Euro 2012 Live(ish) Text: Spain vs Italy

Here we go again; ‘The next best thing for all those unfortunate not to be able to make it to the ground; experiencing it through someone else’s living room n text form.’

Spain 1 – 1 Italy

Full Time: Much like the Portugal Germany game, a turgid second half followed by a genuinely exciting second half. Based on these two games, Shilts advises you to ignore the first 45 mins of every game for the remainder of the tournament. Faultless logic.

93 mins: Full time.

91 mins: Xavi Alonso tries a trademark long range belter, but the belt breaks and then the rubber flaps about unconvincingly for a goal kick.

90 mins: FUCK OFF NANDO. Torres gets into the box on the left, and can’t quite cut it back to a fellow Spanish shirt. “He really is a shit, shit, shit player” – Jon Champion, 2012.

89 mins: More freekick hyperbole ending in anti climatic nothingness for Spain. The amount of free kicks that you see scored are in no way proportionate to the amount commentators expect them to be scored.

87 mins: Chance for Spain, as Navas puts a low cross into Buffon’s arms, which Torres rubbishly decides not to prevent by sprinting at earth shattering speed and backheeling into the net. WHY DOESN’T HE JUST GO HOME?

84 mins: IN THE PAST… Torres gets in great space, cuts inside a defender attempts an audacious lob from outside the box over an onrushing Buffon, which goes narrowly over. Jon Champion and Craig Burley wax further lyrical about how this makes him appalling, worse than Craig Burley even. A man with a grand total of 40 career goals.

83 mins: IN THE PAST HE WOULDN’T HAVE ALSO JUST GOT A YELLOW CARD FOR ELBOWING SOMEONE IN THE FACE, HE WOULD BE ON A DOUBLE HATTRICK AND HAVE BEDDED FIFTEEN WOMEN.

82 mins: IN THE PAST HE WOULD’VE GONE ROUND EVERYONE AND SCORED THAT. TWICE. Instead, Torres goes past Giovinco and doesn’t immediately score. He’s so dreadful now. Apparently.

81 mins: Both teams pulling off some tiki taka passes, affording me the opportunity to use the phrase again.

78 mins: Obligatory hype before a freekick about Xavi’s masterful prowess at the skill. He promptly plants it into the wall.

76 mins: Di Natale, unmarked, gets on the end of a fiercely driven cross, floundering at the volley and slide tackling it well wide into the hoardings. HE’S LOST IT.

75 mins: IN THE PAST FERNANDO TORRES (on for Fabregas) WOULD HAVE SCORED THAT, BACK WHEN HE SCORED EVERY TIME HE HAD THE BALL FOR LIVERPOOL, REMEMBER? REMEMBER. Torres, gets through on goal and goes to round Buffon, who stays on his feet and deals with it like a defender, punting it out for a throw. Quality.

72 mins: An unmarked Alba weakly volleys across goal, caressing the turf like a sensual massage.

69 mins: The corner comes in and Ramos tries booting several Italians in the face at once with an unconvincing overhead kick attempt which meets neither ball nor bonce.

68 mins: Navas puts in a tricky cross, which Buffon has to tip over. He then does that thing where goalkeepers try to emphasise how good the save was by holding on to the crossbar, an act which adds nothing to the actual save.

67 mins: I began writing as I though something was about to happen but then it didn’t, that’s how exciting this game has become! I’m on edge…

66 mins: Bonucci is yellowed for hacking down Xavi like a careless lumberjack.

63 mins: GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAL! Had just finish writing up the last goal, I look up and David Silva dinks a delightful reverse pass through Italy’s defence with the outside of his boot, and out-and-out striker Cesc Fabregas slots home. More crap music.

60 mins: GOAAAAAAAAL! Di Natale scores after a sumptuous Pirlo pass puts him through on goal. DiNat ignores the traditional ‘FIFA goal’ of passing downwards for his teammate Cassano to tap in, instead bending it round Casillas. Crap music plays to mark this occasion.

59 mins: Spain manager Vicente Del Bosque suckles on his tactical thumb for inspiration.

57 mins: Arbeloa fouls Cassano. I thought I saw Arbeloa on a train to Clapham once, though it turned out it wasn’t him. True story.

55 mins: Balotelli seems to be hauled off for this miss and is replaced by Di Natale. Mario B sits on the bench and seems to just shout, what look like, a lot of swears to the person on his right.

52 mins: Balotelli wins the ball from Ramos excellently, has bags of time to run unchallenged towards Casillas’ goal, but decides to walk towards goal with the swagger of a man strutting down a road playing horrible Grime music on his mobile. Pique gets back and merks him.

50 mins: They’re attacking, Iniesta gets down the left hand side and has a shot saved from a tighter angle than the Kurt Angle ‘angle lock’ from wrestling moves fame. Buffon taps out, but in the good round-the-post-so-the-ball-doesn’t-go-in football sense, rather than the wrestling one, which makes you lose.

49 mins: Fabregas and then Xavi have tangible real life shots that you could see with your eyes! Interesting ‘shooting’ tactic that Spain seem to be employing in the second half this.

46 mins: Yay. More footballs under way. Turns out Spain had 62% possession and still managed to look less threatening, similar to seeing Chris Eubank on a night out, then spilling his drink and getting in a confrontation with him, only to find out he was made of wool.

Half Time: Hooray! The half is over. You know you haven’t enjoyed a match when you actively look forward to the advert in which Ray Winstone has a contrived conversation with himself.

45 mins: Balotelli does a cool thing, keeping the ball in play by the touchline by controlling the ball with a heel behind his head. It gets worked into the box and Thiago Motta has a powerful header saved. The two best chances have both come in the last two minutes of this half, the sort of occurrence which makes none of the documenting of the previous 43 mins feel worthwhile.

44 mins: Iniesta with the first actual properly scoreable chances, which he obligingly scuffs over from close range, attempting a lob and a tasty volley at the same time, producing something not as good as either.

