One small step for Sheikh Mansour - one giant leap for
The Manchester City owner has acquired 32pc of Sir Richard Bransons Virgin Galactic!
So who knows - perhaps in 15 years time supporters will be shooting for goal at half time for a trip into outer space!
Blue Moon - here we come!
There were plenty of early birds for the free City Open Day at Eastlands this sunny August day and they were rewarded with the arrival of several City players who were impressive with their patience with the welcoming fans.
This baby did the rounds as the players arrived! Hope he appreciates it when he reaches 16!
The new City favorite - Tevez
A couple of welcoming giants
Queues were forming well before 2-0pm
Many more gates had to be opened to cater for the waiting supporters
Our manager has much to ponder before the start of the season but still has some time for a little ball control.........
....... and some high kicking! Careful now!
Moonchester and Moonbeam did the rounds
SWP enjoys the acrobatics
Kasper Schmeichel saves in the keepers practice session
Poor Robinho ! He is so tired he collapses into SWP!
The players were split into three groups for some lighthearted easy training routines.
Martin Petrov gives this little lad the thrill of being taken onto the pitch.
Our spikey landmark has almost gone ! One last look.
Well only a few days to go before the season starts at Blackburn and though I saw the Celtic game live and viewed the other pre-season games via the laptop I am not yet certain what out final line-up will be. Injures to some key players and Lescottgate must give manager Mark Hughes a few headaches. While several areas of the team have been improved with the new signings for me there are some questions to be answered.
The defence as a unit is not as solid as it should be. Toure if he is fit will certainly be one of the central defenders but who the other one will be is the question - Dunne, Onuoha (when fit) Kompany (when fit ) or another signing - Lescott, Upson, Distin.
Bridge has the left back position without much competition - yet ! For right back Richards and Zabaleta are the contenders with the latter favorite for the bench as he can fill in in midfield if wanted. De Jong has had a good pre-season and will Kompany a run for his money when the Belgium defender is fit again. Ireland and Barry will probably be running the midfield and just maybe if we are in a strong position ( top 4 ) in January I would like a creative midfielder ( Messi perhaps) to be added to the squad. Now we come to the really interesting selection problem and I would not be surprised if the system City play will depend on several factors - the opposition/home or away/injures etc. That leaves three spaces up front - Tevez, Adebayor and Robinho for first choice. Santa Cruz (when fit) is likely to be deputy for Adebayor. and Bellamy, SWP and Petrov for Tevez and Robinho. Weiss may come into contention for some home games and there is also Ben Haim as a defensive possibility.
There are a few areas to be sorted - who takes penalties and free-kicks in attacking areas and we need a great improvement in defending corners etc. Finally I think we need a new captain. Gareth Barry would be my choice.
The away win at Blackburn was a great way to start the season especially as we managed only two away wins last season! The new signings did well and Adebayor scored a great goal in the early minutes to warm the hearts of the 7000 City fans who made the journey to Blackburn. City didn't have it all their own way Given making 2 important saves but generally City controlled the game and Irelands late individual effort sealed the win. Tevez had a 20 minute run out to further test his fitness. Toure's presence in defence helped a lot but I think there is still much work to be done there. Bellamy worked his socks off as usual and Barry who played just in front of the back 4 was excellent.
Talk at the moment is the possibility of City signing a Brazilian starlet - Rafael de Souza Rodolfo known as Pernao. He was only 16 in March this year and on the books of Fluminense but has not played for their first team yet. He is a striker and very good with the ball at his feet.
Full marks to City for streaming the Barcelona friendly game live the other evening . Over 90,000 supporters filled the giant stadium to see City win the Joan Gamper Trophy by a single goal. Both teams started under strength and Barcelona dominated the early stages. So it was an excellent opportunity to fine tune our defence. Despite the pressure the home side rarely troubled Given in the first half.
A quick counter attack caught Barca napping just under the 30 minute mark. A great pass by man-of-the -match Stevie Ireland found Petrov who raced away and cracked the ball past Pinto to silence the home supporters. The sound of Blue Moon could be heard drifting down from the top of one of the stands! It would have been a terrific experience for the City players and one Vladdy Weiss will never forget. He really tried very hard and did not look out of place even when Messi and Ibrahimovic came on in the second half. City defended well in the second half protecting Given who had only a couple of good saves to make in the game.
With the transfer deadline approaching it looks like City are putting the final touches to their defensive new look with both Lescott and Sylvinho joining today ( 24th). Finally the Lescottgate saga has come to an end. At the open day Peter Stevenson mentioned to me that Everton were asking 23 odd million and it looks like Moyes has at last given way as he has to find a replacement in the next week.
Sylvinho has come on a free from Barcelona ( I presume things were sorted out during City's visit there last week). He played for Arsenal from 1999- 2001 scoring three times in 55 games. He then moved to Ceta Vigo (89 games) before ending up at Barcelona for whom he scored twice in 89 games. He's 35 and 5ft 8inches tall . He will be joining fellow countryman Robinho and no doubt will be deputy for Wayne Bridge. He has much experience playing in the Champions League and has played for Brazil 6 times.
Joleon Lescott played for Wolves before joining Everton and for a central defender has a very good scoring record - 13 for Wolves ( 212 games) and 14 for Everton in 113. He is 27 and 6ft 2 in tall. He has 7 England caps
Yet another striker for City - if reports are true. Apparently City are in the process of signing Danijel Aleksic for £6million from Voyvodina in the Serbian League. He is 18 and a brilliant prospect. and has played once for Serbia. Made his debut at 16 and is about 6ft tall. He's finished his weeks trial but because he needed a work permit he could not be signed before the deadline.
I was disappointed to see that our main sponsor Etihad also appear on the shirts of rugby club Harlequins who are at the centre of the Bloodgate affair. I hope that Etihad withdraw their sponsorship of this joke club. The cover-up of the cheating was incredible and there is more to come!
At last the transfer window has come to an end and I can now switch off Sky Sports! No more additions to the City squad ( until January!) but Ben Haim has left for Portsmouth and Richard Dunne has departed for Aston Villa. Now that our defence has been reinforced with Toure and Lescott it was no surprise that there would be departures. Dunne had been a good player for City for several seasons but recently his number of errors had increased and there had been a down turn in form so it would have been difficult for him to retain his place in the team
City headed the big spender list during the transfer window with £118 million - Toure, Tevez, Taylor, Santa Cruz, Barry, Adebayor and Lescott. Out went Elano, Ben Haim, Evans and Dunne.
Considering all these the changes to the squad the team have made a good start to the season winning all three games without conceding a goal. Winning twice away already ( we only won 2 away all last season) and scoring twice from corners is a good omen but the next two games against Arsenal and United will be a reality check as to the progress made.
