Only two minutes left and Mexico are 1-0 up. They want it to be all over, but it isn’t now.

Could this World Cup be any more dramatic?

HOLLAND (@Braggovic) v MEXICO (@bluebox99)

Mexico, the underdogs in this match, forge a 1-0 lead at the start of the second half. They are still in the lead with only two minutes of the full 90 minutes left to play. 88 minutes in and Holland equalise. Surely this game is going into extra time. and then, in the 4th minute of  injury time Robben is brought down by Marquez in the penalty area. Huntelaar takes the penalty and Hollnad win, and go through to the quarter finals, 2-1. Mexico go home. Sorry @bluebox99. Congratulations @Braggovic.

And if it wasn’t for the loss Mexico were on their way to having the goalie of the tournament, Mika lookalike, Guillermo Ochoa.

guillermo 2

Mika?

Guillermo?

Guillermo?

(Oh, and my prediction for this match? 2-1 to Holland). (More brackets… 2-1 is a pretty much safe prediction for any football match).

 

COSTA RICA (@jasonpettigrove)  v GREECE (@gingerdisco99)

If that wasn’t dramatic enough, how about this game? Costa Rica, World Cup underdogs, go into a quarter final for the first time ever, beating Greece 5-3 on penalties. The match ended 1-1 and it stayed 1-1 after extra time. Another goalie was the star of this game; Keylor Navas of Costa Rica saved seven out of 8 shots from Greece and then went on to save a penalty.

Congratulations Costa Rica and @jasonpettigrove. And farewell to Greece and @gingerdisco99.

Costa Rica will now face Holland next Saturday.

TODAY’S MATCHES

FRANCE (@Zoleipar) v NIGERIA (@redorbrownsauce)

5pm. BBC. Estadio Nacional de Brasilia in Brasilia. I find this one a difficult one to call, given that France is represented by my wife! Having said that, she hasn’t got a hat! Here’s how much @redorbrownsauce is supporting Nigeria; he’s even added a shirt into the mix!

nigeria hat and shirt

dedication

And Sybil the dog is supporting Nigeria too, I think.

sybil nigeria

possibly Nigeria

Or is she supporting France?

vive le difference

Vive le difference

Or Germany?

sybil germany

mmmm, snacks

All these outfits have been posted on Twitter today. The moral? Dogs are fickle. and my prediction:

France 2 Nigeria 2 (and one of the teams will win in extra time)

And so on to the second game of the day:

GERMANY (@DarrenK73) v ALGERIA (@lolers)

9pm. ITV. Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre. Algeria are seeking to right a great wrong. “The Disgrace in Gijon” took place at the 1982 World Cup. 32 years ago the final group matches didn’t take place at the same time. Algeria had had a great World Cup with two wins and a defeat. One match remained to be played; West Germany v Austria. A 1-0 win for Germany would see Austria and Germany go through at the expense of Algeria. Guess what? You’ve guessed. Nothing could ever be proved, but it was this match that led to the final group games being played at the same time. In the name of fairness, possibly even retribution, the score tonight will be:

Germany 0 Algeria 1

Good luck folks. I will be at choir tonight! But I’ll try and keep up.

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yesterday was the first day of the knockout stages. Who got knocked out and who stayed in? Lets see.

BRAZIL (@Mojorainbw) v CHILE (@dusted1969)

I predicted a 2-2 draw, that would remain 2-2 through extra time, and then Brazil would win on penalties. And I wasn’t far off. It was just 1-1 all the way and then penalties. And Brazil won 3-2!

Penalty shoot-outs aren’t the most popular of endings for die-hard football fans, but for the middling ones (such as myself) they provide great drama. It’s all there: Goals, saves, and (the most criminal act of all) just plain missing the goal (known as ‘doing a Diana’ after Diana Ross’s  miss at the opening of the 1994 World Cup).

But let’s not be too hard on her. I bet if we heard Neymar singing I’m Coming Out it wouldn’t be much cop. Though he does have the moves.

Non Direction

Non Direction

And so farewell to Chile and @dusted1969 and congratulations to @Mojorainbw and Brazil who will face the winner of the following game:

 

COLOMBIA (@SpiderMonkey987) v URUGUAY (@BottyB)

A clear win for Colombia and @SpiderMonkey987. Sorry Uruguay and @BottyB, but without Suarez you just lacked the… (oh, fill in your own cheap joke. I just can’t bring myself to type it).