42 mins: Fabregas forces a corner which a striker heads in misses all their players then eventually goes out for a goal kick.

41 mins: I started watching the rain outside my window and had to tear myself away from the exhilarating attacking display to watch this. Sacrifice.

40 mins: Christ this is boring.

38 mins: Spain work it into the box, but Fabregas is penalised for collapsing Maggio like a deckchair. Deckchairs are no longer chairs when they’re collapsed and nobody can rest by the pool on Maggio in his current state. Poor form Cesc.

36 mins: Balotelli, determined to attract negative press, gets yellowed after one more foul. I look forward to his inevitable sending off for attempting to eat the ball.

35 mins: Marchisio tries a scorching volley which becomes tepid by the time it’s saved by Ike Cas. Lukewarm.

33 mins: Cassano produces a stinging shot, which Casillas palms away like a man grabbing a nettle by accident, believing it to be a stress ball. Balotelli fouls Pique in trying to get the rebound, then starts beating up the pitch.

31 mins: Casillas tries to extend Spain’s boring possession football in his own area and Cassano trips him to no complaints from any spectator.

29 mins: Iniesta dances into the box, but instead of being met with a traditional striker/dance partner, his crossed ball tangos its way to Chiellini’s head, he boffs it behind for a corner. Poor tango-ing.

27 mins: The only thing worse than a Mexican wave is being told about one by Jon Champion.

26 mins: Chiellini fouls Xavi repeatedly and Craig Burley commends him. Commentators appear to be confused between wanting more excitement but encouraging foul play the breaks up the pattern of the game.

24 mins: Vaguely exciting play happens as Spain advance into the Italian’s box, but the lack of striker means they contrive to just keep passing it until they lose it.

23 mins: David Silva runs the ball out for a goal kick. Notice that he appears to be sweating profusely down the left hand side of his abdomen. Methinks his kidney is leaking.

21 mins: Cassano rakes a tasty effort across Casillas’ goal mouth, ruining the taste by raking too hard and destroying the texture of goal.

18 mins: Due to missing the pre match warm up, it has taken the ever observant Shilts until now to realise that Spain are playing with no recognisable strikers, presumably solving the problem of how to accommodate their death of world class midfielders by deleting Torres from the team sheet.

17 mins: Thiago Motta gets a boot raked down his side and is hurt by this, much to the scorn of ITV’s commentary team.

16 mins: Sergio Ramos nearly makes a mug of himself dallying on the ball in his own have, but then become a chalice with a lovely Cruyff turn.

12 mins: Pirlo produces a testing low driven free kick, but Casillas passes this test with at least 65% marks, gaining him a comfortable 2:1 and the ball is palmed away.

11 mins: The Spanish break away, and David Silva kindly rolls the ball into Buffon’s gloves. Mind gamez.

9 mins: Balotelli takes a punt from range which is instantly deflected wide. Looked far more threatening live than in slow mo, where it looks more harmless than a dead leaf.

7 mins: TIKI TAKA FOOTBALL from the Spanish, who dink it about in the Italian’s box, the Italians just stand still and this deals with this fine.

6 mins: A presumably intended-to-be-intricate training ground corner from Italy is as predictable as a maze with one wall for the Spanish.

5 mins: Maggio, who’s name reminds me of the moped in GTA Vice City, pootles down the right hand side and has his vehicle written off by a foul from Alba.

4 mins: Nothing of note has happened so far, so I haven’t noted it.

Kick Off: We’re under way in this fixture between the two most recent World Cup winners

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Euro 2012 Live(ish) Text: Germany vs Portugal

The next best thing for all those unfortunate not to be able to make it to the ground; experiencing it through someone else’s living room n text form.

Germany 1 -0 Portugal

Full Time: I quite enjoyed that. BBC pundits castigating Portugal for playing defensive football until they conceded, which I think is unfair. The second half was at least even throughout and Portugal had a bucket full of chances. Controversial opinion I know, but if you’re offended by that then you should hear what I have to say about abortion… It’s whatever your opinion is, because I avoid confrontation on important issues and just nod and politely agree. So don’t stay offended too long, you grudge holding grump.

Anyhow, we all know that game means nothing as ENGERLAND weren’t involved and as a kind of media outlet, I have to purport that I’m not interested unless they’re playing.

Why does Alan Shearer think that a good broadcasting method is shouting his opinions whilst staring at Jake Humphries neck?

95 mins: The players are fine to play now. Doesn’t matter, final whistle, waste of time/FULL TIME.

93 mins: It’s taken the entire game plus the 3 minutes of added injury time for a corner to be dangerous, with Bruno Alves heading narrowly over. He injures himself and Schweinsteiger in doing so, causing the match to be extended past the planned +3 mins of injury time.

92 mins: After a fairly uneventful 4 mins, Ronaldo gets down the left hand side, pulls a ball back to Nani who punts the ball into Badstuber’s back. Corner to Portugal, they’ve been great at these today…

88 mins: Huge chance for Portugal. Olivera is denied from close range by a supreme Neuer save after a ball is incompetently left to slowly roll along the penalty area until it reaches the Portuguese in space.

87 mins: Klose gets all his birthday digs in one (the tradition where you punch the lucky birthday friend in the arms in accordance with how old they are, obviously) from Pepe in the form of a meaty shoulder barge.

85 mins: Hummels heads behind yet another dangerous looking cross which develops into yet another fruitless corner. A crunch corner perhaps, with vanilla choco balls.

83 mins: Coentrão fires n a shot which is deflected out for another rubbish corner. Nani then whips in a cross which Neuer nonchalantly leaves. It promptly crashes into his crossbar.

82 mins: There have been many corners this game. None of them good, including that last one from Portgual.

80 mins: Mats (no sic, its Mats, not Matt, so fuck off.)  Hummels mistakenly produces some Ronaldinho compilation video worthy tekkers, beating a few players before a foul is given against him.

