Category Archives: Saturday Sugar

Are England 2010 the real deal?


With the start of their World Cup campaign just a number of hours away it got me thinking what this England Squad is actually capable of.  On paper the English squad always appears to be up there with the very best however much like the South African cricket team (much to the disappointment of the webmaster I might add) they have a ridiculous record of choking on the big stage.  In saying this the English faithful must have breathed a huge sigh of relief knowing that they are no chance of facing off against one Luiz Felipe Scolari. Big Phil was responsible for knocking the Three Lions out at the quarterfinal stage of the last 3 major tournaments they have been involved in (WC ’02 with Brazil as well as Euro ’04 and WC ’06 with Portugal). After the embarrassment of failing to qualify for Euro 2008, England were determined to prove a point during qualification and did so with 8 consecutive wins, making the road to South Africa quite comfortable with 27 out of 30 possible points. Perhaps more importantly than this they managed to regain some respect with 4-1 and 5-1 victories against Croatia, the side who had been responsible for keeping them out  in ’08.

In doing some research I stumbled along an article that suggested that the English squad actually has the highest average age (only slightly, by .1 of a year) of all of the 32 nations competing. However this was before Michael Dawson replaced the injured Rio Ferdinand which has brought down the average age from 28.7 to 28.5 putting them in second position behind Brazil and only slightly ahead of our beloved Socceroos. Despite the fact that at 40, David James probably brings that average up quite a bit, it got me thinking that for a number of the English stars this is just about their last chance for international glory. Whilst most of them will probably still feature at the Euro ’12 championships (provided they qualify) nothing could compare to the lifting that little Gold Trophy and surely by 2014 a lot of them will be on the other side of their best footballing days. For the likes of Stevie G and Frank Lampard who have seen much success at club level, yet only tasted bitter disappointed time and time again for England, South Africa 2010 could be the best chance if not the last they get (you would expect at 34 and 36 respectively, WC ’14 will come a bit too late for both of them).

So realistically are England bringing the real deal to South Africa 2010? Can they finally after 44 years lift the trophy once more? Lets look at the Pro’s and Con’s..

Pro’s:

  1. Capello – brings a wealth of experience to the side having achieved great success in both Italy and Spain, he is also England’s most successful international manager with a 75% win record almost 15% better than any previous manager
  2. No encounter with “Big Phil”
  3. Possibly the easiest route to the quarterfinal – simple group, followed by Serbia, Ghana or hopefully Socceroos in round of 16
  4. Quality squad with good depth and international experience
  5. A group of seriously determined men, ready to prove their worth on the biggest stage – potentially last chance for many and a chance to demand respect after rather disappointing previous results
  6. With skipper Ferdinand falling to the injury curse England still have two massively influential and inspiring leaders in the new captain,  Stevie G and vice captain Franky Lamps – not to mention former skipper JT

Con’s

  1. WAGS – if they’re anything like what we usually can expect from the English WAGS they can only be a distraction – although its no surprise, have you seen what they look like?! Crouchy and Stevie G aren’t doing too bad for themselves.. Pity about Ashley Cole
  2. The expectation and pressure from the media back home simply cannot be underestimated – they literally carry the weight of the entire nation on their shoulders, weighed down by the desperation for them to finally bring home the cup and title as world champs
  3. Pressure and reliance on Rooney – not to mention his temper (remember disastrous end to WC in ’06 with red card for stomping, also more recently in the last friendly – abusing the ref). Rooney is an absolute gun, a complete striker who never gives up and is capable of just about anything but will need to keep his calm and not allow the other teams to wind him up – if England are to lift the trophy he has got to be at his absolute best
  4. Inability to win a penalty shoot-out – G-d help England if it gets to that
  5. Heskey – to be honest I’m not entirely sure why he’s even there but Capello seems to insist he’s the starting man along side Rooney (who am I to argue..) however I cannot see him scoring a goal.. ever (his 7 goals in 58 games would support this). He’s way past it, would much rather see Crouch or Defoe neither of which are too brilliant either, but at least pose a goal scoring threat
  6. Chokers tag will be playing on their minds

In the opinion of the webmaster this is in fact England’s year and for once they will be able to shake off their tag as chokers, allowing them to finally progress past the quarter final. This should see them face off against Brazil in the semi final in what could be one of the games of the tournament. Although what happens from there I feel is too close to call. I for one, hope that South Africa 2010 will be England’s turn to shine and that they finally fulfill the potential that they have so often failed to live up to, they simply have too much class to keep failing. Come July 11 the webmaster would be happy to see Stevie G lifting the trophy.

