Sunday’s matches at the World Cup brought the expected wins for Portugal, Holland and Mexico, the only surprise being that the Portuguese did not thump the Angolans instead being restricted to a 1 – 0 victory. Of the three teams, Holland put in the most solid performance looking threatening going forward and for the first half at least, comfortable in defence. Serbia proceeded to show in the second half why they topped their qualification group and will probably feel disappointed to have not taken a point out of the match. Robin van Persie played well on the right for the Dutch, setting up Robben’s goal. It gives Wenger another variation to use if he feels that the team is not performing next season, this World Cup is proving to be a useful testing ground for his team selections next year, with Walcott likely to play against Sweden if England have already qualified. Of one thing there can be no doubt though is the return of Freddie Ljungberg’s fighting spirit, unfortunately for the Swedes it was shown in dressing room fight with Olof Mellberg, bringing back memories of their previous row when Freddie took exception to one of Mellberg’s tackles in training before, I think, the last World Cup although it could have been Euro 2004.
In today’s games, Australia came back from the proverbial dead to score three times in the last eight minutes to beat Japan 3 – 1, the Walking Ego complaining about his charges being labelled a rough team. Tomas Rosicky became the first Arsenal player to score at this World Cup, hitting the target with a 25 yard screamer, his second a deft chip over the diving keeper, and a crossbar denying him as good a hattrick as the World Cup would have ever seen, as the Czech Republic beat the 5th ranked nation in the World 3 – 0. So Carl, yah boo sucks, I told you FIFA Rankings were complete bollocks and Budweiser is still a crap beer. Italy meanwhile laboured to a 2 – 0 victory over Ghana, playing well but giving the Africans enough of the ball to make it harder evening that it should probably have been.
Spain appear to have announced their line-up to the press by holding a training session where the first XI were trained by Aragones and the subs went through their drills elsewhere. It appears that neither Reyes nor Fabregas will start the game but the biggest “shock” seems to be the omission of Raul, whose national status was something akin to the Queen Mother’s when she was alive. The team appears to be:
Casillas; Ramos, Puyol, Ibanez, Pernia; Xavi, Xavi Alonso, Senna; Villa, Torres, Garcia
Pernia’s rise is the stuff of fairytales having been only eligible for the Spaniards for less than a month, omitted from the initial squad and brought in to replace Del Horno.
Elsewhere, depending on which paper you read of course, Pascal Cygan is on his way to St. Etienne for a million quid, Arsenal will no doubt be biting the French clubs hands off if this is true. What is more unbelievable is that Blackburn are rumoured to be interested in buying him – I know that Cygan has not had much chance to play during the last twelve months but even Mark Hughes must surely know how bloody awful Cygan is? Other potential signings, Eider Gudjohnsen is available for a measly £10m which would be a good investment although Barcelona seem to be favourites for him and just about every other decent player on the market whilst a deal is close at hand for Dutch youngster Vincent van den Berg who has met with Wenger and Bergkamp about a move to Ashburton Grove.
Todays Tunes give me the loosest possible reason to put up some more live tracks by The Jam, not that I need any excuses to do so. So to mark the re-issue of All Mod Cons, which everybody should own, here are three of albums songs:
To Be Someone – Manchester Apollo 1979