Brent Atema stands in as host along with guests Euan Marshall and Ed Malyon to discuss the action in the Copa America Group Stages.

Best moments, players, goals etc are all up for discussion. And they also look forward to the Knock-out stages.

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As we look ahead to July’s Copa America, here’s the first of our three-part preview by the wonderful Ed Malyon, looking at Group A.

Looking at group A, you’d be forgiven for thinking it a forgone conclusion, and it’s hard to disagree that hosts Argentina are the only side that look like winning this. read more »


Making his gibfootballshow debut is Ed Malyon – he brings us the story of the Argentine club bucking the trend in Argentina.

In Argentine football, where seemingly the only consistency is inconsistency, el Fortín, from the Buenos Aires suburb of Liniers, buck this trend and find themselves within reach of double glory.

“There’s not much health and safety in there but they’re certainly enjoying themselves” observed the commentator as he watched the mass of Velez hinchas jumping up and down as one and letting off fireworks into the Buenos Aires sky. And whilst the flagrant disregard for their own wellbeing and (quite literally) explosive support – as they completed their 2-0 victory over Banfield – was typical of the Argentine football fan, there is very little that is typically Argentine about this club.

read more »


Andrew Gibney is back to host the gibfootballshow podcast. He is joined by Brent Atema and Charlie Anderson as they discuss the recent qualification games for the European Championships and the African Cup of Nations.

They also discuss the recent friendly between USA and Argentina the rise of new American wonderkid Juan Agudelo. Also on the agenda is NFL superstar Chad Ochocinco’s trial with MLS team Sporting Kansas City and what it means for the player and the team.

There is also a special interview with Garreth Cummins from the Football Supporters Federation. Recently they started a petition to bring safe-standing back to English grounds, Garreth comes on to chat about the petition but also the other good work the FSF does for football fans.

A jam packed show…it’s good to be back.




Another talented writer makes his début on gibfootballshow. Euan Marshall originally from Glasgow and now a resident in South America uses his new found love of Latin football to tell Blackburn Rovers fans all about their new signing Mauro Formica.

Under ambitious new ownership and with some decent form under their belt, Blackburn Rovers have all the makings of a football club on the rise. To go along with the shrewd loan signings of Schalke 04′s Jermaine Jones and the returning Roque Santa Cruz, Blackburn have decided to go out and buy a South American attacking midfielder. They did not end up with Ronaldinho Gaúcho, but they have managed to sign an extremely exciting and promising young Argentine, Mauro Formica.

Formica’s recent form for Newell’s Old Boys in his native Argentina has generated a lot of buzz and interest throughout the football world. His 16 appearances and 2 goals in the 2010 Torneo Apertura attracted suitors from all over Europe, with Rubin Kazan, Galatasaray, Genoa, Blackburn Rovers and Monaco all looking to facilitate his move across the Atlantic. He looked certain to sign for Les Rouge et Blanc in France, but as Newell’s tried to squeeze more money out of the principality club, the move stalled. That was when Blackburn jumped in and made an improved offer which was swiftly accepted by Newell’s. Finally, “El Gato” (“the Cat”) agreed a contract with Rovers which will see him in Lancashire for the next three years.

A Newell’s boy born and bred, Mauro signed his first professional contract with la Lepra in 2006 when he was 18 years old. He has always been highly coveted at Newell’s, and after three years he broke into a regular first team place in the 2009/2010 season, managing 38 appearances and 8 goals in all competitions. However it was not until this season’s Apertura where 22 year-old Mauro really blossomed, becoming a key player in the Newell’s squad.

Formica hails from a nation notorious for hyping up their young talents, with several youngsters tipped to be reincarnations of national football heroes like Diego Maradona or Ariel Ortega. Unsurprisingly, Mauro has not been able to escape this, with several pundits dubbing him (inexplicably) the “new Batistuta”; however the more accurate comparison comes from Argentina’s neighbours Brazil, in the shape of Real Madrid’s Kaká.

Not only does he bear a truly startling physical resemblance to Kaká (everything except the 80s style mullet), Formica also has several similarities to the Brazilian in his playing style. Watching the way he drives at defences, with the ball appearing to stick to his boots, you would be forgiven for thinking you were watching a young Kaká. He skips past defenders in the same way that Kaká does, naturally and with pace.

However Formica isn’t just a dribbler, he has technique and flair in abundance, making him a fantastic player to watch. He has a tremendous passing range, a great first touch, he hits a great shot from distance, and he is able to pull off deft flicks, back-heels and nutmegs when the situation calls for it. Without trying to over-hype the 22-year old, he really does possess the skill set of a truly world class attacking midfielder.

Mauro Formica belongs to a generation of very talented Argentine footballers, and unfortunately for him this could seriously affect his chances of featuring for the national team in later years. Formica is a number 10, an attacking midfielder, what the Argentines refer to as an enganche, and he’s going to have some serious competition on the international scene. Already Ángel di María has made a name for himself at Real Madrid and has appeared several times at international level, furthermore two of the game’s most promising players will be desperate to fill the number 10 role; Javier Pastore of Palermo, and Erik Lamela of River Plate.

As I have mentioned earlier, Formica is a proper South American number 10. At Newell’s he played either behind two centre-forwards or as the left sided attacking midfielder in a 4-3-2-1. He serves as an excellent link between the midfield and attack, and is able to intuitively move into the right areas to receive the ball and then produce the killer pass. He has all the wonderful passing attributes of a great playmaker, and his equally wonderful dribbling skills mean he can go it alone if necessary and provide a different threat to opposing defences.