Best one liner I have heard on TV for a long time came the other Sunday while watching a BBC 2 program - Hardcore Profits. I probably would not have watched it normally ( well that's my story) but it so happens the father of the writer, producer and presenter of the program, Tim Samuels is one of my oldest friends so it was a duty to watch - of course!
During the program which was excellent he did some interviews at an ' exhibition' - eXXXotica in New York. While talking to the two young ladies who were roped together - I can't think why! - at the end of the interview one of them asked Tim -
" What are you into?"
Quick as a flash came the reply -
" Manchester City"
Like his father Tim has been a supporter for many years . Brilliant!
Just received my copy of Garry James' new book -
'The Big Book of City' . Well worth a read.
Plenty of facts and figures, tales of past glories and memories. Discover how Maine Road got its name - the real story. Were CSI Moss Side involved ?
Quiz questions too so overall plenty to dip into.
Lots to read about City's goalkeepers over the years.
Despite the run of draws City still remain in reach of a top four place. Defensive errors have cost valuable points in the last few weeks so it was interesting to see how well City's left defence played for England against an almost full strength Brazil side in the recent friendly!
Though City have played down further big transfers in the January transfer window I still expect some new faces. The future of Robinho has also made the news recently and his return from Injury will be watched with great interest. Though he himself has said he wants to stay his attitude on the pitch is likely to say more than mere words! When everybody is fit the manager will have a problem deciding on his best formation. I believe it will vary depending on the opposition and whether we are at home or away.
The subject of cheating has risen its ugly head again and two recent examples should maybe wake FIFA up from its slumber. The hand ball by Henry on the blind side of the referee to enable France to score against Eire and go through to the World Cup in South Africa should surely be punished. The referee could certainly not have seen the offence from where he was standing and the linesman on the far side would have found it very difficult to see it at full speed. Sky Sports who are milking the situation showed a single frame 3D CGI representation of the moment of the handball from the linesman's viewpoint and said that he could have seen it. I am afraid that real life is not like that and at full speed and that distance it would have been very difficult for him to be certain it was hand ball. An extra official on that touchline would certainly have seen it and surely the fourth official could have viewed it on a monitor and relayed the incident to the referee very quickly .Surely there is a monitor available for him to view incidents near the touchline. I did notice however on one of the many replays I have watched that the referee was pretty static as play developed near the touchline and he made no effort to get nearer to the action to see what was happening. Now most referees will only move from the edge of one penalty area diagonally to the edge of the other. The main reason for that is if the ball is quickly cleared by defenders if the referee is too near the goal line he might find it hard to catch up with play. If they are fit enough though and their gut feeling and football knowledge tells them something is going to happen then they should take a chance and get into a better position to judge. I used to be quite fast and fit when I refereed back in the 50's in my 20's. There were several occasions when players would appeal for a corner or goal kick looking back to where they thought the referee would be only to find I was stood 'next to them' ! They soon got the message. But that was in the good old days when I later used to have lunch with a few of the City players in a cafe in Moss Side!
Now it is a very different game with greater rewards and players are fitter and faster. The temptation to cheat by diving or using a hand to control the ball are greater so the punishments should be greater too. More of this later.
The dive by Liverpool's Ngog to gain a penalty against Birmingham was so blatant and in a similar position to the Henry incident. When a player deliberately dives you often see the chest extended and the arms and legs are pulled back.The Ngog dive is a good example of this. However if you fall or are tripped people instinctively put out an arm or move their feet to soften the effects. You can see this in the sequence below.
I shot this in 1955 in Hong Kong illustrating fouls for referee training in a course I was running for the HKFA. I found it while hunting for old City pics to be used in a Blurb book I'm working on.
However diving can be difficult to spot when there is a slight contact with the defender which makes the referees' job much more difficult. So how are we going to cut the cheating out of the game. As we have seen several times recently the slightest touch has been exaggerated to ridiculous lengths. Initially massive suspensions need to be imposed when there is no doubt about the offence.3 to 5 games suspensions would soon get the message over. This business about not being able to do it because the referee was judged to have seen the incident is rubbish. Change the FIFA regulations re the referees decision. One of the exercises I used to use in referee training was to set up a situation involving several players and then get the students to write down what they had seen. It was amazing how different the interpretations were in many cases!
Post match analysis will in the long run help referees not undermine their authority. The cheats will be either be run out of the game or they will have to change their ways. Sponsors of cheats should think seriously about dropping them which would hit them in the pocket. Cheaters must not prosper.
I cannot see the France Eire game being replayed and as for Henry himself I doubt whether FIFA have the guts to suspend him from the World Cup. He is getting a lot of stick in the media at the moment and I suppose he is lucky this didn't happen a few years ago - otherwise he would be checking underneath his car every morning!
After a poor display against Spurs away the match against Sunderland proved to be the last for manager Mark Hughes. Roberto Mancini has been given the job to get City into a top 4 place. He is the 18th manager for City over the past 23 years ( the length of time a certain United manager has been in control) Apparently the move has been on the cards for some time and no surprise that Brian Kidd has become his number 2. Hope Brian is learning Italian! Mancini has had no experience in the Premier league but has done well in the italian league winning three Serie A titles with Inter. However Inter were not pretty to watch playing very defensively so he will have his work cut out to sort out the present City defence! He played mainly for Sampdoria and Lazio but had 4 games for leicester City in 2001 at the end of his playing career. He also played for Italy 36 times scoring 4 goals. As a manager he has managed Fiorentina and Lazio before Inter.
He now has a few games to weigh up the team and decide who he will sign in January. With both Bridge and Lescott off for several weeks and Toure off to Africa in January I am sure we shall see some defenders coming in and I would not be surprised if at least one does not come from Serie A . Richards was injured again against Sunderland and I don't think Sylvinho is good enough for the Premiership now new defenders are a must.
Maine Road today
On my way home from the Pompey game I popped into Moss Side to see what had happened to Maine Road. The large building on the left is a new Primary School.
The transfer window is now shut and we had one early and one late newcomer. First to arrive was Patrick Viera who will be 34 in June. A very experienced mid-fielder he played 279 games for Arsenal scoring 29 before moving to Juventus ( 5 goals in 31 games ) and Inter (6 goals in 67). He has won well over 100 caps for France but so far injury has prevented his debut. He joins ex Arsenal colleagues Toure and Sylvinho in the City squad. He will be wearing number 24 shirt.
A last minute signing from Middlesbrough was Adam Johnson a left winger who will be 23 in July. He is a talented young player who scored 13 goals in his 96 games for Middlesbrough. He has also played 19 times for England under 21.
