Monday, July 31, 2006


The Final - Semarang v Kediri

To be honest it was disappointing. Semarang fell to type, pumping a succession of long balls forward hoping de Porras would get on the end of one but the only thing the small Argie forward connected with was a headbutt from his fellow Argentinian, Gonzalez, soon after the Kediri forward had given the East Java team the lead in the second period of extra time. Gonzalez, a la Zidane, walked but there was no reprieve for the Blues, they lacked anything up front to really trouble the Kediri defence.

Things were pretty even fopr the first hour or so but as the game went on Kediri got more and more chances and you always get the feeling with Gonzalez that one will hit the net. Semarang relied too much on Ortiz looking to release his compatriot and it says a lot for their chances that the best fell to Salisbury, their free kick specialist, who went close with a diving header.

Far be it for me to gloat but I did predict a way back that Kediri were likely contenders for the title. They play as a team, are disciplined and attack well, Budi in full flow is like a local Ryan Giggs (!), Haryianto looks better each time I see him and Christian Gonzalez, well, apart from the headbutt, which was on target, he is the prefect import!

Semarang have some useful players, IKP the keeper, Salisbury but their reliance on the Ortiz - de Porras combination has I feel proved their downfall.


Saturday, July 29, 2006


Crazy world of English football

Arsenal are gagging for a new defender, someone who can play in the centre and on the left. They have been strongly linked with Curtis Davis, a young English guy at West Brom and Wenger has gone on record as saying he rates the boy.

The Baggies are looking for 10 million pound for this lad and while we need someone to add cover and ease out the bald, he's shit, he plays when no one's fit, Cygan, does Davis represent value for money in this World Cup year?

Last year West Brom signed him as a teenager from Luton Town and then he cost 3 million. Expensive you might think but then English players for some reason command a premium when compared to the foreign players who are often better equipped technically. One year in the Premiership and Davis seems to have impressed everyone from Wenger to the England Under 21 set up but does this justify such a laughablyhigh fee? Has his worth increased three fold in 12 months?

Has it bollocks. He shone in a team that got relegated. He never featured in the hopefuls for Germany. In short he's not worth that kind of stupid money that West Brom seem convinced he is worth. Wenger no doubt has some young foreigner under the microscope, someone who would cost a fraction of what Davis would. And if he does no doubt some 'experts' would decry another foreigner coming in at an Englishman's expense but don't blame him. Like everyone, except Chelse, Arsenal seek value for money.

Friday, July 28, 2006


Indonesia Cup Latest

Oft promised, ne'r delivered, finally we have a round of the Indonesian Cup.

We are currently in the Last 32 and in the middle of a home and away session of these games.

Surabaya v Lamongan 2-0
PSSB (!) v PSP Padang
Purwodadi v Bekasi
Bandung Town v Pelita Jaya Purwokarta
Malang v Sidoarjo Deltras
Persibom v East Kalimantin

Hope to have the missing scores on the morrow so till then I bid thee



Semarang v Pasuruan Town

A scrappy game settled by a scrappy goal this was a come back too far for the East Javan team sporting a snazzy new adidas kit.

A first half goal settled this semi final that, after seeing the freeflow football of Kediri was a let down for any neutral who ever they may be. A header came off the top of the crossbar, span back into the 6 yard area and Imral was the first to react. It was the kind of goal that deserved to settle this game.

Semarang’s game plan seemed to consist of long balls pumped forward for Manu de Porras but he is no Christian Gonzalez. In injury time de Porras had a couple of one on ones to settle the tie but each time skied his effort.

The final then is Kediri v Semarang. Gonzalez v de Porras, an Argentinean battle of the forwards…


Thursday, July 27, 2006


Kediri v Minahasa

Kediri, in their horrible two tone purple shirts, flew out the blocks in this the first play off semi final and the only surprise was that after 30 minutes they were only ahead 2-0, with one from Gonzalez. They were slicing through the yellow shirted Minahasans like a knife through margarine creating chance after chance but at the halfway mark it was still 2-0.

