Monday 18 June
Sweden 1:0 South Korea
Another VAR penalty decided game as Sweden sneaked a game that looked like a 0-0 all day long. South Korea didn’t manage a shot on target.
Belgium 3:0 Panama
Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois both started as Belgium dominated possession and territory in the first-half without making a break through. Kevin de Bruyne and Hazard flashed chances high and wide but never really troubled the goalkeeper.
But they only had to wait a few minutes into the second-half for Dries Mertens to volley in the opener and Romelu Lukaku didn’t waste his chances as first he headed in de Bruyne’s cross and then finished Eden’s through ball with a chipped finish.
Panama for their part managed a scramble in the box that might have lead to an equaliser but Thibaut Courtois flung himself on the ball and that was that.
It was a night for what might have beens for Chelsea as Belgium brought on Thorgan Hazard who left us for Mönchengladbach three years ago. At one stage in 2015 we had a squad with Courtois, Hazard, Lukaku, de Bruyne and Hazard. How we let that go speaks volumes for our current situation.
Tunisia 1:2 England
England managed to put us through the wringer again, isn’t it always thus, but Captain Mainwaring scored two, one deep into injury time to see us home – just.
Harry Kane got a monkey off his back early as he stabbed home a rebound from a John Stones header.
The VAR and the ref then colluded to award the championship’s most absurd penalty. Looking to shield the ball, Kyle Walker held his arms out sideways and a striker ran into him. The decision to award a penalty was just gobsmacking. Again, the striker initiated the contact but if Ronaldo’s trailing leg is a penalty then any contact in the box must be a free shot. VAR confirming the ridiculous decision simply confirms that VAR are referees and will never contradict a colleague.
They then colluded to deny Kane at least two penalties when he was hauled off his feet repeatedly by defenders in the box – VAR reviewed and decided that it wasn’t a penalty.
The referee studiously kept his cards in his pocket as every England player on the ball was fouled. Toward the end he allowed a defender to stand five-yards away from a free-kick despite having asked him to move.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek came on, to great effect, late in the second-half. He and Marcus Rashford made a case for starting against Panama on Sunday as Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard limped through the second period contributing little but muddle.
Rumours that Gianfranco Zola might be a part of the next coaching set up seemed to become clearer as our academy sent a young side to take part in a charity tournament in Oliena, Franco’s home town.
All of his old clubs sent age-group sides to compete and we lost in the final to Napoli 3-1 but the tournament was a great way for the academy to sign off a very successful season in a beautiful location.
Tuesday 19 June
Columbia 1:2 Japan
Having a man sent off for a handball penalty offence is probably not the best way to start your World Cup but Columbia managed it. It was a tribute to them that they equalised but ten-men against a useful Japan side was never going to be easy and Japan scored a winner from a corner.
Poland 1:2 Senegal
Poland looked stunned at the end of this as Senegal took the lead through a heavy deflection and then extended it in bizarre circumstances: M’Baye Niang had been off the field near half way following injury but at the same time he was waved back on a Polish back-pass played him in on goal perfectly. All he had to do was round the on rushing Szczesny and the game was theirs.
Poland did pull one back but they created few decent chances and the Africans deserved their win.
Poland are seeded for this World Cup.
Alan Sugar managed to post a racist tweet comparing the Senegal squad with the beach sellers in Marbella. Being an ignorant racist he later said his “funny tweet” had been “interpreted in the wrong way as offensive by a few people … Frankly I can’t see that, I think it’s funny. But I will pull it down if you insist.”
Alan Sugar cannot see that lazy stereotyping might be offensive. It must be because we are too sensitive. Shame on us.
Russia 3:1 Egypt
The hosts made hay in their easy group as home support helped them to a simple win over leggy Egypt. Salah did start and scored the penalty that looks to be about all the Egyptians can take from this World Cup.
Russia’s opener came from an kneed own-goal but they took their other two with some style and, with the usual favouritism of all referee’s towards host nations, could go deeper into this than anyone thought.