Certainly the main question regarding Formica’s move to Blackburn is whether he will be able to adapt and thrive in the Premier League. English football is certainly a very different game from what Formica is used to back home, the pace is much higher, with creative players not allowed much time on the ball, and overall the game is a much more physical affair. It is expected that Formica will need some time to adapt, and he may find it hard to make much of an impact between now and the end of the season.

Formica will be hoping to slot into a position similar to his number 10 role at Newell’s. He will have players like Morten Gamst Pedersen and Junior Hoilett to link up with in midfield, and two good forwards to aim at, fellow South American Roque Santa Cruz, and the Croatian Nikola Kalinić. A main part of his success at Newell’s was his excellent ability to link with players around him, so Formica will be hoping to develop the same rapport with his new Ewood Park team-mates.

With all of these qualities and obvious potential, Blackburn will be hoping that the introduction of Formica will bring some real South American class to their midfield to help their push for European qualification. How much of an immediate impact he will make is impossible to know, but with Formica’s style and talent we can be sure of plenty breathtaking moments from el Gato for years to come.

To read more of Euan’s work please have a look at his wonderful website “I like football me” and also catch him on twitter for all the goings on in Brazil and South America. Also soon to join the gibfootballshow podcast ;)


Two of football’s heavyweights met in the Quarter Finals yesterday, 2 team playing great football, a shame they both couldn’t go through. In the other match it was underdogs vs favourites, Paraguay trying to shock the world by eliminating the Spanish.






      Thomas MULLER (3′)  
      Miroslav KLOSE (67′, 89′)  
      Arne FRIEDRICH (74′)  
22.Sergio ROMERO     1.Manuel NEUER  
2.Martin DEMICHELIS     3.Arne FRIEDRICH  
4.Nicolas BURDISSO     6.Sami KHEDIRA OUT – 77
6.Gabriel HEINZE     7.Bastian SCHWEINSTEIGER  
7.Angel DI MARIA OUT – 75   8.Mesut ÖZIL  
9.Gonzalo HIGUAIN     10.Lucas PODOLSKI  
10.Lionel MESSI     11.Miroslav KLOSE  
11.Carlos TEVEZ     13.Thomas MULLER – Y OUT – 84
14.Javier MASCHERANO – C – Y     16.Philipp LAHM  
15.Nicolas OTAMENDI – Y OUT – 70   17.Per MERTESACKER  
20.Maxi RODRIGUEZ     20.Jerome BOATENG OUT – 72
Subs     Subs  
16.Sergio AGUERO IN – 75   2.Marcell JANSEN IN – 72
23.Javier PASTORE IN – 70   15.Piotr TROCHOWSKI IN – 84
      18.Toni KROOS IN – 77


From start to finish the Germans dominated the match, a great start to the match Thomas Muller flicking in Schweinsteiger’s free kick, the German machine just rolled on, Argentina never looked like causing any problems, 1-0 at half time the germans looked comfortable, and extended the lead in the second half when Podolski got three on the left and he found Klose alone in the box and he wasn’t gonna miss from there.

Arne Friedrich added his first ever goal after Schweinsteiger’s fabulous solo run, and Ozil played a lovely pass over the top of the Argentine’s and found Klose and he levelled Gerd Muller’s 14 World Cup goals, and capped off a wonderful day for Germany. Argentina just weren’t at the races today, Messi and Tevez couldn’t find the space to create anything, and this is were Maradona lacks the tactical knowledge to change the system or adapt to what’s happening and in the end this cost his country a chance at World Cup glory.

Schweinsteiger and Khedira were superb for the whole game, The Bayern man never looked in any trouble on the ball, always finding a pass or when in trouble he has the ability to beat a man to create more space, and Khedira compliments his game so much, knows when to stay knows when to attack, and I’m sticking by my thought that Ballack would just have slowed this team down, Podolski and Muller then back up Klose, with Ozil combining the great play for midfield and attack, Ozil had a slighly quieter game but this gave more space to Schweinsteiger and Podolski and they played a great game.

I thought Jerome Boateng did well, supposidly the weakest link in the german team, however he did well against the threat of Messi and Di Maria, I don’t remember the ball getting inbehind the German defence many times, Mertesacker didn’t get turned like everyone thought they would they managed to keep the Argies in front of them and this condensed the space Messi & Co. had to work with.

Di Maria had has most involved game seeing lots of the ball, he needs to work on his final ball if he is to become a great player, he didn’t get much help from Higuian who’s movement was sparce at best, Otamendi at right back had an awful game, booked very early on he never recovered and if you look at all Germany’s goals they all came from the left side, where Nicolas was meant to be defending, the right back spot a real problem are for Maradona’s men, what difference would someone of Javier Zanetti class have made.

Lionel Messi will leave the tournament without scoring a goal, but at times he showed his World Class and could easily have had 3 or 4, Tevez played well overall, Higuain left a lot to be desired, yeah he got a hat-trick against Korea but never showed the real strengths of his game.

It looks like Diego will retire as Argentina’s coach and maybe it’s a good thing, he is a good cheerleader and gives the team passion and pride, but when i comes to knowing the game he lacks the same skill he had as a player, Argentina need a coach that can get the best of out Messi but also find a way to play the others, it’s not a bad bunch of players to be in charge of.