Second half Minahasa showed a lot more up front and even had a goal struck off for offside. Replays were inconclusive but surely the FIFA directive is give the benefit of the doubt to the attacking side.

Likewise it is normal when a defender pushes an attacking player in the penalty area that a spot kick is given. Kediri weren’t given one, Minahasa broke and a speculative shot by Toldeo from 25 yards took a slight deflection and squirmed under the rarely troubled Kediri keeper and it was 2-1 on 70 minutes.

There was plenty of time for Minahasa to claw their way back into the game but you always felt Kediri had something in reserve. Gonzalez showed his human side by hitting the post with a point blank header which must have given the Yellows hope but it would have been short lived. Kediri replaced the dangerous looking Budi and on 78 minutes some fancy ball juggling in the Minahasa box by Edy restored the two goal cushion for Kediri.

One thing about Christian Gonzalez. Lesser players, which about sums up the other 99% of p;ayers in this league should take a look at the way this goal machine conducts himself on the pitch. Not for him the dying swan act every time he gets clattered and of course he does get clattered pretty often, it’s the only way lesser men can stop him. He is an important addition to the league who genuinely raises the level of Indonesian football and hopefully others, not just his team mates like Budi and hariyanto, can learn from him.

At the end Kediri were comfortable winners. Minahasa had pipped them to the eastern Division but the East Java side had just too much for the surprise package from North Sulawesi.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Surabaya v Lamongan

How to describe Surabaya? Their fans are a mixture of Newcastle's fanatical Toon Army who would queue to see a mannequin in a black n white and Leeds Service Crew circa 80's. They travel and they're up for it, witness them having pops at Jakarta and Pauaruan in the recent Big 8 games in nearby Gresik.

Yesterday in the Indonesian Cup they played Lamongan and beat them comfortably 2-0 including a cracking secong goal struck sweetly from something like 35 yards. Plenty of bonek signs around the ground, plenty of Surabaya green. Nothing of Lamongan, nary a trace. Probably a wise move, Surabaya have a whif of Millwall about them, mention them to anybody and people look visibly worried. Ooh they say, many hooligans.

Must do a Cup round up soon.


Monday, July 24, 2006


Are Malang v Kediri

After the fun and games yesterday in Batang where the Semarang game was postponed we finally have the final semi finalists.

Kediri didn’t really get out of second gear in coping with Are Malang with a sweetly struck goal a minute from time by their skipper Hariyanto. All too often this season I’ve seen players in this league blaze for glory when given time and space at the edge of the area. Perhaps they should watch this goal and see how Indonesians do have skill. The Malang defence failed to clear a driven cross and Hariyanto, seeing the spac open up, had the time and vision to keep his head down and drive straight for the far corner, the ball rising slowly but the speed alone left the Malang keeper clutching air.

Semarang won the other semi so along with Kediri they join Minahasa and Pasuruan Town in the semis. An interesting line up with possibly the neutral, whoever they maybe, edging for a Semarang v Kediri match up. We’ll see…

The Indonesian Cup kicks in tomorrow and we’ll have a look at that then.


Saturday, July 22, 2006


Jakarta v Minahasa

As I type this the Jakarta players are slumped on the pitch in Gresik unable to digest what has happened. They have just drawn 0-0 with Minahasa and so failed to reach the semi finals of this years play offs.

In the play offs they scored just one goal in 270 minutes of football. Time and again on this site I have referred to their inability to convert chances and this weakness has caught them now. Big time.

Pasuruan Town beat Makassar 5-1 in the days other game. In contrast to Jakarta they rattled in 10 goals in their 3 games.

The terraces were deserted, I didn't see or hear much from the Jakmania while a few Surabaya fans who had made the short journey had to make do with watching the game instead of battling their hated rivals. Maybe the ones who didn't make the journey knew what was going to happen, better off staying home and watching it on TV.

They never looked like creating much in the final third, hopeful punts forward were swallowed up by a grateful keeper and defence while the slightest challenge saw the primadonnas rolling round in agony seeking to get their opponent punished.



Before the Indonesian football...

