World Cup 1986

I loved the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. Maybe its because it was the first football tournament that caught my imagination.

Scotland were there and with a fair enough squad of mainly English first division players. King Kenny pulled out due to flu but we still had Strachan, Souness, MacAvennie, Sharp, Nicol etc and Alex Ferguson at the helm. In end, not surprisingly it was a disaster with close losses against Germany, Denmark and a poor 0-0 draw against a 10 man Uruguay sending us home before the postcards….again.

Diego Armando Maradona was in his pomp and prime scoring the best goal of time and one of the most controversial, both against the English.

My favourite game had to be France vs Brazil which went all the way to penalties. There was Schumachers dreadful tackle against France. An excellent final with the Argies edging the Germans 3-2.

All in all it was a magnificent tournament.

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.

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.

5 best games of this International double-header.

Croatia vs Serbia (Friday 5pm)

Away supporters have been banned from this Group A grudge match but it shouldn’t lessen the atmosphere.This will be the first Balkan derby since the bitter conflict from 1991-1995 and the tie goes well beyond just football.

Croatia share the lead with the top of Group A with the fashionable Belgians and will enter the match as heavy favourites. A defeat more or less confines Serbia to the realms of Group dunces along with Scotland and Wales.

It remains to been seen if it “kicks off” at kick off.

Czech Republic vs Denmark (Friday 7.30pm)

Both teams need to get their act together if they are to catch up with Italy at the summit of the group. A draw does neither team any good, while a win re-energizes their faltering campaigns.

Poland vs Ukraine (Friday 7.45pm)

Both teams failed to set the heather alight as hosts of Euro 2012 and have to step up to claim a play off spot. Montenegro top Group H with England 2 points behind.

Montenegro vs England (Tuesday 8pm)

The Baltic minnows will relish the chance to bloody the nose of the English and cement top spot of the group.

France vs Spain (Tuesday 8pm)

The battle of the giants in group I is surely the tie of this months International dates. Both teams are tied with 7 points after 3 games but should have 10 points after their respective home  games against Finland and Georgia. Spain have to slip up at some point, hopefully in the Stade de France.

2012 FIFA Ballon d’Or Shortlist

2012 FIFA Ballon d’Or Shortlist:

Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid C.F.)
Iker Casillas (Real Madrid)
Mesut Ozil (Real Madrid)

Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid)
Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)Leo Messi (FC Barcelona)
Sergio Busquets (Barcelona)
Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)
Xavi (Barcelona)
Gerard Pique (Barcelona)Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
Robin van Persie (Manchester United)

Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
Mario Balotelli (Manchester City)
Yaya Toure (Manchester City)

Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus)
Andrea Pirlo (Juventus)

Neymar (Santos)

Didier Drogba (Shanghai Shenhua)

Radamel Falcao (Atletico Madrid)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (PSG)

Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)