Tag Archives: McCarthy

Dave Hanratty’s Winners & Losers – Bumper Edition!

Winners

Germany
Total destruction and total football. All four goals were of supreme quality as was the build-up play in general, featuring flicks and tricks normally associated with Brazil. What was particularly impressive was the patience of the Germans. The first fifteen minutes of the second half saw them very much on the backfoot, fending off a rejuvenated England. Ultimately they played possum and picked their moment before delivering knockout punches to the opposition.
While England have themselves to blame for giving so much room and respect to their old enemy, the Germans earned their praise by playing outstanding football and by being three or four steps ahead of their opponent at every turn. In the end 4-1 was somewhat respectable considering Joachim Low’s men took their foot off the pedal during the final stretch and were content to pass the ball around.
If Germany can match this performance for the remainder of the competition then they must be considered favourites, however it is doubtful that they will have an easier task than this ahead of them.
Mesut Özil

A star is born.
Argentina

Benefitted from a poor decision to kick things off before putting Mexico to the sword as expected. One wonders what they would do with the space England afforded the Germans.
Javier Hernández

Mexico are going home but the young striker has given Alex Ferguson something to think about.
Uruguay

Few predicted they would have gotten this far and the South Americans will fancy themselves to at least make the semi-finals. It’s a pleasure to see the inaugural tournament winners play with such confidence and composure in 2010.
Luis Suárez
Finally coming good after a quiet start, the 23-year-old Ajax forward won the game with a goal worthy of winning the tournament, made all the more emphatic by being framed by the lashing rain.
Ghana

The sole remaining African team kept their heads and were worthy victors. It was a shame to see time-wasting and play-acting tactics employed at the end but that’s the modern game for you.
Brazil & Portugal

Did what they had to do, boring everyone to death in the process.

Losers

England


But will they learn anything from it? Not likely. While they will rightly feel aggrieved following Lampard’s “goal that never was”, England had plenty of opportunities to level things and failed to take them. It’s the oldest cliché in the book that goals change games and 2-2 certainly makes things much more balanced, but hypothetical arguments are a waste of time when you are outplayed and outclassed by a superior side, as England unquestionably were.
Since the opening game these players have not played together. In this game they committed footballing suicide by repeatedly straying from their positions, thus giving the Germans the space they needed to duly tear England apart.
Fabio Capello
While the F.A.’s appointed talking head was quick to assure gathered journalists that Capello’s contract runs until 2012, his body language and veiled statements painted a different picture. The truth is that should Capello get his marching orders, he’s better off for it. Not only shall he benefit financially but why would a man of his pedigree wish to be denigrated by a myopic media and idiotic fanbase that place the blame of England’s failure directly at his door?
The reality is that the England job is a poisoned chalice for any manager. How does one get the best out of a team that fails to play like one? In the aftermath of their humiliation, the majority of fingers are being pointed at the Italian. This is no surprise and of course the manager must accept responsibility (and Capello has) but the real questions must be asked of a collection of selfish individuals who refused to follow their orders and were mauled because of it.
Wayne Rooney
It really is unfair to single out one English player considering they were all abject but considering Rooney was touted as the man to carry the hopes of a nation on his broad shoulders and deliver glory only for him to fail to turn up in any of the four games played, it’s a pretty poor ending to a story laced with optimism, hope and unrealistic hyperbole.
Frank Lampard
A shame to see one of the only players to emerge with any semblance of credit piss it all away by proclaiming that “Nobody can tell me that Germany were much better than us. Not 4-1 better.”
Sorry Frank but even Stevie Wonder can tell you that.
Gabriel Heinze

The ex-Manchester United defender was most certainly not ready for his close-up.
Linesmen

Both of Sunday’s games featured terrible officiating from the men at the side of the pitch. England will debate long into the night about Lampard’s Pedro Mendes-esque “goal” while Carlos Tevez was clearly offside for Argentina’s first goal. The ugly debate about goal-line technology has reared its head once again while FIFA remain stubborn. Perhaps a more pertinent question would be why FIFA didn’t employ the additional goal-line officials that worked so well in the Europa League?
USA
Ran out of comebacks. Their admirable team spirit and work ethic masked a worrying lack of depth. Outside of Donovan, Dempsey and Howard the Americans lack leaders and special players. They simply have not progressed enough since the previous World Cup (where incidentally they also fell at the feet of the Ghanaians) and despite the profile of “soccer” rising in the country, the team hasn’t evolved enough.
South Korea