Come on England!

Webmaster over and out.

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Rooney Out! lol Jks, but every other decent player is!


Another day, another injury on the soccernet homepage. More like another hour, another injury. What is going on! Not to be outdone, we weren’t short of upsets, with France getting a nasty Chinese burn.

Almost every player featured on FFTD as a “leading man” has been ruled out. Talk about putting the mocker on! these aren’t just minor players either, they’re the best blokes in their respective line ups. I’m almost out of words. It’s simply farcical. No less than 5 Chelsea starters are unfit and that’s only the beginning. Without promising to be exhaustive (the list will be out of date within minutes) the following players are either injured or certain to miss out (This list excludes players recovering from injuries, a list expansive in its own right, – think Torres, Farbregas and Iniesta all still not at full fitness and that’s just for Spain. Don’t forget that dude Kaka either. Or Gareth Barry, Carvallho, Bendtner, Gallas and Kewell. As if that’s not enough – David Beckham anyone? Every England fan will hope that the picture above isn’t a self fulfilling prophecy) :

  • Michael Essien – Ghana
  • Michael Ballack – Germany
  • Andrea Pirlo – Italy
  • Tim Cahill – Australia
  • Arjen Robben – Netherlands
  • Didier Drogba – Ivory Coast
  • John Obi Mikel – Nigeria
  • Rio Ferdinand – England
  • Yasuyuki Konno – Japan
  • Julio Cesar – Brazil
  • Jozy Altidore – USA

I suppose in the interests of fairness, every team should have to sacrifice their best player to some physical ailment. The list above is almost a complete side – with strikers, attacking midfielders, holding midfielders and a keeper. 2 more injuries to defenders is all we need. That side would almost be favourites for the Cup! Obi Mikel wouldn’t even get a look in!

Don’t think it’s over either – Watch this Space!

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RIP RB, YNWA, LFC, EPL/CL’11, SG&FTFL


There’s been a whole lotta action in the last 24 hours or so, and we don’t want you to miss a thing at FFTD!

Adios Rafa

Football forums and facebook statuses are awash with a coat of acronyms that could only mean one thing – Liverpool are at another turning point. Showing, once again, that they really set the benchmark for abbreviation, the Anfield faithful have come out in never-before-seen force, claiming the statuses of friends, relatives and thousands of unknown victims with their indecipherable codes. After all the speculation and that protracted media circus seeming to follow Benitez’s every move at the start of 2010, Anfield has “given him the chop”, “given him a severance package” or “let their gaffer walk away”. Whatever the story, and whatever the payout (gernerally regarded as from 3 – 6 million of the English denomination), you really have to question the politeness of the club’s decision. After all those long stakeouts in the bushes of the main man’s mansion, PTS and his colleagues were sprung with the story at the one time in the last 4 years where we probably haven’t had to talk a whole bunch of crap to make news. 1 week from the World Cup? The UK’s biggest shooting massacre in 30 odd years? This won’t even make the back page, let alone the front. Have a bit of decency and just break the news when we write the headlines thanks very much.

Just a quick serious word: I always get a little upset at how sportspeople’s past is so easily forgotten. Benitez was unlucky in the sense that he did it all back in ’05 after only the 1 season in the job. His Champions League win, in the end, set a benchmark and precedent that was not only unsustainable, but simply unreasonable. It’s a shame that Rafa’s record will be forever tarnished by the poor ’09/10 campaign that’s been lambasted everywhere. Benitez is a true hero of the club and deserves the respect shown to him, as club officials refuse to say the word “sack”.

