Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Back around July 12 ... or so.
Bye for now Amigos.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Saturday, June 21, 2008
In other news, City's Willo Flood and Robbie Fowler have both been linked, via the rumour mill of Setanta and 'In The Know' sorts in Scotland, with possible approaches from Celtic. With Flood having had an impressive season on loan at Dundee nited, I can understand that but surely any move for Fowler seems unlikely but they did express interest before he arrive at Ninian Park last summer. However, in a summer of a million and one rumours, don't believe anything unless it happens.
Friday, June 20, 2008
The report compiles the views of the 40,316 supporters who took part in an on-line survey, over half of whom reppresented Championship clubs, exactly 900 of them declared themselves as Cardiff City supporters.
The research reveals that:
- Respondents attended an average of 16 home matches and 5 away matches each season.
- 72% of supporters believe that Football League matches provide good family entertainment.
- Supporters identified match atmosphere as the single most important aspect of the matchday experience.
- 58% of fans prefer to see their clubs midweek matches scheduled on Tuesday nights compared to the 36% that prefer Wednesdays.
- Fans identified players showing dissent or a lack of respect to match officials as the most important area for the football authorities to address in the area of Fair Play, with 29% of supporters believing this to be the case.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
I think most observers called it a 50/50 game but the Portuguese started the better without getting close on goal and then were hit by two goals in 5 minutes midway through the first half which was highly entertaining with quality on display from both sides.
Those goals came firstly from a superb move sweetly finished by Schweinsteiger and then poor defence gave Klos a free header on goal from a free-kick after Ronaldo let him go.
Portugal could have caved but took the game to the Germans with Deco and Ronaldo causing problems and got reward when Ronaldo, now getting behind the Germans, saw his shot saved by Lehman but turned home on the rebound by Gomez. Ronaldo missed eqaulising by a whisker on half-time and then Pepe header over in front of goal at the start of the second half.
The second period didn't match the first half intensity but Portugal always looked the likelier to score until the Germans won another free-kick and once again Portugal were undone by their own criminal defending, this time their keeper gifting Michael Ballack a free header on goal delighting his national manager watching in a box as he was banned from the touchline but agonising his new club boss, Scolari, who was coaching Portugal.
The Portuguese came again but never got sight of goal and thier distance shooting was hopeless but then came an 88th minute lifeline as sub Postiga headed home.
With 4 minutes added time, it was set for a Grandstand finish but the Germans held on comfortably. Great start to the quarter-finals opf what has been an excellent tournament.
Video highlights of this game and all others can be found at this BBC link:
With joint hosts Austria and Switzerland enjoying a successful championships now and more joint hosts in 2012, it does seem the way forward. It's also possibly the only way Wales and Scotland will reach a finals again!
Wales and Scotland plan Euro bid
It was always believed this would happen once South Wales Police had their say and it is certain that it will be addionally confirmed as a coach-only "bubble" trip for Bluebirds followers. Police claims that one of the problems was that a Staurday game would clash with a Wales v Australia rugby international in Cardiff was probably of no major significance in truth. I can't even rememeber the last time a Cardiff v Swansea game had a bog-stand.
The question now is how many more Cardiff games will see their kick-off times or days changed for tv scheduling or police interference. I recall 5 games were moved before the season started and a few more during it. Even when we behave and get praised, City fans just cannot shake off the reputation tag.
He's in Cardiff currently appearing at a show in New Theatre but seems he was stopped cruising around Custom House Street(!) at 2am and has been charged with drink driving. It may stop him driving but I'm afraid he'll probably carry on acting which is a shame.
Darren Day charged with drink-driving after arrest in Cardiff
Tonight - Germany v Portugal
Friday - Croatia v Turkey
Saturday - Netherlands v Russia
Sunday - Spain v Italy
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
The Russian attacking display was refreshing and compulsive viewing. The shot count probably around 30 to 5 in their favour with every player pouring forward, even at 2-0, and a telling factor was that both goals were assisted by both full-backs making the final pass after lung-bursting runs to get deep inside the penalty box.
