Day: June 14, 2009

The Confederations Cup: New Zealand 0 – 5 Spain

Iker Casillas is a one club man. He first signed for Real Madrid Juniors at the age of ten, and has been at the Bernebau ever since. He has played almost three hundred and fifty matches for Real and, at the age of twenty-eight, has also made ninety-three matches for Spain as well. Considering that Real can get crowds of anything up to 10,000 for their training sessions, there was one question that drifted through my mind this evening: is the smallest football crowd that Iker Casillas has ever seen? Did he believe that such an empty stadium was possible when a match was being played? Quite possibly not. He certainly had a slightly surprised look on his face as he swapped pennants with the New Zealand captain before the match. This match was, of course, a massacre, and its’s difficult to to have some sympathy for the hapless New Zealanders. One wonders what the psychological torment that they must go through is like. One minute, they’re the lords of all that they survey. Now that Australia have departed for the more challenging waters of the AFC, they be surely now be the perpetual champions of their confederation. They have already sewn up the OFC place in the play-off against the fifth best team in Asia for a place at the 2010 World Cup Finals. They win these matches...

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The Confederations Cup: South Africa 0-0 Iraq

It is winter in South Africa at the moment, and it was a winter of discontent in Johannesburg this afternoon as South Africa played out an energy-sappingly drab goalless draw to open this year’s Confederations Cup. South Africa’s performance was poor enough for questions to be asked about whether they will become the first host nation in the history of the World Cup to not qualify from their group in the final stages of the competition. Iraq, a team already knocked out of next year’s World Cup by Qatar in the Third Round of the AFC qualifying stage, looked like a decent enough team but offered little threat of beating the host nation, but still came away from the match with a point after South Africa missed a stack of chances including one of the worst misses of the year in the closing stages of the match. On an overcast day, and with the droning sound of thousands of vuvuzelas (plastic horns which, when blown in unison, make the sound of a plague of locusts) constantly in the background, South Africa offered little promise of being much better than most of the dismal reviews of their recent progress have been. Macbeth Sibayo had a long rang shot well saved by the Iraq goalkeeper Mohammed Kassid and substitute Katlego Mashego broke through only to see his shot smothered by Kassid....

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10 Print “Football”; 20 Goto 10 Part 1 – “Football Manager”

As the summer months have arrived, we’re going to take a brief look back at some of the football games that have graced your computer screen over the last few years or so, starting with “Football Manager”, the grandfather of them all and a game which still exists, albeit in an unrecognisable form to the original. The ZX Spectrum games featured on here will have links so that you can waste a couple of hours at work by playing an emulation version of the original, courtesy of the wonderful “World of Spectrum” website. It seems only appropriate that we should this series with “Football Manager”. There had been football games for the primitive consoles that preceded the sudden growth of home computing in the early 1980s, including “Pele’s Soccer” for the Atari 2600 and the superior “Soccer” (or “NASL Soccer”) for the Intellivision. The superior processor power of the first home computers to hit the market in the United Kingdom, however, meant that (for now at least) the days of the games console were numbered. “Football Manager” was released by a company called Addictive Games in 1982. First written for the ZX81, it was ported to the ZX Spectrum and then to other systems, spawning a franchise which continues to this day. “Football Manager” then, as now, was a strategy game. A mail order only company called Wintersoft had...

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