      David VILLA (83′)  
1.Justo VILLAR     1.Iker CASILLAS  
2.Dario VERON     3.Gerard PIQUE – Y  
3.Claudio MOREL – Y     5.Carles PUYOL OUT – 84
7.Oscar CARDOZO     6.Andres INIESTA  
8.Edgar BARRETO OUT – 64   7.David VILLA  
11.Jonathan SANTANA – Y     8.XAVI  
14.Paulo DA SILVA     9.Fernando TORRES OUT – 56
15.Victor CACERES – Y OUT – 84   11.Joan CAPDEVILA  
16.Cristian RIVEROS     14.Xavi ALONSO OUT – 75
18.Nelson VALDEZ OUT – 72   15.Sergio RAMOS  
21.Antolin ALCARAZ – Y     16.Sergio BUSQUETS – Y  
Subs     Subs  
19.Lucas BARRIOS IN – 84   4.Carlos MARCHENA IN – 84
13.Enrique VERA IN – 64   10.Cesc FABERGAS IN – 56
9.Roque SANTA CRUZ IN – 72   18.PEDRO IN – 75


For 45 minutes this match had nothing to write about, Spain’s passing was awful they couldn’t get their “tiki-taka” going, it was Paraguay that played the nicer football some lovely flowing moves, but just couldn’t find a way past the Spanish defence, it looked like their chances would come mostly from set-pieces.

The second half was so much better and there was a 10 minute period of complete drama, Paraguay had a corner and when the ball was swung in, Gerard Pique was blatantly pulling Cardozo’s arm, the referee spotted it and blew his whitle, Penalty to Paraguay, a chance to go ahead against the European Champions, Benfica’s Oscar Cardozo stepped up to take it, but it was a poor penalty and Iker Casillas made a comfortable save, the temperature rose again when Spain went on the attack and Villa was bundles off the ball by Alcaraz and again the referee had no choice to point to the spot, Xabi Alonso picked up the ball, placed it, took his penalty and put it into the top corner, the referee had spotted some encroachment and ordered the retake, always hard for the player to then either go the same way or do you change your mind, Alonso changed his mind, Villar read it though and got his hand to the ball, it looked like he fouled Fabergas on the rebound, and then Ramos fired the rebound towards goal and it was cleared off the line.

Spain pilled on the pressure and with 7 minutes to go it paid off, Iniesta made a great run towards the box, he slipped in Pedro, his shot came off the post and fell to David Villa and Spain’s top scorer had a chance, his shot came off the same post as Pedro’s went back across the goal and hit the opposite post but this time it bounced into the net and Spain had the lead, and except Santa Cruz’s chance in injury time Spain played out the last minutes knowing they had won.

For the first time in this tournament Pique looked nervous, the tug on Cardozo’s arm was unlike the big man, usually so calm under pressure, Paraguay played well as a team but struggled up front, Cardozo and Valdez no goals between them, Valdez worked very very hard chasing down lost causes and caused problems with his movement but they lacked that cutting edge in the final third, new Premier League boys Alcaraz and Riveros played pretty well and have impressed throughout the tournament looking forward to seeing more of them this season.

Torres again had a poor game, not sure how long Del Bosque can continue to pick the Liverpool man, Llorente did so well when he came on against Portugal he is knocking at the door for a starting spot, other options would be  Cesc Fabergas or Jesus Navas and play Villa down the middle, I would try Llorente as Villa has been findng more space from the left and it seems teams are struggling to pick him up from deeper, however it seems Del Bosque will be sticking with Torres hoping that every game makes him sharper, could be a big decision.



Germany will be without striker Thomas Muller who is suspended, looks like Trochowski will replace him, I think there is the option of usin Cacau, Marin and Toni Kross instead that would give more attacking impetus, however Trochowski has been more often or not the first sub, so no surprise if he’s picked, apart from that both teams will have minumum changes.

Some really good matchups Lahm will be wary of Villa from the left wing position, probably the best defender Villa has come up against so far, Busquets will be given the job to mark Ozil, it will be interesting how Sergio Ramos defends against Podolski, Poldi’s presence could pin Ramos back, if he ventures forward there will be space to expolit, also a great test for Schweinsteiger and Khedira against the greatest midfield duo in football Xavi and Iniesta the winner of this battle could determin the team that gets to the final.

Spain will have to play a lot better if they are to beat the Germans, I’m sure Jogi Low will have a game plan to test Spain, really looking forward to this one, if I had to pick a winner, i would have to say Germany by a goal.


Day Two of the Last 16 and with three of the favourites playing, at least one of them was going out, but noone thought it would happen the way it did. Controversy in both games, Video technology would have completely changed the events of June 27th.






Miroslav KLOSE (20′)     Matthew UPSON (37′)  
Lukas PODOLSKI (32′)        
Thomas MÜLLER (67′,70′)        
1.Manuel NEUER     1.David JAMES  
3.Arne FRIEDRICH – Y     2.Glen JOHNSON – Y OUT – 87
6.Sami KHEDIRA     3.Ashley COLE  
7.Bastian SCHWEINSTEIGER     4.Steven GERRARD  
8.Mesut ÖZIL OUT – 83   6.John TERRY  
10.Lucas PODOLSKI     8.Frank LAMPARD  
11.Miroslav KLOSE OUT – 72   10.Wayne ROONEY  
13.Thomas MULLER OUT – 72   14.Gareth BARRY  
16.Philipp LAHM – C     15.Matthew UPSON  
17.Per MERTESACKER     16.James MILNER OUT – 64
20.Jerome BOATENG     19.Jermain DEFOE OUT – 71
Subs     Subs  
9.Stefan KIEßLING IN – 83   11.Joe COLE IN – 64
15.Piotr TROCHOWSKI IN -  72   17.Shaun WRIGHT-PHILLIPS IN – 87
23.Mario GOMEZ IN – 72   21.Emile HESKEY IN – 71


When this match was decided I had said, If England play 4-4-2 against Germany’s 4-2-3-1 then they would find it very hard to keep the ball in midfield and there would be space at the back, and this was one prediction I have got spot on.