While talks were going on some bright spark inserted the following into Johnson's Wikipedia page on the web ---
'During the January 2010 transfer window, Johnson was heavily linked with a move to PerthGlory who reportedly made a bid of £5 and a dog to acquire his services, which has been accepted by his club and Johnson travels to Perth Australia for his medical on February 1st. Johnson is reportedly delighted with the move, stating that it will give him a real chance of making the World Cup squad.'
It has now been removed! - I didn't know Terry had moved to Perth!
The exit from the Carling Cup was disappointing to say the least and a last minute goal once again emphasized the need for concentration always!
A young player who had been thrust into action and done well is Dedryck Boyata. The great work done by the Academy at Platt Lane triumphed again. This lad has come from nowhere and settled in really well. With injuries to City defenders on the increase his emergence into the limelight is well timed. Other young players given a go at Scunthorpe were Cunningham and Ibrahim. It is good to see our manager having confidence in these young players.
As February comes to an end and we have to wait a month for our next home game City supporters would have have been forgiven for hoping for a point at Chelsea would be asking a lot after the recent disappointing attacking displays. To win 4-2 and it could easily have been 6-1 is mind blowing. The TerryGate affair ( and one must not forget the ColeGate one) has put a strain on Wayne Bridge
Now got a publisher for the book on Maine Road.
It's now available from Amazon -click on image for link
After several weeks of hard work at last I have managed to finish 'End of an Era' a self published photo book covering City football at Maine Road and beyond from 1954 until the last game at that famous never forgotten ground. With 200 pages and 320 images it covers about 50 games including games at Wembley. I hope it will bring back memories. You can obtain a copy by going directly to the Blurb web page here http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1234192
City moved into 4th position after smashing six past Burnley at Turf Moor. It was an amazing game and could well have been abandoned as heavy rain fell in the second half to leave many puddles and bring back memories of that amazing game at Luton in 1961 when City were leading 6-2 when the game was called off - Denis Law scoring all six for City. City eventually lost that 4th round cup tie!
Back to the Burnley game and there was a terrific start with City scoring three within 6 minutes. With 5 in the first half and the post hit twice it could have been a record score but the rain in the second half saved Burnley from a bigger thrashing. It was very poor defending by the home side and I cannot see them avoiding relegation on this form. With Spurs losing earlier in the day the goal difference is now down to two and if Bent had scored the penalties he missed we would have been all square on goal difference.
So next its Birmingham and then United at home so 4th position is well and truly in our hands now with further home games against Villa and Spurs in May.
click on Manny Meercat for his support
Click on the image to get to gigapan.org and zoom in to see yourself!
The bad injury to Shay Given in the Arsenal game and with sub keeper Taylor recovering from an operation it was no surprise that City went cap in hand to sign a keeper for the last few games in the Premiership. First choice would have been Joe Hart on loan at Birmingham. Surprisingly there was no ' return to owner' clause in the paperwork in the event of emergency.
With Birmingham and the Premiership playing tough about the return of Joe Hart, City have managed to get Marton Fulop - pictured left heading clear from Bellamy in the City 4-3 win over Sunderland - on loan He will be 27 on May 3rd and is 6ft 6in. He has played 20 times for Hungary and 44 games for Sunderland.
Click on the image to get to gigapan.org and zoom in to see yourself!
Third tier included
Average marks for season 2008-2009 minimum of 6 games (all competitions) and at least 15 minutes on pitch. These are only home games
1. Tevez 7.78 ( 23 games)
2. A. Johnson 7.35 (7)
3. De Jong 7.19 (21)
4. Bellamy 7.16 (21)
5. Kompany 7.11 (17)
6. Wright-Phillips 7.07 (20)
7. Barry 7.04 (22)
8. Bridge 7 ( 15)
9. Robinho 6.92 ( 6)
10. Adebayor 6.91 (17)
11. Lescott 6.86 (11)
12. Onuoha 6.85 (7)
13. Zabaleta 6.82 (17)
14. Ireland 6.81(16)
16. Petrov 6.75 (12)
17. Given 6.72 (23)
18. Santa Cruz 6.66 (6)
19. Richards 6.63 (11)
20. Garrido 6.5 (6)
21. Viera 6.4 (7)
Alas 4th position went to Spurs so no Champions League football for City next season. At least we got into the Europa league on merit and with the summer super signings to come ( fingers crossed) we can expect better things next season.
Plenty of transfer talk at the moment with Torres and Gerrard for Adebayor and Ireland plus 40 million being the main gossip.
At least we have the World Cup to look forward to - with a number of City players involved with their countries. I was pleased to see the inclusion of Adam Johnson in the England first squad - hope he makes the final.
The only positive signing so far this summer is Jerome Boateng a 21 year old defender from Hamburg. He is 6ft 3in and can play both in central defence and right back. He has 5 caps for Germany and will be playing in the World Cup.
Others on the horizon are Milner (Villa) Ya Ya Toure (Barcelona) Ibrahimovic (Barcelona) David Silva (Valencia) .
Patrick Viera has signed on for an extra season but those departing are Petrov, Benjani and Sylvinho. I am sure there will be a few more departing once the manager has completed his squad for next season. With the World Cup about to start it must be difficult to complete transfers. One recent departure is Robbie Mak who has joined FC Nurnberg. He never quite reached the first team squad.
City players to watch in the World Cup are Hart, SWP and Barry (England) Boating (Germany) Weiss (Slovakia) Santa Cruz (Paraguay) Tevez (Argentina) Toure (Ivory Coast) De Jong (Holland) and Oh yes Robinho (Brazil) nearly forgot about him. Maybe he will be joining Elano (Brazil) and Fernandes (Switzerland) as ex City players to watch this summer.
The World Cup in South Africa
Some images from the opening ceremony
Not the best of games. Mexico should have been three up at half time as they had most of the play but their finishing was poor. South Africa took the lead through a great shot by Tshabalala after 55 minutes but Mexico managed to equalize after poor marking with just ten minutes left and justice was done
FIFA President meets the teams
a familiar face for City fans in the BBC box
I just hope these horns dont reach COMS next season!
A pretty poor game with little to remember but we did see the first red card of the tournament Lodeiro being the
Substitute Lodeiro earned his second yellow card for this foul and got his marching orders from the excellent referee from Japan - Nishimura
A poor Greece team was well beaten by South Korea who will give Argentina a good gme in their group
In the Greece team was ex City striker ( I use the term loosely) Samaras
Lee Jung-soo scores at the back post at a corner
Park Ji-sung scored a good second goal. I understand he plays for a team in Salford
Argentina 1 Nigeria 0
Best gane so far with the magic of Messi to admire as well as the energy of Tevez. Star was the Nigerian keeper Enyeama who made a series of good saves. Argentine should win their group
City star Carlos Tevez played well with Messi
Argentina manager Diego Maradona
A great header by unmarked Heinze after just 6 minutes
Great save by Enyeama to thwart Messi
Yet another near miss by Messi and he showed his fustration
There were two major clangers in this game. With almost 4 minutes gone I was faced with adverts and a black screen before returning to the game with England a goal up! ITV had dropped a clanger! But this was a minor blip compared with the crucial mistake by keeper Green just before half time. His error will go down in football history to join the clangers by Robinson and Carson in England colours. England had the best chances but failed to finish well. King was injured and subbed at half time while City target Milner was subbed early on after a poor start and yellow card. SWP came on for Milner on the left and tried hard as usual but generally England were below par nd will need to improve ... fast!
