15.45 - It looks like Pascal Cygan is set to join Arsenal. I don't know much about it him to be honest, and if he signs we'll have to trust Arsene Wenger's judgement, but........I would love us to sign Edmilson.
I know he almost joined before, but there were problems with the number of games he'd played for Brazil or some other creative passport hiccups. Anyway, he's surely played enough games by now to be work permit hassle free. He impressed me when we played Lyon in the Champions League, and he looks like a much better player now. He defends well, he's good in the air, he has pace, and he'd be the perfect ball playing centre-half I believe Arsenal should play alongside Sol Campbell.
If we sign him and nobody else this summer, I won't complain.
I thought for a while that we were going to see the worst final ever, as the Germans played to their defensive strengths, but in the end, Ronaldo came up trumps. He won the ball and followed in on Kahn's fumble for the first, and a first touch and finish that Emile Heskey could only dream of for the second.
His joy at the end was obvious after his nightmare 4 years ago. Now he can go take a holiday, get an estate agent and look forward to playing with Thierry Henry up front next season (you realise of course, I'm thinking if I say it enough, it might come true somehow).
Well done Brazil - despite Rivaldo's entry into the World Cup hall of shame, they've played the best football, scored the best goals and been the most entertaining team in the tournament. I don't suppose you can ask for much more than the best team being the winner.
09.25 - Arsenal and Man Utd are competing for the signature of Turkish goalkeeper, Rustu, according to that shining beacon of truth in the world of football websites, Soccernet.
With the World Cup final tomorrow, Germany's FA will be hoping superstar referee, Pierluigi Collina, forgets about the embarassing gift they gave him a few years back. In terms of the final I'd just like to see a really good match - something we haven't had at this World Cup in my opinion. Let's hope the final is the classic we've all been waiting for.
Arsenal fans living in Cornwall who aren't busy devouring their young, check out this new site.
You have to give him credit for the way he gave young players like Kewell, McPhail, Smith etc a chance, but his Leeds side bordered on thuggish, and some of his own behaviour was fairly poor at times (the Pires incident in particular).
Much has been said about how much money he spent, and I have to say spending £9m on Seth Johnson is a sackable offence in any circumstances. Still, Leeds Chairman, Peter Ridsdale, has always struck me as an intensely dishonest character, and O'Leary's threat today to break his silence if the Leeds 'spin doctors' go over the top shows there has been a serious falling out between the two men. Oh well, let's all laugh at Leeds.......
Why do I keep hearing rumours about Freddie Ljungberg leaving Arsenal? I think I'm right in saying he signed a new 5 year deal last year, and with Bob still injured, we need him to do his thing on the left. So, all other clubs, leave Freddie alone. He's ours, and you can't have him (but I'm quite prepared to let him sign for West Ham when he's 34!).
12.55 - Is it just me......
...or does Ronaldinho look like something out of The Mummy Returns? At least when a commentator says something like,"Oh Ronaldinho terrifies defences.....", it's true on many levels. I wonder if you look at him long enough would you turn into stone?
It seems that Tony Adams is looking away from the playing field when it comes to his future in football. His application for the manager's job at Brentford was unsuccessful, and it seems more likely we've seen the last of our captain on the Highbury turf. Time to retire the number 6 shirt?
I think he'd make a good manager, his recent battles have obviously made him more thoughtful and focussed, and his recent articles on the World Cup for guardian football have been well written pieces that display good insight and tactical knowledge of the game.
Obviously he'd be a fan's favourite for the job once AW's reign is over, and maybe it might benefit Arsenal more for him to get 2 or 3 years management experience in the lower leagues than to play for another potentially injury blighted season.
A few weeks ago I went to see Brazil play Catalunya and I watched Ronaldo carefully.
To me he looked slow, lifeless, limping and missing that explosive burst of speed he used to terrorise defences with. I speculated as to whether or not we'd ever see the 'old Ronaldo' again. Well, I'm quite happy to eat my words, pour scorn on myself for doubting him and now state that he is without doubt the best striker in the world today. Some turn around....let me explain.
Ronaldo scored today with what is known as a 'Toe bog'. There were kids in school who could hit a football really hard with the more traditional method of the inside or outside of the foot. Then there were kids who wore George Webb shoes who used to run up and toe the ball with their steel capped footwear. These kids were known as 'Toe boggers'.
