Diary of a World Cup day

Here’s today’s blog, and it’s in journal form. One day of World Cup action with four games, starting at 10 am here, and the last one at 7 pm And I’m going to watch them all, among other things.

7am: Writing the blog.

8 am: Breakfast: bacon, egg, toast. Coffee. Orange juice.

Morocco v Croatia (0-0)

First half: Morocco is well organized. Ooooh, nice save near the end of the half. Let’s hope the second half is better.

2nd half: This is a very boring game. The mailman arrives, the dogs barking as if an evil horde is about to take over the property. The post is even more boring than the game, but perhaps the bank mortgage interest info is a bit more exciting.

75′: I fear the inevitable 19 minutes of added time.

79′: Unless someone can throw a really long cast, it doesn’t make much sense. These long half things that go about 2 yards into the penalty area are an abomination.

86′: That fan from Morocco has great hair.

88′: Why is Lovren?

90′: 6 more minutes 😭

90+6′: Thank God it’s over. They are three 0-0 in the last four games.

Lana sums up the mood.

11.57am: Watching some post-game footage on RTE. Liam Brady goes out of his way to say something about anything that sounds even vaguely interesting.

Well, it’s time for another coffee, and I’d better tidy up the kitchen before the next game.

12.58: A little tip: If, when you’re cleaning your own kitchen, a voice in your head says, ‘You know, you might as well give the inside of the oven a quick wipe down’, ignore that voice with extreme prejudice.

It is not very fast to clean the inside of an oven. I’ve inhaled so much fumes I think I have the Black Death. Which is still preferable to Morocco v Croatia.

Still, just in time for…

Germany v Japan (1-2)

Without Tomiyasu in the starting eleven for Japan. The German team makes a pre-game statement as they take a photo. A DFB statement says: “Human rights are not negotiable.”

07′: Japan have a goal disallowed for offside.

24′: So far Germany won 0.06 – 0.0 in xG. Japan have made 12 tackles to Germany’s 0.

28′: Fantastic last-minute defense from Japan as Germany turn up the pressure.

30′: PENALTY GERMANY! What was the goalie doing? That was very clumsy.

32′: 1-0, Gundogan sends the keeper the wrong way.

45+3′: Germany have a goal disallowed for offside. Havertz of an ‘assist’ from Gnabry.

45+5′: Japan header wide, sign of life? Hopefully for neutrals who would like more entertainment.

Half-time: Germany have completely dominated this game. Japan have to change their approach in the second half if they want to get anything out of this. They run the risk of being left open, but as we saw yesterday, football can surprise you. We’ll see.

It’s time for some God of War: Ragnarok halftime on the PS5. I like to hit things with a giant axe. In video games, obviously. Honest.

46′: Tomiyasu is in Kubo’s place. No chains.

fifty’: Jamal Musiala is fun to watch.

56′: Former Arsenal player Takuma Asano is in Japan. I mean, he never played a game for us, but we bought him back in July 2016. He currently plays for VfL Bochum in the Bundesliga, for whom he hasn’t scored any league goals this season.

59′: Gundogan shoots off the post.

60′: Asano shoots wide with his left foot. However, to be fair, he has given Japan something on the offensive end. Not much but some.

67′: Another half chance for Asano, but Rudiger is too strong for him.

70′: The Japanese goalkeeper makes four successive saves in about 30 seconds to prevent Germany from making it 2-0.

73′: Oooooh, Asano again, but Neuer makes a super save, then the rebound shoots over the bar with the keeper stranded. It could easily have been 1-1.

75′: GOOOOOOOL JAPAN! 1-1. Germany cannot say that it would not come. A nice move down the left side, he shoots, Neuer makes the save, but pushes him right into the path of Doan, who hits him at close range. This is fun now.

83′: GOALL JAPAN! 2-1. ASAN! OMG. What an ending, and he deserves it. Germany got trapped, Asano came in behind, went ahead and finished from a very sharp angle. It’s a brilliant first touch and a fantastic ending to the Gunners legend!

90′: 7 minutes of added time. Tomiyasu has fallen, but has risen again. Is he okay, or did he just stay because Japan had used up all of their submarines? Let’s just hope it’s just a little tactical time waster.

90+5′: Goretzka barely wide. Wow.

90+8′: FULL TIME. Fantastic from Japan, that second half performance was brilliant. Tomiyasu’s entry and form change really helped, and Asano caused all sorts of problems for the German defense when he entered. The winning goal was also spectacular.

