115 Comments on “World Cup Competition!

  1. Hey, Clone!

    Is it just me, or have you accidently ommitted Cameroon-Denmark from your list of games?

    As it happens, I predicted that score exactly ;-)

  2. Hmm …

    England 0 (8th position in the FIFA international rankings) – Algeria 0 (30 FIFA)

    And the English media go crazy and heap yet more pressure on the players.

    Italy 1 (5 FIFA) New Zealand 1 (78 FIFA)

    And, although I'm sure the Italian media is going pretty crazy this morning, I'm sure that the players do not have the feeling that the whole country is against them!

    Football is so big in England and so bound up in the national psyche that the pressure on the players has soared to crazy levels. IMHO this is also linked to the rise of 'celebrity' culure and the decline of Christian belief.

    Yes, they are paid loads of money, but so are hedge fund bankers (who arguably have done far more damage). And, unappealing as their antics are at times, they are still human! I saw an England team playing with the fear of failure heavy upon their shoulders in Friday.

    There, I've got that off my chest. Having said that, although I live less than 300km from Port Elizabeth, the site of the Slovenia game on Wednesday, at GBP75 a ticket I won't be going – I can't bear the fear of failure too!

    • Well, it's probably an oversimplification, but some thought thought that the Italian's thinking the whole world was agaisnt them was a factor in their last world cup victory (and ,at the very least, the 82 one).

      Anyway, John Terry's press conference – basically suggesting that he'd make a better manager than Fabio '9 league titles in 16 years with 4 teams in 2 countries' Capello – will , I'm sure, work wonders and lead to England lifting the trophy ;-)

      • CB

        Oh dear! I've only just caught up with the John Terry news this morning on the net. Is this a man who's totally in to hiomself or what? Talk about shooting yourself in the foot!

        • Indeed! Amusingly, some players are apparently annoyed that he mentioned that they had a beer on Friday night! Seemingly, the performance of the England team has been sufficient to drive not just the nation but themselves to drink ;-).

          That said, glad (from an England perspective) that *someone* with some clout spoke out about including Joe Cole!The misuse of such a naturally gifted and creative player is a sad indictment of English football's hoof-and-run blood-n-thunder traditions. And Terry at least indicated some passion and recognition of how badly the team have played – if England do scrape through Wednesday, we'll probably have to listen to some anodyne on message 'well, the important thing is the result, lots of teams start slowly in the world cup, our best is yet to come' guff!

  3. I have visited William Hill's url to get the odds and therefore have revised a couple of my predictions today.

  4. Portugal vs North Korea 7-0 Oh my goodness, I hope those N. Korean players are still alive for the next world cup! I heard there was a live broadcast in North Korea I wonder if the regime cut the broadcast after a while?

  5. The England team visit a Cape Town orphanage: 'It was heartbreaking to see their sad little faces with no hope' said Jamal, age 6

    • Thanks for highlighting that – it appears that the system only allows penalty predictions if you predict a draw. I will email all the users to let them know. Sorry about that!

  6. Living in South Africa, I had a theory about this World Cup that, I am afraid, has been comprehensively blown out of the water!

    Pitches here are dry and hard, as they are in most of the southern hemisphere (SH). This is what gives the SH egg-chasers a repution for fast, hard running rugby (and, incidently, stacks of injuries in SA school rugby. A couple of kids usually die each year!).

    I expected that this would produce exceptionally fast play, resulting in lots of defensive mistakes and lots of goals. It has produced lots of fast play (especially from the Latin American sides, who are also used to hard pitches). But this seems to have had the opposite effect, aided by what seems to be a fast ball that is difficult for strickers to control. I can't remember seeing so many shots off target or over the bar in games!

    Well, that's my excuse for poor predictions and I'm sticking to it :-)

  7. I'm just making a comment so that it brings the World Cup competition up in the 'Recent Comments' section again :-)

  8. Well that was a comprehensive mugging, wasn't it? Please can we find a couple of central defenders that know how to be central defenders – you know, make tackles and head the ball. And please can the arrogant John Terry never play for England again!