Familiar face in the ITV studio with Patrick Viera and Kevin Keegan giving their opinions
Adrian Chiles had to apologize after the blackout of Gerrard's goal
Fortunately we were to see the Gerrard's goal in replays later!
This is the moment Robert Green will want to forget. A shot from distance from Dempsey after 40 minutes looked harmless but alas.........
....the ball squirmed out of his grasp and rolled ove the line !
The USA supporters were a little worried when Howard was injured saving but England failed to add to their score
Another poor game with only two things to remember - a stupid hand ball by Ghezzal resulting in a second yellow card and sending off and yet another goalkeeping error this time by Chaouchi who has probably cost Algeria their place in the last 16
Ghani became the first African team to win and they just about deserved it scoring from a penalty in the 84th minute.
A shot from Koran after 79 minutes was missed by Chaouchi who failed to get his body behind the ball.
Germany thrashed Australia and if they continue this impressive form they are certain to play the runners-up in England's group. They have an embarrassment of strikers - all 4 having a run out in this easy win.
Podolski gave them the lead after 8 mins with a cracking shot
Kose beat Schwarzer to head the second on 27 minutes
Mueller made it 3 in the second half
Everton's Cahill got a straight red card for this tackle from behind. A little harsh on Premier League standards
We were expecting great things from Holland but alas the football continues to be quite poor in the World Cup. The Danes failed to make much impression and Holland ended easy winners
Poulsen made up for his earlier error by this wonderful clearance from underneath the bar in the final minutes
Japan 1 Cameroon 0
The first goal was bizarre. A cross was mis-headed by Poulsen straight off Agger into his own net. Poulsen seemed to find the whole thing very amusing. I doubt his manager did!
The game improved a bit in the second half and the Dutch made the game safe after 85 minutes. Elia shot past Sorensen but his effort hit the post only to rebound to Kuyt who was able to tap home
Some Dutch supporters think they have won the cup already
Yet another poor game with winners Japan having only three shots on goal
The inscrutable Japan manager must have been just a little worried about the antics of his keeper
A goal by Honda was the vehicle for the Japanese win ( sorry about that) and their supporters had something to smile about
While the Cameroon supporters wondered if Samuel Eto was actually playing the Japanese fans could not believe they were actually going to win a world cup game!
It was no surprise that City's Santa Cruz was not fit to play in this rain lashed game in Cape Town. Italy were well below their best in an average game and they came back from a goal down to take a point.
The Paraguay supporters were the most colourful
Italy were shocked when Paraguay took the lead through Alcaraz following a free kick
For some supporters it was diffcult to keep dry in the conditions
Italy improved in the second half and they drew level after another goal keeping error when Villar completely missed a cross and De Rossi easily scored
It was praying time for some Paraguay fans
Get your hat on straight!
New Zealand 1 Slovakia 1
Not the best of games with New Zealand defending stubbornly throughout and they equalized with almost the last touch of the game. City eyes were on Vladdy Weiss who showed some nice touches
Vladimir Weiss played quite well and talk now is that he will go out on loan again next season - Newcastle perhaps?
One more word from you and you'll go on loan to Bolton!
Slovakia took the lead after 60 minutes throughVittek
A last gasp header by Reid gave New Zealand supporters plenty to shout about - their best result in the World Cup
We were expecting a lot from this game and got nothing.This World Cup must be the worst ever!
For City fans the Toure brothers were of special interest. It now looks like Yaya Toure will be joining us next season
This was the attitude of Ronaldo during the Portugal national anthem. Need we say more!
Now there's a face we know. Sven's on the job again
A change from Notts County and City!
Yes it was a wonderful, exciting adventure!!
At least Brazil wanted to score and attack and it was only splendid defending in depth by the unknown Korean side that kept the score down. Robinho did his usual thing and actually tackled back once! His pass for Elano to score was very good . Was not too impressed with Fabiano though. Maicon looked worth a few bob!
There was plenty of support for Brazil . Can't wait to see my first sky blue Vuvuzela
In tears during the North Korean anthem Jong Tae-se was their best player
Will he return to City we wonder?
Brazil took the lead with an amazing goal by Maicon from a very narrow angle after 55 minutes. The keeper had left some space for him!
Despite the cold weather supporters of both sides were enjoying themselves
Brazil notched their second after a sublime pass by Robinho inside the fullback left Elano the easy task of passing the ball past the keeper
Elano was happy and one supporter seemed to think the Cup was already theirs!
North Korea got a goal towards the end- Ji Yun-nam even getting some applause from his coach for his effort!
Yet another poor game with plenty of empty seats - a single goal giving Chile the edge
After 34 minutes Beausejour scored for Chile who dominated the game and should have scored more
This was a major shock. Spain - one of the favorites were beaten by a fortunate goal by ex City player Gelson Fernandes. The Swiss defended brilliantly and in the end were too good for the so called Spanish stars
Britsh referee Howard Webb has his first game in the World Cup
time for a snack before the game
Diego Forlan was easily the star of this demolition of the home team. He scored a cracking goal from long range and a penalty and such was his overall skill and workrate that I would not be surpised if he returned to the Premiership
The Spanish fans were very confident and I am sure Fernandes as he worked hard in the first half didn't know what was to happen later
A long goal kick ended with a mix-up in the Spanish goal box and Gelson Fernandes was on the spot to push the ball home for a lucky goal
I doubt whether Gelson who now plays in France cared it was fortunate as he celebrated
South Africa 0 Paraguay 3
Argentina 4 South Korea 1
Forlan scored after 24 minutes and there was a drop in the noise by the home supporters
You needed to be well wrapped up
With ten minutes to go Suarez was tripped by the keeper ( or was he?). This resulted in a red card for the keeper and a penalty
Keeper Khune was devasted as he went off and Forlan had to wait 5 minutes to take the penalty while a substitute keeper was brought on
Despite the wait Forlan smashed the ball home and the South African supporters had less to cheer about
Just on time Pereira scored a third and by then many of the home supporters had already left
The magic of Messi, the hard work of Tevez and the finishing of Higuain made this an easy win for Argentina. A defensive error gave South Korea a goal but it was a mere blip in another excellent performance.
