World Cup Plummets To New Lows Whilst Exits Beckon At Arsenal

Sepp Blatter promised us a festival of football. It duly arrived this weekend with the bloated egos of players coming to the fore, everything that this money-driven era of the sport’s history. Nicolas Anelka reportedly abused his coach and was duly despatched onto his summer holidays a few days earlier than the rest of his team-mates.

Patrice Evra showed what a great captain he will be for his country by abusing a fitness coach, caught by a passing mobile phone camera judging by the footage sprayed onto the television screens by a gleeful media. It all led to a peasants revolt with the French team refusing to train yesterday. How proud of their players a nation must be.

Meanwhile, ‘EBJT‘ used to stand for ‘England’s Brave John Terry‘; substitute ‘Brave’ for ‘Bitter’ as the amoral ego of Terry brought forth reports of rebellion against Fabio Capello in the England camp. Except no-one seems to have followed him over the top and he was left looking rather stupid, a feeling that he is rather well acquainted with this year.

Some of his points were valid. Quite what benefit is derived from naming a team two hours before kick-off, Capello has never fully explained. I can see that keeping it from  the media puts doubts into the opposition’s mind but to not tell the players appears on the surface, counter-productive.

Not playing Joe Cole stifles what little creativity there is and how he must regret taking Lennon and Wright-Phillips, two players who have shown that they are patently not capable of playing in big games. I will not even begin to discuss that failure to accommodate Gerrard and Lampard centrally.

The question that springs to mind is why successful club managers make such a pig’s ear of adapting to international football. The answer is probably not dissimilar to the same adaptation problems which beset players, which of course, adds to the manager’s problems.

The rest of World Cup would be rolling on the floor laughing if they were not beset by problems on the pitch. Heading into the final week of the group phase, several of the expected leading lights are finding that their glow is rather dimmer than tournament predictions made before South Africa kicked off against France.

Germany, Italy and Spain find themselves fighting to progress into the knockout round with none of them assured of progress and arguably the former in the most precarious position, knowing that they have to win but like the Italians, likely to do so in their final match because that is what they are good at. Qualifying and progressing in these tournaments. Spain must win tonight before going into their final match against Chile, a fixture they should on paper win also but there is no guarantee once they get onto the pitch.

Having taken the bouquets in the first week, officials in South Africa are taking the brickbats as the levels of inconsistency around the world have been highlighted. Some of the errors have been understandable, others incomprehensible whilst players have used the media to muddy the waters even further, particularly when the referees have got the decisions correct. Haven’t you, Mr Kewell.

The sending off of Kaka is provoking much consternation, the decision apparently given by the fourth official. There seems to be a difference of opinion as to their role, whether they should have access to TV replays to view incidents – which they have previously – and whether they should interfere on the pitch. Consistency in decision making is a big enough issue without inconsistency over the fourth official confusing matters further.

Brazil strolled past a defensive Ivory Coast, a defeat for the Africans which may take qualification out of their own hands should Portugal win at lunchtime. No doubt there will be accusations of colonnial connivances if Brazil and Portugal draw their last match, condemning the Ivorians to an early exit.

They have only themselves and their coach to blame. They should have beaten Portugal in their dour opening match whilst Sven’s inferiority complex against Brazil stifled their attacking flair until Kaka departed. Whilst Fabiano clearly handled before scoring, Brazil were good value for their win. That does not excuse the cheating though.

If there is any justice, Keita will face a suspension as well although that is unlikely. He over-reacted to his collision with Kaka which did not appear on first glance to contain any contact with his face. Yet the ‘star’ has waned this tournament, failing to produce the skill for which he has been lauded. This incident serves only to sum up his indifferent luck in South Africa.

So to Arsenal. The departures of Gallas and Silvestre are expected to be confirmed officially this week as their contracts have expired. The former seems set for Italy, the latter a holiday in the sun. Which is where Jay Simpson appears to be going as reports link him with a move to Cyprus. Or Peterborough. Or any ‘suitable’ offer.

His departure is not entirely surprising, loan spells still seem to be a prelude to a departure at the moment and as the squad has a queue building in the forward line, exit stage left for Simpson is certainly an option that the youngster now has to consider.

He will be the first of many that go over the coming seasons. A number of the midfielders are reaching an age where their careers will stagnate if they do not make the breakthrough. No doubt some anguish will be displayed as Arsenal does not promote from within all of the time but the tough choices about who will or will not make the grade, are those which the manager and coaching staff are paid for.

