Ivano Be A Loan, BFG’s Cap Fits & More


Oh, come on. It’s not as if you didn’t have any warning. Actually, most of you probably didn’t unless you read the final comment on Thursday’s post. To aid your recovery this morning’s playlist, The End Titles Are Playing, either here or in the right sidebar. As that weaves into your audial pleasure, consider this. Punditry is just pun dirty; perhaps the laugh is on us in more ways than one.

I don’t care if Arsenal are genuinely interested in Ivanovic, he’s the same as any footballer to whom a link is made. It would be nice, he’s decent player and the squad would be stronger with his inclusion. Mourinho would never let it happen, he couldn’t even bring himself to let Demba Ba, possibly the most ineffectual of his ineffective forward line, join Arsenal on loan last season. Anyone who thinks this deal will go through probably visits the faeries as the bottom of the garden every night, wondering why they don’t come out to play more often. In playing every transfer with a straight bat, Arsène produced the perfect antidote on this occasion: “We’re not close to signing anyone.”

Of course, he meant that he’s in Brazil and all his targets are elsewhere…didn’t he? He did, didn’t he? He did…

Didn’t he?

The World Cup is a welcome distraction in that sense. How much of a distraction, we’re about to find out. England are on their way home following Costa Rica’s astonishing victory over Italy. Astonishing in every sense of the word; unexpected, a surprise but thoroughly deserved because of their efforts and energy in executing a game plan. Like any ‘underdog’, they rode their luck as the Italians became predictable in their play, failing to reach the heights scaled in their victory over England. Complacent in every sense of the word. Joel Campbell worked hard, was cruelly and wrongly denied a penalty in the first half minutes before the goal-line technology finally earned its corn. Such was the poverty of the referee’s decision-making overall, the encroachment of technology into more areas of the game seems inevitable to me. Campbell’s day got better with Galatasaray’s reported interest seeming to save him from a fate worse than death; management by Tony Pulis.

Meanwhile, there seems some astonishment that Roy Hodgson is keeping his job. This from a media which confidently predicted exactly this fate. The question is being asked the wrong way; it isn’t the manager that is wrong, there’s a paucity if taker. We don’t have a Plan A player, a Plan B player. We lack that world-class individual or two. It’s been a problem for decades, And whilst it isn’t solved yet either, there is optimism that the style of play has evolved from the agricultural pragmatism to players who are comfortable with the ball at their feet. A large number of youth teams I see, in local leagues or tournaments my son plays in, embrace this. The rarity is finding a club that perseveres with traditional English values. And if you want a reason for hope, grounds for optimism, that surely is all you need.

But hats off to the Costa Rican’s, they had the power, the energy, the tactics and the passion to carry themselves into the next round. And let’s be honest, Jorge Luis Pinto’s hand-wringing at being denied a penalty was the most Liberace-esque ever witnessed in on the grandest stage. That alone will be one of the most indelible images of what has so far been the most marvellous World Cup for a while.

Elsewhere France proved to the Grand Fromage in the Dairy Derby, thundering five past the Swiss before feeling sorry for their neighbours and let them add some respectability to scoreline with two late goals. Karim Benzema proved he is perfect Arsenal material by scoring, missing a penalty and generally being a good bloke. Oh you’ve no idea how I’m waiting to use “Blaise of Glory” or “What’s the Matuidi, Gotta no respect”. That chance may yet arise as France are through with Switzerland needing to beat Honduras in the final group match. It’s not looking too difficult a task following the Hondurans defeat against Ecuador last night in a match that would not have looked out of place on ?Hackney Marshes.

Attention of the day turns to Per Mertesacker who joins an exclusive list of players with 100 caps to their name in international football. A few years back, FIFA christened them The Century Club which whilst it is exclusive, isn’t that choosy. Even Groucho Marx could have got in, not that he would have wanted to. Of that list, Mertesacker becomes the twelfth to ply his trade in the righteous side of north London. I was going to poke fun at Tottenham for having Robbie Keane in their list but I drew back from the edge; you’ll understand why later. The dozen includes eleven players and one manager – Billy Wright – and the BFG becomes the second member of the current squad to gain 100 caps, Lukas Podolski the other. It might be three, who knows who will sign. It was three last season and the trio graced the Wembley turf albeit not at the same time, Kim Kallström entering the semi-final fray after Podolski had departed.

