World Cup Forum

Germany 4  Australia 0

Oh the pain of it!

Let’s face it folks, last night wasn’t a total shock, but it definitely wasn’t what we were looking for.

What went wrong? Were the tactics at fault? Or just the execution?

Do we hold out any hope for the rest of the campaign?

Here’s your chance to tell it how it should have been.

Australia  1   Ghana  1

Did Harry deserve to go?

Are we cursed?

Is there any hope left?

Should we have started this positively against the Germans?

So many ifs, buts and maybes: what we need are some answers.

Fire away folks.

Italy  1   New Zealand  1

Greg Louganis must have been Italian.

We all know how this feels, so for once we may put aside our condescension and empathise with our friends across the Tasman.

Australia  2  Serbia  1

A great win, but sadly not enough. Who would have thought Ghana wouldn’t roll the Germans?

And so we say farewell to several big names whose days representing Australia are probably done.

But the festival that is the World Cup rolls on.

Being connoisseurs of sport, we presume the average Almancker’s interests extend beyond Australian involvement.

There is much still to be answered. Will Maradona keep it together? Will Messi win it for Argentina despite the coach?

Will the Italians and Germans sneak through the tournament as usual? Are Paraguay a genuine dark horse?

All will be revealed in the long nights to come.

Slovakia  3  Italy  2

Paraguay  0  New Zealand  0

Errr…  Scratch Italy from the above considerations. A dive of a different nature.

Well done to the Kiwis. Completely unsung entering the tournament;  semi-amateurs against millionaires; but held their own and could have qualified with a bit more luck.

Uruguay  2  v  South Korea  1

Ghana  2  v  United States  1

FIFA probably won’t be happy, but it’s good to see an African team prosper on their own continent.

Uruguay look a genuine chance if they stay positive, rather than try to sit on a lead.

And now for the Brits v the Germans…

Germany  4  v  England  1

Perhaps they should have mentioned the war? Either way, they didn’t get away with it.

Once again, the lack of a video option was an embarrassment (England’s goal that wasn’t), but there can be little argument about the result. Wanye who?

Argentina  3  v  Mexico  1

Maybe Diego is crazy like a fox? Or maybe the players are so good no coach could fail?

The clash with Germany will reveal all.

Netherlands  2  v  Slovakia  1

Slovakia’s new kids in the block meet their match. “Total football” isn’t exactly what the Dutch have been producing, but they have won their first four matches. Are they a chance?

Brazil  3  v  Chile  0

Not a huge shock here, despite the entertainment value the Chileans provided. A couple of goals late in the first half put this contest away. Joga Bonito is only making occasional appearances, but Brazil look like they mean business.

Paraguay   0  v  Japan  0  (5-3 on penalties)

The dreaded penalty shoot out rears its head. Oscar Cardozo wins the prize for most relaxed man with the eyes of his nation upon him. Meanwhile, I hope the Japanese have given that Hari Kiri stuff the flick.

Spain  1  v  Portugal  0

Spain prevails in a tight, tactical encounter. As far as 1-0 results go, this had a certain air of authority about it.

Netherlands  2  v  Brazil  1

After scoring first and looking in control, a Brazilian defensive howler conceded the equalizer. From that point, the world’s top ranked team were rattled. The Dutch come from behind to score a famous victory.

Uruguay  1  v  Ghana  1  (Uruguay win on penalties 4-2)

What is there to say about this one? In the last minute of extra time, a Ghana shot has beaten the keeper and is heading goal-wards, only to be punched away by Luis Suarez. After he was sent off, Gyan hit the crossbar with the penalty kick. Uruguay go on to win the penalty shoot-out, but have lost their star striker for the semi.

Germany  4  v  Argentina  0

Maradona’s men crashed badly at their first major hurdle. The young German team comprehensively outplayed them. They now face Spain. You would expect the fall out in the Argentinian camp to be lively.

Spain  1  v  Paraguay  0

Both sides missed a penalty, before David Villa put Spain ahead 7 minutes from full time. After a long period of drought, Spain are finally producing results at a World Cup. Paraguay will console themselves with their best ever finish, and a highly competitive performance.

SEMI FINAL:  Netherlands  3  v  Uruguay  2

Pundits keep muttering about their style, but the Dutch keep scoring goals and winning games. A Van Bronckhorst scorcher put them ahead, before Forlan equalised for Uruguay. 1-1 at half time. Sneijder broke the deadlock, before Robben appeared to have sealed it. A late Pereira goal caused some flutters, but the Dutch had done enough.

SEMI FINAL: Spain  1  v  Germany  0

A tight, tactical encounter, with Spain dominating possession, but wary of the German counter-attack. It took until the 73rd minute to break the deadlock, a marauding header from defender Puyol off a corner kick. The Spanish have finally broken through to a World Cup final, and will start favoured against the Dutch, who the pundits seem determined to underestimate.

Play off for 3rd place: Germany  3  v  Uruguay  2

A typically entertaining consolation match, with the real pressure removed. Germany take some small solace for their efforts.

Final: Spain  1  v  Netherlands  0

Yellow cards 9, goals 0. That pretty much sums up the first 90 minutes. Spain threatened to swamp the Netherlands in the opening 10 minutes, but the Dutch dug in and prevented the Spaniards from playing by whatever means permitted. Chances were rare for either side, and none were taken.

Extra time saw the game open up, with Spain threatening but again lacking a killer blow. Inevitably, a Dutch defender was forced to foul once too often, and Heitinga was red-carded. With a penalty shoot-out looming, the 116th minute saw Iniesta finally break the deadlock, and give Spain their first World Cup title.

The champions of Europe are now champions of the World.

Now we can all get some sleep.


  1. Peter Flynn says

    The defence is too old.

    The tactics and selection were highly dubious.

    No striker.

    Cahill played out of position.

    Best result possible is probably 4 points in the group.

  2. Let’s face it, the form-line leading in has not been good. Australia were poor against New Zealand (and fortunate to win), okay against Denmark, but were terrible against the U.S.A. and ended up being spanked 3-1.
    Australia were out-classed by Germany. Pure and simple. At times it looked as if it were boys vs men.
    Hopefully this loss will allow us all to ask a few relevant questions:
    # Why did Australia virtually concede defeat going into this game (Lucas Neill saying Germany were a “superior team”; Pim not selecting either Kewell or Kennedy up front, and also signalling that getting results from Ghana and Serbia would be the priority)?
    # If Kewell was not fit enough even to come off the sub’s bench, why was he selected in the squad initially ?
    And on a wider scale:
    # Where is the next generation of players ? The generation that they need to replace the raft of post-World Cup retirees !
    Australia are not out of it. Yet. They still are to play two winnable games. But the odds are against them now.