Elsewhere, despite protestations to the contrary, He is not yet signing for Them despite their lame duck President’s proclamation that Arsenal cannot continually resist their overtures. I bet Ivan and his team have hours of fun taking Laporta’s calls only to stand shouting, ‘La, la, la, I can’t hear you‘, into the handsfree mic whilst sticking their fingers in their ears. It was a game of transfer chicken and in the first instance, Barcelona blinked before Arsenal. The daily dose of Fabregas will no doubt return once the World Cup for Spain, is over.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on June 21, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip, World Cup 2010 and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 142 Comments.

  1. second

  2. On to reading the post then!

  3. So far the tourney has been a huge disappointment. lack of goals and beside Argentina and messi, non of the *big* players or team have lived up to their pre tournament ratings (Perhaps an exhausting european football season is to blame?) From an African perspective this tourney is one of the worst showing by african teams in recent world cups, which shows that the recent rating of African players in Europe has not been translated to National team success at the world stage. I still keep my fingers crossed maybe some miracle would happen and the world cup would pick up steam as we reach the knockout stage. But I would not be holding my breath for that.

  4. *

  5. At first I thought the referees were spot on, but then they never fail to disappoint.

    What I would like to know from the French referee in Brazil’s v Ivory Coast, why was he asking Fabiano if he touched the ball with his hand running to the center point? Was he going to disallow it if the player said yes? Was he thinking the player will say yes I touched the ball twice before scoring?

    The French team is no worse than their coach who made them look like a bunch of idiots on the field. So my question is: If they don’t believe in their manager so much, why don’t they throw his game plan against the wall, and just show him what they can do by themselves on the field?

  6. I want a sandwich

  7. I am too a bit dissapointed with the African teams, they have quite a host of good experienced players now – in the best leagues too, I expected them to do better. When you look at Spain, England, France, and Italy though… at least the African players can hold their heads up once this tournament is over. I enjoy their energy, and mostly will to attack, which is more evident than the European teams. You can say tactically European teams have the advantage, but where has that gotten any of them so far…

    My money is still on Holland. With Robben returning, they have a chance at football’s most admired trophy. Well down Nikki B too, good performance and typical strikers goal. Chamakh needs to be on his game to get in the team, that is for sure.

  8. I like your avatar Chris

  9. Gunner4Ever

    Good point re the French… I think they never believed in him from right the way back from the start of the qualifiers. You would think that they have learnt to cope with it and just play football… obviously the situation in the camp is so bad that even turning up at the biggest tournamnet in the world is hard!! The man is like I said a million times on this blog, a comlplete utter muppet! Who on earth leaves Nasri and Benzema at home.. playing Gignac or Nic-nac.. and making Evra bloody captain!??

    It’s a joke, as big a joke as Capello who can still make it right. We just have to pray Lennon, SWP, step up, because Capello seems to think they are International quality. Not Joe Cole, not Theo, not Campbell even…!!!

  10. Gunner4Ever – thanks, yours aint at all bad either! Can’t wait for my Van Persie shirt to arrive!!!!!

  11. Go Nederlanden!

  12. CrisGonna, hw did u get that avater?

  13. Hes going nowhere and They can go to hell.

  14. jeff

    Limpar told me last week.

    http://en.gravatar.com/

    You have to upload an image onto this site, create an account.. and for any site you use it should recognise your avatar!! pretty cool. I found mine on google images.

  15. “I can’t shake the idea that the haircuts of the Italian players and the steely look in their eye makes them all look like Mussolini posters.”

    Strange, I can’t shake the idea that the haircuts of the Italian players make them look English.

    At least they haven’t started to play like the English yet.

  16. When it comes to hair styles, the readers of ACLF are hard to please. Most of the Arsenal team get criticised for arranging their hair in a non-English fashion; but when the Italian players arrange their hair in the convict-style so popular in England, they are labelled fascists.

  17. …and we all laugh at the Italians for being boring… the likes of Lampard, Gerrard, and Rooney should be ashamed of themselves. Using the consolation that we should of beat USA is just quite pathetic.. Best league in the World.. that is true, but the best players are not English. Wenger has known this from very very long ago. This is why only 2 or 3 English players only feature in the Arsenal team.

    Maybe the media will suddenly realise Rooney isn’t quite as good as they make him out to be. He is no where near a Messi, Van Persie, Etoo, and Fabiano. He can’t seem to stick to his position, (Fabio was screaming at him to move up the pitch towards the end of the USA game!) and he hasn’t got the composure to be a legend in footballing history. Don’t get me wrong, he has the ability… he just doesn’t have enough to lead this very dis-functional England team to glory.

  18. fredericklepnil

    Whatever happened to Freddy Adu about nothing?

