World Cup Diary - Week Four

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Football star in sunglasses

A brief review of what happened, day by day, between the 18th and 26th of June in the World Cup.


    • Brazil v England
    • US v Germany
    • S.Korea v Spain
    • Turkey v Senegal

    Friday 21st June:

  • Brazil 2 (Rivaldo 45, Ronaldinho 50) England 1 (Owen 23)
  • So, the England World Cup dream is over, and, unfortunately, some particularly ignorant and moronic English 'fans' and, mainly, members of the press, have taken it upon themselves to blame David Seaman, England's best player of the tournament, for the country's exit, due to the fact that he couldn't predict an unpredictable flukey shot. Never mind the fact that David Beckham was never fully fit, that Michael Owen never really looked threatening in the whole tournament, only scoring here due to a comical mix-up between Brazilian defender Lucio, who set Owen up for his goal, and keeper Marcos, who obligingly dived out of his way. Or what about the fact that England didn't have a single shot in the entire second half, even when Ronaldinho was unfairly sent off. No, David Seaman made the same decision any half-decent goalkeeper should make. Brazil outclassed England anyway, Rivaldo opening the scoring from a Ronaldinho pass, and Ronaldinho scoring the flukey goal I mentioned earlier, a free kick intended to be a cross into the penalty area turned into a strike which arched over Seaman's head. Seaman had moved towards the Brazilian players in the penalty area to prevent a shot as a result of the expected cross. If the ball had been crossed in and Seaman had stayed on his line, a goal would have been scored and then maybe Seaman would actually have something to be blamed for. David Seaman was probably England's best player of the tournament, and played on despite a bad fall at half-time against Brazil. Only Rio Ferdinand, who managed to make Ronaldo of all people look anonymous, can challenge Seaman for the title of England's star. Ferdinand is rumoured to be interesting Manchester United and both Milan clubs, and it's easy to see why. England were never going to win the world cup this year, but for a while there, they had us dreaming.

  • United States 0 Germany 1 (Ballack 39)
  • Germany were incredibly lucky to go through here, winning 1-0 and avoiding conceding a penalty despite Thorsten Frings blatantly handling the ball on the goal-line to prevent a US goal. The referee, Hugh Dallas of Scotland, appears to be under the impression that there was nothing wrong with this as the handball was unintentional. So, there you have it, as long as you don't INTEND to cheat, you can get away with it. Using that logic, Ronaldinho shouldn't have been sent-off against England (he shouldn't have been anyway, but that's besides the point.) and no free kicks or penalties should be given for mis-timed tackles, because they weren't intended to be mis-timed. Also, you can only be offside if you are intentionally ahead of the opposition defence. An unintentional handball is still a foul, you just don't get booked or sent off for it. With only Michael Ballack's first half goal separating the sides, the US can justifiably think of themselves as having been cheated out of the World Cup. The Europeanmedia seems to have a vendetta against the US football team, arguing that they don't deserve to do well because it's not their national sport. What a load of crap- that's like saying that Tim Henman doesn't deserve to suceed at tennis tournaments, because the British only pay attention to Tennis during Wimbledon. Judging by Hugh Dallas' blatant disregard for the rules of the game he is supposed to be policing, the American soccer team could be forgiven for thinking that European referees are in with the media.

    Saturday 22nd June

  • Spain 0 South Korea 0 (After Extra Time, South Korea win 5-3 on penalties)
  • Another victory for South Korea, another session of whining from a major European side. Spain don't quite rival Portugal or Italy in the moaning and referee assaulting stakes but were furious by two decisions that went against them. One shot was called offside and another was from a cross deemed to have crossed the goal-line, even though it didn't. The Spaniards, along with some journalists, decided to claim these instances as 'disallowed goals', conveniently forgetting that in both cases the offences were given before the ball was put in the net so the South Korean goalkeeper and defenders did not attempt to stop the ball crossing the line. There is no guarantee that the goals would have been scored if the offences had not been given. When German goalkeeper Oliver Kahn (who will be up against South Korea in the Semi-Finals) was asked his opinion on South Korean decisions, he said 'Of course they get decisions in their favour. It's called home advantage'. Spain couldn't break down the Korean defence often enough, and South Korea put away all five of their penalties (despite having had penalties saved against Italy and the US).

  • Senegal 0 Turkey 1 (Ilhan Mansiz 94)(After 4 minutes of golden goal extra time)
  • Senegal's first world cup is over, thanks to Turkey, playing in their second. Turkey dominated throughout the match and had it not been for Hakan Sukur's uncharacteristic wastefulness in front of goal, things may have been different. As it was, substitute Ilhan ensured Turkey's first advance to the semi-finals of a major tournament with a golden goal. Turkey meet the mighty Brazil in the Semi-Finals. When the two sides met in the group stage, Brazil won 2-1, two Turks were sent off and Rivaldo went for the Oscar. I can't wait.


    • Germany v South Korea
    • Brazil v Turkey

    Tuesday 25th June

  • Germany 1 (Ballack 75) South Korea 0
  • South Korea's adventure is over, although they held their own for long periods against Germany. A lot of journalists and opposition players have drawn attention to favourable decisions going South Korea's way, but it shouldn't be forgotten that in Germany's quarter-final, the Americans had a blatant penalty appeal rejected. Here Michael Ballack scored the winning goal by knocking in a rebound, having earlier been booked for the second time in the knockout stage, and therefore he will miss the final which he ensured German progression to. Ballack's booking was for hacking down a South Korean who was having a run at goal and, amazingly, German manager Rudi Voller actually congratulated and thanked him for fouling an opponent, even though he would miss the final. Voller said 'it was a decision for the team'. And they call the South Koreans cheats.

    Wednesday 26th June

  • Brazil 1 (Ronaldo 49) Turkey 0
  • A good strike by Ronaldo early in the second half was enough to put Brazil through, although he was worryingly substituted later in the match. Turkey performed very well and were perhaps unfortunate not to score. Hakan Sukur again failed to hit the form expected of him, Ilhan played well as a substitute and Leicester City's Mustafa Izzet made his first appearance of the finals. Brazil were perhaps below par in this match, and Edilson was not an adequate replacement for the unfairly suspended Ronaldinho. Brazil won this exciting encounter and will face Germany in the final while Turkey take on hosts South Korea in the Third/Fourth Play-off.


    (Saturday 29th June)- South Korea v Turkey


    (Sunday 30th June)- Germany v Brazil

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