This summer’s World Cup will be remembered, like most of the past tournaments, for the final: a torture chamber set up by Mark van Bommel and his band of merry men, which Spain managed to eventually escape from – the perfect fairytale story. There were plenty of memorable fixtures in Africa’s first crack at the tournament, and we’ve even got a nomination from our offices over in North Korea. So here’s our quarter final line-up:
Uruguay 1-1 Ghana (Uruguay won on penalties)
Arguably the most exciting, incident packed game at the World Cup. It had the goals, the extra time, and the penalty shootout. All it lacked was an intervention from above…actually it had that as well. Luis Suarez’s ‘Hand of God’ prevented him from playing in the semi, but is the kind of bare-faced cheating that is as humorous as it is scandalous. The recriminations from Ghanaian players afterwards were all well and good, until they started to mention that they would never do such a thing, which is quite simply a lie. And the best part of it all…his reaction when Asamoah Gyan’s penalty smashed the crossbar – an act of true South American-ness.
Germany 2-2 England (Germany awarded win by Paul)
What a game for the 40 minutes that we were able to catch of it. First Germany are incredibly lucky to take a two goal lead as John Terry is needlessly fouled by Miroslav Klose, who then stabs home in what should have been a foul on ‘keeper David James, which is followed up by Lukas Podolski, who’s five yards offside, slotting home into the England net. Thank goodness for Matty Upson. After having a sparkling opening to the game, his header puts the brave lions a mere goal behind the old enemy. Step forward Frank Lampard. The supreme midfielder’s audacious lob caught out Manuel Neuer, hit the bar, and crossed the line. Unfortunately this is when there was a power blackout. Although the result was later decided by a mysterious Octopus who plumped for Germany. Hard luck brave Ingerlund
Portugal 1-5 North Korea
This match was nominated by the guys over in our North Korean offices, and they seemed rather pleased about the 5-1 demolition their boys handed to the Portugal team containing star men Cristiano Ronaldo and Eusebio. The pictures weren’t always the best, and half the game was broadcast in black and white, but it put them well on the way to winning the World Cup against the three other teams who took part. Pak Seung-Zin, Lee Dong-Woon, and Yang Sung-Kook grabbed the first-half goals, with the two identical strikes from Ji Yun-Nam wrapping up the scoring.
Netherlands 0-1 Spain (9-5 on Yellow cards)
This was the clash of two contrasting styles in a final which may be remembered for the heavy handedness of the Dutch rather than the exquisite nature of Spain’s passing and interplay. From the outset it was obvious that all Holland were going to do was impose themselves physically on their opponents and look for a goal on the break. Nigel de Jong is lucky the Jo’burg Police department didn’t intervene after his big boot to the chest of Xabi Alonso, which would have looked more at home in a WWE squared circle, and then there’s the footballing anti-christ himself, Mark van Bommel. In trying to break Andres Iniesta’s legs he picked up only his second booking of the tournament, and in all honesty it should have been a red. Thank goodness Spain prevailed though. The Dutch display was so far away from Total Football I’m surprised they’re even allowed to adorn the famous orange shirts with which the style became so synonymous.