The key difference was Arshavin, who ran Rangers ragged for Zenit St Petersburg in their recent winning UEFA Cup winning display, ruled this encounter from start to finish but the whole team display was so powerful and consuming, making Sweden - who only needed a draw to go through and knock Russia out - looked a one paced clueless outfit.
Goals came in each half through Pavlyuchenko and that man Arshavin with sweeping moves, both started by Arhsavin. They also hit the post twice, produced numerous saves from Isaksson, went close several more times whilst battering the Swedish defence and midfield and peppering shots on goal at every opportunity.
The Swedes were mauled and lucky to get away with 2-0 although that represented their biggest ever defeat in a Euros final. Larrsson and Ibrahimovich never linked up front although the former hit the bar with a clever header and a 2nd half shot hit the post but, truth is, they only had 1 decent 5 minute spell all night which came at the end of the first period. However one first half shot in the Innsbruck venue probably ended up in Switzerland which did link the co-hosts.
Dare I suggest it now puts Wales' World Cup qualifying group and hopes into sharp perspective?
Our kids are developing fast, we look more competitive and have picked up some good results, albeit in friendlies. It also encouraged that Germany and Russia have looked decidely dodgy in their early games which I liked too. But now reality dawns, we're facing two Euro quarter-finallists. I bet our will be the only group that will be able to 'boast' that. While they may not be the best German side ever, they're still quality and so organised. Russia, meanwhile, look a terrifying prospect in this mood. It'll be one hell of a job to be anywhere near them.
In the other fixture, Spain were already through and had won the group played defending Champions Greece who were already out and would finish bottom. The Spaniards made 10 changes yet still won 2-1. The Greeks opened the scoring with a terrific powered header by Christeas, the man who scored the Euro'2004 winner.
However the Spanish were the superior side throughout with Liverpool's Alonso so close three times with a shot from the halfway line that missed by inches and sent the Greek keeper clattering into his own post, a 25 yard free-kick that almost whistled past the post and a 30 yard screamer that hit the inside of a post and rolled across goal but victory came with goals by the spendidly named De la Red's shot just past the hour and Guiza's guided header with two minutes left.
Greece, 2004 Winners, were therefore sent packing as the only team in the tournament to lose all three games while Spain equalled their international best record of 9 successive wins. When they last achieved it, they played Italy who stopped that sequence continuing and, yes, their quarter-final opponents just happen to be Italy!
Video highlights of these games and every Euro'2008 match plus stats and other info can all be found on this excellent BBC page
Following the wonderfully named Pim Balkestein arriving from Holland, Town boss Jim Magilton has now signed Leicester City centre-half Gareth McAuley. It was widely believed that Magilton was after McCauley or Johnson and having obtained the former, there will no longer be any follow up enquiries or offer for the City man.
Any move to Ipswich seemed out of the question anyway as Johnson would not have left for another Championship club while Ipswich's valuations were substantially below the fee of £3M set by Peter Ridsdale.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
As it was, the Dutch, even with 9 players rested, eased past a disappointing and ultra-cautious Romania 2-0 even with 2nd half strikes by Huntelaar and Van Persie. The Italians also found it rather too easy to repeat that scoreline against the worst French side seen for many years and who look in need of a drastic rebuild.
With the point shared between them in their dull opening clash being their only return of the finals, the French and Romanians head home while Italy and Holland march on although the Azzuri will have do make do without the suspended Gatuso and Perlo in their quarter-final.
The Italy v France contest was virtually over in the first 25 minutes as France lost their star man Franck Ribery to injury very early and then went one behind to a Perlo penalty and had Abidal sent off for bringing down Toni in thhe move that produced the spot-kick.
The French should have been out if sight by the interval but Toni somehow missed a literal hatful of chances with 6 clear sights of goal each failing to hit the target while Grosso hit the postt from a free-kick.
It got little better for France after the interval as Buffon has only one save of note to make all night as Thierry Henry, now a shadow of the player he was, rarely influential and it was ironic that Italy's clinching goal just past the hour was cruelly deflected in off Henry's boot after De Rossi's highly speculative 30 yard free-kick was heading wide.
Italy will face Spain in a tough quarter-final while Sweden and Russia effectively face off tomorrow for the dubious honour of taking on the unstoppable looking Dutch in the last 8.
