World Cup – Day 9

June 21, 2006 by  
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Portugal 2 – 0 Iran
Italy 1 – 1 USA
Czech Republic 0 – 2 Ghana
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World Cup – Day 8

June 21, 2006 by  
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Argentina 6 – 0 Serbia (& Montenegro)
Netherlands 2 – 1 Côte d’Ivoire
Mexico 0 – 0 Angola
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World Cup – Day 7

June 21, 2006 by  
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Ecuador 3 – 0 Costa Rica
England 2 – 0 Trinidad & Tobago
Sweden 1 – 0 Paraguay
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World Cup – Day 6

June 14, 2006 by  
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Ecto

June 14, 2006 by  
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World Cup – Full Draw

June 14, 2006 by  
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I’ve put together a chronological table of the full world cup draw with Australian kickoff times (all live on SBS) for anyone who wants to see what’s coming up.

I’ve also included my predictions for the teams to make the second round and further to the final on July 10. Argentina and Brazil for the final, more because of their likely opponents through quarters and semis than form in their opening matches.

WC Day 5

June 14, 2006 by  
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Korea Republic (#29) v Togo (#61)
France (#8) v Switzerland (#35)
Brazil (#1) v Croatia (#23)

In Group F it would be beneficial for Australia if Brazil were to beat Croatia by several goals. As I write (in the 67th minute of the game), Brazil lead 1-0 thanks to a beautifully placed kick into the top left corner by Kaka.

I worked till midnight so missed the start of the Korea & Togo game on television, but listened to much of the first half, and start of the second, on SBS radio. It was in Korean, but general levels of excitement gave a hint of how close the shots were coming. Once I got it on television I saw Togo had taken the lead early on. This was a bit of a surprise for a team, who, as I said earlier, had been without a coach for the last several days. As an aside, I saw their coach back on the sideline during the game.

Togo is the lowest ranking team in these finals, but a huge physical advantage over the Koreans had payed off. The Togolese captain was sent off in the second half and, from the resulting free kick, Korea scored their first goal of 2006. They pushed ahead against the outnumbered Togolese and scored a great winner near the end.

The France v Switzerland game finished 0-0. I was exhausted and unable to stay awake to watch, but perhaps that also had something to do with a boring performance. Probably not, I’m sure the match was quality – I just decided to sleep until the start of Brazil and Croatia. Read more about France v Switzerland.

On to Brazil v Croatia. The goal by Kaka ended up as the only one in the game. This means after the first games in Group F, Australia tops the group thanks to their three goals against Japan. Personally I found much of the game uninspiring. Brazil really didn’t dominate like I expected they would. Ronaldo hardly did anything and was replaced by Robinho in the second half as a result. Ronaldinho showed his amazing talent at points, but never dominated the Croatians.

Looking forward to the Brazil v Australia game next Monday morning, the positives are that Australia can go into the game knowing they could take the Brazilians down. On the other hand, Brazil will know they could have easily lost to Croatia so may come out with a point to prove. As for the Australia v Croatia game on the 23rd… Croatia played well against Brazil and Australia will have a tough game against them. If Australia is demoralised by Brazil, Croatia will have a huge psychological advantage going into that last Group F game. If Japan beats Croatia… Australia will be in the box seat. Bring it on.

WC Day 4

June 14, 2006 by  
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Italy (#13) v Ghana (#48)
USA (#5) v Czech Republic (#2)
Australia (#42) v Japan (#18)

By the time I write this it’s old news, but Australia wins 3-1 against Japan! Our first ever World Cup finals goals scored, let alone game won. From my completely biased perspective Australia dominated virtually the entire game. In the 26th minute the Japanese controversially scored the opening goal. Schwarzer should have easily collected the ball in the air, but was barged out of the way as he, two Australian defenders and two Japanese forwards crashed together six yards from goal. According to Australian players, the referee has since apologised for that goal, admitting he made a mistake.

