You are here

world cup

China vs Australia

Work commitments prevented me from watching the match. Dang. But the news was good. By all accounts, it proved to be a fairly close, tense encounter. Mark Schwarzer saved the day with yet another penalty save with a few minutes to go. And we could have snatched it in the final minute. All in all, given our preparation, the difficult venue, the absences due to injury, we'll take an away draw.

In the other game Qatar beat Iraq 2-0. So we remain on top of our group. And the team deemed the biggest threat, Iraq, languishes at the bottom. Go figure.

Australia vs Qatar

The Socceroos began their long campaign for a spot at the 2010 World Cup finals with a very encouraging 3-0 win over Qatar last night in Melbourne. There was a lot of pre-match concern about how the Aussies would fair in this match. It was our new coach, Pim Verbeek's, first game in charge. Ten of the starting 11 had flown in from Europe just a day or two before the game. Qatar has been here for a week acclimatising. But in the end none of this mattered.

Germany vs Brazil

Germany defeated Brazil 2-0 in an entertaining final to retain their title as world champions. They also set an incredible record of going through the entire tournament without conceding a goal.

I stayed up to watch and it was well worth it. The early exchanges saw a lot of end to end stuff as both teams attacked. Brazil eventually got on top and dominated the first half but couldn't find the net. Germany were impressive in defense. 0-0 at half-time.

Australia vs Brazil

After going down 0-2 after 23", we fought back well to equalise at 2-2 after 68", before a quality goal saw us go out 3-2.

I didn't stay up and watch, which says something about my commitment to women's sport. 10pm on a Sunday evening is too late for the women, but 3am or 5am is no problem for the men.

By the look of the stats, Brazil dominated the match and probably deserved to win. However, we were the first team to score against Brazil in this tournament and clearly pushed them to the limit. Some of their players looked quite relieved at the final whistle.

Australia vs Canada

In a thrilling match, that reminded me a lot of our men's third round game at the 2006 World Cup, the Matildas scored an injury-time goal to secure a 2-2 draw with Canada and passage through to the quarter-finals.

Australia vs Norway

We are grouped with Norway, Ghana and Canada, with Norway tipped to win our group. We went down 0-1 quite early, but battled hard for the whole game and were rewarded with a 1-1 draw, following a wonderful goal from Lisa De Vanna with just a few minutes to go.

Australia vs Ghana

With none of the publicity that our men get, our women's national team has qualified for their fourth World Cup. Like our men going into the 2006 World Cup, our women were yet to win a game at the finals.

But that all changed tonight. We demolished Ghana 4-1. I didn't see a lot of the game, despite it being on free-to-air, but the highlights suggest we played quite well.

Germany 2006

Let's look back at the eighteenth World Cup, held in Germany in 2006 and won by Italy - their fourth win. Once again (see 1982) a Serie A match-fixing scandal at home unified the Italian team and delivered victory.

In 2002, Cameroon wore sleeveless shirts at the African Cup of Nations. FIFA responded by forbidding the wearing of vests at the 2002 World Cup Finals, so Cameroon added some odd-looking temporary sleeves. Cameroon went further in 2004, again at the African Cup of Nations, turning out in a one-piece Lyrca outfit, in which shirts and shorts formed a single garment. FIFA pointed to Law 4: shirts and shorts is the sole acceptable attire.

After much argument, Cameroon were permitted to wear the outfits in the group stages, but not the quarter-finals of the Cup of Nations. Cameroon wore them in the QF anyway and created huge headlines (despite losing the game). FIFA decided it was time to bring them to heel. On April 16, they fined Cameroon $154,000 and deducted six points from their World Cup qualifying campaign. With only 30 points on offer in their qualifying group, this was heavy punishment.

Cameroon appealed. FIFA denied the appeal. Cameroon brought in German lawyers and threatened to go all the way to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and sue FIFA for substantial damages. The Confederation of African Football sent in a petition of support signed by all 52 African countries. On May 21, 2004, FIFA bottled it and caved. Cameroon got their six points back. Sepp Blatter said, "Do not see this as a U-turn. It is merely a pardon."

On September 4, 2004, England drew 2-2 with Austria after a calamitous error by David James in goal. The British press got stuck in as usual. The Sun actually went and found a donkey and filmed it, after many takes, making the equivalent save that James failed to make. The donkey, named Mavis, became famous. The Sun then held a phone poll asking readers to vote on who should be goalkeeper for England's next match, Mavis or David James. 95% of Sun readers voted for Mavis. James was dropped.

