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Here is a true made up story. We were expecting some visitors named Pim and Hanneke. We knew that Hanneke was a girl but we weren't sure about Pim.It does sound a bit girly. It turned out Pim was male and when he found out about the confusion he asked if we thought Hanneke was a lesbian! We sorted it out over some Pimms No7,

Australia 2 New Zealand 1. This scoreline, with the flukish last-gasp goal to win for Australia, shows that our defence is not too strong and our attack not too good either.
World Cup referees will have been put on notice once again, about Australia's dubious tackling techniques. Australia's reputation has never been good in this part of the game, and this match has done the Socceroos no favours.

Wouldn't worry too much about it, Prof, the Aussies are stone certainties to be three and out.

The prevailing sense of expectation is plainly built upon dodgy foundations: that we were good enough to be dudded in 2006 and are entitled payback; and our cruisy qualifying route in 2009.

The current side is going nowhere.

"The current side is going nowhere."

... I disagree. I think half of the current side have a definite path, toward retirement. This may be the last world cup for them, so they may be preparing for a big effort... just our big effort still wont be enough.

Well, ummm, errr, obviously I meant "apart from on a plane to South Africa, and in a sports car to their superannuation firm."

I wonder how our defence will handle the 6'8 Serbian striker Nikola Žigić?

Here's Pim.

You idiot, son. Same crazies, same country, wrong person.

ps: Six foot eight does not equal good.

My earlier prediction that we will score no goals is looking better thanks to Verbeek's 10-1 plan (10 in defence and one goalie).
Did anyone gain anything from the "friendly match"?
The NZers have been carved up by the Aussies.
The Aussies have proven they were lucky to beat NZ.
World Cup referees will be reaching for yellow and red cards every time Australia tackles someone.
In fact, here's another bold prediction: Australia will get more send-offs than goals.

Australia's group rivals Germany (Ballack) and Ghana (Essien) both have their best players ruled out for the tournament. Can't say we haven't had luck go our way so far.

Y'all see our bizzare goal against Denmark? The ball did some strange shit. Either it was a windy day, or

“It’s very weird,” Brazil striker Luis Fabiano said Sunday. “All of a sudden it changes trajectory on you. It’s like it doesn’t want to be kicked.

“It’s incredible, it’s like someone is guiding it. You are going to kick it and it moves out of the way. I think it’s supernatural, it’s very bad. I hope to adapt to it as soon as possible, but it’s going to be hard.”

Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar on Saturday called the ball “terrible” and was the first to compare it to those plastic ones bought on a supermarket. Italy striker Giampaolo Pazzini said the same thing, calling it a “disaster.”

“It moves so much and makes it difficult to control. You jump up to head a cross and suddenly the ball will move and you miss it,” Pazzini said. “It is especially bad for the goalkeepers if it means they concede a goal because they can’t judge the trajectory.”

Adidas traditionally launches new balls for each World Cup and they usually cause controversy because of the changes prompted by the new technology being introduced. Most of the time the ball becomes speedier and goalkeepers are the ones most affected by it. But this time the livelier ball is causing problems to field players too.
http://www.torontosun.com/sports/worldcup/2010/2010/05/30/14190941.html

Get a dog upya!

www.goal.com had this incisive analysis of the Socceroos with a nice Dutch typo:
"If the likes of Harry Kewell, Marco Bresciano, Brett Emerton, Craig Moore and Vince Grella aren’t at their best for that June 13 date, it could be all over before the second group game against Ghana even kicks off.
These players represent vital CLOGS in Verbeek’s Starting XI."
No wonder they are running so slowly.

Those balls.

Pim Verbeek has got a bit of Jame Gumb action happening. When yer going bald, there's a time where your hair simply gets too goofily wispy, and yer've gotta bite the bullet and go the really short haircut.

Not the cue ball! That looks too much like denial. Just a "two" or a "three," in barber parlance.

Thanks a lot, Carson Kressley.

Big Rammie, the hair is distrubing on Verbeek, but for some reason he has always reminded me of the Psammead. I think it's the wrinkly skin tone.

Never heard of that creature. Too funny. http://www.artdinouveau.com/fantasy/psammead.jpg

My earlier prediction "In fact, here's another bold prediction: Australia will get more send-offs than goals" -- is standing up so far. Sendoffs 1, goals 0.
BTW Tony, the link I thought you had removed is 2 posts above here -- please feel free to remove it. Big Rammer's Mum had "a more elegant solution"

Fixed.