Okay, time to walk the dogs before the next one. A longer walk for Lana and a short trip around the block for Archer, who goes at his own pace these days. Suffice to say, it’s not Theo Walcott’s peak!

Now …

Spain vs. Costa Rica (7-0)

Joel Campbell, who got out while he could, is the starter for Costa Rica.

eleven’: Beautiful goal Spain, Olmo. Superb touch and finishing after a nicely deflected pass to him, but the way they moved the ball in the build up was excellent.

twenty-one’: 2-0, Marco Asensio. Good first shot, but I think the goalie should do better with that.

30′: 3-0, Ferran Torres from the penalty spot. Spain is too good for Costa Rica. There is no chance of any kind of shock in this game.

36′: Archer farted. I need to open the window.

Rest: Spain 3-0 Costa Rica. The most one-sided game of the tournament so far, even beyond England’s victory over Iran. My pizza just arrived too.

54′: 4-0, Torres again. Intelligent play on his part, but Navas’s goal was more doubtful. Ospina-tastic.

75′: 5-0, Gavi – and what a goal. He landed a pass on the volley for the first time with the outside of his foot, and it went wide of the post.

89′: 6-0, Carlos Soler. Navas again, reaches a low cross but only directs it into the path of the PSG man who fits into the net.

90+3′: 7-0, Morata plays a 1-2 with Olmo, and curls it to the post with his left foot.

Final thought: Spain was very, very good, and that’s a very impressive start to the World Cup for them, but Costa Rica was very, very, very bad. A team can make up for a gap in quality with organization, but individually and collectively they were nowhere near Spain tonight.

Gary Neville reportedly said before the match that there were ‘no goals’ for Spain. A good rule of thumb from now on is to consider that whatever you say in the future, the opposite is most likely true.

The dogs have been fed, they’ve had an after-dinner snack (but not a snack), the fire is on, and they’re making the most of it.

Belgium v ​​Canada (1-0)

There’s no direct interest from Arsenal in this one, but there are a couple of players we’ve been linked with in the not too distant past: Belgian midfielder Youri Tielemans and Canadian striker Jonathan David.

8′: Oooooh, VAR check for a handball in the box, it could be a penalty for Canada.


10′: Courtois saves it, but it’s a bad penalty from Alphonso Davies.

13′: Belgium is a mess right now, Canada is all over the place.

19′: It’s very rare to see Kevin de Bruyne pick the wrong pass, but he was completely wrong on that one. Tielemans was free on the outside of him, just beating the keeper, and he put a difficult ball down the inside channel defended by Canada. He’ll probably spank him from 40 yards out to make up for it.

25′: Belgium start to find De Bruyne in a lot of space in midfield. That’s dangerous.

29′: The former Belgian central defenders are having a hard time. Do I have any sympathy for the former Sp*rs players? No, no, I don’t.

32′: Davies just made Tielemans fall with a step.

39′: Another VAR check for a possible Canadian penalty. Not given, and I think it’s the right decision.

44′: Goal Belgium, 1-0. Michy Batshuayi gets into the tip of a ball from above and shoots with his left foot. That’s a classic against the goal run game.

45+2′: Oh no, another GREAT chance for Canada, Buchanan puts it over the bar from 6 yards out. It should be 1-1.

Halftime. Belgium, lucky to be ahead, have been outplayed every time, but when you don’t take chances, you risk being punished like that.

Canada have made two changes at halftime. Tielemans and Carrasco leave, Meunier and Onana enter.

56′: Both Belgian subs have been booked for hitting the Canadians on the head. Meunier is then very lucky to avoid a second yellow for lack of studs on his foot at Buchanan.

60′: Canada has had some good set pieces, but the deliveries have been very bad.

62′: Leandro Trossard replaces Hazard, and he’s been in fine form for Brighton this season. He could cause trouble for Canada.

67′: What a tackle Laryea in the box to deny Batshuayi.

75′: It looks like Canada has run out of steam a bit, at least from an attacking perspective. Too many hopeful long balls.

80′: Good header from Larin, good save from Courtois.

87′: Canada has its 21st goal attempt. Current xG 2.7 for them, 0.66 for Belgium.

Full time: Belgium 1-0 Canada.

It’s not what either team deserved, but I guess that’s the beauty of football. Not that it’s any consolation if you’re Canadian, but they definitely showed enough to suggest they could get something from the other games in their pool.

Right, that was a long day of sitting and watching football. The things I endure for you!

Join us on Patreon later this morning for a World Cup recap podcast as well. Have a good.

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