Thursday, 23 December 2010

Ideas

Look out over the next few days !!!!!
Some interesting ideas !!!!
World Cup Companion
World Cup Book

Monday, 9 August 2010

Time Heals, Holland Fans, and All That

They say that time heals most things. By the end of Saturday 14 August 2010 England will have played in a friendly, and the Premier League will be up and running for the 2010/2011 season. A disastrous summer for England fans, although never to be entirely forgotten, will be comfortably far enough away in the past.

German fans will also want to throw themselves into the domestic season following yet another failure despite a never tiring German optimism. Twenty-eight other sets of fans are beginning to heal now too. There can only be one winner of the World Title of course!!

But you say, "That's only 31 teams. There were 32 in South Africa!"
Yes, and the one team we omit is Holland. Holland showed so much promise. The team rather let themselves down in the Final. And the Dutch still feel that their team was robbed!? They lost of course in the Final and their healing process will take a little longer yet. Perhaps after three, yes 3!, World Cup Final defeats, the healing will never come. No team has come so close so often and still not become World Champions.

Some teams were never expected to win the World Cup. For many, it was a good tournament. But South Africa, United States, Chile, Mexico, and Ghana all could have gone further.

Congratulations though go to Spain. Its team went all the way. Interestingly the team only scored 8 goals, conceding only 2, but no one in Spain is worrying about that. For Spain, the World Cup under-achievers, time has finally healed, and Spain are the World Champions.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Spain Win

The right team won the World Cup !
Spain WAS football this summer in South Africa.

The Netherlands, with an "anti football" approach to the final was justly relegated to the team that has now been in three finals and has never won the World Cup. Only Germany has lost in more finals, but has also won three times.

Spain becomes only the eighth country to lift the World Cup. Interestingly this year's final was the first final not to involve any of the big four....Brazil, Germany, Italy, and Argentina. It was also the first time a European team has won the World Cup outside of Europe.

The 2014 World Cup will be in Brazil. We'll be there !!!

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Nothing has changed in 110 years !!

Pundits and commentators can talk forever about what went wrong with the England World Cup effort, or lack of effort. But whether people point to manager, players, the FA, goalmouth technology, team format, golden generations, or whatever else, the fact is that for 110 years nothing much has changed and is not likely to change for another 110 years.

England's World Cup win in 1966 was a blip. England should just hope for another blip. The fact is that when it comes to international football, there is quite a great deal of talking done in England, but nothing ever happens by way of real action.

This goes right back to the early 1900's. The English FA had the chance to organise a world football tournament and to lead the international game. But the FA did not even enter a team in the World Cup until 1950, twenty years after Uruguay became the first World Champions. The FA even refused to send a team to Uruguay in 1980 to compete in Mudialito. This was a tournament organised to celebrate fifty years of the World Cup and was for past World Cup winners. Holland who had not won the World Cup had to substitute for England.

In recent years, England has failed to prepare properly for penalty shoot out competitions, losing all three World Cup penalty shoot out competions it has been involved in. The Germans on the other hand have won all four of theirs. And just as England thought it was catching up with the Germans, it has been revealed that while everyone was complaining about the new World Cup ball, the Germans had been practising with it for six months. But of course, it wasn't really the Germans who knocked England out of the World Cup, it was England's poor performance in the group stage. Or was it the lack of goalmouth technology?

Why do we, or anyone else including Chris Waddle, spend so much time talking and writing about this. Things will not change, and in 2050 it will still be Germany reaching the semi-finals and possibly the final. And England will still be sloping off early.

Friday, 25 June 2010

That Rooney Shot Should Have Gone In !

By not scoring another goal against Slovenia, England now face Germany in the second round, and if England progresses will likely face Argentina in the quarter-finals. The task for the United States, which won Group C, will be far easier against Ghana and then either Uruguay or South Korea, but with all respect to those teams, only Uruguay have an outside chance of reaching the World Cup final.

Of course, in 1982 Italy finished second in its group and had to play Brazil and Argentina to reach the semi-finals, and then went on to lift the World Cup. But England 2010 might not be as powerful or as brave as Italy 1982!

Nevertheless, Germany is not as good a team as it once was. (But the country does have a knack of getting to World Cup Finals, even with poor teams.) We think that this year will be different and that England should and will beat Germany, and then beat either an Argentina team that has peaked too soon, or Mexico.

Both Brazil and Spain could end up today in the top half of the draw, which could lead to a semi-final meeting for England with Portugal. Of course, when England won the World Cup in 1966, it beat Argentina, Portugal, and West Germany in the knock-out stages, just as it is likely to have to do this year. Interestingly, Italy failed to get out of the initial group stage in 1966, just as it failed to do so yesterday !!