With 15 minutes left in the game I had my head in my hands. It really seemed hopeless. With all Australia’s domination of field position, ball possession, and shooting opportunities, they never really looked like they were going to break the Japanese defence. But in the 84th minute a cross into the box wasn’t cleared as a Japanese defender fell on the ball. Tim Cahill stabbed at the ball as it rolled out from under the player on the ground and, through about four players’ legs, the ball hit the back of the net. I admit, I jumped up and down. We needed the draw to have any chance to make it past the group stage and I started worrying about holding out to the end of the game.

I didn’t need to worry long. Three minutes later another Cahill strike struck the left upright, crossed the goalface and went in off the right post. I went wild, as did the Australian team. If that wasn’t good enough, John Aloisi put another in during injury time to cement the win. The combination of relief and elation kept me wide awake for the next two games of the night.

Read all about the Socceroos news.

At 2am the USA kicked off against the Czech Republic. Within a few minutes the 2.02 metre (6’8″) Czech forward Koller headed them into the lead. The US had a few chances, but were entirely outclassed throughout the game and the 3-0 scoreline showed it. So much so that I think, again, the US #5 world ranking is entirely undeserved. Also, I was just reminded of USA coach Bruce Arena’s comments before the World Cup that Australia was just there to make up the numbers. Eat it.

Italy and Ghana started at 5am and Ghana got off to a good start. With Michael Essien in the side, Ghana at least equalled the Italians for long periods and were unlucky not to score themselves. It finished 2-0 to Italy, but Ghana could still get a point out their game with the Czech Republic, and should beat the USA, despite their #48 world ranking. I turned it off a few minutes early and crawled into bed at 6.45 for a couple of hours of sleep.

WC Day 3

June 14, 2006 by  
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The third day in Germany wasn’t a showcase of the best of games. Serbia & Montenegro (#44) v Netherlands (#3), Mexico (#4) v Iran (#23) and Angola (#57) v Portugal (#2).

I say it wasn’t a showcase, but I slept through the second half of Mexico v Iran and hardly saw anything of Portugal v Angola.

I was down the coast for the weekend helping my sister-in-law move house while she’s 9 months pregnant. Having done that for two days, and recieving little to no sleep since the World Cup started, I’m having trouble staying awake during France v Switzerland as I write this, so will come back to it later… except for the scores.
Serbia & Montenegro 0 – 1 Netherlands
Mexico 3 – 1 Iran
Angola 0 – 1 Portugal

WC Day 2

June 11, 2006 by  
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Last night was England (#10) v Paraguay (#33), Sweden (#16) v Trinidad and Tobago (#47) and Argentina (#9) v Côte d’Ivoire (#32).

Results:
England 1 – 0 Paraguay
Sweden 0 – 0 Trinidad and Tobago
Argentina 2 – 1 Côte d’Ivoire

Now, this is why I will continue my rant on rankings. Côte d’Ivoire, in my opinion, totally outplayed Argentina. They had the majority of possession and were constantly making attacking plays in Argentina’s half of the field. Argentina’s went into half time leading 2-0 on the back of virtually their only two forays into the opposition half. That’s probably not entirely accurate, I was also watching the back of my eyelids a couple of times during the game, which kicked off at 5am.

After two hours sleep at the most after the tournament’s opening game and the second match at 5am Saturday, it was an effort to stay awake for the three games through the night last night. I caught a 15 minute nap during halftime of England v Paraguay, which kicked off at 11pm, and then must have dozed off again late in the second half, because I woke up to Sweden v Trinidad and Tobago. It looked like a good game, Sweden were playing at what looked like a frantic pace because they were desperate to win as expected. I was only awake for a few minutes, but it seems Dwight Yorke and Co. played well.

Argentina v Côte d’Ivoire was definitely the highlight of the night. It was good to see someone outplaying the South Americans across the park. The Ivorians had a lot of dodgy decisions from the referee as well, but it’s a good start for them. I think they can beat Netherlands when they meet next Saturday.

And strangely Togo’s coach has quit – two days before their opening match against South Korea.

World Cup begins

June 10, 2006 by  
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I’m almost too tired to write this entry, so will keep it short.

After finishing work at midnight I made my way over to the Peterson residence to watch what was left of the boring opening ceremony, followed by the not-so-boring opening match between Germany and Costa Rica.

