Brazil 1-0 South Africa: Four Conclusions


He doesnt look very happy... perhaps hes feeling the cold.

He doesn't look very happy... perhaps he's feeling the cold.

1. Dunga is a tactical genius.
Well, not really, but you have to admit that when he brought on Dani Alves at left-back with the score at 0-0 with just eight minutes on the clock you wondered what he was playing at. Bringing on a right-back at left-back is one thing, but given that they were being held to a stalemate by South Africa who entered the game as bigger underdogs than the US of A were against Spain, you were probably justified in wondering why he didn’t throw on another striker, especially as in Alex Pato, Julio Baptista and Nilmar they’re not exactly short of striking options.

However, perhaps he’d been banking on Brazil picking up a free-kick in a dangerous position on the edge of the box and so handpicked Alves as the man to win the game, because to be fair, as soon as he stood over it you knew he wasn’t going to miss. It was a stunning free-kick, with Khune having absolutely no chance of saving it. And while it wasn’t a vintage performance from Brazil and South Africa deserve a hell of a lot of credit (and even more sympathy), credit must go to Dunga, whose ‘inspired’ substitution won the game.

Click through for three more conclusions…


Microphones: A Refereeing Solution


Referee Ovrebo is surrounded by outraged Chelsea players at the final whistle.

Referee Ovrebo is surrounded by outraged Chelsea players at the final whistle.

Having watched the great Champions League semi-final 2nd leg between Chelsea and Barcelona this morning, I was pleased to see that the standard of attacking play was as high as we had hoped for, and I was gutted for Chelsea, to come so close after playing so well, only to see it all slip away at the very last second, was harsh. Worse though, was the refereeing, and both sides can feel hard done by after another shambolic refereeing performance, following on from yesterday’s game.

It is such a shame that such a good game of football will ultimately be remembered not for two great goals, not for some heroic defending from Chelsea, some persistent attacking from Barca and for the result, which is of course always remembered, but instead for the tragic refereeing that plagued it. It’s becoming an all too familiar trend, and it needs to be addressed. Fear not though, for (as Baldrick would say) I have a cunning plan…

Click through to find out more…

Arsenal 1 (1) – (4) 3 Manchester United: Match Reaction

Despair and Joy; the full range of emotions all inside ten minutes.

Despair and Joy; the full range of emotions all inside ten minutes.

A more bizarre game of football you will rarely see. I speak of course, about the second leg of the Champions League semi-final between Arsenal and Manchester United which, after all the hype and all the build up between the two managers going into the match, was all over within the opening ten minutes. The really strange thing though, is that it could all have been so very different.

For the first few minutes, it did seem to my blurry eyes (it was 6.30am, c’mon!) that Arsenal were looking like they may deliver on Wenger’s pre-match promise that it would be a masterful team performance and that they stood every chance of making it through. They pinged it about with a bit of style and plenty of attacking intent and it looked like they were really in the mood for this one, so i sat back, lipped my lips and prepared myself for a feast of intense football…

Click through to read about a massive anti-climax…

Champions League Predictions


Well, I must admit I’m excited about the second legs of this season’s Champions League semi-finals. The first legs, granted, weren’t quite the classics that we perhaps anticipated, but you have to admit that they are now nicely set up for some pretty tasty second legs. So who’s going to fight on through and have the honour of playing for European football’s biggest prize?

Click through to find what I think…

Everton 0-0 Manchester United; Everton win 4-2 on Penalties


FA Cup Semi-Final Reaction

I have now been awake for almost 24 hours straight. In New Zealand the semi-final kicked off at 3am on Monday morning and I could not go to bed due to nervous excitement before the match. Now I can’t go to bed because of the adrenaline coursing through my body after that dramatic win. So I will attempt to channel some of that out into this blog and give my reaction to a nerve-wracking FA Cup Semi-Final. As always, bias may sneak in because my heart is as blue as blue, but I have tried to be objective and fair. At the end of the day though, Everton are in the final and that’s what counts!!!

Click through to read an adrenaline fuelled reaction to the second FA Cup semi-final…

FA Cup Semi-Final Previews



This weekend sees the attention of the nation swivel to Wembley to witness the two FA Cup Semi-Finals of 2009. Last season’s FA Cup fixtures seemed to epitomise the phrase ‘the magic of the Cup’ and eventually Portesmouth emerged the victors in the first final I can remember that didn’t feature one of the so called ‘big four’.

This year though has seen a return to the typical dominance of the bigger clubs and the semi-finals see Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal joined by Everton, who eliminated both Liverpool and Aston Villa en route to the final and are steadily closing the gap between themselves and the ‘big four’. So we should have some really cracking semi-finals to watch this weekend, but which two sides will earn the right to return to Wembley and contest the oldest Cup final in football?

Click through to read my predictions…