Never heard of Psammead. Do you pronounce it Sam Mead? Must be a bogan name.

And, my prediction that Australia will go three & out is looking good.

Not sure if I mentioned it here, but I did predict Australia would not win a game and would not score a goal -- on target, Aussies!
Also, FIFA should be looking closely at Ghana and Serbia game -- neither side wanted to win it, and I feel sure the result was pre-arranged ; the only fly in the ointment was a penalty awarded in the 84th minute. Serbia has every right to feel aggrieved if a draw was already set up -- I mean Ghana had kicked every other attempt wide, or handed the ball to the defenders, so they could have done the same in the penalty situation.

Prof, you also questioned Schwarzer's ability to command the box, though he wasn't at fault for the other three goals we shipped this morning. At least when Farina's side shipped four goals against Germany we showed the attacking nous to score three ourselves.

Tony, I reckon we'll be two and out. 2-0 to Ghana. Though I'm willing to be pleasantly surprised.

Russ, I think Schwarzer's inability to "get big" on his opponents when they are going to shoot was obvious in those goals. He is tied to his line. The American goalkeeper was able to pull off some brilliant saves by reducing the angle and forcing the striker to shoot earlier than he would like. That's why the USA was able to hold a strong English team to a draw.
Schwarzer is great at set pieces.

Interesting dilemma. We all know how gutless sports administrators are:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1286406/WORLD-CUP-2010-Organisers-ban-vuvuzela-noise-complaints.html

Add to the mix the always-ready-to-be-played RACISM CARD. Plenty of quotes in the above article saying "it's our culture."

Handing them out for free before the game??? What braniac thought of that?

They banned the bastard things at the cricket here because they gave everyone (except the blowers) the shits. Hats off, CricAussie. They make an appalling racket.

My other fearless prediction seems to be on target. New Zealand has now scored more points and more goals than Australia.

Good. I hope the Socceroos get bundled out in the group stage so we can stop hearing about this world cup crap. Soccer is possibly the most boring game on the planet, its only contenders being golf and horse racing.

My other fearless prediction seems to be on target. New Zealand has now scored more points and more goals than Australia.

I watched about 15 minutes of that and NZ were awful. Those farking plastic horns were driving me nuts. I had to turn it off. Surprised when I saw the result this morning.

I'm astounded by the horn blowers' stamina. I wanna know the logistics. eg. Is it 10,000 horns and each blower blows 10% of the time? How many horns are we hearing at once? How can they possibly keep it up for 90 minutes? And in the background I could hardly spot any horn blowers. Truly baffling.

Funny, I was watching highlights of SA in the African Cup [or whatever it's called] this morning and I didn't hear one farking plastic horn, let alone the insanity-inducing drone I had to sit thru last night. Culture, my ass. Ban these things, FIFA.

Apologies for my party trick. Only the word any was supposed to be italicised. Mucked up the "close italics" tab again.

Vindicate, I like soccer as a spectacle. Can cope with league, find union okay, aussie rules just silly though players are obviously fit, international rules is unnnecessary.
Agree that golf is useless as a spectator sport, as are the gee-gees. Men's tennis is also no good to watch.
However, on soccer, local games are often more interesting than internationals. I have no time or interest for prima donna dives -- but have seen a fair share of these in aussie rules, and a fair share of equivalent acting in league and union.

Damn. Turn off those italics!!!

Italics off.

italics = vuvuzelas

;)

There appear to be quite a few people encouraging Australians to get on board the Kiwi bandwagon.

Why?

I dont know why, but once I saw the NZ result, the tune in my head changed to God Defend NZ (the national anthem).

TO me NZ is that part of the world that has a big rivalry with Australia and wants us to consider them rivals as well... me I dont care about them (or even think about them).
... which as a Victorian is the same way I feel about Croweaters... I just have no interest!

And then there's Spain. They better get their shit together toot sweet - or "inmediatamente", as us Spanish speakers say - or the choke jokes will be out in force: Spain Norwood, Jana Spain, Great White Spain, England.

How about that dickhead Craig Foster saying a committee should sign off on the Socceroos tactics and team sheet before every game? Gotta be the dumbest sporting comments of all time.

Reminds me of a story back when Rugby League clubs used to have selectors to pick the team. Some League coach asked an NFL coach about selectors. The yank goes 'what are they, the things that switch between gears in your car?'.

Looks like the karma bus has run over the Frogs.