A couple of stories from England caught my eye. Today is Dennis Bergkamp's testeimonial and it is fitting that the genius who has time and time again lifted Arsenal's football to another plane should bow out at our new stadium for it's openeing fixture. Here's hoping it's on TV some place.

The other story was Plymouth Argyle. They were touring Austria and staying in some plush hotel in a village there when Real Madrid came along and kicked them out! Just as they were settling into the local youth hostel they got a call from those Spanish bullies asking them if they fancied a kick around down the local park. And that's how 4000 fans saw Plymouth take on Real Madrid and do pretty bloody well, going down just 1-0. I can only imagine how their fans feel. They have great support potentially, I remember them bringing some 12,000 to Highbury once. I'd love to see them in the Premiership.

OK, the Big 8 continues later today...laters...

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Semarang v Kediri

I guess if there was one game in the Big 8 I was aaiting for it was this one. Two teams who approach the game in the right manner, who avoid the play acting and the gamesmanship that blights so many games here, who play as teams. They applaud their team mates efforts, they don’t pout if they don’t get any service, they play hard but fair.

They also have some of the League’s more successful imports. Freescoring Gonzalez at Kediri, pony-tailed Ortiz and de Porras at Semarang.

As expected the first half was a tight affair. Gonzalez got his first sniff 30 minutes which he pulled just wide. A couple of minutes later and Kediri took a controversial lead. No qualms about the penalty which IKP saved well from Gonzalez, Harianto was the first to react, nodding home the rebound. Semarang appealed vigorously, claiming he was inside the penalty area when the ball was first kicked but every bugger does that in this league and their pleas fell on deaf ears. 1-0 Kediri.

Semarang seemed to have just two tactics. The dominant Ortiz in the heart of the midfield broke up nascent Kediri breaks with consummate ease and looked to set de Porras free on the break. All too often the nippy forward was caught offside. The alternative was to look for a free kick in a dangerous area and rely on Salisbury to trouble the keeper. Neither was proving successful as time and again de Porras was caught offside. Instead it was a combination of the two, Salisbury’s penetrating long ball from the left found de Porras unmarked in the box and his effort was well saved by the Kediri keeper.

The second half started brightly for Semarang with de Porras looking especially sharp. On 49 minutes he rose well to a quickly taken free kick and Semarang were level.

Christian Gonzalez was looking dangerous at the other end and a minute later a header was straight at IKP. Straight down the other end and again de Porras made the keeper earn his money and from the resulting corner he hit the side netting.

On the hour mark Gonzales had a goal disallowed for offside, replays showed it was a very tight decision but he, and kediri, were just getting in their stride and Ortiz, so preeminent earlier, was struggling to hold back the two tone purple advances. With 10 minutes left the obvious happened. Gonzales raced on to a through ball and it was 2-1 Kediri. Whatever the clichés, this guy is the Robbie Fowler of Indonesian football. Semarang had no answer to him, Maman was booked for karate kicking him but it had no effect because on 87 in a one on one Gonzales settled the match 3-1 and celebrated with his adoring Kediri support. Semarang weren’t finished and a moment later they had a chance cleared off the line but Kediri were safe.

3-1 they won, in the second half after weathering the early Semarang storm they were relentless in going forward and you guessed it was only a matter of time before that man got one on target.


Malang v Balikpapin

A disappointing crowd saw Malang dominate the first half possession wise but all they had to show for it was an own goal by the Balikpapin keeper who spectacularly punched a clearance into his own net in the manner of a top class volleyball player..

The Lions looked like they would rue their missed chances as Balikpapin, in grey, threw everything at them in the opening moments of the second half with their keeper saving them twice and when he was beaten a defender on the far post showed his worth vy clearing off the line. Three chances in three minutes, the men from Oil City, led by Robbie and Rodrigues were rampant but Malang are no pushover and Hita saw an effort well saved as they clawed their way back into the game.