2- 0 to Colombia with new star James Rodriguez getting both the goals. Suarez wasn’t allowed in the stadium to watch. Indeed he has been banned from watching on TV. Or opening his eyes. Or mouth. It is the harshest ban ever handed out by FIFA since Bobby Charlton was given a 6 month comb ban back in the 1960’s.

Suarez has put up a defence. in a statement to me, just given inside my own head, he said; “I didn’t bite him. I fell onto him and found a small piece of pork pie balanced on his shoulder. I thought it was unusual for a player of Chiellini’s stature to have a pork pie under his kit, but who, in the same position, would not take advantage of such a savoury treat. Of course it was the heat. There was no pork pie there. I was hallucinating. It was a simple mistake to make but now I am paying the price. Even as I speak to you now, in your own head, I am doing it with my eyes and my mouth shut, such is the severity of my punishment. People say, why don’t you say sorry? Well, what am I saying sorry for? Trying to eat a tasty pastry pie during the World Cup? Is that such a crime? This is then end of my statement to you. I hope the Tweepstake people will understand.”

Thank you Suarez for clearing that up and taking the time to speak to me in my own head.

Brazil will face Colombia in the Quarter Finals!

TODAY’S MATCHES

HOLLAND (@Braggovic) v MEXICO (@bluebox99)

5pm. ITV. Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza. Hmmm. Holland haven’t lost a game and now they have Van Persie back. And he’s supposed to be pretty, pretty good. Too close for me to call here so I’ll just have to go with the favourites:

Holland 2 Mexico 1

COSTA RICA (@jasonpettigrove)  v GREECE (@gingerdisco99)

9pm. ITV. Arena Pernambuco in Recife. This is the first ever meeting between these two teams, and the first time that Greece have ever reached the knockout stages. Costa Rica reached the last 16, only to then go out, in 1990. Costa Rica have been a surprise success of this tournament and I think that will continue:

Costa Rica 3 Greece 0

But you must know by now, my predictions are as valid as a Suarez statement.

If you know anyone who can help me reach my World Cup target of £1966 for Alzheimer’s Society please send them over in the direction of my Just Giving page. Thank you. Have a good day of football. x

 

 

Here we go, into the Second Round. No groups, no second chances. Whatever happens, whether there is extra time or penalties, two team will progress today and two will go home. And it’s a South American day today, all teams playing coming from the host continent. Let’s take a look at the matches:

BRAZIL (@Mojorainbw) v CHILE (@dusted1969)

5pm. BBC. Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte. The host nation face Chile. Brazil have never lost to Chile at home in 26 meetings over 95 years. Maybe it’s time for a change. Or not. I’m hedging my bets but going to say:

Brazil 2 Chile 2 (after extra time it will still be 2-2. It will go to penalties. Brazil will then win.)

 

COLOMBIA (@SpiderMonkey987) v URUGUAY (@BottyB)

9pm. ITV. Estadio do Maracana, Rio De Janeiro. These two teams have only met once before in the World Cup and that was way back in 1962. Uruguay won 2-1. It’s time for Colombia to get revenge. Uruguay are without Suarez… he bit someone! Even know, days later, that seems so bizarre. Due to an act of idiocy, and also due to his inability to see anything wrong in what he did, the football gods will punish his team. My prediction:

Colombia 3 Uruguay 1

And now, a little late in the day,  here’s Klowz und Betti. Who the hell are they I hear no one other than me asking. It’s a good question. Last Eurovision they invaded our flat and took over for the evening. I really hoped I’d seen the back of them. But no! The reprobates turned up the other night demanding to sing (Sing? Mime? Who knows?) along to World In Motion by New Order.

Now, see, this was meant to be my wife, Zoe. She promised to do the John Barnes rap bit as soon as we hit the 50% mark of our £1996 target for Alzheimer’s Society for #tweepstake2014. But Klowz und Betti stormed in, took over, and insisted they would do it. They banished us from the flat, not even allowing us to hold the camera. And so it is a simple, amateurish affair; a fixed camera and the two of them doing their thing. What the heck, here it is.

If you like it, and you have a pound or two to spare for Alzheimer’s Society, please do donate here.

Enjoy the football. Good luck!

Yesterday saw the end of the group stages. From now on… and this might come as a relief to some… it’s a simple case of win or you’re out. If the match is a draw after 90 minutes then we have extra time. If it’s a draw after extra time then we have penalties. If it’s a draw after penalties – well, it can’t be. The penalties just keep on coming until one team misses. Who could forget that imaginary penalty shoot-out between Germany and England sometime last century when, after three hours of penalties, Germany eventually won 89-88?

