Tuesday 15 October
England 2:0 Poland
Another good result but poor performance as England struggled to beat a woeful Poland side whose fans filled half of Wembley. Roy picked a daft line-up with Smalling at right-back, worse he decided that Michael Carrick was the creative spark England needed in midfield so he dropped Frank Lampard. The midfield struggled to prevent Polish counter attacks for long periods and Sturridge and Welbeck looked out of their depth at his level.
Still, if you are not as grumpy as this column, you could celebrate England getting to the World Cup or you could moan about the team going to Brazil playing to rigid, out-dated structures with the wrong personnel.
Elsewhere in qualification action: Bosnia Herzegovina stormed to qualification ahead of Greece in group G; Iceland booked a play-off spot and Petr Cech’s Czechs missed out; Juan Mata came off the bench to score as Spain eased in winning 2-0 at home to Georgia; a Chelsea player scored for Belgium but this time it was Kevin de Bruyne as they drew with Wales.
Sweden took a 2-0 lead against group C winners Germany only for Andre Schürrle to score a second-half hat-trick as the visitors won 3-5.
England’s U21s saw Nat Chalobah in central defence with little to do as they crushed Lithuania 5-0.
Out in Africa Ghana got off to the best start in a play-off imaginable – they beat Egypt 6-1
In Bejing Oscar scored for a second match in a row as Brazil beat Zambia. David Luiz captained again and there was a start for Ramires.
Wednesday 16 October
We are going to win the World Cup in Brazil next summer. Everyone is pretending to play down expectations but a stunningly ordinary performance in qualifying has persuaded most that we have a chance to win in Brazil.
Unfortunately, while we will be at the party, we’ll be playing the role of the embarrassing uncle who gets drunk, make a lot of noise, boasts about what he used to be able to do and goes home early.
Friday 18 October
Adrian Mutu, Mutu… Juventus and Livorno have been ordered to pay a portion of the £14m compensation the court for arbitration in sport ordered Mutu to pay us for breach of contract. The decision by Fifa’s dispute resolution chamber can be appealed back to CAS.
Saturday 19 October
Chelsea 4:1 Cardiff City
Oh dear, it seems you are not supposed to nick the ball when the goalkeeper bounces it. You see, you can learn something new from the game every week.
David Luiz did not cover himself in glory at the start of this match. Allowing Jordan Much to run on to a back pass and slot past Cech. 0-1. Parity was restored but only when Samuel Eto’o reacted as their goalkeeper, David Marshall, bounced the ball before kicking it. Whether the ball was in or out of his control was a moot point as Hazard found Eto’o who was the upended but the ball broke for Eden again and he finished. 1-1.
Marshall was lucky to be on the pitch as he clearly gathered the ball outside his area to prevent Eto’o having a shot.
Eden returned the favour by sliding in Eto’o for his first goal in blue. The Cameroonian side stepped a challenge to fire inside the near post. 2-1.
Jose Mourinho was then sent to the stands, much to the bewilderment of the fans he sat next to. Steve Holland confirmed later that he was angry hat the ref was speeding up Chelsea set-pieces but allowing Cardiff all the time in the world.
Oscar thrashed in another long range rising swerving effort that had Marshall clutching air. 3-1.
Eden Hazard then scored his second after wriggling into the box his shot was too good again for Marshall’s dive. 4-1.
The perception of the injustice done to David Marshall and Cardiff was the only headline after the match as various journalists looked up the laws. They ignored the uncomfortable fact that Cardiff should have been down to ten with a substitute ‘keeper on.
Jose didn’t talk to the media.
The goals lifted us above Liverpool into second.
Tottenham Hotspur U18 3:2 Chelsea U18
First defeat in four for the youngsters as second-half goals from Chike Kandi and Tammy Abraham were not quite enough to pull Spurs back.
Sunday 20 October
Sunderland U21 2:2 Chelsea U21
A much more experienced Sunderland team fought back to draw after strikes from Islam Feruz and Alex Kiwomya had put us 2-1 up.
In the league Spurs left Villa Park with the points and a new inconvenience for us all. One of their number celebrated a goal by throwing a smoke bomb. It means we are all likely to need searching for similar devices from now on.
It was a cracking shot though, caught the linesman square on the back of the neck. The guy was probably arrested after celebrating his throw.