3 of Germany’s 4 goals were scored from the fast break, exploiting the space in the wings overloading the English defence and using their pace, at times they ripped Upson & Co. apart.

The 4-1 scoreline in a way will water down the main talking point, at 2-1 Frank Lampard chipped the ball over Neuer’s head it hit the underside of the crossbar and I think the only people not to see it cross the line were the linesman and the referee, it was a foot over the line, and should have been the equaliser which would have changed the whole complexion of the game, the half time whistle seemed to stop England’s momentum and for me they never seemed to have the same drive in the second half after Lampard’s free kick smashed off the crossbar.

It was 2 goals in 3 minutes from Thomas Müller set up by Mesut Özil, both were superb the young turk cause so many problems finding space between the midfield and defence, then opening up gaps for his teammates, along with his goals it was Müller that set up Podolski for the second, the front four of Germany could have had 5 or 6 goals, David James coming to England’s aid on a few ocassions.

Question marks still hang over the heads of Mertesacker, Boateng and Arne Friedrich, in the air Mertesacker could not be beaten however when turned he finds it very hard to recover, players like Messi and Tevez will cause him problems, Boateng did a bad job in closing down James Milner, letting him cross balls in at will, Boateng is not a fullback and it really shows, I’m not sure Badstuber is a better option.

Not many England players to pick out for positive reasons, Lampard was the most effective that he’s been all World Cup, could easily have scored 2 goals, Milner delivered quite a few dangerous crosses, Defoe coming closest to converting them, David James the other England player to just about come out with pass marks, saves from Klose and Özil, should have been out faster for the first goal though.

Cole, Gerrard, Rooney, Barry and Upson had poor games, Upson was pulled out of position so many times by the German movement, Rooney as has been well documented played poor the whole tournament, bad touch, bad shooting even his movement was sub par.

Taking away all the controversy Germany were the better team and deserved to win, inflicting the worst defeat in a World Cup in England’s history.






Carlos TEVEZ (26′, 52′)     Javier HERNANDEZ (71′)  
Gonzalo HIGUAIN (33′)        
22.Sergio ROMERO     1.Oscar PEREZ  
2.Martin DEMICHELIS     2.Francisco RODRIGUEZ  
4.Nicolas BURDISSO     3.Carlos SALCIDO  
6.Gabriel HEINZE     4.Rafael MARQUEZ – C – Y  
7.Angel DI MARIA OUT – 79   5.Ricardo OSORIO  
9.Gonzalo HIGUAIN     6.Gerardo TORRADO  
10.Lionel MESSI     14.Javier HERNANDEZ  
11.Carlos TEVEZ OUT – 69   16.Efrain JUAREZ  
14.Javier MASCHERANO     17.Giovani DOS SANTOS  
15.Nicolas OTAMENDI     18.Andres GUARDADO OUT – 61
20.Maxi RODRIGUEZ OUT – 87   21.Adolfo BAUTISTA OUT – 46
Subs     Subs  
1.Diego POZO     7.Pablo BARRERA IN – 46
21.Mariano ANDUJAR     8.Israel CASTRO  
3.Clemente RODRIGUEZ     9.Guillermo FRANCO IN – 61
5.Marco BOLATTI     10.Cuauhtemoc BLANCO  
8.Juan VERON IN – 69   11.Carlos VELA  
12.Ariel GARCE     12.Paul AGUILAR  
13.Walter SAMUEL     13.Guillermo OCHOA  
16.Sergio AGUERO     15.Hector MORENO  
17.Jonas GUTIERREZ IN – 79   19.Jonny MAGALLON  
18.Martin PALERMO     20.Jorge TORRES  
19.Diego MILITO     22.Alberto MEDINA  
23.Javier PASTORE IN – 87   23.Luis MICHEL  


The second game of the day and FIFA would have been hoping for a quiet game with no controversy, not today Sepp.

After Mexico starting as the better team, Guardado came close and Salcido smashed the crossbar, I thought we could have been in for an upset. That was until the 26th minute, Messi played in Tevez his initial shot saved by Perez fell back to Messi he chiped it to Tevez and he headed it in, once we saw the replays it was clear Tevez was at least 2 yards offside, it got worse for Mexico as the teams were lining up for kickoff, the big screen showed the replay and all the Mexican players saw it, and quite rightly confronted the referee and linesman, they had also seen it, and looked embarrassed, of course there was nothing anyone could do now as the goal had been given, another massive call for video technology.

Things went from bad to worse for the Mexicans, Ricardo Osorio tried a little heel drag near his own box, mis controlled and Higuain was in on goal he rounded Perez and made no mistake with the finish, Mexico had gone from the better team to 2-0 down.

There was no way back from this, a Tevez wondergoal made it 3 and apart from Hernandez superb goal for Mexico Argentina never looked troubled again.