A tricky run by Bullah again brought out a fine save by the Balikpapin keeper as Malang, aware of the fragility of their lead kept on the pressure. A free kick nodded across an empty goal saw Hita all alone and it was 2-0. Balikpapin’s early pressure was forgotten

A third goal from a controversial penalty was irrelevant to the outcome, the game had been effectively over once Balikpapin had failed to breach the Malang rearguard in that early onslaught. The Aremaina celebrated on the terraces, content that after their defeat against Semarang, winning ways returned.



Malang v Balikpapin

A disappointing crowd saw Malang dominate the first half possession wise but all they had to show for it was an own goal by the Balikpapin keeper who spectacularly punched a clearance into his own net in the manner of a top class volleyball player..

The Lions looked like they would rue their missed chances as Balikpapin, in grey, threw everything at them in the opening moments of the second half with their keeper saving them twice and when he was beaten a defender on the far post showed his worth vy clearing off the line. Three chances in three minutes, the men from Oil City, led by Robbie and Rodrigues were rampant but Malang are no pushover and Hita saw an effort well saved as they clawed their way back into the game.

A tricky run by Bullah again brought out a fine save by the Balikpapin keeper as Malang, aware of the fragility of their lead kept on the pressure. A free kick nodded across an empty goal saw Hita all alone and it was 2-0. Balikpapin’s early pressure was forgotten

A third goal from a controversial penalty was irrelevant to the outcome, the game had been effectively over once Balikpapin had failed to breach the Malang rearguard in that early onslaught. The Aremaina celebrated on the terraces, content that after their defeat against Semarang, winning ways returned.



Indonesian football story in the Jakarta Post shock horror

Yep, the Jak Post, our English language fount of knowledge and agency stories has deigned to print a story about the local football scene. Well, more specifically Peter Withe, coach of the national team.

From Wednesday's paper, Withe traveled to Gresik to watch the games on Monday. No mention of why they were playing in Gresik. Indeed it even gives PSM Makassar as PSM Medan which is nothing less than lazy research, lazy journalism, lazy editing. I don't doubt I make bucket loads of errors but I'm an amateur knocking something up in 15 minutes or so, they're professionals...

Mention is also given of the Merdeka Tournament in KL. No mention of when, who's competing. Compare this sloppy reporting with the 3 main sports stories on that page, from other sources. The tour de France, something about South American football and something else about soft porn, sorry, womesn's tennis...


Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Jakarta v Makassar

At its heart, football is a simple game. There are 2 basic skills that need to be mastered, the ability to control and pass the round ball. From this comes the best bit, putting the ball in the back of the net. Combine this with a tight defence and you're on to a winner. The inability to score will not win you many honours.

Regular readers of this site will recall Jakarta's reluctance to score very often. A series of 1-0's got them into the Big 8. Unable to kill off Pasuruan Town on Monday the Jak's defence failed to live up to their side of the bargain. One goal was scored, three were conceded, it was not part of the script.

So against Makassar the defence were back to their waterproof best. This time the forwards let them down. 0-0 was not the result they wanted, not by a long chalk.

Pasuruan Town 4 points
Minhasa 2 points
Makassar 2 points
Jakarta 1 point

Jakarta just have to beat Minhasa in their final game and hope Makassar get nothing against Pasaruan. It's that simple.



Pasuruan Town v Minhasa

You have to wonder. Perhaps, just perhaps...anyway after last nights bore fest it was good to see the excitement return to Gresik.

Anyway let's start at the beginning. Minhasa, 2-0 at half time, were cruising and probably anticipating top spot, at least for a couple of hours, but football is a funny old game Brian and a lot can change in a couple of minutes at the death.'

Sloppy Minhasa defending saw a weak clearance reach some prowling Pasuruan player on the edge of the box. His shot took a sharp deflection and though the keeper saw it the ball had enough pace to trickle into the left hand corner. Two minutes of injury time had been played, the orange clad fans who had made the relatively short journey up the East Javan coast were dreaming. On Monday they'd come from 1-0, could they do something again?

A cross from the left hand side of the box was met firmly. The ball was back in the net, the recovery was complete. Minhasa were crestfallen, the Pasaruan coach was giving the thumbs down to his counterpart, they'd come from behind...again.

