Top Of The Shop

Who would have believed it. Scotland have won in Paris, they’ve taken six points off the French in the qualifying campaign and we’re now top of Group B on 21 points, one ahead of Italy (current world cup holders) and two ahead of the French (world cup finalists). Unreal. Totally justified, and some great team spirit have got us there.

Top of the Shop. Top of the Shop.

That was Jim White at the end of the game last night. Great quote. Happy days.

Three games to go in the group of death and now we’re saying surely we’ll qualify instead of thinking…if only. Ukraine at Hampden, Georgia away and then finally Italy back in Glasgow are all that stands between us and Euro 2008. I’ve still got doubts as that’s three really tough games but it’s in our own hands for a change.

I’m loving seeing Raymond Domenech getting so up tight about the loss too. Ball boys in Glasgow were the reason the French lost at Hampden. What will tonight’s excuse be? Lucky win? They were robbed? Who cares…you were stuffed good and proper by a great team effort, some superb defence, a little bit of luck when needed and a gallus strike from James McFadden.

To think it was only 5 1/2 years ago that Scotland got done over in Paris in Berti’s first game. How times have changed. A big pat on the back to the players and also Walter Smith and Alex McLeish for restoring pride to the team and the nation. A bit gushing but I loved that game tonight. I was on the edge of my seat at the end and dancing round the room at the final whistle. Happy, happy days.

Funny old game

On the way out?

Barry Ferguson and Kris Boyd. Only joking. Le Guen may have a certain frisson towards them, but he’s not a kamikaze pilot.

That was the Sunday Herald on the 31st Dec 2006. Just days later, Paul Le Geun has left Rangers by mutual consent. He left after stripping Ferguson of captaincy and dropping him. It looked liked Ferguson wouldn’t play again under Le Guen and it was certainly a ballsy move by the manager and showed who was boss. So I thought.

Does this mean that player power is really in control at Ibrox? Does Ferguson carry more weight than Le Guen (no pun intended)? Does Murray wield too much influence in that as long as players he wants to play are playing the manager is safe? Certainly the results weren’t of the quality to be expected at Rangers but it looks like the Ferguson incident has brought things to a head. Le Guen had an excellent track record and his appointment was lauded as a great coup by Murray. If he couldn’t turn things round at Ibrox then who can? Interesting days ahead.

Italy Wins

Italy have just won the 2006 World Cup on penalties. Shame really as I thought France were more deserving and certainly had the better game. Even bigger shame is Zidane – sent off after head butting Materazzi. There was no doubt that he should have been sent off – it was as nasty as I’ve seen throughout the whole world cup…well apart from Rooney ripping Carvalho’s sack apart.

It will take time for Zidane to be remembered for his football skills rather than a crazy moment that overshadowed a world cup final. It was even more poignant as he had guided France through the tournament and you felt there was a bit of a last hoorah as he had announced his retirement before the tournament had begun. Read the wikipedia article for some of his achievements and videos highlighting his skill. It has also been updated to reflect tonight’s events. I still loved the coolness of his penalty though – sheer class.

World Cup 06

This is by far the best tournament I’ve ever watched. Great games, spectacular goals and for the most teams willing to attack and win games rather than settle for draws. It’s only failings are the officials. Five per match and yet when the referee is obviously losing control not one of the other four can step in and take charge. Referee Valentin Ivanov in tonight’s Holland-Portugal game awarded sixteen yellow cards and four red. Totally ruined the game for me. Deco can feel particularly hard done by, Figo can feel lucky. The ref never even saw the Figo head butt as he had his back turned so I can only assume a linesman made him aware and yet he only awarded yellow. I also thought the Dutch diving went unpunished…for the sake of the game finishing tonight it was probably just as well.

Graham Poll also lost his cool the other night yet no one intervened. I only hope Fifa can get hold of the situation before they blot the whole tournaments memories with referee’s who seem more intent to make a name for themselves rather than let football do the talking. Tonight’s cards will also have a big impact on the England game as Portugal will be without Deco and Costinha and when (ok…..if) they progress who will they be without then as another five players are carrying the threat of a semi-final ban. Shame….sort it out Fifa.

World cup - who to support?

There was a real kerfuffle this week over Jack McConnell’s comments regarding England at the World Cup. So he won’t be supporting them. No big deal unless your an MP at Westminster hoping to make some petty gain from the statement or Jack Straw still stinging from his demotion. This Stuart Cosgrove quote summed up my feelings.

By what weasel arrangement are England fans allowed to dislike Argentina, Germany and France, while we have to snuggle up to them as if history and rivalry meant nothing?

This was taken from a Daily Record article which stated his position and his annoyance at the anger around Scots not supporting England. I have much the same view – I won’t be supporting England and it’s not anti-English, racist or whatever anyone else wants to paint it – it’s football and I don’t support them. I support Scotland who are surprisingly missing from this years tournament and hence I want a team that plays good football to win – no great allegiance to anyone. I do know that I don’t want England to win or even do well – they are a rival. There’s also another reason.

PropagandaThe most grating aspect of England at the World Cup is the hype and propaganda that the whole country has to suffer in the run up to and during the World Cup, even after they have been kicked out at an early stage (fingers crossed). For me summed up by the re-release of Escape To Victory – since when was it England vs Germany – John Wark was playing for them – Pele too. A free England flag as well. Agggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhh. Same with Mars now called Believe. This is across of the whole of the UK – not just England. The whole Rooney broken foot saga is also getting out of hand with Alex Ferguson now getting cast as the nasty Scots villain. Tragic.

Saying that it’s less than a fortnight until it all kicks off. Can’t wait. I’m hoping for a more open tournament and some real performances from the flair players.

Rangers 2-2 Villarreal

Woo-hoo. A 2-2 draw is a pretty good result. Could we sneak an away win? Well – I can but hope. What was Prso doing though? Hard to criticise arguably our best player but to handle the ball in the box in the manner that he did in the first five minutes of such an important game…Alan Sugar’s quote in tonights Apprentice sums it up.

Anchor to wanker.

The Greatest

So what am I referring to? Why – the greatest cup final…ever. Last nights Champions League final was fantastic – non-stop entertainment, 3 fantastic Milan goals, a great comeback from Liverpool, a goal that wasn’t offside, a penalty that never was, tired players and then a fantastic penalty shoot-out with the old Grobbelaar legs back on display. That for me had everything and it must have been destiny – Liverpool put out Olympiakos when they looked dead and buried needing three goals and then put out Chelsea with a goal that never was. Great TV and how a final should be, not the bore’s that they have become recently. Just hope Eufa back down and let Liverpool defend their title.