Danny's Football Bluff

December 9, 2013

December 9th, 2013

Filed under: Weekly Wraps — Tags: , , , , , , — dannymcginlay @ 12:43 pm

All talk this weekend has been about how Australia has been drawn in the World Cup’s “Group of Death”. Lazy journalists say this every tournament so they’ll be relieved that this time it’s actually true. Australia will have to play Champions Spain, runners up Netherlands and the technically gifted Chile. Are we effed? Yeah pretty much, but if you want some optimism here you go –
1. Everyone will underestimate us. This is ideal for the Socceroos, we play our best football when we’ve been written off. See the entire 2006 World Cup campaign, plus our defeat of Serbia in the 2010 tournament. For more examples of underdogs prevailing, see any Disney film ever made.
2. Ange Postecoglou is a properly brilliant coach. He can make mediocre players do amazing things. The bigger the stage, the better his troops perform.
3. Alphabetically we win the group. Sadly not the whole tournament [stupid Algeria] but coming runners up is great for the game in this country.
4. Actually now that I think about it. We have two Disney style storylines happening in our squad. We have the young kids who nobody really believes in [Rogic, Kruse etc] who are like The Mighty Ducks, but also the old guard [Neill, Cahill, Bresciano] coming together for one last heist – like The Wild Bunch or Space Cowboys if you’re young. If we can just find some sort of talking animal, this World Cup is ours!

In other brief news – Manchester United lost at home again! This time to Newcastle. It’s looking like a very real possibility that the Red Devils may not even qualify for the Champions League. They’re 13 points adrift of league leaders Arsenal and three games behind rivals Liverpool & Man City. Coach David Moyes has remained on cliché, pleading with fans to “Keep the Faith” and that “There’s light at the end of the tunnel”. Sadly for Moyes the only cliché he’ll be saying at his next job might be “Big Issue”

In Major League Soccer – two of the most optimistically named American teams played off for the MLS Cup last night. Sporting Kansas City thrilled fans of Portuguese-Midwest sports franchises by defeating Real Salt Lake City in a penalty shoot out. Although this result has devastated Morman Spaniards worldwide, there’s always next year, or as they say in Salt Lake City – tomorrow is a latter day.

Goal of the Week comes from Groundskeeper Willie’s team – Aberdeen!

December 2, 2013

2nd December 2013

Filed under: Weekly Wraps — dannymcginlay @ 11:53 am

It’s going to be an odd Football Bluff this week. Normally I like to watch my team [Celtic] before I start reporting on all the other matches. However since we’re already up 5-0 at half time I figure I can safely assume we’ve got this won. It’s always awkward searching through match reports whilst trying to avoid a specific one… but I digress…

The best A-League match this weekend was the battle of the cellar dwellers. Melbourne Heart v Adelaide United. Although the quality of football wasn’t that high, both these teams have defence like a broken foosball table. Adelaide went 2-0 up within twenty minutes. Heart tried to respond but their strange tactic of kicking the ball anywhere but into the goal limited their scoring chances. Dead Manager Walking John Aloisi changed that tactic in the second half and with fifteen minutes left, Heart lead 3-2. Although the final goal was thanks to a hand ball penalty against Tarek Elrich, which was impressive considering he touched the ball with his chest. Adelaide equalised five minutes later and the match ended 3-3.

Ooh Celtic scored again, 6-0 now.

Martin Jol has been sacked as Fulham manager after a poor start to the year. Providing football fans worldwide a timely reminder that Fulham exist.

Liverpool have returned to their choking ways, losing 3-1 to Hull. Arguably it should have been a 3-1 win to the Reds but that pesky rule of you have to put the ball in the other teams goal in order for you to score meant the own goals went against Liverpool.

7-0 to Celtic now. I feel sorry for Hearts… but I’m sure that will pass.

Juventus are back on top of the Serie A table. Which will no doubt please certain members of the Italian “waste management” industry.

Goal of the Week – I’m gonna put in one from the match I watched whilst I wrote this – Mikael Lustig’s brilliant shot that put us 5-0 up! The match finished 7-0 by the way.

November 25, 2013

25th November

Hi folks,

The Football Bluff is back after a two week hiatus due to me being off mainland Australia, which makes it hard to watch football and get a decent coffee.

