Tag Archives: italy

Friday musing – World Cup, Suarez, AFL & more

Chris Barwin HillsWell the biggest sporting event in the world continues to throw up great games, great drama and now teeth grating! Well we all like a little Italian, being one of the world’s great cuisines, but Luis Suarez clearly likes his Italian fresh. What is it that makes him want to bite opponents? In a sporting sense the only comparisons I can remember are Peter Filandia biting an opponent in the nether regions and My Brown Jug biting Manikato when he realised he was going to get beaten by the champ one day at Sandown. The Suarez suspension has now been handed down and in some ways given he is a repeat offender, is quite lenient.

Continuing the World Cup theme it is interesting to note that England, Spain and Italy who represent three of the four biggest leagues in the world have all been eliminated. Is this just bad luck or is it a symptom of the leagues not promoting local talent in deference to established players from other countries? I would certainly think that is the case with the EPL, but I am not familiar enough with the Italian and Spanish leagues to know if the same problem exists. Germany has made it through and my feeling is that the Bundesliga retains a high German content, but again that is speculation not based on facts. English cricket suffered a similar fate to the EPL and County Cricket reduced the number of overseas players eligible for each team to improve their national team. Is it time for the EPL to place a restriction on the number of eligible overseas players?

I was a little disappointed with the Aussies last game against Spain. It probably went to script and the Socceroos without Cahill and Bresciano were undermanned, but a 1-0 or a 2-0 result would have been a little more satisfying given the performances earlier in the tournament.

The Bombers face the Cats tonight and the Cats are coming off their fourth loss of the season from their fourth interstate trip. Not only have they been beaten interstate, they have been comfortably beaten. That being said, they have not lost a game in Victoria and as a result I will be going against my team and picking the Cats, but barracking hard for the Bombers.

On the never ending supplements saga, it was interesting to hear Tim Watson make a comment on Talking Footy on Monday night. Given his position he has been very circumspect with his comments regarding the whole affair. In a obvious support for his son he finally made a comment about the use of AOD9604 and the lack of retraction or apology from the accusers, which was obviously directed at the time to Jobe.

I was interested to see Daniel Giansiracusa get 2 weeks for his late bump on Polec over the weekend and I ask the question, what was the difference between that bump and Adam Goodes bump on Joel Selwood? Not much, the ball had just left the area, he jumped in the air and hit him high and dazed him. I am not saying that Giansiracusa should have got off, but why wasn’t Goodes charged?

I omitted to make a comment last week about the State of Origin game. What a contrast with the first game which was one of the best rugby league games I have seen. Last Wednesday’s game was probably one of the most boring I have ever watched. The only constant was Queensland’s handling errors which again cost them the game.

Speaking of boring games, what about the Tigers and the Swans last Friday night! I think that is the stye of game that Mick Malthouse was referring to when he commented on the state of the game yesterday. That was the modern game at its worst and contrast that with the Bombers and Crows on Saturday night which was one of the best games I have watched all year.

Have a great weekend!

Asian Cup – Australia vs Korea Republic…..All square, but oh, how it hurt!

Mile Jedinak’s first international goal for Australia could not have come at a better time when the Socceroos got a valuable and deserving 1-1 with fellow Asian Cup heavyweight, Korea Republic in their Group C clash on Saturday morning.  But Socceroos’ coach, Holger Osieck could have some selection nightmares ahead of the Bahrain clash and beyond…..

The good:

1.        A unique and “un-Asian” style.  Whilst the Socceroos lack the pace, fluency and technique of many of the other teams at the Asian Cup, the team’s never say die attitude, discipline and physical strengths may well give opposing teams headaches when attempting to break down this Australian side.  Jedinak’s equalising goal epitomised the Australian style – Lucas Neill was quick to float a ball across the face of goal from a Luke Wilkshire cross and Jedinak had no right to challenge Korean goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryong for a high ball but did and impressively beat him to it. 

2.        Mark Schwarzer.  Australia possesses the tournament’s best goalkeeper and Schwarzer played a fitting part in the match, saving superbly late on. 