They sneaked into the Big 8 at the last minute.

They'd come from behind to snatch 3 points from 'mighty' Jakarta.

They'd saved a point at the death.

Is their name on the trophy??? You have to wonder...

Next up is Jakarta against Makassar


Kediri v Balikpapin

A bit of a yawn fest this one, it ended 0-0 which is unsual for high scoring Kediri for whom Christian Gonzalez went close. A free kick in the final minutes was somehow turned on to the crossbor by the keeper and that was about it.

After the first games then Semarang and Pasuruan Town are in the driving seat but it ain't over yet, oh no siree...


Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Semarang v Malang

Missed the first hour thanks to the mother of all power cuts. Oi, PLN, some of us have got blogs to write you dozy numpties...there's a whole world out there gagging to know about the Big 8.

Unlike the first game yesterday we have a pretty good crowd in Solo but then Semarang and Malang have pretty short journeys to make. Later Kediri, also pretty close, play Blikpapin, who have to come from the island of Borneo.

On 80 minutes Semarang took the lead. A free kick from Hary Salisbury, a promising wing back, took a wicked deflection off the wall, the keeper failed to hold it and Ortiz, one of Semarang's Argie imports, was there to bury it in the old onion bag.

I gotta say I like the look of Salisbury. He has a touch of the Roberto Carlos about him meaning he's a dead ball specialist and so so at defending but he has the fortune of having an easy name to remember which is a boon for me because I don't always have access to the latest Bola magazine when i write this up!

The game ended 1-0, Are Malang didn't show too much in the bits I saw while Semarang are looking ominous. Ortiz took off his shirt and approached the travelling Panzer Biru and milked the applause. Advantage Semarang.


Monday, July 17, 2006


Jakarta v Pasuruan Town

Well it had to happen, Jakarta had ridden their luck for so long. Weeks of 1-0 to the Tigers had seen them finish comfortably in the Top 4 but there were still lingering questions which were answered today.

1-0 up after 2 minutes many setlled down to an all too familiar result but Pasuruan Town, who slipped unfancied into the Big 8, backed by a following that outnumbered the silent Jakmania, are made of sterner stuff and a rousing second half fight back saw them rattle in 3 goals in quick succession leaving Jakarta feeling punch drunk.

The boys from JakSel huffed and puffed, had one goal disallowed for offside, saw fate send an extremely dodgy penalty too close to the keeper but couldn't turn it around. Scoring goals is not their forte and hasn't been all season, now it was too late to seek Plan B.

It was a good game, only marginally spoilt by an overzealous ref dishing out cards like a condom vending machine at Dolly but while Pasuruan will delight in their role of upstart, Jakarta's manic support and, perhaps more importantly, the Jakarta governor, won't be happy bunnies and the inquest will be, or should be, going on long after I've hit the sack.



Minhasa v Makassar

Didn't really take much notice of the first half but the second got quite tasty when Makassar had a player sent off. It didn't affect them too much as they soon extended their lead to 2-0 and looked pretty comfortable.

The Gresik terraces were empty but started filling towards the end of the second half in preparation for the main event, see next entry, and they saw Minhasa claw their way back into the game. First Campo skied a sitter but they were pressuring and at times Makkasar were looking wobbly at the back.

With about 8 minutes left the Yellow shirted Minhasans pulled one back and just moments later they completed an unlikely recovery.

The game was marred by theatrical rolling and diving but then when they get away with it at the World Cup, the games global window, then what can we expect at this lowly level?

At the final whistle somewhat peeved Makassar tried to approach the referee because of course it was his fault and his alone they missed all those sitters. An exciting game was marred by those closing scenes that shows the the idea of losing gracefully is as far away as ever...

Next up is Jakarta against Pasuruan Town.

Update laters...

Sunday, July 16, 2006


Starts tomorrow

The Big 8 and I bet the police in Central and East Java are looking ahead to a busy time.