Ronaldo today showed incredible skill today to collect the ball, turn and run at and away from 4 or 5 defenders and then he shot on goal. The minute it went in I was jumping around shouting, "I can't believe he scored with a toe bog!!".
Only the greatest striker in the world would show such sublime skill then score with a toe bog. It's just a good job Arsenal agreed the deal to sign him before the World Cup began ;o)
Turkey's goalkeeper Rustu had another excellent game today - you've gotta love his warpaint - and he becomes the latest in a long line of keepers to be linked with Arsenal. Sooner or later David Seaman has to be step aside. Maybe it's just me, but I think the Indian Summer he's having in terms of his career at the moment is going to fade into an uncomfortable autumn soon, and with neither Richard Wright or Stuart Taylor looking 100% suitable IMO, it would be wise to keep and eye on the keeper market.
16.15 - Does anyone remember the football game that used to be in amusement arcades, and every so often you'd get the ball around the centre circle, whack a few random buttons and all of a sudden you'd get 'SUPER SHOOOOOOT', and your player would do an overhead kick that would take the goalie out of the back of the net if he happened to get in the way of it?
If you do remember it, can you remember how you made it do a 'SUPER SHOOOOOOT'?
Ronaldinho says he loves Seaman.....he also says he has great admiration for Arsenal's goalkeeper. Arsene Wenger talks about the World Cup here, while those of you who take a slightly different view of the tournament, have a look at this (via eatmypiano.org).
16.25 - Almost too hot to type today. Owen Hargreaves has been linked with Arsenal quite consistently over the last 6-9 months, and Soccernet add fuel to the fire today.
As the World Cup action slows down, the transfer speculation hots up. Football 365's round up links us with moves for Lee Bowyer, Hasan Sas and and Edmilson, who was on the verge of signing before but had work permit problems. They also speculate that Keown and Freddie might leave.
I can't see Freddie going anywhere, but Keown might go if he's offered a 2 year deal somewhere else. As it looks like TA's retirement is imminent, we could do with hanging on to Martin, but I have to say I think 1 year is about all he has left in him at the highest level.
Somebody sent me an email today which said this:-
thought you should know that muzzy izzet is signing for west ham."
Er....great. I suppose if I was a West Ham fan it would be even more great. If I was West Ham fan and I had a West Ham blog, I could be called Hamblogger....
14.40 - Startling news reaching us here and it seems those who thought South Korea were guilty of match fixing may have a point.
13.25 - Back in April, A R S E B L O G brought you the Ronaldo to Arsenal story. Like some kind of rolling stone it's gathering moss as it trundles down the hill of outrageous rumours.
Ashley Cole's fine World Cup performances have drawn attention from some big names in Europe, particularly Juventus who are rumoured to have made a £20m+ offer for our left back.
Tony Adams talks about England here and says "'England were too like mid-Nineties Arsenal'. I can't argue with that observation (see June 7th).
When the Irish squad returned home from the World Cup, they were 'treated' to a public reception, fronted by one of Ireland's most irritating and downright cringeworthy broadcasters, Joe Duffy. What happened was embarassing and toe-curlingly awful. Read about it here. Then go back to the main site and check out the World Cup quotes.
My favourite is from Chris Waddle on BBC 5live who said "The Swedish back four is amongst the tallest in the world cup. their average age is 7 foot 4".
It's definitely bye bye Junichi Inamoto, as Arsene Wenger tells him he's not needed at Arsenal. Can't argue with that, and I don't think too many people will shed tears over a player who was at best a decent risk, and at worst a commercial signing to boost Far East merchandise sales.
Nike's Eric Cantona suggests that the Adidas sponsored French team had no room for Puma's Nicolas Anelka. Nothing to do with Nic being a moody old cunt then?
16.09 - Nice to see the England squad rally around a distraught David Seaman, even though the 'comedy' JPGs featuring Nayim have started to appear courtesy of Sp*rs fans with nothing better to do.
David Beckham in particular has been categorical in his defence of Arsenal and England's number 1. Obviously he knows what it feels like to go home with the majority of people (wrongly) blaming you for a World Cup exit. Even Teddy Sheringham has backed big Dave.
Anyway, despite what Ronaldino says, I am convinced he meant to cross the ball, not take a shot on goal.
Elsewhere, the Italians won't let it rest. A national broadcaster in considering suing FIFA for the referee's 'mistakes'. As Tony pointed out in the comments here on June 19th, if they're so gung-ho about the outcome of the match being fixed, why haven't we heard a thing about Vieri's 3 yard miss in the last couple of minutes that would have won it for the Italians?