It was a good week for the lazy journalists of Australia. Firstly, Lucas Neill abused the Socceroos fans who booed him in the friendly against Costa Rica, which meant the media could re-hash the standard is-he-fit-for-captaincy malarkey. Secondly, the top two teams in the A-League played each other on Friday night, meaning they could constantly call it a “Grand Final Preview”. Brisbane Roar defeated Western Sydney Wanderers 3-1 with some pretty sweet goals. I guess that means the A-League is wrapped up then? Hand the trophy to Roar and we can focus on The Ashes and how great Tony Abbott is?

If you’re a Tottenham fan you might be keen for all football to disappear for the rest of forever. Spurs were smashed 6-0 by a clinical Manchester City last night. The first goal came within fifteen seconds, and the sixth came with fifteen seconds to go. So if you don’t count those 30 seconds it’s only a 4-0 loss. That’s something right? Sadly for Spurs, it is.

The Merseyside Derby on Saturday night was an absolute classic. Liverpool led 1-0, then Everton equalised. Liverpool led 2-1, Everton equalised again, then Everton took the lead 3-2 with a minute to go, then Liverpool equalised with seconds to spare. I realize this match report is a little simple, but I’m hoping to cover next year’s World Cup for the Herald Sun.

Speaking of the World Cup – this is who’s playing and why Australia will beat all of them:

Uruguay – We beat them seven years ago.

Mexico – They just played New Zealand and will think we’re as bad as them.

France – Beat us 6-0. But that was pre-Ange. We’re a much better side now. Seven goals better.

Portugal – Cristiano Ronaldo has never scored against Australia. He’s our bunny.

Croatia – They’re still scared of us after 2006 World Cup.

Greece – We can bribe them to lose as long as we pay cash.

Algeria – Teams that come before us alphabetically are always overconfident.

Ghana – Could only draw with us in last world cup and that was with a horrible ref.

Cameroon – Their oldest player is 32. Our oldest player is 34. Mere children.

Ivory Coast – Beyond mismanagement. They keep some loser called Didier Drogba in the squad but not Melbourne Victory legend Adama Traore.

Nigeria – Conceded a goal against Tahiti during Confederation’s Cup.

Honduras – National team’s nickname is “La H” which means, “The H” – a slang term for heroin.

Ecuador – This country can’t even decide which hemisphere it’s in, let alone how to play Australia.

Chile – Their captain is named Claudio Bravo. Clearly a fake name to try and throw us. Desperate tactics mean they must be rubbish.

Spain – They won last time. They’re bored by winning.

England – All we have to do is bring Mitchell Johnson and they’ll panic

Bosnia & Herzegovina – Their first major tournament. It’s rude to win first go.

Russia – Are hosting the next one. They’re focusing on that one.

Colombia – Only care about beating Ecuador and Argentina. Will not mind Australia defeating them.

Germany – According to the USA government Angela Merkel reckons they won’t do as well.

Switzerland – Will be too busy watching the clocks. Their fans are quite neutral.

Belgium – Only got one vote at Eurovision this year. They are a broken country.

Argentina – The tournament is in Brazil. Someone will give them food poisoning.

USA – The Americans are down on their team as nobody has scored a touchdown this year.

Costa Rica – We beat them on Tuesday.

Italy – We will want revenge for the diving cheat Fabio Grosso in 2006.

Netherlands – Haven’t recovered from losing the 2010 final.

South Korea – We beat them in the Asian Cup.

Iran – Lost to Uzbekistan, which is like losing to Narnia.

Japan – They beat us in Asian Cups, we beat them in World Cups. That’s the deal.

Brazil – As host nation they haven’t played any qualifiers. Will be unfit.

So there you have it folks – Australia 2014 World Cup Champions!!

November 11, 2013

11th November

Filed under: Weekly Wraps — dannymcginlay @ 3:37 pm

This weekend I was performing on a “Comedy Cruise” so have not seen any football at all. So no bluff this week. I mean I could write about football that I hadn’t researched at all, but that would just make me Craig Foster.

November 4, 2013

November 4th, 2013

Filed under: Weekly Wraps — Tags: , , , , — dannymcginlay @ 1:21 pm

You know today is unofficially a public holiday here in Melbourne. But here I am, churning out a football blog for you, because I am a good sort. Also the wife has gone to work so it’s either this or I do housework, and because I’m going to Victory v Wellington tonight I’d probably open a beer whilst I did the housework and before you know it I’m trying to gaffer the vacuum cleaner to my back so I can be a Ghostbuster.