79 mins: Now Klose gets his birthday wish, replacing goalscorer Mario Gomez. He is given the gift of patriotic pride, representing his national team at the highest level, rather than the Topman vouchers he actually wanted.

76 mins: Gomez has another chance to score, nearly meeting a low driven cross with his sliding leg, however he is too late and rather than adding goals to the scoreboard, he just adds mud to his arse.

75 mins: The ball is pinging up both ends like a really convulted game of ping pong. That was a professional different sport comparison there. That’s why nobody is paying me for it…

73 mins: Birthday boy Klose was about to replace Gomez, but is told to sit back down. He gives a thumbs up, but I can tell he#s crying inside, drowning his organs with tears.

72 mins: GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL! Mario Gomez scores a great headed effort, nodding the ball across the goalmouth after a really good Schweinsteiger’ cross. I’ve thrown up my insides.

71 mins: The crowd are still singing this chant. I am bored by it, both in terms of it’s content, and by the fact they’re just singing it on a loop like an irritating 10 hour long internet video.

69 mins: Boateng is booked for grasping CRon’s shoulders, trying an illegal leap frog manoeuvre there.

68 mins: The crowd seem to be singing an incredibly complex yet utterly boring (in terms of the melody) chant.

67 mins: The parp of the ref’s whistle signals yet another foul. Parp. Foul. Parp. Foul.Parp. Foul.Parp. Foul.Parp. Foul.Parp. Foul.Parp. Foul.Parp. Foul.Parp. Foul.Parp. Foul. Parp. Foul. This is the pattern of the game so far. It’s a horrible pattern and doesn’t suit you sir, keep the receipt.

65 mins: Keine Ziele Erlaubt!

64 mins: CRonaldo has a blocked expertly by Boateng, he morphs into the shape of a block with the words ‘no goals allowed’ written on it. In German.

63 mins: Raul Meireles semi accidentally punches Muller in the face in a scrap for the ball, then hugs his German counterpart. Ineffective wrestling move that one.

60 mins: I could see the content of the text in his eyes. Fábio Coentrão gets booked for a savage challenge.

59 mins: Crowd shot of Jose Mourinho getting a chain text about a girl with brain cancer. He laughs.

58 mins: Nasty challenge by Khedira on Moutinho, which he slinks away from, slowly slinking his way down stairs with his metallic spring mechanism.

57 mins: Podolski atones with a tremendous cross onto Gomez’s bonce. It bonces over though.

56 mins: Ozil plays another magical reverse pass into the box, but Podolski enthusiastically runs it out of play like a stupid dog.

54 mins: A ball is swung in and it bounces off Boateng’s balls. Neuer looks to gather it, but dodes so far too lackadaisically and it’s a Portuguese corner. Which comes to nothing.

52 mins: Boateng has the ball by the touchline in his own half, near his own corner flag, and inexplicably tries a backheel which predictably goes out for a throw in to Portugal. Absolutely shit.

51 mins: BUT the ball goes up the other end and Postiga is punished for pulling Khedira’s arm back. That’s exciting right! Right?

49 mins: CRon gets around Boateng using his skills, but once again Hummels heads behind for a corner, like a magnet. Except a shit magnet that doesn’t attach things to itself, but lets them fall off for corners. THE BILE RETURNS! But the corner is poor.

48 mins: The corner is punched away, the Portuguese come back and CRon puts an effort straight into Neuer’s hands. I’ve been sick and the excitement has subsided somewhat.

47 mins: Nani goes round Lahm, puts in a cross to the near post, but Mats Hummels produces a diving header behind for a corner. I’M SO EXCITED I WANT TO BE SICK!

46 mins: Second half is underway, and Germany respond to the first half’s dullness with a flurry of decent chances one after the other. WE SO EXCITED NOW.

Half Time: Despite missing most of that half, I can conclude that that was boring. But as a (sort of) broadcaster, I encourage you to stick with me! For why, I cannot say. Just do it. Please.

45 mins: Pepe smashes a shoot against the underside of the bar from a corner, it bounces off the line and immediately THE DEBATE ABOUT GOAL LINE TECHNOLOGY IS REIGNITED AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN, TALKING POINT! Except the officials have got it right and no goal line technology is needed and Guy Mowbray can shut the fuck up.

43 mins: German fans are warned over the tannoy about throwing stuff about, mainly at Cristiano Ronaldo and therefore, by extension, the entire team. This only seems to give those who weren’t already throwing stuff the idea to throw stuff and more stuff is thrown.

42 mins: Badstuber gets a yellow for trying to smash Nani’s heels in with his boot. Poor heel smashing technique and Nani retains its heels.

41 mins: Portugal go up the other end and bosh one into the hoardings.

40 mins: Also it’s still 0-0. I return to see Thomas Muller rake one wide from a decent angle. A good shot of German’s looking ruffled follows.

39 mins: THE CURRY IS NOT BURNT. I REPEAT, THE CURRY IS NOT BURNT.

31 mins: Podolksi hasn’t scored though, he booted a decent effort into a fella in the top tiers face. BRB.

29 mins: Shilts has to professionally take a break to tend to a curry that he didn’t make and has been forced upon him. It might possibly burn, one of the teams might score, you’ll find out shortly.

26 mins: The two teams are scrapping like the Wombles in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Quite entertaining.

24 mins: Germany’s subsequent freekick is crap.

22 mins: Disallowed goal! Less exciting than it sounds. Khediara is fouled by a gentle caressing kick in the goolies from a stray boot in a challenge. The foot caressing doesn’t prevent him for putting a reverse pass into the box, which Gomez obligingly finishes, almost 30 seconds after the whistle had blatantly gone.

20 mins: My experience of this game has so far been that of close up crowd shots featuring fans noticing themselves on TV and gurning excitedly.