  19. Seem to have trouble with an avatar. Its not working!

  20. not working well you mean! try go for a bigger image

  21. WHY DO YOU HAVE TO ALWAYS BASH THE WORLD CUP CAUSE IT’S IN R.S.A!!

    THIS WORLD CUP IS PRODUCING GREAT UPSETS – THAT’S WHY IT’S SO MEMORABLE. JUST GLAD THE OVER-RATED ENGLISH TEAM IS GOING HOME SO-THAT THEIR ‘SENSENTALIST TABLOIDS’ CAN FOLLOW. BEST WORLD CUP EVER 2010.

    P.S ENGLAND WON’T REACH SECOND ROUND – SIMPLY NOT GOOD ENOUGH!

  22. Its working!

  23. S.A

    half the games most people have been falling asleep.. its nothing to do with South Africa..

    stop being so brittle! Lets hope for some more exciting games.. more teams will go for it now. I think it was down to 1st game nerves, and fear of losing for many teams.

  24. I think this world cup has actually been quite exciting. Teams are just too scared to lose in the first match, it’s gonna keep getting better now.

  25. chrisGoona – AGREE – BUT THE BRITISH TABLOIDS HAVE BEEN TALKING sH!T ALL ALONG.

    THIS WILL BE THE MOST ELECTRYFYING & ANIMATED WORLD CUP IN HISTORY!!

    P.S CAN’T WAIT TO SEE BRAZILV POR IN DURBAN!

  26. S.A.

    That isn’t anything new mate, they always always chat shit.. thats what most the public seem to like hearing! They build things up to the highest heights, then slam you down.. one extreme to the other. There is no real news as such in the tabloids. More over exagerration… even the fan that walked into the dressing room.. Beckham laughed off the media who made the man out to be a psycho. He simply turned to Beckham to say sort it out.

    I am actually enjoying the tournament more now, and there are many great games still to come. I missed the second half of Ivory Coast vs Brazil last night.. but I found it a fascinating game, dissapointed they didnt get back into the game.. Also dissapointed for Cameroon, who looked quite a decent team, they have been unlucky.

    Cesc looks likely to start tonight, as much as I hate the Spanish of late, I hope they light up the tournament, Cesc especially.. while Puyol and Xavi collide on the pitch and break their legs.. both legs on each player! Its nice to go home each day and have a few matches on… even better come August when Arsenal get back on our blessed TV’s!!!

  27. Denmark vs Cameroon was another good game. Didnt realise Rommerdahl and Gronjkaer were still around… they still pretty quick too!

  28. Capello is used to managing world class players not the butch of non-triers playing for England

    If England get knocked out Capello will be sacked but Rooney,Lampard and Gerrard will continue to be picked by England

    If England players were any good how come none play abroad

  29. Hark.. The Premiership is the best league, there is no need to move abroad perhaps….?

  30. 1 loose cannon

    Just amazing. Here we have John Terry the rat, the cheat, behaving like a hero calling his own press conference, It is clear he’s got his own agenda. He simply want to get back at Capello for taking the captaincy off him and he thinks this his chance to get his back. Terry had no right to say what he said, he even said only Joe cole and Rooney can open up defences, this must sound like an insult to the rest of the team, almost calling them useless, he might be right but take control like that and behave as if he is still the captain is just unbelievable. After what he did he should simply hide , he should be ashamed of his actions to his family, he is in no position to call the shots. What a rat and an idiot.

  31. How many arsenal players are going home and how many are injured?

    July is almost here time for a head count.

  32. 1 loose cannon

    I agree.. he should stay away from any camera, reporter, or anybody in the media. The guy is a rat, scum, cheat, and shame to his country and fellow peers.. (all admit this apart from those at Chelsea and some pals in the England squad).

    Even Bellamy criticised Terry!! how low do you have to be for Craig bloody Bellamy to slate you! Terry SHUT IT.

  33. Headcount:

    Almunia
    Gibbs
    Theo
    Nasri
    Denilson
    Fabianski
    Djourou
    Arshavin
    Cahamkh
    Rambo
    Vermaelen
    Rosicky

    Not bad! We would probably be able to field the strongest non World Cup playing 11 right now!

  34. Chris

    Yep, even on his crutches Ramsey could run rings around the England midfield…

    YW

  35. YW

    a funny thought to picture!

    what is the latest you know of the Ramsey injury… should we expect him back in time for pre-season, or is that too optimistic

  36. Haven’t heard anything much about it but I’d have thought pre-season was crutching at straws. I guess he’d be back late this year, early 2011.

  37. Thanks YW

    I hope he comes back mentally stonger from this incident.. he seemed like a very determined lad. Not to mention very very talented. You can’t help but look at Eduardo and fear for the players future. I hope Eduardo somehow turns his form around also. We were all louding his prolific goalscoring to be better than Torres and everyone else at one point…

  38. chrisgoona

    With Cameroun and France out we will not have any problem fielding a competitive team come august. Now i hope RVP, Bendtner and Cesc have a great world cup and more importantly don’t get injured.

