English will never get the World Cup

It seems like the BBC and assorted British press are a dog with a bone in regards to FIFA and the World Cup. They still can’t believe that Qatar got awarded the tournament despite their questionable attitudes towards gay people, workers conditions and the unbearable heat in their desert location (nobody has really mentioned they aren’t even a football country either). In the end the bid executive committee said those Englanders were too arrogant and entitled in the process, which is clearly impossible from such a humble and fair minded organisation like the FA. Or maybe the old commonwealth countries were getting a little jab back at 200 years of colonialism? Typically Scottish made an arse of themselves and backed the English FA when the fight was already over.

FIFA seem to stumble through one controversy after another and bat off documentaries, investigative journalist pieces, newspaper headlines and TV news segments like Brian Lara on crystal meth . If it is not Sepp Blatter blabbing some archaic opinion, its stories about shady deals and back handers between confederations and presidents. In truth its hard to see what would actually topple the “blazers” in Switzerland.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/world-cup/2014/

And what to England or the English footballing fraternity set to gain from it??

The FA were keen enough to cosy up to FIFA during their bid for hosting the tournament. Quite happy to spend 20 million on the whole process and roll out a grinning David Beckham to give that extra razzmatazz . Maybe they feel scorned because they were promised a proper tilt at the bidding process or even assured of a victory (which in itself would be illegal).

Even if Qatar are proved to be corrupt in their successful election as 2022 hosts the World Cup will not go to another Euro country so close after Russia in 2018 (Russia are all right by the way, they have no problems with racism or homophobia).

2026 could be their next available slot but by that time an asteroid will probably plummet into the atmosphere filling the skies with noxious gasses which shall decimate the human population but leave the good animals like lions, tigers and bears (oh…my) to roam freely and eventually set up their own World Cup.

So as FIFA “step up” their investigation into “acts of wrong doing” don’t hold out for some startling findings. The beans will not be spilled and England will not the get the World Cup any time soon.

ps. If England invite Scotland to bid as some kind of dual “we invented the game and gave it to you lot” special anniversary World Cup i retract everything above.

March 20, 2014. Tags: , , . Brazil 2014, CONCACAF, football, Scotland, World Cup Qualifiers. Leave a comment.

The FIFA rankings don’t lie, much.

The FIFA rankings are notoriously confusing and sometimes spurious however what they show is current form in the World game. Croatia have moved into 5th position and although impressive in UEFA qualification Group B can hardly be merited as the 5th best team in the World. Similarly a faltering Portugal do not deserve their 6th position (they currently lie 3rd in Group F behind Russia and Israel.

The top ten is made up of the usual faces with England even placed at 7th despite trailing Montenegro in Group H. Ecuador have been boosted into 10th position but this probably a fair reflection given the Andean nations recent form.

1 Spain
2  Germany
3  Argentina
4  Croatia
5  Portugal
6  Colombia
7  England
8  Italy
9  Netherlands
  10 Ecuador

Brazil have plummeted to their worst ever ranking at 19th suffering from their lack of telling international games in the run up to their hosting of the World Cup in 2014.

Scotland (deep breath) continue their decent into oblivion and lie in 77th position between Congo and Canda. This doesn’t deserve a comment.

April 11, 2013. Tags: , . Brazil 2014, Ecuador, Scotland, World Cup Qualifiers. Leave a comment.

Japan shocked by Jordan

Japan had the chance to be the first team to qualify for the World Cup on Tuesday night. On paper it looked straight forward but it seems they underestimated a rejuvenated Jordan side and went down to a surprise defeat.

 

In all likelihood Japan will still become the first team to qualify but the result in Amman mixes up Group B and heaps extra pressure on 3rd place Australia.

Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
 Japan 6 4 1 1 14 4 +10 13
 Jordan 6 2 1 3 6 12 −6 7
 Australia 5 1 3 1 6 6 0 6
 Oman 6 1 3 2 6 9 −3 6
 Iraq 5 1 2 2 4 5 −1 5

The 2-1 win for Jordan was all the more remarkable considering the respective tie in Japan ended with a 6-0 hammering.

Japan had been in control of the match during the first half with only the crossbar denying them a lead. However in injury time Khalil Bani Attiah leaped above the defence to direct a header past the Japanese goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima.

The “Blue Samurai” continued to dominate play in the 2nd half but were again caught on the counter with 60 minutes gone. Ahmed Hayel collected a loose ball and set off like Usain Bolt down the right hand side before cutting into the Japan box then passing the ball under Kawashima into the net. The crowd went wild while the Jordanian bench looked shocked.

