly, possessed the BBC make Brazil-Japan their featured match? Anyone looking at the schedule after the draw would have been able to tell you that the battle for second place in this group was going to be between Australia and Croatia. Well, not the BBC, who seem to think that we’d prefer to watch Ronaldinho & company in an exhibition match than a genuine piece of footballing drama mixed with tragi-comedy. Now, I’ve got Digital TV, so I could flick over to channel 701, but many people still don’t have that option. They should think these things through a bit harder. Because if you missed Croatia-Australia, you missed a genuine World Cup classic. First of all, though, Brazil. Well, woo hoo. Ronaldo scored twice. You’ll forgive me if I don’t recant my previous comments about his condition, because, frankly, I could have scored against that Japanese defence. I mean, he’s a bit tubby and everything, but they didn’t really need to leave him unmarked on the edge of the penalty every time Brazil attacked. The Japanese opened the scoring, demonstrating a defensive weakness that Argentina haven’t yet shown, but once The New Big Ron (I should copyright that) levelled things up, it was one-way traffic. The freakshow also took the attention away from a magnificent performance by Robinho, but they may...

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When Saturday Comes

Those of you that know me will be aware that we moved to Brighton two months ago. In all of the excitement, I forgot to change the address on my “When Saturday Comes”, meaning that, for the first time in many, many years, I missed an edition. So, I emailed them and updated my details, and, to my delight, I received an email back from them yesterday not only confirming the address change, but also that they had sent me a copy of this month’s edition to my new address. Now, I would have said that it’s the best football magazine ever anyway, but I can also confirm that it’s also the nicest. I urge those of you that don’t subscribe to it to do so now. You won’t regret it. The link is on the right hand...

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