At World Cup Companion, we predict that Brazil will get the better of Spain, (if Spain only finishes second in its group,) and while one would normally go for Brazil to beat the Netherlands, we think that the latter will beat Brazil this time. The two semi-finals will be Uruguay versus the Netherlands, and England versus Portugal. The final will see Fabio's dream realised with the Netherlands meeting England in the final on 11 July.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Don´t Worry, England Will Make It. Here´s Why.

Everyone I meet seems to have given up on England, and one can understand the sentiment after the poor Friday evening performance. But everything is still to play for. Let me explain.

In the 1986 World Cup Finals, England had only one point after two matches. England turned it around with a win, a convincing win, against Poland. England went through to the second round and beyond. In Italia 90, England drew the first two matches and then won the third to top its group and went on to reach the semi-finals. Other teams have done similar things. Argentina went all the way to the Final in 1990 after winning only two matches in open play.

Italy went one better in 1982. It had won the World Cup in 1938 and then 44 years later drew all three of its group matches in the 1982 tournament and finished only second in its group. Rossi, who had a poor start to the tournament that year, became Italy´s hero against Brazil before Italy went on to beat West Germany in the World Cup Final. Interestingly, It is also 44 years since England last won the World Cup. Perhaps England will come to life now, (just as Italy did in 1982,) led by its hero, the so-far ineffective Rooney.

Put simply, if England win on Wednesday, and they should do, England will qualify for the last 16. A high scoring draw might be enough, but England must go for the win. If the USA win against Algeria, it too will qualify. Then the question is, is it better to finish top of the group or second?

In 1954, many believed that the Germans deliberately forfeited top place in its group so that it would go through to an easier side of the draw. West Germany reached the summit of world football that year by going on to win the World Cup. At the start of the South African tournament, everyone agreed that England´s best route to the Final would be in winning its group. But now, finishing second might not be a bad thing. Germany, Italy and Spain might not win their groups and if England came second it could avoid all three, as well as Brazil, before the Final. Of course, Argentina looks like winning its group and England could meet those old rivals in the quarter-finals.

Very often, teams that have started poorly have gone on to win the World Cup. It is very difficult to win 7 World Cup matches on the trot. But England need now only win 5 matches to go on to glory. The first is on Wednesday afternoon.

Steve Woods
(World Cup Companion)

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

How Far Will Your Team Go?

Do you think your team can make it past the first round of the World Cup? Even if it is a weaker team, there is always a chance of this. Just ask Ecuador, Ghana, or Australia, three so called weaker teams finishing second in their respective groups in 2006. Senegal, Paraguay, and Turkey did it in 2002 and Japan won its group.

And then of course there have been some big surprises over the years in the latter rounds. Some examples are South Korea 2 Italy 1; Croatia 3 Germany 0; Bulgaria 2 Germany 1; West Germany 3 Hungary 2; and Uruguay 2 Brazil 1.

However, as explained in our book "World Cup Companion", the final will probably include one of the big four countries of the soccer world: Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Germany. At least one of these four countries has appeared in every World Cup Final from 1930 to 2006.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

3 Days to Go

While the Jury is still out on the merits or otherwise of the new ball for South Africa, England´s last warm up match against the local team was disappointing. The score was not particularly important, but some of the performances were. The England players must not get into arguments when the real matches come along, and silly defensive errors must be avoided if the World Cup is to come home to England.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Last Warm Up

Today we´ll have a better idea of the starting line-up for Saturday. England goes into its final warm-up match today with the England manager likely to use players intended to start against the United States.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

England 23

Eight clubs will supply the 23 players going to the World Cup for England. From Aston Villa: Stephen Warnock, James Milner, and Emile Heskey. From Chelsea: Ashley Cole, John Terry, Joe Cole, and Frank Lampard. From Liverpool: Jamie Carragher, Glen Johnson, and Steven Gerrard. From Manchester City: Joe Hart, Gareth Barry, and Shaun Wright-Phillips. From Manchester United: Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick, and Wayne Rooney. From Portsmouth: David James. From Tottenham Hotspur: Ledley King, Aaron Lennon, Peter Crouch, and Jermain Defoe. From West Ham United: Robert Green, and Matthew Upson.

Monday, 31 May 2010

Book Give-away

See below for details.

England 2 Japan 1

Warm up matches for the World Cup often tend to be untidy affairs. This one was no different. At world Cup Companion, we believe that England will be peaking at the QF and SF stages.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

England 3 Mexico 1

England´s last home game before the World Cup Finals ended with a win for the team that is considered by many to have a chance for World Cup victory this summer. The team did not look like a potential World Cup winning team against Mexico, but neither do most teams at this time in the build-up. In fact, hitting top form needs to be at the quarter-finals stage and beyond.

