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Day: June 24, 2010

World Cup 2010: Cameroon 1-2 Netherlands

The entertainment and excitement is due to be elsewhere this evening. The Netherlands against Cameroon sounds, at a distance, as if it should be a match of colour and flair, but Cameroon are already out and the Netherlands are already through, and this year’s Netherlands team has been perfunctory rather than exciting so far. Bert Van Marwijk’s team is built to pick up results with the minimum of fuss, but it has seemed unlikely to set the world alight in the way that the Dutch team that reached two successive World Cup finals during the 1970s did. So far. To anyone watching from England, that a team should be criticised when it has two wins from two matches at the World Cup finals may seem extraordinary, but Van Marwijk’s side has been criticised for not playing with enough flair. This sort of criticism is the legacy of that great team. The Dutch press requires results and flair this summer, but can this team fulfil their demands? Cameroon, meanwhile, are on a rotten run of form. Picked by some as the strongest of the African qualifiers, they were hopelessly out of sorts against Japan in their opening match but could perhaps count themselves unlucky to lose to possibly the goal of the tournament so far from Denmark’s Dennis Rommedahl last Saturday evening – a match in which they took an...

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World Cup 2010: Paraguay 0-0 New Zealand

If you’d told New Zealand beforehand that they’d go through the group unbeaten and finish above Italy, I daresay they’d have settled for that. And they’d be right to feel pretty pleased with themselves, but they’ll be frustrated that it wasn’t enough to get them through, and they go home as just the sixth team in World Cup history to be eliminated despite not losing a game. (Trivia time: how many of the other five can you name? Answers below.)

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World Cup 2010: Slovakia 3-2 Italy

Some games just don’t need much of an introduction. And this is one. On paper, Group F looked fairly predictable. Holders Italy were expected to win the group, with Paraguay behind. Slovakia were seen as one of the weaker European nations, and New Zealand were considered the weakest team in the competition. It hasn’t turned out like that. Italy have gone the way of the last European winners of the Cup, by being eliminated in the group stages, and join France as the first ever pair of finalists to fall at the first hurdle in the next competition. We began the games with the group looking like this: 1. Paraguay 2. Italy 3. New Zealand 4. Slovakia Antonio Di Natale signals the Italian intention from the off. He takes an early chance hitting a long range shot high over the bar just a few seconds after kick off. A Fabio Cannavaro free kick from just inside the Italian half is headed down by Vincenzo Iaquinta to Di Natale, but the return ball is offside, and Iaquinta’s shot is poor anyway. Slovakia get an early chance. Robert Vittek flicks on a long ball, the Italian defence is asleep, and Marek Hamsik, unmarked in the penalty area sees tame shot goes wide. Vittek goes on another run, but loses possession, with three teammates in better position. This is a much more...

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Mungo in Africa, part 5

It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for more from the studios of Clack TV and Mungo in Africa. Today, anchorman Ron Bongo, Glasgow Paisley boss Henny Jings and Heart of Clachmaninshire’s own Mungo McCrackas get stuck in to some serious analysis of England’s progress through the group stages, with predictably insightful results.

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