  3. John Butler says

    If you are focused on defence, then decisive organisation is essential. This doesn’t just apply to the round ball.

    The tinkering with selections suggested a late loss of nerve. Fitness of key personal was a problem also.

    Luck didn’t favour us (penalty that wasn’t, Cahill) but we looked like we weren’t sure whether we were fish or fowl.

    It would take a huge effort to save the campaign now.

  4. Chalkdog says

    lets not chuck the baby out with the bathtub! I have listened to a bit of talkback today. Someone actually declared it a deliberate ploy by Pim. He has his future locked up & doesnt care about the current job at hand etc…
    I believe if you have a choice between a conspiracy and a stuff up history will usually prove it to be a stuff up.
    Lets all have a cup of tea and a lie down. In a week or 2 when we are again in the round of 16 we wont even remember this game. And dont forget its not like it matters. Its only soccer!

  5. Sheizen!

  6. Stainless says

    I don’t feel qualified to analyse what went wrong beyond saying it reminded me of Geelong v Richmond.

    I reckon the AFL will be delighted with the World Cup so far.

    Aside from the dreadful start by Australia, consider this. Thirteen goals from eight games. No, it’s not the impressive recent stats of a handy small forward – it’s the total goals scored in the World Cup to date. Methinks the world game has become so uber-professional that rock-solid defence has become the order of the day.

    Admittedly I’m biased but I enjoyed the sheer spectacle of yesterday’s lowly Richmond v West Coast game far more than any of the “fascinating” games from South Africa.

    So amidst all the doom and gloom about the Socceroos, we should pause to reflect on how lucky we are to have the greatest ball game all to ourselves.

  7. Ian Syson says

    Stainless, 13 goals from 8 games would be a disgrace in AFL (I suppose). But this is not AFL. It’s soccer, a different game.

    You may be right that something in the Australian psyche can’t get its head around a comp that normally delivers around 2.5 goals per game. But you might not be as well.

  8. Ian – will the Aussie’s score a goal this tournament? If so who will score it, especially with Cahill out of the next game. (I mean that as a serious question, not being nasty to the Aussies).

  9. Simple: Verbeek’s lone striker formation cannot work in a team like ours. To have a lone striker, you need a player like Rooney or Messi. We had relegated reject Richard Garcia and Tim Cahill playing in that position.
    The team should be as follows:(with the lone striker formation- verbeek will not change it)

    Wilkshere Moore Neil Chipperfield
    Grella Culina
    Bresciano Kewell Emerton

  10. Ian Syson says

    Don’t get me wrong Dips. I’m not pleased with what I saw and I can’t see clearly where we might get a goal either. Jesus might get one with his head if Pim plays him. Harry will play and is always a potential.

    Though to be fair: Craig Moore should already have scored one from the spot!

  11. Dave Nadel says

    As someone who admits he knows a lot less about soccer than Aussie Rules I was confused by the team selection for this morning’s match. I would have thought that if you only have one key forward (striker) you would want him to be tall enough to have a chance at heading the ball in during corner kicks. I do not understand why Kennedy wasn’t selected.

    I watched the whole match on TV and I guess Australia would have lost even with a more attacking forward line and even if Tim Cahill had not been shown a red card. However with a more attacking forward line we may have lost 4-2 or even 4-3 rather than 4-0. In which case we might have had a better chance of finishing second in our Group.

    I don’t think World Cup failure has any influence on competition between AFL and Soccer, because the more I look at Australian sporting interests the more I am sure that the majority position of Australian sports fans is support for international soccer and for local football (i.e. Aussie Rules in the South and West, Rugby League and Union in the North East).

    This also represents my inclination, which is why I got up at 4.00 this morning and was very disappointed (but not surprised) by 6.15.

  12. johnharms says

    Very cold at 4.22am in Canberra: -5 in fact. However, the opening minutes made it all worth while.

    I’d have to say, after that, the Germans were brilliant. It seemed to me they were incredibly dynamic, and creative. Fast.

    Whether that was a result of being offered too much space by the Australians, it’s hard to know. And whetehr that was because the Australians are old-ish, I also don’t know.

    It looked like their were about five Steve Johnson types out there.

    Betfair punters brought them in from $16.50 to $11.50 to win the tournament.

    I suspect they are very good. I also suspect the Australians had one of those no-collect-at-the-races, gone-by-the-fourth-race days.

  13. Ian Syson says

    Dave, with a more attacking forward line we would have been ripped an even bigger and newer arsehole than the one we were presented with last night.

    Kennedy would have made some sense but his average balls skills at ground level during the warm-ups, especially with that new ball, were not good.

    John, Ned Zelic felt that we gave the Germans just way too much space in which to show off. So you’re in good company there.

  14. Did I miss something?
    I didn’t know the Cricket World Cup was on? Let’s hope we bowl the Poms out for a cheap score. But liking the under-dog, hope Bangladesh cause an upset or two.

  15. Ian Syson says

    So the medication has worn off has it? Best you take some more.

  16. Where’s Simon Hill??

  17. John Butler says

    Hear hear on that call Mark.

    He’s a loss.

  18. Ian Syson says

    Simon Hill’s on Foxtel alas.

  19. Yes, Simon Hill is on FoxSports, the home of A-League/FFA boosting at all costs, and whatever the merits of his commentary skills, he burnt his bridges with SBS by writing and making snide comments towards his fromer employer with his mate Robbie Slater.

  20. I wasn’t going to say anything for fear of being labeled “anti soccer” (which I am by the way), but when are the smaller countries like Australia, New Zealand etc going to realise that the World Cup is totally corrupt and rigged. We saw plenty of evidence in 2006 when the Aussies threatened the European and South American markets, and we’ve seen it again with the robbing of the Kiwis of an historic win over the bleating, whining, whinging, cheating, pathetic Italians. Shame on soccer, shame on the Italians (players and refs) and shame on anyone who tries to defend this nonsense. The whole thing should be abandoned as a bad joke.

