Scoreless draw and Dunphy’s maw, familiar fare for an Irish man
In his second piece from the couch, Ian Power gets innovative with tinnies and legumes
Fulltime: Brazil 0 – 0 Mexico
Ochoa is my man of the match, preventing Brazil with smart reflexes and positioning from taking an undeserved lead on two more occasions. Mexico threatened a little but nil-all fits. Neymar is the only player worthy of the jersey, arsa RTE, and I couldn’t disagree. I wonder will Samba Soccer summer camps be teaching Thiago Silva’s demolition of Chicharito, for which he was wrongly yellow carded - should have been red.
I lace up the runners and nip round the block to see if I can redeem some frequent flyer miles in the local drink emporium. It’s after ten so nothing doing and I trudge home to crack open the reserves.
Group H’s second game sees Russia and South Korea go head-to-head in Cuiaba.
In a pool already tinged with nostalgia—Russia and Belgium’s last appearance being 2002, where they also shared the final pool, Belgium winning 3-2—this fixture, which in our time-zone spills into tomorrow, sees Fabio Capello turn 68, whilst referee Pitana (39) and substitute Alan Dzagoev (24) share a birthday today. London 2012 Bronze medallists South Korea will be a stern test as they continue to transition into a more technical passing outfit.
Grim first half of toil and little product, Son Heung-min’s bright spark offered a few sultry touches but one of the two shots he shanked over disappeared above row Z. Could somebody ask Bolivia for the ball back?
Clatterburger of a tackle by Ki Sung-yeung on Lokomotiv Moscow’s Aleksandr Samedov draws a card. Martin Keown, that venerable member of the Order of Unforgiving Centre Halves (OUCH) is critical of the challenge. Neil Lennon, chillin’ with Danny Murphy and Big Phil Neville in studio Beeb, considers the booking harsh, the tackle, ahem, only ‘full-blooded’. In fairness, the ex-Celtic man got the ball, he’s just taken a fair amount of Russian with it. Danny feels young Cochrane—Kokorin I gather—up front for Russia is too isolated. They need more men up there. Hmm, Capello’s renowned for verve and dash... right? South Korea clipped the ball about smartly but never sustained pressure on their opponent’s box.
An unlikely goal would really really be appreciated, lads.
WEDNESDAY, June 18th
Fulltime: Russia 1 – 1 South Korea.
Hectic. Akinfeev between the Russian sticks tossed a howler—in this case Lee Kyeun-ho’s 25-yard speculator—into his own goal. Every cloud etc. Capello summoned veteran Kerzhakov to equalise, which, six minutes later, he did, prodding home from four yards. The remainder was open and entertaining, the draw appropriate.
Bedtime so, to continue rifling David Winner’s fascinating ‘Brilliant Orange’, trying to better appreciate van Persie’s header in time for the Netherlands’ next game, against Australia at 5PM. The research gives me an excuse to review some classic Oranje strikes, Bergkamp in ’98 my favourite, best experienced in the original Dutch.
So many games, so little time!