Otamendi looked loads more stable at right back than Jonas Gutierrez, Otamendi can also play at centre back so he knows how to cover the middle also, a solid performance. Higuain and Messi were very quiet, they never got many chances to trouble the Mexican defence, I only remember one run from Messi near the end of the match, but players can’t be brilliant all the time, and he has showed so far in this tournament that you need to respect his talent.

I can’t say it was a classic Argentina performance however it was a great victory and they roll on to the next round to face the Germans.

Mexico were very impressive and the much better footballing side in the whole match, sometimes decisions go against you that you can’t come back from and that was the case last night, Hernandez looks a good player Sir Alex has unearthed a gem there, along with dos Santos and the substitute Barrea they caused endless problems to Maradona’s men, I would have started Barrea he looked great against the French and Bautista was poor and was right to be taken off, Barrea looks to have bags of pace and the skill to match.

Shame for the Mexicans to go home, they have entertained us in South African and I hope they grow as a team for the future who knows what can happen in 4 years.


What a match this could be, Argentina weak down the flanks were Germany are so strong, you then have the midfield battles, Özil, Khedira and Schweinsteiger versus Messi, Mascherano and Rodriguez however I would not be surprised if Veron came back in, in a similar role to Schweinsteiger

I’m hoping for a thriller maybe a 5 goal thriller at that, it will not be boring.


My challenge to watch every match in full has failed, just found it impossible to watch matches when I know the score, who scored and what minute, the excitement just isn’t there. I managed the South Africa v France game, Nigeria v South Korea, 2nd half of Argentina v Greece and the extended highlights of Mexico v Uruguay, not a bad effort, so some reports from now on will be more sketchy than others.

For me the knockout stage starts here, for the next 4 days 4 teams will end the day eliminated for the World Cup, such a shame that today saw Bafana Bafana exit the tournament, but they leave with their heads held high.



      Luis SUAREZ (43′)  
1.Oscar PEREZ     1.Fernando MUSLERA  
2.Francisco RODRIGUEZ     2.Diego LUGANO  
3.Carlos SALCIDO     4.Jorge FUCILE - Y  
4.Rafael MARQUEZ     6.Mauricio VICTORINO  
5.Ricardo OSORIO     7.Edinson CAVANI  
6.Gerardo TORRADO     9.Luis SUAREZ OUT – 85
9.Guillermo FRANCO     10.Diego FORLAN  
10.Cuauhtemoc BLANCO OUT – 63   11.Alvaro Pereira OUT – 77
15.Hector MORENO OUT – 57   15.Diego PEREZ  
17.Giovani DOS SANTOS     16.Maximiliano PEREIRA  
18.Andres GUARDADO OUT – 46   17.Egidio AREVALO  
Subs     Subs  
7.Pablo BARRERA IN – 46   19.Andres SCOTTI IN – 77
8.Israel CASTRO – Y IN – 57   20.Alvaro FERNANDEZ IN – 85
14.Javier HERNANDEZ - Y IN – 63      


Looked a decent game from the highlights, Uruguay just shading it in performance and goals scored, quite a few good chances, Suarez, Pereira, Victorino all could have opened the scoring but it took a magnificent ball from Cavani from the right and Luis Suarez met it was a perfect header, his first goal, and the goal that put Uruguay in the driving seat.

Mexico did react Andres Guardado had a ambitious try for 35 yards only to see it come off the underside of the crossbar, dos Santos looked very busy again, however 3rd game in a row where there has been no final ball from him, maybe that’s what he lacks, Francisco Rodriguez had a absolute great chance to equalise, but couldn’t steer the header past Muslera.From the highlights it looked like Fucile has a great game saw examples of 3 really good tackles.

It was good to see both teams going for it, battling for 1st place, and both teams deserve to go through.

Florent MALOUDA (70′)     Bongani KHUMALO (20′)  
      Katlego MPHELA (37′)  
1.Hugo LLORIS     1.Moneeb JOSEPHS  
2.Bakari SAGNA     3.Tsepo MASILELA  
5.William GALLAS     4.Aaron MOKOENA  
7.Franck RIBERY     5.Anele NGCONGCA OUT – 55
8.Yoann GOURCUFF – R     6.MacBeth SIBAYA  
9.Djibril CISSE OUT – 55   8.Siphiwe TSHABALALA  
11.Andre Pierre GIGNAC OUT – 46   9.Katlego MPHELA  
17.Sebastien SQUILLACI     10.Steven PIENAAR  
18.Alou DIARRA OUT – 82   17.Bernard PARKER OUT – 68
19.Abou DIABY - Y     20.Bongani KHUMALO  
22.Gael CLICHY     23.Thanduyise KHUBONI OUT – 78
Subs     Subs  
10.Sidney GOVOU IN – 82   11.Teko MODISE IN – 78
12.Thierry HENRY IN – 55   2.Siboniso GAXA IN – 55
15.Florent MALOUDA IN – 46   18.Siyabonga NOMVETE IN – 68


This was the game that everyones eyes were on, a goal for either Uruguay or Mexico and a 5 nil victory for South Africa would see the wonderful fairytale story and see Bafana Bafana progress to the Last 16.

They couldn’t have asked for a better start, probably against the run of play they won a corner, Lloris flopped and Khumalo rose highest and headed the ball into the net, Gourcuff was then sent off for an elbow in Sibaya face, harsh decicsion but adding to SA’s cause, 8 minutes before Half Time they were 2-0 up, Modise found space on the left and crossed the ball for Mphela despite a attempted clearance from Clichy, Mphela managed to bundle the ball over the line.

