Friday, June 30, 2006
Here's a great picture of Nuno Valente ahead of tomorrow's big game.
We watched the England v Argentina game there in the last World Cup and there was a good atmosphere so we thought we'd give it another go after the recent Crown And Two Chairmen debacle.
See you all there, beloved readers.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
World Cup Pub Crawl has managed to obtain this exclusive video of the Italian team training. Shocking stuff.
After some bad experiences with the English media over the past few days Pauleta speaks exclusively to us here at World Cup Pub Crawl to try and clear things up:
WCPC: We have many questions for you from our readers. I hope you have time to answer them all?
Pauleta: You are allowed three questions and now you have two left you stupid English.
WCPC: What do you say to accusations that you and your Portuguese colleagues are "insubordinate and violent"?
Pauleta: I take orders from no-one, if you ask me these questions again I'm going to come round your house and smash your face up.
WCPC: I think we're going to have to leave it there. Thanks Pauleta.
Pauleta: You are the weakest link, goodbye.
We also managed to get some word in response to Pauleta from Paul Robinson who, taking some time out from his busy schedule managing the Lassiter's hotel, said: "I can't understand what all the fuss is about, I've never even heard of this Pauleta character. Does he live with Harold and Madge?"
Interesting stuff indeed but I'm sure we all wish this phony-war was over and we could get down to the nitty-gritty of Portugal vs. England
We're as bored as Daniele DeRossi's boot-cleaner here at blog HQ as we're left to boil in our own soup for the second day in a row.
To keep things ticking over here's some photos of Kev at the France vs Togo game last week:
Henry thinking about his next dive
Also, a plea to our readers: we need a venue for the England game on Saturday. It needs to have a good atmosphere, big screen(s), be unpretentious (a proper pub preferably) and be within easy reach of central London. Any ideas would be gratefully appreciated in the form of a comment.
Expect a little more excitement from us tomorrow as we attempt some Klose contact with the Germans.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Today's title is a reaction to Pooch's incessant search for football related puns. This has all been prompted by the Guardian podcast. An otherwise good game was spoiled for me by his lengthy attempts to work the name "Torres", into some sort of valid pun involving bulls or something. It wasn't clear where he was trying to go with it.
France 3 - 1 Spain
Kev, Pooch, Arun and I watched the France v Spain game in Bar Sol Ona, which is fittingly a pun itself I guess, with the Spanish and a few French. France were at the most impressive I'm seen them this tournament, but I was sorry to see Spain go - particularly Torres who I'd like to see more of - in a purely footballing scenario.
Brazil 3 - 0 Ghana
Brazil outclassed Ghana in the afternoon game. I've heard reports that Ghana maybe deserved to win but they played with a ridiculously high defensive line which gave Brazil about ten one-on-ones. Brazil could have scored a lot more.
Diving / Feigning Injury
It occurred to a couple of us recently that there may be a solution to the problem of players diving and feigning injury.
Under our new proposal, following any prolonged period of lying on the turf (say 5 seconds), the player must leave the pitch - and here's the genius part - and is not allowed to return until he's completed a lap of the pitch.
That would put the feigner in a quandary as he has to decide whether to continue pretending to be injured as he limps around his lap of the pitch, thus further delaying his return to the game. If the player really is injured then he won't mind a bit of a chance to run off the injury before entering the fray again.
I can't see any flaws with it.
Back to work today I'm afraid, so no exciting venues to report. The adventure's not over yet though, with a new Spanish/French bar tomorrow and further suitable locations for the eight remaining matches.
I had to watch the Italy v Australia game in the work cafeteria, where I found a couple of Italians and an Australian. One of the Italians fell asleep but the game was quite entertaining. Our antipodean cousins fell to the final kick of the game, and the entire cafeteria erupted into silence - possibly annoyance that there would be no extra time and we had to return to our desks.
No interesting pictures from today so here's a picture of the plate of cheese Dann ordered from Linda's Italian on Poland St during the previous Italy game. Even the Italian waiting staff were amazed to find that the entire plate was for just one man. The pictured side helping of mozarella is Dann's too. Remarkable.
Switzerubbish 0 - 0 Ukrap
The Switzerland v Ukraine game was almost too bad to describe. After a couple of early shots at the crossbar, we became concerned neither team would ever score, even in the penalty shoot-out. We came to the horrifying conclusion that in such a situation the game would only end in about 50 years when enough of the players had died for the match to be abandoned due to one of the teams falling below the required 7 men. Switzerland tried to prove us right by missing all three of their penalties but Ukraine did manage to put one or two away.
Monday, June 26, 2006
England continued their triumphant stumble to FIFA World Cup (TM) glory, while Portugal and Holland sorted the whole thing out with a good old fashioned fight.
England 1 - 0 Ecuador
We watched the England game at the Vibe Bar on Brick Lane as part of the Xbox360 Believe events. The atmosphere was good in the Vibe Bar arena, with plenty of chanting and cheering, and slightly too much throwing of beer onto other people's heads.
There were still a lot of people there who needed to have the rules explained to them, but I guess that's what you'd expect. It's been said that you can't expect anything else if you pay for something you can get for free, but I reckon it would be pretty much the same anywhere in these heady days of football and hay fever.
I'm beginning to suspect, however, that I should watch the England games alone in a darkened room - just me, a TV and the FiveLive commentary. I need the comfort of the commentary to coax me through the trauma, but I don't seem to be able to put up with anyone other than Martin Tyler and Andy Gray these days. And watching England's not about singing or dancing or drinking to me - it's about shouting at the screen and watching the clock. It's better than watching the players at least.
Portugal 1 - 0 Holland
This game was pure comedy. Possibly the most entertaining game of the World Cup so far, it went almost exactly as I'd have liked, with plenty of sending offs and the odd injury. If everything goes according to plan, Portugal could be without their entire midfield for the England game - though Figo seems to have got away with his head-butt. Ideally, the game would have gone to extra time to allow time for a few more sendings off and a bit more dehydration.
I'd say Portugal deserved to win though. Holland hit the bar and had a couple of other chances but I was largely unimpressed. They dived too much, refused to give the ball back to the Portuguese after play had been stopped for an injury, and blatantly went after Christiano Ronaldo, who still managed to play his part in the goal before going off injured.
To underline the inadequacy of modern co-commentators, David Pleat came out with some classics - most of which I can't remember but notably including "[That shot] was as swift as a shot".
Portugal's victory set up a third consecutive quarter final meeting between Sven's England and Big Phil. Third time lucky eh?
Sunday, June 25, 2006
It was a fun night at the Rhythms of Latin America festival at the ICA last night. The evening began with some Brazilian folk music from which set the scene well but the place really started buzzing when Alan Hansen's visage sprang up on one of the two big projection screens (supplemented by a nice widescreen plasma).
The crowd was pretty much 50-50 in terms of support but it was the Mexicans who were the most vocal through the first half. Here's some of the Argentinian contingent, enjoying a rare moment of jubilation after their first goal:
I got the impression the lady in black was a Mexican supporter! Extra time beckoned and the wonder-goal from Rodriguez capped a superb evening of entertainment (though I think the plaudits given by Hansen et. al. were going a little too far).
The venue was very good - it was packed, passionate and so hot David Beckham would probably have only lasted twenty minutes. The only problem was getting to the bar which was a bit of a task but as I was saving myself for a big afternoon today it wasn't too much of a problem.
With the proceeds from the evening going to a good cause I went home very tired but with a warm glow - let's hope that I still feel as charitable to the Ecuadorians this evening.