The Japanese stepped up the pace in pursuit of a draw and managed to grab one back in the 69th minute through Manchester United’s, Shinji Kagawa. Then went on to concede a penalty 90 seconds later. Disaster looked imminent.

Japanese veteran, Yasuhito Endo took the spot kick but was denied by Amer Sabbah, sealing a vital 3 points.

In group B’s other match Australia narrowly avoided a shocking upset against Oman.Tim Cahill and a 25-yard strike by Brett Holman in the 85th minute salvages a poor home draw.

In Group A, Uzbekistan beat Lebanon 1 -0 at home to consolidate their position at the top while South Korea struggled to a 2-1  win over Oman in Seoul.

Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
 Uzbekistan 6 3 2 1 6 4 +2 11
 South Korea 5 3 1 1 11 5 +6 10
 Iran 5 2 1 2 2 2 0 7
 Qatar 6 2 1 3 4 7 −3 7
 Lebanon 6 1 1 4 2 7 −5 4

Competition should be fierce in the last matches of Asian qualification. With only the top two teams from each group guaranteeing qualification. The two 3rd place teams will then play-off, with the winner then playing-off against the 5th place team in the CONMEBOL table (currently a fight between Venezuela, Uruguay and Chile).

March 29, 2013. Tags: , , . AFC, Brazil 2014, World Cup Qualifiers. Leave a comment.

England fans reported for racist chants.

For those who missed it :

“Build a bonfire, build a bonfire

Put Rio on the top

Put Anton in the middle

Then burn the f****** lot”

Was the supposed chant by the England fans at the Montenegro match on Tuesday night.

It did not escape the attentions of Football anti-racism network Fare who duly reported the singing as having racial overtones.

Coupled with the sickening chants at the San Marino game it seems that English will have to  accept that they, too, have a racist element in the hordes. It will be a bitter pill to swallow given that the FA and supporters have been tirelessly clapping themselves on the back and quickly pointing the finger at everyone from Spain to the Ukraine, of late.

This comes after a suspension for their former captain, John Terry and the “Kick it Out” campaign in ruin.

Oliver Holt in today’s Mirror hits the nail on the head:

http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/england-sickening-chants-against-rio-1786627

March 28, 2013. Tags: , , , . football, World Cup Qualifiers. Leave a comment.

Out before everybody. Scotland have reached the bottom.

It’s impossible for Scotland to make Brazil. In truth we have known for a long time, maybe as soon as the draw was made, but we didn’t think it would end so poorly.

Winless and gutless the Scottish national team lie rooted to the bottom of Group A. A tally of 2 points from 6 games is pitiful in the extreme. We now lie alongside San Marino, Liechtenstein and Malta as International minnows.

 

Belgium 6 5 16
Croatia 6 5 16
Serbia 6 2 7
Wales 6 2 6
Macedonia 6 1 4
Scotland 6 0 2

 

This is as rotten as it comes for a supporter: out of the reckoning before things have even started. The remaining ties are meaningless and we are now playing for pride.

Many supporters will feel helpless and unsure of where we are going to end up. International wilderness is a real possibility. In fact a probability if not an actual current reality.

It’s all got too much to bare.

 

In truth it has been a long descent. Alike a horse stuck in quicksand, slowly sinking to the bottom. There have been small moments of resistance and defiance along the way but these have only delayed the inevitable and no one is going haul us out.

Against Serbia tonight, the farmer finally came along and unloaded two shells into our skull. A mercy killing.

Gordon Strachan has inherited a nightmare: a squad devoid of any real class and lacking any semblance of confidence. His is a long term project. But I do feel he is the right man to take us forward. At least he has enthusiasm and ideas.

Strachan blooded Liam Bridcutt and George Boyd against Serbia and this is where any hope of revival exists. Fresh and young talent. But it will be a long road to recovery. I doubt on the strength of the last few matches that France 2016 is even realisable.

 

That’s enough. This is too depressing.

March 27, 2013. Tags: . Scotland, World Cup Qualifiers. Leave a comment.

Suarez hits out while “La Vinotinto” hit back.

As a Liverpool fan I tend to see the best in Luis Suarez and forgive him for his indiscretions. There is no doubt he has been vilified by a calumniatory, English press but he doesn’t do himself any favours.

Last night, again, he was attracting headlines for the wrong reasons. Playing for Uruguay against Chile in a World Cup qualifier, Suarez responded to defender Gonzalo Jara’s attentions by jabbing him on the chin. Granted, it wasn’t a punch worthy of the ring but it should have deserved a red card.

The decision did not change the match as Chile battled to a deserved 2 – 0 victory over an unsteady Uruguay. Esteban Paredes opened the scoring in the 11th minute after some awful Uruguayan defending. Both Matias Aguirregaray and Alvaro Pereiraha had chances to clear the danger but only proceeded to gift Paredes his chance 5 yards out.