11.05 - Disappointment for England as they crash out of the World Cup. A 2-1 win for 10 man Brazil the result.
The focus will probably be on Ronaldinho's free kick that caught David Seaman off his guard a bit, but I don't believe for one minute that he was trying to score direct. When the same player got sent off in the 58th minute, it was there for England to have a go, but even with 10 men the Brazilians were faster, quicker to the ball, pressed well and didn't allow England any space.
Owen was utter shite apart from his goal, and his reluctance to press and chase the opposition defence allowed Brazil too much time on the ball. England didn't deliver a decent ball into the box for the whole of the second half, and the complete lack of creativity in midfield cost them dear. In terms of the tournament as a whole, it was a decent effort with a young squad, and they can only improve for Euro 2004.
I felt very sorry for Spunky at the end. While the majority of the England squad will have another chance in a major tournament, you'd have to think this was his last hurrah at international level. It's a shame it ended like that for him....
It looks like it's going to be Brazil's year......
14.34 - Oh piss.
Audiogalaxy.com has been Napstered. Basically it's been shut down and now it's nowhere near as handy to get MP3s. All this fucking around with FTP is a pain in the arse....and before anyone tells me I should support the artists by buying CDs instead can go and shite. I've spent more money on music than David Pleat spent on hookers (allegedly). Lots of it is shite so I want to take revenge on the record labels for making me think I liked something when 15 years later I listen to it and think "...were you out of your brain buying that? Oh yeah....I was a bit".
I like free music. Anyone who doesn't like free stuff is a fool.
13.55 - Some Arsenal transfer speculation for you today. Sky Sports have been running a story all morning about Arsenal signing Emre, from Inter Milan. Planet Football goes a bit further and adds another Turk to the story, Hasan Sas. The headline writers for the tabloids would love it - "TURKISH DELIGHT" headlines a plenty.....
The Hofland-van Bommell story resurfaces here, but with no new information.
I've missed football over the last two days. When you get at least 2 live matches a day for 2 1/2 weeks, then nothing, you start to get withdrawal symptoms. England play Brazil tomorrow in the tastiest of the 1/4 finals, and Arsenal's Ronaldo (heh) says he's not losing any sleep over the English team. That's fair enough, it's obviously just the idea of playing France that makes him have fits and spasms and froth at the mouth and stuff...
I'm off to see Kylie tonight. I'll give her one for you .....
Well done South Korea yesterday. The Italians are going mental, making claims of match fixing and biased refereeing, while FIFA have criticised Italy for being sore losers.
When you look at the quality they have throughout their squad - especially up front with Vieri, Totti, Del Piero and Inzaghi (although his quality is a bit suspect), coupled with fantastic defenders like Cannavaro, Nesta, Maldini - why they insist on playing such dour football is a mystery. Or it could be all Trapper Tony's fault.....
Away from football, talk about snared rapid....
11.06 - You know the way you hear these stories about people being abducted by aliens, then having bad dreams and under hypnosis they remember what supposedly happened to them?
Well, I was thinking. Those people must have been abducted by crap aliens, whose mind washing trick at the end isn't up to scratch. Surely there must be top class aliens who are abducting people all day long and setting them back down without them remembering a single thing.
How do any of us know that we haven't been taken away, probed, experimented upon and then brainwashed so we don't remember a thing. Maybe aliens own all the big breweries, and people drinking beer are taking their brain washing potion without even knowing it.
After a night on the beer, people black out, can't remember what happened, and as soon as they have to sit on the toilet they feel an unnatural burning. Is that the curry or the intergalactic rectal examination you recieved the night before?
"It's so crazy, it might just be true."
Football - Japan knocked out by Turkey. Inamoto shows Worthington Cup form and is taken off at half time. Might stop people bleating on about how he's Arsenal class when he clearly isn't.
More accusations from South Korean players about Figo, here.
11.54 - Before this World Cup, Ian Harte was being linked with Inter Milan. Excuse me while.....heheheh...I try and .....hahahaha.....make some kind of .......hohohohohoh.....sense of that.......mwa ha ha ha ha. He'd do well to get a move to Inter Doghouse now.....
Mick McCarthy is set to stay on as manager of the Republic of Ireland. He'll have to do without Niall Quinn and Steve Staunton who have both decided to retire. At least Irish fans can look forward to seeing Harte and Kilbane terrorising defences for another two years. If only they could learn to terrorise opposition defences....