    As for Puyol and Xavi breaking both their leg I can picture Puyol going mental and making a sliding tackle breaking everything staying in front of him. As much as I can’t stand thos barcelonistas de mierda I wouldn’t want Xavi, Busquets or Iniesta to get seriously injured as it would give Barca even more incentive to buy cesc.

  39. gunnerluc

    Let them try and buy him, so far they haven’t made a real effort in doing so after all their public statements of intent. As Arsenal fans we shouldn’t be scared of other clubs being interested in our players, we have a great manager who knows what he is doing, and plenty of quality players to not have to worry about 1 individual. Also, we will not be bullied into selling, we sell when the deal is right for Arsenal, and not when its a player we want to keep.

  40. Agree with that 100%, chrisgoona!

    Arsenal have said Cesc is not for sale. They mean it. Barcelona are just blustering to appease their fans and, behind the scenes, working out what story they can trot out on Sep 1st to explain their failure.

  41. A song for Willy G and Mikael Silvestre. Two frogs without a home…

    Willy G’s on vocals for the final verse.

  42. I agree but I am fed up with all this constant bullshit coming through the media.

  43. Unlike Yogi – I am in support of Evra’s leadership in their dispute with the French Federation. Anelka is simply being made a scapegoat for a shambolic decision-making, marked by the insistence on the loony, incompetent Domenech as coach. Euro 2008 showed the lunacy of this decision and the w/c campaign confirmed this. By the finals it was confirmed that Dummy did not have the confidence of the federation and his successor was already named. On top of the footballing issues, we have a national team comprised mainly of racial minorities in a country riven with anti-immigrant stirrings, this was a train-wreck waiting to happen.
    Laying the blame on the players and Anelka in particular in the name of flag-waving and national pride is the refuge of scoundrels, to paraphrase Mark Twain. In the long run this may be the best thing that could have happened to French football.

  44. @ gunnerluc

    Absolutely – it’s so disrespectful, it makes my blood boil. Nothing we can do about some elements of the media, unfortunately.

  45. @ shotta

    I also have a lot of sympathy for the French team’s attitude. Lions led by a donkey. But ultimately they do have get it together for their country’s and their fans’ sake.

  46. Shotta

    As I understand it, Anelka was sent home following a frank exchange of views in which he spoke his mind. It was deemed to be too much of a breach of discipline to be excused.

    The players refusing to train was a puerile and insignificant gesture of support. These are not freedom fighters, trying to improve the lot of the oppressed minorities.

    They are overpaid pampered fools who believe their protest will make a difference. It won’t.

    Domenech is in situ until the World Cup is over when he leaves the post. The FFF are not going to do anything about that whilst the tournament is on.

    Let’s not forget that these arrogant fools have drawn one, lost one. Scored one goal. The manager gets things wrong beforehand, the players get it wrong on the pitch.

    So, what exactly have the achieved aside from making themselves a laughing stock?

    YW

  47. Shotta

    What goes on at the World Cup, in the squad are football related, not political statements.

    YW

  48. Shotta

    The problem is that after the Euro 2008, when there was a call for a change of coach, the players gave him their support. In a middle of a WC is not the time to take power, they should have done this 2 years ago!

  49. The REFS ARE RUINING THE TOURNAMENT I wasn’t sure if you meant to criticise the player or the ref in reference to Harry Kewell, sarcasm isn’t easy on the net. I’ll start by saying that yes I am Australian but I’ll also add I was born in the UK and lived there for some time, frequenting first Highbury then the Grove. Here’s the FACT. Australia have been royally screwed by the refs this tournament. First that total bullshit$&*” red card for Cahill when we just started to show a little grit against ze Germans. And secondly Kewell’s excessive red card against a Ghana side we almost beat with 10 men! The decision was identified as such a horrible one that FIFA are looking into the prospect of changing the rule for the ‘triple punishment’. Apart from the punishment Kewell didn’t commit the crime. A red card and a penalty is to be given for a DELIBERATE hand ball. Kewell moved his body a fraction in the split second he had to react, he shifted his entire torso and shoulders in an attempt to get his chest to the ball, the area on his upper arm where it struck him was fixed against his side. The decision was WRONG. Given that Kewell’s intention was far from clear a yellow card and a penalty would have sufficed, in cases where the players intent is unclear you cannot call it a professional foul. If this occurred in the EPL it would most likely have been either ignored totally giving the defender the benefit of the doubt or a yellow + pen at most. I know English hate Australian’s when it comes to sport or whatever but get the facts straight. The World Cup is being RUINED by poor officiating, between the U.S’ mysterious 3rd goal, Kaka’s sending off, yellow and red cards being dished out like confetti, most of this tournament has just reinforced what american’s and a lot of Australian’s say; Football is soft, and is overly influenced by shite referees. ——-Sad but true

  50. Apparently the French players only returned to training after the French FA threatened to fine them 50 euros each.

  51. All this mess is overshadowing the most important thing, football.

    It is a shame to see all those disputes from the French team, the English team or the Cameroun team.