But I’m getting ahead of things. Here’s how Groups G and H ended up.

 

USA (@Lindaannbown) v GERMANY (@DarrenK73)

These two teams got the job done. A draw would have seen them both go through. In pouring rain Germany won 1-0. For USA it was out of their hands; whether or not they would go on to the next stage depended on how Ghana went on in their game against Portugal.

 

PORTUGAL (@ali_spencer) v GHANA (@fiona_butler)

And they lost, sending themselves home along with Portugal. Portugal won 2-1, but all too late. Bye.

 

SOUTH KOREA (@anna_borowski) v BELGIUM (@hbnm1985)

Despite playing over half the match with only 10 men when Defour was sent off for a dangerous studs-up tackle Belgium went on to win 1-0. They top the group with 3 out of 3 wins and 9 points. They will play USA in the knockout stages next Tuesday.

 

ALGERIA (@lolers) v RUSSIA (@chislehurst)

In a shock move Algeria came back from 1-0 down to equalise 1-1, sending the Russians home and claiming second place in the group. Algeria will face Germany on Monday. Just before the equalising goal the Russian goalkeeper, Igor Akinfeev, was targeted by a laser from some idiot in the crowd. Not fair at all, and the Russian manager, Fabio Capello, was far from happy.

unhappy

far from happy

And that’s that. 16 still in, 16 out. And a break from football until Saturday.

In the meantime we have had a visit from our Eurovision friends, Klowz und Betti. They popped by last night to record World In Motion. I’d promised that when I got to 50% of my goal for Alzheimer’s Society my wife would perform the John Barnes rap from the song. Well, Betti insisted on doing it instead. Hopefully it will be with us, online, later today.

Klowz und Betti

Klowz und Betti take over

I’m not sure what our challenge will be when we hit the next stage of our target- let’s say 75%- but we’ll think of something. Anyone wishing to donate to Alzheimer’s Society can do here.

In an unusual move, I’m ending on an advert. It’s one of the greatest adverts of all time and it is an oblique tribute to Belgium. Belgium’s greatest singer, Jacques Brel, sang La Quete from the musical, The Man of  La Mancha, based on Don Quixote. La Quete is perhaps better known as The Impossible Dream. And Honda used it to make this in 2005, the only advert that, against my better judgement, moves me. Well done Belgium.

(Honda did a revamp of this in 2010, with a robot in it. Idiots. Why tamper with perfection?)

 

It’s the last day of the group stages. Who stays? Who goes? Let the game of football decide. First, here’s what happened yesterday:

NIGERIA (@redorbrownsauce) v ARGENTINA (@joyfeed)

Within 5 minutes of kick-off this game was 1-1. It’s the first time in World Cup history for two opposing teams to score so quickly, but the score wasn’t to last. Messi scored two for Argentina and the final score was Nigeria 2 Argentina 3. But both teams are through to the next stage anyway, so joy all round. Nigeria will play France (@Zoleipar) next Monday and Argentina will play Switzerland (@realandrewgreen) on Tuesday. Congratulations to you all, and special congratulations to @redorbrownsauce’s new lucky hat!

nigeria hat 2

BOSNIA-HERCEGOVINA (@jaq421)  v IRAN (@freig)

Commiserations to you two though, both out. Bosnia-Hercegovina had a perfectly decent goal from Manchester City’s Edin Dzeko ruled out in their match against Nigeria and so getting the opener in this game was nice, but not nice enough. No matter what B-H tried to do, they were going out. Iran needed a win to stay in. They lost 3-1. Sorry to see @Freig and @jaq421 go, but hopefully @jaq421’s Sybil will continue to offer canine support.

ECUADOR (@wasaunders) v FRANCE (@Zoleipar)

Not perhaps the most inspiring of games. A 0-0 draw sees France top the group and Ecuador and @wasaunders head on home. (I say that, I’m guessing @wasaunders has been at home all the time, so don’t head anywhere. Stick around).

HONDURAS (@wristwatch42) v SWITZERLAND (@realandrewgreen)

A hat-trick from Shaqiri saw Switzerland defeat Honduras 3-0. Switzerland go through whilst @wristwatch42 has to watch from the terraces.

Shaqiri celebrates a hat-trick

Shaqiri celebrates a hat-trick

 

And so to today’s matches, the last four of the group stages.

