Posted by: MOIST | June 30, 2010

Japan 0-0 Paraguay AET 3-5 on pens.

So, Japan crash out in the second round as well. Sad times, indeed, but they can be proud of some of the football they have played in the World Cup.

The lack of concentration that has blighted them before at the back was gone and Honda, Okubo and Matsui all showed flashes of brilliance up front. Now they just need to find a goal scorer and it could well be all systems go.

I’ve no excuses for not writing a long review of this game other than I can’t be bothered. It’s sad when your team goes out, especially on penalties, and we don’t all want to re-live the bad times.

Instead, let’s sit back and remember how Honda and Endo showed the world how to take a free-kick.

See you in 4 years time, Japan.

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Posted by: MOIST | June 29, 2010

Ascension or Asuncion?

Game 11! Two more than we ever dreamed of and huge potential for another.

The last surviving member of the Asian Invasion go into today’s game knowing they are a win away from history. Never, and let me emphasis that, never in the field of World Cup football is so much owed by so many to so few, as famed one-eighth Japanese movie star Richard Gere said in Pretty Woman.

Never, as I think I mentioned before, have Japan gone beyond the second round. Even in 2002, on home soil, they went out in the ridiculously monikered Round of 16.

This year, though, there is a real sense of hope. An emphatic win over the Danes has really upped the confidence and Japan have been lucky that Group F was seemingly pants. Most people would have expected Italy to be today’s opponents before the competition started so surely Paraguay is a great result?

Paraguay, eh? Are they actually any good? Draws with Italy (rubbish), New Zealand (a team with a bank worker) and a win against Slovakia (depends which team turned up) paint a mixed picture. Solid at the back and with Ricky Holy Cross a potential threat up front they have the players to trouble Japan if they get into their stride.

Will Nakazawa and Tulio continue their fine run of form and nullify the Paraguyuan attack? Will Honda be able to unlock the solid Paraguayan defence and work his magic? Will Kawashima drop another clanger? Does anyone know anyone famous from Paraguay other than football players? And which team will be screwed by Sepp Blatter still dreaming of an 18th century football utopia?

Very few of these questions and more answered by EAiSA’s panel of handpicked experts. The brightest minds to come out of Japan tell you, the EAiSA reader, just who’s going to keep you glued to your TV for 90 minutes.

Dean Cain: TV ‘star’, actor, Superman and winger for Albirex Niigata.

Player to watch: Daisuke Matsui. Does what all good wingers do, gets up and down the flank for 90 minutes. There’s no I in team but there are 2 in Daisuke Matsui which is why he is such a team player.

Game style: I expect it to be tight, like my Superman costume, and not open like Teri Hatcher’s legs after filming, with few scoring chances. The winner will come from a set-piece.

Prediction: 1-0 Japan. Either a direct free-kick or a header from a corner. Right, time to find some real work.

Tricia Takanawa: Reporter, Asian, Asian reporter and 2004 Olympic silver medalist with the Japan Women’s Football Team.

Player to watch: Yuji Nakazawa. Thank you, Tom. I’m here at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium to talk about the big haired centre back. He’s been an absolute rock alongside Tulio and Mick McCarthy is in love with him.

Game style: Thank you, Tom. I’m here in the tactics room to look at how the game will pan out. Both teams are solid at the back so don’t expect many goals. It might even go to extra time.

Prediction: 2-1 Japan AET. Thank you, Tom. I’m here on the pitch to let you know it will be 2-1 after extra time  to Japan.

Asia Carrera: Porn star, member of MENSA, athiest and reserve goalie for Real Salt Lake.

Player to watch: Keisuke Honda. He’s so hot. He’s a great weapon up front and, if his tight shorts are anything to go by, he has a great weapon up front. You never want to injure a fellow pro but I’d love to pull his groin for him.

Game style: Both teams are so muscular at the back and play so deep, I know I’d love to feel their muscles playing deep against me from the back. The game will be so tight and I think it will be so hot and wet because of the conditions.

Prediction: 0-0, Japan to win 5-4 on penalties. The game will be so long and hard but I think in the end it will come down to 5 strokes in the box.