Monday, 24 May 2010

World Cup Book Give-Away

Here it is! The World Cup Book Giveaway!!!! To enter....

World Cup 2010 Book


1.Grab "my button" and put the book on your blog. This will automatically give you two chances to win. Send a comment under this post, to let us know that you have done this.
2.Copy and paste the book on your Facebook. Again, let us know by way of a comment in this post that you have done this.
3.Talk about the book on Twitter. And again, let us know.

You have four chances to win. Leave a comment for each entry.
Internationals are welcome. Please enter before Tuesday 1 June, when we will post the winner´s name.

Eighteen Days To Go

It´s just 18 days to go now ! Inter are European champions, World Cup squads are being finalised, and everyone is getting excited. Tonight England plays its last home match before the World Cup finals. Mexico are the opponents. It is Mexico that faces South Africa in the Opening Game in SA on 11 June. Our book "World Cup Companion 2010" provides a unique guide for this year´s tournament whichever team you are following. Enjoy the book, and enjoy the World Cup !!!

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Champions League Final

Bayern Munich and Inter Milan thrash it out later today for European supremacy in the Champions League Final. But what happened to the English Premier League clubs? I overheard a disappointed Arsenal fan heavily criticising his team recently. When reminded by another that his team had managed third place in the "Premier League!!" and that that was no minor achievement, he replied that the Premier League is not as strong as some suggest...! Could that be true? Surely one could argue that English teams have done so well in the Champions League over the last ten years and can boast of reaching many of the finals including an all English-club final two years ago...
But the fact is that there have only been three winners from England in the last twelve tournaments. Manchester United won in 1999 and 2008, and Liverpool in 2005. Perhaps that young Arsenal fan was right to be so critical of his team, and the league it competes in.

Steve Woods

Thursday, 20 May 2010

High Altitudes

Teams will be playing at high altitudes in South Africa. England is preparing for this. The team is currently in the Austrian Alps, and will be based near Rustenburg in South Africa during the World Cup at an elevation of 1,500 metres above sea level.
Steve Woods (World Cup Companion)

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

World Cup Latest

As we enter the last few weeks before the World Cup kick-off, we bring you news of the build-up.
Michael Ballack the captain of Germany will not be playing at the World Cup due to ligament damage caused in a tackle in the English FA Cup Final on Saturday. Germany´s first match in the World Cup will be against Australia on 13 June.
Brazil´s Kaka hopes to be fit for South Africa, although there are form and fitness questions.
England might utilise a new formation in South Africa. We could well learn more following England´s friendly against Mexico next week.
A new rule will apply in this year´s World Cup tournament. Although feinting in the run-up when a player takes a penalty is still permitted, feinting to kick the ball once the penalty taker has completed the run-up is now an infringement and is a yellow card offence.
More tomorrow !!!
Steve Woods
(World Cup Companion)

Monday, 17 May 2010

England v United States

Both England and the USA kick off their World Cup hopes on 12 June when the two teams meet in what might turn out to be the decider for first place in Group C. England are several places higher than the United States in the world rankings, but this will be a tough match for both teams. Sixty years ago, one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history was sealed when the two teams met in the 1950 tournament in Brazil. The USA won that day 1-0. Of course, the USA´s World Cup history goes back to 1930 when it finished third in the very first tournament. The United States remains as one of only two countries outside of Europe and South America to finish in the top four of a World Cup tournament, the other country being South Korea in 2002.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Give Away

I will be giving away a signed "World Cup Companion" book very soon. Keep an eye on it!!!

Italy

Italy begins its defence of the world title in just 32 days on 14th June at 7.30pm BST against Paraguay. The match can be seen on BBC1 and heard on BBC radio.

The players to look out for in the Italian side are captain Cannavaro, and Buffon in goal. Both were magnificent in the 2006 tournament. Coach Marcello Lippi will be chasing a second World Cup win. The only man to ever win the World Cup twice as manager so far is Italy's Vittorio Pozzo in 1934 and 1938.

Steve Woods
(World Cup Companion)

Foxes Beaten by Bluebirds

Cardiff City will contest the play-off final with Blackpool for a place in the Premier League. Leicester City were dumped out of the running by Cardiff in a penalty shoot-out competition.
Steve Woods
(World Cup Companion)

Unlucky Fulham

Unfortunately for Roy Hodgson and the magnificent Fulham fans at the Europa League final, the Fulham team finally ran out of steam at the conclusion of a memorable season for them. Had they hung on for a few more minutes the story might have been different as many fancied Fulham to win a penalty shoot-out. In the end it was an unfortunate deflection that won it for Atletico Madrid.
Steve Woods
(World Cup Companion)

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Fulham´s Biggest Night

It´s a big night for Fulham tonight......the biggest night in the club´s history. They´re in a European final !!!!!