Tenuous link to football here, but check out what must be the stupidest Big Brother contestant of all time on Parallax View. Jesus....
A question - there's a couple of Senegal players called 'Papa' - Papa Djioup I think is one. Would his wife be 'Mama Djioup'?
Finally, Pires fans.....(well, aren't we all?)....you'll find a Bobtacular new site here. Doesn't look quite finished yet though.
A 1-1 draw over 120 minutes meant it came down to the shootout, and although Spain missed two, Ireland missed 3. Ian Harte had already missed a penalty in the second half before a late-late second penalty saw Robbie Keane equalise. Damien Duff was outstanding again- and I have to say he's a player I'd love to see atTHOF.
I have to say I thought Ireland were unlucky, they played pretty well, although on another day Raul could have beaten the offside trap more than once. A heroic effort from all the Irish players, and I could go on about how shite Kilbane and Harte are, but I won't.
The players, managers and coaching staff will go home to a hero's welcome now, and with the effort and commitment they've shown, they deserve it. Except for Harte and Kilbane who are shite.
Apparently we've bid £10m for Denmark's error prone Sunderland keeper, Tomas Sorenson. Why spend £10m on him when we have an identical type keeper in Alex Manninger already on the books? In other speculation, the News of the World today linked us with Turkey's Emre, and the Kevin Hofland signing I'm itching for seems to be getting closer.
Figo is accused of trying to get the South Koreans to play out the draw that would have seen Portugal qualify here. Bad Figo.....
Well done to Senegal who beat Sweden with a golden goal today. The Liverpool bound El Hadji Djiouf says there's more to come from them, and who can doubt him - but does anyone else think his dour onfield manner makes him well suited to life on Merseyside?
15.49 - England are through to the quarter finals after a 3-0 win over Denmark. A good win for Sven's men, but all 3 of the goals came about from Danish errors rather than anything particularly creative from an England player. I thought Ashley Cole was superb today, so two fingers up to 'Big Fat Ron' who was crowing this week that Wayne Bridge would be the better option.
Had a good laugh watching Ian Wright jumping around the BBC studio at half-time, while Peter Schmeichel glowered furiously on. You could see he wasn't enjoying WWW's antics at all. Then Schmeichel was saying that Denmark had no chance in the second half, and was told by Wright to "...fink positive" before he burst out laughing. Funny stuff, unless you're Danish I suppose. To my regular Danish readers, bad luck.
Some other interesting bits and pieces around today. Inamoto-gate continues with the player saying he's not heard anything from AW and still considers himself an Arsenal player, whilePFA chief Gordon Taylor says he's on a list saying he has been released.
Portugal's love affair with match officials in major tournaments continues. After Abel Xavier being banned for 9 months after Euro 2000, Joao Pinto faces a year long ban after being reported for 'assaulting' the referee in their game against South Korea. Quite how Couto got away with not being charged after holding the refs head in his hands is beyond me also.
Ireland take on Spain tomorrow. I'll be back after that to mull over a (win - lucky win - really lucky win - win on penalty shoot out - golden goal) for (Ireland - Spain).
17.58 - Bye bye Figo.
Portugal go home after their 9 men lost 1-0 to South Korea. Can't say I'm too upset - any team that plays that poser Fernando Couto at the back doesn't deserve to qualify.
I have to say I've been surprised at the level of performance from both host nations. The Koreans today looked super-fit and they play nice ball too. Japan as well have improved tremendously from their last World Cup, and with the fanatical support they both have, nobody is going to want to play them.
I was thinking during the week of a cool trick to play on people. Imagine if you lived in a small village, and you got everyone together and arranged to sneak off in the middle of the night to some pre-arranged location. Leave half-eaten dinner plates on the table, televisions on, lights on etc.
In your new location you have supplies to last a week or so - so you wait until people notice you're missing and it all becomes a huge mystery like the Marie Celeste. After a few days, sneak back and when people start asking where you were just pretend you don't know what they mean and say you've been there the whole time, or claim some alien abduction type thing.
When you're hiding you can all perfect your story so it's all very convincing. I don't understand why nobody's thought of it already......
21.52 - A spot of Arsenal news. Alex Manninger, who spent the season on loan at Fiorentina, is attracting the interest of Espanyol, the 'other' team in Barcelona. They have apparently made a bid of around £600,000.
