Tag Archives: South Korea

Germans, Fawlty. Flaccid Mannschaft fail to make a semi for first time in 12 years.

28 Jun

Don’t mention the, the, the….VAR. (© the entire internet and newspaper industry). Curses. I feel dirty. Tried to resist it but the opportunity was so blatant and the open goal so gaping it would have been a crime not to jump on the ‘Don’t cry for me, Argentina’ bandwagon of obvious post-defeat puns. But these are strange times. Wednesday’s action saw Germany finish bottom of their World Cup group after going down to South Korea, Brazil ease through the gears and England preparing for a Group G shoot out with Belgium. And, as ever, there’s a Brentford angle. Of sorts.

Just when you thought the World Cup couldn’t get any more exciting, it did. And how! We’ve already seen the likes of Argentina, Portugal and Spain make much harder work of qualifying than they would have been expected to after some quite scintillating group action. Seeded Poland are already out and yesterday afternoon in the biggest of all the shocks, not just for this tournament but in years, Germany were sent home after succumbing 2-0 to South Korea.

Talk about a (Joachim) Low point. The defeat saw them finish rock bottom of the qualifying group as, going for broke after Sweden cruised into an unassailable lead against Mexico, it became a case of win or bust. Two late goals – one reinstated thanks to use of VAR and the other with German ‘keeper Manuel Neuer caught upfield – meant this one was left firmly in the bust camp. That totally unusual, and in no way pleasurable, sight of their fans crying in the stands filling our screens.

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Stop. Sniggering. Please.

It was just bizarre. Yet at the same time, brilliant. How often have they swept all before them? The ruthless footballing machine that has claimed trophy after trophy. Despatched those crucial penalties with clinical ease? Invincible. Untouchable. All conquering. Until now. These demi-Gods of the global game, brought to their knees.

It is the first time in 12 years Germany have failed to reach the semi-final of a major tournament. As many twitter wags have already pointed out, who will now beat England on penalties? More importantly, it has thrown the tournament wide open whilst adding even more intrigue to tonight’s game with Belgium.

Specifically, the talk of finishing second being a seemingly more advantageous position to be in. The group winners go into the side of the draw that contains Brazil, Mexico, France, Argentina and Portugal in the knock out stages. The reward for second place is a knockout stage that currently features Spain, Russia, Croatia, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland. With both sides on level points, goals scored and goal difference, should either fail to win then it will come down to who has the most bookings. At present, a draw will see England will top the pile based on their 2 yellow cards compared to Belgium’s 3.

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The BBC show how tight the group is.

Watching last night’s Brazil game on ITV, the subsequent panel discussion was all around this very point. Gary Neville and Ian Wright both stressing the benefits of the so called easier route (whilst failing to note that it also includes Henrik Dalsgaard of Brentford and his Denmark team. I DID say it was an angle, of sorts). Let the big boys knock each other out.  

It is an option seemingly favoured by Belgian coach Roberto Martinez. His own interview suggested wholesale changes were in the offing and players protected. Unless my ears were deceiving me, I could have sworn his interview on ITV included references to it being what he deemed “A celebration game” where “the priority is not to win”.

Also in the geometric hell and magic eye puzzle that is the ITV studio, Slavan Bilic was ploughing a lone furrow. Go for broke. Keep the momentum. Win at all costs. Don’t disrupt the routine. Thing started to get a little bit Daily Mail at this point. Belgium will play the second string. It’s not English to do anything but go for it. The team will play to win. Gareth won’t rotate his squad etc etc

All I’ll say on the subject is that at 8/5 this morning, a price checked with my online bookmaker purely for research purposes, England would seem to be  very generous price. Then again, could it all be the ultimate in double bluffs from Martinez? Or is the safe and easy route against supposedly easier opposition, one they favoured in their own warm up games for the tournament, something that Belgium will look to try and follow once more.

Whilst one can’t imagine they’ll go out of their way to lose / throw the game, perhaps a cagey bore draw is all we have to look forward to. And if this is how things are looking as we head into the final fifteen, could there be a flourish of yellow cards? A bit of back chat here. A ball thrown away there. Just enough to ensure one team tip themselves into second place whilst remaining undefeated.

Then again, and has been said many times, yours truly is just the numpty on the terrace. Plenty of questions and no actual answers. Yet.

I can’t wait until 7(seven) pm when we find out what they are.

Nick Bruzon

PS Just a reminder that The Last Word season Reviews are now available for download. All proceeds from any sales will go to the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust. For less than the cost of a half / pint respectively, they may help while away some time on the commute, by the pool on holiday or just in the bathroom. Who knows? It will certainly do some good for the Trust, whose work has been well documented at Griffin Park but you can read all about it on their site.