17 mins: The team exclusively made up of Cristiano Ronaldo jinks into the box and attempts to pass. Unfortunately for Ronaldo, being the sole Portuguese player and passer of the ball means that he also couldn’t quite get on the other end.

15 mins: WordPress informs me that this is my 100th post. Yay. I feel like I’ve thrown many pebbles in the internet sea and that the ripples have at best splashed at the ankles of a toddler and perhaps knocked him over. Good.

13 mins: Lawro talks about how tight the pitch is. He has a point, Mats Hummels is currently caught between the advertising hoardings from either side of the stadium, officials are currently freeing him.

11 mins: Helder Postiga is booked after a challenge on Manuel Neuer, seeing the German keeper going over somewhat theatrically and causing Mark Lawrenson to go into his obligatory masturbatory volley of snide sarcastic comments about diving. Let ’em here you Lawro.

10 mins: Mario Gomez creates the most exciting moment of the match, forcing a parry from Rui Patricio with a teasing effort after a low ball was rifled in.  

8 mins: If BBC ‘s billing of this game as Germany vs Cristiano Ronaldo is to be believed, the mercurial son buyer will have a tough time playing all 11 men on his own.

7 mins: Obviously Shilts starts this edition of live Group B international super hybole soccer 7 minutes late.

FA Cup Final: Chelsea vs Liverpool – As it happened!(ish)

“For those who can’t be doing with taking in a game of footballs on the far superior mediums of TV and internet streams and inexplicably preferred to read an incomptent blogger’s account instead.”

Starting from half time. Obviously.

Chelsea (Ramires 11, Drogba 51) 2 – 1 (Carroll 63) Liverpool

FULL TIME

Chelsea win, Di Matteo makes his inevitable sacking more undeserved. Drogba gets bored during the post match interview and runs off. Liverpool’s league failures are made to seem even worse. My fingers ache. That is all for now.

96 mins: Glenn Johnson gets the ball in the Liverpool half, holding onto it for a few seconds patiently until he can pick out the perfect pass. The final whistle blows.

95 mins: The ball splutters about in the Liverpool half, Reina buffoonishly rushes out and Chelsea desperately try and score a long range goal with several pitiful long range attempts.

94 mins: Miracle Gerrard concedes a cynical foul on Drogba, Frankie Lamps tests Reina with the free kick.

93 mins: ‘Miracle’ Gerrard miraculously over hits a cross field pass which miraculously goes out for a miracle Chelsea goal kick.

92 mins: Tyldesley is willing Liverpool to equalise, they’re pumping balls into the box with no success, it’s like trying to spunk in a fly’s mouth.

90 mins: Andy ‘high standards’ Townsend gives the man of the match award to Juan Mata for (paraphrase) ‘playing well for 66% of the match’, as the Spaniard is substituted. It’s almost like he just made an arbitrary choice upon seeing Mata’s name being mentioned in an effort to seem insightful whilst not being obvious…

89 mins: Liverpool win some corners from other corners and finally end the loop by not scoring.

88 mins: The stage is set for Stevie ‘headline maker’ Gerrard. That stage is Wembley, the act is a free kick, the script has him punt the ball into the wall.

86 mins: Smoke.

85 mins: Tyldesley remembers to plug the final’s sponsors after nearly a full 90 mins, and does so with expert tactlessness. Shilts will not degrade himself with such commercialism by typing the name of said beer company on his Toshiba computer and posting it on his Virgin Media boosted internet site.

84 mins: Kenny Dalglish’s face looks like it was drawn in wet sand with a stick.

82 mins: Big moment. Carroll bonces in a header destined for the net, Cech dashes the ball into the underside of the crossbar and it’s cleared. Carroll celebrates but the linesman makes the correct call. BIG MOMENT. BIG. B.I.G. Notorious.

80 mins: Some lovely interplay results in Suarez cutting the ball back altogether too lamely, it dribbles out to Henderson, who spanks it over.

78 mins: Drogba is fine.

77 mins: Drogba hurts his every fragile testicles again, an injury which develops into a pain in his leg. Play is stopped whilst Chelsea’s physios have to begrudgingly play along with his charade once more, presumably pretending to remove his balls from his leg.

76 mins: Waiting to be substituted on for Ramires, Raul Meireles grabs his groin and thrusts it outwards on the sideline.

75 mins: Carroll manages to stay upright this time, nodding narrowly over. He shouts at the ref. Not sure why. Insight.

74 mins: Carroll goes for a header and flattens two defenders, like a graceless Acme anvil.

71 mins: Shilts’ companion claims that Suarez looks like Nigel Thornberry from the cartoon The Wild Thornberrys on account of his long nose and teeth. Shilts disagrees.

69 mins: The ball comes into the Chelsea area from the right, Carroll heads it backwards, the ball hangs in the air, the crowd roar, Steven Gerrard aims for the top corner. And twats it into the Thames.

67 mins: Suarez spins on the spot a la DBergkamp. I can’t be bothered to write Dennis.

66 mins: Buoyed by their goal, Liverpool realise that football is able to be won by scoring goals, an embark on a flurry of attempts at scoring one. Momentum scousers.

64 mins: GOAL! Chelsea dally on the ball, giving it to lanky pleb Andy Carroll, who scores from a very cute angle. Cuter than a kitten in a suit made of rainbows and Zooey Deschanel’s tears. One for the hipster kids.

63 mins: Juan Mata juggles the ball around then plays a backwards ball into Drogba who smashes the ball into the side of the goal.

61 mins: Suarez fouls Drogba in the Liverpool half, prompting referee Phil Dowd to squat his massive podgy frame down like he was laying an egg, which hatches into a foul.

60 mins: Liverpool look like they want to go home early; they’re pulling on their mother’s coat and saying ‘I’m bored mum, I want to go home, I need a wee.”

58 mins: Kalou gets into the left hand side of the Liverpool area and curls one wide to the right and then winces, probably because he trod on a tack or something.