Monday, 10 May 2010

World Cup 2010 South Africa

At www.worldcupcompanion.blogspot.com you can see Brazil's best goal ever! View also England's triumph in 1966.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

The Book

Readers of World Cup Companion have reported how pleased they are with the book. It is full of interesting facts such as penalty shoot-out rankings, a guide indicating which teams have to do what to qualify for the second round, and where all England´s matches are to be played if it goes all the way to the final. Tables and scores from all the World Cup tournaments are also included, as well as an alternative World Cup history. There is also a World Cup game in chapter 7.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Spurs Take 4th Place and Crouch is the Hero

Spurs have beaten Manchester City to fourth place in the Premier League and the remaining Champions League place for English teams. And the goal scorer could well make his mark at the World Cup too for England. At World Cup Companion we think Peter Crouch will. As for England, we think success awaits the England team in South Africa. The best day so far in England World Cup history was when England won the World Cup. Our blog at www.worldcupcompanion.blogspot.com includes the highlights of the 1966 World Cup final.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Chelsea or Man Utd, Spurs or Man City?

The title will be decided on the last day of the Premier League. The race for the final Champions League place might also go to the last day although it could be decided mid-week. Arsenal might yet drop to fourth place in the league. Come 11 July we will also know which team will get its hands on the World Cup.
Follow us at www.worldcupcompanion.blogspot.com for updates and more.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Another Big Weekend in the Premier League

Chelsea could be champions this weekend. The fourth Champions League spot is still up for grabs. Any mathematical chance for Hull to avoid relegation will likely disappear, although everyone knows there is no chance for Hull. The others will be playing for pride.
The World Cup Companion Book team

Friday, 30 April 2010

Guide to First-Round Qualification

On page 82 of the WORLD CUP COMPANION 2010 book, and as the group stage unfolds, some guidance is provided to help with all those discussions about which teams need to do what to qualify for the second round. One of the statements in our guide explains that it is possible for a team to qualify for the next round with only 2 points, providing the other match results allow this. The team in first place must win all of its three matches, and the teams in third and fourth places must draw two games and lose one. The team in second place will have a superior goals record to that of the teams in third and fourth places.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Organisation Internazionale

Inter showed Barca last evening that a well organised team often wins matches and can go on to win tournaments.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

England in Top Four, but Watch Out for Argentina

Clarence Seedorf reckons that England is one of four teams that could do very well in South Africa. The other three are Brazil, Spain, and Argentina. Argentina has the great Lionel Messi in form, and Argentina is one of only two countries to win the World Cup outside its own continent, (1986 in Mexico). But the manager is rather inexperienced, and only got his team to the finals in South Africa by the skin of his teeth, finishing fourth in the South American qualifiers. Time will tell, but we predict the team will reach the second round or possibly the quarter-finals.
The World Cup Companion Book Team

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Rustenburg

While Glenn Hoddle gives the England base camp in Rustenburg, South Africa the thumbs-up, we at World Cup Companion go a step further. If England can win Group C, its second round match will be in Rustenburg, and will be an evening kick-off. If England can progress all the way to the final, two of the remaining three matches will be in nearby Jo-burg, and all three matches will be evening kick-offs.

More tomorrow, on Argentina.

Steve Woods (World Cup Companion)

Monday, 26 April 2010

Steven Gerrard is Looking Good for England

I was talking to some Torquay United fans at the weekend and some felt that the England team did not have the players to win the World Cup. I say to them all collectively, and anyone else doubting England´s chances, that England has outstanding players, not least Steven Gerrard. He is on fire and is really hitting some good form. For me, he is the ideal candidate for captaincy of the national team, but we´ll go along with Capello´s better judgement. However, we´re tipping Gerrard for the Golden Boot Award. By the way, well done Torquay with the 1-0 win on Saturday.
Steve (World Cup Companion)

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Today´s football

The football season now approaches boiling point as many promotion and relegation battles are fought. This weekend will also be very important for teams at the top of the Premier League. Perhaps the most crucial match is at Old Trafford where the home team will be hoping to go back to the top, and Spurs will be looking to strengthen its hold on fourth place. Several divisions below, we´ll be keeping an eye on the progress of AFC Wimbledon, although promotion will have to wait until next season.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Monday, 12 April 2010

The Book

This new book provides a unique guide to all the groups, and a link to the knock-out stages indicating clearly which qualifying teams play where. There is space for you to add your own match stats and reports, and tables can be updated after each match.

Penalty shoot-out, and other statistics are given, as well as a history of previous tournaments. There is also a game, and much much more.

I know you will find the book useful.

Best wishes,
Steve

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Saturday, 3 April 2010

The Final 1966

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