Alex Chick

  • World Cup cheat sheet: Day 16

    Knock-out football starts today! It's the
    World Cup last 16, and this is where it gets really exciting.

    Friday's action

    Portugal 0-0 Brazil - Group G - Durban

    What was billed as a football carnival
    turned out to be one of the worst games of the tournament. The first half was
    niggly beyond words, with seven players booked amid a poisonous atmosphere.
    Nasty tackles flew in and Portugal's Brazilian-born defender Pepe was
    particularly lucky not to see red. The second half was just as unedifying in
    its way, as both sides settled for a goalless draw and could hardly be bothered
    to mount a meanginful

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  • World Cup cheat sheet: Day 28

    Spain have booked their place in the World Cup final with a classy 1-0 win against Germany, guaranteeing a new team will win the World Cup.

    - - -

    Germany 0-1 Spain - Durban

    Carles Puyol's thumping second-half header was enough to send Spain into their first World Cup final, and to ensure there will be a new name on the trophy when they dace Netherlands on Sunday. The European Champions dominated possession and barely gave the Germans a chance, although a slow, bobbly pitch at the Moses Mabhida Stadium took some sting out of both teams' attacks. Germany will rue the moment Sergio Ramos appeared

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  • World Cup cheat sheet: Day 27

    Uruguay 2-3 Netherlands - Cape Town

    Giovanni van Bronckhorst blasted Holland into the lead with a sensational long-range effort that travelled 41 yards from his left boot to the top-right corner, although Uruguay would point to a bad foul by Mark van Bommel in the build-up. Diego Forlan equalised late in the first half with a long-range left-foot blast of his own, although goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg was badly at fault for failing to tip it over. Holland's second provided yet another refereeing controversy. Robin van Persie was offside when Wesley Sneijder shot and could hardly be deemed

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  • Why can’t we forget about 1990?

    In the absence of any football, last night I watched ITV's nostalgia trip 'Gazza's Tears: The Night That Changed Football'.

    Scheduled for the 20th anniversary of that infamous night in Turin - and a couple of days ahead of the current World Cup semi-finals - it focused on everybody's favourite England defeat: the penalty shoot-out against West Germany in 1990.

    What ITV had obviously hoped would be a rousing prelude to England in the last four in South Africa, instead represented a slightly melancholy throwback to a distant time when we were nearly contenders.

    Happily, the programme was not

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  • Forget England, THIS is a rivalry

    In our quaint, self-regarding way, we English like to think we have a major sporting rivalry with Germany and Argentina.

    But it is clear who they really hate - each other.

    This much is clear from positively lairy build-up to Saturday's blockbuster quarter-final.

    As the two countries take verbal pot-shots at each other, you can't help but wish Diego Maradona or Philipp Lahm was being nasty about us.

    We are like a small boy in the playground, trying to pick a fight with two bigger bullies who only want to scrap with each other.

    We are clearly irrelevant to the Argentines, while for the Germans,

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  • World Cup cheat sheet: Day 22

    Netherlands versus Brazil ought to be a highlight of any World Cup, but finds itself on the quarter-final undercard behind Germany v Argentina.

    - - -

    Friday's action

    Netherlands v Brazil - Port Elizabeth - 15.00

    These two countries are historically among the most attractive in international football, but both have added some steel to their usual style. Nonetheless, this should be a wonderful encounter. Arjen Robben made his first start of the World Cup against Slovakia and marked his return with a superb goal - he will keep Rafael van der Vaart restricted to the bench. Coach Bert van Marwijk

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  • Ten magic moments… so far

    With the World Cup still resting up ahead of Friday's quarter-finals, here is a rundown of the 10 biggest moments of the tournament so far.

    It's a totally subjective list, based on drama, excitement or significance. Just a shame that, looking through them now, so few are examples of great football. Not sure if that's me or the World Cup at fault.

    10- Robin van Persie blames the vuvuzelas
    The Dutch striker had already been booked against Denmark, and could have been in trouble when he played on after the referee whistled him offside. Van Persie pleaded successfully to referee Stephane Lannoy

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  • World Cup cheat sheet: Day 24

    After yesterday's mauling in Cape Town, Argentina join England in the enclosure marked: Thrashed by Germany.

    - - -

    Germany 4-0 Argentina - Cape Town

    Who saw that one coming? An awesome team display saw Germany nullify Argentina's huge attacking threat, while tearing them apart repeatedly. Argentina's defending might make England feel better about themselves, but there is no doubt Joachim Loew's side stepped up another gear from their last-16 demolition. Thomas Mueller gave Germany an early lead, taking advantage of suspect marking and poor goalkeeping by Sergio Romero to glance in a Bastian

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  • Ten reasons why England can beat Germany

    Look, I know I said England have got no chance of winning the World Cup, and I stand by that.

    But  my argument was never that England are rubbish. They aren't. They are good, although not exceptional.

    My argument centred solely on the fact that in order to win the tournament, they will in all likelihood have to negotiate a fixture list of almost unprecedented difficulty.

    But this match alone? England v Germany? There's no reason why we shouldn't win.

    Well, OK there are some reasons. We've played like joyless drones so far, Germany have got further than England at every World Cup since 1966

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  • Why England should quit international football

    You think the English overreact to football failure?

    Well how about the President of Nigeria suspending the team from international competition for two years following their first-round exit from the World Cup?

    Goodluck Jonathan, who sounds like something Mrs Ross might say when her husband calls Andrew Sachs, has said the country needs time to reorganise its football in light of a disappointing performance in South Africa.

    It seems a little harsh on the Super Eagles, who were a Yakubu open goal away from reaching the knock-out rounds with a limited squad.

    But the idea of pulling back from the

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