Armchair Pundit

World Cup cheat sheet: Day 19

Alex Chick

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Fabio Capello has been given a fortnight to stew in his own juices, while Brazil have hit impressive form.

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Monday's action

Netherlands 2-1 Slovakia
The Dutch quietly and efficiently took care of business for the fourth time in this competition, inspired by Arjen Robben who started for the first time at the World Cup. Robben opened the scoring on 18 minutes, cutting inside from the right in trademark styke and lashing a low shot inside the right-hand post. Robert Vittek missed Slovakia's best chance to equalise before Wesley Sneijder finished them off late on, slotting home after Dirk Kuyt drew out goalkeeper Jan Mucha and squared for his team-mate. Vittek scored a penalty with the last kick of the game after Martin Jakubko was upended.

Brazil 3-0 Chile
A team that are solid at the back and incisive going forwards? Just thank the football gods England never had to play Brazil. Chile were good, but still ended up on the end of a hammering. After a slow start, Brazil went in front of 35 minutes when Maicon swung in a corner and Juan buried a towering header. Luis Fabiano added a second three minutes later when he beat the offside trap, ran on to a Kaka pass and found the net. It was game over just before the hour mark when Ramires carried the ball away on the counter-attack and supplied Robinho, who buried a first-time shot.

Quarter-final: Netherlands v Brazil - Port Elizabeth - July 2 - 15.00

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Tuesday preview

Paraguay v Japan - Pretoria - 15.00
This World Cup could have an all-South American last four with Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay in different quarters of the draw. Paraguay go into this one as favourites, but will be wary of a talented Japan side who saw of Denmark. Midfielder Victor Caceres is missing for Paraguay, with Edgar Barreto likely to take his place. Defender Antolin Alcaraz is back from injury. Japan coach Takeshi Okada is expected to field an unchanged side, with all eyes on Daisuke Honda who was exceptional against the Danes.

Spain v Portugal - Cape Town - 19.30
Expect fireworks in Cape Town as Iberian rivals go head to head in an enthralling derby. Spain have recovered after losing their opening game, but were far from convincing against Chile despite winning 2-1. Xabi Alonso is a doubt for Vicente Del Bosque's side after injuring his ankle in training, with Cesc Fabregas ready to deputise. Fernando Torres is fully fit having shrugged off a knock. Andres Iniesta could replace Jesus Navas on the right side of midfield. Portugal's Danny misses out with a bruised leg, meaning Liedson or Hugo Almeida gets the nod up front.

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Water cooler chat: Capello's stay of execution

Fabio Capello could be forgiven for looking like a condemned man after the FA announced they will take two weeks to analyse England's World Cup performance (I can do it in two words: total rubbish).

The Italian insists he wants to stay (or at least get a fat payoff) while the FA needs a fortnight to work out what to do.

The chaos is worsened by the fact that none of the FA top brass are there any more. Chief executive Ian Watmore quit in March, while last month FA chairman Lord Triesman stood down after the Daily Mail published a secretly-recorded conversation in which he suggested Spain and Russia were open to bribing referees.

So who is left? It seems Capello's future lies in the hands of Sir Dave Richards, a man who we can probably say is not universally popular.

The former Sheffield Wednesday chairman's not-that-objective Wikipedia entry reads as follows: "During his 10-year reign at Hillsborough, where he insisted on being called 'Mr Chairman', Wednesday lost considerable amounts of cash, undid all McGee's hard work and sowed the seeds for further decline for years after."

And Richards inspired this memorably splenetic article by the Guardian's Marina Hyde: The rise of Sir Dave Richards defies logic.

Sir Dave has given himself a fortnight to ponder Capello's future - if that is enough time to plan and execute a tabloid sting, rest assured somebody will be trying it. There may be nobody left at the FA, but many within the game would rather have the cleaning lady choose who should be England boss.

The contenders: England manager 2010/11

Fabio Capello: Evens
Roy Hodgson: 5/1
Harry Redknapp: 6/1
Martin O'Neill 20/1
Stuart Pearce 25/1

Outsiders: Marcello Lippi, Guus Hiddink, Steve McClaren, Arsene Wenger, David Beckham.

Who to bet on: Harry Redknapp - Roy Hodgson is a superior coach but 'Arry's media connections could make the difference.

Who not to bet on: Jose Mourinho - Appears among the contenders but would need to have a Cloughie-at-Leeds-style tenure with Real Madrid just to become available.

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World Cup jargon: Demission

That's the French for 'resign' - what the president of the French Football Federation did yesterday.

Having said quitting was 'not in my nature', Jean-Pierre Escalettes did the decent thing following France's mutiny at the World Cup.

Escalettes pulled no punches about the shambolic state of the national team, saying: "I have decided that I must resign. I accept a clear portion of responsibility.
My decision is essentially dictated by the wish to preserve and facilitate the development of an institution that I have had a passion for for several decades. I will be available to everybody to analyse frankly the reasons behind the fiasco of the French team in South Africa."

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