Video highlights of all Euro'2008 games including the above matches can be found here:
Remember City's 4-2 League Cup win over West Brom in September? The Baggies had 16 attempts on goal in that match, the Bluebirds six. Or, how `bout City's 1-0 loss at Southampton in October? City had 13 attempts on goal compared to the Saints' three.
Match stats don't always tell you that much when it comes to individual games. Can they tell you much more when they're added together to produce season totals for the familiar categories - shots on goal, shots on and off target, corners, fouls, offsides, etc.?
Here are totals for City's games from the season just completed. See what you think.
Attempts on goal - City had 676 shots on goal in 56 games played (46 league games, six FA Cup and four League Cup games). That's an average of 12.1 attempts per game. City's opponents had 531 shots on goal for 56 games, an average of 9.5 per game. In short, the Bluebirds had 27% more attempts on goal than their opponents. City had the edge in league games 547 to 429 (or 11.9 to 9.3 per game), and in cup games by a margin of 129 to 102.
Attempts on target and off target - City put 385 of its 676 shots on target (or 57%), 280 off target (or 41.4%). Opponents put 288 of 531 on target (or 54.2%), 234 off target (or 44.1%). In league games, the Bluebirds had 313 on target (6.8 per game) and 225 off target (4.9 per game), opponents had 245 on target (5.3 per game) and 177 off (3.8 per game). In cup games, City had 72 on target and 55 off, opponents 43 and 57.
Hitting the woodwork - City hit woodwork 11 times, with nine coming in league matches, the other two in cup games. Opponents whacked the woodwork nine times, seven coming in league tilts and the other two in cup games.
Corners - The Bluebirds had 336 in total, 269 in the league (5.8 per game), 67 in cups. Opponents had 279 overall, 239 in the league (5.2 per game) and 40 in cup games. City had 20.4% more corners than their opponents in all games.
Fouls - City committed 563 fouls in all games (472 in the league, 91 in cups), while opponents were charged with a total of 743 (612 in league games, 131 in cups). In league games, the Bluebirds averaged 10.3 per game, opponents 13.3. Overall, opponents committed 32% more fouls than City.
Offsides - City were offside 194 times (181 in league play, 13 in cup games), while opponents show a figure of 211 (177 in the league, 34 in cup games). In league tilts, the Bluebirds averaged 3.9 per game, opponents 3.8. The offsides total for opponents is 8.8% higher than City's for this category.
Yellow Cards - The Bluebirds had 58 yellow cards (45 in league games, 13 in cup tilts), while opponents had 88 (70 in the league, 18 in cup games). Overall, opponents received 51.7% more yellows.
Red Cards - City had three, all in league matches. Opponents had only one, that coming in a cup game.
Substitutes - City employed 125 substitutes (100 in league games, 25 in cup matches). Opponents used 151 substitutions (124 in league games and another 27 in cup tilts). Opponents' total for this category is 20.8% higher than City's.
Scoring first - The Bluebirds scored first in 29 of the 52 matches featuring at least one goal. In league play, City scored first in 22 of 42. In cup matches, the club got the first goal in seven of 10.
So, what to make of all of this? Cardiff City finished 12th in their division in 2007/08, with a league record of 16-16-14, scoring 59 goals and conceding 55. Including ten Carling Cup and FA Cup matches, City won 24, drew 16 and lost 16, netting 76 and conceding 62. Do these marks sound like adequate return for a season in which the Bluebirds had 27% more attempts on goal and 20% more corners than their opponents in all games, not to mention seeing opponents commit 32% more fouls, get whistled for 9% more offsides, and pick up 52% more yellow cards?
In short, should City have done better with the edge they had in these categories? Or is this just further evidence that it's a funny old game (and good luck making much sense of it all)?
Monday, June 16, 2008
The first away fixture will be the following weekend at newly promoted Doncaster Rovers, this info also become known in advance.
The first attractive awayday will be Derby County on September 20, Birmingham City - also demoted from the Premiership visit Ninian Park the following week.
Blackpool away on October 4 is a good date for those who like occasional stayovers and the illuminations will be in full swing.