Maurizio Sarri’s agent has been seen in London and it seems only a matter of time before the 59-year-old former Napoli boss take the reins. Gianfranco Zola has supposedly confirmed he is negotiating for a coaching role too, deepening the Azzurri at the Bridge.
Jess Carter has joined us from Birmingham City where she came through their academy to become a first-team regular. Jess is a midfielder and has one England cap. She won the PFA young player of the year award in April last year and becomes our third signing of the summer. At least the women’s team is building for the future… meanwhile, negotiations to bring Maurizio Sarri in from Napoli are getting closer to fruition but we have lost weeks without any moves to strengthen the squad.
Ruben Sammut has the distinction of being the first loanee of the new campaign as he joins Falkirk for the whole of the forthcoming season. Ruben is already a Scotland U21 midfielder and should catch the eye with the Bairns in the Scottish Championship.
Wednesday 20 June
Portugal 1:0 Morocco
Morocco go out of the tournament with this defeat but they deserved so much more after dominating this match. Portugal were wretched and only won after a wonderful, Banks like, diving save from Rui Patricio. The winner was scored by a modest, self-effacing man, whose manner is charming at all times. We bear no irrational hatred toward him and we don’t hope his knee ligaments burst in his next match.
Uruguay 1:0 Saudi Arabia
Lord knows this was dull, Suarez scored the only goal and almost nothing else happened. The thrashing everyone predicted but if Uruguay could not put a hat full past Saudi Arabia then surely Spain could dink in a few against Iran…
Iran 0:1 Spain
… or not. Diego Costa did head Spain into a late but Iran showed so much more fight than the 2010 champions expected. VAR stuck in his oar to rule out an Iran equaliser and by the end Iran had created enough chances to have snatched something from the game.
Burnley will play Aberdeen in the qualifying rounds for the Uefa cup league section. All England v Scotland clashes are welcome but club football matches are very rare. July 26 for the first leg at Pittodrie, with the return at Turf Moor on August 2.
Thursday 21 June
Denmark 1:1 Australia
VAR is out of control. The problem with a referee watching the match on television to adjudicate on offences is just that, he is a referee. And is therefore incompetent and incapable of understanding the laws of the game.
On this occasion the official concerned failed to understand the hand-ball law and incorrectly awarded Australia a first-half penalty.
It was breathtakingly incompetent. The ball hit Yussuf Poulsen’s hand in the box but the Danish player was facing away when the ball hit him and had the Australian attacker barging into him from behind.
To recap: the law states that a free-kick or penalty will be awarded if a player “handles the ball deliberately”. There is no definition of what constitutes deliberate but having the ball hit you from behind cannot be said to count. Human agency is not involved in being struck by a ball headed at you from less than a meter away.
The guidance for referees goes on to say that after a hand-ball offence: “a caution or dismissal is not normally required”. Poulsen was booked and will miss Denmark’s next match against France.
David Elleray once told the BBC that referees would look to see if a player’s hand was in an unnatural position when making the decision. Ignoring the fact that the human hand is naturally connected to human arm and therefore cannot be in an unnatural position, this has never been an actual rule. Elleray’s intervention has left commentators and pub bores droning on about unnatural positions of arms and hands.
The final point is that the VAR is supposed to intervene where there is a clear and obvious mistake by the referee. On this occasion the referee did not award a penalty – where no offence had taken place – and the VAR decided to intervene anyway.
We have to listen to plenty of people defending referees whatever they do. The refrain says refs are just honest men trying to do an honest job but are they? Like Elleray (FA Cup final1994), Anders Frisk (Barcelona away 2005), Ovrebro (Barcelona home 2009), Mark Halsey (being told to lie in his match report in 2011), Chris Foy (eight Chelsea players sent off in 30 matches, none for our opponents), how can we be sure the referee’s are actually up to the job they are being asked to do.
