Saturday 5 June
Didier had an operation on his fractured ulna this afternoon which was deemed a complete success, they are even talking about Les Elephants’ first group game in ten days time: “we don’t know if he will be able to play the first game – that depends on the verdict of the medical team. But he’s definitely not out”, said a delighted spokesman.
John Obi Mikel has been less fortunate, he has a problem with the same knee he injured to keep him out of the title run in and has withdrawn from the squad as a precaution. Cobham will be a busy place this summer with some fighting over the remote control for the final group games, as Jose Bosingwa and now Obi John join Michael Ballack and Michael Essien.
Miroslav Stoch looks like starting the tournament for Slovakia as he started in today’s 3-0 win over Costa Rica, while Branislav Ivanovic’s Serbia were altogether more entertaining in coming from behind twice to beat Cameroon 4-3.
Monday 7 June
England struggled to a 3-0 win of the Platinum All Stars in a local warm up every bit as bad as expected. Rooney both scored and was booked Joe Cole was the only player not subbed at half-time and he scored the second.
Tuesday 8 June
Ricky Carvalho and Deco both played as Portugal beat Mozambique 3-0 in their last warm up.
Salomon Kalou’s Côte d’Ivoire were disappointing in a 1-1 draw with Swiss league side Lausanne Sports.
Wednesday 9 June
A black day at Stamford Bridge as both Juliano Belletti Michael Ballack and Joe Cole have been released. Uefa’s strict limits on club debt mean Chelsea had to swing the axe somewhere and the German captain was an expensive luxury in a squad bristling with central midfielders but losing Joe Cole for want of a few thousand pounds is a big mistake. Injury has robbed us of the best of Joe in the recent past but there have been signs he is returning to his best and his best is better than anyone we could replace him with.
It is a curious decision that, having stuck by him and paid his wages during his rehabilitation, Chelsea don’t see the value in awarding him an improved contract. With a new three year deal the club could sell him next summer, for what – £10m, and recoup his wages that way.
It begs the question of how they expect to replace him in an inflated transfer market where any quality replacement could command the same level of wages. It doesn’t make any sense.
Belletti we spoke about some time ago when he first made the announcement on twitter. It is sad to see him leave but then age was catching up on him. It is a great excuse to find that goal against Spurs on You tube again.
Anyone who thought we were getting rid of Cole and Ballack and Belletti to give youth a chance will be disappointed to read that Miroslav Stoch has joined Fenerbahce on a four-year contract. The young Slovakian winger made only a handful of sub appearances but was getting rave reviews in Holland as he won a championship with FC Twente.
Unless we sign someone soon Gael Kakuta is going to have a lot of responsibility next term.
One potential target who might have been put off signing on at the Bridge is Franck Ribéry. Nicolas Anelka and the cumbersomely ugly Ribéry have had a serious falling out (of the ta gueule. va te faire foutre, enculé variety, you’d imagine, nique ta mere) and peace efforts have been ongoing.
Carlo Ancelotti is 51 today. Happy birthday Carletto,
Michael Ballack made a dignified exit with an interview with The Times. He said: “Chelsea was always my first choice as I had four great years at the club and enjoyed every minute, but it was not to be. It’s still my first choice, even now, but it was not up to me. The decision was down to Roman.”
Sunday 8 August for the Community Shield against Manchester United. You get the feeling they will be trying really hard this year.
Friday 11 June
South Africa 1:1 Mexico
Not bad as an opener featuring a cracking first goal from Siphiwe Tshabalala but the Mexican leveller, from Rafael Marquez, was deserved.
Uruguay 0:0 France
Florent Malouda did not start, it seems he had to be held back from lamping Raymond Domenech la putain de merde at a team meeting, William Gallas stepping in to stop Flo pasting le petit con’s face to the wall. That Domenech deserved it was evident in the disjointed side he put out and his tactical blindness. Uruguay had a player sent off with ten-minutes to go and the French manager opted to make his side narrower, not wider. Ribéry stank. He was easily marked out of the match and gave the ball away throughout. Expect France to reach the final.
Didier Drogba seems to be challenging John Terry for the Chelsea Man of Steel title. The big Ivorian was back in training yesterday less than a week after fracturing an arm.