 

TODAY’S MATCHES; PREVIEWS AND PREDICTIONS

 

USA (@Lindaannbown) v GERMANY (@DarrenK73)

5pm. BBC. Arena Pernambuco in Recife. This should be fun. Both teams have won one and drawn one, giving them four points each. The other two teams in the group, Ghana and Portugal, are on a point each. So whatever happens in this game, one of the teams will go through. If a team wins they’re through, and the losing team will have to wait and see how the other game goes. If it’s a draw they’re both through. Will they play for a draw? Is that allowed? My prediction:

USA 1 Germany 2

Oh! And surprise! Sybil’s found a whole new hat!

Guess which team I'm supporting today? (and give me a treat)

Guess which team I’m supporting today? (and then give me a treat)

 

PORTUGAL (@ali_spencer) v GHANA (@fiona_butler)

5pm. BBC. Estadio Nacional de Brasilia in Brasilia. Goals are needed here, particularly if Portugal are to go through. If they defeat Ghana by loads of Goals, and their is a clear victory in the other match, then they will be on 4 points as well as the losing team from the other match. And so it will all come down to goal difference. Oh it’s tricky isn’t it. Or am I just making it that way?

Portugal 0 Ghana 0

 

SOUTH KOREA (@anna_borowski) v BELGIUM (@hbnm1985)

9pm. ITV. Arena de Sao Paulo in Sao Paulo. Belgium are through, but if they want to make sure they come top of the group a win or draw will be needed. If they lose, and Algeria win their game against Russia, then both teams will be on 6 points and goal difference will decide who’s top and who’s second. But they’re not going to lose are they? My prediction:

South Korea 0 Belgium 2

ALGERIA (@lolers) v RUSSIA (@chislehurst)

9pm. ITV. Arena da Baixada in Curitiba. Russia will be playing like the wind against Algeria. I don’t know what that means. What I do know is this: assuming Belgium don’t lose their game then whichever team wins here will be going through. Having said that, Algeria can go through with a draw (assuming, again, Belgium win). So… that’s why Russia will be playing like the wind. And Russia’s manager, Fabio Capello, will be a huffin’ and a puffin’.

Capello urges Russia on to victory!

Capello urges Russia on to victory!

Here’s The Leningrad Cowboys with the Red Russian Army Choir singing Delilah, just for the hell of it.

And very finally, an update on prizes! They’re coming in; today I received some goodies from funny writer David Quantick. That’s on top of the stuff from Lucy Porter, Jim Bob; and the stuff coming from Richard Curtis, Richard Osman, Moose Allain, Modern Toss, and on and on. So, don’t worry if you have gone out early. There’s still something coming your way at the end of The World Cup!

And if you can point any people my way I’d really appreciate it. I’m still going for a goal of £1966 for Alzheimer’s Society. We’re over the £1000 mark, which is already fantastic. If you know anyone who would like to donate please send them over to my Just Giving page here.

And yes, we have passed the 50% mark, which means my wife has to do the John Barnes rap from World In Motion. We’re working on it. Promise.

A crazy day yesterday, ending with some true football drama. Here’s what happened:

COSTA RICA (@jasonpettigrove) v ENGLAND (@Christian_N_Orr)

Well, if it some consolation to @Christian_N_Orr England leave the World Cup as the only team in Group D not to be beaten by the Group winners Costa Rica (@jasonpettigrove), with a result of a goalless draw. Does that mean, technically, that we are the second best team in the group? No. Hard luck England; you went out drawing.

ITALY (@pettittsa) v URUGUAY (@BottyB)

This was a juicier game with lots of bite. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Yes, it seems Luis Suarez has been at it again, trying to bite his way to victory. He took a chunk out of Giorgio Chiellini and then Uruguay took a chunk out of Italy, beating them 1-0. Uruguay had to win, a draw would have been no good. And so @BottyB welcome to the next round. @pettittsa, sorry, you’re out.

Suarez tries to eat Uruguay

Suarez tries to eat Uruguay

 

JAPAN (@Superblouse) v COLOMBIA (@SpiderMonkey987)

Move along, nothing to see here. Heck, the game was even relegated to BBC3 (though at least that’s HD, unlike ITV4’s watercolour offerings). Japan drew level at 1-1 to then be beaten 4-1. Colombia top the group to face Uruguay in the knockout stages.

