Being pedantic is always fun but it really has been like shooting fish in barrel where Jonathan Pearce has been concerned this last week. Jonny opened his commentary on the Serbia-Germany match by telling us that we have to go back to 1938 for the last time Germany didn't make the last eight. Well Pearcey, leaving aside the fact that no team representing Germany as a whole appeared after the war until 1994, I reckon you'll find that the 1950 World Cup featured no German team at any stage as apparently they were persona non grata for some reason. As for this match, both teams started OK, with the Serbs at least better than their dismal showing in the first match. However it very quickly became clear that the referee fancied being the centre of attention, even if for Mick McCarthy a defender who commits murder probably wouldn't deserve a booking. To be fair to McCarthy he is a droll kind of guy and, although I'm not a big fan of the Americanised concept of a "color [sic] commentator", he is one of the better ones to fill that role for the Beeb. He is not at the level of Martin Keown who, despite being an evil gorilla as a player, is a measured, intelligent man of few, but important, words in this role but he is certainly a mile better than Mark Lawrenson, who is the absolute pits as co-commentator. Still, right he was about the ref who ballsed the game up good and proper with the sending-off of Klose and a tendency to wave cards about for fun. The goal was not the sort that a German side would ever concede and it is surely a weakness in Jogi's team that they reacted so badly to the red card. Once again the Serbs gave away a daft handball penalty but luckily for them the resulting kick was a stinker. It boggles the mind that Nemanja Vidic, a player even an ABU like me will admit is pure class, can make such a rookie mistake but luckily for him Lukas Podolski has the first touch of a Shunosaurus. Indeed were The Topper
to come back to life and then introduce a strip about Podolski the most used phrase would probably be "erkle". Well, it could happen! A shock then, but one dictated too much by a Hollywood ref and one that I found myself struggling to become too interested in, perhaps because both mobs are hard to warm to.
For the next game the American boys took to the field wearing a fetching little shirt that incorporated a sash design (right). Not sure what it reminded me of! Another game that I wasn't expecting an awful lot from but I should have known that a good show was in the offing when Clint Dempsey threw an elbow and floored a guy in the first minute. One thing is for sure, what with this and a few other nasty ones later on, Dempsey would have been sent off PDQ by the previous referee. The Slovenians showed a lot more in the early goings than they had in the whole of their earlier win and Birsa's goal was a bit of magic and well deserved. The second goal came from nowhere, a few seconds after the Americans had almost equalised, and Onyewu had a bit of a mare here. Certainly this particular Gooch
would not have bossed Arnold Jackson around in Diff'rent Strokes
. Good to see Rangers own Maurice Edu make an appearance at half time - I wonder if he asked his team-mate DaMarcus Beasley to drive him to the match?
His appearance also reminded me of Freddy Adu, who not so many years ago was being built up as the new Pele but is now apparently not even good enough for this limited squad. The new Nii Lamptey perhaps? Still back to the match and Landycakes goal was an absolute peach whilst soon it was Slovenia’s turn to get lucky as Suler could easily have been sent off too. Route one equaliser from the boss's son (no DNA test needed for those doppelgangers) and by that time the match was genuinely end to end at times. Good old Edu was unfortunate to have his goal disallowed although to be fair the ref blew before he struck and it may have caused the Slovenian defence to stand still. In the end neither team seemed willing to muster the necessary oomph to grab a winner but a draw was probably the fairest result. Really neither team looked that good but their limitations helped to make this a hell of a spectacle and either one of them could make the next round with a bit of luck.
Then the big one as mighty England strode majestically to the field, the boy Rooney imperious in his skills and Capello, like the grand master tactician that he is, making nought but the right moves. With the hopes of a nation on their shoulders and God on their side the brave Three Lions overcame the insurmountable odds placed before them and held Algeria to a 0-0 draw. But to be serious, for all the bile heaped on Steve McClaren and all the talk of how great Don Fabio is that performance was every bit as insipid as anything the so-called Wally with the Brolly served up. My only hope is that the drum-beaters will allow a bit of realism to enter in and realise that Rooney has looked ordinary at best, that England have no goalkeepers and a central defence held together by masking tape (in part cause by said Don Fabio opting to call up a player in Ledley King who has been playing injured for the last few years), that their two best midfielders can't be in the same country let alone the same team and that any team forced to rely on the likes of Emile Heskey can never consider itself serious contenders for a World Cup. That's the hope anyway but I know the reality will be different when they squeeze past Slovenia and suddenly the last two games are written off as a dress rehearsal. Credit to Algeria who gave as good as they got but from where I was sitting it just looked like two decidedly ordinary teams playing out a bore draw. If they're world-beaters then it must be a pretty lame world.
Finally in a complete change of pace from recent rubbish here's a little meme donated by burkesworks
that works thus:
1. Reply to this post and I'll assign you a letter.
2. List (and upload, if you feel like it) 5 songs that start with that letter.
3. Post them to your journal with these instructions.
I've been given "F" by old Mr. Dirtymind but if you want uploads you can whistle as the ins and outs of illegal downloads are a total mystery to me. And by heck but f is a hard letter to find good songs for!1) Flor de Azalea - Jorge Negrete Puro ranchero
I believe they call it. I'm no expert on Mexican music (conjuntos
are another matter but strictly speaking those are Mexican emigrant bands) but I know what i like and this brassy lament sounds good to me, even if it is little more than a Mexican equivalent of the sort of nonsense Gene Kelly and his ilk used to belt out on cheesy extravaganzas.2) Fine Girl - Frank Zappa
One of Zappa's finest pieces of work from the 80s, this disco parody sits well amongst his finer works. As always it's a joy to hear his trademark deeper than the abyss "Yeah" whilst the total collapse of the tune into Pompey chimes style choral nonsense at the end is hilarious. 3) Free Jah Jah Children - Sugar Minott
Sugar ran the gamut in reggae stakes, including some ill-advised diversions into lovers rock, but his roots period produced some high quality work, including this bit of Studio One Rasta lark. A pity that he got caught up in the whole dancehall nonsense but we'll always have this.4) Flying Jelly Attack - Shonen Knife
Have to include my girls, don't I? A song recorded by them a few times but the definitive version appeared on Let's Knife
and the gibberish lyrics are so adorable it's untrue. In fact here's a decent live version
for you all to enjoy, even if they did play it better when I saw them :)5) Fu*k the USA - The Exploited
Perhaps unfair of me to include this song after their performance today but it is a classic. Wattie and the boys attempt to take on the uncertainties of the late Cold War period and come up with a strong rebuke to the excesses of Reaganomics. Actually it's just a bunch of indecipherable shouting and a sing-along sweary chorus but you have to love it. It's to my life-long disappointment that Hillary Clinton didn't take my advice and use it as her campaign theme tune. Who knows where she would be if she had (the poor house most likely).
Took it out of me did that. I'm ready for bed!