Greece came back to win after being a goal down. It was an error by Nigerian keeper who had played well that gave Greece their chance. A stupid sending off did not help Nigeria.
A poor French side lost easily to Mexico who should have scored a lot more. I am sure there are quite a few in ireland glad to see the back of the French after the Henry handball offence in the qualifiers
An own goal by Park gave Argentina the lead
A header by Higuain made it 2 after 33 minutes
A mistake by Demichelis let in Lee Chung-yong who gave the Korean supporters something to cheer about
Carlos Tevez shows his fustration as one chance goes abegging
On 76 minutes Higuain made it 3-1 with a downward header
Higuain completed his hat-trick 4 minutes later and their fans enjoyed the moment
a free kick by Uche from 40 yards fooled the Greece defence and went straight into the goal to please the Nigerian fans after 16 minutes
A stupid and unnecessary kick by Kaita ended in a red card and an undignified exit for the Nigerian player
A goal just before half time by Salpingidis levelled the scores and Torosidis took advantage of an error by the keeper to score the winner
Come back Trio Los Panchos
New United signing Hernandez gave Mexico the lead on 64 mins
Mexico got a penalty 15 minutes later.....
....and veteran Blanco scored from the spot to the delight of the Mexican supporters
The French were devastated and a few must have thought of rebuilding a guillotine..... for whom I wonder ?.....
coach Raymond Domenech will be a favourite
Another surprise result. A missed penalty by Podolski and the sending off of Klose didn't help Germany's cause but they were not as comfortable as they were in their last game.
After 38 minutes Serbia scored through Jovanovic from a cross by Krasic ( a City target)
Klose had been red carded after a second yellow only minutes before the Serbian goal
An uneccessary handball by Vidic gave germany the chance to equalize
...... but keeper Stojkovic saved a poor penalty kick by Podolski
After being two goals down the USA did well to recover and had a good winning goal dissallowed
I was surprised to see Elvis and his twin brother at the anthems but there were some other golden oldies there too1
The USA had plenty of support at the game
Birsa gave Slovenia the lead after 13 minutes from outside the penalty area
Ljubijankic made it two just before half time and his team had much to celebrate
USA were a different team in the second half and Donovan scored a cracking goal from a narrow angle following an error by Cesar
Bradley scored the equalizer after 82 minutes and USA fans were happy again
This was a poor display by England with very few plus points. David James replaced Green in goal and did everything asked of him and Gareth Barry did well especially in the first half but up front there was little creativity and Rooney seems to have lost his ability to cause problems for the opposition. Their keeper was rarely put under pressure and there was little belief in England attacks. England now must win against Slovenia next week if they are to stand a chance of going through to the next round. There was little to cheer the fans who have paid thousands of pounds to support England in South Africa
Could there be something wrong I wonder!
One does try to look positive about things !
Something to forget when you get older
What are you smiling about!!
Have I got some bad news for you!
At least they had something to cheer about - a point!
Spot the Algerian supporter
Holland qualified for the next round with this hard earned win over Japan. A keepers error dealing with the infamous ball cost Japan dear. It was not the best of games to watch.
Sneijder's powerful shot fooled the keeper and flew into the net off his gloves
Australia were reduced to ten men when Kewell was sent off but they managed to draw against Ghana in a very watchable game
Australia took the lead through Holman on 11 minutes after the keeper had first blocked a free kick
On 24 minutes Kewell stopped a shot on the goal line with his arm and the referee gave a penalty
Kewell got a red card and Gyan scored from the penalty
An open game for a change with lots of defensive errors but an entertaining game. Denmark will now have to battle with Japan for qualification
There was no lack of colourful support for the two teams
Eto put the Cameroon team ahead after a defensive error by Poulsen who failed to clear correctly
Bendtner levelled the scores just after the half hour
After 61 minutes Rommedahl scored a great winner
A brave block by Kjaer and a great save by Stoke's Sorensen denied Cameroon an equalizer
Paraguay moved to the top of their group with an easy win over Slovakia. Interest to City supporters was the form of Santa Cruz and Weiss. Both had 90 minutes on the pitch and both had their moments but will they have a place in the City team next season?
Vera under pressure scored a great goal after 27 minutes curling the ball past the keeper
Santa Cruz had a good chance after 40 minutes to make it two but his effort was saved by the keeper
There were occasions when City players Weiss and Santa Cruz were in direct opposition in the game
Paraguay made the game safe 3 minutes from time when Riveros hit the ball home
It was nice touch at full time to see Santa Cruz and Weiss hug and exchange shirts
Yet another shock result with the holders being held to a draw by a team that included an amateur! This was a wonderful result for a team that played with guts and great defensive discipline. They are coached by a man who is earning a year less than many Premier players get in a week! They took the lead after just 7 minutes and the whole of New Zealand must have erupted at 2 in the morning. Italy got a fortunate penalty to equalize and now have to play Slovakia - a Weiss hat trick perhaps!
Italy had an early shock when Smeltz nipped in following a free kick to score easily
While one set of fans were very happy another set had other feelings!
A holding offence by Smith on Rossi gave Italy a penalty and Iaquita scored from the spot
The Italians celebrated with their vuvezela impressions
While ITV French pundits had more shocks to catch up on in the French camp
At full time the New Zealanders had plenty to celebrate while the Italians wondered whether they would even qualify!
The Italian players just could not believe what had happened
This was a smashing game spoilt by a terrible act of cheating by Keita which got Kaka sent off. The referee who could not have actually seen the off the ball incident was fooled . FIFA must act to penalise Keita as there is plenty of video evidence. Brazil were easily the best team and much be favourites to win the World Cup.
City players Kolo Toure and Robinho were in opposition
Fabiano gave Brazil a well earned lead after 25 minutes after a great through ball from Kaka
Fabiano got his second goal on 51 minutes after a possible hand ball went un-noticed - even by a dummy
Ex City player Elano notched the third from a cross from Kaka and celebrated by producing his shin pads that had the names of his kids printed on.
Drogba scored a consolation header for the Ivory Coast
The game ended on a sour note with Kaka being sent off after he barely touched Keito who then fell to the ground clutching his face . Kaka got a second yellow card and a red. Such a shame. This play acting cheating must be cut out of the game and video evidence must be allowed to suspend guilty players for long periods.
It was game upto half time with Portugal ahead by a single goal. After the second goal Korea collapsed and there was a goal feast with six different scorers. Portugal must now face Brazil on Friday.
No it's not a test match in Manchester but heavy rain in Cape Town gave a great welcome to supporters
Meireles gave Portugal the lead after 29 minutes
Simao made it 2-0 in the 53rd minute
Almeida made it 3-0 three minutes later and it was game over
Liedson made it five nil and Ronaldo hit the nunber 6
Tiago got his second and that made it seven - yes you counted right kid!