Unfortunately this was the cloest they got to advance, the second half was a tighter affair and they couldn’t add to the tally, and it was France that scored, Ribery charged down the left and he crossed for Florent Malouda he scored France’s only goal of the World Cup.

There is noone I would like to pick out from this French team, it was another poor performance, and Laurent Blanc has lots of work to do.

South Africans should hold their head high today, a great performance showed passion and desire and maybe just lacked the ability to follow through on a great start, Tshabalala was busy and I really like the look of him and would love to see him in Europe Italy/Spain perhaps, Mphela played well, akin to his performance in the first game against Mexico and I was glad he got his goal. Sibaya and Khuboni started in the middle and showed a good account for themselves, good passing and strength, Pienaar didn’t have a great game, and has not had a great World Cup which is a big shame.

A really exciting group, going down to the last minutes, you have to say the best two teams have gone through, it is always a shame to see the hosts going out, I will miss the pre-match sing-a-long.






Kalu UCHE (12′)     LEE Jung Soo (38′)  
Yakubu AYEGBENI (69′PEN)     PARK Chu Young (49′)  
1.Vincent ENYEAMA – Y     18.JUNG Sung Ryong  
2.Joseph YOBO OUT – 46   4.CHO Yong Hyung  
4.Nwankwo KANU OUT – 57   7.PARK Ji Sung  
5.Rabiu AFOLABI     8.KIM Jung Woo  
6.Danny SHITTU     10.PARK Chu Young  OUT – 93
8.Yakubu AYEGBENI OUT – 70   12.LEE Young Pyo  
12.Kala UCHE     14.LEE Jung Soo  
13.Yussuf AYILA – Y     16.KI Sung Yueng OUT – 86 
17.Chidi ODIAH     17.LEE Chung Yong  
19.Chinedu Ogbuke OBASI – Y     19.YEOM KI Hun  OUT – 63
20.Dickson ETUHU     22.CHA Du Ri  
Subs     Subs  
9.Obafemi MARTINS IN – 57   5.KIM Nam Il – Y IN – 64
18.Victor OBINNA IN – 70   13.KIM Jae Sung IN – 87
21.Uwe ECHIEJILE IN – 46   15.KIM Dong Jin IN – 93


Really enjoyed this game, 2 teams battling for a place in the last 16 and it showed, a back and forward game, Nigeria started the better of the two and were in charge, South Korea fell asleep for a second Odiah charged down the right, crossed the ball in, Cha Du-Ri was left sleeping at the back post and Kalu Uche was there to finish it off. I expected Nigeria to charge on with the wind in their sails this wasn’t to be, 7 minutes before half time Korea won a free kick near the byline, Celtic’s Ki played in a lovely ball everyone missed it but Lee Jung-Soo, he stooped to head it, but it bounced off his shin and into the net, Korea back in the qualification place.

Korea came out in the 2nd half looking in charge and their midfield was out playing the Nigerians, and it was Park Cho-Young that grabbed the second, a free kick 25 yards out, Enyeama took a step to his right, behind his ball and Park curled the ball into the bottom corner, great free-kick but you have to point blame at the keeper, that was has area to cover.

We then saw the worst miss of maybe not just the World Cup but of all time, Obasi beat his man down the left crossed the ball, Yakubu was unmarked 4 yards from goal and he managed to put the ball wide that old cliché “easier to miss” doesn’t do it justice, 5 mins later Nigeria won a penalty, substitute Kim Nam-Il got beat  on the right and he blatantly kicked the legs away from Obasi, no doubt a penalty, I was shocked that Yakubu stepped up to take it, but credit to him, he calmly put the ball past Jung and brought the game level, one more goal and Nigeria would be through. It wasn’t to be though, Korea saw the game out and booked a place in the Last 16 for the first time in a tournament outside their own country.

Some good performances Yakubu was lively Uche and Obasi had a lot of success on the wings, Yussuf was a battler in the middle of the park and was surprised he made it to 41 minutes without being booked.

Cho and Lee in defence looked impressive again it was a shame the fullbacks didn’t back them up and that’s where the goals came from.

The midfield trio of Park, Ki and Kim again impressed, they very rarely lost the ball and can all pick a pass, which is then backed up with the pace of Lee Chung-Yong on the right wing and the tireless running of Park Cho-Young he has had a great World Cup so far, always gives the Centre Backs he plays against a game and cause problems.

I wanted South Korea to go through and I’m glad they held on, noone can say they don’t deserve it.

      Martin DEMICHELLIS (77′)  
      Martin PALERMO (89′)  
12.Alexandros TZORVAS     22.Sergio ROMERO  
5.Vangelis MORAS     2.Martin DEMICHELIS  
6.Alexandros TZIOLIS     3.Clemente RODRIGUEZ  
7.Georgios SAMARAS     4.Nicolas BURDISSO  
8.Avraam PAPADOPOULOS     5.Marco BOLATTI – Y  
10.Georgios KARAGOUNIS – C OUT – 46   8.Juan VERON  
11.Loukas VYNTRA     10.Lionel MESSI  
15.Vasileios TOROSIDIS OUT – 55   15.Nicolas OTAMENDI  
16.Sotirios KYRGIAKOS     16.Sergio AGUERO OUT – 77
17.Theofanis GEKAS     19.Diego MILITO OUT – 80
21.Konstantinos KATSOURANIS – Y OUT – 54   20.Maxi RODRIGUEZ OUT – 63
Subs     Subs  
3.Christos PATSATZOGLU IN – 55   7.Angel DI MARIA IN – 63
4.Nikos SPIROPOULOS IN – 46   18.Martin PALERMO IN – 80
18.Sotiris NINIS IN – 64   23.Javier PASTORE IN – 77


From the Greeks tactics and performance on show you would have thought a draw would have been enough for them to go through, not the case, they had to win, I would guess the tactics were keep it level for 70 minutes and then have a go, not the greatest spectacle but for 77 mins it worked.