Saturday 12 June
England 1:1 United States of America
Oh, Robert Green, his goalkeeping howler exposed not only his goal but also this England side’s inability to respond. The Chelsea boys on show did well, Ashley Cole had a lot o defending to do so we didn’t see him forward too often, Lampard was everywhere and JT commanded from the back. Joe Cole didn’t get on because, however Italian he is, Capello is still an England manager and therefore prone to illogical decisions. Capello played James Milner from the start and replaced him before half-time with Shaun Wright-Phillips. How Shaun tried very hard while he was at the Bridge but nobody pretended he’d made the grade. Tonight he was utterly at sea, his passes went to Americans, he ran the ball into touch, he over ran or over hit everything and he failed to put a cross in. Shaun shouldn’t have been on the pitch or the plane to South Africa in the first place for that matter. Theo Walcott probably wasn’t watching.
Argentina 1:0 Nigeria
Another misfiring team but one that doesn’t have an accident prone ’keeper is Argentina. Gabriel Heinze’s first-half header eventually just enough to beat a limited Nigerian side.
South Korea 2:0 Greece
Greece were woeful, South Korea athletic and direct probably the best entertainment of the tournament so far.
Sunday 13 June
Algeria 0:1 Slovenia
England’s next two group opponents met in the other side of group C and played some pretty enough stuff, if anything Algeria played the better football but Slovenia snatched the goal after the Algerian ’keeper watched the ball across him and into the net.
Serbia 0:1 Ghana
Another misfiring match and one settled by a penalty after a Serbian hand appeared to knock away an innocuous ball in the box. Ivanovic was his usual effective self but Serbia were handicapped by the 74th minute dismissal of defender Aleksandar Lukovic.
Germany 4:0 Australia
Were Germany good or Australia appalling? The Germans played simply and directly and Australia rarely got close enough to tackle.
Monday 14 June
Reports suggest that Yossi Benayoun has agreed personal terms but the clubs are still a way apart on their valuations.
Adrian Mutu has been ordered to pay Chelsea the entire £14m fine for breach of contract. His appeal to the Swiss federal court was rejected, the tribunal statement read: “the Cas (Court of Arbitration for Sport) had sentenced the professional Romanian footballer to paying a sum of more than 17 million euros to his previous employer, Chelsea Football Club Limited”. Reporters in Romania are say that Mutu is bankrupt, but then you would be too if you’d had four years to move your money into your grandmother’s account.
Japan 1:0 Cameroon
A poor and scrappy match settled when another misdirected cross finally found a striker as Keisuke Honda finished smartly on the half hour. Cameroon put in the sweat but never looked like they could trouble the Japanese.
Netherlands 2:0 Denmark
Altitude seems to be a problem for all the sides as even the silky Dutch were reduced to winning ugly. They were helped enormously by a freak own-goal just after the break and a poacher’s tap in from Kuyt after substitute Eljero Elia’s shot was well saved by Sorensen.
Italy 1:1 Paraguay
Fabio Capello is not the only aging Italian manager whose side do not have a clue – Marcello Lippi’s Italy stuttered to a draw that only came after a goalkeeper let a corner across the box for an unmarked tap in.
Tuesday 15 June
New Zealand 1:1 Slovakia
Chelsea interest in this one had dwindled with Stoch’s sale to Fenerbahçe and the lad didn’t get on until late in any case. In fact he was just in time to witness the late New Zealand equaliser. After Slovenia dominated possession and chances the All Whites stole a header from a corner at the death to bring their first World Cup point.
Côte d’Ivoire 0:0 Portugal
Didier Drogba’s presence is such that he drew more attention that Ronaldo did lying on the pitch. This was though a poor match. Ronaldo’s only contribution was to hit a post and then sulk. Didier appeared a few minutes from the end but didn’t get a clear chance.
Brazil 2:1 North Korea
Brazil stumbled into the tournament as North Korea held them comfortably at bay until and outrageous fluke gave the five-times winners the lead. Many commentators are describing Maicon’s cross which rocketed in at the near post as pure Brazilian magic. By which they mean utter fluke as he looked up to gauge a cross and then fluffed it in the net.
North Korea’s goal at the end was no more than they deserved.
Wednesday 16 June
Reserve ’keeper Rhys Taylor will start his pre-season with Crewe Alexandra with a view to a season long loan. The 20-year-old keeper had a brief loan at QPR last season as cover so this time he’ll be hoping for plenty of starts. Chelsea’s reserve coach Steve Holland is a former first-team coach at Gresty Road.
Honduras 0:1 Chile
Fine attacking display from Chile and for once an entertaining game of football.
Spain 0:1 Switzerland
However much the commentators drool over the Spaniards’ ability to pass the ball to each other Switzerland do a Stoke; defend well, nick one on the break.