More great planning by the FAI here. Leaving aside the rights and wrongs of the Roy Keane affair, they've demonstrated a total lack of competence in terms of looking after the facilities for the squad - and as a further demonstration of how the Football Association of Ireland works, as soon as Roy Keane left the squad, the players were flying economy class again.
They still haven't replied to my emails either......c*nts.
Finally, more fun at the expense of the Argies here. Thanks again to Steve.
11.35 - That Mick McCarthy spoof Carslberg ad, here.
08.35 - Some rumours I've heard over the last few days:
1- Van Bommell and Hofland have already signed. Arsenal are waiting for AW to return from his World Cup punditry gig before they announce anything.
2- French defender Pascal Cygan is set to join any day now.
3- Arsenal are set to pip Man Utd for the signing of Irish defender Steve Finnan.
Make of them what you will.
I also received an email from some Nigerian woman who claims to have £29,500,000 in gold hidden away somewhere and she can only get it back if I help her and send her some money to pay for the legal costs involved. She says she'll give me some of the gold if I help her. It all sounds very tempting....*cough*....
18.49 - After much hard work and toil, I've now added some comment stuff type thingy. So now when I say something ridiculous and you think "Oooh, I'll tell him what for....oh....I couldn't be arsed clicking onto my email program...", you can just click on the comment link below and call me a c*nt straight away.
14.55 - Sweden and England go through to round 2 from the so-called 'Group of DEATH'.
Sweden drew 1-1 with Argentina, and England played out a 0-0 draw with Nigeria. I know England were just out to do a job but they're going to have to pick up the pace a bit now. For me they sit too deep defensively and allow the opposition too much of the ball. Luckily, Rio Ferdinand seems to be in the form of his life, which just about makes up for the fact that Owen and Heskey have been toothless up front.
19.49 - Congratulations to Robbie Keane as he becomes Ireland's leading goalscorer in World Cup finals, with a grand total of....er.....2.
Ireland are through to the last 16 with a 3-0 win over Saudi Arabia. A not entirely convincing performance and it illustrated how badly Ireland need options on the left. Harte and Kilbane were both pretty shite again, and the minute Harte comes up against a really good player who runs at him time and again, it's going to cost Ireland dearly. Personally I'd play Kelly left back, Duff left wing and let Quinn or Morrisson have a go up front with Keane.
Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger will be delighted to hear Freddie Ljungberg's injury is getting "..worse and worse", but he's likely to play tomorrow against Argentina.
Good luck to all the Gooners in action tomorrow.......
10.45 - France are out of the World Cup. A 2-0 defeat at the hands of Denmark sees France become the first holders to go out in the first round since Brazil in 1966. It's a fairly illustrious group all the same, but one I'm sure France would rather not be part of. I mentioned earlier in the week that all didn't seem right with the French camp, and without the creativity of Pires and Zidane, the internal squabbling has cost them dear.
You have ask the question why a team with the likes of Vieira, Petit, Henry, Trezeguet, Wiltord, Dugarry, Cisse and Djorkaeff were unable to score a single goal in the whole tournament. I would imagine that Roger Lemerre will be looking for a new job sooner rather than later.
That said, well done to Denmark, who played a very solid game today, and after so many defeats by France in recent years, this is some measure of revenge for them.
Also, it means that the Gooners will be able to get a decent rest this summer - so Paddy, Sylvain and Thierry, we're sorry to see you go out, but now just head off to the beach for a couple of weeks, put your feet up and get ready for the new season......
PSV have admitted their interest in Arsenal's/Not Arsenal's Junichi Inamoto. This whole Inamoto thing shows how little Arsenal news there is, with many people claiming he's all of a sudden good enough for a team that won the double without him even getting a sniff of Premiership action.
Ireland v Saudi Arabia later on....I can't see Ireland losing, but with Mick McCarthy's track record I can see us conceding a goal in injury time to give us a 2-1 win when 2-0 would see us through......
14.45 - The BBC are reporting that Arsenal have already released Junichi Inamoto from his contract and have given him a free transfer.
It's hard to believe that the club would let him go on a free having paid the best part of £4m for him a year ago. Even Eddie McGoldrick had resale value......
Anyway, there's been nothing about this from the club itself yet, so we'll have to wait for it to be confirmed or denied before we say anything else.