    • Actually, Graham, one imagines that Fabio will go back to enjoying the lifestyle that you get when you're one of the World's greatest managers, who's won 7 league titles in some of the world's greatest leagues. Your comment is indicative of the inane colonialist arrogance that is one (of o, so,so, many) reasons why non-English people are delighted to see England lose. Maybe now the pundits who claimed Rooney was better than Messi (!) will change their mind? No, probably not. Although Rooney's World Cup record now consists of playing in two World Cups and getting more red cards than he has scored goals, which is an acheivement of sorts. But,hey, I'll be the first to applaud England when Sam Allardyce (say) is lifting the trophy in Brazil 2014 ;-D

      • CB

        Fat Sam lifting the trophy in Brazil in 2014. Now there's a mental image I could do without!

  9. Graham

    Based on this argument, I suspect we would get 'Honest' 'Arry Redknapp, a deeply mediocre manager who would probably repeat our performance under Steve MacLaren. If we're going to go local then I really hope that its Roy Hodgson, the only UK football manager with substantial foreign experience. But, please, let us not start the 'sack the manager' thing yet. Not that I expect that to stop the Sun issuing Fabio Capello cut-outs in its 'paper' tomorrow with the call for everyone to hang them from the nearest lamp-post!

  10. I don't understand how people are getting 8 points for predicting a draw in the England Germany game? Are you counting the disallowed goal? ;)

  11. 'Inane colonial arrogance'. Why not go the whole hog and call be a xenophobic racist? I made one statement of fact and a judgement based on performance. Never mid the man's past. It is irrelevant, Like Sven he failed to do the job he was paid a fortune to do. I don't care about the nationality of the replacemnt. How about Morjnho or Ferguson?

    • 'Fabio should go back to ice-cream selling' is a statement of fact? Really? At what point in his career did he do that?


      If you demonstrated xenophobic racism then I would call you a xenophobic racist, as I called you on your comments above. Fabio was generally too busy winning titles to sell ice-cream (!),and Italian Football generally still has 4 World Cups and numerous final appearances to compare with England's pathetic record. Never heard of Morjnho, but he sounds like he'd be too busy sledding or skijoring to manage football at the highest level ;). And Sir Alex of Ferguson, as a fellow glasweigan, has far too much sense to take the poisoned Chalace that is the England manager's job. I hereby predict that good old uncle Roy Hodgson – the Last, Great Hope for a great English manager – will be similarly branded an incompetent for 'just' getting to quarter-finals/last 16. Maybe, just maybe, Gerrard, Rooney etc etc are worldbeaters for their teams because they play beside lots of talented and non-English players? Gerrard had Alonso, and Lampard Essien when both were at their best afterall.

  12. Yes. Why are people who got the result wrong getting so many points? I protest. Or are we being reffed by the same blind guy who does not know when a ball goes over a line?

    • Seems to have been a problem in the scoring system handling penalties. I have sent you all an email explaining how we will be dropping predicting penalties. Scoring should now be accurate for all matches played this week.

  13. The factual part is that no team managed by someone of a different nationality has ever won the trophy. The ice cream part was an attempt at humour. My spelling may be worse than my humour but I would think you intelligent enough to know I was indicating the Spaniard who did well at Chelsea and is now in Italy. BTW, your spelling is, like mine, about of the same standard as England's play. 'glasweigan, Chalace , afterall' But you are right about Sir Alec. What Scot would want to help England? Though a lot of them have been ruling it of late

    • Mourinho is Portugese, not Spanish, and he's now at Real Madrid.Could argue highfalutingly that some spelling mistakes are worse than others, but I take your point. Although I don't think ANYONE spells as bad as England played today ;). Apparently, the England players are obsessed with checking their marks out of ten in the papers. Think quite a few of them will be lucky to get zero tomorrow! ;)

      A lot of Scots certainly helped English football teams….Darren Fletcher has been on of Man U's best players in recent years, and Sir Mattt Busby, Sir Alex Ferguson, Denis Law etc etc are in that club's pantheon.