It seems the Japanese are very confident of the win. Fingers, legs and one player in tic-tac-toe crossed for the Samurai Blue.

Posted by: MOIST | June 29, 2010

South Korea 1-2 Uruguay

Sadly no run to the semi-final this time round for Korea. An absolute peach of a curler from Suarez was enough to win the game for Uruguay.

This might be the time to let you know that I require more of your understanding to appreciate. Saturday was day 2 of the stag and included clay pigeon shooting, which I was pants at, and go karting, in which I was too 6’5 and 17 stone for. Despite Jimmy Owner boasting that everyone in the know universe could fit into the seats he hadn’t reckoned with me.

I couldn’t.

Unfortunately, I still wasn’t able to watch the game, only catching the goals at the end. A rubbish one, a scrappy one, a beautiful one and one that should have been. Lee Dong-Gook obviously getting flashbacks to his Middlesboro days.

Still, qualification to the second round for the first time on foreign soil is a great achievement. A core of the team is still young and, with Korean players being willing to move abroad (and not catching Kim Nam-Il syndrome due to the global availability of kim-chi), the future is looking good for the Red Devils.

I am sure we will see them in 4 years in Brazil and if they’ve found a fox-in-the-box, clinical striker they might just surprise us all again.

Posted by: MOIST | June 29, 2010

Montevideo Nasty?

Game 10!

8 years ago South Korea rock ‘n’ rolled there way to the semi-finals knocking off one European giant after another. This time around they’re going to have to go via a few other continents to get into the semis.

With either Africa or North America waiting in the quarter-finals, it’s South America first up in the second round in the form of Uruguay.

The Group A winners, who scored 4 goals and conceded none, started off slowly against France but impressed against South Africa and Mexico and are most people’s favourites to progress.

However, as we’ve seen every day in this World Cup, none of the big guns are safe and what price another shock?

Korea have had a topsy-turvy World Cup so far with a win, a loss and then a draw. They’ve played some nice football but haven’t looked deadly enough in the final third although, with the exception of the Argentina match, have been solid enough at the back. Will it come down to nicking a goal or playing for penalties to see them through?

EAiSA know that at this stage of the competition it’s all about survival. Two choices here, folks, crash and burn or live to fight another day. In order to get all the big scoop before today’s game EAiSA have gone behind the scenes of this man eat man competition to find out who’ll need rescuing from South Africa and who’ll live to see another day.

In the interests of fairness we’ve got the news and views from both sides of the fence.

Kwon Sun-Hwa: Oceanic 815 survivor and former left back for Ulsan Hyundai Ladies.

Who’ll need rescuing: Diego Forlan has started the World Cup well but he’ll get no change from Lee Jun-Soo. Solid at the back, a goal scoring machine when he gets up front, Jun-Soo might attract some big clubs after this game.

Who’ll survive for another round: For me, Lee Young-Pyo. As a former left back I would like to see him getting forward more. He’s go such great delivery, as all Spurs fans know, and he could provide some great ammunition for Park Chu-Young.

Prediction: 2-1 to Korea. Another great day for Dae Han Min Gook. I hope the Others have a TV so I can watch.

Kwon Jin-Soo: Oceanic 815 survivor, 3 goals in 98 caps for South Korea and 3 World Cup appearances in 2002.

Who’ll need rescuing: Fernando Muslera. He’s only been capped 9 times and hasn’t really been tested yet. The quality Korea have up front with Lee Chung-Yong, Park Chu-Young will be enough to embarrass him.

Who’ll survive for another round: Ki Sung-Yong. Still young but full of talent. His set piece delivery is wonderful and his free kicks will cause the Uruguay defence problems all day long.

Prediction: 1-0 to Korea. After disappointment last time this is a World Cup we can go far in. I just hope I don’t have to sit behind the smoke monster during the game.

Nando Parrado: Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 survivor, Ethan Hawke look-a-like, cannibal and goalkeeper for Penarol.