 

GREECE (@gingerdisco99) v IVORY COAST (@jayscarblue)

Now this is more like it. Immensely exciting. All Ivory Coast had to do to go through was get a draw. But at the halfway point they went 1-0 down to Greece. it took them until the 74th minute to get the equaliser they were so desperate to get. All was sorted… until the last minute of injury time. A (mildly) controversial penalty was given to Greece and Giorgios Samaras converted it. 2-1 to Greece. Greece, please meet Costa Rica. Ivory Coast, please leave the World Cup. To help your departure, to cheer you up a bit, here’s Alpha Blondy with his hit from the last World Cup, Vuvuzela.

TODAY’S MATCHES

NIGERIA (@redorbrownsauce) v ARGENTINA (@joyfeed)

5pm. ITV. Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre. Argentina are through and are likely to top the group… unless… Nigeria beat them! Then Nigeria will be top and Argentina second. A draw will also see Nigeria go through in second place. Should Nigeria lose they are still likely to go through, but, see the complicated set-up below! My prediction:

Argentina 1 Nigeria 0

 

BOSNIA-HERCEGOVINA (@jaq421)  v IRAN (@freig)

5pm. ITV. Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador. Sorry @jaq421 but Bosnia-Hercegovina have gone! There’s nothing they can do now, win, lose, or draw.  As for Sybil, your dog, she’s switched allegiances to Francel!

Liberte, Egalite, snacks please!

Liberte, Egalite, snacks please!

Iran can go through! It’s a big ask and it relies on Nigeria losing. If Iran win and Nigeria lose both teams will be on 4 points. But Nigeria have the goal difference so Iran will have to score goals goals GOALS! And they haven’t scored one yet! But let’s be optimistic. My prediction:

Bosnia-Hercegovina 0 Iran 14

 

ECUADOR (@wasaunders) v FRANCE (@Zoleipar)

9pm. BBC. Estadio Maracana in Rio de Janeiro. Wow! These next two matches are crazy ones to work out. Unless I’ve got it wrong, any of these teams can go through, though for Honduras it’s going to need more goals than Iran! France have 6 points; if they win or draw they will top the group. If they lose they should still be ok-ish, unless Switzerland win by a massive score of 8 or 9 goals.

As for Ecuador, a win will see them equal France on 6 points. Then it all depends on the how the Switzerland / Honduras match goes. Oh, this is difficult. My prediction:

Ecuador 1 France 3

 

HONDURAS (@wristwatch42) v SWITZERLAND (@realandrewgreen)

9pm. BBC. Arena Amazonia in Manaus. And now it gets even more complicated. Honduras are in trouble. To go through they would need France to win and then 10 goals or more over Switzerland. Oh, why am I even bothering; they’re not going to do it. My prediction:

Honduras 10 Switzerland 11

That was hard work. Let’s relax with some classic Swiss pop. Here’s Yello with the, hopefully, non prophetic Lost Again.

On a charity note, we have passed the £1000 mark for Alzheimer’s Society! Fantastic! And, as promised, my wife will do the John Barnes rap from World In Motion. This will be filmed hopefully tomorrow night. And prizes are still coming in so all Tweepstake folk will get something. If you know anyone who would like to donate beyond the immensely generous tweepstakers please do point them in the direction of my Just Giving page. A goal of £1966! Is it achievable?

A sad day for some #tweepstake2014 folk who are leaving the World Cup behind for at least another four years. But please stay with us in the Tweepstake; perhaps you can switch your allegiance to another team, if that’s not too much of a shock to your system.

As for prizes, everyone’s guaranteed one. At some point I will be coming after you for your addresses. However, in an attempt to keep you all interested I will leave sending prizes out until the competition is over. That way I can also include your team ranking in the entire tournament. So, even though you are out, you are in. Ok?

Here’s what happened yesterday:

AUSTRALIA (@zwanzig20) played SPAIN (NiicNok), purely for the hell of it, both teams already beyond hope. Australia have played well in this tournament (ok, they didn’t win a game, but they put up a fight) but Spain were determined to put on some kind of a show, having won the cup four years ago and now facing a tournament with no points. They won 3-0. Bye Spain. Bye Australia.

HOLLAND (@Braggovic) and CHILE (@dusted1969) fought for first and second place in their group. Holland won 2-0 going to the top of the group with three resounding wins and 9 points. Their last goal in the group stages was scored by Leroy Fer who, when not in the World Cup playing for Holland, plays for Norwich. Holland will face Mexico in the next round and Chile will face Brazil.