Captain Ji-Sung Park wanted a repeat of their semi-final charge of 2002 but it wasn’t to be.
Optimists
Gary Linker claimed before Brazil/Portugal that anything less than a 4-4 scoreline would give license payers the right to complain. Considering the stage of the competition and what was needed from both teams it was silly to expect anything other than what we got.
Mick McCarthy

Like the French, poor Mick just doesn’t want to be there. Greeting the additional five minutes at the end of the game with howls of derision, Mick exclaimed “Get them off! It’s been awful!”. Poor chap.
Cheats
Friday saw a splurge of poor sportsmanship. The Brazil/Portugal snoozefest saw Duda and Tiago booked for ordering the referee to send a player off and diving respectively while Fernando Torres continued to endear himself to everyone other than Liverpool fans by pulling off the most embarrassing dive seen on a football pitch since Alberto Gilardino took the piss against Celtic in the Champions League a couple of years ago.
Perhaps Torres belongs in the winners column as his pathetic actions got Chile’s Marco Estrada sent off but El Nino would later tweak his ankle and his game would end in the 54th minute. It’s been a poor showing from the Liverpool striker thus far, and he will know it.

World Cup Daily – Winners and Losers of Day 2

In the second of his columns on the winners and losers of the day from the World Cup, Dave Hanratty aims his sights at Robert Green and co.

Winners

USA

Torn apart after five minutes, it looked like it was going to be a very long night for the Americans, but a combination of their determination and Rob Green’s stunning incompetence saw them deservedly take a point from proceedings. Tim Howard, Oguchi Onyewu and Landon Donovan stood out in a team that grew in confidence as the game went on. Solid but not spectacular, they should advance from the group with little difficulty.

South Korea

Often pigeonholed as “workmanlike” and often dismissed in turn, the South Koreans combined their impressive workrate with skill and flair, cruising to an easy two nil victory over a pathetic Greece side. The scoreline flattered the 2004 European champions and in truth really should have been much more. South Korea are out to prove that their semi-final appearance in 2002 was no fluke, and while that might be a touch optimistic, they should not be underestimated.

Argentina

Gabriel Heinze’s header on six minutes seemed to invite the floodgates to open. Were it not for the heroics of Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, it could have been an embarrassing day for the African side. While Enyeama won his personal battle with Lionel Messi, it was Maradona’s men who won the war, although they will need to produce a better performance against more credible opposition.

Mick McCarthy

“When I looked at the teamsheet I had to ask if it was THE Veron!”. An all expenses paid trip to the World Cup and an easy commentary gig without doing any homework. Good job Mick.

Losers


Rob Green

It would be tragic if it wasn’t so funny.

James Milner

Whether or not Milner’s 30th minute substitution was down to illness or a fear that he may get sent off, the possibly Man City-bound midfielder was given a huge opportunity and promptly blew it.

Greece

You get the feeling that they would be content to suffocate teams to 0-0 draws until the end of time. Thankfully the South Koreans were able to find away around their disgusting anti-football tactics.

Anglo/Korean Relations


Hats off once again to Peter Drury of ITV for coming out with faux-xenophobic rhetoric. Remarking on the “bench full of Kims” wasn’t enough for the gormless commentator. On half-time he declared that it was “a walk in the PARK” for South Korea. Because Park is a common Korean surname you see? Genius.

NB: I didn’t see ITV’s coverage of the England/USA game, so if anybody can shed some light on what I missed, feel free to add a comment.

Anglo/Korean relations

Ke Nako – It Is Time

South Africa v Mexico

Venue: Soccer City, Johannesburg

Date: Friday, 11 June

Time: 15.00 BST (16.00 local)

The hosts of the 2010 FIFA World Cup enter the tournament’s opening fixture buoyed by recent performances and by the unbridled devotion offered to them by the South African public. Hoping to upset the party will be Javier Aguirre’s Mexico, a side with a strong recent World Cup history and players of genuine pedigree.

When the draw for the World Cup was made the instant reaction was that South Africa would become the first World Cup hosts to fail to progress from the Group Stage. Placed in Group A alongside France (winners of the 1998 World Cup), Uruguay (winners in 1930 and 1950) and tomorrow’s opponents Mexico, many believed that South Africa would struggle to muster even a single point.

That belief, potentially a correct one, still exists in some quarters. However, Bafana Bafana, guided by former World Cup winning coach Carlos Alberto Parreira come into Friday’s game unbeaten in twelve fixtures, a run stretching back to October 2009. The same pessimism greeted South Africa’s participation in the last summer’s Confederations Cup where they narrowly missed out on Third Place. If South Africa are to enjoy another successful international tournament then achieving a result against a talented Mexican side is an essential prerequisite.