56 mins: Clive Tyldesley talks about the ‘numerous sides and faces’ of Didier Drogba, presumably referring to the Ivorian’s two sides and one face.

54 mins: The ball goes up the other end and an extremely lacklustre clearance sees Liverpool effectively gently chip the ball into Drogba, who handballs and shanks it wide.

53 mins: Suarez smashes a ball in from the right into a sea of Chelsea shirts. They don’t like this and boot it away.

51 mins: GOAL! Didier Drogba scores in his 4th Wembley cup final, rifling one in at Pepe Reina’s bottom left hand corner. He then proceeds to do a celebration which starts like someone miming nipple discharge and then evolves into silly jumping dance where he looks like he’s trodden in an electrified puddle and regrets it.

49 mins: ITV cut to a shot of Kenny Dalglish standing in the Wembley technical areas, which look like a desolate car park. Unless Kenny Dalglish is in a desolate car park, in which case, excuse me Wembley architects.

48 mins: The teams are exchanging corners like Panini stickers that neither want. None come to any sort of fruition.

47 mins: Craig Bellamy punts his corner at the first man rubbishly. It’s probably because he looks like a character from Mummies Alive. Mummies can’t kick.

45 mins: And we’re off, broom broom, let’s drive to FA Cup final city. Are we there yet? Yes.

HALF TIME: Chelsea done went and scored an underwhelming goal, that’s all you need to know from the first half.

Cardiff v West Ham; Championship Play-Off Semi Final: As it happens, occasionally.

Don’t call it a comeback. This is far too underwhelming for that.

For those who can’t be doing with taking in a game of footballs on the far superior mediums of TV and internet streams and inexplicably preferred to read an incomptent blogger’s account instead.

Get in touch via twitter, fax or carrier pigeon.

Cardiff 0 – 2 West Ham (Collison 8, 41)

21 47 Goodnight.

21 46 West Ham will be happy with that lead, though many will be quick to point out Allardyce’s previous play-off semi final failure as Blackpool manager, winning 2-0 away to Bradford in the first leg, they went on to lose 3-0. However, it should also be pointed out that Cardiff are adept at getting to things with the word ‘final’ in their name and then losing. Who will emerge victorious as history repeaters? The losers of the tie. I have confused myself.

21 44 Jack Collison gives a lispy post match interview with a haircut I’ve only just observed as resembling the stalk of a crap vegetable. James Tomkins has a very drained and distressed face; looks like he’s been given two black eyes twice. Rob Green conducts a conversation with himself in his own goalmouth.

21 43 FULL TIME Very little of any note happened in that final 5 minutes, very underwhelming period of play in an otherwise engaging 90 minutes.

21 39 Cardiff seem unaware of the concept or urgency, stroking it about in their own half for unnecessary amounts of time.

21 38 5 added minutes make this last minute seem far less momentous now. I feel silly.

21 37 CAPITALISATION ATTEMPT TO WHIP UP A LAST MINUTE OF NORMAL TIME FRENZY

21 36 One of the crowd is making an incredibly authentic ref whistle noise every now and then. Credit to the players for not being fooled, I have been.

21 35 Both teams crap at aerial raid balls, they’re running into their shelters instead of shooting them down with missiles.

21 33 Joe Mason misses yet another good half chance volley for Cardiff. Rob Green hasn’t had to touch anything all game, which is just as well as he has leprosy.

21 31 Cardiff defensively play the ball around their back four, their fans’ jeers reminding them that they’re losing and that this is an unwise tactical pursuit.

21 29 Some pleasing play from the Bluebirds, culminating in Gunnarson shanking wide. Liam Lawrence jumps up and down on the spot like Dick Dastardly in annoyance.

21 27 Cardiff seem unable to deal with anything in the air when it occurs over their penalty area. They would be rubbish at stopping a Blitzkrieg attack.

20 25 The pregnant headed Rob Earnshaw volleys wide from inside West Ham’s penalty area.

20 24 Aaron Gunnarson’s bullet throws are proving ineffective for the time being, failing to puncture the heads of the West Ham defenders

20 23 Matt Taylor delivers another, in Sky Sports’ words, ‘peach’ of a cross from the left. West Ham don’t want his peaches enough, which is understandable. If someone says ‘hey, do you want some peaches?’ and you say ‘yeah, sure!’ and then they kick them across some grass, you are rarely inclined to eat them.

20 22 It’s like it’s giving birth or something.

20 21 Don Cowie and Kenny Miller are replaced by Stephen McPhail and Bluebird’s favourite Rob Earnshaw. Interesting Earnshaw fact: he has a really bulbous head.

20 20 Cardiff go up the other end, in some play which results in Mark Hudson nodding marginally wide.

21 19 Matt Taylor whips in a succulent ball, but Kevin Nolan doesn’t finish his dinner, heading wide from inside the 6 yard box. He licks the post for comfort.

21 17 A West Ham free kick has David Marshall perform another unorthodox saving style, this time; this time the double handed karate wood chop.

21 16 Cardiff’s Joe Mason gives away a foul. He does a face like he’s begrudgingly accepting a spanking as punishment.

21 15 Lots of shots of particularly ugly members of the crowd now, perhaps marginally more aesthetically pleasing than the game.

21 13 A man with a high fibre diet’s dingle berries.

21 12 Both teams repeatedly giving the ball away now, playing football as attractive as dingle berries.

21 10 The ball bounces around in Cardiff’s area and David Marshall runs out to punch the ball away in a camp manner. Kevin Nolan takes offence at this and boots him, earning him a yellow card.

21 08 Kenny Miller has Cardiff’s best chance of the eve, chesting the ball superbly around the penalty spot, punting over the subsequent chance

21 07 Beatles hybrid George McCartney comes on to provide a solid rhythm guitar in place of vocalist Ricardo Vaz Te

21 05 Darcy Blake looks like he was drawn by Hanna Barbera

21 03 To be fair, the ref does seem a bit lame, I think Tomkins was merely reminding him of this loudly.