This week the A-League revealed very little surprises. It seems that this season if you support the smaller team in a big city, it’s not going to be fun. Both Melbourne Heart and Sydney FC had poor results over the weekend, but intriguingly have different reactions. Whilst the Sky Blues of the Harbor City are baying for manager Frank Farina to be sacked, Heart remain confident that John Aloisi is the right dreamboat for the job. A spokesman for the Heart fanbase was quoted as saying “He’s got a great eye for tactics… and another gorgeous hazel eye for fashion… sorry what was the question?”

In England though, it’s good to be from the big town! London teams make up three of the top four spots with Arsenal sitting five points clear! Exciting times to be a Gooner! This is the first time since 2005 that the Gunners have started a season so strongly. At least back then we didn’t have to see all their gloating on facebook & twitter. I don’t remember their being this much smugness on livejournal back then.

History was made in Wales overnight. Cardiff played Swansea in the first ever top flight Welsh derby. It was a fiery affair but Steven Caulker’s 62nd minute header was enough to give Cardiff a 1-0 win. I am however disgusted with the British media for the distinct lack of pun headlines when covering this match. So here is my list of wasted opportunity headlines.
5. Wale of a Derby
4. Swansea’s Leek-y defence!
3. Caulker of a header!
2. Cardiff’s Rarebit o’ magic!
1. Derby Victory on the Card-iff
That took all of three minutes & forty three seconds, and I’m not even an employee of News Ltd. It’s just such a waste.

Here’s goal of the week.

October 28, 2013

October 28th 2013

People say that when a club is bought out by a billionaire it loses its soul. This myth was absolutely busted last night when the two richest clubs in England played last night. Chelsea v Manchester City, Russian billionaires v Arab billionaires. Or if you will James Bond villains v Jack Ryan villains. These two clubs are hated by football purists by buying their success, however last night they showed how friendly they can be, with Chelsea making it easier for their opponents by only having shots on goal from offside positions. Manchester City were not to be outdone though, and thought it only fair that their goalkeeper Joe Hart should run halfway across the field so Fernando Torres could score the winner in injury time. What great sports. Chelsea 2-1 Manchester City

The weekend’s big game in Australia was the Sydney derby, played to a packed house on Saturday night. Sydney FC showing the great defensive acumen that manager Frank Farina is known for, as their centre backs stood completely still for Shinji Ono to score the opener. It brought back great memories of when Farina lead the Socceroos to an inspiring 3-0 thumping by Uruguay to end our World Cup dreams. Sydney FC 0-2 Western Sydney Wanderers

It wasn’t the only big derby played over the weekend, Sunderland beat Newcastle in a victory for animal rights everywhere. Last time these two rivals played the big story was an angry Newcastle fan punched a horse in the face. Reports that after this 2-1 defeat some ducks were molested have gone unconfirmed…

The Glasgow Derby used to be one of the biggest matches on the football calendar. However since the death of Rangers FC in 2012 there hasn’t been one, until last night, and it was a classic. A lot of people didn’t think that Celtic v Partick Thistle would reach the heights of the old Celtic v Rangers matches but they were wrong! Celtic triumphed 2-1 in an epic battle for bragging rights! Firhill Stadium’s home support was silenced by Amido Balde’s 75th minute strike. Although that was because one of the home support had gone to the toilet but the other five were pretty gobsmacked.

Goal of the week is the winner from the El Clasico on Saturday night. I was trying to write about this match but really it was too good to make jokes about. I love these matches. Apologies about the quality of the video, any decent ones are geoblocked or some other computer term I don’t understand.

October 21, 2013

October 21st, 2013

This weekend in the world of round ball was not one where people celebrated greatness; instead enduring horror was the order of the day. The best you could hope for this weekend was that your preferred teams didn’t royally stuff up or have stuff ups thrust upon them. Like when Quentin Tarantino acts in one of his own films, you just cross your fingers it won’t be too bad and hope it’ll all be over soon.

So who stuffed up the worst? Here we go with my…

Top Five Worst performances of the weekend!

5. Manchester United only manage a draw with a plucky Southampton. This has been United’s worst start to a season in living memory and of course the fans are turning on new manager David Moyes. This is a bit unfair as any new manager takes time to bed in and all the smaller clubs reckon they can beat the Red Devils at the moment so they play their hearts out.