Who’ll need rescuing: Korea. Uruguay have quality all over the park and I am confident we will win with no problems. Even Francescoli couldn’t make this team better. I’m joking, of course.

Who’ll survive for another round: Forlan and Suarez. The best forward line we have had since we won the cup in 1930. They can take us all the way to a third trophy.

Prediction: 4-1 to Uruguay. It will be close until the last ten minutes and then we will eat them alive. No, wait, dead. Only eat them dead.

Posted by: MOIST | June 29, 2010

North Korea 0-3 Ivory Coast

EAiSA Prediction: 1-2 loss for North Korea.

So, the Chollima, to no-one’s surprise, go three and out of this year’s World Cup. Unfortunately, I have no idea what happened as I was busy drinking on the first day of a stag-do. I hope you all understand.

I appreciate your understanding.

Will we ever see the Juche Warriors back on the world stage? With Jong Tae-Se up front one has to think that they have the ability to come through Asian qualifying again.

Fingers crossed that in 4 years we’ll be watching Kim Jong-Il samba his way down Ipanema beach. It will certainly bring a tear to the eye of Kim Il-Sung, the inventor of dancing.

Posted by: MOIST | June 25, 2010

Tickling the Ivories.

It probably comes as no surprise to most pundits that this game is meaningless to the Chollima but, after the performance against Brazil, didn’t we all dare to dream?

No? Oh….

Dark days, indeed, for the Boys from North of the 38th Parallel who must be hoping that the Ivory Coast can’t show the same counter-attacking ability and delightful passing that enabled Portugal to rack up a cricket score last time out.

Not that it’s all been negative for DPR Juche and a combination of the commitment and steel shown against Brazil with an early goal could cause the Ivory Coast problems. Maybe a swift kick to Drogba’s elbow as well, eh, lads?

In reality, though, can the People’s Team really win? With communication to and from people inside the Hermit Kingdom notoriously difficult, EAiSA really had to stretch every sinew of it’s finely chiselled, buff physique to find out who are the North Koreans to watch.

Luckily for EAiSA and it’s loyal followers, one of our contacts behind the Kimchi Curtain was able to obtain exclusive interviews with men who have shaped both North Korea, and the world.

Name: Kim Il-Sung

Claim to fame: First man to walk on the moon.

DPRK player to watch: Jong Tae-Se. His decision to turn his back on the imperialist Japan is a sign of his willingness to struggle for revolution. It is necessary to expose the false propaganda of the imperialists and thoroughly dispel the illusion that the imperialists will give up their positions in the semi-finals and knock-out stages with good will.

Prediction: 2-0 to DPRK. It will be a battle but the oppressed peoples can liberate themselves only through struggle. This is a simple and clear truth confirmed by history.

Name: Kim Il-Sung

Claim to fame: Inventor of the car.

DPRK player to watch: Kim Myong-Won. FIFA tried to tell us we must have 3 goalkeepers but we are opposed to the line of compromise with imperialism. At the same time, we cannot tolerate the practice of only shouting against imperialism, but, in actual fact, being afraid to fight it.

Prediction: 1-0 to DPRK. The most important thing in our football preparations is to teach all our people to hate FIFA imperialism. Otherwise, we will not be able to defeat the FIFA imperialists who boast of their technological football superiority.

Name: Kim Il-Sung

Claim to fame: Inventor of the toaster.

DPRK player to watch: Pak Nam-Chol. Of course I mean the midfielder, not the defender. I know having two players with the same name may confuse people but it is wrong to try to avoid the struggle against commentator imperialism under the pretext that independence, revolution and scoring goals are important, but that peace and a squad of players all with different names is still more precious.

Predicition: 1-1. The peoples of Asia, Africa, and Latin America have common interest and are in the position to support each other in their anti-imperialist and anti-FIFA struggle. As long as Africa and Latin America are not free, we are not free.

The pundits choice is North Korea but it’s hard to ignore the views of someone so clever they were able to invent the toaster. EAiSA will have to go along with Kim Il-Sung here and plump for the draw.

Posted by: MOIST | June 24, 2010

Oka-chan!