    The World Cup should be renamed the Euro-America Cup. Its a disgrace. I hope it flops off into history like the dodo bird.

  21. Ian Syson says

    Dips, did you watch the Kiwi game? I did and I was outraged by the dive and the penalty. But this is a weird way to start an argument: “I wasn’t going to say anything for fear of being labeled “anti soccer” (which I am by the way)” — another way of saying “I am going to be critical of something about which I am already prejudiced”.

    If the WC IS rigged — and I don’t agree with you that it is — how different is it from the AFL’s rigged draw, talent equalisation, rewarding of tanking and the deliberate concentration of playing strength in regions of growth? The only difference I can see is one of scale.

    In 2006 we were dudded by a bad decision. But everyone seems to forget that earlier in the same game Italy had a man sent off when a yellow card was plausible. If they were trying to cheat us why would the ref have done that? Moreover, we weren’t good enough to put a goal past Italy playing with ten men.

    Last night, the Kiwis scored an offside goal which was squared off by another example of Italian ‘simulation’. The referee was incompetent and intimidated but there is no conspiracy.

  22. johnharms says

    The NZ match reminded me of Kent v King in interhouse soccer at little Oakey High in 1977.

    I usually played rugby league but I had injured my shoulder in a club match and was out for quite a few weeks – most of term 2 as it turned out (in the three term system as it was then).

    King was ful of soccer types from Goombungee. They expected to beat us 5-0. Kent was full of hacks like me and Geoff Kajewski, but we stacked the penalty box. It was a 1-0-8 formation. And we jagged a fast-break goal. ONe of my favourite sporting moments of all time.

    I thought the Kiwi match was riveting last night. Sets it up brilliantly for the final day.

    Dips, I wouldn’t have a clue about that stuff, but it didn’t enter my head last night.

    I do, however, think there is a massive prejudice in world soccer fans. This assumption that the super=powers are so much better. I was in a 2002 WC tipping comp where the big soccer brains couldn’t get their heads around the form. I just kept tipping Sth Korea, Japan, USA (can’t rememebr the others) and I was paid the cash before the semi-finals.

  23. Ian – I didn’t think we were talking about the AFL, I thought we were talking about soccer. Its corrupt, pure and simple. Money rules. The old, fat, decrepit, monsters who run the show couldn’t care less about the minor nations. We, unfortunately, are irrelevant. It can’t be explained except by concluding wide spread, inbuilt corruption. It puts a stain on the sport. Its culture is damaged, its name is damaged. The Kiwis should tell them to jam it and go home. So should we.

    If you lie down with dogs you get fleas, so if we persist in playing in a rigged tournament we shouldn’t moan about “bad” decisions I suppose.

  24. Ian Syson says

    Dips when you confess to being prejudiced against soccer on a footy site I can only infer that you are comparing soccer to footy when you say it is corrupt. My point was one of scale. I guess I feel resigned to the existence of corruption in any area of human activity that involves ambition, power and money.

    You are correct that soccer is terribly corrupt though. Have a look at Foul! by Andrew Jennings — that’ll reveal enough about the game’s high level corruption to make you feel sick. (Here’s my review in the Age that was published near the end of the 2006 WC.) I guess I just tire of the conspiracy theories from people who don’t know the game, don’t watch much of it apart from the WC and TV highlights and confess to not even liking the game. Soccer is corrupt, yes. But that doesn’t mean the decisions made by referees are directed by that corruption. If last night’s referee was cheating, how do you explain the Kiwi goal? If the referee in 2006 was cheating, how do explain the Materazzi send off?

  25. Ian – its the vibe, its Mabo, its just the whole thing.

    Can’t stand the thought we’ve all been taken for a big ride.

  26. johnharms says

    Check out Lords of the Rings as well (Jennings on the Olympic movement). Makes Stawell look liek a Sunday School picnic.

  27. John Butler says


    Given the choice between conspiracies and stuff ups, always back the stuff up.

    Dips, I will agree to the extent that I reckon there’s an unconscious bias that generally favours the big, established powers. I don’t think the refs do it consciously, but whether it’s French handballs or Italian dives, If you have an expectation in the back of your mind it has to have some influence on what you think you see.

    It happens in AFL, but you have much more scope to recover from individual decisions.

    Ian, when it comes to soccer, I think that’s a major point of difference between the codes. An individual decision in soccer can often determine the match. Whereas, given the higher scoring, it rarely happens in AFL (if we put biases aside). I know this leaves me with a heightened sense of injustice regarding soccer.

    Too many games in this tournament have already been heavily influenced by referees’decisions, only some of which stand up to much scrutiny. This really is a stain on what should be soccer’s show piece.

  28. Ian Syson says

    John B, I agree with you entirely. It’s about pressure on the referees and the resultant unconscious bias. I’d like to see limited use of video technologies.

    You’re also correct about the way decisions can determine the outcome of a game. But that’s where I take a fatalistic attitude I suppose.

    I reckon the best referee of the tournament thus far is the Kiwi who refereed Korea-Greece. He was calm and unruffled and went largely unnoticed. The beauty of it is he is an amateur who refs club soccer in NZ.

    For anyone who’s interested: a bizarre result in the Victorian Premier League on the weekend: Northcote 7 – Altona 5. It was an exciting game but the defences were laughable — probably tired from too much WC watching.

  29. Dave Nadel says

    I pretty much agree with JB here. While I retain the traditional Collingwood right to maintain a chip on my shoulder and believe that the Umpires give us a bad deal, I can only think of one Grand Final that we were robbed of by an umpire (a blind boundary umpire in 1979). Even then, there was time for Collingwood to rush the ball after the centre bounce and score an equalising goal if they were good enough.

    Whereas in soccer, if your best player is unjustly sent off it makes it very difficult to get back into the game. I thought Australia played really well with ten men against Ghana, but in the end ten men against eleven when both sides have similar skill levels is heck of a mountain to climb.

    There may be corruption but I think that the problem is that soccer allows the referee far more power than his counterparts in Aussie Rules or the two Rugby codes. This may be acceptable to soccer fans as part of the rules and culture of the game, but it will always be a problem for people who have grown up in other codes.

    This is

  30. Dave Nadel says

    Sorry about two extra words in post #29. I have no idea where they came from.

  31. Ian – interesting review you wrote. I think it says everything I was feeling.

  32. Peter Flynn says

    Football can be the most cruel of games. There are plenty of instances.