  52. I don’t have any sympathy for Anelka at all. Domenech is the donkey who took France to the World Cup final. Perhaps if Zidane, who “never had a good feeling for him,” could control his temper, they would have won. When France do well, of course, it is down to the players, but when they do badly it is the fault of the manager. At 31, this is Anelka’s first World Cup. He has been omitted from previous squads mainly because of his lack of ability (he has never been a prolific scorer), but also because of his poor temperament. Domenech overlooked Anelka’s faults, and has had his kindness thrown back in his face.

  53. On a more positive note Coquelin’s loan to Lorient seems to be on, based on part of the French press….to be confirmed

  54. Democratic People’s Republic of Korea playing well. Really having a go today. Good game. The rain is helping too.

  55. Ozzie

    Kewell’s red card was deserved. He was on the line, stopped it with his arm, irrespective of his intent that is a nailed on red card.

    YW

  56. The reaction of the French players shows precisely why they have been one of the two worst teams in the competition so far. It revelas how slight is their interest in representing their country. I’m sorry that some of our own players have taken part in this farce.

  57. Very impressed by Melo again last night.Both Gilberto and him eat up YaYa Toure

  58. The players got to the 2006 final in spite of Domenech, not because of him – it was still a player’s revolt last time round, but the players took charge in a more positive way. He has not been a good manager.

    I think the pressure is getting to everybody, and they should all take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

  59. @ gunnerluc

    “All this mess is overshadowing the most important thing, football.

    It is a shame to see all those disputes from the French team, the English team or the Cameroun team.”

    Couldn’t agree more!

  60. As I said, “When France do well, of course, it is down to the players, but when they do badly it is the fault of the manager.”

    How convenient!

  61. Domenech has certainly made some massive mistakes in this World Cup: including Anelka in the squad, making Evra captain, omitting Nasri.

  62. I don’t want to slam all the French players for walking out, well all of them except Clichy, Diaby and Sagna!!… but, they are meant to be representing their country, walking out is just very childish and everyone is having a right good laugh at them all over the world. Especially the Irish.

    Evra has to be the one behind this, I wouldn’t put it past Gallas to be one of the instigators too!.. It’s just a very humiliating site to see so many high paid, and high profile players act in this way. Even if the manager is a right TWAT.

  63. The French fiasco has shown very clearly what Domenech has to deal with. His sometimes strange-seeming decisions are attributed to tea-leaf reading, crystal-ball gazing, and so on, but it now appears more likely that they are attempts to manage the puffed-up peacocks who constitute the greater part of his team. Domenech has to combine those swollen egos with as much subtlety as a top chef combines his ingredients.

  64. I personally think the Chelsea contingent are the ring-leaders. Malodour quarreled with Domenech at the start of the tournament, and now Anelka has become an even greater villain. Gallas is reported to have helped affect a reconcilation between Domenech and Malodour, but his diplomatic talents could not cope with a prick like Anelka.

  65. “All this mess is overshadowing the most important thing, football.”

    Which has been extremely poor by the French. They lack creativity (where is Nasri)….. they lack goals (Benzema, Henry = double figures, Cisse = 30+ goals last season)….. they lack real management (substitutions poor, no cohesion, team spirit is low, and tactics are even questionnable.

    To overshadow such a mess on the field and in footballing decisions seemed to be a hard task… Evra the manager and the players who lead the team to stop training have done a good job of it.

  66. No wonder Nasri and Benzema were left at home… 2 players who have come across the darkside of some of the French older boys in the squad! Domenech must have been frightened to include them because of his inability to control the players. Even without them being there all hell has broke loose! imagine if they were there, Nasri would be drop kicking Gallas in his chin, while Diaby is giving a Evra a ‘John Terry Style’ face kick-in!

  67. I would like to Wenger go have a go once he calls it time at Arsenal – he know all the French players, how they play, how to manage them – he would do very well… but I doubt this would happen, he will most likely call it a day completely when he calls it a day at Arsenal.

  68. poor north korea

  69. Mathew Upson starts for England… there is hope!!! hahahaa

  70. My sentiments too Deano.No way CIV is going to beat Korea 10-1.so its Brazil and Portugal through.

  71. This whole France shamozzle would of been avoided if Federation Francaise did the blinding obvious, sack Domenesch when they were struggling during the qualifiers.

  72. a special ball f0r kick0ff mmmmmmmm

  73. why do you feel bad for north korea? They will most likely never know anyway. Those who do find out will presumably work within the regime so screw em.