For those of you that know me, you’ll know I’m a huge Yokohama F-Marinos fan from back in the day. Manager back when I first fell in love with the Tricolore was none other than Okada Takeshi, the bespectacled genius.

He’s taken a lot of stick since he came back to the Japan job but he’s helped them to their best performance on foreign soil and we here at EAiSA just want to say: Oka-chan, we love you!

Posted by: MOIST | June 24, 2010

Japan 3-1 Denmark

EAiSA Predicition: 0-1 loss for Japan

EAiSA proved wrong again and in what style! Japan cruised through their big game with Denmark thanks to three beautifully taken goals. What started out as an encounter we were all nervous about ended up being done and dusted with enough time left that the ref shouldn’t have bothered with the whole 90 minutes.

Considering that this World Cup ball is meant to be pants it looked like Keisuke Honda was being an idiot by doing his Ronaldo impression 45 yards out. 2 seconds later it was Danish goalie Sorensen that looked like a clown as he was beaten on his side of the goal by an absolute rocket.

Honda has previous when it comes to free-kicks but this was something special. It went up, sideways, down, a bit more sideways, a little sideways the other way and then, thud, it hit the net.

13 minutes later Japan were at it again. This time 25 yards out and central. Honda behind the ball, all eyes on him, as Yasuhito Endo stepped up and curled the ball around the wall and into the net. Was the wall badly positioned? It doesn’t matter the way Endo hit it. Up and over, game, set and match.

With Nakazawa and Tulio imperious at the back, Denmark offered nothing in the first half. In the second they came out a bit more and created a few chances which were well snuffed out until Makoto Hasebe looked at Daniel Agger funny and the ref gave a penalty. A great save by Kawashima was ruined by the ball falling back to Tomasson who made it 2-1.

Here was litmus test for Japan. Would the crumble like they have been known to in the past or would this concentration and strength they seem to have gained over the past 2 games come to the fore.

The next goal would be critical and when Honda showed a touch of class to drift pass his defender and a generous nature to square the ball to Okazaki it was game over and proof of Japan’s new mental strength.

With Paraguay next who’s to say we won’t be seeing Samurai Blue in the quarter-finals?

Player Match Reports:

Starting XI:

Eiji Kawashima: Saved a penalty and was unlucky to see the rebound fall back to the striker. No nerves after his clanger against the Dutch and made some good saves.

Yuto Nagatomo: Ridiculously booked for time wasting after about 20 minutes but had a solid game and never looked troubled.

Marcus Tulio Tanaka: His performances keep on making me hate him less which troubles me. Nagoya may struggle to keep him.

Yuji Nakazawa: Had Bendtner in his pocket all game. Martin Keown said Premiership teams should buy him because “He’s up for a battle.”

Yuichi Komano: Got over having his name pronounced Kimono by the commentator for the first half an hour to have a solid game. Denmark targeted him and it didn’t work.

Yuki Abe: Just did what he’s done each game, sat in front of the defence and spoiled attacks.

Makoto Hasebe: Got forward well and was unlucky with an early chance. Gave away a silly penalty which EAiSA think was soft.

Yasuhito Endo: Scored a stunning free-kick from 25 yards and hit the bar with a 60 yarder. Has found his eye after 2 poor games.

Daisuke Matsui: Up and down all game with energy and skill. Harry Redknapp seemed smitten by him. Spurs in the summer perhaps?

Yoshito Okubo: Threaded a lovely early ball through to Matsui which Sorensen saved well. Full of energy again and runs all day.

Keisuke Honda: Scored a screamer of a free-kick from 40 odd yards, Ronaldo-esque it was, and set up Okazaki for the third with some lovely skill. Will CSKA be able to keep him if he shines like this against Paraguay?

Subs:

Shinji Okazaki (74 mins for Matsui): Scored his second goal of the year and excellent and unselfish work from Honda. Made a nuisance of himself until the end.

Yasuyuki Konno (88 mins for Okubo): Not really sure if he touched the ball, was too busy celebrating.

Junichi Inamoto ( 90 mins for Endo): Not sure if he touched the ball either.