CAMEROON (@Arfablue), already out before this game, faced BRAZIL (@Mojorainbw). A win for Cameroon would have led to a very interesting group closure but, despite equalising in the 26th minute, they were eventually beaten 4-1 by Brazil. Bye Cameroon.

CROATIA (@LadyLisaCusack) played MEXICO (@bluebox99). Croatia had to win to stay in the competition. They lost 3-1. Bye Croatia.

TODAY’S MATCHES

Groups C and D come to a close today.

COSTA RICA (@jasonpettigrove) v ENGLAND (@Christian_N_Orr)

5pm. ITV. Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte. England are out of the tournament but will be playing a nearly new team (nine changes, including up and coming youngster Frank Lampard) to showcase our future! Out of the eight teams playing today England are the only ones guaranteed going home. Everything else is up for grabs. Costa Rica are safe, but will still be playing to get the win and secure top of the group. My prediction:

Costa Rica 3 England 2

 

ITALY (@pettittsa) v URUGUAY (@BottyB)

5pm. ITV. Estadio das Dunas in Natal. Uruguay are the slight underdogs. A win will put them through, but a draw will put Italy through on goal difference. My prediction:

Italy 3 Uruguay 3

 

JAPAN (@Superblouse) v COLOMBIA (@SpiderMonkey987)

9pm. BBC. Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba. Anything’s possible here should Japan beat Colombia. My prediction:

Japan 1 Colombia 3

 

GREECE (@gingerdisco99) v IVORY COAST (@jayscarblue)

9pm. BBC. Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza. And anything’s possible here should Greece beat Ivory Coast. My prediction:

Greece 0 Ivory Coast 2

Sorry to put a downer on things but I think Colombia will top the group and Ivory Coast will come second.

But let’s end on a more positive note. In honour of England’s last game in this World Cup here’s former England manager, Kevin Keegan, with his tribute to the team.

An exciting day yesterday. Here’s the results:

Belgium (@hbnm1985) secured their place in the knockout stages with a 1-0 win over Russia (@chislehurst). The goal came in the dying minutes of the game. Now Russia must beat Algeria (@lolers) on Thursday to go through. Fabio Capello is hopeful or doubtful, depending on what you can read into this photo of him taken moments after the game ended.

hopeful/doubtful

hopeful/doubtful

Algeria (@lolers) had to fight to stay alive, and they did in grand style, becoming the first African team to score four goals in a World Cup game. The Desert Foxes, as they are known, beat a battling South Korea (@anna_borowski) 4-2. South Korea are down but not yet out. With Belgium the only ones guaranteed a place in the next round Thursday will be an eventful day.

The Desert Foxes

The Desert Foxes

Who could have thought it? USA (@Lindaannbown) are a revelation this World Cup. Coming from 1 behind they then went 2-1 up only for Portugal (ali_spencer) to score an equaliser in the very last moments of 6 minutes of injury time. Hard luck USA, but you’re looking good for the next round… if you can beat Germany on Thursday! A draw will see a very tricky situation (one that hurts my head as I try to work it out). I’ll get there by Thursday’s preview. Here’s Portugal’s shy and retiring Ronaldo doing the John Travolta hump dance from Grease.

Ronaldo practises his Summer Lovin' moves

Well-a, well-a, well-a, uh!

 

TODAY’S MATCHES

AUSTRALIA (@zwanzig20) v SPAIN (NiicNok)

5pm. ITV. Arena da Baixada in Curitiba. This is a raw deal. You are both out! Nothing you can do. Spain, the current World Cup holders, have had a terrible time. They’ll be playing for some sort of pride. But Australia have played well and perhaps they deserve something. My prediction:

Australia 3 Spain 2

HOLLAND (@Braggovic) v CHILE (@dusted1969)

5pm. ITV. Arena de Sao Paulo in Sao Paulo. These two are through, but who will top the group? A win for either will put them top. A draw will see Holland top the group by a massive goal difference. My prediction:

Holland 2 Chile 2

CAMEROON (@Arfablue) v BRAZIL (@Mojorainbw)

9pm. ITV. Estadio Nacional de Brasilia in Brasilia. Sorry Cameroon, but you are out. Brazil will win and top the group. My prediction:

Cameroon 0 Brazil 3

CROATIA (@LadyLisaCusack) v MEXICO (@bluebox99)

9pm. ITV. Arena Pernambuco in Recife. A tough one to call, with Croatia fighting for their lives. Nothing but a win will do. Mexico will go through with a win or a draw. It’ll be bloody to the end. My prediction:

Croatia 2 Mexico 2

Now look! I thought Croatia needed a bit of support, so here’s Croatian ‘pop star’ Nives Celsius and wife of the Croatian football player Dino Drpić singing Take Me To Brazil. Please be warned; this video verges on the pornographic. It involves mobile phones and fannies.  Best not to watch.