Australia qualified for the finals for the second time. Both our qualifications coincide with the hosting of the Finals in Germany (strictly West Germany in 1974). Let's hope this is not the start of a pattern. Of the seven World Cup winners, six qualified for the Finals in 2006. The country that didn't, Uruguay, was eliminated by Australia. :)

Sweden failed to win their first group game at the Finals again. Despite regular appearances at the Finals, they haven't managed to win their first game since 1958 the year they hosted the finals.

Australia's Ray Richards played illegally at the Finals in 1974. He was the only player to do so until Josip Simunic achieved the feat playing for Croatia against Australia. Incredibly Simunic achieved the feat in a crucial game in the full glare of the modern media spotlight, not in a dead rubber back in the 1970s. The referee, Graham Poll of England, failed to realise that Simunic's second yellow was indeed his second, assumed it was his first and let Simunic remain on the field. This time the fourth official missed it and Simunic topped Richards by staying on until the final whistle, although there was less time to go in Simunic's case. A clear pattern has emerged too: Australia's third and final round one (or group stage) game at the Finals shall feature an illegal player.

Simunic went further though. Following the final whistle he remonstrated with Poll and received a third yellow card and was sent off. So while Simunic is now one of two illegal players, he is the only player ever to receive three yellow cards in a finals match, a record all his own.

In typical FIFA fashion the official match record shows only two yellow cards awarded to Simunic. The second card has been removed from the record. Poll announced his retirement from international refereeing shortly after the match.

Italy defeated Australia 1-0 in the round of 16 (bastards). The game was decided by a penalty in the last minute. There was no time to restart afterwards. Other than games decided by a penalty shoot-out or a golden goal, this is the only Finals game decided by the last kick of the match.

Australia's progress at the Finals attracted a lot of positive attention. Many reports naturally compared our performance very favourably to our efforts in 1974. Incredibly though, articles on FIFA's official website, on at least three separate occasions, referred to Australia not managing a single point in 1974. This is of course incorrect.

The French captain, Zinedine Zidane, was sent off in the Final. Again a pattern is emerging. Following Marcel Desailly's sending off in the 1998 Final, all French captains competing in a Final must arrange for themselves to be sent off. Clearly Zidane was running out of time and getting desperate. Hence the headbutt option. And even then the referee missed it.

Italy's win marked a further step in yet another pattern. Italy lost the Final in 1970. Twelve years later in 1982, following a match fixing scandal at home, they won. A further twelve years later in 1994 they lost the Final. And a further twelve years later in 2006, again following a match fixing scandal at home, they won.

Japan / Korea 2002

Let's look back at the seventeenth World Cup, held in Japan and South Korea in 2002 and won by Brazil - their fifth win. This is the only time the Finals have been jointly hosted.

With 195 teams attempting to qualify, the qualification tournament was extraordinarily complex. For example, both Honduras and Trinidad and Tobago played 22 games and both still failed to qualify. With every game crucial, FIFA's choice of referee was important. The referee must be absolutely neutral. The game between South Africa and the Kingdom of Lesotho was one such crucial game. FIFA went all out to find a neutral referee. Eventually they settled on Boxen Chinagu of Zambia. You can imagine FIFA's dismay and embarrassment when Zambian officials informed them that Chinagu was dead. And had been for six months.

The World Cup qualifiers for 2002 produced some very high-scoring games. New Zealand defeated Fiji 13-0 in August of 1983. This was the record score for a World Cup game and it stood for a long time. Until November 24, 2000, when Iran defeated Guam 19-0. Less than six months later Australia defeated Tonga 22-0 to set a new record, not just for World Cup games, but for all full internationals. But the Aussies weren't done yet. Two days later they defeated American Samoa 31-0.

The goals times were 10, 12, 13, 14, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29, 32, 33, 37, 42, 45, 50, 51, 55, 56, 58, 60, 65, 66, 78, 80, 81, 84, 85, 88 and 89. Archie Thompson finished with 13 goals beating the previous records for goals in a game of 7 for a World Cup game and 10 for a full international.

When Madagascar played Tunisia on May 5, 2001 the Madagascan starting 11 players all had surnames beginning with the letter 'R'. What's more all three substitutes used on the day did too. And so did their coach. Somewhat ironically they referred to themselves as Club M.

England's FA advised the travelling Barmy Army to try an "make an effort" to show some courtesy and sensitivity towards the culture of Japan and Korea. Good luck you may say. But one guy made a genuine effort. He went to a T-Shirt shop in Japan and asked for the words "England on Tour - I Love Japan" to be translated into Japanese and put on a shirt. No-one is sure if the message was lost in translation or the printer was having a laugh, but what he ended up with was "Gay submissive Englishman seeks muscular Japanese boy". None the wiser he wore it to England's first game against Sweden.

Croatia vs Australia

Our greatest ever result, but the nature of the game and the refereeing meant it was almost impossible to enjoy.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - world cup