    The french players can still redeem themselves if they pull a complete coup and take over the management and take charge themselves. Evra should sacrifice himself to the bench where he can overlook the team and call in team changes. An inspired final qualification victory and continued campaign would be the ultimate WC story! Some of the snobby french public might even decide they care again and actually pay attention to how they present their country on impressionable world stage.

  74. Evra has had the wrong attitude at United and should never have been captain, he looks to have lost his pace as well. Clichy should have played the second game if Evra wasn’t captain. For him to sit on the bench and watch this France team perform like shite must have been quite funny to him. For Nasri, and Benzema.. they must have been pissing their selves at home..

    Domenech was useless, every fan saw that, I stated that before the tournament started. Why the French football federation never realised this is beyond me. They should take the blame for leaving such an incompetent manager in charge.

  75. The French players are obviously out of order but we cannot say that its just because they are overpaid and disrespectful. People on a whole just dont behave unseemingly for no reason.

    This story is two fold, the players and manager, coaching staff are to be blamed. Who just tells of the manager and then has the whole team agree with him in such a manner.

    I am not buying that the players are just so bad. There is more to the story.

    The team will not win every game but have they played any good ball since the 06 WC? How can you have so many talented players and cannot get one decent match out of them in FOUR years?

    The players should however show some respect whether they like the manager or not and play for the pride of their country and fans.

    Portugal were good.

  76. The France situation doesn’t seem too far away from what Mr Terry has been doing “for” England to be honest.

  77. Absolutely QoS although Terry’s is not a collective dissatisfaction, it’s his rampaging ego.

  78. Don’t forget that two of the coaching staff have also quit…it’s not just the players.

    Although I must say, that for the French to disrespect the opportunity to play in the WC is a slap in the face to everyone who would bleed to be there in their place. (Especially the Irish, who should be livid about this…)

  79. The playacting is getting ridiculous. FIFA should do something to retroactively punish the players and their teams for getting other players sent off.

  80. Teams I’ve decided I don’t like much- as teams – England, Germany, France, Spain and Italy (on which note Pz, apologies, didn’t mean to label them facists, and you are right to think WTF, it’s just well … they do all sport shaved heads and ultra-steely looks, and a puerile and lazy thought crept to my mind. I take it back!).

    Anyway, hell, they all take themselves too seriously, as do SA. It’s a favourite past-time of many Africans to poke fun at SA, it’s done with affection. SA should really loosen up and start to enjoy this now (weather permitting).

    The problem with ‘big’ African teams is no one plays at home, it has to affect the team ethic. It’s clear they are superb footballers, and fragile as teams; except the ‘little three’ Ghana (viva!), SA and Algeria where it’s the other way round.

    As for France, laughable all round: manager, captain, striker, fitness trainer and now “who is the rat” -gate. What wouldn’t I give to have been in an Irish pub for their games and have some real fun.

  81. http://deadspin.com/5564578/north-korean-soccer-fans-are-actually-chinese-volunteers

    Maybe England can employ a talent agency to organise their Word Cup tickets next time.

  82. I’m not fond of the convict look myself. Any self-respecting Italian man has a thick crop of greasy hair.

  83. YW – Respectfully, the world cup is primarily a sporting event but it is as political as any. A few examples will suffice: Presidents and Prime Ministers showing up to share in their team’s glory, governments having a say in the selection of coaches, the flag-waving, etc. The internal politics of nations have a way of poking their nose into the event, as much as we may pretend it doesn’t. IMO, some of that is at play in this French uproar.
    We disagree. Time will tell. No harm done.

  84. Shotta

    I don’t disagree that political gestures can be made at sporting events, history tells us so. I simply don’t believe that France’s problems at this World Cup are anything but sporting ineptitude.

    YW

  85. That was a great match! There have been quite a few over the past week actually.

  86. I agree that the French players haven’t acted wisely, or in their own best interests, but ultimately it is the federation who chose to retain Penfold, not the players, and therefore, it is they who are responsible. It’s not like the players haven’t revolted before, like in the last World Cup!

    Can club form be a rational explanation behind the decision to leave Nasri & Benzema behind? Not really. There are factions in every team, ethnic/cultural/personalilty based factions.

    Is it accurate to state, not so long ago, the Dutch team were almost humiliated by a combination of such issues?

    Theo is teetotal, correct? So where did that leave him amongst his England peers? Will this be an issue for graduates from AFC who are asked to live slightly more sober lifestyle? So they don’t end up Punch Drunk like certain England CB’s.
    At least, I think they are asked to do so, although that could be incorrect information. In the future, will AFC players be accused of ‘not getting bored’?

