Day: June 28, 2010

World Cup 2010: Brazil 3-0 Chile

World Cup Television Clichés 101: Germany are efficient, the Netherlands play “total football”, Spain are under-achievers and Brazil play to a samba rhythm. One by one, the long-held preconceptions of global football are starting to be turned on their heads. Germany’s defence looks capable of being tested by an attack with pace and flair. The Netherlands are playing functional football. Spain could (and, with difficult matches yet to come) become only the second club to be simultaneously the European and World champions. And this year’s Brazil team are playing football that is several thousand miles removed from the great romantic teams of the past. Of all the above clichés, the final one seems the most difficult to come to terms with. The Brazil national football team has a strange effect on people. We suspect that their schedule is stage-managed by Nike and we are pretty sure that they don’t play enough matches in their home country, but we want to believe the story of the Brazilian football team so much that we hear a samba when it isn’t there. But there is a reason for this – romance doesn’t often win trophies. Some of the most fondly-remembered teams in the entire history of the World Cup finals, including the 1974 Netherlands team, the 1954 Hungary team and, of course, Brazil’s wonderful 1982 vintage, are teams that have managed, somehow,...

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World Cup 2010: Netherlands 2-1 Slovakia

FIFA have changed the stage at which they will discount previous bookings, from the final group game, to the end of the quarter final. On the face of it, it’s a great idea, and sadly too late to prevent Louis Saha (2006), Michael Ballack (2002), Alessandro Costacurta (1994), Sergio Batista, Claudio Cannigia and Julio Olarticoechea (1990) from appearing in their respective World Cup finals, however there is a side effect. Whereas since 1994, there were times when individuals players needed to be careful at certain times, a team accumulating bookings in the group stages now need to be careful in the Round of 16 and the Quarter Finals. While it hasn’t reached the “heights” of 1990, where Cameroon had four players suspended for their Quarter Final game against England, and Argentina started the Semi Final against Italy with eight starters, and both playing substitues (as well as the unused Robert Nestor Sensini) on a yellow card, there is potential for a team to be wiped out by a fussy referee, This was one of those games, as twelve players started the game a booking away from being suspended for a game, and Spanish referee Alberto Undiano has certainly been card happy in his debut game – issuing nine yellow cards (two of which to Miroslav Klose) in the Germany-Serbia match. Vladmir Weiss opened up an opportunity for Erik Jendrisek,...

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World Cup 2010: Argentina 3-1 Mexico

Even at these times of sport’s saturation of the television schedules, the endless search for a new hit sitcom goes on at apace. Yet again, instead of closely watching the game for tactical nuance or pointers for later performances, our crayon-chewing art specialist Dotmund has considered the possibility of the two – sport and sitcoms – not having to be mutually exclusive. In so doing, he has certainly proved something, although it is possibly in better taste not to consider what that might specifically be. Still, keep an eye out for new loveable characters and hilarious catchphrases that will be the talk of the office watercooler in the weeks to come.

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