In this case the VAR has cost Denmark a win a possible a place in the knockout round. In England’s game against Tunisia an absurd penalty was awarded against us and two clear penalty offences for us were ignored. Brazil have written to ask for copies of video and audio recordings of the VAR process that denied them two penalties against the Swiss.
Whether through incompetence or corruption we cannot say, that would take an enquiry, the kind of enquiry that could lift the lid on the corrupt, venal world of both PGMOL and international referees.
France 1:0 Peru
Peru will be scratching their collective Quechua noggins and wondering how they haven’t got at least two points from these group games. Kylian Mbappe scored the first-half goal but the story of the game was in Peru’s performance in the second. They came close on at least four occasions and hit the side netting with a shot that had half the stadium on their feet.
Olivier Giroud started and the French attack looked better balanced than it had against Australia. Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann fed off Giroud’s runs but they pulled in their horns in the second-half and let the South American’s fight back.
With the earlier draw between Denmark and Australia, France are through with the win, while Peru go home.
Argentina 0:3 Croatia
Messi looked dejected at the end of this but he had done nothing wrong. That Argentina imploded was down to a calamitous piece of goalkeeping from Willie Caballero. Under little pressure on the 58th minute Willie tried to chip the ball over Ante Rebic, only he chipped it straight to him and watched as the Croatian volleyed it back over his head for the softest lead.
Argentina had no gears to go up into and the game deteriorated into niggling fouls and cards until Luka Modric smashed in a smashing second and Rakitic tapped in a third.
There is still a slim chance for progress if Nigeria get something from Iceland tomorrow.
Friday 22 June
Brazil 2:0 Costa Rica
Brazil want to repair their reputation after being humiliated by Germany on their own patch four years ago. On the evidence of this they are not going to achieve it.
Very late goals from Philippe Coutinho and Neymar bailed them out of another ineffective performance. It is unusual for two goals in injury time but Costa Rica’s determination and fight deserted them right at the death.
Nigeria 2:0 Iceland
Nigeria are an odd bunch – they failed to create a meaningful shot on target in their first match against Croatia and in the first-half of this match but then they came alive and simple destroyed a hitherto resolute Iceland.
Kenneth Omeruo played a significant part in that as he put in a colossal defensive performance – one that will have the next Chelsea manager drooling.
Nobody improved more than Victor Moses. It was his second-half cross that Ahmed Musa controlled before volleying in. Musa dominated the rest of the match, hitting the bar with one effort before Wilfred Ndidi’s effort had to be saved. The second goal was all Musa’s work as he picked up a through ball rounded defender and ’keeper before finishing.
Nigeria were going home before this result but its real significance could be that Argentina can go through if they beat Nigeria in the final group game.
Serbia 1:2 Switzerland
Serbia have nothing but their own complacency to blame for this defeat. Nemanja Matic and Branislav Ivanovic played well as Aleksandar Mitrovic headed them into an early lead. But they didn’t press their advantage and could only stand and watch as first Granit Xhaka equalised from thirty-yards before Xherdan Shaqiri slotted the winner after beating Serbia’s high-line.
The Serbs had a clear penalty shout turned down and ignored by VAR when Mitrovic was hauled off his feet going for a header.
Saturday 23 June
Belgium 5:2 Tunisia
Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku both scored twice as Belgium showed England how to beat Tunisia. Michy Batshuayi also scored but he managed to have one cleared off the line and hit the bar before volleying in his chance.
Hazard’s opener came from the spot after he had been bundled over while chasing a ball that was heading out for a goal-kick. He dispatched the kick with little effort.
Lukaku was too powerful for the defence for his first but Tunisia headed in a crossed free-kick to keep thing interesting.
Lukaku spoiled their party again before the break as his close control and finishing showed a gulf in class.
Eden helped settle any remaining nerves by rounding the goalkeeper and slotting the fourth.
Michy had one chance that he stabbed at from a rebound that somehow hit the bar but can now call himself a world Cup goalscorer.
Roberto Martinez hinted that he would make seven or eight changes for the game against England in an effort to finish second in the group and avoid the Germans or the Brazilians in the quarter-final.