Mexico should prove to be a formidable opposition for the hosts. So adept at controlling possession and tempo, El Tri would

usually look to release their pacy wingers Andrés Guardado and Giovanni dos Santos in a bid to terrorise the South African full-backs. However, Javier Aguirre has surprised many with his selections in recent international friendlies. He has left out Guardado of Deportivo la Coruña, wily veteran Cuauhtémoc Blanco and coveted goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa with varying consequences. The uncertainty surrounding the lineup perhaps revealing that Aguirre is not entirely convinced that El Tri can win games at the World Cup in their conventional 4-4-2/4-3-3 setup.

For all of their skill and competence with the football, Mexico must improve their cutting edge. Against England, they dominated a potential World Cup winning side but were unable to capitalise, losing 3-1. In qualifying, six players were equal top scorers with three goals each.

South Africa have suffered problems with strikers as well. The omission of West Ham United’s Benni McCarthy was not a popular decision. Without a recognisable goal scorer, South Africa will struggle to win the one game that is usually required to qualify for the Round of 16. Step forward, Katlego Mphela. Four goals in three games for the Mamelodi Sundowns striker including goals against strong Columbia and Denmark sides has relaxed criticism of the ponderous decision to leave McCarthy out.

Despite this, Mexico are still favourites for this opening encounter. Under normal circumstances, Mexico should and probably would win this match. These are not normal circumstances. Bafana Bafana have united the Rainbow Nation. When the two teams emerge from the tunnel at Soccer City they will be met with one of the most impassioned crowds yet witnessed at a World Cup. Vuvuzelas, hard-hats, altitude and up to 90,000 fans combined will make any fixture against Parreira’s side a challenge even before kick-off.

This match will tell us a lot about the balance of power in Group A. Should Mexico overwhelm South Africa en route to a comfortable victory then they will be favourites for a place in the Round of 16. If they are stifled by the raucous atmosphere and the combative nature of captain Aaron Mokoena and his side and draw then all attention will refocus on Mexico v Uruguay. If, however, South Africa are able to pull off an upset and win, then there is a genuine opportunity for the host nation to avoid breaking precedent and progress to the next round.

That is the aim of Carlos Alberto Parreira, who informed the media that people must fear his side.

“Everybody has to respect us. We are ready to fight. We respect everybody, but they must also respect us. We will take every game as a final. We will fight in every game.”

Prediction – South Africa 1-2 Mexico

Parreira announces preliminary Bafana Bafana squad

We’re getting close now. The first preliminary squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup was announced today by South Africa’s coach Carlos Alberto Parreira. The news follows the conclusion of the Bafana Bafana’s final training camp ahead of the World Cup. Parreira’s squad strikes a balance between domestic talent and European based players. Pretorian club Mamelodi Sundowns will boast the largest contribution to the squad, with six ‘Brazilians’ joining their international teammates. A detailed squad analysis to follow.

Goalkeepers

Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs)

Shu-Aib Walters (Maritzburg United)

Rowen Fernandez (Arminia Bielefeld)

Moeneeb Joseph (Orlando Pirates)

Defenders

Matthew Booth (Mamelodi Sundowns)

Siboniso Gaxa (Mamelodi Sundowns)

Innocent Mdledle (Mamelodi Sundowns)

Bongani Khumalo (Supersport United)

Tsepo Masilela (Maccabi Haifa)

Aaron Mokoena (Portsmouth)

Bryce Moon (PAOK)

Anele Ngcongca (Racing Genk)

Siyabonga Sangweni (Golden Arrows)

Lucas Thwala (Orlando Pirates)

Midfielders

Surprise Moriri (Mamelodi Sundowns)

Franklin Cale (Mamelodi Sundowns)

Lance Davids (Ajax Cape Town)

Kagisho Dikgacoi (Fulham)

Andile Jali (Orlando Pirates)

Teko Modise (Orlando Pirates)

Reneilwe Letsholonyane (Kaizer Chiefs)

Siphiwe Tshabalala (Kaizer Chiefs)

Thanduyise Khuboni (Golden Arrows)

Steven Pienaar (Everton)

Macbeth Sibaya (Rubin Kazan)

Forwards

Benni McCarthy (West Ham United)

Katlego Mphela (Mamelodi Sundowns)

Siyabonga Nomvete (Moroka Swallows)

Bernard Parker (FC Twente)