Eduardo Vargas sealed the win with 12 minutes remaining after some more shambolic play at the back by Uruguay. Matias Fernandez found Mauricio Isla with a defence splitting ball, Isla’s shot was then saved by Fernando Muslera but Vargas snatched to score while the defenders floundered.

After last week’s home draw against Paraguay, “La Celeste” are fumbling at a vital point in qualification. The Copa America holders will have to reverse their slide down the table if they want to repeat their impressive display in South Africa. Similarly, Chile have been erratic and find themselves in a 4/5th place battle after a strong start to their qualification campaign.

In Puerto Ordaz. The in-form Colombians tumbled to a surprise defeat against Venezuela. Salomon Rondon grabbed an early lead in the 13th minute and that was enough to win the match. Falcoa had some late chances and was denied an equaliser by the woodwork.

Despite the hiccup, Colombia are still in a good position for qualification while Venezuela need to secure a few more wins to ensure attendance at their first ever World Cup.

                            P            W           D            L              Pts

 

Argentina            11           7              3          1              24                         

 

Ecuador              10           6              2           2             20                           

 

Colombia             10           6              1           3            19                        

 

Chile                    11           5             0            6            15  

 

Venezuela            11           4              3           4            15

 

Uruguay               11           3              4           4           13

 

Peru                     10            3              2          5           11

 

Bolivia                  11            2              3          6            9

 

Paraguay              11           2              2            7            8

March 27, 2013. Tags: , . Colombia, Uruguay, Venezuela, World Cup Qualifiers. Leave a comment.

Montero shines in Quito.

Ecuador 4 Paraguay 1

 

Ecuador took a huge step towards qualification with a comfortable win over Paraguay. The win puts “La Tri” on 20 points thanks mainly to their home form in the Atahaulpa stadium.

Ecuador started with a full strength team that included Antonio Valencia, Cristain Benitez, Jefferson Montero and Filipe Caicedo. The only change from the usual 11 was the dropping of Luis Saritama for Pedro Quinonez. With a crammed home crowd behind them, Ecuador must have felt full of confidence but they didn’t reflect this on the pitch, early on.

Paraguay took the lead in the 15th minute through Luis Cabellero who shot low past Dominguez to silence the partisan hoards. It was a well taken goal but the defenders should have cleared the ball instead of dallying in the box.

The goal stung the Ecuadorians into action and they attacked Bolivia mercilessly, mainly down the flanks through the tricky Montero and Quinonez. Achilier saw his header hit the crossbar in the 24th minute then Valencia volleyed home 5 minutes later, only for it to be chalked off by the linesman. It was clear Paraguay were not going to hold out.

 

The equaliser was as inevitable as the scorer. Felipe Caicedo was brought back into the fold by Reinaldo Rueda for this campaign and he has repaid his coach with 5 goals at vital moments during these qualifiers. Just before half time he bustled his way past the Paraguayan defence to head in an Ayovi close from close range.

 

Ecuador started the 2nd half in similar fashion destroying the Paraguayans with their pace and long, deep cross field balls. In the 50th minute Quinonez dropped a splendid pass onto the feet of the onrushing Montero. The Morelia midfielder slipped past the left back then drove the ball into the net to take the lead.

Four minutes later Montero again was tormentor in chief dribbling past two defenders, cutting back then crossing for “Chucho” Benitez to head home for the third. Paraguay were being over-run by wave after wave of yellow shirts with only the woodwork saving them.

Montero

 With 15 minutes Montero exchanged a one-two with Saritama and set-off on another mazy like run, snaking through the red and white jerseys with ease. Upon reaching the goal area is shot wrong footed the helpless Baretto and the ball trickled into the goal. It was fortunate but he had made his own luck.

Another home win sets Ecuador in an excellent 2nd position behind Argentina. Their next games are against Peru, away then Messi & Co in Quito. The Argentinians are notoriously weak at altitude so two draws are not overly optimistic. With Montero is this type of form another home win could seal a summer in Brazil.

March 27, 2013. Tags: . Brazil 2014, Ecuador, South American football, World Cup Qualifiers. 1 comment.

Honours even in La Paz

The Albicelestes would have been mindful of their last visit to La Paz during World Cup qualification. 4 years ago they were hammered 6 – 1 in the thin air of the Bolivian capital. It wasn’t quite as bad this time around but they did struggle.

The home team dominated the first half and deservedly went ahead in the 25th minute. A long ball by Chumacero drifted into the penalty area and met the head of Marcelo Martins, then the net. The defending was fairly dreadful but the ex-Wigan striker did well to direct the ball past Sergio Romero.

