Jonathan Pearce

For English, European and World football topics.
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Jonathan Pearce

Post by Scottish » Fri Dec 04, 2009 6:49 pm

Even my wife was screaming at him during the World Cup draw to "STFU about 1966" - and she's an England supporter.

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Post by exile » Fri Dec 04, 2009 10:53 pm

Am I the only person who thinks only a lunatic would back England at 13/2 - considering that the current World Champions can be had at 12/1.

Having said that Capello might be the man to get them past the quarters for the 3rd time in history. The draw is reasonably favourable - if they avoid Germany they probably get France in the quarters, who are not setting the World on fire.

I start every World Cup with the sincere intention of not spending the whole tournament praying for England to crash and burn - but a few minutes of BBC coverage soon cracks my resolve.

The group A draw is spookily similar to group 1 in 1966 - damn! that year again!

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Post by Scottish » Sat Dec 05, 2009 12:05 am

exile wrote:Am I the only person who thinks only a lunatic would back England at 13/2 - considering that the current World Champions can be had at 12/1.
The problem with those odds is that they are from British bookmakers and inevitably reflect the fact that most money will be punted on England regardless of the draw or current form. Just as the OF are always favourites to win any trophy in Scotland whether or not the formbook justifies it. Personally, I'd say if Italy's odds are 12-1 then England's should be around the same. Any of the seeded countries - bar South Africa - are capable of winning IMHO though making hard and fast predictions six months in advance is unwise, considering we have no way of knowing how injuries will affect matters between now and the end of the season let alone which clubs will have the most congested fixture programme in Europe.
exile wrote:I start every World Cup with the sincere intention of not spending the whole tournament praying for England to crash and burn - but a few minutes of BBC coverage soon cracks my resolve.
Not just the Beeb. Sometimes ITV are even worse as I mentioned back in 2002 And tomorrow's headline on the front page of 'The Sun' is:

England
Algeria
Slovenia
Yanks

I don't consider the draw to be quite as easy as some think. England drew the most difficult opponent from one pot (USA), probably the easiest from another (Slovenia) and a middling one from the remaining pot (Algeria).

I reckon Italy and Spain have got the best draws of the seeded countries, Brazil obviously the worst, Germany and Holland harder than England but no disaster and Argentina on a par with England.

Nor can England said to have been particularly lucky. That tag must be reserved for France. Lucky to be there in the first place and then handed the one seeded team - the hosts - that every non-seeded country must have prayed for. The French are a seeded side in all but name.
exile wrote:The group A draw is spookily similar to group 1 in 1966 - damn! that year again!
Precisely the observation made by Pearce which got my wife annoyed. He followed it up with Portugal and Brazil being in the same group just like 1966 and North Korea having qualified for the first time since 1966. This was all done to the accompaniment of telling us that England couldn't meet Argentina before the Final - before a single team other than the seeds had been drawn and talked about a potential last sixteen match with Germany if the Germans came second in their group (never considering it could just as easily be the other way round).

He might as well have gone the whole hog and told us the World Cup Final would be in July just as it was in 1966, that it was taking place four years after the last one, as in 1966, that there would be four teams in each group - like 1966 and that every team would consist of eleven players at the start - uncannily identical to 1966.

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Post by laughingravy » Sat Dec 05, 2009 8:30 am

Should the Sun headline for Scotland's group in 1978 have been

Peru
Iran
Scotland
Holland

Remember how easy the press said that group was. I don't think Engerlund's group is by any means easy.

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Post by lbb » Sat Dec 05, 2009 2:56 pm

laughingravy wrote:Should the Sun headline for Scotland's group in 1978 have been

Peru
Iran
Scotland
Holland
:lol: Made me laugh anyway.

I can't understand the fascination for England. Who do they have to turn a game? Lots of competent players and are capable of reaching the last 8 but I don't think they're capable of beating any of the top 4 or 5 countries in the world.

The one that really annoyed me was Lancashire-born Irishman(:?) Mark Lawrenson who was already plotting England's course to the Final before the draw and now says the group is 'basically a bye for England.' John Motson got in his 'Fabio Capello reminds me of Alf Ramsay' which he's surely said about every England manager since.