Anyone catch Harry Kewell at the press conference the other day? Not a smart man.

"You should barracking [sic] for us. Youse are s'posed to be makin' us feel good. Yeah, sure, it wasn't the best game... bu'..."

He sounded like some likely lad from a Guy Ritchie movie. Droppin' the t off the word "but" an' awl.

BR, haven't you got a blog you should be posting at?

Yes, I wish I could find a podcast or a transcript.

I think it's poor form to blog about something "you're pretty sure you got 90% correct." Comments sections, however...

Actually, my next post, if I ever get around to it, will be on the incredible number of unsuccessful attempted abductions on school kids in Perth in the last few years. Dozens and dozens and dozens of inept paedophiles who are out witted and out muscled by 10 year olds.

All with exactly one witness. The kid herself.

Can you say Munchausen's syndrome? I knew you could.

I think it's poor form to blog about something "you're pretty sure you got 90% correct."

If I waited till I thought I had even a 50% chance of being correct then I'd never say a thing. Lower your bar, or get back on to the grog: Carpe Cerevisi!

Shoot first, questions later.

In Vino Veritas!

I hear ya, brother.

I noticed at the last world cup that Kewell is an A grade moron. No personality either, his former Leeds Utd mgr called him a 'cold fish'.

Rammers, here's a bit of that interview:

http://theworldgame.sbs.com.au/video/268137/Kewell-comes-out-firing/

What the hell's wrong with this Podolski dumkopf? He's got a head like a bullet and shoots like a busted shell.

Bring on Caucau you Kraut Krunts!

The ref must have got vaccinated at half time. His yellow card fever seems to have miraculously subsided.

Quote of the game with 2 mins of extra time to go and Podolski screws up his 100th kick:

"Podolski has had a significant contribution to this football match. Not a particularly positive one."

Germany 0 - Serbia 1.

Unbelievable.

The only positive for us is that is the Swiss can roll a dominant favourite Spain and Serbia can do the same to Germany, there's hope for the hopeless still.

Monsieur Patard, there is no hope for ye Socceruins. I bet we even get that ref from the USA-Slovenia match. As he flipped the coin, I said, "This guy has no idea what he's doing" -- my best prediction of the night.
SBS commentators had a lapse of logic, I think. See if you can find it: Germany beat Socceroos 4-0 ; Serbia beat Germany 1-0 ; "that shows that Australia can beat the Serbians in their game".
The SBS commentator who is not Les Murray looked devastated when Germany was beaten -- he could barely talk ; maybe he had bet all his pay on them or something.

The Black Ref was just as good or bad as the White Ref. See, I don't discriminate.

However, points go to the Black Ref for disallowing what looked for all money like a brilliant and legitimate goal to the Yanks. Extra points for penalising the Yanks.

It looked like a scene from the Ardennes Forest, so badly mauled by the Slovaks were the Seppos in that final corner.

Fozz may have been devastated (as was I) but he remains confident (as do I).

Failing that, we'll always have Le Tour and Gabriel Gaté. Oonjour! (french for enjoy).

Prof, it is called Footy Maths.

Conventional application works like this:

A beats B, C beats A, therefore C beats B.

The SBS commentator got that wrong:

A beats B, C beats A, therefore B beats C.

He obviously dropped Footy Maths in Under 9s.

In defence of the SBS commentators their logic is:

If A who is a dominant favourite can get rolled by C who is much inferior on paper, then B who got rolled by A certainly have just as much a chance to roll B, as C did in rolling A.

Example: Swiss beat Spain, Yanks draw with Poms, Slovaks 2-0 over US at half time, and Serbia beat Germany.

Example 2: Dragons dominant and almost unbeatable all 2009 season, get smashed by Raiders who don't have a hope in hell, in lead up to Finals. If Raiders can do it then all those teams who got rolled by Dragons still have a chance. And Parra showed that to be true by rolling Dragons in final after getting smashed by Dragons a week prior.

Footy logic is: where there is a will there is a way. Allways bet the favourites but wayward ref with yellow card fever, or a team having an off day gives hope where on paper there is none.

That should have been:

"If A who is a dominant favourite can get rolled by C who is much inferior on paper, then B who got rolled by A certainly have just as much a chance to roll C, as C did in rolling A."

Monsieur Patard, let's agree on this football logic (and wisdom), which applies across most codes, with a bit of rejigging of figures and names.
There are 2 sides on the field. Each team has 11 players. Those players are human. There are 90 minutes to play. Any side can beat any other side on any given day. The Socceroos can't beat Ghana or Serbia.