The goal stung Argentina into action and they equalised just before half time through Ever Banega. Again the defending was poor when Clemente Rodriguez crossed to the penalty spot. With 3 defenders around him, Banega managed to direct his header low into the Bolivian net.

Argentina pushed for the winner during the 2nd half but they were unable to beat the impressive Sergio Galarza. Banega and Messi were both thwarted by the Bolivian veteran late on.

 

Match goals

 

The point keeps Argentina at the summit of the qualification table 4 points ahead of Ecuador, Bolivia lie 2nd bottom and struggling to make the qualifying positions.

 

 

P            W           D            L              Pts

Argentina            11           7              3          1              24                          

Ecuador              10           6              2           2             20                            

Colombia             10           6              1           3            19                         

Chile                    11           5             0            6            15   

Venezuela            11           4              3           4            15 

Uruguay               11           3              4           4           13

Peru                     10            3              2          5           11

Bolivia                  11            2              3          6            9

Paraguay              11           2              2            7            8

March 27, 2013. Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil 2014, South American football, World Cup Qualifiers. Leave a comment.

CONMEBOL Qualifier results.

Colombia 5 Bolivia 0

“El Cafeteros” were the first to start on Friday afternoon and they wasted no time in slapping aside Bolivia in Barranquilla. Torres, Valdes, Gutierrez, Falcoa and Armero each grabbed a goal to bolster their 2nd place position and condemn Bolivia to 2nd bottom.

Paraguay 1 Uruguay 1

In Montevideo, Luis Suarez had looked to have sealed a win with a late volley in 82 minutes. However, Benitez struck 4 minutes late to steal a valuable and unlikely point.

Argentina 3 Venezuela 0

In Buenos Aires it was business as usual as Gonzalo Higuain claimed a brace and a Messi penalty in between. The Argentinians consolidated the pole position, 4 points above Colombia.

Peru 1 Chile 0

Jefferson Farfan was the hero in Lima as he struck in the 87 minute against Chile. The Peruvians have had a rotten campaign but this rare win sees them rise above the bottom dwellers and reintroduce them to the 5th place battle.

POS TEAM P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Argentina 10 7 2 1 23 7 16 23
2 Colombia 9 6 1 2 19 6 13 19
3 Ecuador 9 5 2 2 12 9 3 17
4 Uruguay 10 3 4 3 17 19 -2 13
5 Chile 10 4 0 6 14 19 -5 12
6 Venezuela 10 3 3 4 8 12 -4 12
7 Peru 10 3 2 5 11 15 -4 11
8 Bolivia 10 2 2 6 12 19 -7 8
9 Paraguay 10 2 2 6 7 17 -10 8

March 24, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , . Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil 2014, South American football, Venezuela, World Cup Qualifiers. Leave a comment.

Argentina top the table

Argentina continue to top the CONMEBOL table after their 2-1 away win against Chile last night.

Chile fell asleep for 4 minutes in the first half and allowed Messi and Higuain to claim a quick brace in 28 and 31 minutes. Argentina then needed only to hang on to claim 3 points but they did concede a late Gutierrez consolation.

In Puerto La Cruz, Ecuador recorded a fine away draw against Venezuela to bolster their qualification chances.

“La Vinotintos” took the lead, with what must have been the goal of the night through Juan Arango. The veteran captain collected the ball 30 yards from goal then unleashed an unstoppable howitzer past the flailing Dominguez.

Ecuador rallied and restored parity 15 minutes later through Segundo Castillo when he struck low from inside the box. Although both teams had chances to win it a draw was probably a fair result in an open and entertaining game

In Asuncion, Pablo Aguilar claimed the only goal of the night to win the bottom of the table clash against Peru. Barring a small miracle neither team should be in contention for the qualification spots.

The surprise of the night was in La Paz where Bolivia hammered Uruguay 4 -1. Carlos Saucedo grabbed a hat-trick to condemn Uruguay to their second defeat in five days. Luis Suarez got one back near the end.

Concern must be growing for” La Celeste” as they have managed to take only one point form three games, two of which were at home.

BOLIVIA 4 – 1 URUGUAY

PARAGUAY 1 – 0 PERU

VENEZUELA 1 -1 ECUADOR

CHILE 1 – 2 ARGENTINA

The COMNEBOL table seems to splitting in 3 parts with Argentina, Ecuador and Colombia moving away slightly form the pack. That being said two positive results can alter qualification chances dramatically and no team is in the clear yet.

October 17, 2012. Tags: , , , , . Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil 2014, Colombia, Ecuador, soccer, South American football, Uruguay, Venezuela, World Cup Qualifiers. Leave a comment.

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