12.15 - My thanks to Steve for this. You don't have to be English to appreciate it either....;o)
Arsene has a few words about Inamoto here. Whether he stays or not is still debatable, but he's certainly added a few quid to his resale value if he is allowed to leave. In a bit of a World Cup round-up, Ireland's 3rd choice keeper Dean Kiely slams England stars here, Danny Mills says Argentinian players spat at him here, and the FAI offer their 'yes' man a new deal.
Eamonn Dunphy was suspended from RTE - Ireland's national TV network - for being '...tired and emotional'. In other words he turned up pissed. Dunphy of course was highly critical of Mick McCarthy in the light of Keane-gate, but unlike Roy he offered a sincere apology and is now waiting to see if RTE will take him back.
I have to say I'd encourage that kind of thing. If I was the boss of a TV station and the World Cup was going on, I'd hire Dunphy, Paul McGrath, Gazza, George Best and Jimmy Greaves. Ply them with cheap plonk before the games and let them on with it......it would surely make for good television.
Dunphy: "Ireland are...*hic*....a load of shite and Mick McCarthy is a bollix"
Gazza: "Howay, I've never heard of Ireland me...."
George: "I've shagged twelve Miss Worlds you know...."
Award winning stuff if you ask me......
22.25 - That man Inamoto did it again. He scored the only goal of the game as Japan beat Russia 1-0 in front of a watching Arsene Wenger. Some people have chosen to interpret Wenger's comment that "..he was very good today" to mean Inamoto might well have a part to play at Highbury next season.
He's certainly putting on a much better performance than he did on a cold night in Blackburn in the Worthington Cup on one of the rare occassions he got a run out for Arsenal. Fair play to him, but I would like to see him against more worthy opposition before I start raving about like some other folks......
13.25 - The Italians have been very critical of the officials who took charge of their 2-1 defeat at the hands of Croatia. So it's a hearty congratulations to Graham Poll for showing the entire world how incompetent you are. Wouldn't it be funny if he woke up with a horse's head in his bed? Apologies to any Italians reading for the blatant stereotype, but it would be really funny....
Junichi Inamoto's stock has risen dramtically with his performances in this World Cup - as well as being linked with Atalanta in Italy, it's being reported that PSV have made a "...multi-million pound offer" for our Japanese midfielder. How does Van Bommell to Arsenal for £10m + Inamoto sound? I could live with that....
16.55 - A new look A R S E B L O G. Was bored today ........
09.58 - Kanu warns England that Nigeria are determined not to go home with 3 defeats. You have to say that the Nigerians never really do themselves justice in big tournaments. Whether it's lack of preparation or what, you have to say that with the players they have, they really should do better. Kanu is unlikely to play because of an ankle injury.
Mixed emotions here at A R S E B L O G about France's next game - on the one hand, I want France to do well, because of the Arsenal players involved, and it will be a better tournament with them in it. On the other hand, if France get knocked out, it means more rest for Thierry, Paddy and Sylvain, leaving them in better shape for the new season in England.
It seems that there are some problems within the French squad - Trezeguet has already had a public spat with Dessailly and now blames his team-mates for the poor showing so far. Emmanuel Petit says Thierry Henry's red card was deserved, while defender Vincent Candela says it was harsh. They just don't seem to be singing from the same hymn sheet at the moment, and unless they sort themselves out quickly, they could become the first holders not to progress from round 1 since Brazil in 1966. The good news for France is that Zidane is fit again.
Well done England - I didn't think the performance was as good as the BBC seemed to think, but it was impressive nonetheless. Did the second half remind anyone of George Graham's Arsenal?
The 3 Gunners on display all played very well, Rio Ferdinand had the best game I've ever seen him play and overall it was an excellent display in terms of commitment and desire. I have to give a mention now to David Beckham who scored the penalty to make it 1-0.
After the disgraceful way he was treated 4 years ago, for him to come through all the taunts, the accusations, the threats, and all the other ridiculous behaviour towards him was nice to see. People totally lost sight of the fact that all he did was get sent off in a football match. He's shown his character on the pitch, and club loyalties aside, he deserves all the praise he gets in my opinion.
Of course, it all could have been different after France 98 if England's cowardly and selfish manager had just said a couple of words of support - a la Tony Adams - rather than letting a young lad take the blame for England's exit from the tournament. So thank you David Beckham for sticking it right up Glenn Hoddle's arse.