The man is planning ahead.
South Korea 1:2 Mexico
Mexico have been very impressive so far without really trying.
Carlos Vela netted the match’s VAR penalty and Javier Hernandez scored his 50th international goal before a late consolation for South Korea’s Son Heung-min
Germany 2:1 Sweden
So close but at the same time too far, or rather too much extra-time as Germany are on their way out of the tournament at 0-1 down and the effectively out at 1-1 only to concede a second with the last kick of 5-minutes injury time.
Second place in the group will now be determined on how well Germany do against hapless South Korea and how many changes Mexico make against Sweden.
Buried in all the mayhem Antonio Rüdiger played confidently at the back in what was a leaden footed defence for the Germans.
Sunday 24 June
England 6:1 Panama
A Panama hat-trick is possibly the only natural nod to the god of puns as Harry Kane deflected in what would have been Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s first goal for England to claim his third of the match.
Panama really let themselves down by allowing John Stones a free header from a corner in the first few minutes. They then hauled England players over for two penalties, both converted by Kane, allowed Jesse Lingard a sight of goal from 25-yards which the Manchester United player took gleefully and then allowed Stones another header for five at the break.
Ruben looked the part of a World Cup midfielder throughout and really did the academy proud.
England and Belgium are now level at the top of the group with the same goals scored and conceded. We have clocked up only two yellows to their three which could decide the group.
Japan 2:2 Senegal
Senegal thought they had this one as Moussa Wague fired them into a lead despite Japan creating the better chances. But it was Keisuke Honda sweeping in from point blank who stole the point.
Mane’s, first-half opener had been cancelled out by Takashi Inui’s curled equaliser.
Poland 0:3 Colombia
Colombia kept their hopes of progress alive as Yerry Mina along with old boys Radamel Falcao and Juan Cuadrado scored the goals that confirm Poland’s shameful exit with a game to spare.
Monday 25 June
Home news first and Trevoh Chalobah has joined Ipswich Town on a season long loan. Trevoh has won multiple youth awards while at Chelsea and is one of those who look almost ready for the first-team. A season with the tractor boys under new manager Paul Hurst should enable him to prove it to Chelsea.
Gilly Flaherty has left us for the new women’s team at West Ham. Gilly has been an important part of our recent success after joining us from Arsenal in 2014.
Saudi Arabia 2:1 Egypt
Essam El Hadary, at 45-years-to-god, became the oldest World Cup player in the history of the competition. The slightly sentimental gesture rebounded on the Egypt coaches when El Hadary let in an injury time winner for Saudi Arabia.
Uruguay 3:0 Russia
The South Americans thumped Russia, proving, if nothing else, that bubbles of optimism generated by easy wins against lesser opposition can burst.
Goals from Suarez, Cheryshev and Cavani sank the hosts.
Iran 1:1 Portugal
The snivelling little got missed a penalty but he also missed a red-card for elbowing but some justice was done when the VAR awarded another completely absurd penalty.
All that happened was that a header struck and arm from almost zero meters. Neither the defender nor attacker appeared to be aware any offence had taken place but Iran might have equalised legitimately if Ronaldo had been sent off.
Ronaldo deliberately elbowed Morteza Pouraliganji in the face. It wasn’t an accidental or follow through contact it was deliberate assault. Obviously Fifa have decided that rules should not apply to their superstars, so the self entitled, little prick can now add permission to attack defenders to his freedom to dive.
Spain 2:2 Morocco
If that match was controversial for VAR decisions this one stank of a fix too. Spain should have been down to ten-men when Gerard Pique lunged through Boutaib with his studs catching the Moroccan square on the ankle. VAR decided that two-footed lunges are now allowed too and they missed a clear handball by the same player.
Morocco retook the lead with a thumping second-half header only for Spain, until then limping through, were awarded a goal after it was initially flagged for offside.