21 01 James Tomkins inexplicably starts on the referee, forgetting yer man has judicial ability in this game, earning himself a yellow card.

21 00 Carlton Cole heads off the line from a Cardiff corner

20 58 Kenny Miller breaks through on goal, deciding against shooting, tamely holding up the ball and giving it back to the Hammers instead.

20 57 Aaron Gunnarson does enjoy throwing things, one wonders how he would fare when entrusted with holding babies.

20 56 Rob Green drops the ball from a cross like a hot bitch

20 53 After the offside whistle blows, Cardiff fail to get the traditional needless conversion on target

20 51 Sky Sports “We rarely see a second half exactly the same as the first.” If this happens tonight, one needs’t only read the updates below of the first half twice to replicate the experience of the full game

2050 THE SECOND HALF KICKS OFF AND I CAN’T BE BOTHERED TO TAKE CAPS LOCK OFF

20 47 Malky MacKay has a permanently tragic yet stoic look about him, as if nothing causes him more distress than managing, but its a responsibility that he must bear. It’s like the scene in Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror where the Prime Minister has to fuck a pig to stop terrorists. Exactly like that.

20 43 Sky Sports exhibit a fun compilation of what seems to be Sam Allardyce chewing and inhaling insects through his podgy mouth

20 39  Insightful correspondence now: “I would like West Ham to win as I support them” says Billy from London, “BLUEEEEEEEBIRDS” says @JohnCCFC. Fan opinion and contribution is what makes football the richly intellectually stimulating communal experience that it is.

20 37 Was that a half of football or wasn’t it? It was. Just in case you hadn’t realised.

20 36 HALF TIME

20 35 Carlton Cole nearly ends the fixture 135 minutes early by nearly scoring from the edge of the box, but David Marshall prevents everyone from getting home on time by tipping the ball round the post. David Marshall likes making you late. He hopes you fall out with your family who thought you’d be home in time to tuck them in. Remember that.

20 34 Kevin Nolan gets away with a possible handball, though not for long, as Ben Turner promptly mows him down.

20 31 Sky Sports assert that Cardiff wouldn’t really like to go to Upton Park 2-0 down. They also add that Malky MacKay shits in the woods, which everyone already knew.

20 30 GOAL WEST HAM This time Collison is distracted by no unseen animals and twats the ball into a crowd of players in the Cardiff area, it ends up ricocheting into the net like a pinball fail.

20 28 Cardiff now flamboyantly playing as if they have a large lead

20 25 Following up his arse-clearance from earlier, footballing pioneer Whittingham attempts to score a goal by nearly booting James Tomkins’ face off.

20 23 Collison’s incompetence inspires the Bluebirds, who drive forward and force a failed penalty appeal when Liam Lawrence blunders over. Kenny Miller takes the outrageous decision to try a shot of some quality, which just goes wide.

20 22 Jack Collison lines up a long range pearler, but gets distracted by an invisible dog, which he decides to boot in the head instead.

20 20 Cardiff touch the ball for the sixth time of the evening

20 18 West Ham enjoying the feel of the football beneath their feet, sadly they’re not attempting to make this an enjoyable spectator experience by doing anything of note whilst in position.

20 15 Cardiff City seemed determined not to jeopardise their position as regular play off failures by doing something unprecedented, like playing well, subsequently winning and getting promoted. Expect more of the same next year.

20 12 Corner West Ham, Shilts’ housemate bangs on the door asking for his milk and in true professional pundit manner, Shilts stops paying attention to the game and tells aforementioned housemate to do one. Presumably nothing happened.

20 11 After Papiss Cisse’s innovative take on the screamer yesterday, Peter Whittingham puts his own spin on the quick free kick, booting it up his own teammate’s arse from 3 yards out.

20 09 Aaron Gunnarson keeps throwing the ball in rate far, but it’s currently entirely ineffective, like placebo. The band, not the drug.

20 07 West Ham are carving out shoddy chances like a child given his first swiss army knife and flailing it about everywhere. Cardiff’s defence are plywood in this metaphor.

20 05 Ricardo Vaz Te flops on the floor in Cardiff’s penalty area, nobody seems to care

20 01 Cardiff’s Aaron Gunnarson throws the ball into his box in the manner of someone who has just had his friend hand him a bag to hold unassumingly, only to find out the bag is full of urine. West Ham get it away, splattering piss everywhere in the process.

19 56 GOAL! West Ham’s traitorous Welshman Jack Collison bounces the ball off the floor, into David Marshall’s palm and then off his head into the net. Where integrated ballet appeared to give Cole little joy, basketball has seen the Hammers take the lead. Cardiff need to respond with their own mongrel version of football, equestrian perhaps.

19 54 Carlton Cole flicks the ball over his head, attempting to perform a pirouette as he does so. Unfortunately he fails, and falls over, meaning the entire move can be frowned upon from the perspective of both ballet and football enthusiasts.

19 52: Losing none of his original panache for the task, Shilts is 5 minutes late and has missed kick off. Everyone still appears to be playing football though, so I doubt I’ve missed anything.

England vs Slovenia – As it happened (sort of)

For those who didn’t bother watching on TV and inexplicably preferred to read an incomptent blogger’s account instead.

Get in touch via twitter, fax or carrier pigeon.

Shilts was too lazy to do a commentary of the full 90 mins, here’s a quick recap:

Jermain Defoe scored and England weren’t as awful as they can be.

46 mins: The Slovenian keeper Samir Handonovic flaps about a bit, punches a corner onto Gerrard’s meaty head and Defoe narrowly misses from the just outside the 6 yard box

47 mins: Glenn Johnson gets a yellow card for being fouled. A new initiative from FIFA I hear; in an attempt to stop fouling, those that are being fouled are being punished with the logic being that if they stamp out people being fouled, then fouling will no longer exist. Simple.