Plus, pick one up before the end of June and go into the draw to win an exclusive Brentford shirt. PLEASE DM/tweet me (@NickBruzon) a copy of your download confirmation mail and I’ll add your name to the list before an independent adjudicator will select a random Bees fan to win this on July 1st.

The Kindle e-book Ten Times Better. Brentford FC Season review: 2017/18. Inspired by ‘that’ interview it contains the least bad of these columns in one, handy volume as it looks at our own campaign as well as wider divisional life and the promotion / relegation races. As a bonus there’s a whole host of new material. New that is, for my pages. Specifically, all the programme articles submitted (both home and away where, if nothing else, you can get the original versions of both Birmingham City and Millwall).

In addition, There Is No Plan B. Brentford FC Season reviews: 2013/14 – 2017/18 takes us all the way back to the start of this latest leg in the journey. That penalty. League One. Harlee Dean was a hero. Jota was something we thought happened to the temperature for one week in July. Alan Judge had joined on loan whilst the Marinus Experiment was something nobody had contemplated. Bringing things bang up to date by the inclusion of this year’s volume alongside the four previously published campaign round ups, it has five seasons in one weighty tome. As weighty as a download can be, that is.

Relive the memories. See how often the same material gets regurgitated. Remind yourself how it all began….

 

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KFC or KC? Could ‘that hashtag’ come out of cold storage?

26 Apr

Brentford visit Hull City AFC tonight, hoping to continue a great run of form that sees the Bees unbeaten this month and, with 5 wins out of 6, closing in on Birmingham City in 9th position. Whilst I don’t want to overly dwell on the ghost of hashtags past, could 2014’s much maligned #Novemberkings raise it’s head once more?

Looking back over this campaign and the previous two seasons, the Bees have only lost  3 times out of 19 in April. 2013/14 saw us go down 1-0 at Swindon Town and then 4-1 to Colchester United after promotion had been assured. Last season saw a solitary defeat  with the Bees losing 0-1 at Sheffield Wednesday as we closed in on the play-offs.

That’s 16 games unbeaten. Earning point(s) tonight would take our record to 17 wins or draws out of 20 over the last three Aprils. With it, a possible manager of the month for Dean Smith and could there be a new hashtag for Brentford ‘official’ on twitter? Might there be a new contender for #Novemberkings crown as one out three most awful pieces of social media. (actually, as a general rule of thumb see any piece of ‘comedy’ social media for awful).

Well, as ever, there’s only two places to follow the action ‘live’. For those hardy enough to make the trip to the North East on a school night, the KC stadium and undiscovered delights of Hull Marina await. Hats off to those travelling. Seriously. Any thoughts about a trip to this new stadium were crushed pretty much as soon as the fixture computer dealt us a midweek hand. Shame.

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Hull Marina

For those staying at home, its Bees Player. Mark Burridge is our man at the helm, I believe assisted by Ciaran Brett and match day programme editor Mark Chapman.

Our commentator par-excellence (Burridge) was the butt of many jokes about his own ‘jinx’ factor recently. The April run began the moment he, temporarily, hung up his mic for a three game absence owing to his own time at the Augusta Masters golf (watching rather than competing).

Thankfully, his return to the commentary hot seat has seen the Bees continue their upward surge. Mark has had the pleasure of guiding us through 2 wins and a draw. What better man to have at the helm with the Bees aiming to make it 7(seven) unbeaten.

That said, if not Mark then there has to be some other factor involved in our current run. Beyond Dean and the players, I mean.

Well, let’s just say that a supporter who we’ll simply call ‘Dan’ to protect his anonymity (too obvious. How about Mr. S?) has been taking a well timed April break in Korea. And as ‘Dan’ has been out of the UK, the Bees have climbed the table.

Nothing to do with Lasse and his goals. Nothing to do with the team being rejigged. Nothing to do with Dean pulling it all together or Scott Hogan’s return . We all know football is jinx driven… 🙂

‘Dan’ you may not be able to enjoy the Bees in action but your sacrifice is appreciated. You stick to the KFC Tabasco chicken and we’ll stick to keeping things going at the KC.

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Korean deliciousness coinciding with the Bees unbeaten run

Nick Bruzon

England go a bit Tourjansky. And are Brentford changing their tops?

23 Jun

With England limping out of the World Cup, watching any more of it seems a bit of a hollow exercise. The football over the weekend was very exciting (see: Germany, Ghana, Iran, Argentina, USA and Portugal) with even Algeria – South Korea, hardly the most scintillating prospect in advance, getting the blood pumping.

But these thrills are muted by the fact that every potential upset no longer has a knock on that could impact Roy’s Boys.