England just need a draw against the Nigerians - who got beaten 2-1 by Freddieland today. Freddie set up Sweden's first with a lovely ball to Larrsson and got involved in a bit of push and shove with Kanu at one stage.
Something for the weekend?
Make your own South Park character here, and read about the Moscow underground here - and I don't mean trains.
20.35 - It's all looking a bit glum for France. A 0-0 draw with Uruguay means they have to beat Denmark by 2 clear goals to progress.
And of course, the tabloids got the story they've all been waiting for....an Arsenal player sent off. As usual the reaction is over the top, as this exclusive of tomorrows back page of The Sun clearly shows.
08.55 - Ow, my head. Went to the pub yesterday to watch Ireland v Germany and kind of stayed there most of the day, evening and night. Now, I have a rotten headache, and my poo seems to have become boiling hot lava. Ah well. I thought Ireland thoroughly
deserved the draw yesterday. Stupid defending let the Germans score after 17 minutes, but from that point Ireland pretty much dominated the game. I have to say, it was the best I have ever seen an Ireland team pass the ball in any game I've watched them in over the last 20 years. They didn't panic, played their game, made some half decent chances, and really only reverted to hitting long balls in the last few minutes.
In the 92nd minute, a long ball, Quinn's knock down, and R.Keane made the headlines for the right reasons. Robbie Keane snuck between two defenders and smacked it past Oliver Kahn - who was Germany's best player. Cue delerium, jumping, drinking, singing and all those other things you do.
Mick McCarthy says "We battered the Germans". Don't know about that to be honest, but if they had won, it would have been a travesty.
Ireland look odds on to qualify now - their next game against Saudi Arabia is must win. The only thing I will say on a slightly negative note, is that the left hand side of the Irish team is painfully weak, slow and basically crap. Harte and Kilbane are both poor players. It's hard to see who could replace Harte at left back, but I'd play Duff ahead of Kilbane in left midfield and stick Quinny up front for the Saudi game.
Meanwhile, Arsenal's Lauren has blasted Cameroon's preparations for the World Cup. You have to wonder at these football associations. The players are playing all season long, but surely from the start of the year leading up to a big tournament, the officials should have nothing much else to do but make sure everything is perfect for the players. Too busy scratching each other's backs and drinking brandy, smoking fat Cuban cigars and having illicit relations with she-males if you ask me.
All eyes tomorrow will be on England v Argentina. Of all the games so far, this is the one I'm looking forward to most. There's so much history, what with wars, Simeone and Beckham, and of course, Maradona, who says England are "...already quaking in their boots". Bring it on.
09.54 - So, FIFA have weighed up the evidence and fined Rivaldo € 6500 or thereabouts. What bright spark in FIFA thought "How can we make an example of him and his actions? I know.....we'll fine him a small percentage of his weekly wage!!"?
What if it had been a player from a smaller country playing for a smaller club....would they have based the fine on his earnings or would he have been fined the same amount?
The only way to punish players misbehaviour on the pitch is to make them miss games. I'm not saying Rivaldo should have been banned, but a retrospective yellow card would have been a more suitable punishment in my opinion. Thus ensuring that he has to behave better or he will face a ban for two yellow cards.
Message to FIFA - You can't fine multi-millionaires and expect anything to change.
00.01 - Well done to Arsenal's Junichi Inamoto.
He hasn't had much of a chance at Arsenal this season, but on today's showing, he doesn't look half bad. He got about in midfield, scored a great goal and rather unfairly had an even better goal - which would have been the winner - ruled out for an infringement only the referee saw.
If the Van Bommel rumours are true though, it's hard to see how he'll get a chance next season either. Competing with Vieira, Edu, Parlour, Van Bronckhorst and Van Bommel puts him right down the pecking order, and he might think a move is the best thing for him. Anyway, he's been the most impressive gooner on show so far. He's got mental hair as well. Good show.
Speaking of Japan v Belgium, what the hell happened to the Belgian team's strip? Up close it's like a kind of flourescent pink, while from a distance it looks orange. I always remember Belgium playing in a deep red, why have they made themselves look Dutch?
After Roger Lemerre complained that Arsenal over-played Robert Pires and were responsible for his injury, Real Madrid's sporting director Jorge Valdano makes the very same point A R S E B L O G did; "If he hadn't taken Zidane to Australia and Chile for friendlies last season, perhaps he would be fit now". Quite right too again.