Posted by: MOIST | June 24, 2010

Japan Qualify!!!!

Posted by: MOIST | June 24, 2010

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

So said Marcellus in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and the Blue Samurai must be hoping he doth not protest too much. Unfortunately, their performance against Cameroon would suggest they have recovered from the opening match disappointment against the Netherlands and have built momentum before today’s big clash.

Japan, though, are currently in the driving seat. Having only conceded once against the Dutch they lie above the Danes by exactly one goal which means they only need a draw to progress. Denmark, on the other hand, have to come out and play for the win.

Team Played Won Drawn Lost Goals For Goals Against Points
Netherlands 2 2 0 0 3 0 6
Japan 2 1 0 1 1 1 3
Denmark 2 1 0 1 2 3 3
Cameroon 2 0 0 2 1 3 0

 

With Cameroon out of contention and the Netherlands unlikely to lose it is really just second place up for grabs and it all comes down to this one game and a simple equation for Japan: Don’t lose and stay, lose and go home.

So do Japan have what it takes to get a draw with Denmark or will the Danes shatter their dreams?  EAiSA, as you very well know, made it their mission to get the answers.

Most people think that Denmark is only the Little Mermaid, Carlsberg, Hans Christian Andersen and dead scientists. But it’s so much more than that, it’s Lego and TV lesbian Sandi Toksvig, too. Sadly, midget gem comedienne Toksvig was too busy building a 400 piece spaceship to return our calls so EAiSA stepped up it’s game and got you the low down on the high noon (if you live in L.A.) clash.

Three of the biggest names to come out of Denmark tell us who is the Danish pastry who’ll be bringing home the bacon.

Rene Dif: The chubby, bald one from Aqua and left back for FC Kobenhavn.

Japanese danger man: Daisuke Matsui. Okada must be saying to Matsui give me time to reason, give me time to think it through, passing through the season where I cheated you. If only I could turn back time, if only I had said what I still hide, if only I could turn back time, I would have played you more often.

Danish pastry: Nicklas Bendtner. I think in the dressing room Olsen and the team will shout Nicklas Bendtner, Bendtner, calling Nicklas Bendtner, Nicklas Bendtner, Nicklas Bendtner get up now (wake up now). And he will.

Prediction: 2-1 to Denmark. Sorry Japan, it’s come on, Denmark, let’s go party, ah ah ah, yeah. Come on, Denmark, let’s go party, ooh ooh ooh, ooh ooh ooh.

Lars Ulrich: Drummer for Metallica, file-sharing Nazi and goalkeeper for LA Galaxy.

Japanese danger man: Yasuhito Endo. If he is allowed to pass the ball around freely, without the manufactures making any royalties, then Denmark will be in danger of not just going out but of total financial meltdown. He can’t be allowed to ball, or file, share in midfield with Matsui and Honda.

Danish pastry: Daniel Agger. Needs to be on his guard against any illegal activities from Tulio at set pieces. Holding the shirt, stepping on his toes, getting a copy of the new Dizzee Rascal single from Napster.

Prediction: 3-0 Denmark. I will be watching in my authentic Adidas replica shirt, not a fake from Thailand that could bankrupt the industry.

Aragorn, son of Arathorn: King of Gondor, scored 34 goals in 87 appearances for Denmark.

Japanese danger man: Tulio Tanaka. I do not know what strength is in Tulio’s blood, but I swear to you Kvaer will not let the World Cup fall, nor our team fail.

Danish pastry: Jesper Gronkjaer. We will not abandon the World Cup to torment and death. Not while we have strength left. Leave all that can be spared behind. We travel light. Let’s hunt some Japanese.

Prediction: 1-0 Denmark. Hold your ground, hold your ground! Sons of Copenhagen, of Greenland, my brothers! I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of Olsen fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of woes and shattered shin pads, when the age of Hummel comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand, Men of Denmark!

A clean sweep for Denmark in the prediction stakes. Can Japan upset the odds and dispatch the Danes? Cross your fingers men of Japan, safe in the knowledge Lego men have no fingers to cross.

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