Tag: Iran

The 200% World Cup: The Group F Final Round – Live!

Open wide for some more soccer, as Argentina, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Iran and Nigeria go into battle for one last time. The two group leaders, Argentina and Nigeria, meet in Porto Alegre with Argentina needing just a point to guarantee that they will finish top. While a  draw would also be a good result for the Super Eagles – it would see them through to the knockout stages – it would however give them a probable second round match with a resurgent France. A Nigeria win would see them top the table and leave a so far less-impressive-than-expected Argentina team to have to face...

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World Cup Breakfast, Day 10: Cometh The Hour, Cometh The Talisman

We might reasonably suggest that no small part of the global appeal of association football stems from its combination of reliance on the very differing attributes of individual brilliance and the application of a solid team ethic. If the game itself is a blank sheet onto which we can project any of our values, this combination seems likely, whether concious or not, to be no small part of the reason behind why it is this particular aspect of the game that gives it a near-literal “everyman” appeal across so much of the globe. If the performances of the likes...

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The 200% World Cup: World Cup Breakfast, Day 5 – Portugal’s Dismal Day

It’s all a matter of the position in which you put yourself. There was much discussion last night of the incident that led to the sending off of Pepe during yesterday’s match between Germany and Portugal, and as with all arguments that take place online, there was never going to be one decisive winner. On the one hand, Robert Muller’s reaction to Pepe’s momentary lapse of reason hardly shows the game in the greatest of lights, but on the other, Pepe has a reputation for allowing his temper to get the better of him, and in any case the reality of the matter is that the ultimate responsibility for Pepe staying on the pitch for the full duration of this match rested with, well, Pepe, ultimately. It would be nice if television broadcasters could spare us the sort of moralising that we had to endure from Adrian Chiles at half-time yesterday afternoon, though. The kerfuffle surrounding Pepe’s dismissal almost overshadowed the torrid hammering that Portugal received at the hands of Germany during the first half of this match. Joao Pereira might have been sent off for the foul on Mario Goetze which led to the penalty from which Muller gave Germany the lead in the first place, but things only went from bad to worse for Portugal as the first half wore on, and by half-time the Germans led...

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The 200% World Cup: Iran vs Nigeria – Live!

It’s evenings like this that really bring the World Cup to life. Across the world this evening/afternoon/morning/whatever, tens of millions of people will be choosing to watch the 2014 World Cup debuts of… Iran and Nigeria. This is Iran’s fourth appearance at this stage of the tournament, but they have never got through the group stages of the tournament before. Their debut came in 1978, when they were eliminated after three matches, drawing against Scotland and losing gainst the Netherlands. It took twenty years for the team to get this far and, whilst they were unable to get through...

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Mexican Waves

Mexico 1-2 Portugal / Angola 1-1 Iran Well, they made their fans sweat. I’ll say that much for them. Mexico came within an inch of getting themselves knocked out, in spite of being seeded and, apparently, the fourth best team in the world (before you start complaining, this is FIFA’s view, and not mine). They didn’t even manage this in a “Group Of Death”. They managed to go to the wire against Angola. Those giants of international football. Fortunately, though, Angola threw away a win against Iran thanks to some lame finishing. I’m thoroughly enjoying Mexico’s stay at the World Cup, because, in an era when everything else often appears to be becoming more and more homogenized, Mexico are inscrutably, indefatigably, defiantly mad. Well, they’re inscrutably, indefatigably, defiantly Mexican. But it’s the same difference. This is, after all, the country that gave the world tequila, chili, peyote and the sombrero. Why should we expect anything less? What is particularly great about Mexico as that they are a good team, but still an unknown quantity. Almost all of their players are domestically based, and they can play, but are singular in the way that they do it. Against Iran, they were solid, then momentarily dire, and then outstanding. Against Angola, they couldn’t for all their attacking flair, break down a team of determined under-dogs. This afternoon, they showed their best...

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