The only surprises on the list are those who played for Arsenal, even though you did your best to forget they had. Step forward, Mart Poom. He’s second on 120 Estonian caps, three behind Thierry Henry’s total for France. Others include Vieira and van Bronckhorst who have actually played in a World Cup Final rather than just the final stages. It must come as some relief to Mertesacker though. No more will he have to duck into the broom cupboard at international soirées when he sees Igor Stepanovs coming; he can look him in the eye and comment, “I’m your equal.”

To satisfy your curiosity, the full list is:

Player Country Caps
Thierry Henry France   123
Mart Poom Estonia   120
Pat Jennings Northern Ireland   119
Lukas Podolski Germany   114
Kim Källström Sweden   110
Ashley Cole England   107
Kolo Touré Ivory Coast   107
Patrick Vieira France   107
Giovanni van Bronckhorst Netherlands   106
Billy Wright England   105
Igors N. Stepanovs Latvia   100
Per Mertesacker Germany     99

Today’s match offers the Germans the opportunity to assert their authority on their group. As if a four-goal victory over Portugal hadn’t already done that. Ghana played relatively well against the USA and were probably worth a point but like England, they were punished for not being able to finish. Germany made hard work of winning when the two nations met four years ago – Mesut Özil settling matters on the hour – but it is hard to see a repeat of that this time around; Germany look a lot better but I am not sure Ghana have improved that much. We shall see, perhaps there will be an element of over-confidence given the results of the opening matches.

’til Tomorrow.

54 thoughts on “Ivano Be A Loan, BFG’s Cap Fits & More

  1. Oh no —- he’s not!
    Is that rascal Clocker first? No, he isn’t either!!

    A pair of lay abeds! 🙂

  2. Still on matters Arsenal and international caps, I can’t understand why Koscielny is not in the French starting line. There is no better man marker than him.

  3. It would be sweet if the USA could repeat thier 2002 result vs Portugal, nice but who knows with Jurgens bunch! Man Arsene tweaks the nerves with comments like that, I wouldn’t be surprised if we line up vs Palace with the same exact squad minus the departures and only Cambells soup in the mix, no it wouldn’t surprise me indeed.

  4. Morning all

    Good post Yogi. I wonder how many notebooks AW has filled with scribblings about potential targets? Campbell has to come back to the Emirates this season surely!

    The WC is truly turning out to be a cracker. Perhaps not going exactly according to plan has made it that tiny bit more exciting. Costa Rica and Chile stand outs for me.

  5. Excellent as ever, YW. I think Benzema had an assist as well– so the complete package! It has been a welcome distraction for us. Has it been a distraction for the boss? If he is scouting, I can see some prospects. Lots of talent performing well at this WC in attack. I wouldn’t say that the CB’s have made the case for their quality as strongly.

  6. YW
    Another great post. The World Cup so far has been awesome with almost all teams attempting to play to win….lot more enjoyable than the last version …
    Congratulations to BFG.

  7. Did France concede 2 when Kos came on for Sakho? I’d like him to do well. He might start next game as Sakho has a thigh strain. Also Sagna is more defensively solid. Once France play a better attacking team he could be a weak point in their defense.

  8. What on Earth do you mean, no faeries at the bottom of the garden?

    I can assure you that here in the woods, we see the evidence of their partying. I take my grandsons to the places they congregate. I’ve always believed in them, myself.

  9. Nice one YW.

    You’re in good company Bob, W.B. Yeats also believed in the “the little people” (as did Arsene in his tiki-taka phase…..).

    Beautiful day. Looking for to watching ze Germans later.

  10. Great post yogi

    Fantastic stuff by the Costa Ricans.

    The only thing other thing I can say about the World Cup is


  11. Good day YW and all.

    The daily fix of good football I’m getting from the world cup is just great. Supposedly weaker teams are proving to be tactically efficient and springing upsets. Who would have thought Costa Rica and Chile would be granted qualification already. This goes to show that, the right level of motivation, tactical awareness and quality players will guarantee good performances.