Check this shit out:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/worldcup2010/article-1287525/Ian-Ladymans-World-Cup-diary-Eyes-ball-Iker-Casillas.html

It's Spain's answer to Furlong and Watson.

Ian Ladyman?!?

I swear I didn't find that article by putting 'Ladymans' into google...ha ha...the Daily Mail is the preferred reading choice for fascist reactionaries like me...ha ha...please delete... delete... delete...

Sara Carboner is a bombshell? Looks more like she got hit by a bombshell. And what a hag to turn on her bloke like that. If I was Iker Casillas I'd be getting my crumpet somewhere else after that foul effort from Carboner.

I'm hearing ya Prof. My heritage is half Scots so I know all too well about ingrained pessimism.

Even though I prefer to stay on the sunny side of the street my money's still staying in my wallet.

I remember old big head Lee Furlong interviewing a QLD Bulls player at the start of last summer. She goes something like 'you guys have lost some big name international players this season'. (meaning MY fiance Watson) The Bulls player did the 'polite' thing and spat out the spin but you could tell he was seeing the red mist. He should have answered 'yeah he left because he's a WAG following twat'.

Oh I dunno Pat, I wouldn't kick her out of my bed on a wet saturday night.

Just don't make the mistake of signing the contract, as they say beauty is only skin deep - so Pup found out.

Ah yes I see now, you're vindicated Vindicate. I just checked some other photos of her and the one Cam linked must have been an off day.

Still, I'd take Alena Šeredová or Sarah Brandner as my top picks. Google away and let the feast begin.

You &*^&&&* beauty!!!!!

Strike 1 Oz.

Should we be pleased that we are in front, and Ghana seem incapable of holding the ball in midfield; or disturbed that it came courtesy of some English-standard keeping, that our touch is still shockingly poor, and our only route the Princes Highway.

What a fucken joke. What the fuck was Kewell supposed to do? Disappear?

Not only a gifted goal but red carded.

The ref's a tool or he's been paid.

Oh yeah, that's more like it... someone swap Moore for a striker, he couldn't be any slower if he had a zipper-frame.

What a joke. Shattering.

We were looking OK as well. Guess we'll just go to a 4-2-3, at least were used to playing with no striker!

Serbia hand balled twice *deliberately* and there was no red card, just a penalty.

On what basis is that a red card?

Penalty...maaayybe (it hit him on the bicep/pec)...but a red card as well?

Kiwis Saffas World Cup all over again. Just gotta get the most favoured victim group through at all costs. Or the mafioso have a shitload on this one.

Russ, you sound like you understand the subtleties of the game. Why was that a red card as well as a penalty?

Pat, any foul that stops a goal-scoring opportunity is a red card as well. So, if it was a foul, it was a red. How it counts as deliberate is beyond me.

Thanks Russ. Why weren't the Serbian hand balls red carded? Because there was no chance of a goal?

Not sure why my last comment disappeared. Why weren't the Serbs hand balls red carded Russ? Because there was no chance of a goal?

Basically. They were off crosses into the box. If the last defender takes someone down they get sent off.

Ref is quite the theatrical type tonight.

... and is also ref'fing us out of it!

And we have been ordinary too... backing away from attackers, passing behind our players running forward, passing to no-one, slow down back.

Top effort from Oz.

Totally gipped by the ref. Even injury time didn't play out like it should have.

I'm with Zelic - that was no red card from what I understand about it.

Great effort by Oz, sadly robbed. Agree with commentators - we would've won it easily if it weren't for the card.

Ghana: "Two games where they've had lifelines from dubious penalties."

Yep top effort boys. we couldn't ask for anymore, gutsy.

Well, we could have asked that they scored those gift-wrapped chances late in the game. But, apart from being let down by our atrocious first touch, they did well.

Geez, Foz is pretty emotional about it. Well said Foz. I love his passion. Yep, great effort Oz.

Obviously I meant effort wise.

I was woken up by a text message early in the second half which read:

Are the Aussie soccer commentators the biggest bunch of whining, complaining, blame the ref, it's not fair, we are so unlucky, the opposition is so lucky, bunch of cvnts in the world?

So I got up to have a look and it's hard to disagree.

From the 53 minute mark until the finish Australia was: playing fantastic; back to its fighting best; atoning for its performance against Germany; dispelling any doubt there is friction in the squad; proving it is worthy of a spot in the top ranks of world soccer; Aussie three times.