    Decisions by refs (penalties and send-offs), dives (simulations), tactics can all have a massive impact on the outcome of a match. Goals are gold.

    World Championship Wrestling-style theatrics is central to the game.

    There is also corruption. Certainly at the highest level.

    There has been match-fixing. Nearly always involving referees. Serie A in 2004-2005. The Bundesliga recently.

    The last two games in each group of the World Cup are now played at the same time. Why?

    Because in 1982, West Germany played Austria requiring either a 1-0 or 2-0 West German win for both sides to go through to the next stage. The Germans scored early. For the next 80 minutes or so, both sides just passed the ball around the park. From memory, there were no other shots at goal.

  33. Peter Flynn says


    The 1978 Argentina v Peru World Cup match still has a real stench about it.

    Argentina needed a four goal victory to advance over Brazil. Argentina at that stage were struggling in attack and Peru was a good defensive team.

    Argentina won 6-0 after leading 2-0 at half-time. The Peruvian goalkeeper was born in Argentina and displayed very questionable goalkeeping skills. Think Robert Green standard.

    It’s alleged the goalie took a bribe. I don’t anything was ever proven.

  34. Stainless says

    I think this debate can be summed up in two statements:

    1. The essential beauty of soccer is that the outcome of a game can hinge on momentary acts of drama, be they sublime pieces of skill, horrendous blunders, huge slices of luck or crucial refereeing decisions. These results often don’t reflect the overall trend of the game.


    2. The essential flaw of soccer is that the outcome of a game can hinge on momentary acts of drama, be they sublime pieces of skill, horrendous blunders, huge slices of luck or crucial refereeing decisions. These results often don’t reflect the overall trend of the game.

    In the light of Australia’s recent misfortunes it’s not surprising that most of the posts in this forum are siding with Statement 2. Blame dodgy officials, but even better, blame the whole dodgy game itself.

    But I’m guessing that if there were an equivalent forum happening on the Swiss Footy Almanac right now, the tone would be very much with Statement 1.

    I don’t support the conspiracy theory about the World Cup. Like any sporting competition, the best sides usually win. Sometimes they do so as much by cunning and opportunism as skill and determination. Part of this involves being able to milk important refereeing decisions. Because of the nature of the game (see statements above), victories achieved like this can appear particularly undeserving, but the truth is, these types of grafting wins occur in any sport and good sides seem to find ways to achieve them.

    Let’s also not forget that the top sides come an occasional cropper too and for supporters of the underdog, soccer’s great charm is its capacity to throw up monumental upsets. Statistically, Spain mauled Switzerland the other day but emerged a 1-0 loser. Referees can play their part in these games too. Only days after thrashing Australia, Germany suffered a similar shock loss to Serbia. Klose’s dismissal played a huge part in this result. Conspiracy here, anyone? Soccer is littered with such upsets and I’m sure there’ll be more before this World Cup is over.

    Whether you regard these outcomes as travesties of justice or part of the great fascination of the sport comes down to personal preference (and the team you’re supporting on the day). One thing’s for sure – these incidents give the fans something to talk about, which is more than can be said for the tedium of much of the general play.

  35. Ian Syson says

    Wise words Stainless.

    BTW does anyone remember when we lost the Ashes to a catch behind that shouldn’t have been given? Why is it that we copped that without so much as a murmur?

  36. I’ve not seen either of Australia’s games in this finals series, but commentary has been like a broken record.
    I was disappointed by the whingeing after the loss to Italy in 2006.
    And, here we go again….Australia has been crucified in both games by refereeing – or, a foreign coach if that is a better “out”!
    We will never improve if these excuses are accepted.

  37. Did an Italian dive against the Kiwi’s in the penalty box?

    Seems to be a pattern emerging.

    Now that’s experience on the big stage isn’t it.

    Maybe the lower profile countries could look at how the big boys play and learn a thing or two.

    Sorry to bring up the Cahill call again but I knew there was something dodgey about the brill cream ref. and it took me a while to work it out.

    I fast forwarded the Resevroir Dogs DVD and there he was dancing to “Stuck in the Middle With You” with a razor in his hand.

    He showed red then as well.


  38. Thye emerging pattern is whingeing…having to placate an audience with extraordinary expectations.

  39. Well done Socceroos for HAVING A GO!

  40. They had that Cat switch going for a while (69 – 80 mins).

    Bloody Germans did just enough to get in themselves but shut Australia out.

    How’s that Crio.


  41. Peter Flynn says

    Did anybody catch Mahut v Isner?

    I picked it up at 40-all in the 5th set. I initially thought the score was deuce.

  42. haiku bob says

    I picked it up at 52-52 and I thought either the scoreboard was cactus or they were playing some kind of ‘super set’. Then I saw the aces count…remarkable. Will go down in history for many things, including spanning 2 Australian Prime Ministerships!

  43. Stainless says

    Just back on the World Cup, refereeing decisions and whingeing – did anyone else pick up the local media’s total silence on the referee’s failure to award Serbia a penalty in the last couple of minutes for what looked a clear handball by Cahill? If my maths are correct, a 2-2 draw would have put Serbia through to the knockout round ahead of Ghana, so it was a pretty big (non)decision. The Serbian players and coaching staff were ropeable after the game. Just imagine the stink if it had been Australia in their position.

  44. Stainless,

    the decision was deemed unintentional as Cahill was in front and the ball came off oneofthemanyasichs, who was behind, and hit his arm on the way down. I don’t think he realised till after.

    As the Harry call was technically correct (did I say that?) so was that one.

    Australia has been robbed blind on a many occasions, remember the way Viduka got constantly belted last time, but does not hold sway with the powers that be. Even with all our belly aching. (Not to whinge would be un-Australian.)

    We simply don’t have the votes on the FIFA inner sanctum to count and neither does Serbia apparently. Ireland got a dirty deal as well but what goes round comes round for ‘Les Blueing Bleus’.

    I wouldn’t mind betting that the Refs that have ‘done nothing wrong’ in the eyes of all the whinger bashers with regard to their decisions , or lack of them, get to the second round either.

    Now I can watch the conclusion calmly as an ‘independent expert’ It will be like watching the diving after the swimming at the Olympics when the experts are on centre stage. Watch out for the high scores at crucial times.