Morocco were clearly the best side to go out bottom of their group. They deserved to win all three of their matches and can count themselves very unlucky… or perhaps they are not marketable enough to be allowed to progress.
Tuesday 26 June
Denmark 0:0 France
It had to come eventually and after loads of goals and VAR controversy we finally had a convenient nil-each. Both sides just needed a draw and neither side really tried.
Australia 0:2 Peru
The Aussies are a poor football side but then football is a game you cannot influence with woodworking equipment. Peru have been better than their results and goals from Andre Carrillo and party animal Paolo Guerrero sealed a deserved first win in the tournament since Scotland underestimated them 40-years ago.
Nigeria 1:2 Argentina
Messi scored a brilliant opener but Nigeria played really well to equalise looked the likely qualifiers as Omeruo and Moses both played out of their skins. Sadly they were undone by a very late Marcos Rojo strike.
It was a poor Argentine performance, as Messi’s first-half strike should have inspired them to greater things.
His control was sublime as he cushioned the ball away from Kenneth Omeruo, who for once could do nothing, and chipped his finish across the ’keeper.
As it was Nigeria played the better football. They waited for the opportunities and took advantage of their mistakes as Javier Mascherano grappled Nigeria a spot kick that Victor Moses calmly slotted.
Nigeria couldn’t convert any of the chances that fell their way on the break. Composure and finishing are so often the difference at World Cup and sadly Musa, Ighalo and Ndidi all had chances that weren’t finished.
VAR declined to give handball as Rojo headed the ball against his own arm… given the irrational decisions so far at this tournament it was a closer call than it should have been.
Rojo’s next contribution robber the Super Eagles of a place in the knockout stages as he powered in a decent cross. It was a cruel blow for both the Chelsea lads who played well enough to deserve something better.
Iceland 1:2 Croatia
The Croats strolled this group to be fair. There was a brief moment when Iceland equalised and another Viking goal would have seen Argentina knocked out, as it was Ivan Perisic stabbing home the winner.
Wednesday 27 June
South Korea 2:0 Germany
It is so difficult to stop smiling, South Korea finally converted a couple of their chances and sank the German battleship at the group stage. It is the first time a German side has been knocked out at the group stage but the fourth tournament out of five that the holders have gone home early.
For the second goal, at the death, Manuel Neuer was up playing as an outfielder on the half-way line. You half expected his mum to call him in for his tea because it was getting dark. And that is the best metaphor for Germany’s defence of their title… das grosse hausfrau has called them back in for their tea.
Germany lacked imagination and pace throughout the squad and the tournament. Leroy Sane – who is sitting at home in Manchester – now looks the foundation of a new Germany for the next tournament.
Mexico 0:3 Sweden
The Swedes took their chances well as Mexico looked to have used all of their energy in the first two matches. Had Germany won then the Mexicans would have been out but they didn’t… they didn’t… he… he-he-he.
Serbia 0:2 Brazil
Serbia blew up and handed this one to Brazil who still don’t look up to speed but have cruised the group. Their first came from a midfield hoof and a complete lack of marking and the second arrived from a simple headed corner. VAR could have ruled out the second for a block on the defender but overall it was fair. Serbia put in a shift at the start of the second-half but Mitrovic hit defenders and goalkeeper rather than the net.
Switzerland 2:2 Costa Rica
Switzerland cruised into second place in the group, they could even have won the group but for a late penalty that bounced in off the goalkeeper for an own-goal equaliser.
Albert Sewell MBE has passed on at the age of 90. Albert was a huge figure at the club after taking over the match programme in 1949 and revolutionising the style and content of the publication. Albert also wrote a book on Chelsea’s first fifty years that became a chronicle of our first championship winning side. Chelsea, Champions! Is still available on Abe books –appropriately for £55.
He produced a series of books that coincided with the early 1970s side’s successes and worked for the BBC as statistician and researcher on Match of the Day.
Albert Sewell had a huge impact on the way Chelsea looked and felt and that is a slightly intangible legacy but one that stands above just the statistical work.