    Good game for Giroud yesterday. Does pairing him with another forward bring the best from him? A 442 system with Giroud and Walcott or some other striker should be considered this coming season.

    Don’t really know who to support the game between the Germans and Ghana. I’m African, but Arsenal contingent in German tilts my supports and they are my favourites to lift the cup. Oh well, may the best team win.

  12. “…forward to..” Jeez. Bloody sunshine, eh Frenchgooner? ahem.

    At least with England out (low expectations at last, duly met. Apart from Henry Winter it seems, who opines the FA, Roy and players should issue an “apology” to fans who spent all their hard-earned travelling to Brazil. The dickhead), those bloody flags have vanished from cars and white vans…

    I backed Germany from the start (so just waiting for the wheels to start dropping off now), although I was mightily impressed with France, and Giroud of course, last night, such a startling turnaround after their last World Cup debacle..

  13. I have only seen a few games but so far the World Cup has been superb. Lots of great games. Some surprises and a couple of big teams have been dominant. Spain was terrible.

    Giroud and Benzema both had good games yesterday. Benzema has been especially impressive and he and Giroud played well together. If Real is willing to sell, I would be happy to have Benzema.

    A group of forwards that includes :

    Benzema, Giroud, Campbell, Walcott, Podolski, Vela, Remy with Ox as a forward/midfield swing man would have a lot of experience, depth, pace and I suspect a lot more firepower.

  14. Bill with that group of forwards, you would be getting all your birthday and christmas presents in one go…..can’t see it happening.

    Being nosey what’s your blog about?

  15. Fantastic rope a dope from Iran. On the front foot after defending for their lives the first half. Deserved a penalty and two great headers saved by Argentina’s keeper. The latter was the best save of the tournament, Dejagah robbed. Come on Iran!

  16. Damn, Messi scores in injury time. Great shot but totally unjustified. Iran deserve a point from this.

  17. Wow. Messi with a moment of magic.


    We could easily afford to buy Benzema, Vela and Remy. Add Aurier, a DM and an experienced GK in the mold of Schwarzer or Friedel and we are set. All of that should be within our budget. Go Arsene, Go Ivan, Go Stan.

  18. Apparently after one goal versus Iran when the whole team was tired, Messi now “transcends the sport” and some kind of deity.

    Hyperbole does not begin to describe it.

  19. Its difficult for me to support Germany against Ghana, but a German win would be the best possible result for the USA. A begrudging, Go Germany.

  20. Hoping for good Arsenal Germany player performance but a Ghana win. Come on black stars!!!

  21. Ghana’s red shirts are stunning. Hope Puma can design something of that quality for Arsenal.

  22. clock-end

    Messi is a legend whether he had scored or not for me.

    It was a great goal, but it doesn’t really say anything about the player, just that he scored a good goal.

  23. Germany need a proper CF in this game.

    Have chances but no one in the box.

    Ghana the better team but they just don’t have enough quality to score.

  24. Mixed emotions about this one JJ. If USA wins against Portugal we might lead the group. Who would have ever believed that.

  25. Was it not Gahman Suarez did such an awful hands against in 2010? the most unsportmanlike thing I’ve ever seen in my life!

  26. What an awesome game! A little bit more composure and Ghana could have won! A draw probably fair to both sides

  27. What Ghana and Germany have just served has to go down as one of the best games of the tournament so far. Absolutely enthralling

  28. Phenomenal game, but again Ghana come away with fewer points thsn their overall play and courage deserve because of poor finishing. They played better than Germany. Jordan Auew was the weak link and should have been subbed off instead.

  29. Poodle, it was and I’ve held a grudge against him ever since. Hard luck Fhsna. They are quality but unlucky to lose to the US and to draw vs. Germany. They must beat Portugal and hope US loses to them.

  30. Ghana…….Great Game, I wish England would play like that one day. May happen if they play 11 Arsenal players and Wenger as a Manager 🙂

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