Messi was manmarked by Papadopoulos who did a great job in keeping the Wonderkid under wraps and frustrated him. Veron had a good game with Messi tied up he took charge on the ball trying to control the game, still has classs on the ball but couldn’t find a better pass, Clemente Rodriguez played very well on the left, always looking to get forward and attack but without compromising his position most attacks that led to a shot came through Clemente.

Argentina broke the deadlock with 13 minutes to go, the corner came in Demichelis got his head to it, it was blocked but he managed to get the second attempt and this time it was a goal, a much deserved Argentina goal. Then just before the end a bit of a World Cup moment 36 year old Martin Palermo had come on, and with nearly his first touch scored his first World Cup goal, Messi had made a great run, his shot blocked it fell to Palermo and he sidefooted the ball past Tzorvas, you could see the delight on his face and the rest of his teammates too, a nice touch.

So Argentina win the group and South Korea in second, undoubtably the best two teams in the group, that sets up the last 16 matches of ARGENTINA  v MEXICO and URUGUAY SOUTH KOREA should be two good game, Argentina v mexico could be a classic, two attacking teams hopefully going at it, and it also means either Uruguay or South Korea will be in the last eight, what an incentive that is, I would predict victories for Argentina and Uruguay but the way this World Cup is going don’t rule out the upsets.


Two of the big guns played today and with mixed results, the big winner today was the Korea’s a great result against Greece, followed by Argentina’s slim 1 -0 victory over Nigeria, in a game that could have been 4-0 or 1-1, then England stepped up and failed to deliver the result their thousands of fans beleived was due to them, drawing 1-1 with the United States


SOUTH KOREA: 18 Jung Sung-Ryong - 12 Lee Young-Pyo, 4 Cho Yong-Hyung, 14 Lee Jung-Soo, 22 Cha Du-Ri - 19 Yeom Ki-Hun, 17 Lee Chung-Yong, 8 Kim Jung-Woo, 16 Ki Sung-Yong, 7 Park Ji-Sung – 10 Park Cho Young
Subs - 5 Kim Nam-Il on for Ki Sung-Yueng (74mins), 11 Lee Seung-Yeoul on for Park Chu-Young (87mins), 13 Kim Jae-Sung on for Lee Chung-Yong (90+mins)

GREECE: 12 Tzorvas – 2 Seitaridis, 8 Papadopoulos, 6 Tziolis, 15 Torosidis – 11 Vyntra, 21 Katsouranis, 10 Karagounis – 7 Samaras, 9 Charisteas, 17 Gekas
Subs – 4 Patsatzoglou on for Karagounis (46mins), 14 Salpingidis on for Samaras (59mins), 20 Kapetanos on for Charisteas (61mins)

Goals - Lee Jung-Soo 7′ (1-0), Park Ji-Sung 52′ (2-0)


An entertaining game to start the day, the impressive Koreans started very brightly, Ki whipped in a good free-kick after 7 minutes that missed everyone apart from the centre back Lee he appeared unmarked at the back post to make it 1-0, then the very busy Park Ji-Sung stole the ball in midfield and ran through to place the ball past Tzorvas and the Koreans held on after a bit of Greek pressure near the end, a great start to their tournament.

The centre backs for Korea Cho and Lee did very well against all the high balls the Greeks threw at them, Right Back Cha was tireless in running down the right flank troubled Torosidis all game until he was replaced, the Koreans controlled the midfield the trio of Park, Ki and Kim ran the show, Ki never lost the ball once, and Park was the spark of class the team needed, Bolton’s Lee was quiet on the wing, one player that was fantastic was Park Cho-Young he worked the Greek centre backs all game was superb in the air, the myth that Koreans are small is gone Ki, Yeom, Kim and Park are all 6 feet tall, and Park played even taller winning nearly every ball in the air.

Really enjoyed the Koreans style of football, nice one touch passing, pace and really just doing the simple things well, ineresting to see how they match up against the Nigerians.

The Greek team will need to step up increidbly fast if they want to progress in this tournament 16 years ago they left USA ’94 without scoring a goal, and you could see it happening again, tough games against Argentina and Nigeria could prove extremly tough, the tactics just didn’t work, 2 big men on the wings and not a lot of pace in midfield, Samaras and Charisteas were awful the game plan seemed to be long balls up to the front men, but I can’t remember them winning one ball, Gekas was a non entity, and Karagounis didn’t show the creativity he is known for.

The only life they showed is when Salpingidis and Patsatzoglou came on and they showed more creatvity down the left and maybe left a little bit of hope for Rehaggel for the next match, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was 3 or 4 changes for their next match, god knows they need it.