Of course, it's the dates with our closest rivals which everyone looks for and City will visit Swansea on November 29 with the return at "Parc Nin" on April 4. The Wuzels visit City early on September 13, the visit to Trashton Gate comes next March. It's Reading (home) and Plymouth (away) at Christmas while Easter brings Crystal Palace (away) and Burnley (home).
This is the final season of football at Ninian Park and Ipswich Town get the honour of being City's final league opponents at the ground, that game takes place on April 25 before City finish the season at Sheffield Wednesday the following weekend.
For reasons that make little sense, I am not allowed to publish the fixture list since they are copyrighted.
However, if you are interested in an outlook version of all the City and Wales fixtures which will auto-populate your calendar, please mail me via the contact details on this blog and I will sort you out.
They can also be viewed on the official Cardiff City website > http://www.cardiffcityfc.premiumtv.co.uk/page/NewsDetail/0,,10335~1328872,00.html
When will be play Swansea and Bristol? How many games confirmed on the list will have thier days and times changed for tv or due to police? Will Blackpool away yet again be midweek in the middle of winter? Will I get a new job with good money to carry on supporting City away? What games will have to be rearranged with our FA Cup March to Wembley next season?
Some, but not all, of those questions will be answered later.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Unsurprisingly in that encounter, Portugal rested 8 players but still looked the likelier to win until Swiss hero Hakin Yakin entered the scene with a double, one smart finish and a late penalty, to send the co-hosts home happy. The main entertainment on ITV1 however was more dramatic than any Sunday Night film and with a script that would have been rejkected as too far fetched.
The Czech Republic and Turkey knew it was a winner take all clash with victors in the quarter-finals and losers heading home. With identical records, a draw at 90 mionutes would have meant a unique penalty shoot-out to separate the sides.
The Czechs looked the better side for long periods, The Turks played a negative game suggesting they were happy to take the draw and the lottery until Lurch aka Jan Koller nutted home a trademark header from a cross in the first period. Turkey woke up after the interval but looked vulnerable on the counter-attack and were duly caught out with 25 minutes remaining as The Czechs doubled their lead through Plasil, Turkey furious as they were down to 10 men through an injury and unable to bring a sub on.
That should have been it but a turning point came when the Czechs hit a post to be denied a 3-0 lead and Turkey grabbed a lifeline through Turan with 15 to go.
Czech Republic seemed to be coping with few problems dealing with any late Turkey onslaught but then came the real drama. Peter Cech, who has looked dodgy throughout the finals, made perhaps the biggest gaffe of his career in dropping a routine corss onto the feet of grateful Turkish skipper Nihat to equalise with just 3 minutes left and a penalty shoot out looked odds on.
But more incredible late drama as Turkey swept forward, a Czech defender was too slow out and Nihat was played in onside to finish brilliantly in the final minute, his cross shot form the edge of the box crashing in off the bar.
Four minutes added time and even more amazing scenes as Turkey keeper Demirel was beaten to a late ball, a header just going wide but he pushed Koller in the chest and got red carded. With all subs used, Middlesbrough's Tuncay had to play the final 2 minutes but the ball was kept away from his goal. What an incredible turnaround.
Turkey, minus a couple of suspended players, have to face Croatia in the quarter-finals. The Czech Republic will probably spend the rest of june trying to figure out how it wasn't them instead but they only have themselves to blame for that.
"They have brought a lot of good players through and I know they had a little bit of a difficult season in the league, but they showed what they can do by getting to the cup final and in the end they were unfortunate not to win it. So anyone would fancy something like that. I have had my problems with Wolves but I have shown what I can do at international level, and I know I can do the same at club level if I get the chance."
The game was no classic and, later winner appart, all the key moments were in the opning period.
The contest started well and Spain grabbed the opener with just 15 minutes on the clock with Liverpool's Torres finishing a quality move in the same style. The Swedes, however, showed they are a useful side, even if limited up front, and grabbed an equaliser on 34 with Ibrhahim netting his second of the tournament after no Swedish goal for two and a half year. His goal against Greece was spectacular, this was a scrappy stab home.