I’ve used this before but it is the archetypal example of my favourite analogy, a Timothy Dalton ‘Bond film’. The rest of the crew and cast may be the same, the action and the sound are identical but, ultimately, without the one-liners and raised eyebrow of Roger Moore it all seems to be lacking something.

Like Dalton, the World Cup still has a stunning supporting cast and incredible action but with our team of Victor Tourjanskys gone (and do check him out), it is definitely lacking a safari suit clad bite.

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England are reduced to a Tourjansky-esque cameo role on Tuesday

Brentford wise, things are just as downbeat on the surface. No real news coming out of the club, but rumour central in other sources. With Marcello Trotta, allegedly, no longer in the frame for a return, you may also be surprised to read that, “Bristol City boss Steve Cotterill is targeting highly-rated Brentford striker Will Grigg.”

Not my words (I’d have given him the respect of prefacing them with “Northern Ireland International”) but those of the Bristol Post. You can read the full story here but it would leave us rather short in the ‘striker’ position if we were to accept the supposed bid of £300,000….

Moreso given the talk about Clayton Donaldson being a shoe in to join Birmingham City, now his contract has expired.

I remember a similar situation the last time we escaped ‘tier 3’ to join the Championship back in 1992. Then, goal hero Dean Holdsworth was sold off on the cheap to Wimbledon and we were left with Murray Jones in his place. Ultimately, a packet of Murray mints would have done a better job as, despite a sterling effort, the former Grimsby man failed to find his eye for goal and Gary Blissett was left to do the work of two players.

However, if Brentford clear the decks up top (and it is a big IF – these are only cyber rumours at present) then this time I have a feeling things will be different. We’ve been too long looking to escape this division to then go and throw it all away.

Warbs and Frank McParland have a stunning knack for unearthing talent – just look who has come into the club in the last year or two. I’d hate to lose Clayton but, if it was to happen, then I’m confident that they have somebody lined up.

Now, does anybody have Lionel Messi’s phone number?

‘Celebrating like they’d won the FA Cup…..’  – The story of Brentford’s season  2013/14 – amongst other things –  is now available as a digital book . Featuring the best of the not so bad columns from the last ten months, and some new content, you can download it here for your kindle  / digital device

Here come the Bees in the Championship as ‘keepers dominate.

18 Jun

Today’s the day! Finally, the Championship fixture list is released and Brentford find out when we’ll lock horns with the likes of Fulham, Watford, Charlton and Birmingham City (where, hopefully, we’ll see Clayton Donaldson playing for the team in red and white – ignore those rumours, folks!).

I absolutely love this time of year. It puts the next ten months into perspective as we find out if holidays clash with some vital away trip and when we can squeeze in a visit to see the mother-in-law.

The fever pitch feeling around TW8 is sure to step up a notch once we get the chance to map out 2014/15. This has already gone into overdrive with the news that 4,800 early bird season tickets have been sold. To put that into perspective, it’s almost half the capacity for Griffin Park’s home support and is a stunning effort.

In no small way is this down to the competitive level prices were kept at (to be honest, I was expecting a huge hike this season). Likewise, well done to all the staff in the ticket office who I cannot praise enough. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of dealing with them in person then you’ll know how hard the likes of Mads and Abdi work and how helpful they are.

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A new season dawns over Griffin Park

Then, just to keep the excitement bubbling over, there’s the World Cup over in Brazil where day 6 action was dominated by goalkeepers. Primarily, Guillermo Ochoa who kept Brazil at bay with an immense performance as Mexico drew 0-0 with the hosts.

I can only put his exceptional display down to his shirt which seems to be the international variant of the striking design set to be worn by Richard Lee and David Button next season. As somebody who looks for omens in the smallest of things, for me this one was as subtle as being hit in the face with a wet fish by Adrian Chiles and can only bode well for The Bees.

Later that evening, Russia took on South Korea in a game that threatened to rival the previous day’s Iran – Nigeria as the most painful of the tournament. I gave up after half an hour of dreadful football which, to coin a phrase I’d heard earlier in the season, “Was like watching two pensioners trying to play X-box FIFA for the first time”.

At least the goals started to flow in the second half as the match finished one apiece. However, where Ochoa had been flawless earlier in the day, his Russian counterpart, Igor Akinfeev, had a performance he’ll want to forget about. The BBC, whose coverage of this effort is here, put it best by saying he, “has practically thrown the ball over his shoulder into the back of the net”.

The day’s other game saw Belgium perform more like seaside donkeys rather than their billing as (cliché alert), the tournament’s ‘dark horses’. A 2-1 victory over an Algeria outfit who led for most of the game was hardly the stuff to strike fear into their rivals.

Just typical I’ve got Fellaini and co in the office sweepstake.

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BBC viewers saw Mexico’s Ochoa in the same design top as Brentford will be wearing next season