You got to feel for the citizens of Solo and Gresik over the next few days as hoardes of football hooligans descend on them. Take Solo. Situated close to Semarang, Malang and Kediri they are expecting upwards of 10,000 fans from Semarang and Malang to descend on the historic city and about 5,000 from Kediri. OK it's nothing like the estimated 100,000 England who descended on Gelsenkirchen in the recent World Cup but then not all these bods will be face painters.

Gresik is hosting Jakarta, Pasuruan Town, Makassar and Minhasa but the biggest fear here is its proximity to Surabaya and their notorious bonek. It is not known how many Jakarta fans will travel so it seems on the cards that Pasuruan will have the largest following but the big unknown is Surabaya's fans. Will they turn out in numbers?

It all starts tomorrow with games between Minhasa and Makassar while Jakarta play Pasuruan Town in Gresik. Read about it here lah...


Friday, July 07, 2006


Time for

Another break, god I work so hard!

This time Malaysia will be receiving my hard earned rupiah and don't be surprised if you hear Tiger Beer revenues increased sharply for the month of July, I'll certainly do my best.

In the meantime did you know Guardian on line readers have been reading this here blog?

The internet don't lie...
Jakarta Casual on the Guardian website!!!


Wednesday, July 05, 2006


And as for ASEAN?

Do any ASEAN countries stand a chance of qualifying for the World Cup in the next 20 years under the current qualifying procedures? Probably not, I'd say there is more chance of Peter Crouch scoring a hat trick and leading England to glory in the Final than an Indonesia or Thailand gracing the world stage.

Let's forget about Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar and the Philippines, the only real challenge from ASEAN is likely to come from Singapore and Thailand and to a, much, lesser extent, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Singapore are the currents kings of the bloc but can such a tiny country force its way on to the big stage eliminating regional powerhouses such as Iran and Japan. On paper it looks unlikely but football is a funny old game Saint and anything can happen. The Lions are ranked 92nd in the FIFA rankings whatever that means, USA top 10, puh-leese, Australia 42nd, Japan 18th for context. They do have a reasonable local league which hardly packs in the crowds but this being Singapore they do have a blueprint in place for footballing success but they may find this more challenging than developing Changi as an aviation hub, and the willingness to dish out Singapore passports to likely lads is no guarantee to success. Young Lions, the current leaders of the S League, is made of young Singapore players who the authorities hope will form the nucleus of a future World Cup assault but being the big fish in such a small pond can be limiting. Still, they are trying and they are doing something which pretty much makes them unique in the region.

Until recently Thailand were the top dog based around the nucleus of the 1994 Asian Cup team but they've grown old and, best efforts of Peter Withe aside, they have not been followed by any new generation. The domestic league is a shambles but hope lies not in Beer Chang sponsoring a minor team on the Mersy but in having players train overseas with bigger clubs for extended periods, hopefully some of them can start to make the grade and increase interest back home but Thailand doing well in anything bigger than the Tiger Cup seems a long way off. For the last 10 years or so Thailand has also played host to big European clubs like Real Madrid, Arsenal, Bayern who recognise the spending power of middle class Thais but there has been little knock on benefits for Thai football.

Indonesia and Malaysia both have strong well supported domestic leagues though for sure the Indonesian League suffers from lack of real investment and crowd trouble. They are however looking at spending several months in England to work on basics like learning the laws and learning to pass, not shoot from 35 yards. This is preparation for next years Asian Cup being part hosted in Indonesia but they haven't played a game for 12 months, surely they would be better off preparing by playing games locally if that is their short term goal? The money would be better spent on improving local pitches so basic ball skills can be developed locally, not the other side of the world?

Finally, Indonesia, or its colonial predecessor the Dutch East Indies, are the only ASEAN team to have graced the World Cup so far from the region. A story that should be told here. Soon...


Monday, July 03, 2006


What chance do the Asians have

In Germany the last 8 featured 6 European and 2 South American countries while in the 2002 World Cup we were treated to 4 Europeans, 2 American, 1 African and 1 Asian, a tournament perhaps that truly deserved the name World Cup. Pele was famously quoted as saying an African team would win the solid gold trophy before the end of the 20th Century but to be fair who was sponsoring him then? In 2006 we are as far away as ever from an Asian or African team winning the Cup, even with 2010 being hosted in South Africa can we expect anyone to break the Latin/Euro stranglehold?