It looked game on but apart from Spain being denied what looked a clear penalty, there was no other action of note. Spain showed glimpses but never when it mattered until the 2nd of 3 added minutes at the end, a ball pumped downfield, Villa got behind the defender with a deft touch and suddenly found his way to goal unbarred and his finish was cool.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
It was an unremarkable contest and, in that vein, was decided by Zyryanov who scored from close range, set up by a team-mate making the most of an error by the Greek keeper.
Chances were missed by both side, a couple were sitters, but the Greeks were second best and never threatened to progress beyond the group phase so will be going home in 5 days. It's very likely they'll be joined by The Russians who haven't shown a great deal to worry Wales in the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers.
Nothing else to be added ... especially as I didn't watch any of it other than the goal!
Talking to South Coast journos, Bond told them, "It's a good draw for us. They are a good side, they play good football and it'll be a good fixture for us. It's tough but it should be a good game as well.'
Neil Ardley is taking the next set of future "sell'em for cash" men (can't call them Cardiff City stars of the future anymore, can we) to Ireland for 2 games against University College on July 16 and Shelbouurne U20's on July 19.
Friday, June 13, 2008
The French had Thierry Henry available after injury and he scored a smart goal too with the deftest of touches with less than 20 minutes remaining. That gave the French hope and it reduced the deficit to 1-2 but the Dutch scored within a minute to oput it beyond doubt.
Holland again had those lucky(?) powder blue socks and gave out lessons in counter-attacking and smart movement. France, like Italy, had more and maybe better chances but the Dutch absorbed and hit back with interest.
Liverpool's Dirk Kuyt put the Dutch ahead inside 10 minutes and it stayed that way until almost the hour although Henry missed a couple of prime chances of the type he would have buried eyes closed a year or two. He was made to pay as a blistering three man counter-attack was finshed by Arsenal's Van Persie just 2 minutes after appearing as sub.
When Henry scored, it looked game on again but Robben spectacularly finished from an angle and Sneiders wrapped it up in added time.
The Dutch are through while France, like Italy, may not be in the quarter-finals at all.
The World Champions' hopes remain hanging by a thread and the modd is deparate with the inquest already underway in Italia and boss Donadoni making 5 changes for this game - desparation many reckoned.
A dramatic first half saw Italy take the game to the Romanians, come close a couple of times and have a goal wromngly disallowed but it was Romania who threatened most with a deflected free-kick coming off the inside of a post - the aftermath of which saw two Romanians inadvertently headbutt each other. One was carted away with a serious head injury, the other carried on with a bandage on his forehead that made him look like someothing out of Dr. Who. Mutu was played through one on one but shot straight at Buffon from an angle.
Both keepers made fine saves but the deadlock was broken in dramatic style when Zambrotta misjudged a back header and Mutu got behind him to finish emphatically as Buffon dashed out. The Italians looked in disarray as that happened but levelled in a minute, Panucci heading hiome at a corner as Romania forgot to put a man on the post.
There were thrills and spills at each end but the real drama came 6 minutes from time when Romania were awarded a contentious penalty, Mutu hit it well enough but Buffon saved it superbly and a Roman orgy followed.
Italy know their only hope of progression now is winning thier final game versus France and even then, they need a favourable result in the Holland v Romania game. Hanging by a thread.
Game video highlights here
"We're delighted to have signed Aaron Ramsey," said Wenger "as he is a young player who has shown huge potential with his performances for both Cardiff City and Wales at Under-17 and Under-21 levels. Although still only 17, he already shown that he is a very intelligent and mature player with great quality."
The clubs last met in the third round of the same competition in a thriller in October 2004. Cardiff were denied victory in the last minute of normal time and extra-time, Cameron Jerome scored his first Bluebirds goal and Tony Vidmar was sent off but City won 5-4 in a penalty shoot-out with Neil Alexander making his first penalty save on a bitterly cold but brilliantly entertaining night.
After reaching the last 16 of the Carling Cup with an unforgettable occasion at Anfield as well as reaching the F.A. Cup Final last season, fans will be hoping City continue to take the competition more seriously as they hadn’t under Dave Jones before last season.