  87. Inler impressive again too – would take him or Melo over Ya Ya Toure anyday.

  88. One day, national team managers will pick players in form, and then play them in the right positions.

    Or at least pick players with the intelligence and discipline to play where they have been asked to (Gerrard take note).

    Not exactly groundbreaking, but you never know, might actually work.

  89. Inler is superb. Really gutsy and inteligent player. I have never realy seen him properly before this tournament but he looks a great prospect. I hope there is truth in the links.

  90. I would say he is a bit more than a prospect Deano – He is 25 now and has played over 100 games in Serie A.

    I agree though, looks a very good player, I can understand why we were after him, I wish we still were!

  91. No one told Dummy-nech to call on the French egotistical freak players, he picked them and he’s been picking them up for the last 5 years. The guy has a fetish for over 30 year old players who are past their times.

    He had many good French players at his disposal, yet he picks Goffee or Gofoo or whatever his name is.

    I even didn’t know that this was Anelka’s first world cup appearance at age 31? didn’t Dummy-nech know there must be a reason for that?

    The same goes for Capello, he picked the players he can’t complain about them. He dealt with them for a few years now and he knows them. I’m not defending the players’ actions here, but they’re all responsible for what’s happening.

  92. Penfold has already announced he is retiring after the World Cup. The French players just had to do their best, within the parameters set by the manager. There is no moral conflict that could justify abandoning their team. At most, one or two might have to play in an unfavoured position, or play without one of their chums being present. Surely that’s not too heavy a burden to carry for four weeks. Not for an ordinary person; but people who earn £5M a year can’t tolerate their demands being ignored. So Le Fuck Off abused his manager, and refused to apologise. His punishment would be accepted as inevitable anywhere else on the planet, but is a source of outrage to the exquisite moral sensibilities of the French football team, especially when they are on the look out for an excuse for their woeful performances on the pitch. Who knows? Maybe the French, with their penchant for trivial rebellions, will sympathise with this solemn show of affected honour. Elsewhere, it is the subject of contemptuous laughter.

  93. “but they’re all responsible for what’s happening.”

    Thats what I say G4E. To only blast the players cannot be correct to me.

    You cannot have talent like the French and not play good football for 4 years.

    Anyway, whatever it is, it is a shame.

  94. PZ, what about if you areputting up with an inept manager for how many years that will not listen to you, inspite of the fact that the team is not performing well under his management?

    If the team plays well and you are out of position thats one thing but if the system is not working frustration may..well will set in.

    I dont disagree that they should still play but I dont think we can correctly assess the situation and say its all about them being pampered stars. The fact that they want to do well for their country and its not happening could also be a great source of the frustration.

  95. cannot correctly…

  96. Not only that but I don’t think the players want to do bad in a world cup which to many of them most likely will be their last.

    I never respected Anelka and never will, but it’s not about Anelka, I think the players know there is a traitor in the dressing room, and it may well be that guy we saw on TV screens throwing away his badge.

    In fairness to all of them and since we don’t know exactly all the details, they’re ALL responsible including the French FA for sticking with an obviously incompetent manager. Maybe they were fooled by him reaching the world cup final the last time around, but that feat was solely due to the players themselves and a huge chunk of French Lady Luck.

  97. Cameroon were another case.

    A discredited coach appointed by their FA. The players seemed to handle that situation better, and you can only wonder ‘what if’ they had acted before their first game.

  98. The French have a peculiar problem. They’ve won the WC, EC and lost the last WC in a space of eight years. Anybody would envy such a record. In the same period they’ve had a world player of the year in Zizou and other great players like Henry – to name but one of many. In truth in the last eight years to 2008 the French have had the best time of any European footballing nation. But they seem to be being outdown by the curse of Machiavelli – i.e. a reliance on mercenaries. A lack of a viable domestic league has turned their players into mercenaries. A situation where your best players play abroad isn’t something the English should envy.

  99. “Arsenal will end up giving in, but I don’t know when that will be,”

    Hes taunting us now?

  100. My personal belief is that Capello’s failure to name John Terry Captain England is placing the wifes of the players in an extremely delicate position. John Terry is in high demand and his lack of the armband will have a knock on effect on the teams performance.

  101. Two owls you a “sick” but very funny!

  102. Cesc on the bench again!

  103. I thought Torres was a natural blond what’s with his hair?

  104. The England football team went to visit an orphanage for kids born with h.i.v.this morning. “It’s so nice to put a smile on the faces of people with no hope,constantly struggling and facing the impossible”. said umboto aged 6!!!

  105. So Cesc should go to Barcelona, huh? cant get even get a kick. They are not going to give Cesc a game above Iniesta and Xavi at the moment.

    Come on Honduras!

  106. wow 6 years old! wisdom.