You’ll never walk alone Rafa, and we’ll never get to see your ridiculous gesticulations… Vail RB. Rafamusement no more.

Did any of you muppets read the script?

As if Rafa hasn’t messed things up enough, all these world cup players and managers are just destroying the form guide for 2010. Just about every football fan is reaching their climax after 2 solid weeks of non-stop footage of training fields, passing drills and talk about the Jubalani. After 1 week of surprise results it wasn’t too hard to brush them off as friendlies that don’t count for nufin’. But I just can’t take it anymore… I’ve cracked, I wrote the article I said I’d never write…

Last night, Spain were simply dismal against a highly efficient and industrious South Korea. At half time, the dog-eaters were undoubtedly the better side. Spain, a team that previously could swat away opposition like a fat bogan on an outdoor toilet waves away flies, looked bereft of any confidence, nervous and severely underdone. World Cup holders, Italy, have largely flown under the radar, which generally would be considered ominous for the competition. But last night they blasted onto the scene with a 2-1 loss to a Mexican side that didn’t feature many regular starters. Um, what! Thought that was enough? Well, last night we got the trifecta, as Germany fell behind against established minnows, Bosnia and Herzegovina before winning 3-1. That is almost worse than the previous 2 results.

For how much longer must be maintain our rhetoric that the best teams grind out victories and that the best is being saved for next week – this is getting ridiculous.

Just a final note. It’s worth mentioning the ball for just a minute (and I mean just a minute) Step 1: Manager’s ban players from talking to the media about everything from their love life to their new boots. 2. Player’s circumvent the orders by framing the majority of their personal problems, and the majority of the world’s wider problems on the ball. (If that shmuck on the flotilla hadn’t used the new rounder and more advance ball, it wouldn’t have curved just as much and missed the Israelis – wow that’s terrible) 3. Okay, everyone take a deep breath, and on the count of three, let it all out – get rid. Once we’re done, we can all pinkey promise to just leave it alone for another 4 years.

Major news story? Big factor in the finals? You’ve gotta be kidding! This is just yet another media beat up that comes around on the eve of every World Cup. Critics have likened the under fire ball as a “volleyball that you buy outside a service station for a couple of bucks”. Well good on ya, that’s the ball you’ll be playing with.

Right’o then, let’s practise a few more corners…

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Saturday Sugar Special Report – Maradona Watch


This was originally meant to be a part of the Saturday Sugar column, but there’s just so much dirt on Diego that it’s evolved into its own special report by PTS. Come back tomorrow for Saturday Sugar.

MARADONA WATCH

After all the talk and fuss about good ole Diego, he hadn’t done all that much of late. Football fans around the world were getting restless, could it be that Maradona wouldn’t be the hinderance everyone predicted? Well this week answered all this and more, with a bizarre string of stories that assured everyone that he’s a total and utter idiot.

1. If the World Cup lacks anything, then it is nudity. Everyone loves a little skin, and Diego has assured us that we’ll get more than our share. Take note, we can now add “naked fat man” to our tag cloud for Maradona. His promise to strip bare is conditional, however, and for Argentina to win the Cup would be remarkable to say the least. (Just to clarify, Maradona will run naked if the Pumas win the trophy) I’m not sure if his promise acts as any kind of incentive for his players, or anyone really, but I suppose it might be an incentive for himself, or comedic fans everywhere. On a serious note for a second, it doesn’t sound like the biggest vote of confidence in his players. It’s akin to “I’ll eat my hat if Argentina win the world cup”. Anyway – brace yourselves people, if Messi fires, then we’ll get to see Mardona’s penis. (vulgar I know, but for dramatic purpose)

2. Earlier in the week, Maradona came out with the startling and vital news that the toilet facilities in South Africa aren’t up to his apparently high standards. Now, without ever having been to the High Performance Centre in Pretoria, it doesn’t sound like the kind of place to shirk it’s lavatory responsibility. It’s not like it’s a whole in the ground or anything. Anyway, Maradona has insisted on getting his “IntiMist” that includes warm air blow dryers, seated heats, and two jet streams (front and rear). Apparently better than the iBidet (this is all legit – yes, yes, I know this sounds ridiculous, but it’s Maradona!) the two new toilets have set the Centre back $900. Maybe it’ll be a collector’s item?

