Short and sweet.

Last game of the opening World Cup matches. The Russian team are all based in the homeland and come full of experience. On the other hand South Korea are full of youth, pace and excitement…

Mark June 18, 201410:49 am

And, for completists, here’s the Neil Lennon/Joe Bugner joke that proved too much for my tightly-honed journalistic instincts at one o’clock this morning: Akinfeev “reminded me of Joe Bugner, who also wore gloves for no apparent reason.”
Yep. Deserved the laugh. Can’t wait for Lawrenson’s attempts to top that…no, really, I CAN’T wait, I’m off…

Mark June 18, 20141:05 am

Kokorin fires in a good late cross and Samedov skies an effort miles over to end proceedings. 1-1 is about right, as the second half wasn’t anything like as wretched as the first, especially the last half-hour. And the BBC 4 (Chapman, Neville, Murphy and Lennon) agree. Neville isn’t “a big fan of goalkeepers,” so didn’t think much of Akinfeev. Lenny cracks a Joe Bugner joke over footage of Akinfeev’s mistake which I missed but which went down a storm in the studio (one to put into a search engine tomorrow). Chapman says that Lennon gave “us no indication he was going to say that,” which suggests a pre-preparation to these analyses which hasn’t always been obvious from Shearer or Savage.
So, everyone’s played one. The Dutch the most impressive, the Nigerians the least, just shading Nigeria and, perhaps, Greece. And England were pretty good, too good for Uruguay. Lennon and Murphy the star pundits. Savage not. BBC beating ITV. So far, not bad at all.

Mark June 18, 201412:45 am

Both sides in settling for a point mode with three minutes left. Russia have spent most of the game in that mode, of course. Which clown highlighted their “dynamism” early on? This clown.

Mark June 18, 201412:39 am

Left-footed Kombarov sets himself to take a corner from the left. “I think this will be an outswinger,” says Keown. Thanks, Martin. Glad I had the sound up there…

Mark June 18, 201412:32 am

TILT. “Alexandr Kershakov equalises after some penalty box pinball. “How happy is Akinfeev feeling now?” Probably not very. Who IS Fabio Capello’s goalkeeping coach?

Mark June 18, 201412:29 am

A distraught Akinfeev, looking more like Shay Given the more miserable he gets, is nearly in tears. Hope he can at least catch them if/when they start to fall.

Mark June 18, 201412:26 am

And this one works. Akinfeev throws one over his shoulder, sub Lee Keun-Ho’s 25 yard drive slipping through his non-sticky fingers. One-nil Korea. And deserved.

Mark June 18, 201412:24 am

Kombarov wins “ball of the night” for a cross which wasn’t sh**e. Otherwise this second half is running out of puff like the first round in general. More come hither looks to fate

Mark June 18, 201412:20 am

Kombarov pings one off Korean keeper Jung’s chest armour. Keepers “not covering themselves in glory”…or letting any goals in.
First tempt to fate there…

Mark June 18, 201412:16 am

And Shatov is brought off. I’m a poet and I didn’t…er…realise…no, hang on…that’s not it…

Mark June 18, 201412:15 am

Akinfeev appears to be wearing chest armour, as another long-range Korean effort rebounds six yards away from his efforts to make a clean save.

Mark June 18, 201412:13 am

Kombarov’s last foul will give Ian the chance to say “junkleclunks” tomorrow, should the mood take him. I don’t actually know Ian personally but I’m guessing it will.

Mark June 18, 201412:11 am

Wilson reckons Russia made the semi-finals in 1966. Someone’s whispered in his ear that they made them “as part of the Soviet Union.” I’m guessing it was the producer and not Keown.

Mark June 18, 201412:08 am

Koo Jon-Col “stings the hands” of Akinfeev with a long-range effort and Ki Son Yeung also has a shot, after which Wilson tells us Ki played for Celtic. We know, Steve. Lenny’s mentioned it once or twice.
A good start to the second half, which has put the mockers on that.

Richard June 18, 201412:05 am

Russia had a good first few minutes testing the Korean goalkeeper from long range and then glancing a headed chance just wide of the post.

Mark June 18, 201412:05 am

Shatov booked for the sort of challenge after which he was named.

Richard June 18, 201412:01 am

Oh, the game is back on.

Mark June 18, 201412:00 am

And now “the latest from the England camp.” I wonder how many people have logged off temporarily as I am doing………………………NOW!!!

Mark June 17, 201411:59 pm

Tim Vickery making amends. As good a broadcaster as he is a writer. Getting the exposure he has long-deserved. ITV have nothing close to an equivalent.

Richard June 17, 201411:59 pm

Have to say Thierry Henry has been unbiased with his comment’s all tournament. Even when France played.

Richard June 17, 201411:57 pm

The BBC were very one sided with their view of the Brazil/Mexico game. Only one highlight that didn’t show the hosts attacking.