  45. Stainless says


    Thanks for the explanation. If that’s the case then I stand corrected, but I’ve heard other interpretations today that suggest Timmy could easily have been pinged (i.e a handball in the box is a handball in the box). Frankly I can’t see how this one was any more or less intentional than Harry’s.

    Leaving aside this decision, I thought the ref and linesmen had a very good game. A stack of critical offside calls were all picked correctly.

    And well done to Australia for fighting back from a torrid start to the tournament and an ordinary first half today. We’re a bit stiff to miss progressing this time just as we were a tad lucky to go through in 2006.

    There – not a whinge to be heard!

  46. Umm, i’m not really a soccer fan but b/c of chocolate and god-like tennis players, i sided with Switzerland this year.
    Are they even still in this thing or what? lol

  47. John Butler says


    Switzerland are well and truly alive. A victory against the might of Honduras could see them qualify for the next round, at the expense of either Spain or Chile.

    No Federer’s in the team to my knowledge though.

    They do have Ludovic Magnin and he’s quite a looker. :)

  48. ^Haha JB, Danni probably had her hopes high then

    Here’s my two cents:

    Even though we got unceremoniously knocked out, we can take solace in a couple of things:

    1. We won a match – that’s only our 2nd win in World Cup history
    2. Italy got knocked out. Enough said.

    When I heard about the score in the Isner-Mahut clash, I was totally awesmacked and gobstruck – in the rankings of the longest tennis matches, it now stands out like Don Bradman’s batting average.

  49. Peter Flynn says


    Some maths boffins have begun formulating probability models to determine the likelihood of this event (a 70-68 set) occurring again.

    Preliminary and rudimentary analysis suggests your Bradman call is a pretty sound one.

  50. Ian Syson says

    I would have thought that a Walter Lindrum comparison would have been more appropriate than a Bradman one.

    However, as Dips rightly pointed out in #23 this is a WC thread. Surely the tennis blowout is worth its own thread.

  51. John Butler says


    When you’re right you’re right.

    See home page. :)

  52. Ian Syson says

    So, who’s on the ‘Schadenfreude Express’? I feel a little guilty but I can’t help myself.

  53. If Switzerland beats Honduras in the final match of Group H, that puts Spain under pressure – nothing less than a win will put them through against the yet undefeated Chile. Spain have a reputation for choking in the World Cup, but I think they’ll knock over the Chileans.

  54. Did any one see the Brazillian hand ball against Portugal. Sandilands couldn’t have done better in the ruck.

    Ref’s decision no case to answer..

    There’s something about FIFA when thay want the seeds into the final.


  55. I’m whinging about Geelong. Their soccer skills were very poor last night.

  56. One of Uruguay, South Korea, USA and Ghana will make the semi-finals now. Travesty.
    Two of the most exciting teams left, Spain and Portugal, battle it out in the round of 16. Another travesty.

  57. Tim Ivins says

    Phantom: I am not certain of the rules, but I believe because the handball did not prevent a goal from being scored it could not have been a red in the Brazil v Portugal game.

    Adam: No travesty, I had Uruguay to make the final 4. Hopefully they can deliver.

    Short of rigging the draw, it was going to be Spain v Portugal or Spain v Brazil in the Round of 16. That’s just luck.

  58. John Butler says

    Adam, I’m with Tim on this.

    It’s good to see some different teams get a chance to shine.

    Italy and France offered reputations only this time around. Their football stank.

    Uruguay have a great tradition for a small country. And it’s good to see Ghana get through, even if it was at Australia’s expense.

  59. Whinging Poms.

    It was only a goal by about a metre and two all at that stage of the game wasn’t important.

    The defence rests.


  60. John Butler says

    Here Here Phantom! :)

    Actually, the lack of video options for the many glaring errors is reaching embarrassing proportions.

    Not that it really changed this result. Germany looked like they could have scored 6 if they needed to.

    I presume Rooney was only persisted with because of reputation. He showed nothing all tournament.

  61. Peter Flynn says

    Love Martin Tyler’s “England have been mullered” call.
    (Note there should be an umlaut on the u.)

  62. Tim, JB, I see your points, and I agree it is good to see an African country make the quarter finals, but there is massive inequality in skill over the round of 16 draw. Spain v Portugal I mentioned, the winner of that match takes on the winner of Japan vs Paraguay. No disrespect to them, but neither Japan or Paraguay are in the same league as the Iberians.

    Also, Argentina vs Germany are now in a quarter final together, whilst Ghana and Uruguay are in the other.

    I think FIFA should consider implementing a seeding system of some form after the group stage to help balance the draw and prevent the strong teams from knocking each other out too early.

  63. Peter Flynn says

    For those interested in hearing England fans vent with the grumpy Alan Green:

  64. John Butler says


    They have some method of seeding the respective groups (not sure of the exact details).

    Once you have a first and second place team for each group based on actual performance, it would be a bit unfair to alter standings based on previous results.

    The World Cup is a tournament. Your reward is based on how you actually play in it, not your reputation going into it. The beauty is that the eventual winner doesn’t always start in great form, but times their run.

    But I know how you feel. Argentina v Germany could easily be a final that no one would complain about.

  65. I will have to barrack for the Robots (on speed) now.

    Father in law ‘Hans Joachem Breier’ could not believe that I would for go the Berlin bloodline he has introduced to the Phantom cave and want the Poms to win.

    Just as the title winner came out of the Round of 16 arm wrestle at the diving pool in 2006 the Germany / Argentina clash will produce the winner.

    Those Germans have a bit of clout in FIFA and I suspect they ‘von’t be taking de schiezen’ from any body in this series from now on.

    They have just had to bail the European P I G S out of the fiscal schiezen with a flood of ‘old deutz marks’ so their reward is nigh.

    There you are. I have exposed myself as an asertive synical whinger.

    JB. Young Rooney may have been up to his old tricks and showing a little bit at the bordellos and was subsequently a little tired on the day.

  66. John Butler says

    Phantom, you might be onto something there. He looked a little drained.

    One interesting aspect of proceedings is the number of teams who have appeared to be in control of matches, taken the lead, and then got themselves into trouble by trying to sit on that lead. Their change to a defensive mindset let the opposition back into the game. Uruguay v South Korea was a howling example of this.

    Surely the coaches must be responsible. Is this further evidence to the contention that coaches are essentially a fearful breed, haunted by nightmares of failure rather than dreams of glory?