3. If you thought I was finished, then think again! Maradona has come out and encouraged his players to engage in sex throughout the tournament. The following quote just about says it all: “Sex is a normal part of social life and is not a problem. The disadvantages are when it is with someone who is not a stable partner or when the player should be resting. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT THE ACTION SHOULD NOT REVERBERATE IN THE LEGS OF THE PLAYER.” Just remember, Maradona thought it necessary to tell us this, it wasn’t like he was asked his opinion or anything. Brazilian coach Dunga managed to avoid controversy with the reply of “they can do what they want”, but Maradona just can’t stay on the straight and narrow. Going further, he has disagreed with Fabio Capello’s booze ban slapped on the Poms and stated that he will encourage his players to enjoy a tipple. If that hasn’t proved it, then I’m not sure what will.

Maradona this week has sumptuously ruined my Argentina World Cup experience. I won’t be able to watch Messi without thinking of Maradona taking a dump. I also won’t be able to watch Messi score, because every time he strikes, it means one step closer to a fat naked man on headline news around the world.

Video of the Week

Below is our Maradona footage of the week – classic press conference – this is how it’s done.

Vintage Maradona Quote

“I was, I am and I always will be a drug addict. A person who gets involved in drugs has to fight it everyday” – Maradona, 1996, as part of Argentina’s anti-drugs campaign. Maybe that explains everything…

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Goals of 2009/10


A special post that has seen a fair bit of inaction on footballfortheday. Drowning amongst youtube video submissions, PTS has emerged with his favourite goals of the year in chronological order. If you have a better one, then send them to me – footballfortheday@gmail.com or post them in a comment below!

Stankovic in Inter’s rout of Genoa way back in October

Genoa are on the receiving end yet again – and this time it’s Eden Hazard – also in October

This is less about the goal scorer in Xavi, and more about the incredible passing build up – West Brom and Socceroos PLEASE take note. Watch the player’s movement off the ball.

The Honduras star – Figuroa showed a bagful of vision in December

Arsenal riding high against Porto. It’s a shame Nasri won’t feature in June.

Lionel Messi had to feature somewhere – and it was tough to pick one out of several wonder goals. This one was from March.

Arjen Robben is one of world football’s form players and this is straight from the top draw…

This goal was crucial in Inter’s outstanding season and it came from the unlikely Maicon – my personal favourite. It happened in April

Fulham’s Davies gets a mention

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Pass the Sugar


The week in brief

Title race lasts for all of ten minutes… Fulham comes unstuck – Hodgson is every critics hero… World Cup squads announced… Domenech leaves it to the stars… World Cup barometer starting to rise… Harry is Kewell for the Cup (you can smell the headline)…

News of the Week

It really didn’t give the papers much to talk about, but Chelsea crowned themselves as kings of England with an empathic drubbing of Wigan, 8-0. The media needs something to talk about, however, and those tribute pieces, or season in review feature articles just weren’t going to cut it. Instead, the media seems to have switched to World Cup mode. The spin doctors have certainly had a busy time of it, producing probably the story of the week, and then the biggest non-story of the week. News came out of everywhere that English captain John Terry was set to miss the biggest show on Earth following a training ground mishap and his foot. Forums were prompted into a frenzy, and the English chances seemed to go into somewhat of a meltdown. But have no fear, Terry declared himself fit the very next day, robbing the papers of something to talk about. Indeed, Terry is set to line up for Chelsea in the FA cup final. In an interesting sub-plot, the skipper’s old man came out in court and admitted to drug dealing. Great role model there.

Play of the Week

It wasn’t pretty, nor particularly stunning, but Diego Forlan’s touch and Paul Konchesky’s deflection was the clear standout for play of the week. It may have happened in the quiet Hamburg, but you could see the goal meant a lot to both sets of players after the game. I wonder if that might signal the end for the South American veteran. There were slim pickings this week and the only real competition came from Pim Verbeek, as we saw him give a brief life story of every player announced in the Australian world cup squad as the payers names and photos were projected onto a Qantas branded 747 – quality.