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Post by msdkfc » Sat Dec 05, 2009 3:40 pm

I heard Talksport last night. Adrian Durham (an opinionated, rude, confrontational t*sser at the best of times) and Ray Houghton (a Scotsman!) were saying England had absolutely no one to fear outside Spain and Brazil. 'Absolutely no one'..

So they're immediately writing off the Germans, Dutch, Italians, Portugese, Argentinians etc. Do they seriously, truly believe that or is to wind people up and get them to phone in?

It was actually a relief to turn over to Radio Scotland and hear Chic Young with his tongue even further up Walter Smith's backside, claiming he's the best manager in Scotland :?

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Post by lbb » Sat Dec 05, 2009 4:17 pm

msdkfc wrote:I heard Talksport last night. Adrian Durham (an opinionated, rude, confrontational t*sser at the best of times) and Ray Houghton (a Scotsman!) were saying England had absolutely no one to fear outside Spain and Brazil. 'Absolutely no one'..

So they're immediately writing off the Germans, Dutch, Italians, Portugese, Argentinians etc. Do they seriously, truly believe that or is to wind people up and get them to phone in?
From the press coverage this morning, I think this is a genuine view. Even countries like France - who England routinely beat obviously - were being dismissed as no threat to Capello's boys.

One of the problems for England is that their qualification is usually routine (Euro 2008 excepted) with relatively ordinary opposition - Croatia, Macedonia, Greenland, Togo, Andorra - and they get carried away with this and imagine it will carry on effortlessly to the tournament itself. Then again, the Dutch qualified with a tremendous record and I can't image they are casually writing off the major opposition.
msdkfc wrote:It was actually a relief to turn over to Radio Scotland and hear Chic Young with his tongue even further up Walter Smith's backside, claiming he's the best manager in Scotland :?
Tbh, I can't think of anyone better than him working in Scotland - and I don't even like him that much. I certainly can't think of anyone working in Scotland who should replace Smith at Rangers.

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Post by Scottish » Sat Dec 05, 2009 10:23 pm

While I think England have as good a chance as any of the seeds - hosts excluded - here are a few points for them to bear in mind.

Every single World Cup Final - eighteen in all - has ALWAYS included one of these countries - Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Italy - in the Final. So unless something radically changes the rest are competing for at best one place in the Final.

But.......

The four countries above have provided BOTH finalists in SIX of the last TEN finals - or FIVE in the last SEVEN (France and Holland twice each being the 'interlopers').

Those same countries have won NINE of the last TEN tournaments (France 1998 being the exception). In fact they have won 12 of the 14 tournaments post-1950 (1966 being the other exception).

When the tournament is played in countries where the host nation is generally reckoned to have little chance then Brazil usually win - 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002 (the exception being Argentina in 1986)

No European country has won a World Cup 'away' from home (though I accept that playing in the South African winter with a huge fan base behind them and little to worry about in terms of time difference offers the best chance yet for that particular stat to go)

Finally, sometime the biggest playing impact comes not from a player who has impressed during the regular season but one who has played no or comparatively little football prior to the tournament - Pele 1958, Rossi 1982, Ronaldo 2002. England have no one in that category. But if he can get his fitness back then Fernando Torres might just be the successor to the trio mentioned above.

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Post by exile » Sun Dec 06, 2009 9:59 pm

The World Cup is, curiously, generally easy to predict - take one from the host nation, Brazil, Argentina, Germany or Italy. If it's in Europe - choose one of the last 2 (or possibly the hosts) - if not, go for Brazil or Argentina. That works every time, or has done since 1954.

South Africa may of course favour European sides rather than Latin American - but then South Americans generally play in Europe these days....

The surprises generally occur earlier on and consist of one of the big ones crashing very early and/or an unfancied team reaching the quarters or semis. Examples - France and Argentina disappearing without trace in 2002, Croatia reaching the semis in 1998, Turkey and Korea in 2002.

