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Posts from the ‘World Cup’ Category

It’s coming home

Just to make sure I never dreamt it, I woke and overdosed on video clips of delirious Englishmen and women this morning. It happened didn’t it. It’s coming home.

Our office is shut today, it’s Independence Day somewhere, so bleary eyed I put the TV on, and the American news shows talked that whilst the English lost 242 years ago, we won a World Cup match last night. Sorry, American friends, it is much more than that.

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From Russia with love

This World Cup just keeps on giving, and I’m loving it. Two outstanding games of football yesterday, and whilst today’s 2nd Round matches lacked the same quality, the excitement was palpable as both games went the full distance and were settled by penalties.

The two keepers were unbelievable in the Denmark v Croatia game. After a dramatic start the game lacked quality. The Croats were nowhere near as good as they were in the groups and I felt Denmark had the upper hand as the game meandered into extra time. The competition will be worse off without Kasper Schmeichal’s passion and ability, but it was Subasic that won it for Croatia saving three pens. Modric showed nerves of steel to get back up to the spot to score in the shoot-out after missing a last minute penalty. Anyone know why the final defender wasn’t send off for the foul?

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Auf Weidersehen Pet

Is it safe to come out behind the sofa yet? Is the ref playing until the Germans score three?

How an earth did that happen? The mental fortitude of the Germans finally exploding into a million pieces, that 95th minute Kroos goal against Sweden on Saturday meaning nothing as South Korea gloriously beat the four-times winners 2-0 today to send Joachim Low and his haircut home. That 2nd goal with Manuel Neuer out on the left-wing will cheer me from miserable days for a long, long time.

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Don’t know about you but I’m becoming besotted by this World Cup. So much to see and enjoy, and the noise and the colour in the stadiums brings back for me childhood memories of Mexico ‘86 and Italia ‘90. There’s been goals, not one 0-0 draw in 32 games, a desire to win games and not lose them, drama, excitement, shocks, VAR nonsense, good and bad and bloody England scored five first half goals. In one game.

Yes Panama played like a hungover Sunday league side but they did beat the might of Trumpy and the free world to make it to Russia, and we have hardly breezed by this standard of nation before in competitions.

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Not typical

For some reason I didn’t feel the typical England malaise during the 2nd half last night. I don’t know about you but I felt more attached to this team. There is a spirit and a bond that was rarely apparent during the golden generation, and I felt more forgiving when they lost their way a little in the 2nd half as the Tunisians clung onto their dubious equalizer.

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Like him or loathe him, Ronaldo was sensational yesterday as the 2018 World Cup burst into life in Sochi after two underwhelming earlier games. It was all there. The petulance, the berating, the dedication, the brilliance. That was Ronaldo’s 51st career hatrick, which I find unfathomable. Ronaldo is one of the best ever, possibly the best. Let’s see how Messi, in a much better team, responds next.

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Do not disturb

The first proper day of the World Cup. The do not disturb sign is hanging around my neck.

As suspected the Bermuda TV coverage is worst than terrible. Not sure where they stole the pictures from, but sounds as if the commentator is doing it from his sofa, and there is no pre or post game punditry and the half-time show consists of crowd scenes interrupted by adverts from local companies who have each thrown in about a hundred bucks to ‘sponsor’ it. Please don’t let me hear you moan about Martin Keown and Glenn Hoddle..

Also, during the game the screen has no score or time on it, which is a very disconcerting and a nightmare if I need a wee. Who knows what the score is and how long is left, doubt if the commentator knows either.

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Russia 2018

Hold tight because football’s coming home on Thursday. Well, not unless your home is a non-ethical racist cesspit. It was seven and a half years ago when those nefarious egomaniacs at FIFA had us all shaking our collective heads over breakfast when they awarded the 2018 World Cup to Russia, and then used their top trump to select human rights dinosaurs Qatar for 2022. We’ve been shaking our heads ever since.

We could all boycott it of course, you know a football fan’s every Christmas and birthday rolled into a month, 64 matches to be glued to, but that’s plain silly. Yet it is hard to see the month will pass without any incident.