Pick of the Weekend

I just want to direct your attention to last week’s Saturday Sugar quickly. Notice in this very section my prediction of a 7-0 Chelsea win. Not bad. Not bad.

Anyway, there’s not much option here, but the FA cup final isn’t bad viewing. This week debate raged about the merits of the competition amongst England. Many are arguing that the cup has lost its magic. With declining percentages of home-grown Pommy players, that special feeling seems to have gone. These guys just seem to have short memories. Who could forget the matchup between bitter rivals Leeds and Man United this year. That was the perfect advertisement for the cup and the dreams of smaller teams who push for “cupsets” against the giants of Europe. The fact that Portsmouth continue to excel in the knockout competition, despite their failings in the league, also attests to the value of the FA cup. Despite the big money available in other competitions, the FA cup is still a worthwhile venture in passthesugar’s opinion. Why don’t you disagree below (comments, stupid)? Anyway, Chelsea are short priced favourites in this one. They’ll be desperate to snatch the double and rub it in to those Reds just a little further. You’d always hope that Avram Grant can inspire something special, but it’s difficult to picture anything other than a drubbing at Wembley.

Just for an interesting quote to give you an idea of the debate from one of my colleagues (lol), Eurosport editor, Lee Walker:

I’ve been to five FA Cup finals, watched another 20 or so on the box but Saturday’s match will be the third final in a row that I have passed on. When I was a kid, the only games on TV were the FA Cup final and the World Cup – it was a massive occasion, but now we have saturation coverage. But it’s not just whimsical nostalgia. Even 10 years ago it would be unheard of for teams to field anything less than their best XI, now you’ve got the likes of Arsene Wenger fielding a third choice defence at Stoke in an attempt to do just enough to get through. Money rules – the Premier League is king for managers, the Champions League has even greater significance and fans don’t turn up in the early rounds because the FA Cup is not included on their already pricey season tickets. Andy Gray said during the battle for fourth between Manchester City and Tottenham that it was a bigger game than the 1981 FA Cup final – I don’t agree but if you asked the fans of those clubs they probably would.”

Quotes of the week

“You can stick Father Christmas at the back alongside me at the last minute if it works” This remarkable gem comes from big bad Rio Ferdinand in response to Jamie Carragher’s inclusion in the England squad for the World Cup. Just imagine…

“I am not one for dancing on the table. I am not a very good dancer.”
Didier Deschamps reacts after Marseille surprisingly take the cookies in Ligue 1.

“I’d rather do that than build chicken sheds no-one wanted!”
Ian Holloway has become one of the more respected managers in England after switching careers from selling hen houses (whatever they are) to steering Blackpool to the verge of Premier League action.

“Easy questions please, because my level of wine is high! I don’t know if I’ll be able to go home.”
This has appeared before on footballfortheday, and it will probably appear again. It’s Carlo Ancelloti, btw.

“The missus was going ‘who are you voting for’ and I said ‘I’m not voting for anyone’. I’m just going to take my voting card and I’m going to put in massive letters ‘Tevez is God’ and throw it in the polling station. I’m voting Tevez.”
Noel Gallagher shows his true colours.

“At 68, when you go to sleep at night, all you want to do is wake up in the morning.”
Sir Alex really is trying every excuse in the book. Putting it into perspective like this doesn’t really trivialise the Chelsea win as he may have hoped. He was gracious in defeat however.

Get me my cab money

Take the good odds that Chelsea will win by more than 3. Maybe you could always flutter something on Mourinho and his boys over in Italy to seal the deal there too.

If you’re not watching sport, you should be watching…

This may not be to everyone’s fancy, but it’s still a fantastic watch. This should become the new dictionary definition of commitment. Apparently this was their last game at the Saltergate… I’ve actually changed my opnion about this a little, since when I first wrote the piece. Not sure if I’m such a fan anymore…but it’s worth watching. It’s a good strike, mind you…

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