Albert left his mark on Chelsea football club, it wouldn’t be the same place today if it hadn’t been for him. He was awarded an MBE in 2005 for his service to the game and quite appropriately that coincided with our 100th anniversary and second league win.
Back at Cobham and the women announced the recruitment of Ali Riley from Rosengard. The 30-year-old New Zealander joins during the mid-season break in the Swedish league in July.
Dujon Sterling will spend the season at Coventry. The wide-man looks the part and will relish a chance to prove himself in the professional game. He should get a fair shout because Adi Viveash is currently assistant manager at the club that won the League Two play-off back in May.
Reece James signed a new four-year contract with Chelsea and has joined Wigan Athletic in the Championship for his first loan. Wigan won League One last season and are looking up under Paul Cook’s successful stewardship.
Thursday 28 June
Liverpool and Chelsea have come to an agreement for the transfer of Dominic Solanke only a year after it took place. We were asking for £10m they offered £3m and the case was due to go to tribunal but has been settled without. The amount of the fee is, for some reason known only to accountants, secret until the next annual accounts.
Senegal 0:1 Colombia
Senegal slumped out in a match where they failed to have a realistic shot. Having looked the strongest side in the group in beating Poland and being unlucky to be pegged back by Japan they looked out of sorts and a Yerry Mina header was enough to take the group for Colombia.
Japan 0:1 Poland
The Japanese showed how big theirs are by playing out the final minutes as a stalemate seemingly unconcerned that a Senegal goal would put them out. As it was Poland had something to cheer form a tournament in which they were the seeded team but managed to finish bottom of their group.
England 0:1 Belgium
Adnan Januzaj proved to be England’s saviour as we managed to lose the must lose game.
A lot had been said about winning to maintain momentum but losing to avoid Brazil in the quarters was better tournament management. Those tactics were clear by the act of leaving Kane and others on the bench. The players selected headed over or wide with each touch as England looked to miss every chance that came their way. Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who looked out his feet at times, chipped one effort ten yards over the bar with a shrug.
There were close calls when Rashford burst free only for Courtois to touch the ball round the post with a finger-tip. The better ball was a square pass to Loftus-Cheek for the tap in. His international goal will come and it will be a better memory for being later in the competition.
Early on it seemed Belgium were more interested in securing second. They racked up the yellow cards to stretch their lead in the disciplinary race but Januzaj ripped up that script with a beautifully curled shot.
It might be that Gareth Southgate is not as Machiavellian as all that and this was just a lame, end of group match but we now have an extra day off, have a shorter trip, to Moscow, and we are in the easier half of the draw.
Of the Chelsea players on show Ruben stood out for his tireless running but he lacked the final ball that his approach play demanded. Gary Cahill was solid at the back but was also involved in the few stumbles the defence managed.
There was one moment that summed up Michy Batshuayi when we snatched the ball that had just hit the net for Belgium’s goal and tried to kick it back into the net – being Michy he hit the post and the ball smacked back into his face. It was that kind of night for Michy.
For all those who are disappointed we didn’t win the group tune in for Brazil against Belgium quarter-final and tell us that was a better option.
Panama 1:2 Tunisia
A Sunderland player came out of the tournament well as Wahbi Khazri scored the winner for Tunisia against Panama.
Friday 29 June
Incompetent, liar-in-chief at Hillsborough, David Duckenfield, is to stand trial for manslaughter by gross negligence after a judge lifted the stay of prosecution against him at Preston Crown Court today. The man responsible for killing 96 football fans will go to prison after a trial in September. News as to when we can get Chief Constable Norman Bettison in prison, where he belongs, for perverting the course of justice has been delayed until a later date.
Andy Myers will be the new U18 manager this season. Given the avalanche of trophies won at this level in recent years Andy has a lot to live up to. Andy has been part of the coaching setup for a number of years already so he knows the style of play and the routines. We wish him well.
Saturday 30 June
France 4:3 Argentina
This shaping up to be one of the best world cups in recent memory. France looked the better side today but couldn’t shake Argentina until the final whistle.