49 mins: Jermain Defoe puts it into Slovenia’s net but is correctly called offside. Not up for that.

52 mins: David ‘Jamo’ James collects easily from a crap Slovenia free kick

53 mins: Rooney has a decent chance but misses the ball.

55 mins: James Milner has gone to extraordinary lengths to represent England, travelling all the way from his native 1940’s.

56 mins: Handanovic pulls out a quality save from a corner after it comes sweetly off John Terry’s box shaped head.

57 mins: Rooney tamely dribbles a golden chance into the post. It’s nice to see his own fans booing him.

59 mins: Interesting tactic for Slovenia to field a team of Charlie Browns.

63 mins: Jokic lucky not to be sent off.

64 mins: Slovenia’s striker Birsa fails to beat Jamo. Not surprisingly, as Jamo can make saves with his eyes blindfolded.

67 mins: Gareth Barry, according to Lawro, plays a ‘rinky dink’ pass and John Terry and Glenn Johnson successfully thwart a very dangerous Slovenia attack by falling over in front of it. JT in particular, looked hilarious. Like a trout diving through the air.

69 mins: For those readers with little knowledge of football, Slovenia’s captain Robert Koren is pictured on the right.

73 mins: Joe Cole comes on for a limping Wayne Rooney. Joe Cole Baldness Update: I can confirm that he has not gone completely bald yet.

75 mins: Having to begrudgingly cheer on Ashley Cole is like having to cheer on Nick Griffin as he tries to stop someone beating up your dad. Regrettable.

76 mins: Slovenia’s Marko Suler looks a lot like formerly good player Maniche.

78 mins: A crap corner comes in from England to no avail.

79 mins: The choice of the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium as a venue for the World Cup was a controversial one as there is quite obviously a badgers’ den directly under the pitch.

80 mins: England Coach Parasite Watch Update: According to Lawro, England coach Stuart Pearce has worms.

83 mins: James Milner inexplicably gets away without a yellow card for booting a Slovenia player in the Slovenia box.

85 mins: Emile Heskey comes on to further decrease his goals to games ratio.

86 mins: Joe Cole goes for a wonder goal. And fails miserably.

88 mins: Not only is Heskey woeful at putting the ball into the net, it turns out he also isn’t much at defensive clearances.

89 mins: Disappointed at the lack of shots of David Beckham in his lovely grey suit. Poor show BBC. I want irrelevance!

90 mins: After having slated him at almost every opportunity, Matthew Upson proves me thankfully wrong by pulling off a majestic tackle in the England penalty area.

90+2 mins: England play some lovely awful football around the Slovenia corner flag, something which is routinely condemned by every commentator when any other team does it.

90+3 mins: FULL TIME! England 1 – 0 Slovenia England beat the ‘mighty’ Slovenia to get into the next round of World Cup 2010!

Post Match: Just to put a downer on things, USA score in the last seconds against Algeria to top the group, meaning that England have to suffer the ignominy of coming second in a group to a nation who prefer watching a sport where people in pads and helmets stand around scratching themselves for 9 hours.

In their post match interviews, Fabio Capello went absolutely and hilariously mental, whilst Jermain Defoe sounded like Bianca from Eastenders.

The Match of the Day team actually claim (albeit semi-jokingly) that after beating a second rate South Eastern European side that we will win the World Cup, and Lee Dixon refuses to eat his words after claiming that Gerrard would be crap on the left.

Right, that’s it. After scraping past Slovenia, we can, like the Match of the Day boys, rightly assume that we will march on to glory. Or to the Quarter Finals at least.

England Vs Egypt: As It Happened

For those of you without access to a television set, and foolish enough not to read the BBC’s live text, Shilts will guide you through tonight’s match between England’s friendly against Egypt as smoothly as a tourguide on his first day of the job, who hasn’t learnt any interesting stats, facts or anecdotes and must rely on ITV to provide everything he comments on.

Should be marginally better than Andy Townsend’s analysis.

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England 3 – 1 Egypt

T-minus 8 minutes to kick off: Paul Robinson is about as charismatic a pundit as a scouring pad that has been used to clean up sick in an OAP home.

T-minus 5 minutes to kick off: Wonder how many close ups of John Terry ITV will try and use before a cameraman gouges out his eye.

T-minus 3 minutes to kick off: No risk of the ITV commentators failing to be patronising towards Egypt tonight – winning the African Cup of Nations has already been described as a ‘meagre consolation’ prize.

Kick off: Finally got my team sheets from my assistant – little Billy Hopkins from down the road. Don’t worry – I threw a brick at him for his lack of punctuality.

England: Green, Brown, Terry, Upson, Baines, Walcott, Lampard, Barry, Gerrard, Rooney, Defoe. Subs: James, Milner, Warnock, Carrick, Lescott, Shawcross, Beckham, Wright-Phillips, Crouch, Heskey, Cole, Downing, Hart, the Baker Twins, McGivern, Wilson, Hall, Turner, Jeffrey Piven.

Egypt: Hossam Ghaly, This guy called Zidane, Amir Zaki and some other chaps.

4.00: Upon noticing Little Billy’s clearly improvised team sheet, I took it upon myself to smash up his bicycle.

5.00: Walcott pelts forward as fast as a scally after nicking something from Tesco and puts in a lovely little ball for Lampard, who shits himself in front of goal and boots it at the keeper.

7.00: Rooney’s enjoying a good spell of giving the ball away at the moment. Interesting tactic from Capello, let’s see how it pans out.

9.00: Egypt get a corner but don’t bother threatening goal and give it straight back to England. Nice fellows.

10.00: Al-Muhammadi is causing England all sorts of problems down the right hand side, much like a leaking sink or trying to explain spilling acid over an annoying nephew.

12.00: Defoe runs into the box and trips over. Good effort lad.

15.00: The Egyptian goalkeeper El Hadari performs a hilarious mid trip diving header, reminiscent of Rene Higuita’s infamous scorpion kick, but much more shit.