Lies I tell you, lies!

Mark June 17, 201411:56 pm

In fact, a decent, interesting half-time analysis. Until Chapman took a minute and a half to crack the Bobby Charlton makeover kit gag, it was just about what you’d have a right to expect for the (taxpayers’) money these guys are on.

Mark June 17, 201411:54 pm

Dismissed like dust of a cuff, though.

Richard June 17, 201411:50 pm

And now the analogies are about Rooney and England. It was only a matter of time.

Mark June 17, 201411:48 pm

Very nil-nil, that, with (predictable joke book, chapter seven), Shatov providing a neat review of Russia’ first-half performance. Its all Neil Lennon’s fault, of course, as he “did” Iran/Nigeria too.

Richard June 17, 201411:47 pm

The half time advice being suggested by the commentators this World Cup has been dreadful.

Apparently Capello needs to get into his players and tell them to open up…. you bloody think!?

Richard June 17, 201411:45 pm

One positive for Martin Keown, but it isn’t a great complement.

He is better than Savage.

Mark June 17, 201411:40 pm

Saw THAT Korean effort, Son Heung-Min “saw tomorrow’s headlines” and fired forty yards over from the edge of the box.
Keown would like to be a fly on the wall in the Russian dressing-room at half-time. Suspect Capello’s the type to splat such insects as soon as hear them. On you go, Martin.

Richard June 17, 201411:38 pm

As a side note: Did anyone see the marvelous way Japan are raising the profile of their World Cup?

Mark June 17, 201411:38 pm

Lesson in Korean names from Wilson. He’s essentially saying that Park Ji-Sung is right and Ji Sung-Park is wrong. And he had to ask the Korean embassy for the info. Still, research. Wilson doing his job. Fair play.

Mark June 17, 201411:36 pm

South Korea come mighty close but I was too busy typing about Zhirkov that I didn’t see who had the effort. Good one, though.

Richard June 17, 201411:35 pm

Fabio Capello may have just slipped into a coma.

Mark June 17, 201411:34 pm

“He can hit them, Ignashevich,” notes Keown after the world sees him…well…hit one. It does, though, give Steve Wilson the chance to say “on-rushing Russians,” which was surely the result of a bet.
Meanwhile, Yuri Zhirkov fires disappointingly wide. Chelsea fans will have had a flash of deja-vu.

Mark June 17, 201411:31 pm

As Thierry Henry so correctly said earlier this evening. Just as well for these two teams at the minute.
Keown expresses the age-old English inability to understand why certain goalkeepers prefer to punch rather than catch. Maybe he should ask one of them, sometime. Then maybe he’d KNOW. He’s a broadcast journalist after all. Oh yes he is.

Richard June 17, 201411:28 pm

More to the point – it’s not how you start a World Cup but how you finish it!

Richard June 17, 201411:27 pm

Sadly that comparison was not specifically mentioned.

Belgium are adequate at what they do and Hazard, who everyone down plays at an international level, had two players marking him at all times. I’m shocked that people, especially those being paid large sums for their views, keep knocking them down. Their squad has real depth and their only real issue is at left back.

Mark June 17, 201411:26 pm

Capello hasn’t aged a minute in the last 4 years. Martin Keown suggests that he might “fit the Russian mentality.” Which is what exactly, Martin?

Mark June 17, 201411:23 pm

First “Belgium – dark horse” reference (this is their group): 19 mins 43 seconds. And Steve Wilson appears to be leaping on a “Belgium aren’t that good really” bandwagon which has started up since their earlier struggles (haven’t read the blog yet – did anyone make the absolutely fair Eden/Micky Hazard comparison?). That’s Belgium, who have three more points than England, Spain, Portugal…

Mark June 17, 201411:19 pm

Well, its fast-paced at least. And at most for now. Russia have already shown more dynamism than England managed in four games in 2010. Which, cynicism aside, isn’t bad for 18 minutes.

Richard June 17, 201411:16 pm

Its that or he showed George the picture he drew of him on MS Paint.

Mark June 17, 201411:14 pm

Son Heung Min booked there for calling George Formby a banjo player. Hey, you’ve seen the replay, got any better suggestions??

Richard June 17, 201411:13 pm

Son can be disappointed there. No contact at all but a yellow card has been given.

Richard June 17, 201411:10 pm

It just dawned on my that the written overview of this game is going to be tough.

Mark June 17, 201411:07 pm

Russia in a deeper form of red than the good old days, in a match which appears to be refereed by a George Formby tribute act.

Richard June 17, 201411:06 pm

The Russians get some early pressure. Looks like they’ll build up down the wings and try to utilise their height advantage from crosses.

Richard June 17, 201411:00 pm

The Russians get us going. Finally these two sides get a chance to show us what they can do.

Richard June 17, 201410:59 pm

Fabio Capello looking happy as always before the match gets underway.