ARGENTINA: 22 Romero – 17 Gutierrez, 2 Demichelis, 13 Samuel, 6 Heinze – 14 Mascherano, 8 Veron, 7 Di Maria – 11 Tevez, 10 Messi, 9 Higuain
Subs – 20 M.Rodriguez on for Veron (74mins), 19 D.Milito on for Higuain (79mins), 4 Burdisso on for Di Maria (85mins)

NIGERIA: 1 Enyeama – 17 Odiah, 2 Yobo, 6 Shittu, 3 Taiwo – 20 Etuhu, 15 Haruna, 14 Kaita, 19 Obasi – 19 Obinna, 8 Yakubu
Subs – 9 Martins on for Obinna (52mins), 11 Odemwingie on for Obasi (60mins), 12 Uche on for Taiwo (75mins)

Goals - Heinze 6′ (1-0)


Not the scoreline the Argentines would have hoped for but 3 points is 3 points, this game could easily have been 3 or 4 nil, but as long as the game went on the Nigerians looked just as likely to pull out a equaliser, for Argentina there was some good performances but also signs they are not as strong as the fans would hope, Messi looked in the mood, picking up the ball in space and attacking the Nigerian defence, only 2 great saves from Enyeama stopped him opening his World Cup account, in this form though his time will come.

Mascherano and Veron were superb, controlling the game, breaking up everything that Nigeria tried to create, Veron showing his passing abilities are still at their peak, Di Maria did well when he got the ball but wasn’t used enough, just didn’t seem to get involved enough, Tevez and Messi linked up really well, and created quite a few chances for Higuain who surely on another day he would have put them away.

For as well as Argentinas attacking players played the defence seemed suspect, Gutierrez looks vulnerable his positioning needs to improve, Samuel and Demichelis could be troubled by attackers with pace and purpose, and Romero is yet to be tested.

Nigeria’s best player by far was Goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, pulled out about 4 fantastic saves, 2 top notch saves from Lionel Messi, in the first half Nigeria struggled to get going the inexperience of Haruna and Kaita got overrun with Argentinas 4-3-3 and the front 2 of Yakubu and Obinna were isolated, Lagerback made a great decision in the second half bringing on Peter Odemwingie and it changed Nigeria’s play completely adding pace and composure to the attack, after his performance I’m sure he will start the next game, sub Uche had a great chance to equalise but just went over the bar.

Nigeria need to start their next game better if they are going to make the second round, they have the tools to win, it’s just whether they put it together or not.


ENGLAND: 12 Green – 2 Johnson, 6 Terry, 20 King, 3 A.Cole – 7 Lennon, 8 Lampard, 4 Gerrard – 21 Heskey, 10 Rooney
Subs - 17 Wright-Phillips on for Milner (31mins), 18 Carragher on for King (46mins),  9 Crouch on for Heskey (79mins)

UNITED STATES: 1 Howard – 6 Cherundolo, 5 Onyewu, 15 DeMerit, 3 Bocanegra – 8 Dempsey, 4 Bradley, 13 Clark, 10 Donovan – 20 Findley, 17 Altidore
Subs – 14 Edso Buddle on for Findley (77mins), 11 Holden on for Altidore (86mins)

GoalsGerrard 3′ (1-0 ENG), Dempsey 41′ (1-1 USA)


The big game of the day, the two top teams in Group C battling out for the advantage in the group, England of course the favourites couldn’t have started out any better a great move between Rooney, Heskey into the captain Gerrard and he finished calmly past Howard, everyone including myself expected England to charge on after a great start, wasn’t the case though England stood back and let the US come onto them, Milner got caught out on the right a few times by Cherundolo and after receiveng an early yellow, Capello had no choice but to remove him, then the massive moment that changed the game Dempsey hit a speculative shot looked easy for Green to collect but somehow the ball spilled off Green’s arm and into the net.

Gerrard really steppd up for England, playing with the captain’s armband, charging forward at all times Gerrard’s good play seemed to keep Lampard quiet not his best game, surprisingly Emile Heskey was one of the other best players in the game, holding up the ball very well, had a couple of chances that he could have scored but over all he was pretty good, Lennon and Johnson were good down the right, both troubling the American team with their pace, and provided quite a few crosses that could have easily have counted.

Overall I am against all the negativity headed towards the England team, they created quite a few chances if I was an England fan, you’ve got to think on other day it could have been 3 or 4 and if they create the same against Algeria or Slovenia they will have no problems, Green’s place is looking shakey now, and King’s injury will see Upson come in, and maybe also the inclusion of Gareth Barry this might change the side too much, will be interesting come Friday.

The USA played very well at times, started off looking very nervous and the goal would not have helped their nerves, Clark fell asleep for the goal, however he and Bradley managed to play better throughout the game in the middle, Donovan was their best player playing some great balls in the box and creating some chances too, I was surprised that Robbie Findley started up front with Altidore, Buddle was the striker in form but Findley picked for his incredible pace, and at times he troubled the back line and nearly got inbehind a few times.

Cherundolo had a great first half, terrorising Milner till he got booked and had to come off, Wright-Phillips kept him busier in the 2nd half and pinned him back, Jozy Altidore had 2 great chances to score, one from a Donovan cross where he should have done better, only managing to glance a header past the post, then he beat Carragher for pace and only a great save from Rob Green which tipped the ball off the post kept the scores level.

A great point for the US they will fancy themselves to go on and win at least 1 of the other 2 games, and show more attacking prowess, however they will remeber the night they took a point of one of the favourites in Rustenberg.