Elsewhere in the draw Reading (you’re not Premier anymore!) head to Dagenham & Redbridge while league newbies Exeter and Aldershot host Southampton and visit Coventry respectively.
The full draw, with ties due to be played week commencing 11 August, reads;
Preston v Chesterfield
Tapscott is a Barry boy who started football with his hometown club (and it's hard, if not impossible, to think of any other notable Barry-born footballers) was snapped up by Arsenal for £2,750 in 1953 and was a huge hit with the Gunners grabbing 68 goals in 132 games.
With City, he was just as successful netting 101 times in 234 games in 7 seasons to 1965 before playing on for many years in local Welsh football. He also got 14 Welsh Caps.
Two years ago, an authorised biography (Tappy by Terry Grandin) was released with launches at Ninian Park and Highbury and Tappy remained a frequent visitor to Ninian Park.
Cardiff City commented, "We would like to pass on our sincere condolences to everyone who was fortunate to have known 'Tappy'."
It was Premiership ref Howard Webb who awarded it after the second bout of penalty area wrestling
Austria should have been ahead early on but Celtic keeper Boric made three good saves before the Poles, whose fans outnumbered the home side, grabbed the lead on half-hour with their only chance and this was controversial too as Guerrero netted while clearly offside.
After the Poles survived a more obvious penalty shout early 2nd half, the game was going nowhere and drifted to the 1-0 result until that late, late penalty netted by 38 yr old Vastic became the oldest scorer in Euro Finals history and he will get free beer for life as offered by a Vienna brewery.
At least it meant the co-hosts, who have now won just 2 of 18 games, avoided the early exit embarrassment that the Swiss had. Progress will only happen if they beat the Germans in their final game, a tall order but it's taller for the Poles who can only progress by beating Crotia by a greater margin thatn the Austrians manage. Book your flight home boys!
The first - and only - Euro Finals match I watched was in Euro'96 held in England when I saw Croatia v Germany at Old Trafford. Croatia, then in their infancy, were so unlucky losing 2-1 to Germany. I like their colours, I love their fans and they knocked out England in the qualifying group which makes me love them more. Tonight, they got their revenge over Germany with a fully merited 2-1 success and they had more fans present than the Germans who looked vulnerable, good news for Wales when we play them in World Cup qualifiers.
Have you noticed the teams are marching out to White Stripes' 7 Nation Army with the crowds doing some Euro-style humalong to it? I like it.
This was rthe first game I watched in a pub, Lloyds Bar in Greyfriars Road to be precise and the Germans were there in number which made it all the more enjoyable to cheer for Croatia!
Srna opened the scoring on 24, Olic doubled the lead midway through the second half with a bit of a freakish goal but no more than deserved. The hugely impressive Croatians they took the game to the Germans and looked the better side in every area of the park, quicker of thought and feet. Modric, heading for Spurs, looked a class apart. So heavy was their domination that camera seemed to spend most of the match showing Jans Lehman in the German goal and, in particular his new emerged and large bald spot. With his perm, maybe he's been sleeping against a velcro headboard?
The Germans had a fortunate way back into the game with 12 minutes left, Podolski getting his third of the tournament, but there was no late onslaught as the Croats closed the game in style and the Germans finishing with 10 as Schweinsteiger who ran the show at Millennium Stadium in qualifiers and looked fantastic here as a late sub, got a straight red for a silly bit of argy-bargy.
Croatia are qualified for the quarter-finals and there were emotional celebrations, the Germans should be there too but have have work to do and will be reassessed them as potential winners.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
I’ve gone all Amy Whinehouse!
Cardiff City’s undisclosed bid for Jason Roberts has been declined by Blackburn Rovers. It is believed that Dave Jones put Roberts at the top of his list some time ago and had been deep in chat with Rovers then boss Mark Hughes.
However with Sparky now gone to Manchester City, Rovers awaiting a new boss and reported other interest, some form Premiership clubs, it now looks a dead duck for the 30 year physical and pacy Grenadian who has a better than 1 in 3 career scoring record but has only started 20 times in 2 seasons at Ewood Park but appeared more often off the bench.