17.00: Andy Townsend pinpoints Gareth Barry and Stevie Gerrard having a polite conversation as the reason for England’s formation selection. Excellent punditry.

21.00: Clive Tyldesley goes to pull out an interesting anecdote about Robert Green, but just falls short. Unlucky son.

22.00: Bloody hell, is that Macy Grey on the subs bench? Oh wait, it’s David James. My bad. LOLS! Tell your friends that one. No don’t, it’s mine.

24.00: GOAL! Egypt make it 1-0 when Mohamed Zidan twats it into the bottom left after his marker, Matthew Upson, slips over like a clown treading on banana skin covered in lubricant.

He needed to wake up – he thought it was Sunday and he could have a lie in, but it was Monday and he needed to be up by 7 to do his paper round.

29.00: Wayne Rooney’s ‘lethal head’ (quote Tydesley) tries to score from outside the box. No casualties this time.

32.00: Rooney is so impressed with Egypt’s football he starts shouting angrily. I used to do similar things in my old day job as a surgeon’s assistant, although it was this habit which got me fired and lead to the surgeon having a breakdown whilst performing a double heart bypass.

34.00: Frank Lampard, nicknamed ‘Fat Lumpard’ by some of the media (mainly and admittedly exclusively by me) misses a half chance. Townsend says he had to score. Townsend’s a tosser.

36.00: (Via postcard from John Wilkins from Berkshire) “Theo Walcott’s doing a lot of running.”

Thanks for that John.

39.00: Nearly a GOAL! Defoe forces a good save. Corner.

40.00: John Terry nearly scores from the corner. Gets booed in the process.

44.00: Fabio Capello’s resemblance to a Bo Selecta mask is a little unnerving to say the least.

47.00: The half ends with a disappointing corner. If I was being a proper lazy, clichéd twat, I would say ‘that sums up England’s half’. It doesn’t really but I’m a lazy, cliché loving twat.

Half Time Analysis

From Jamie Redknapp:

“England ave had a mixed bag of potatoes of a half. On the one hand, they’re losing, but on the other hand they have only scored one goal less so I fink we can take away a lot of positives.

“Fabio will be telling them lads ‘Listen, we can do this, we can win at football!’ That’ll get them fired up. I’m getting fired up just saying it.

“In fact, I’m gonna go and punch my cushions and pretend its some bad guys like Nazis or people who tell me I can’t have too many bags of Skittles. I FUCKIN LOVE SKITTLES! …I’m sorry Louise, I didn’ mean ta swear, I just got overexcited- no please! I don’t wanna go to bed now! I don’t wanna! I was gonna play Crash Bandicoot on Playstation! Aw please! Listen I got to go I- I’m just coming Louise!…”

From Paul Robinson

“England are not winning. Egypt are not losing. England need to be winning, Egypt need to be losing. That is how we should go about the second half.”

Second Half

45.00: Peter Crouch on for Defoe after spending the first 45 minutes in a mangle in the England dressing room to try and get a few more inches in the air.

46.00: I don’t like it when goalkeepers wear trousers. Take them off El Hadari. TAKE THEM OFF!

48.00: Rooney does a little turn and threads a nice little ball through to El Hadari’s hands.

49.00: Wes (is he ginger?) Brown needlessly gives away the ball and Egypt get a corner. Which they waste.

52.00: Gerrard has the ball in the middle of the park and just punts it aimlessly. Top class.

56.00: GOAL! Gareth Barry puts a nice ball into the box and Peter Crouch scoops the ball into the net with his spindly leg, like a JCB digger. Supreme.

60.00: Crouch pulls out a brilliant backheeled pass to Gerrard. Gerrard dribbles it wide. Great player.

63.00: Crouch attempts a bicycle kick, whilst looking as graceful as a ladder falling over, misses the ball completely, then Rooney tries the same, makes contact but it sails over.

65.00: Rooney gets behind the Egyptian defence as easily as James Bond infiltrating a cub scout meeting but narrowly pokes it towards the touchline.

71.00: Haven’t been watching for a while. Some stuff has happened. Probably.

74.00: GOOOOOOOOOOOOAAL! Ooosh! What a strike! Shaun Wright Phillips tamely punts the ball straight at the Egyptian goalkeeper, who parries the ball into the net for no reason. What a heroic strike from SWP.

77.00: If ITV are to be believed, England have won already. Egypt needn’t bother play the next 13 minutes plus stoppage time, the donuts.

79.00: GOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL! Peter Crouch stands miles offside and  taps it in! What brilliant positioning from the lanky marksman. How can Capello leave him out the South Africa squad?

85.00: Wayne Rooney gets subbed and gives his captain’s armband to Gareth Barry, rather sensibly over John Terry, who has been getting as much abuse as a chubby kid with glasses who had defecated over his ‘My Little Pony’ lunchbox on his first day of secondary school and then burst into tears.

86.00: …and then accidentally uttered an embarrassing innuendo about his mother during assembly.

89.00: Interesting fact: England have won some games at Wembley, scoring over 2 goals along the way.

91.00: Clive Tyldesley remarks that youngsters who were lucky enough to persuade their parents to watch this game have not been disappointed. Unfortunately Jamie Redknapp couldn’t persuade Louise to let him stay up.

I know Little Billy didn’t have to persuade his parents (he stole his TV) but he got so disappointed he wrote a book of poetry that made Morrisey weep.

93.00: Full Time.

(Actual) Full Time Analysis from Clive Tyldesely

“England win.”

(Probable) Full Time Analysis from Paul Robinson

“England won.”

Well that’s it, a tedious friendly ends in a match which saw England play really poorly in the first half, go behind and then have to rely on Peter Crouch and SWP to score one decent goal, force a goalkeeping error which lead to a goal and score an offside goal in order to win.

All in all, I think we can conclude from this game that England will definitely win the World Cup.