Eusebio gives the thumbs up at the result
This is Eusebio in action in 1966 during Portugal training in Cheadle Manchester
A late winner by Gonzalez put Chile on top of their group but they play Spain on Friday so plenty to play for. Not a great game
The game was spoilt by Saudi refeeree Khalil Al Ghamdi who gave out 9 yellow cards and a red!
WEst Ham player Behrami was sent off for striking Vidal was early as the 30th minutes
Gonzalez headed home the winner after 75 minutes
The agony and the ecstasy
Spain missed a chance to get some goals under their belt in this one sided affair in Ellis Park.
Villa scored two great goals but missed a penalty and many other chances were scorned
David Villa gave Spain the lead after 17 minutes- Roberto sign him up!
Villa got his second 6 minutes after the interval
ten minutes later Spain had a penalty....
...... and David Villa had his chance to make it three but he shot wide
While the fans preferred a Vuvuzela this player had his mouth full of cotton wool
France must be in mourning after their dismal display and dismissal from the World Cup. The French team have been in decline for several years now so I suppose this result was no great shock. At least hosts South Africa won a game despite being the first host side to be ousted so early in the competition.
Although depending on the other result the home supporters were confident before the game of qualifying
Greece 0 Argentina 2
Uruguay 1 Mexico 0
A hard fought game ended with a draw and South Korea go trough to the next round.
South Africa took the lead with a header from Khumalo after 20 minutes
France had a blow when Gourcuff was sent off for this elbow by the Columbian referee
Cisse thought at first he had been given the card while coach Domenech was not the happiest of bunnies
When Mphela notched their second after 37 minutes the home supporters thought they were home and dry
Henry and Evra on the bench look really happy don't they?
Henry came on in the second half - no doubt getting advice on handling the ball from Domenech
Good camera choice and someone's expecting
Thank godness for specsavers!
When the French scored through Malouda late on the home fans saw their chance of qualifying disappearing
Poor Ribery could not get his shirt off at the final whistle and the French coach refused to shake hands with his South African counterpart - incredible
There was no playing for a draw in this game which was won by a goal by Suarez.
Greece just defended throughout this game which was won easily by Argentine who had rested several of their top players
Defender Demichelis scored following a corner after 77 minutes to give Argentina the lead they deserved
With only a minute or so to go sustitue Palermo notched a second and they had topped thier group with three wins
Maradona was quite pleased and oh and there's the hand of god!
Uche gave Nigeria the lead after 12 minutes
Lee Jung-soo made it 1-1 on 38 minutes
Park Chu-Young put South Korea ahead from a free kick but 10 minutes later Yakubu scored from a penalty to even things up
The miss of the match and probably of the tournament came just before the penalty when Yakubu shot past the post from a yard or so from goal with nobody to beat.- amazing
A much improved display by England gave Englnd victory over Slovenia. It should have been 2 or 3 nil but good goalkeeping kept the score to one. The introduction of Defoe and Milner improved the team display and Upson did well in defence. Now it's Germany in the next round. Hope they practice penalties! Rooney was still not at his best - hope he's keeping it for Germany.
A winner in the very last minute ensured that USA would top the league by more goals scored and play Ghana in the next round
Ghana 0 Germany 1
This was not an easy win for Germany and now we may see Boeteng against Milner in the next game
Despite their win Australia finished in 3rd place on goal difference so they are now out of the competition
So both sets of supporters must now feel a little down after their teams finished at the bottom of their section
A goal by Defoe from a great cross by Milner ( hope he comes to City!) gave England the lead after 22 minutes
Defoe took his chance really well and Englans started to dominate the game
Copello was his usual emotional self
Rooney missed a really good chance when put through by Lampard but the keeper made a great save pushing the ball onto a post so England supporters had to stay calm for the rest of the match
Ex President Bill Clinton no doubt enjoyed the USA victory and checked with the FIFA President whether he was democrat or republican!
Donovan scored the well deserved winner and the players celebrated
There were some amazing get-ups by the Ghanaian fans
It was interesting for City fane to see their new signing Jerome Boateng playing at left back when he mainly plays in the centre or right hand side
A great strike by Ozil from outside the area put paid to Ghana hopes in the 60th minute
Tagoe had a good chance but the Germans managed to hold out for the win
A header by Cahill gave Australia the lead after 69 minutes
Holman scored second for Australia and Serbia's consolation came from Pantelic
A dramatic game saw holdrs Italy knocked out of the World Cup and the end for manager Lippi. It was an exciting game with moments of drame at the end when even referee Howard Webb ended in the net! No Weiss in the Slovakia lineup today.
Slovakia took the lead through Vittek after 25 minutes
While one set of fans were overjoyed the other looked a trifle worried!
Vittek made it two nil in the 73rd minute from close range and all hope seemed to go for the Italy team
Di Natale scored in the 88th minutes and when Quagliarella went to get the ball from the net for a quick restart there started a melee between the keeper and a number of players
Howard Webb did a good job in sorting things out
Substitute Kopunek hadn't been on the pitch very long before he nicked the ball over the keeper to make it three
Quagliarella managed to score in the 90th minutes for Italy but it was all too late and they were out
It was hard to take for both fans and players
Not the best of games but at least New Zealand did not lose any games despite being knocked out of the competition
Santa Cruz did have one chance but the keeper saved - will he be still at City next season I wonder!
A good game with an impressive display by Japan who outplayed Denmark and qualified to play Paraguay next Tuesday
Both sets of fans dressed for the occasion!
Honda scored from a great free kick to give Japan the lead after 17 minutes
Japan enxtended their lead with a second free kick goal by Endo after half an hour
In the 80th minutes Denmark won a corner when Agger was pushed in the box. The Japan keeper saved the spot kick.......
..... but the ball rebounded back to the taker Tomasson who scored
Japan were not finished and Okazaki scored thier third with two minutes left on the clock
Holland completed their third win and topped the group.They now face Slovakia
Van Persie gave Holland the lead after 36 minutes shooting through the legs of the keeper
A hand ball gave Eto the chance to score from a penalty which he put away to level the scores
The Cameroon fans were lifted for a while
Huntelaar gave Holland the winner with 6 minutes to go and they ended top of their group
Brazil lacking Elano, Kaka and Robinho failed to score and it was a disappointing game overall. Littered with yellow cards - 7 of them- there was little good football to appreciate. With both teams almost certain to qualify it looked like a agreed result!.