4. Juventus coughed up a 2-0 lead to lose 4-2 against Fiorentina. The referees had done their part gifting Juve a penalty in the first half but it seems the bribery money had run out as Giuseppe Rossi slammed in a hat trick to record a famous win. I’d hate to be a racehorse in Turin tonight.

3. On Friday night traditional rivals Adelaide United and Melbourne Victory played the SBS showcase match. The third worst performance of the weekend goes to the referees! Adelaide were given a penalty that wasn’t there, then Jeronimo Neuman [who is one of the few players to always be called by his full name] scored from an offside position, then Victory scored a goal that was incorrectly given as offside. Socceroo manager apparent Ange Postecoglou was so angry he looked like he was going to punch someone. Sadly he didn’t, which is annoying because if he did, he might have not got the Socceroos job and Victory could keep our wondercoach.

2. Second worst performance of the weekend goes to Sydney FC. It must be exhausting being an FC fan, just over a week ago, they beat Newcastle 2-0 and they were apparently “throwing down a gauntlet for the rest of the league” this week, after they lost to Brisbane 2-0 they are “destined to be cellar dwellers for a long time”. The Hyperbole is without doubt the worst Hyperbole in the known universe. It would have got my worst performance of the week but that goes to…

1. Setanta!! The Specialty Sports channel which certain fans of certain leagues have to get in order to see their heroes. As a Celtic fan I am one of them, and already this year my chances of seeing the Hoops have been slashed drastically as some dickhead over at Setanta thinks more people want to watch Ipswich vs Doncaster than Celtic [who are reportedly the second most supported British team in Australia*]. So although Setanta did play Hibernian v Celtic on Saturday night, as of midday on Monday [36 hours after the match], Setanta are still yet to put the match online for those who couldn’t watch it live. Despite their website saying all matches will be available on Setanta Sports Plus Catch Up between 3 and 6 hours after match completion.
Can you imagine any other service provider getting away with such blatantly awful service? Apart from Banks, Airlines, Public Transport and mobile phone providers the answer is … still probably!

*Source – The Department of Celtic Biased Statistics, c/o The Pint on Punt, St Kilda.

Goal of the Week from the Irish ladies league.

October 14, 2013

October 14th

It was indeed a big weekend in Australian round ball events. It all kicked off on Saturday morning with France spanking the Socceroos 6-0. Now to defend our performance – let’s not forget France are one of the best teams in the world, and they have been underperforming so they were fired up. However, we were shithouse. Double Fronted McMansion in the heart of Caroline Springs shithouse. So we sacked Holger Osieck. It’s a shame, I liked Holger but the results had been a bit rubbish recently. We’re in a bad spot as a national team at the moment, our “Golden Generation” are all a bit too old but no kids are really stepping up to the plate either. So who is our next coach? According to rumours… it could be:

Guus Hiddink – The first answer all the amateur pundits gave. Mostly because, they don’t know anyone else. I don’t think it’ll happen, Guus is quite astute at choosing which teams he manages; he either chooses teams of great potential who will add to his mystical pathos or he chooses teams that will add to his bank balance. I don’t think the current Socceroos can do either of those.

Marcelo Bielsa – The Argentinean they call “El Loco” would be an ideal choice for the Australian media as he sort of looks like Holger Osieck so they could just re-use old photos. He’s a genuine personality so if he’s successful then Mad Marcelo’s Men become engrained in Australian Football history, and if he fails then at least he’ll implode in a way that leaves no survivors, which ultimately could be a good thing.

Robert Di Matteo – Won the Champions League with Chelsea two years back. He’s a frustrating manager: can be amazing, can be awful. Could be worth a punt but I can’t see him succeeding.

Graham Arnold – There’s a lot of calls for a local to be the coach. How the shopkeepers from The League of Gentlemen managed to become football pundits in this country I’ll never know. Graham Arnold has a brilliant knowledge of the way Australians play and has proven himself as a fantastic tactician during his time with the Central Coast Mariners. However when he managed the Socceroos in 2007 one thing was blatantly obvious – our national players don’t respect a local coach.

Ange Postecoglou – arguably the greatest manager the country has ever produced, but as a Victory fan I have to say BACK OFF!!! HE’S OURS!!