The bad:

1.        Too predictable, too slow and an inept passing game.  Like the India game, the Socceroos, unlike the Koreans, played a long ball game in preference to a short and quick passing one.  The Aussie tactic of crossing towards Tim Cahill and Harry Kewell at every opportunity was clear once again and one wonders whether such a tactic will reap rewards against a more organised and disciplined defence.  Further, the Koreans’ pass and move groove clearly rattled the Aussies, as evidenced by the number of fouls, particularly Jedinak and Ognenovski, committed.  Finally, the Aussies’ passing and cheap turnovers left a lot to be desired at times. 

2.        Poor defending.  Football is one of those rare games where one defensive lapse can be the difference between success and failure.   Whilst the Socceroos’ defending was excellent for a majority of the game, just how five Socceroos’ defenders let Ji Dong-Wong gain possession and cut back to an unmarked Koo Ja-Cheol for Korea’s goal still baffles and frustrates me.  This was the second defensive lapse in two games.  Whilst the Indians failed to capitalise last week, the Koreans didn’t.  Nor will the likes of Iran and/or Uzbekistan (future potential opponents for the Aussies in the Asian Cup).

The ugly:

1.        Injuries to three first team regulars – Jason Culina, David Carney and Luke Wilksire. I have regularly been vocal about the Aussies’ lack of squad depth….the three aforementioned players will be hard to replace if the diagnosis isn’t favourable.  Whilst Valeri is a straight swap for Culina, he lacks his experience. Of greater concern are the full back positions – Carney (a left winger by trade) has become custodian of the left back position by virtue of a lack of competition and options for that berth, whilst Wilkshire, is in my opinion, Australia’s second best and most consistent outfield player.  Second only to Tim Cahill…..Osieck may be forced to re-shuffle and moreover, test the mettle of his pack.

2.        Harry Kewell’s (constant) whingeing.  Once again, it was refreshing to see a fully fit Kewell get the better of his opposing defenders.  His whingeing with fellow teammates, opposing players and officials was however, disappointing. This was not the first time Kewell has brought this ugly side into his game (read: harassing and “touching up” the match officials after Australia’s group game against Brazil at the 2006 World Cup and his verbal tirade against the referee after being controversially, but correctly sent off against Ghana at last year’s World Cup).  Kewell is a professional footballer first, an underwear model second.  He should start acting more like the former and stop dicking around.

All in all, Australia will now fancy its chances to progress to the knockout rounds of the Asian Cup, knowing all but a loss against Bahrain tomorrow morning will be enough to see them through.

But the Asian Cup is to Australia, what the World Cup is to heavyweights Brazil, Germany and Italy.  Qualifying for the knockout rounds should be viewed as a mere formality.  Not reaching the semi finals would be deemed a failure. 

This is when the real tournament starts.

Mark “The F word” Fiorenti

Some dare I say "Mouth Watering" ties ahead at World Cup

All in all a promoters dream in the 2010 World Cup – so many games changing so many fortunes all hanging on a knife edge in the 3rd round!

  1. No bigger than Chile v Spain – a Spanish loss and they are out.
  2. Italy v Slovakia – Italy must win to get through (NZ v Paraguay to add some smeltz…I’m sorry spice).
  3. Japan v Denmark – winner through to the next round.
  4. Germany v Ghana – could the unthinkable happen and Germany not qualify for the round of 16?
  5. Our Socceroos v Serbia – Aussie win may get us through depending on results, Serbian win sees them into the next round.
  6. Slovenia v England – a must win for England or one of the tournament favourites is going home!  The spice is that if USA win, England must win by more to ensure a place in the next round.
  7. USA v Algeria – USA an unlikely member of the final 16 but should get through with a win.
  8. South Korea v Nigeria – Sth Korea will again move on to the round of 16 with a win.
  9. Greece v Argentina – Greece need to win by more than Sth Korea if they are to go through.  A tall order against an undefeated Argentinian team.
  10. France v the host nation – You would think a France win on paper but has all the team unrest and infighting taken its toll?  Besides if Uruguay v Mexico is a draw, this result doesn’t matter.
  11. Uruguay v Mexico – A winner heads the group whilst the loser may miss out.  A draw and both go through.

How good is that 12 out of 16 games with a direct result on the next round.