Fabiana getting booked - one of many
Ivory Coast 3 North Korea 0
Switzerland 0 Honduras 0
The nearest Portugal got to scoring
An easy win for Ivory Coast. They needed Portugal to lose and for them to beat North Korea by many goals in order to qualify. Good display by possible City signing Ya Ya Toure
Ya Ya Toure passes the ball into the far corner of the goal to put Ivory Coast ahead in the 14th minute
6 minutes later Romarec made it 2-0
Kalou made it three nil with 8 minutes to go
Chile deserved something from this game. They attacked with gusto and had to play for about an hour with ten men after Estrada had been sent off for a second yellow given for an accidental touch on Torres who went down as though shot! Villa scored an amzing goal from distance. Spain now play Portugal and Chile face Brazil
Some fans had to bear heavy loads!
After 24 minutes Chile keeper Bravo cane well out of goal to clear from Torres but his kick went straight to Villa who hit the ball first time and it just sailed into goal
On 37 minutes Iniesta scored a good second goal but during th build-up Torres went down off the ball and Estrada got his second yellow and off he went - spoilt the game
Just after the start of the second half Millar got a goal back when his shot hit a defender enroute.
These fans put on a bit of a show
City possible David Silva almost got on in the final moments but the ball never went out for the last four minutes!
This was a non event! Nothing to report!
A closely fought game went to extra time and it took a terrific strike by Suarez to win it for Urugauy
A cross by Forlan was met by Suarez who scored from a narrow angle to gie Uruguay the lead
South Korea came alight when Chung-yong headed home to equalize
With only ten minutes to go Suarez scored again curling in a great strike to win it for Uruguay
The manager and Suarez were delighted and Uruguay now play Ghana is the quater final
The last remaining African team needed extra time to beat USA in a hard fought game
Ghana took an early lead in the 5th minute when Boateng scored from the edge of the area
The USA levelled the scored when Demsey was tripped and Donovan slotted home the penalty
The overjoyed USA fans were silenced when Gyan cracked home the winner early in extra time
Even keeper Howard came up to help his colleagues in some last minute corners
But for USA supporters it was time to reflect on what might have been !
For the Ghanian players and fans it was time for celebration
This was a disaster waiting to happen and the England players will be returning to the UK with their tails between their legs after this performance. I doubt whether Capello will keep his job and the only possible good thing to come out of this game is the possibility that FIFA will now look at video evidence for ball over the line problems. Sepp Blatter has been against it but pressure from many sources may make him rethink. Other sports such as cricket and tennis have embraced it so why not soccer. The equalizing goal that never was will be used by many as an excuse for England's loss but face it Germany were the better team and took their chance well. The poor form of Rooney has been a mystery and far too much reliance was placed on him to succeed. One wonders how much support Capello had in the dressing room and his inflexibility didn't help but the lack of passion by the players was the main reason for this failure.
A long punt forward caught out Upson and Terry and Klose put Germany ahead after 20 minutes
When Podolski scored the second for Germany after 32 minutes it looked grim for England
England had an effort well saved by Neuer but after 37 minutes Upson headed in a Gerrard cross to reduce the deficit
A few minutes later a shot from Lampard hit the bar and came down clearly well behind the line but a goal was not given
Nobody could believe the mistake by the referee and linesman but it may make history when FIFA meet again
Germany added two more goals in the second half Muller netting in the 67th and 70th minute
I doubt whether Mick Jagger got much satisfaction from this game
Is this the future England Manager in deep thought!
While the German fans look forward to a game against Argentina the England supporters face the long road home
A terrific goal by City's CarlosTevez put paid to Mexico's hopes and Argentina once more looked impressive and Messi has yet to score a goal!
The strong Mexican support had a shock in the 26th minute. Having lost the ball in a duel with the keeper Tevez..........
....... was in an offside position when the ball was headed to him by Messi but Tevez managed score and the goal stood!
As Carlos celebrated the referee had a problem
Referee Rosetti and his assistant had a chat and no doubt tried to reach Blatter on his mobile but in the end the goal stood and Mexico were not pleased
A few minutes later Higuain scored a second goal for Argentina
The games brightest moment came after 53 minutes when Carlos Tevez went past several defenders and smacked the ball home from 25 yards. More like this for us next season Carlos!
Maradona looked quite pleased and gave Tevez a hug - hope Carlos has recovered from it by next season!
Hernandez got a late consolation goal for Mexico
Holland made hard work of this win and now face Brazil in the quarter final
Robben scored the first Holland goal after cutting in from the right wing and slotting the ball past Mucha after 18 minutes
Hope you got some good pics!
Good to see Vladdy Weiss back in the Slovakian team
Sneijder scored the second Dutch goal after Kuyt had beaten Mucha to the ball
Kuyt beating Mucha then joining in the celebrations
Slovakia scored with the very last kick of the game from a penalty by Vittek
Although Chile tried hard they were no match in the end for Brazil who look difficult to beat. Robinho scored a good goal and it will be interesting to see whether his future lies with City
A header from Juan gve Brazil the lead after 35 minutes
Fabiano rounded the keeper to score number two for Brazil three minutes later
After 59 minutes Ramires broke through and passed to Robinho who stroked the ball into the top corner with a brilliant effort
While the Chile fans had a long journey home the Brazilian fans think they have the cup wrapped up already
Paraguay 0 Japan 0 - Paraguay won on penalties 5-3
This was a pretty boring game with few chances at either end. The only excitement came at the end.
City's Santa Cruz had just one chance during the game
So who's having a nap then?
There was more to see off the field than on it!
After the first sets of penalties were well taken by both sides it was disaster time for Komano who hit the bar withe score on 3-2 for Paraguay
It was a big blow for the Japanese squad and supporters
It was then upto Oscar Cardozo to finish Japan off with a carefully placed relaxed penalty
South Americal prayers were answered and Paraguay will now face Spain in the quarter final
A tough encounter between these rivals ended with a great goal by Villa for Spain. The Portugal side that tended to defend in depth left Ronaldo upfront on his own and he hardly had a decent pass all game..
Spain keeper Casillas had plenty of time to make faces inbetween the odd save
Get your focus right guys!
Cometh the 63rd minute and cometh the man - David Villa whose reaction was very quick to put away the initial block by Eduardo after good work by Inesta and Xavi
All Spain rejoiced and now they face Paraguay. Shame City didn't sign Villa earlier. At least we got Silva
So the World Cup has ended for Ronaldo and he didn't help his profile by spitting at the camera at the end of the game!
City sign David Silva - its now official - The 24 year old attacking midfielder from Valencia has signed a five year deal and next should be Yaya Toure and then Milner. Obtaining a new attacker is proving more difficult however but we wait in hope. Looks like a strong squad for next season.
This was a real surprise. At half time with Brazil ahead through goal by Robinho it looked all over but Holland came back to win with a defensive error at a fee kick and a header from an unmarked Sneijder. A stupid stamp by Melo saw him red carded and Brazil were out.
Stop whistling dear - its rude!
A terrific through ball by Juan gave Robinho a great chance which he took with ease
He celebrated after planting the ball past the keeper
When Bastos brought down Robben it did not look a dangerrous situation -but following the free kick Sneijder hit the ball towards the Brazil goal....
