Sunday, June 27, 2010

Controversial Daze

As postmortems go in my world no one does it better than the English. Following today's drubbing by the Germans the media will have a field day over the coming week. Every angle will be covered including the victim card after Lampard's perfectly good goal was deemed to have not crossed the line late in the first half. That though was only one chapter in a sorry story that's read like a footballing horror story ever since they arrived as the team the press maintained would emulate the men of 1966.
In a reversal of fortune today the Germans benefited from poor officialdom in a time when the game is suffering because of the ego and gluttony of the games governing body and it's corporation loving president Sepp Blatter. Surely a blind eye can not be turned again toward advances in this age of technology. This is England and not Ireland so my money is on goal mouth technology being phased in now over the coming years. Time will tell.

The truth is Germany were a far superior team based on today's match. Klose opened the German account on 20 minutes when the centre half pairing of John Terry and Mattie Upson did little to stop him from doing so. Wayne Bridge must be surely allowing himself a wry smile and consolidate the fact that he walked out on his country over a good mate.
Podolski made it two 13 minutes later when he stroked a ball under the advancing David James' legs. The Germans were running riot.
England somehow responded and within minutes had the ball in the German net when a corner from Stevie G is met by Mattie Upson to make it 2-1. Buoyed they blasted off again and minutes later Lampard's wrong range effort found the back of the goal, if not the net. Unbelievably the lineman was away on holiday and the goal did not stand.
2-1 at half time and the English must have felt confident of a turn around.

All the commentators who said this was the best generation of footballers England ever had, a comment more measured by bank balances than anything else. Carlsberg will be glad that they don't do ad's!
The knowledge that they could defend their early arrival home with a 'Rode' headline was not to be. The Germans looked at times that they were playing with England as they took control and cruised to a 4-1 with a further two goals from Muller on 67 and 70 minutes.
The Germans played with England like a cat would with a mouse and by the end England were reduced to nothing that will last in any positive memory. Their whole campaign was a complete shambles and David Beckham must be wondering why the hell he asked to be there. The only lesson they can take from this campaign is not to shout yourself up to much as it surely will come back and slap you in the chops. Wayne Rooney can't afford that. I fear however that in the 'hope springs eternal' world that may never happen. For entertainment, there's nothing better and they will be missed....or not, depending on your viewpoint.

Argentina went head to head with South American counterparts Mexico in the evening encounter. Controversy was again the order of the day when Carlos Tevez's opener was clearly off-side and another linesman calamity took the shine off what was a bright opening exchange.
The Argentine's took full advantage of Mexico's disparagement and were soon 2-0 up when Higuain made it four for him in the tournament.

Mayhem ensued at half time behind the dug-outs with man-God Diego Maradona throwing his small frame around as he tried to make sense of it all as players and officals let their latin blood run riot.

The Mexicans attempted to re-group and fought to pave a way back into the game and avoid their exodus. It was not to be when Tevez scored a goal that will feature in the best goals compilation on 51 minutes. Mexico for their part never gave up and try as they were rewarded on 71 minutes with an excellent strike from Hernandez but that was it for them.
Home they will go with the 'what if?' question that sometimes rise to the peak of human thought on occassion.

I went to the FIFA website earlier to check on a stat. As the page opened I was dazzled by an invitation to vote for my man of the match. Brought to me by Budweiser. As my old mate Leon used to say, ' Budweiser never gave me nothing to trouble.' So I declined.
FIFA's day of shame should have been their handling of Ireland v France back in the qualifiers but today they outdid themselves. It's their shame that the beautiful game they govern is the shambles it is in the present day.

Argentina now face Germany in a repeat of the 1986 epic final. The Argentinians came out top that day in a thrilling 3-2 win which came to life in the final minutes when the Germans somehow came back from 2-0 down to equalise only to have their hearts broken in the final seconds by Burruchaga. Though that World Cup was the Diego Maradona show it also contained the infamous 'Hand of God' incident. Daze of controvery, hey!

I'll go with Argentina to repeat their 1986 win and win 3-2 in extra-time. European football is having a poor World Cup and it's on that basis alone I make my call. Messi to shine though Eamon Dunphy reckons it won't happen. Here's to a great game of footie....

Footnote - Would Wayne Bridge please stop smiling.

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