On top of that: the umpire was having a shocker; Kewell should not have been sent off; with 11 players we would have won easily.

I kept on having to check the score to make sure we were not 4 goals up.

Back in the real world. Australia's plight was best summed up by the sitter Luke Wilkshire missed with around 15 minutes to play. That was the kind of chance good international soccer players gobble up.

Well, the Socceroos have proven me wrong. They showed last night that they are capable of playing good soccer. They also scored a goal which has destroyed one of my World Cup predictions, but I was happy for them to do so.
The Australians effectively shut down the Ghanaians** speed.
In reality, Harry Kewell was never going to have a huge impact on the game as a player. He took a couple of nice dives in the first few minutes but the referee was not tricked.
Well played Australia, with 10 men rattling the Ghanaian** 11.
Let's not forget that the penalty goal for Ghana was just reward for the goal Harry blocked. It was a tough call by the referee, but also a valid interpretation, even if a different ref might have waved "play on".
Probably a fair result at 1-1.
**time for a name change in this country, to reduce the number of vowels in its adjectival form.

Forgot to mention that Ghana could feel aggrieved at the free kick that led to the Australian goal, as it seems Pim Veerbeek's time has not been wasted -- some of the squad had apparently been studying at NIDA under his tutelage.

Tones, you sure you weren't having one of those dreams where you think you're awake but actually dreaming that you woke from a dream but are still asleep type dreams?

Even Germany couldn't salvage a 1-1 draw with 10 men, which must mean a player of indisputable world class like Podolski, who "... was named the World Cup's Best Young Player before Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo" mustn't be a "good international soccer player".

And now even the Prof is critcising the Ozzies for apparently diving. I thought that's what good international soccer players do. Goes to show I know nothing about the game - or - there's just no pleasing some members of the soccer viewing public who'd swallow chances whole where even the likes of Ronaldo couldn't. To the Prof's credit he gives credit where it's due.

What we do now know is, A beats B 4-0, C beats D 1-0, D beats A 1-0, C draws with B 1-1, and perhaps it's time for some people to help themselves to a good slice of humble pie. Come on, it's delicious and brings you back to the ground.

I didn't say the Aussie Aussie Aussies played bad; I said the commentators said they played rooly, rooly, rooly good.

The Krauts are famous for taking their chances. Doesn't mean they are going to take every chance.

The Analytical One, Boffin Q. Russ, has more.

I thought I saw a twinge of deliberate-ness in his handball. From the front on angle.

Certainly a flinch.

Pat, Podolski is a bit of an enigma. He generally does well playing for Germany but he was transferred out of Bayern and has never done much at club level.

Tony, you've been a bit harsh on Wilkshire. Remember he's a right back and even the top strikers have shockers one on one with the keeper.

Anyway next it's Serbia who are to soccer what Pakistan is to cricket. Completely unpredictable.

One thing I forgot to mention whilst eating humble pie, was that Mark Schwarzer had a very good game. He was decisive in moving off his line, and picked the right heights and right angles. Probably the best I have seen him play.

Yeah, a deliberate flinch in reaction to the ball flyin' at him. But whether that reaction was a deliberate attempt to cheat...? Maybe not. But every single international level soccer player is a cheatin' SOB.** Let's just leave it at that.

But flinchy enough for the ref to notice it.

**Y'all notice whenever the ball goes out of play, the offending player will nearly always point to an oposition player to try and con the ref? Shits me no end. Only "diving" and faked injuries shits me more. Absolute cvnt of a sport.

Would you believe it, the Kiwis hold off a plus 60% possession Azzurri for a 1-1 draw!?

Italy needs to get some good international soccer players fast.

To gobble up those chances.

I've seen three clear handballs this WC. Serbia committed two, with high crosses into the box being handled. Two yellows.
One Brazillian handball against Cote d`Ivoire as part of a scoring attempt by Brazil is not seen, and Brazil getaway with it.

Then you have Harry. A bloke who stood his ground.

What a great advertisement for the game Brazil-Cote d'Ivoire was.

- Luis Fabiano gets away with hand-balling the ball twice in the lead-up to the second goal.
- A studs-up over the ball tackle that results in Elano being injured is only given a yellow.
- An innocuous bump and some of the most embarrassing simulation since Rivaldo against Turkey gets Kaka sent-off for a second yellow.

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