Tag: Ukraine

Christ.

Switzerland 0-0 Ukraine I’m really struggling to come up with the words to describe this shambles. I’ll try again in the...

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Siesta Time

Ukraine 1-0 Tunisia / Spain 1-0 Saudi Arabia After all the excitement of last night, it was back to the dull and the ordinary this afternoon. Spain decided to field their entire reserve team against the Saudis, but still had enough about them to win, in spite of a surprisingly heroic performance by Zaid in the Saudi Arabian goal. Juanito scored the only goal, but they should have had a hatful. Al Harthi blazed a simple chance over the crossbar from eight yards out towards the end, but it would have been a scantly deserved point for the Saudis, who now haven’t won a World Cup finals match since 1994, despite having qualified for each of the last three finals. Back to the drawing board for them – and a farewell to Sami Al-Haber, who was probably playing in his last World Cup finals. I daresay we’ll see them again in four years time. All the “drama”, for the want of a better word, was at the Ukraine-Tunisia match. The first half was one of the worst forty-five minutes of football I’ve ever seen. I dozed off for about fifteen minutes of it, but woke up in time to hear Simon Brotherton say that there had been one shot on target, so I wasn’t that concerned. The sending off of Jaziri was a talking point – a second yellow...

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Sangria & Sangria

Spain 4-0 Ukraine Spain. The perennial under-achievers. For years and years, they have flattered to decieve. Often packed with as many start players as the other top nations, they alone have been consistent in their inability to get to grips with the concept of international football tournaments. True enough, they reached the 1984 European Championship final (where a hideous mistake by goalkeeper Luis Arconada helped them to defeat against Spain), but consider this: since then, England, France, Italy, Sweden, Bulgaria, Holland, Germany, Belgium, Turkey & Croatia have all made at least the semi-finals of the World Cup. It throws Spain’s lack of success into sharp focus. In the run-up to the tournament, the big question was this: would Aragones have the cojones to drop Raul? It turns out that he did, and the gamble paid off. The forward pairing of Garcia & Villa ran the Ukrainian defence ragged, and the extra bonus was that when Raul did come on in the second half, he put in his best performance in a Spanish shirt for a long time. Most encouraging of all (and not just because he’s in my Fantasy World Cup team) was an encouraging debut made by Puyol. The defender became more courageous as the game went on, coming forward and eventually laying on the pass for the fourth goal. It’s not difficult to feel sorry for Ukraine....

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