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Up the Creek

Who remembers Up The Creek? I had many a good night there, although didn’t it used to be at the Woolwich Tramshed or was that another comedy club. Anyways my mind is wandering, today I’m off to another Creek, possibly about as dissimilar to the one in Greenwich as you can get, this one is Beaver Creek, a ski resort in Colorado.

I first was in Beaver Creek just over 10 years ago and I reckon this is the x time I stayed at this hotel, which is beautifully set at the foot of Bachelor Gulch, one of the four mountains that makes up the resort.

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Oh England

I gave up watching the national team a long time ago, save for that first week or so at a major finals before they are headed to the airport and home.

So, therefore I didn’t watch last night but it sounded truly diabolical with fans resorting to throwing paper airplanes at each other. Only Kane and Rashford showing any kind of hope for next year’s finals. Hope and those two alone will not get us very far.

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RIP Johan Cruyff

Aged 7, the 1974 World Cup appeared in my life like a thunderbolt. My head already turned by the 1973 FA Cup Final when Bob Stokoe ran across Wembley’s perfect turf and the year after when Keegan and Heighway defeated Newcastle. I sat for an entire month watching pictures on our little telly from West Germany. I was enthralled.

The orange-shirted Haan, Neeskens, Krol, Jansen, Rensenbrink, Rep, the Van Der Kerkhof brothers and my idol Johan Cruyff were responsible for my falling in love with Charlton. It wasn’t as complicated as it sounds. For a whole year after the 1974 World Cup I nagged my Dad to take me to football, to see close up this game that had captivated me. Total football, the Cruyff Turn, the Arie Haan thunderbolt. My Dad finally caved and took me to the only ground that he was ever going to take me to, The Valley. The rest as they say, is history.
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Johan Cruyff

I have written on many occasions of my admiration and love for Johan Cruyff and how he and that great 70’s Dutch national team take all of the credit for me falling irrevocably in love with the game of football.

I dedicated my Ten Year Blogging anniversary to the 1974 World Cup tournament with Le Oranje and their talisman Johan Cruyff at the heart of every memory I cherish of it 41 years on.
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Oh Reza

He’s back, world cup hero, mercenary, domestic superstar, lightweight, match winner. Whatever he is Roland thinks he has an investment that needs realizing. Our owner got paid for Reza’s loans in Kuwait and Qatar, although probably not as well as Reza, and now he is back under Guy Luzon’s wing, who saw less in him whilst head coach of Standard Liege than Roland obviously did.

The World Cup was a shining moment for Reza, and rightly he wanted to maximize that. However he chose cash over career and now he is back in SE7. I am sure Jacko and Solly are rolling their eyes, but fortunately for Reza most of the rest of the players don’t have a clue who he is, unless they continuously watch highlights of Iran’s Brazil 2014 games.

Whether Reza eats some humble pie and gets his head down and at the prime age of 27 really makes a go of his career in the cut, thrust and globally recognised Championship or he cries off for another lucrative loan spell in India or somewhere, who the hell knows. I’ll guess we’ll see over the next month or so.
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Bermuda bow out

The 2018 World Cup may or may not take place in Russia, but wherever it is Bermuda won’t be there as the island’s 2018 World Cup dream ended 3-years prematurely last night after losing to Guatemala at home 0-1 to go out on aggregate after holding the Central American’s to an away goalless draw Friday night.

Without the still injured Nahki Wells, who in all honesty is probably the only player that would get into Guatemala’s team, Bermuda struggled to make chances and Guatemala after taking a lead in the 27th minute through Stefano Giordano, were comfortable winners. The goal was well taken but Bermuda’s defence and goalkeeper Dale Eve, who is on the books of Stoke City, did little to prevent it.
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Bermuda grab vital draw

Bermuda’s 2018 World Cup journey continued last night in Guatemala with the 2nd Round of qualification, and without star Nahki Wells the Gombey Warriors grabbed a meaningful 0-0 draw with the home leg to come on Monday night.

The game in Guatemala City was suspended with 5 minutes to go due to a power blackout but was restarted after 20 minutes. Bermuda saw out the game thanks to some heroics from goalkeeper Freddy Wells, who played last season in England for AFC Telford but was recently released. The 30-year old once had a trial with Charlton.
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