This is in contrast to the European Championship which perhaps due to its slightly lower prestige can often produce a surprise winner - eg Denmark in 1992 or Greece in 2004.

Of the "big 5" Germany, Italy, Argentina and France haven't been that impressive recently - but these teams have a habit of pulling out something special for the World Cup. This is probably where England falls down - they look very good going into tournaments and in fairness are hard to beat - but they don't produce that extra 10% to change a 0-0 (lost on penalties) against a team of equal ability into a 1-0. Ramsey is the one manager to have managed to get England to do this in the last 60 years of trying to win the big one (though helped admittedly by home advantage)

Maybe it's a British thing - the Scottish unsurmountable hurdle is getting out of the group stage - or at least it USED to be in what we must now acknowledge to be the golden days of lost recall....

BTW the bookmakers now operate in a global internet market, so odds offered by UK bookies can't vary much from the average. However, fixed odds betting on football is much more popular in the UK than elsewhere.

Like the stockmarket, past performance is no guarantee of future results - so we could see Shreck and the rest lifting the cup next year.... if we do I hope to be allowed to join a closed order of monks with no access to the media for a couple of years.....

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Post by the hibLOG » Sun Dec 06, 2009 10:53 pm

exile wrote:Like the stockmarket, past performance is no guarantee of future results - so we could see Shreck and the rest lifting the cup next year.... if we do I hope to be allowed to join a closed order of monks with no access to the media for a couple of years.....
A couple of years? Lock yourself up and throw away the key...
Fraser

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Post by exile » Mon Dec 07, 2009 1:30 pm

Yes - if 1966 is anything to go by we'll still be hearing about it in 2054 when I'll be 95.....

mind you our host here recently wrote a book about 1967 (a very good book indeed I might add!), so if England do manage it I hope we get the chance to play them as soon as possible so we can claim the unofficial world championship again - and a Scottish club winning a European trophy would be nice as well. Though we might have to wait a lot longer than 45 years for that.....

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Post by LEATHERSTOCKING » Mon Dec 07, 2009 4:13 pm

Two things which will be with us forever - Lady Di & England 1966. If only Haller`s goal had come in the final second in `66 & Prince Chuckie had had the balls to marry the gorgeous, pouting, leggy lovely Camilla in 1970. Ah, happy thoughts.

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Post by Scottish » Wed Dec 09, 2009 10:43 pm

I'm not so sure. Working on the assumption that His Royal Lugginess helped bring forth two progeny from a loveless relationship, just how many Chookie this's or Duchess O' that's do you think could have been produced had he been married to someone he actually fancied? And with a decade's head start as well?

As for the other hypothesis, one day I must get round to writing that book about 1966 I've been going on about for ages - about all the OTHER great sporting events that have been airbrushed from history thanks to Tofik Bakhramov.

I've almost given up on my other idea - a World Cup 'what-if.' In that the flag stayed down in 1966 but OTOH I was struck by the thought that a Clough-led England in 1982 might have won the thing.

And if the Munich disaster had never happened then it might have been Duncan Edwards instead of Bobby Moore as the winning captain in 1966. That one's actually quite rich in possibilities - no Law at Old Trafford. no George Best either. As soon as there are 48 hours in a day I'll devote some time to it.

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Post by exile » Thu Dec 10, 2009 5:02 pm

It might fit better with the current zeitgeist to for you to write a book about disastrous seasons so we can all have a good wallow in self-deprecation. It would be hard to think of any to beat the current one even though we haven't reached Christmas yet. Most seasons have had a silver lining. 1980-1 I remember as being pretty dire, our clubs had a absolute nightmare in Europe, Rangers lost to Chesterfield (!) in the Anglo Scottish Cup - but it was rescued by John Robertson's penalty and we made a good start towards World Cup qualification. Any other nominations?

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Post by Scottish » Thu Dec 10, 2009 6:10 pm

I can see it now - "Scotland The Grave."

Chapters on Frank Haffey, Ally McLeod, Berti Vogts, Third Lanark, Clydebank, Gretna. Foreword by Mel Gibson. Xmas 2010 here I come!

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