Tag: Paraguay

World Cup 2010: Italy 1-1 Paraguay

At last, a proper football match, if still not a particularly good one until the last half-hour. Maybe it was the rain. Or maybe just Mick McCarthy’s obvious relish of the prospect of some “proper” defending.  “I’m not expecting a wide-open, flowing game of football,” he said, twice, in both hope and expectation. Alan Hansen was of the same mind. The first words I heard of the preview were his “I’d love it if it was 5-4.” Even Clarence Seedorf, not necessarily brought up in the ways of Scottish sarcasm, knew that was b*****s. McCarthy got his wish early on. The start to this one was as boring as most other games so far. But this one was more down to good organisation at the back rather than timidity and incompetence. McCarthy had Paraguay’s formation down as 8-0-2. And there were a few tasty tackles early on, all of which were sly enough to be visible on ultra-slow motion replays. Until this tournament, these have been predominantly used to record ugly players’ uglier facial expressions, especially after conceding a goal. Now, every tackle looks like an ankle-breaker. Jonathan Pearce said “what must Tim Cahill think?” about 29 times. And there were plenty of tackles more worthy of sanction than the one which saw Cahill depart the Germany/Australia game. And Pearce became about the 29th person today to tell us...

Read More

World Cup Preview: Group F

The 2010 World Cup kicks off in just three weeks time, so by this point the majority of football fans everywhere are only using products made by official tournament sponsors and eating impala for breakfast. Our intrepid Wikipedia monkey Dotmund has once again put his vuvuzela aside for just long enough to take a look at another of this summer’s groups. Today we find out about the reigning champions, a South American dark horse, a team from a very long way away and a European team who have only ever been in the World Cup before in disguise.

Read More

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.

Read More

A World Cup Finals Without Argentina?

Now is not a particularly good time to be an Argentinian football supporter. Not only have their most loathed opposition – Brazil and England – already qualified for the finals of the 2010 World Cup, but there is a serious likelihood  that the Albiceleste themselves might not even qualify for next year’s tournament in South Africa, and coach Diego Maradona is receiving hitherto unprecedented criticism in his home country. Argentina haven’t failed to qualify for the World Cup finals since 1970, but with just two matches left to play they sit in fifth place in the CONMEBOL group (a position that would see them play off over two legs against the fourth placed North American team), and there aren’t even any guarantees that they will hold onto that lofty a position. Eyebrows raised by the Argentinian Football Association’s decision to give the coach’s position to Diego Maradona were tempered by his status in the country. Maradona’s lengendary status has risen to the extent that he has become a one man cult in himself, and it seems likely that some have allowed his former abilities as a player to cloud their view of his status as a manager. What we know for certain is that his spell as the coach of the Argentina national side will be remembered as possibly the most disastrous in the recent history of the game...

Read More

A tale of two managers

The 2010 World Cup kicks off in just 600 days from today.  This fact has made the looming prospect of South Africa seem a little bit too real for Argentina’s coach Alfio Basile.  Following his side’s 1-0 loss to Chile this week – Argentina’s first against those opponents since 1973 – he has resigned his post.  Argentina now lie seven points behind the CONMEBOL group leaders Paraguay.  Perhaps more significant is the fact that, with eight matches remaining, Argentina are third in the group, just 3 points away from fifth place and the prospect of a play-off against a Central American runner up. Contrast this with France.  A rather stuttering start to their campaign in UEFA Group 7 has left them with 4 points from 3 games.  They, too, lie in third place in their group – behind Serbia and Lithuania – but their situation is perhaps more parlous even than the South Americans’.  With just nine teams going through automatically, France are maybe already looking at having to qualify by being one of the eight best runners-up and then facing the play-offs.  Their coach, however, is resolute in his determination to stay in the job and turn things round.  People who watched Euro 2008 – which, as this is twohundredpercent, I’ll assume is all of you – may possibly be surprised to learn that the identity of the...

Read More