Sleep now. Have to watch Ireland beat Germany tomorrow ;o)
19.45 - This is great fun. Aside from the game, make sure you pay attention to what 'Roby' says after each kick. My favourite so far - "You will not make a good score if you play boowling!!!".
08.55 - I think I've been watching too much football and eating too much cheese before bed. Last night I dreamt that Freddie Ljungberg had changed his hair and was now sporting a 'Chris Waddle'....with that 'Achy Breaky Heart' mullet and everything.
I tried to tell Freddie that this was a shocking and frankly dispicible way to sport one's hair, but he just said 'Look, everyone's doing it' and when I looked around there were 60,000 Koreans in a football stadium all with the same haircut but with a red stripe. Then they started throwing things at me. Things like old cars, entire buildings and most bizarrely of all, Doberman puppies. All the while, Freddie laughed and flicked his terrible hair like some kind of fashion model. Most odd.
The build up to England v Argentina is warming up. Juan 'seba' Veron says "English people mean nothing to me", thus further helping build an already strained relationship with Manchester United fans, while Bobby Charlton says the Argentinians are 'World champion cheaters'. What an ambassador he is.
Ireland are taking on Germany tomorrow, with Mick McCarthy telling his team to use '...every trick in the book'. Hopefully that means sawing the Germans in half, before someone pulls a rabbit out of the hat to score the winning goal. I think he just means plain old gamesmanship. Ah well, it was too much to expect Ireland to provide the World Cup magic. Sorry.
Finally for now, Anastacia - the wailing, shrieking, eardrum perforating pop star who sings the World Cup anthem, speaks of when she met 'Pay Lay'. Sheesh.
20.25 - So we got our first sendings off of the World Cup today.
Two Turkish players were sent off in their 2-1 defeat by Brazil. Alpay of Aston Villa for hauling down a Brazilian as he was clean through on goal, and then Hakan Unsal got a red card for booting the ball at Rivaldo as he was waiting to take a corner.
Thing is though, the ball hit Rivaldo on the leg, but he went down clutching his face. Shameless and totally unecessary as Unsal would have received a second yellow anyway.
It will be interesting to see if FIFA's disciplinary committee will do anything about this. They said they were going to stamp out cheating - but most of the focus seemed to be on players diving and to be fair there hasn't been much of that so far. If they are going to use video evidence as they say, Rivaldo might find himself being made an example of.
Brazil played today without their captain, Emerson, who dislocated his shoulder in a practice match.... while playing in goal. Not even Mick McCarthy would have put his captain in goal the day before a big game........he'd have just sent him home ;o)
Apparently there's a spoof Carlsberg ad doing the rounds with Mick McCarthy and a punchline along the lines of 'I wouldn't send a player home from the World Cup, but if I did, he'd probably be the best player in the world.' If anyone has it, please send it this way.
All you MP3 lovers and bootleggers and CD rippers, bad news. The music industry has launched it's brand new piracy-proof format.
Had to laugh when I saw this. If I was Alannis Morissette, I might even call it 'ironic', and write a dreary song about it.
Still the search engine reports fill me with horror. Aside from the well worn 'Freddie Ljungbergnude' search which seems to point people this way, I think it's only right to share the fact that someone searched for 'Niall Quinn fisting nude' and arrived here. It's a funny world outside of A R S E B L O G HQ you know.
june 1st 2002
14.30 - Welcome to another month on A R S E B L O G. Summer officially starts now. Hurrah.
Well, Ireland kicked off their World Cup this morning with a credible 1-1 draw with Cameroon. On the first half performance, it was hard to see how Ireland would get anything from the game. However, a much improved performance in the second half saw Matt Holland score a fine equaliser, and Robbie Keane smack the post late on.
It was easy to see that Ireland missed the other Keane in the middle of the park. Taking nothing away from Kinsella and Holland, who both played well enough, they're just a bit too similar for my liking. Elsewhere, Cameroon's pace up front scared the shite out of Breen and Staunton. Eto'o can run the 100 in 10.5 seconds or something like that. Breen and Staunton could be on motorbikes and they still couldn't move that fast, so that's something we have to be more aware of in future games. All in all though, a decent start.
Arsene Wenger has said France's English based players were too tired to perform properly against Senegal. The 1-0 loss was one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history, but I expect France to move up another gear now. They need Zidane back though. In normal circumstances, they would have had Pires to play in that role, but without either of them, France don't look as good.
For those of you into World Cup charts and all that stuff, you can download one from All things footie.