  67. John,

    I did catch a glimpse of the Uruguayan winner. That was a very business like strike. Extremely well put together under pressure, and timely.

    It may not have been as flash as some of the others but it was certainly top shelf.

    Goal of the series so far for me.

  68. Ian Syson says


    What was interesting about the Uruguay game is that they looked lost when they had the lead. As soon as the Koreans equalised they were back on the job of dominating the game.

    BTW: Germany won’t win. Against a good/organised defence playing with belief they will not score.

  69. Tim Ivins says

    Just out of interest do we then need a better seeding system for the group stage as well? So as to avoid Spain, Portugal and Ivory Coast being in the same group? What is a better system?

    Also how do we determine who deserves protection? Do we look forward or backward? The FIFA World rankings look at history, ESPN’s Soccer Power Index looks forward

    In this case, you can see Uruguay are ranked 7th in the world, Chile 9th, South Korea 14th and Paraguay 18th. Although Ghana are ranked 30th, they did win the Under 20 World Cup last year.

    Although there appear to be inequities in the draw, I believe it is fair to say that the teams that have made it this far deserve to be there.

  70. Tim

    The rankings make interesting reading, especially in comparison to the official rankings – Ivory Coast has a 16 position difference (11 in the SPI, 27 FIFA)

    Although it is unfortunate that some teams are disadvantaged by the group they get put in, it is more of an issue in the knockout stages.

    I’m trying to brainstorm an idea here – if after the group stage all the teams were ordered by their SPI ranking, then split into 4 ranked groups, it would look something like this:

    Group 1: Group 2:
    Brazil Germany
    Argentina Portugal
    Spain Uruguay
    Netherlands England

    Group 3: Group 4:
    Chile USA
    Mexico Ghana
    South Korea Japan
    Paraguay Slovakia

    Then each team is randomly assigned to play another team from the corresponding group (eg: 1v4, 2v3). This reduces skewness over the draw, and prevents Group 1 teams from meeting each other before the semi-finals.

    Unfortunately, FIFA would undoubtedly want to use their rankings anyway.


  71. Tim Ivins says

    Fascinating idea Adam and not a bad one. That would be pretty cool if you were a fan watching the draw, the main drawback I can see is that it would be a pain in the behind if you were trying to organise tickets. Particularly as you’d need to book flights, accom etc. (However a potential money spinner for FIFA who could guarantee accommodation and flights).

  72. Good point Tim, from a practical point of view it is sort of dodgy, but I’m young and idealistic.

  73. Tim Ivins says

    Sort of dodgy is what FIFA do best Adam. You could have a long career with them :)

  74. Curioser and curioser,

    so the the epidemic of dodgey refereeing decisions at the world cup has finaly stimulated FIFA into commencing an extensive investigation.

    Mr Maingot will lead an enquiry into the worst incident off them all.

    Who allowed the replay of the blatently offside first goal to Argentina to be shown on the big screen at the game?

    This is an outrage. It insited crowd reaction and clearly illustrated first hand, and beyond doubt, what we whingers have been screaming about for years. The legitimacy of many results is a ‘crock of crap’.

    Heads should roll. But not the big boy’s heads.

  75. Tim Ivins says

    Errr if I were Mr. Maingot I would be pulling the ‘English is my second language’ defence…

  76. So dear old Sepp has apologised for the avalanche of wrong reffing (f’ing) decisions.

    I would now be preferred to be considered a ‘whistle blower’ rather than a ‘whinger’

    Anything else would be un-Australian.

    Vindicated Phantom.

  77. Tony Robb says

    Well I’ve lasted this long now but feel the need to vent. While I agree that the WC is the pinnacle of world sporting events (the number dont lie) it has has sadly served as a reminder of what is so wrong with the game and how amatuerish its organisation is been. The failure to use video referees for all penalties given in box is ridiculous as is the failure to have referees in contact with a second official ( who should review of all penalties that the referee considers to be a card offence). The send off of the Brazilian bloke yesterday was astounding as have been many others. Should the diver been shown for the cheating prick that he is, an automatic reversal and send off with two game suspension be applied for offenders. Problem solved over night.
    Making the goals another two metres wider and .5 metre higher might lift the scoreing a bit. When the goal measurement were originally designed the averae goalie was most likely 5’6″ and less than athletic (based on the old school principle that the fat kid ended up in goals). Your average goalie is now 6’4″ and jumps like Steve Hooker. Finally, Get rid of FINA

    The benefits would be to get rid of the cheats and create a game that might spark a little interest in the uninitiated while ridding the world of its’ most corrupt sporting organisation and its’ parasitic hangers on.

    Sorry Ian I tried to embrace her but she is a cold mistress. Ill stick to the EPL highlights package for my hit of soccer brilliance and where the game played mostly in the spirit of the game

  78. John Butler says

    I was wondering why we hadn’t heard from you Tony. :)

  79. Ian Syson says

    Tony. I understand your perspective. I don’t understand your need to vent. Wouldn’t you be better off just ignoring it? People who love the game share your frustration and will keep battling away to have changes made to the manifold problems the game has.

    Re EPL highlights. The EPL (as it currently exists) is the reason England won’t win a World Cup. I guess you prefer it because it is the form of the game that most resembles footy. It certainly doesn’t represent the spirit of the game. Brasil usually, Holland in the 70s, Lionel Messi and Barcelona are the embodiment of the spirit of the game.

  80. Interesting the number of references made to the WC being the ‘biggest’ world sporting event – although Tony above says ‘the pinnacle’. Either may be true if you only consider watching audiences.

    But the event itself is not even close to an Olympic Games with 10,000 athletes and a myriad of venues, mostly in one city, compared to what the WC needs.

    Compared to an Olympic Games, a WC would be a doddle to organise, albeit that you would need to spread your organising resources over a wider geography.

    Re Tony’s and other comments about FIFA, the same could be said for any of the world sporting organisations, particularly ones based in Europe. They are disdainful of the need for transparency and accountability and hang on to the archaic practices that were highlighted against the ‘old’ IOC regime (see this morning’s press about the FFA’s supposed activities in relation to the WC bid). Their Presidents and Sec Gens seem bewildered when fronted by the world’s press, who dare to question their practices. Problem is they are only accountable to their own organisations and choose to ignore everyone else, including the great unwashed masses.