An exciting day yesterday with some near shockers (and my predictions up the spout). First up:

ARGENTINA 1 IRAN 0

Of course Argentina (@joyfeed) were expected to beat Iran (@Freig). And they did. But only by one goal. And even then it took them until stoppage time. And Iran should have possibly had a penalty. And it took Messi to win it for Argentina. If there is a way of winning by losing then Iran did just that. Hard luck.

GERMANY 2 GHANA 2

Another surprise result (not that the above is a ‘surprise’ result, but you know what I mean). Germany (@DareenK73) were expected to win. Ghana (@fiona_bulter) came from behind to take the lead before Germany drew level. Klose moved closer to being the World Cup’s all-time record scorer (he’s joint all-timer at the mo; him and Ronaldo – the Brazil one not the Portugal one – on 15 goals each). Germany should go through, but all eyes will be on USA v Portugal late tonight; a USA win will put them top of the group! As this World Cup is showing us; anything can happen.

NIGERIA 1 BOSNIA-HERCEGOVINA 0

Sorry to say that Bosnia-Hercegovina (@jaq421) are going home. Having no points, even in they win their next and last match, they cannot pass Argentina on 6 and Nigeria (@redorbrownsauce) on 4. And they have a right to feel aggrieved, having a perfectly good goal from Manchester City’s Edin Dzeko disallowed.

Iran, on 1, are still in there (they just have to beat B-H in their last game, rely on Argentina beating Nigeria, and have a greater goal difference than Nigeria, who only have the 1 goal, so it’s perfectly do-able).

Top points go to @jaq421 and Sybil for their headtastic support of Bosnia-Hercegovina:

Jackie

@jaq421

Sybil

Sybil

This should have secured them the victory, but then @redordrownsauce (Nigeria) had a secret weapon. He went and fashioned his own magic headgear. And this, and this alone, secured Nigeria victory.

@redorbrownsauce's winning hat

@redorbrownsauce’s winning hat

And congratulations both of you on your lovely wall things.

The presence of Pjanic in the Bosnia-Hercegovina team led to me making a feeble late night Smiths song pun on Twitter. Just as I was heading off to sleep Twitter was bombarded with #worldcupsmithssongs. The unofficial winner is @jewkesyno4 with “The More You Ignore Me The Klose I Get” (technically Morrissey, but hey, I never even meant to set this all off. You could say I started something I couldn’t finish).

So, on to today’s matches:

BELGIUM  (@hbnm1985) v RUSSIA (@chislehurst)

5pm. BBC. Estadio Maracana, Rio de Janeiro. It’s still early days for this group. Belgium have 3 points, Russia just 1. They remain the favourites to go through from Group H, the other two teams being South Korea and Algeria, who play their second game just after this one. I haven’t got a clue, and so I am going to follow Mark Lawrenson’s prediction of a draw, but I will up the goal numbers. My prediction:

Belgium 4 Russia 4

 

SOUTH KOREA (@anna_borowski) v ALGERIA (@lolers)

8pm. ITV. Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre. South Korea (having drawn with Russia) have a point, and so they will be desperate to win this game. But then, on no points, so will Algeria. It’s going to be the craziest game of football yet. Or the dullest. My prediction:

South Korea 14 Algeria 9 or South Korea 1 Algeria 0

 

USA (@Lindaannbown) v PORTUGAL (@ali_spencer)

11pm. BBC. Arena Amazonia in Manaus. This is the big game of the evening, annoyingly on in the bedtime zone. I’ve checked with Mark Lawrenson and he agrees with me; USA will win. Portugal are relying too much on Ronaldo and he is not in a good head-space, having had his toiletries stolen by a Avon rep). My prediction:

USA 2 Portugal 0

The charity bit. I’m writing all this (well, for fun) but also to raise money for Alzheimer’s Society. My ‘goal’ is £1966. So far you have donated an amazing £905, 46% of my target. And many of you have donated more than once. You’re all fantastic, and all of you in the Tweepstake will receive a prize. If you’re not in the Tweepstake you are still welcome to donate; I can’t guarantee a prize, but I can guarantee that you will be helping someone, somewhere (and their family) who is battling this awful illness. And, if I have any prizes spare, I promise you will get one, if you ask. You can donate at my Just Giving page here.