In other news the A-League began this week. This blogger took in the Melbourne Derby on Saturday night. It’s a really stupid idea putting the Derby in round one as teams are always dusty in the first game of the season. With Heart and Victory there are always big bragging rights at stake so both teams were more interested in not losing than they were in winning. A sell out crowd of over 45,000 people witnessed a very dull match. Hopefully some of them will come back sometime, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. You know a match is boring when the highlight was the ground announcer.

Goal of the Week

October 7, 2013

October 7th, 2013

Filed under: Weekly Wraps — dannymcginlay @ 11:14 am

The A-League begins this week!!! It’s a very exciting time for all. I for one am chomping at the bit for the Melbourne Derby this Saturday night at Docklands. I’m so excited I am already picturing all the different ways I am going to sulk if Heart pull off an upset!

Western Sydney Wanderers
Good – Kept all their great league winning players.
Bad – Not the new kids anymore, are now a target.

Central Coast Mariners
Good – Gained Marcos Flores and Matt Simon.
Bad – Lost Mathew Ryan, Bernie Ibini-Isei and Patrick Zwaanswijk and possibly Danny McBreen.

Melbourne Victory
Good – Gained some experienced strikers and a marquee defender, still got Postecoglou.
Bad – Midfield have a combined age of 14.

Adelaide United
Good – New coach Josep Gombau has promised to make them the Barcelona of the A-League.
Bad – Coaches invariably talk shit.

Brisbane Roar
Good – Regained some old favourite players.
Bad – That includes Matt McKay.

Perth Glory
Good – New coach has brought in a wealth of young talent.
Bad – This includes his two sons… not a joke.

Sydney FC
Good – Did a preseason tour of Italy, making much needed money for the club.
Bad – All of that money would have gone to Alessandro Del Piero and his fantastic collection of ivory back scratchers.

Newcastle Jets
Good – Retained goal scoring machine Emile Heskie.
Bad – Still owned by Nathan Tinkler, who is like Clive Palmer but with the money running out… so Bob Katter.

Melbourne Heart
Good – Signed Harry Kewell and fantastic Dutchman Orlando Engelaar.
Bad – Kewell hasn’t played football in 18 months and Engelaar has broken his leg.

Wellington Phoenix
Good – New coach Ernie Merrick has A-League winning experience, and he’s brought in Carlos Hernandez!
Bad – By the end of Merrick’s tenure at Melbourne Victory it was obvious he didn’t realize coaching tactics are supposed to be plural.

So who do I think will win the A-League? Well the Wanderers are an impressive outfit, but I just feel that this season will belong to Melbourne Victory. With the form they’ve been I just can’t see them dropping a single match. Sure that form was done on the playstation set to easy but with the oval ball finals on that was the only soccer coverage I could get.

This week’s best goal is also the worst camera work.

September 30, 2013

With the oval shaped football season finishing in Australia, people will slowly be realizing that the round ball game is happening in Europe, and things are certainly getting interesting over that side of the planet. In England, both Manchester teams are playing really badly with United losing to West Brom at home on Saturday night. Normally that would be cause for great celebration for Man City, but they were beaten 3-2 by Aston Villa. Now it’s easy to pick on the struggling teams, not to mention fun, but who’s playing well?

Tottenham – who bought a cavalcade of great player on the off season.
Arsenal – who only bought one.
Chelsea – who bought in some great kids and of course, Bond villain manager Jose Mourinho.
And finally Liverpool – who are setting themselves up for their traditional good start to a season then choking magnificently against the struggling clubs. Sadly for Liverpool though, it looks like the struggling club this year will be their arch rivals from Manchester.

In Scotland the ladder is topped by Inverness Caledonian Thistle, usually only famous for being the home of Scotland’s biggest celebrities, Nessie and James Bond.

In Italy, perennial underachievers Roma sit at the top of the table, what’s next? A Pope that embraces homosexuality? Oh.

In Spain the Madrid derby was played out on Saturday night and Atletico upset Real 1-0! In the French leagues, Monaco are playing exciting attacking football, FC Twente and PSV Eindhoven are making the Dutch league a great contest, Porto and Benfica are taking the Portuguese title down to the wire it is all happening! Such a pity daylight savings starts this week and now all games will be played at stupid o’clock and Australians will lose all interest.

Goal of the Week –

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