  81. John Butler says

    Fair call Mark

    But you know the first rule of sports journalism, they’re all the biggest… until the next one. :)

  82. Ian Syson says


    If participants = biggest then we need to adjust some of our perceptions about what are the big sports in Australia.

    Perhaps the WC is biggest in terms of world wide interest whereas the glorified university games is ignored by a lot of people.

  83. TR # 77.

    Yeeeeeee Dawgie, them sure is fight’n words Tony.

    Good to see.

    A few of us have been carrying the ‘fair play and equality for all’ can for a couple of weeks and a fair bit of excrement has splashed our way or been directed from the sporting luddites.

    Obviously when a few of the ‘good ole boys teams’ were effected dear old ‘Septic Bladder’ has been handed the can and forced to sanitise things.

    I hope it is slippery and spills on his fine suit and shoes.

    Comrade Phantom.

  84. Dave Nadel says

    Biggest in this context is a fairly sterile argument. The Olympics gets its “bigness” from the number of countries and athletes participating. The World Cup gets its “bigness” from the amount of time it occupies the World’s attention. The Olympics go for ten days. The World Cup finals go for four weeks but if you include the regional qualifying rounds the contest goes for over two years.

  85. Tony Robb says

    I take your point but I have tried to watch or “embrace’ the WC but habve became so frustrated by so many aspects such crowd noise to poor refereeing, organisational and adminstrative ineptitude and cheating divers and prima donnas. Now we are at the pointy end of the tournament the standard should improve as teams try to win rather than not lose.
    I stick with my suggestion that it is the biggest sporting event in the world on the basis that the only test of such things these days is the TV ratings and this things kicks the Olympics, Super Bowl etc big time mainly.
    Re the EPL The reason England aren’t competitive is the roughly 64% of the players arent English and that % is magnified more so when you only look at 1st Div.


  86. Hard to verify whether the Olympics or WC have the biggest TV audience as figures quoted are often unreliable eg Neilsen quoted a figure of 70% of the worlds population watched the Beijing Olympic Games which I find difficult to believe. And how do you define ‘watched’? Many people might tune in for the Opening Ceremony but nothing else.

    However, quotes that TV rights revenue for the 2010 WC totals $2.15m whilst for the 2008 Olympics was $2.5b. As they say “follow the money”.

  87. Sorry – should have said $2.15b for the WC rights

  88. John Butler says

    I’m interested in what people think of the Uruguyan player who kept the last gasp goal out with his hand.

    Cynical cheating? Or taking one for the team? Or Both?

    Either way, it worked. But is this how things should be?

  89. Sorry to go back to the sooky La La bit at the begining BUT:

    the Robots beat us by 4 zip in the first outing.

    We drew with Ghana with 10 players after some flambouyant refereeing (second time, series, in a row, and we now know that the reffing was dodgey because they have all but admitted it)in a vital match.

    We beat Serbia and for a while there we were only one goal (difference) from the round of 10 except the Robots tanked.

    Ghana beat the septics (who beat the Poms, who we beat last time we played them in full kit at Upton Park when “Arsenal Whinger” and “Single Malt Nose’ told Sven “The Lecher” they weren’t to play their boys in the second half) and got through to the quarters and stuffed it against Uraguay, who we knocked out last time.

    The Robots beat Argentina (Buenies Aries would be a hoot tonight) 4 zip in a really big game showing that they were the real Mckoys) and perhaps all the Aussie bashere were a little un prepared for the jaust.

    Uraguay now play the the Dutch, who we beat last time we played in Europe, so why are all the tall poppy slashers picking on Australia.

    Holland will win.

    Get real bannana peel; we are in the mix. Just watch the development over the next few years.

    Rome wasn’t built in a day; but it sure is crumbling over night.

    Thimmk about it.


  90. Sorry, that’s round of 16, I’m still celebrating the Cat’s win)

  91. Tony Robb says

    Phantom. On the strength of your telling insights Ive plonked on the Tulip Growers at the 3s. They seem to be going about there business in a tradesman like fashion. (Read:Like dour dutchman)
    Slightly off topic. My thoughts of some weeks back re Australias bid for the World Cup being rather pointless seems to have gathered some legs. First Asia tells us to piss off in 2018. Now it would seem that Africa and the sub continent find the land downunder a little on the nose based on the snub to the honourable ex PM. Whether it was a snub at Howard or a snub at Aust. I still think we won’t nor shouldn’t host the WC.

  92. JB: I thought it was a scoundrel act personally. Suarez was exploiting a loophole in the rule. Definitely what he did was unethical, especially when the team progressed BECAUSE of a clear break of the rules. His handball is another example of the unsportsmanlike culture that is prevalent in the world game.

    Sure, he got his team through to the semi-finals, but I’m a valuer of fair play, and I wouldn’t particularly like to see Australia get through in that way, if they were in Uruguay’s shoes.


  93. John Butler says


    With so much national prestige on the line at the World Cup, it certainly seems an “anything goes” attitude is prevalent.

  94. Dave Nadel says

    Tony #91 The rejection of Howard was more a rejection of Howard than a rejection of Australia. Whatever possessed the cricket authorities in Australia and New Zealand to think that a man who publically opposed boycotting Apartheid South Africa in the 70s and 80s would be acceptable as a leader of the ICC to any non-white Cricketting Nation!!

  95. JB

    To prevent situations like that occurring again, I think FIFA should consider introducing a new rule, making it that if someone handles on the line, preventing a certain goal, then the attacking team takes the penalty with NO goalie. Either that or make it an automatic goal. Thoughts?

  96. Tim Ivins says

    Ok, I am in the minority here. I applaud Suarez for his actions. The rules are clear. You handball you get punished. It is not the defenders fault that Gyan and Ghana choked.

    What’s more if you look at the replays of the incident, Ghana were offside when the initial cross came in. Would we all be jumping up and down yelling how Uruguay were robbed if Suarez didn’t commit the foul?

  97. John Butler says

    Dave #94

    I think you’re right re Howard. I think there are a mix of other factors at work there as well.

    Australia needs to look at its total relationship with India. We are insufferably patronising to them far too often. You only have to look at how parts of our media are already claiming Aussie credit for whatever goes right with the upcoming Commonwealth Games (whereas, of course, anything that goes wrong will be due to Indian shortcomings).

    This helps prime them to over-react to things like student bashings, cricket squabbles, etc. That plus little considerations like post-colonial sensitivity.

