Tag: Japan

The World Cup Of National Anthems (Part Three)

For many people, major sports tournaments are the only occasion that national anthems are heard. These peculiar tunes have become a genre of their own, transcending the mere hymns that many of them were in first place, and they range from the gloriously uplifting to mournful dirges. The selection of words has, in many countries, brought about national debate that has been all-encompassing. In the case of Spain, it was decided that it would probably be for the best just to not bother having any for the sake of national unity.

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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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Syonara?

Croatia 0-0 Japan After all the excitement of Saturday’s three frankly insane matches, we were back to something approaching drudgery as Japan took on Croatia. It’s worth congratulating Japan for bouncing back from back from what could have been a psychologically traumatising defeat by the Australians, but they still largely had their goalkeeper Kawaguchi to thank for still being in the competition (albeit only mathematically). Their extraordinary fans deserve better. Croatia remain something of an enigma. Having played excellently against Brazil and been unlucky not to have claimed a point from that match, they seemed unable to convert the praise that thet received from that game into anything positive in this one. They certainly had the better of the chances – the penalty was clearly a correct decision, and there was nothing particularly wrong with the kick from Srna, but other than that Prso was disappointing, Kovac never got fully involved in the game, and Croatia’s failure to finish of the Japanese may prove costly. They now have to beat Australia to qualify. At the end of the match, Japan seemed happier with the point, which seemed odd, considering that they now have to beat Brazil and hope that Croatia beat Argentina in order to get through to the next round. They seem to have come into this competition with lower expectations than maybe we expected. Good job, I...

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Advance Australia Fair

Australia 3-1 Japan What a terrific game. Best of the tournament so far, in my humble opinion. Australia, as I said before, are a capable team, and are a decent bet for a run to the quarter-finals. One would hope, knowing the self-aggrandisement of Australians when it comes to sport, that they don’t go any further. If they do, that enormously irritating sunny self-confidence that they have might just carry them all the way. They certainly look more confident and more attacking. Japan aren’t the team that they were four years ago, and that team only made the second round of the World Cup then off the back of the teams that played against them not really turning up. Looking elsewhere, I’m surprised to to see Japan widely backed (including pre-match on ITV) to finish second to Brazil in the group. Perhaps surprisingly, given the number of racial slurs available in this match, Clive Tyldesley has his best match of the tournament so far. A quick hello to “everyone watching in Earl’s Court” and a warning for Londoners that live with Australians to “move out for the night, because you won’t get any sleep”, and that’s about it. Australia look like the stronger team initially, with Viduka forcing a fine double save from Kawaguchi. There was no doubt that Japan’s goal was a foul. Two defenders bounced of Mark...

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