      If you *don't* go for a foreign manager, what are the options? Remember, Steve McClaren had a deservedly good reputation prior to being appointed England boss, and (God help us all!) Fat Sam interviewed for the position. 'Arry Redknapp has had a great season, but winning one FA Cup and reaching the Champions League with Spurs hardly equates to a CV worthy of one the highest paid jobs in football – let alone fufilling the frankly ludicrous expectations (Semi-Final minimum) of English fandom. Perhaps, given Maradona's success coaching Argentina, appointing Gazza would be a good idea? ;)

  14. I am happy to be corrected. I am not of the opinion that there is a suitable native manager for England. I am indebted to past Scottish help in the great days of my team, Leeds United. In Bremner's days we fielded a team of British and Irish full internationals. I remember a certain John Charles from Wales too. AS FOR Gazza, if you cannot manage your life, you cannot manage a team. But where are the forwards, who like Gazza would run at, take on and beat defenders It is all fancy passing, backing off and failing to get stuck in with tackles now.

    • Not surprised that Leeds fan advocates the physical approach ;-)

      Gazza was surely an inventive, creative player – rather than just blood and thunder type – and I agree he's someone who doesn't really have a contemporary equivalent. He was also honest, getting up quickly instead of diving. As a Scotsman, it boggles my mind that past talents like Matt Le Tissier and Glen Hoddle were squandered by England and its passion-over-skill ethos. England's traditional approach has been shown to fail at the highest level – no other major footballing power would play 4-4-2 with a big target man these days. Also worth remembering that one of England's best recent managers – Terry Venables – was also tactically inventive, I think he went with a variation on 3-5-2 in Euro 96 (where you nearly made a final!). Sir Alex Ferguson had to rip up his 4-4-2 league tactics in a bid to conquer Europe – and the passing of Spain/Barcelona players like Xavi/Iniesta is truly a wonder to behold. I've read a number of English people say that England football culture produces too many limited-but-passionate John Terry types, and not enough Joe Cole-style tricksters. Gazza played for my team, the Glorious Glasgow Rangers, so I like him a lot :) Ideally, you'd have a midfield destroyer with a creative player – like those great Davids/Zidanes and Keane/Scholes midfield pairings.

      Argentina's Messi is a joy to watch – and , like Maradona, can dodge and weave his way past lots of attackers. I can understand England national teams aspiring to play to their strengths, but the most beautiful teams – Brazil, Spain – are also often the most successful ones!

      • I wrote,'Gazza would run at, take on and beat defenders ' which is hardly 'Leeds fan advocates the physical approach '.

        Before he left for the Scousers and went downhill, Kewell did the same. In our glory days, Giles, Lorimer, Sniffer Clarke, Jones and Gray and skills aplenty and left the more physical to you countryman whose statue is outside the ground, Bremner, whose physicallity was matched by Hunter and Big Jack.John Charles skills were earlier. Our skill was no match for Chopper Harris in the 70 Final replay when Gray suffered the same fate as Pele had done before. Too big a threat to be left standing.

        Anyway I am please for you to be with Rangers and not that Irish team with the green hoops.

        • Yeah, what happened with Kewell – I remember him in 2002/03 (?) alongside players like Viduka and Ferdinand. It must have been fun to be living the dream, but the accounts I've read of Risdale's financial 'management' of the team are scandalous.Kewell recently had a go at an Australian journalist for saying he was injury-prone and didn't play too much (claims that would easily stand up in a court of law, surely!). I agree lots of teams had the physical approach and skill ( especially ones with Souness!) – whenever people say today that Ronaldo (for example) is better than the likes of George Best, you have to point out that Best had to put up with tackles that wouldn't be allowed nowadays.Are Leeds making their way up the leagues? A team that attracts Liverpoool-style crowds should surely get to the Premier League eventually

          Indeed! Celtic are truly Satan's XI ;) And Rangers get slagged off for not being Scottish enough, whilst the Glasgow-born Aiden McGeady is a Celtic hero who opted to play for the Republic O' Ireland!

  15. Hopefully the scoring change won't hurt my lead in the long term over David Ould! By the way is there a prize? In lieu of one may I pick a theological topic for Peter to blog about?

  16. Wow, Spain in better shape than I expected, I can't believe I've burned through my lead so quickly. Brazil versus Holland, might be the game of the Cup I think, who to pick?

    • Mathematically it's perfectly possible (80 pts available in last 8 games), but it would also require the leaders getting their predictions hopelessly wrong.

      That said, a few days ago I thought Luke was home and dry…

  17. Yeah, I was also wondering if a winner would be declared when he (or she) has a mathematically unassailable lead? Maybe we could increase the point for (say) correct scores in the later rounds to make it more interesting?

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