    Gideon Haigh is right that many of the dodgy characters now associated with world cricket also had their reasons for not wanting Howard appointed. But I don’t think that’s the whole story.

  98. John Butler says


    You’re not entirely alone. I must confess to mixed feelings on the issue.

    On one level, what Suarez did is entirely cynical. But if sacrificing self for team is what you admire, then it would be harder to find a starker example.


    If the authorities are completely focused on stopping similar future incidents, they should just make it an automatic goal.

  99. Ian Syson says

    If any of you have played the game you’ll know that the desire to keep the ball out in that situation can cause you to handball. That’s what happened and he paid the price. The Ghana player should have converted the penalty and we would be arguing about the offside. The only thing wrong with what happened is that he should have got 2 games off and not one.

    Adam, FIFA don’t make the rules. An independent body (of which FIFA has half the votes and the home nations the other half) makes the changes.

  100. John Butler says

    The Spaniards are through, although I still think they look a little gun-shy in front of goal. But they do know how to hold possession like no one else.

    The SBS punditry seem determined to talk the Dutch down- not “attacking” enough seems to be their verdict. Which is confusing, because they’re averaging 2 goals a game.

    I think this will be a real fight.

    Any thoughts folks?

  101. Ian Syson says

    I’m going to have a little wager on Spain 1-0.

    I think that what Zelic and co are suggesting is that Holland is only doing enough to win. While they’ve won each game so far only the first one was won by more than one goal.

  102. John Butler says


    In another (AFL) context, you discussed foundation myths. Every time I listen to the SBS crew, I have similar thoughts. They only seem to favour one general style as acceptable for Australian teams to adopt- the one that Foster claims is “native” to us (i.e. positive).

    Is this actually our natural style? Do we really have the personnel to maintain it? Or does this just represent their aspirations?

  103. Ian Syson says

    You’re right. That stuff is annoying because it appeals to some vague notion of Australian-ness that fails to acknowlegde 1) the idea of a singular Australian identity is highly fraught 2) that even if you can arrive at some idea of what is Australian it morphs over time. In relation to soccer things change drastically over time depending on which migrant group is dominating the ‘ideology’ of the game. Scottish, English, Meditteranean, Slavic etc. We played a very hard game in the 50s where hip and shoulders and charging the keeper were par for the course. The introduction of European migrants throughout the 50s brought about a new, nuanced and tactically superior form of the game.

    I watched the 1974 world cup and what I remember is an Australian team bravely (and appropriately) trying not to get its arse kicked — there was no way the team was trying to beat either East or West Germany and the Chile game represented an opportunity to get a 0-0 draw.

    The view you talk about is definitely based on aspiration and not experience.

    I have read Foster’s book and it’s a real shame that his rhetorical excesses will drive people away from it because he has a lot to say about the philosophies of soccer and sport in general. I give him 10/10 for his views on kids sport. If you have a look at it be prepared to forgive some fairly silly comments about footy because it’s worth reading to the end.

  104. John Butler says

    That’s an interesting point about the different migrant groups affecting styles. Food for thought for other codes maybe.

    You would never doubt Foster’s passion for the cause, but I think his criticism of Verbeek has been pretty scathing based on one poor performance.

  105. Ian Syson says

    I think Verbeek managed the team OK — but what is his legacy?

    Here’s an interesting snippet I’ve just found in the Argus from 1925:



    MELBOURNE, Sunday.

    In defeating Australia In the fifth Soccer test match at the Fltzroy Cricket Ground by 2 goals to nil the English team will return home with the honour of having won all flve tests, with a score of 22 goals against 4. The match on Saturday was the hardest-fought game of the tour, and great credit is due to the Australian eleven for holding the victors in check. The crowd was thrilled with the way players controlled the ball, and the head work and short passing of the Englishmen were features of the play. Each man worked in co-operation with his partners, and there was a lack of selfishness. Elkes and Simms delighted the spectators with their wonderful footwork and bewildered the opposing half-backs, but the defence cleverly kept the score down, England was awarded three penalty kicks, two of which were missed.

  106. Ian Syson says

    Then this from 1954 indicating the European migrant influence:

    Four named for Australian team

    Four Victorian soccer players have been recommended to the Australian Council for selection in the team to play New Zealand in the first Test at Fitzroy cricket ground on August 14. They are G. Plateo (Juventus), T. Jack (Hakoah), S. Jakomarok (Polonia) and G. Pittoni (Polonia). Jack also has been recommended as captain of Australia.

  107. John Butler says

    So not much has changed for England re penalties?

  108. John Butler says

    Before we can judge what legacy Verbeek has/should have left, we’d need to know the details of the brief he was given.

    Was building for the future part of it? Or was it qualify or bust?

    When your coach comes from overseas, and your best players play elsewhere, building for the future will likely need to be the concern of someone locally based.

  109. ‘Hola’ world champions

  110. Ian #103,

    Australia had very nice shorts, ‘T’ shirts and hair cuts in 1974 if I remember.

    The Dutch scored a goal in the final before Germany touched the ball, but went on to lose 1 – 2.

  111. John Butler says


    I presume you’re counting your winnings. :)

    Well done to Spain, and commiserations to the Netherlands.

  112. Ian Syson says


    I baulked at the low odds and didn’t put a bet on. But I’m pretty sure they only pay on the 90 min score which was nil-nil.

  113. There are so many bet types…some bet on 90 mins and these therefore had 3 possible outcomes and thus longer odds. Head-to-head betting is on the winner.
    Luckily I backed Spain and Argentina before the tournament so can afford a small sangria.

  114. Dave Nadel says

    While I guess the team that played the better soccer won you have to feel sorry the Dutch. Three finals for three defeats. And this time they didn’t even have to face a hostile home crowd. Up until this afternoon (I am watching the match in time zone some hours behind South Africa) the Netherlands were the only country to win every game that they had played. Now it turns out that they won every game except the one that they should have. Congratulations to Spain, but for reasons that have nothing to do with world soccer I hate seeing sides continually lose finals!

  115. John Butler says

    Now what reasons might they be Dave?

  116. Blockbuster syndrome.

  117. Speaking of Blockbusters.

    When are Collingwood, Hawthorn and St Kilda going to play at Kardinia Park?

    Neither of them have been there for three or so years.

    Maybe the Cats could get a home final if they make the eight this season.

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