South Africa 0:3 Uruguay
Alex Ferguson will be delighted he sold on Diego Forlan so cheaply as the Old Trafford reject scored two to spoil the hosts evening.
Thursday 17 June
The fixture computer spits out the Baggies at home as our first match in the defence of our title. West Brom manager and ex-Blue, Roberto Di Matteo, will get a warm reception from the home fans.
The first half of the season is relatively quiet but Christmas is where we really start with December games against Everton (h), Spurs (a), Manchester United (h) and Arsenal (a) back-to-back with Champions’ League games squeezed in between. Holidaymakers will be heading to Blackpool in March.
‘In defence of our title’ has a satisfying ring to it.
Greece 2-1 Nigeria
Nah, missed this one.
Argentina 4:1 South Korea
Perhaps the most miraculous aspect of the World Cup is that Argentina are playing coherent football while Maradona is still in charge. Gonzalo Higuain scored a hat-trick against plucky South Korea.
France 0-2 Mexico
France again played like a strangers. Both Anelka and Malouda were careless. Ribéry was again easily marked out of the match a poor display all round. Mexico will not mind that Europe’s media will focus solely on how poor France were they scored two cracking goals and deserved their victory.
Friday 18 June
Germany 0:1 Serbia
So Germany are not going to be world champions after all. Miroslav Klose was sent off for a couple of nothing challenges and Serbia scored through Milan Jovanovic a few minutes later. His celebration is likely to be remembered longer than the match; eager to celebrate with the fans he leapt the advertising hoarding only to disappear into the pitch side moat.
Germany missed a penalty given after Nemanja Vidic flung himself across the penalty area to palm the ball away under no pressure. Now, why doesn’t he do that when playing for Manchester United?
England 0:0 Algeria
The worst performance of an England team at a tournament is down to one man – Fabio Capello. You can understand why Real Madrid sacked him so quickly. This is the man that cannot see that Emile Heskey cannot, any longer, actually play the game. He is in the team because long balls to the big lunk are supposed to create chances for Rooney but it is a failed experiment, Heskey simply cannot do anything and yet Capello persists. This is the man that started Aaron Lennon against the United States and watched a performance so poor he substituted him for Shaun Wright-Phillips, who was worse. The idiot did exactly the same thing tonight. His impact substitute won a free-kick and spent the rest of the game falling over or shinning the ball into touch. Gareth Barry returned and looked tidy but a holding midfielder in a four-man midfield is a bit of a millstone. Gerrard deployed supposedly on the left had no discipline and cut inside all night, which further unbalanced the side and exposed Ashley Cole to two attackers. While Ash dealt with the defensive problem it meant he could not get forward.
Everyone looked out of sorts as simple passes went astray, crossing was absurd – Gerrard popped up, on the right naturally, and instead of crossing to expectant strikers he bobbled the ball four yards to the nearest defender.
Joe Cole watched from the bench.
Saturday 19 June
Zut, Nicolas Anelka, j’en ai rien foutre, has been sent home after another fight with Domenech, this time during the Mexico game. Patrice Evra is looking for blood, not Anelka’s but the ‘traitor’ who leaked the story to the press: “The problem of France is not Anelka, but the traitor among us. We must eliminate the traitor from the group because he wants to hurt the team.” No problems there then.
The French Minister of Sport, Roselyne Salope-Bachelot, urged the French squad to show greater dignity for the remainder of the tournament. She got the biggest laugh when she said: “The players must keep in mind that they’re wearing France’s colours and are considered as role models by many youngsters.”
Netherlands 1:0 Japan
Another thoroughly entertaining match settled by a rocket shot, and poor goalkeeping. Both sides where positive and both created chances.
Ghana 1:1 Australia
Missed this match but highlights reveal that Harry Kewell was sent off but that a poor Ghana side couldn’t capitalise. Australia had the lead through Brett Holman before Kewell popped up on the goal line to palm the ball away. The penalty was slotted by Asamoah Gyan.
Denmark 2:1 Cameroon
Both sides needed to win and Cameroon were all industry and chances but, aside from Eto’o’s opener from a defensive slip, Denmark had the better chances and more threatening play. Bendtner equalised and Dennis Rommedahl skipped round a defender to fire the winner.
Sunday 20 June
John Terry had a stab at leading the England team tonight. In a press conference he outlined the plans for a clear-the-air meeting with Fabio Capello: “The players can say how they feel and, if it upsets him [Capello], then I’m on the verge of just saying: ‘You know what? So what?’ If we can’t be honest with each other, then there’s no point us being here.”