Quite frankly I don't care about Africa, let's look at Asia, a continent deemed to include Saudi Arabia and Australia and all points and pigmentations in between.

We'll start with Australia, arguably the best equipped side from Asia. Why? Simply they have the palyers with the experience of playing at the top level to go with the coach who's been there and done that. The domestic Aussie League may be as pants as it was when I was following St George and John Filan was a whippersnapper but then most of their national players play regularly in top quality leagues in Europe, be it England, Italy or even Scotland. Football is about passing and controlling the ball yes, but there's more. There's intuition, street smarts, being 'clever' and this can only come by playing at a high standard week in week out. Players like Viduak, Schwarzer, Kewell, they know the score.

South Korea has a booming economy, money to burn and scored 3 goals in Germany. One win, one draw and one defeat, they fell at the first hurdle but showed glimpses of potential. However their time is still to come. Having the big stars play for FC Seoul might encourage the babe factor on to the terraces but many more players need to follow Park ji Sung over to Europe and the big leagues. They need the experience the Australians have now but to be fair, and overlooking the 2002 World Cup, they maybe 4 or 5 tournaments away from regular Quarter Final appearancs. The current generation playing overseas will need to return and coach the future generations before they can be thought of as a major power away from Asia. And like South Korea, so to Japan and China.

What about Saudi Arabia? What about them? Bringing in international coaches to coach talent drawn from such a narrow pool as the domestic league shows having too much money can replace sensible forward planning. Their club sides are strong in Asian tournaments where they are supplemented by aging has beens from the west but until Saudi Arabia changes their narrow mindset and embraces the world they are going to be the Birmingham City of international football. Always bobbing around, liable to knicking the odd result but in reality just there to make up the numbers.

Ironically the country with the best potential for making an impact on the world stage is also the country least equipped at the moment to do so. Iranian players have made a great impression in Germany but their 'pariah' status on the world stage means the national side are deprived of regular quality opposition. If their potential could be unleashed they could become more than a big fish in the restrictive Asian pond.

Tomorrow I'll have a look at the region I am most interested, South East Asia, who have yet to provide a team for any World Cup (except 1938 but more about that later).

Laters ...

Sunday, July 02, 2006


The Golden Generation - you're havin a laugh

Same old same old

Grim. To be honest my expectations were low anyway, one advantage of being far from the hype of the headline hungry English media, but you know you just, as a fan, expect one thing from your team. Effort. Whenever I see England play that seems to be sadly lacking.

They seemed clueless. I've seen Jakarta play as a team better than these prima donnas. Rooney, our supposed match winner was stuck up by himself looking for titbits and then did himself no favours by pushing twinkle toes Ronaldo right in front of the ref. Gerrard tells us not to blame the young Shrek look alike but I'm sorry who do we blame for the dismissal? The tooth fairy? Dick Cheney? He acted like a twat and deserves grief for it.

Portugal weren't that much better than us if at all. They couldn't break down our 10 men but we created little when we had 11 so we can't complain too much. Again, Rooney up top alone?

So we bring on Crouch, the fir tree who can't win the ball in the air and we threatened less. Lennon worried them at times, a small, nippy player of pace attacking the full back and pulling the ball back for people to run on to, ideal for lampard, Gerrard, Cole, so why not have Walcott down the other flank? But hey, I don't earn 4 million a year so what do I know eh?

And whose idea was it for Lampard to take a pen eh? The guy has had more shots than Ollie reed on a night out and not scored, he hasn't played too well, his confidence is low, he set the tone. Oh no, here we go again...

Back to the manager. He has been trying to build a team round the best players in the country but when some of those players are too similar like in the midfield you gotta look elsewhere. The best English teams play with pace and power, Ashely Cole is used to racing down on the overlap yet when he tried last night he was overlooked as the ball was invariably played square or even back!

Still, The Big 8 is in a couple of weeks and the premiership starts 19th August.


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