In the last ten World Cup opening matches, a total of nine goals were scored. Germany won this game 4-2, so the opening match hoo-doo (if you could call – or spell – it that) has been broken.

In match two, Poland are playing Ecuador. It’s 1-0 to Ecuador with only 15 minutes left to play. This will, I believe, be considered somewhat of an upset if the South Americans come away with the win.

I snuck 20 minutes of sleep in between getting home and the kickoff of the Poland-Ecuador game.

Go the underdogs.

UPDATE:
In the 80th minute, Ecuador score their second! I don’t know why it’s so much of an upset,as the commentator suggests. Poland is ranked 29, Ecuador 39. Surely Australia (#42) getting a 1-1 draw with The Netherlands (#3), even if in a friendly, is more of an upset. But then, this is the World Cup, and this was a ‘resurgent’ Poland.

I think world rankings are fairly unimportant in the scheme of things, given six of the top 20 ranked teams aren’t present at these finals.

Da Vinci

June 5, 2006 by  
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I had reason today to visit the Brisbane City Council Library’s website to renew my loan of 1966 World Cup Final: England v West Germany, which I plan to watch before the beginning of the 2006 World Cup in four days and 12 hours.

While there I noticed the following.

HotBCCLibrary

Without going into any detail about the book by Dan Brown – which I have read – or the movie – which I have not seen – I thought this simply interesting information, and so have presented it to you. That is all.

Niederlande

June 5, 2006 by  
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Australia just scraped out a 1-1 draw with The Netherlands in a pre-World Cup friendly match. The Netherlands are ranked third in the world, Australia 42nd. The result gives some reasons for confidence going into matches against the 18th, number one, and 23rd ranked teams in the world; Japan, Brazil and Croatia.

Only five days until the World Cup kicks off.

Rendezvous – Part II

June 5, 2006 by  
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paulbrendavedan

(l to r: Paul, Bren, Dave, Dan)

Dan’s cousin Chris had a camera, and thus the meeting of three blogging legends was immoralised immortalised. I’m watching Australia versus The Netherlands on the TV as I write this, and it took me a few seconds to realise the moment had not been immoralised by the taking of a photo. If anything it was immoralised by my hand tightly clasped around Dan’s waist. But I digress, because by legends, of course, I am referring to the definition of a person who inspires a legend. At the same link a legend is defined as:

1 a : a story coming down from the past; especially : one popularly regarded as historical although not verifiable

That would be this story.

Paul, a lifelong friend of Bren’s, joined us for the evening, as did Chris and Remi (spelling?), Dan’s cousin and friend, both visiting from Singapore. After meeting outside Hungry Jacks in the Queen Street Mall there was brief indecision about where to go for a drink, until Dan saved the day and suggested an Irish bar he knew.

Paul is from Caboolture and Dan from the Gold Coast. As a Brisbane resident the thought, “I should get out more”, did cross my mind. Then I considered blogging about it, and happily went on my way.

To the lilting sound of Irish folk music, and some other terrible tunes, we found some seats and promptly vacated them as Guinness, XXXX and, a little surprisingly, champagne thanks to Chris, made its way back to the table. The night’s conversation consisted of politics and religion, although it moved on to journalism and media towards the end of the evening.

And towards the end of this post, I’ve run out of steam. I thought it held such promise at the start there. Nonetheless, I’ll kill it and let Dan and Bren pick up the slack if they choose to blog about it.

Before I do that I apologise to Allister for not inviting him to this blogger’s retreat. I thought of it on the way home at 11pm. Sorry mate.

Rendezvous – Part I

June 3, 2006 by  
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Let me be (possibly) the first to blog about this, since I’ve just arrived home from soon-to-be-mentioned event. Dan, Bren and I met tonight while Bren was in Brisbane on business.

Dan I’ve met before, we studied Journalism together for three years… Bren, on the other hand, I have just met in person for the first time. I would like to take this brief oppportunity to say I had a thoroughly enjoyable time.

Now I must go to bed, but will blog more later.

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