It appeared later that the clear-the-air talks did no such thing. Capello is reported to have reasserted his authority as Gerrard, Rooney and other senior players bottled any confrontation. So, Heskey will start on Wednesday in the must win game and Shaun Wright-Phillips will come on at half-time. Not sure we can be bothered to watch. At least the Italian stronzo said he would resign when we fail to get out of the group.
Slovakia 0:2 Paraguay
Busy cooking lunch as this one went on in the background. Stoch not on again until late but the goals were well taken.
New Zealand 1:1 Italy
Surely they couldn’t. New Zealand scored a goal from a clearly offside position inside seven minutes and while Italy managed an equaliser from the penalty spot the rest of the match was spent waiting for Italy to score a winner that never came.
Brazil 3:1 Côte d’Ivoire
This Brazil side are really annoying. Ahead through their only first-half chance, they were allowed to double their lead when their striker handled twice before scoring. Referees treat them with exaggerated respect and any challenge on them is deemed a foul. The self-regarding country that have had their last two world cups handed to them because it is good for the Fifa brand don’t deserve merda.
Didier was isolated for much of the game but still popped up with the consolation. Côte d’Ivoire will now have to beat North Korea and hope Brazil don’t lie down against Portugal.
Meanwhile, in the French camp [ƒ≥@§!&$Ωß€] the players refused to train in protest at Anelka’s expulsion from the squad. Patrice Evra had an explosive row with the fitness coach. The managing director quit immediately afterwards, “They don’t want to train. It’s unacceptable … As for me, it’s over. I’m leaving the federation. I’m sickened and disgusted.”
Monday 21 June
Fabio Capello has been speaking about John Terry’s remarks from the other night: “this is the big mistake – a very big mistake. It’s not revolution.” Surely Fabio has missed something, not only was it an attempted coup but the mistake, the very big mistake was naming Emile Heskey in your squad. The bigger mistake was playing him in both games.
David Silva sent us a love letter: “Chelsea have established themselves as one of the best clubs in Europe over the last five years,” said Silva. “They might not have the history of Real Madrid or Milan but they are creating their own history now. There is no reason why in the future Chelsea can’t be as decorated as Real Madrid.” He went on that Chelsea: “probably have, along with Barcelona, the best squad in football and if any player joins Chelsea he knows he is going to win things. In players like John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba they have players who would get into any team in the world and it would be a pleasure to play with them … There is no doubt in my mind that Chelsea would be a great club to play for – and a club where I could fulfil my ambition of league titles and the European Cup. The Premier League is still the place to be, no other league in the world has six or seven Champions League quality team.” Where do you think David Silva wants to play next season?
Portugal 7:0 Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
Ricky enjoyed himself in this one. In the first ten minutes he broek across half-way and had a shot blocked, before his header hit a post from a corner. At the back he was first to every block. Then the goals started to fly in and Korea’s heads went down.
Chile 1:0 Switzerland
The Swiss couldn’t pull off the trick twice as Chile take pole in group H.
Spain 2:0 Honduras
Spain finally showed up for the party and David Villa scored both goals and missed a penalty in an otherwise forgettable match. Could it be that we have reached saturation point, that these is too much football?
Meanwhile in the French camp, Minister for Sport and all round salope, Roselyne Bachelot, has been playing with the players minds: “I told them they could no longer be heroes for our children”, she told them as the prepared for tonight’s must with match. Bof!
Tuesday 22 June
France 1:2 South Africa
France manage to spoil the party. South Africa, after two bundled goals were in with a shout at qualification until Florent Malouda scored into an open net to snuff out the celebrations.
Mexico 0:1 Uruguay
Uruguay did just enough against the talented Mexicans but both progress to the next round. Mexico will be delighted to know that Argentina await in the next round because…
Argentina 2:0 Greece
Poor Greece, after fluking Euro 2004 they have stuck to the same script, defend deep and hope to knick one. This tedious match could only finish one way.
Nigeria 2:2 South Korea
Nigeria battled but the Koreans were clearly deserving of their qualification.
Wednesday 23 June
Slovenia 0:1 England
Mass delusion breaks out across the country. What are you all celebrating? We limped through a group of minnows and now play Germany and then Argentina, instead of Ghana and Uruguay. The manager proved himself an incompetent arse by continuing with Gerrard on the left, only this time he reminded him that he should stay out there. It was a better performance but it was woefully below the level these players play for their clubs.