  107. Hopefully the England squad will get the kid’s message.

  108. Any truth in the rumour that Spurs are planning to sign the Honduran right-back?

  109. What the hell is wrong with these so-called big football nations? Why do they have to resort to gamesmanship to get people sent off? Once you start something it catches up with you. David Villa should ask Kaka. He is a very, very lucky boy. Sergei Busquests in particular is a disgrace.

    I remember telling Bill that twiddling with the rules usually results in unintended consequences (not exactly like that, but you know what I mean). Now I notice these bigger nations have figured out that if refs are quick to flash cards, then players simply roll around and you can at minimum get your opponents on yellow, if not a quick red, . Ask the Honduran left back how it feels to get an unjustified card.

  110. And Cesc remains on the bench?

  111. Finally

  112. 1 loose cannon

    G4E- He has just came on now and alnmost scored.
    How did Honduras ended up in the world cup? they are terrible.

  113. Thanks 1lc, I’m following a text commentary on yahoo

  114. Finsbury @6.30pm

    Hmmm French coaches…Whimsey beware!

    YW

  115. It’s all itv’s fault we are shit, apparantly we(england) have only won something like two wc games in 20 years on itv!

  116. Aaah so it’s all Tyldesley’s fault!

  117. They’ve been driven mad by Tiddly ending half of his sentences with “but”.

  118. Honduras have taken the crown from England and France as the worst team in the tournament.

  119. You forgot Italy Poliziano. Italy are also stinking the place right out.

  120. YW,

    I incorrectly thought that he had only recently taken charge, and mistook Le Guen for Eriksson.

    (Please play Gervinho!)

    Interiews with Eboue and Seaman on the BBC’s Armchair World Cup podcast.

  121. I misjudged the French earlier today. They have taken exactly the correct attitude towards their players.

  122. Anelka is a prize prat.

  123. Glad AW didnt resign Le Crap a few years ago when he had the chance.

  124. I’m glad we’re not going to get David Villa because honestly he was horrible last night against Honduras. He misses so many chances and his penalty was so badly taken. Even as a link up in the attack he was awful, with his chips and passes mostly ending up to a Honduras player.

    How is it that some people here think he will be better than Bendtner is totally beyond me.

  125. Villa was MOTM vs Honduras, what are you smoking? Almost had a hat-trick!

  126. Laurent Koscielny is left-footed, correct?

    If so, this means we’re getting another RCB to play alongside Vermaelen. Very exciting…

    New RCB (Djourou)
    Vermaelen (Koscielny)

    Song to be our #5 option, but this is already encouraging. It will be sad to see Gallas go. Silvestre less so. Sol was a monster for us last season, but frankly a Celtic move would make more sense for him. Would love him to stay for one more season though.

  127. Not sure Lagooner – haven’t heard much about him… But if AW’s prepared to spend 8 or so mil, he must be damn good. Not sure if he’s planning on starting those 2 or if he’ll buy an even better right footed CB…

    I agree about Gallas and Sol. I think losing Gallas will have an impact as he is top quality, no matter how strange he is. But if Le Prof has suitable replacements lined up then I’m all for it.
    Again, agree about Sol completely.

  128. Koscielny vs. Chamakh

    Lau-ren Kos-chel-knee!! (clap-clap, clap-clap-clap)
    Lau-ren Kos-chel-knee!! (clap-clap, clap-clap-clap)

  129. Geo

    I think Gallas going could be a good thing for our squad morale… as Nasri said, a few players just ignore him!

  130. Cheers Limpar. They collapsed after his warranted departure… I might have to check out youtube for some more vidz of him. That’s the first i’ve seen…

  131. There’s not a lot else on there Geo. There’s a compilation of the goals he’s scored (quite a few, from corners – wouldn’t complain about another goal-scoring centreback alongside TV!) And another one of him making a fairly regulation tackle (!). So not a lot. Might want to check out footy tube for some Lorient vids.

  132. Morning chrisGoona, if that’s true then you are probably right. But his quality will still leave a gulf. TV and him seemed to play fairly well together, but i suppose TV looks like the kind of guy who could slot into most teams… I just want all our transfer dealings to be done with so we can see who’s gonna be lining up next year.

  133. cool, yeah i’ll check that out. nice one. Maybe we should get that Kjaer too and we’ll have the most technical back line for years!

  134. Anyone know why the games are on at 3pm, 3pm, 7.30 and 7.30? Where’s the early kick-off gone? Something to do with France being a bunch of fannies?

  135. That’s ridiculous! Why make everyone have to make a 50-50 choice when there can be at least 3 matches in one day? It may well be Limpar, have the players def pulled out then?

  136. Final group matches start simultaneously to stop a repeat of West Germany v Austria in 1982.

    New Post Up.

    YW

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