Peter Ridsdale has commented about developments, “It looks like Jason is staying at Blackburn now from what I have seen but we are still working on bringing in the strikers we need. I spoke to a Premiership manager over the weekend about a potential target and we will keep working hard.”
With some irony, City’s hope of getting one of their other chief striking targets in Wales starlet Ched Evans on loan from Man City has probably disappeared too with Mark Hughes haven taken over at that club.
Never mind, we still got Warren Feeney to rescue us!!!
Longh gone are those days of running up and down Barry Island beach, taking assault courses at St Athan, those tortured dunes at St Athan or jogging around Jubile Park, the modern day City player heads for 5 star luxury – albeit with serious training and competitive football – overseas.
Cardiff will be based there from July 20 – 25 during which time they will be playing a ‘behind closed doors’ friendly versus Vitoria de Setubal and more high profile games in the Algarve Cup against hosts Vitoria de Guimares and Scottish giants, Celtic on the 22nd and 24th respectively. As City move into their luxury villas, the players and management of Real Madrid will be the occupants moving out. Nice!
The resort of Vale de Lobo … not quite Merthyr Mawr
The problem is that you don’t get a choice. So many pubs sell Smooth beers and not the cask version, they don’t know how to keep or serve “proper” ale but they know how to shift chemical crap.
SAVE OUR DARK, SAVE OUR S.A.
Cardiff brewer’s beer goes smoothic Wales - United Kingdom
It’s almost a daily bulletin but these two stories in today’s Echo are quite revealing. Have a read and see what you think.
All the home games, despite John Toshack’s pleas, will be played in Cardiff at Millennium Stadium. As always, they’ve given themselves a chance of a strong start but it didn’t work out that way with Euro’2008 so let’s hope for a far better campaign this time around.
Wales 2010 World Cup qualifiers - Group 4
6 September 2008 Lichetenstein v Germany, Wales v Azerbaijan
10 September Finland v Germany, Azerbaijan v Lichtenstein, Russia v Wales
11 October Germany v Russia, Wales v Lichtenstein, Finland v Azerbaijan
15 October Germany v Wales, Russia v Finland
28 March 2009 Germany v Lichtenstein, Russia v Azerbaijan, Wales v Finland
1 April Wales v Germany, Lichtenstein v Russia
6 June Finland v Lichtenstein, Azerbaijan v Wales
10 June Finland v Russia
19 August Azerbaijan v Germany
5 September Azerbaijan v Finland, Russia v Lichtenstein
9 September Wales v Russia, Lichtenstein v Finland, Germany v Azerbaijan
10 October Russia v Germany, Lichtenstein v Azerbaijan, Finland v Wales
14 October Germany v Finland, Azerbaijan v Russia, Lichtenstein v Wales
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
This was one of the best contests so far but possibly watched by the lowest UK audience as Beeb pushed in onto BBC2 so the rest of the nation could watch the Final of The Apprentice.
For the first 20 minutes, even those more interested in the final were probably preparing to switch channels as it was tepid but then the fun and frolics started as someone decided to mix football with Jeux Sans Frontieres and introduce water. The most amazing monsoon style run lashed down for 20 minutes leaving puddles all over the palce, defenders sliding in, the ball stopping dead with nobody able to run with it and general hilarity - if only we had Stuart Hall to commentate!
It was getting close to the stage where it was getting dangerous and unplayable, it possibly had reached that, when the Swiss scored as the pitch suited their direct style. A long ball sent wide by Sendero, it stopped in a puddle to hold up nicely for the winger, he came in and sent a ball across the face of goal which saw Turks trying to run oun when players were yards offside and then, brilliant comedy. as the ball stopped still in a puddle in front of goal for Hakan to tap in from 3 feet and even then he scuffed it.
The Swiss should have made it two as Hakan missed a sitter in similar style but this time, the cross missed the puddle and zipped off the surface and arrived to quick so he put it wide of the gaping goal. The Turks were trying to play a passing game while the Swiss, attacking the shllow end!, found conditions perfect. The Turks did hit the post via their impressive striker, Arda, who needed to try, well, Arda!