We started as poorly as we finished against Algeria, bunting long balls for the striker – how many of England players regularly hoof the ball at their clubs. Capello’s idea of transitional play is, as Beckenbauer rightly pointed out, is no more sophisticated than kick and rush.
Milner came in on the right to bring more direct play but he was shot ten-minutes into the second-half and our vastly experienced manager didn’t notice. The introduction of Lennon would have torn the Slovenians apart instead he brought on Joe Cole for Rooney, who appeared to have a knock on the ankle. He instructed Joe to play behind Defoe. Everyone has been telling him to make one simple change to the side to make us world-beaters: play Joe Cole on the left and Gerrard behind a lone striker. Instead he kept Gerrard on the left. His tactical master plan was to bring off the effective Jermain Defoe and replace him with Emile Heskey – for fcuk sake.
Towards the end of the game he was bellowing at the players to keep the ball in the corner to waste time – he was that scared of an equaliser, from Slovenia – when we should have been pressing for another goal to ensure we topped the group. It was tactical fcuk-wittedness of the first order. Our Italian genius watched his exhausted team struggle to finish the match but he kept his last substitute on the bench. Perhaps he thinks he can use four next time if he saved one today.
Finishing second in this group should be a sackable offence.
United States 1:0 Algeria
In the 90th minute the USA book the easy route to the semi-final.
Ghana 0:1 Germany
Confirmation that we will meet the Germans again after a cracking goal from Mesut Özil. Ghana also go through because…
Australia 2:1 Serbia
… the Australian’s couldn’t make up against Serbia the hatful they conceded against Germany. So Branislav Ivanovic joins Anelka and Malouda on the plane home.
Thursday 24 June
Nicolas Anelka signed a one-year contract extension today in the first squib of news out of Stamford Bridge in weeks. He will be with us until 2012.
Slovakia 3:2 Italy
However much we complain about England’s Italian maestro the Italians themselves make him look like a genius. This was a shoddy tournament all round for Italy not helped by Gennaro Gattuso’s sickening tackle on Zdeno Strba. Italy finished behind New Zealand at the bottom of group F.
Paraguay 0:0 New Zealand
Friday 25 June
The number 13 shirt is available again: Michael Ballack has signed for Bayer Leverkusen. The 33-year-old German agreed a two-year deal, where Chelsea had offered only one. He has a spell with the North Rhine-Westphalia (near the Dutch boarder) club at the turn of the century, scoring an impressive 27 goals in 79 games and reaching the Champions’ League final.
Michael Ballack was greatly under appreciated at Stamford Bridge. He had injury niggles throughout. The best testament to his true achievement was the winners’ medal from last season’s Premiership. When Obi John Mikel was injured Ancelotti had to change personnel holding midfield and chose Michael. As soon as the change was made we were more solid and suddenly expected to win by seven or eight. Michael brought an unfussy and direct style to the role with every touch starting the forward momentum again. If Obi John was not taking notes, Michael will be missed.
Portugal 0:0 Brazil
So Brazil are not infallible. As the all the bars of Vauxhall packed to overflowing, it seems good defending is all that is needed to stop them. It was difficult for Portugal to score at the other end but this is a physical Brazil that can be beaten.
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea 0:3 Côte d’Ivoire
This was just not meant to be as Ivorian hopes were raised by Drogba’s industry and resolve ultimately to be smashed by the size of the task. Côte d’Ivoire needed to score seven and hope Brazil could find a way past Ricardo Carvalho.
Didier provided the assist for the second as his shot thundered off the bar and Salomon Kalou came of the bench to finish the scoring it was too little too late for the Ivorians. So, Kalou and Drogba will be back early leaving only the England boys and the Portuguese.
Switzerland 0:0 Honduras
Sorry no Chelsea players involved, no goals, both sides out, we didn’t even watch the highlights.
Chile 1:2 Spain
Tough one to call, Chile were unlucky to have a man sent off and unlucky not to take the lead their play deserved. They go through but
have half the squad suspended for the game against Brazil.
Saturday 26 June
Uruguay 2:1 South Korea
Uruguay were simply too good for South Korea. Made to work extremely hard by Korea, a side we have to stop describing as plucky, Uruguay’s Luis Suarez bookended the tie with a simple tap in and a beautifully curled winner.
USA 1:2 Ghana
Thank the fcuks for that. The pitifully optimistic Americans are out and to a Ghana side that, although young, look threatening. This was the game that England should have been playing and we have to thank the States for taking on Ghana. Imagine, if you will, John Terry being barged aside by Asamoah Gyan for a perfect extra-time winner.