....where Melo went up with his keeper and nudged itinto the goal for an equalizer and all Holland celebrated
On 68 minutes the winner came through a header by Sneijder at a corner
An amazing finish to this game with Suarez handling on the line to save a goal in the last minute f extra time. The penalty was missed and Uruguay went on to win on penalties.
Uruguay 1 Ghana 1
Uruguay won 4-2 on penalties
Robinho seemed to lose his cool with Robben
Brazil went down to ten men when Melo got sent off for stamping on Robben
Nigel De Jong commiserates with his City team mate Robinho
Its all over for this Brazilian youngster
Both sets of supporters were confident of reaching the next round
Ghana took the lead right at the end of the first half -a 40 yard shot from Muntari beating the keeper
Ghana looked good for their lead and an over head attempt by Boateng had the Uruguay fans in a pensive mood
A wonderful swerving free kick by Forlan equalized for Uruguay ten minutes into the second half
As extra time came to his end with Ghana pressing at a corner a header that was on its way into the net ws palmed away by Suarez - another hand of God!
Suarez was sent off and the referee awarded a penalty to Ghana
Gyan hit the bar with his penalty and Uruguay breathed again
With Uruguay ahead 3-2 Adiya had his poor effort saved
It was then upto Abreu to win it for Uruguay which he did with ease so it was not unlucky for number 13
Ghana were devasted especially Gyan
So out went the last African nation and Holland will be the opponents of Uruguay next week
Germany destroyed Diego Maradona's hopes with a blistering display of football to become favorites to win the world cup. Messi started the campaign with hopes of adding to his goals but ended with none while Klose a reserve striker with Bayern Munich took his world cup goals to 14 on his 100th appearance. To think Keegan almost signed him for City many years ago when he was with Leverkusen. Tevez worked his socks off but it was Germany's day and their teamwork was second to none
Germany took the lead after just three minutes . A dangerous free kick by Schweinsteiger was nodded in by Muller who got infront of his marker
We had to wait until the 67th minutes for the second goal Klose tapping in a pass from Podolski
8 minutes later and it was three nil. A great run by Schweinsteiger ( sign him up Roberto) ended with Freidrich prodding the ball home from close range.
German Chancellor Merkel was enjoying the events whilst elsewhere Leonardo DiCaprio (sat behind Jagger ). Di Caprio stars in a new film - Inception - about to be released. I am looking forward to it as a great friend of mine was in charge of SFX .
With a minute to go a side footed volley by Klose from a great pass from the very talented Ozil completed the scoring and Klose got a thank you from new City signing Boateng who had some very good moments in the match
It was all over for Argentina
After a dire first half the game came to light in the second half and some inconsistent refereeing spoilt this tough encounter with Paraguay losing out after working so hard. Spain will play Germany in the semi-final and will have to raise their game to reach the final. Torres once again disappointed and was substituted. Villa is the man -wish we'd signed him!
Almost 60 minutes had been played when Pique held back Cardozo in the box. Casillas saved the penalty........
...... from the save the ball went down the other end and Alcaraz brought down Villa . As he was the last man
Alcaraz had an escape ! He only got a yellow.
Alonso scored from the penalty but the referee made him take it again as attacking players had encroached
The keeper saved the retaken penalty but in the follow-up by players he appeared to bring down Fabregas but this was not spotted by the referee from Guatemala
The referee's inconsistency can be seen at the first penalty when at the moment the ball is played Casillas is off his line and there are several Spanish players encroaching!
After 82 minutes Villa scored the winner after an effort by Pedro had hit the post
Santa Cruz had a late chance for Parguay but he failed to beat the keeper- somehow I don't think we shall see much of him next season
While Cardoza was in tears at the end the Spanish fans enjoyed themselves
Holland 3 Uruguay 2 -semi-final
Holland have deservedly won through to the final of the World Cup for the first time for 32 years, beating Uruguay in a tough encounter. There were two wonder strikes by Van Bronckhorst and Forlan and Holland were 3-1 ahead with only a few minutes to go but a late goal by Uruguay who missed Suarez made it an exciting last few moments.
Surely not escaped from the Kruger!
On 18 minutes Van Bronckhorst hit a long shot from over 35 yards and it went like a missile into the top corner
Just before half time Diego Forlan made it one all with a curling 25 yarder that somehow beat the keeper
On 70 minutes Sneijder put Holland ahead and the Dutch royals liked it
A classy header by Robben three minutes later seemed to end the hopes of Uruguay........
........ but a last gasp shot by Pereira gave them a glimmer of hope but soon the final whistle went and it was all over for them
I doubt whether you will see this hat at Ascot!
The Dutch feel the World Cup is theirs
Spain 1 Germany 0 - semi-final
In the end the superior passing and higher technical ability of the Spanish side paid off and they go through to meet Holland in the Final. The Germans were a bit too defensive and rarely troubled the Spanish defence. They missed the suspended Muller. Spain started without the out-of -form Torres and had Pedro (his successor) not been so selfish at the end trying to score himself instead of passing, Spain would have scored a second goal. As it was it was left to a great header at a corner by Puyol to be the winner.
No No surely not another hat for Ascot!
Kroos missed a good chance to equalize when he shot at Casillas
Spain missed a great chance when a cross evaded everybody
The only goal came after 73 minutes when a corner was met by Puyol at the edge of the area and the ball flew into the net
There were great celebrations by both players and Spanish fans
It was disappointing to see City defender Boeteng subbed after 52 minutes. He does seem to have a long throw. That could be useful next season.
However City supporters did get a glimpse of our new signing David Silva who came on for the final 8 minutes
Germany 3 Uruguay 2 third place game
This was a very good game that nearly went to extra time as a Forlan freekick hit the post with the very last kick of the 93 minutes. Both side went for a win and Germany just about deserved their triumph. Plus point for City fans was the form of Boateng who was at right back and made some good crosses one of which was the assist for the German second goal.
Hands of God Suarez got a kiss from this friendly seal but was booed throughout the game
Uruguay who have had their best world cup had plenty of support
Grmany took the lead when a strong shot by Schweinsteiger was only pushed out by the keeper and Muller was first to react and he slotted the ball home after 18 minutes
Ten minutes later Uruguay drew level when Schweinsteiger lost the ball in midefield and quick as a flash a counter attack ended with Cavani shooting past Butt.
The Uruguay supporters had something to shout about.
This camera is going to get very wet
On 51 minutes a great volleyed goal by Diego Forlan put the South Americans in front
Five minutes later and Germany were level. A great cross by City's Boeteng was headed in by Jansen
With 8 minutes to go Khedira headed in following a corner to give Germany the lead and third place in the World Cup