Kylian Mbappe burst forward early on to win a penalty as Rojo hauled him down. Antoine Griezmann slotted the kick.
Argentina looked beaten at that point. They struggled to mount any kind of threat to a solid looking French defence. It was a surprise then when Angel di Maria lashed in a 35-yard shot to draw us level at the break.
Argentina took the lead when Messi’s shot deflected in from Gabriel Mercado’s heel but France had been saving their best for the second-half as first Benjamin Pavard volleyed in an outrageous shot and Kylian Mbappe pounced on a loose ball to make it three and then finished a flowing team move by belting in Giroud’s weighted pass.
Argentina had another goal in them as Sergio Aguero headed in a consolation.
It is probably goodbye to Lionel Messi on this stage, which is a shame but he can now grow grotesquely fat and have a heart murmur in the crowd every time his side score a late goal. So much to look forward to.
Uruguay 2:1 Portugal
Clive Tyldesley ran through every superlative to describe Cristiano Ronaldo without noticing that Uruguay were the better team with the better players. Uruguay are pragmatic, they rely on the break because they aren’t creative though the midfield. So it was Luis Suarez crossing for Edinson Cavani to score the opener.
Portugal didn’t look much of a threat to the massed Uruguay defence until they took their eyes off the ball for a second and Pepe headed an unlikely equaliser.
Parity didn’t last long as Cavani stroked home first-time to restore the lead and condemn the European Champions to defeat.
Ronaldo and Messi might have been the big names coming into this tournament but the stage is now open for new stars and it is about time.
Tyldesley still has plenty of Brazilians to fawn over but Cristiano will have to slouch off home to tug on his flaccid meat alone in the dark.
Lewis Baker will continue his development on loan as part of Leeds’ interesting experiment. After appointing former Argentina boss Marcelo Bielsa Leeds haven’t really made as many transfer market moves as you’d expect. Bielsa said he would let go about 15 players and bring in a handful. It will be interesting to see his Leeds up against Frank’s Derby.
Lewis was at Middlesbrough last term where he won plaudits but not enough minutes on the pitch. He is the real thing and should have a great season ahead.
Sunday 1 July
15 years at the helm today for Roman Arkadyevich Abramovich. It must stick in the craw of all those Times journalists who liked to portray him as a fly-by-night, playboy, dilettante who would flash some cash and lose interest after a season and a half. It must irritate the Home Office too that our, now, Israeli owner has dodged their visa restrictions.
The trophies we have gained in those 15-years dwarf anything we achieved before he came – 5 league titles, 5 FA Cups, 3 League Cups, 2 European crowns, 7 FA Youth Cups, 2 Uefa Youth League titles, 2 WSL titles, 1 Spring Series crown and 2 Women’s FA Cups. That is a lot of pots of Silvo.
We hope Roman stays for another 15-years and perhaps we can surpass that haul.
Spain 1:1 Russia
(Russia win 4-3 on penalties)
This is really opening up. We know that Gareth is not allowed to look far beyond Tuesday night but the draw is never going to fall this kindly again. Spain were toothless and listless in dominating possession but creating only a handful of chances. All Russia needed to do was wait for the handful of ball Gerard Piquet managed to get and convert their penalty.
The shootout, after a nerve-wracking extra-time was a surprisingly easy one for Russia who scored all of theirs and watched as Igor Akinfeev saved from Koke and Aspas.
Croatia 1:1 Denmark
(Croatia win 3-2 on penalties)
Croatia didn’t do this with any style but they crawled over the line. The Croats were awarded a penalty at the end of extra-time only for Kasper Schmeichel to save from Luka Modric.
The game had started brightly with both sides scoring within the first few minutes for one each…. most of the audience started to play with their phones soon after as the rest of the match dawdled this way and that without threatening to entertain.
Schmeichel saved two more in the shootout but his colleagues scuffed their chances lamely and, however dreadful they were Croatia advance.