To those who have given so generously, I don’t want to pester you anymore. You’ve done your bit way and above the call of duty of the World Cup Tweepstake. But, if you have a mo, please do spread the word. Should we get to 50% my wife, @Zoleipar, has promised to recreate the John Barnes World In Motion rap. What it will be like? Who knows! That’s the gamble.

Here’s someone else having a go (no relation of mine, by the way).

“Worst performance ever in a World Cup Finals.” That’s what the man on the BBC said this morning. seems a harsh criticism of Italy’s failure to win a game for us!

Let’s leave it all now. No England. No more. We’ll move on. You can now pick your favourite team, or even stick with the one you have got in the Tweepstake or any other sweepstake you may be in. Onwards and upwards.

Oh, and sorry for today’s briefer blog post, possibly lacking in ‘jokes’ or fun. I am painting all day (and sneaking all this in inbetween coats). Here’s a quick recap of yesterday’s games.

ITALY 0 COSTA RICA 1

Ok, one last time; Italy lost, and in doing so ended England’s hopes of staying in the World Cup. The good news for @jasonpettigrove is that Costa Rica are through to the next stage with 6 points already. They will face an England team hoping to rescue a sense of pride on Tuesday. Italy’s hopes hang in the balance. Both Italy @pettittsa and Uruguay (@BottyB) are on 3 points and face each other on Tuesday at the same time as the England/ Costa Rica match. The team that wins will join Costa Rica in going through to the next stage. If it’s a draw, Uruguay will pip it by having one extra goal. Which game will you watch? It seems there’s only one that matters.

SWITZERLAND 2 FRANCE 5

7 goals! It’s a given that France (and @Zoleipar) are going through to the knockout stages in style. But what about the rest of this group? Switzerland (@realandrewgreen) are on 3 points as are Ecuador after their win over Honduras last night. The final two games, Honduras v Switzerland and Ecuador v France, will be played at the same time next Wednesday. If France win, and Honduras manage a win over Switzerland, then the second place qualifiers (all on a potential 3 points) will be decided by goal difference!

HONDURAS 1 ECUADOR 2

The highlight of this match was my wife Zoe waking up in the middle of it, looking at the TV and asking, “who’s playing? Is it Honolulu?” It was a thuggish match, making for some great slow-mo challenges. It was like a deleted scene from a rejected Michael Bay movie. But it was also a first win for Ecuador (@wasaunders), giving them a chance of qualifying. But it’s not over for Honduras (@wristwatch42) yet. See above.

 

TODAY’S PREVIEWS AND PREDICTIONS

 

ARGENTINA (@joyfeed) v IRAN (@Freig)

5pm. ITV. Estadio Mineirao in Belo Horizonte.Nice. Iran (maybe against expectations) held Nigeria to a goalless draw. And even now, before they play their second game, Iran have more points than England’s zero. They will be doing their best against Argentina, but the truth is this game will be Messi to watch (sorry!) My prediction:

Argentina 4 Iran 0

 

GERMANY (@DarrenK73) v GHANA (@fiona_butler)

8pm. BBC. Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza. Sorry Fiona, But Ghana really need to win this if they are going to have a chance of progressing, and they’re not going to win it; USA beat them for crying out loud! Excitingly, two half-brothers could be playing in this match; Kevin-Prince Boateng of Ghana and Jerome Boateng of Germany! They normally talk to each other daily, but not now. Kevin_prince has predicted it will be a “fight to the death”! My prediction:

Germany 3 Ghana 1

 

NIGERIA (@redorbrownsauce) v BOSNIA-HERCEGOVINA (@jaq421)

11pm. BBC. Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba. The BBC say this of Nigeria, known as the Super Eagles, on its website: “The Super Eagles lacked creativity in their first game so may recall Stoke forward Peter Odemwingie.” From the Super Eagles to Stoke; unwitting sports comedy juxtaposition at its best.

Nigeria 2 Bosnia-Hercegovina 3

Here’s Solidstar with a great World Cup offering for the Super Eagles.

(oh, I’m writing daily about the World Cup and trying to raise money for Alzheimer’s Society. If you can spare a pound or two please donate here.)