Then the rain stopped, half-time must have saw a few frogmen, the local swimming group and some immense work taking place as the sides returned wih the pitch much improved and suddenly Turkey were able to pass.
They equalised on 58 minutes, simple header which the keeper perhaps should have saved and then it ebbed and flowed. The Swiss almost nicked it 5 minutes from time but then The Turks senstaionally knocked them out after playing left all 2nd half, then finally broke right, Arda ran 35 yards, the defender crucially invited him inside and he shot, caught a defender and looped over a helpless keeper.
The Swiss sloped home ... to the slopes ... time to get back to winter sports!
The Czechs played far better than their opening game which they won. By dropping 6'7" veteran status Kohler (BBC pronounce him as Coller and ITV as Cola so take your pick!), they had more energy and pace going forward even if his replacement was Milan Baros - not good enough to play against Cardiff City in the F.A. Cup Final 3 weeks ago. What they didn't have , though, was the quality and flair of Ronaldo, Deco and co.
Slightly against the run of play Deco opening the scoring early - a scrappy goal set up at the second attempt after a scrappy Rnaldo run to make the chance - but the Czechs levelled it just past 15 minutes through a free low header at a corner by Sionko.
An excellent first half but the tempo dropped as there were suggestions of a stalemate until Deco made space and Ronaldo's early edge of area shot left Cech helpless.
The Czechs attacked hard but didn't have a finish to level it again and Portugal repeated their opening game scoreline with a 93rd minute quick Deco free-kickc sent Ronaldo clear and he squared the ball across Cech for Quaresma to tap into an empty net.
He's joining one of the top three clubs in the country, will live near or with his mate Chris Gunter, won't be coming back on loan (he wasn't keen on that) and been promised first team football for the Gunners next season ... even if that's likely to be Carling Cup. Man United offered to send him back to Cardiff for a year!!!
Jones can't disguise his feelings (above)
Story in today's Western Mail
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
There was little to enthuse about except the Swedish fans who filled two thirds of the stadium and, without exception, were donning a replica shirt.
The goals, both coming around the mid-point of the second half were sublime (Ibrahim's instinctive 20 yard drive probably the best individual goal so far) and ridiculous (as the Greek keeper missed a punch and a Swede just about bundled the ball home form a couple of feet with two Greeks on the floor). Sweden will be happy of course but they didn't suggest they'll be serious contenders when it gets to the business end of these Finals.
That's the first round of games over and rather than cagey football, it's produced 7 positive results. Can't say it's been the highest quality but it certainly has been entertaining and is set fair to get better and hotter as some sides have the win their next games or face early elimination.
Two goals in each half with a David Villa hat-trick and a last minute Cesc Febregas header after a smart move demolished Russia, whose defence must be their worst since the Kremlin came into existence. Russia looked half decent going forward and grabbed a late consolation which at least made them the first losing side to score a goal but the way they defend, they got no chance of progression.
Commentary was as insane as ever with Mark Lawrenson - about as funny as a drunk uncle at a family wedding - kept making references to the Eurovision Song Contest. It's the Euros, get it. Genius Lawro! Radio 5 meantime wanted to fill the aiwaves talking about the stunning scenery from their commentary box. And, of course, they pondered how Russia qualified from England's Group, Steve McLaren deciding not to take part in that. Wonder why?
So that's Holland, Germany and Spain in the reckoning so far ... watch as they somehow mess it up.
Monday, June 09, 2008
Romania were cynical, set up defensively for a 0-0 and showed no ambition so they will be the happier side of the two even though they don't look like scoring or winning all tournament on this showing. France had the better possession but where unable to create and made to look poor and slow - a fear some held for their ageing side in which veterans Thierry Henry and Patrick Viera (who almost make Fowler and Hasselbaink seem young) were injured and Captain Lilian (lovely name) Thuram (not so lovely name) was winning his 141st cap.
Romania's star man Mutu couldn't sniff a half chance. Funny that, he had no problem sniffing at Chelsea! The quality of the game was best summed up when Romania brought on a sub who plays for the mighty Inverness!
I gave up and ate salad, it was more exciting.
Peter Ridsdale defends Ramsey sale