Archive for the ‘Chelsea’ Category

3806

The day’s first game was a feisty affair between Colombia and Japan. Colombia started without James Rodriguez who was only deemed fit enough to be on the bench and to be used only in the case of emergency.

Well, a penalty and a sending-off after 2 minutes and 56 seconds certainly qualified as an emergency but it was to be a while still before he was risked.

The penalty was awarded for deliberate handball which prevented a goal and was, therefore, a red card offence. The offending player, Carlos Sánchez, became the second earliest victim of a sending off in the competition’s history, following that of José Alberto Batista for Uruguay against Scotland in 1986. He lasted a mere 54 seconds and stands to hold the record for a very long time, probably even in perpetuity. (more…)

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2038

The first game of the day pitted the wits of Sweden and South Korea against each other.

In what was a fairly mundane 90 minutes of football, Sweden deserved to win purely because they appeared to try and win much harder than the Koreans did.

The goal which did the trick was yet another penalty this time scored by Andreas Granqvist, the Swedish captain. The award of the spot-kick was made after VAR had been consulted and, even then, it still wasn’t totally conclusive. Still, it was given and the match ended 1-0 to Sweden. (more…)

mvg

Nothing very surprising about that headline you may think. Three good teams not losing their opening World Cup games, so what? What’s so unusual about that?

Well, in the case of Serbia, who managed to scrape past Costa Rica 1-0 courtesy of an excellent Aleksandr Kolarov free-kick nothing really, other than they would have been expected to win by a greater margin.

In the case of Brazil there was also nothing spectacular about the fact that they managed to draw with Switzerland. It was, in fact, not such an unexpected result. (more…)

f

Well that wasn’t too bad a game. France weren’t very good which should really have given Australia a chance to collect three points. The problem was that The Socceroos, whilst being full of huff and puff for around 70 minutes, also weren’t very good.

First goal went to budding documentary-maker Antoine Griezmann courtesy of VAR, which helped to decide that a foul had been committed in the penalty area and he scored with ease from the spot.

The Aussies then equalised with another penalty confirmed by the VAR team which seemed determined to make up for not being involved even once in the opening game. (more…)

cr

Wouldn’t you just know it? Cristiano Ronaldo, at the ripe old age of 33 has suddenly announced himself on the World Cup stage.

Many “experts” are predicting that this will be the Portuguese’s last appearance in this tournament as he will be 37 by the time the next one comes around.

We don’t agree with the experts. Now, there’s a surprise! Our guess is that Ronaldo also doesn’t agree with them assuming that he listens to them at all!

The shape he is in and his single-mindedness in wanting to be the best means that another four years will have little or no effect on him. He may slow down slightly although, on the evidence of some of the counter-attacking runs he made against Spain, this is unlikely to happen. (more…)

pl

The new Premier League season moved a small step nearer yesterday as the fixtures were announced. This always feels like a hurdle has been…..well…..hurdled, because it is a milestone during the close season which is designed to satisfy two longings.

The first is the millions of fans around the world who are all only a tablet/phone/laptop away from a conversation, friendly or otherwise, with each other. The fixture list will give them something positive to talk about so that they can, temporarily at least, refrain from threatening their club’s management, board, players and each other for a day or two. (more…)

russia

After all the pomp and circumstance, 2018’s ethics World Cup finally got underway when the hosts met Saudi Arabia in the opening game.

The enigma that is Russia, not only as a football team, but as a country, continues to confound the logic of most sane people. How can a land boasting a population of around 145 million and with such a long history of playing football, a country whose population loves the game, unlike the early days in America, be so poor at actually playing it?

They are currently ranked 70th in the world, only three places above Saudi Arabia! On that basis the result of the opening game was really quite a surprise, particularly when taking into account the fact that the hosts had lost their previous seven. So a 5-0 win was a most welcome start for them. (more…)

bl

Having already signed Stephan Lichtsteiner on a free transfer Arsenal are now close to finalising deals for both Sokratis Papastathopoulos and, as we mentioned yesterday, Lucas Torreira.

Next up will probably be a goalkeeper to replace Petr Cech who will be 36 next month.

The favourite is the German, Bernd Leno, of Bayer Leverkusen. He will cost around £20 million and would be available as soon as required as he has been left out of the Germany World Cup squad, an indicator of the market in which Arsenal are now forced to conduct business. (more…)

rands

Apparently Mo Salah has no intention of leaving Liverpool for Real Madrid this summer. Liverpool fans would like to think that this was never his intention but it is being reported that his failed foul on Sergio Ramos, which resulted in Salah himself being injured, has put him off going to the Spanish capital and he is awaiting an apology from Ramos, who hasn’t been in touch since the game.

Call us sceptical if you wish, but we think Salah could be waiting a long time for his apology.

The other interesting aspect of this tale is that Barcelona have supposedly expressed an interest in the player and, although he has said he will not be leaving Liverpool for Madrid, he has not said the same about Barcelona. (more…)

cr

Where does all that money keep coming from? Reports from Madrid are now suggesting that Real are prepared to offer Cristiano Ronaldo £28.5 million per year to stay at the club, something which he was probably always intending to do but we all know how he likes to play his little games at the end of every season.

He is actually reaching the stage of his career where he has to be careful with his annual shenanigans because, at 33 and getting older, there will come a time when he will pretend to throw his toys out of the pram and Real Madrid will run a truck over them! (more…)