Monday, June 21, 2010

Liveblogging Spain-Honduras

Full Time: Spain do enough to move ahead of Switzerland into second, on goal difference. They'll have to beat Chile later in the week to move to the round of 16, and if they finish like this, I wouldn't be so sure of the result. A game that should have finished 8-0, ends in a lowly two goal win. Even if they do win, top of the group could come down to goal difference, as Switzerland play last-placed Honduras next. And you definitely don't want to finish second in this group, as you'd then have to face Brazil and a well rested Kaka. As well as Luis Fabiano and his ever active hands.
I had fun writing this thing. I'm going to attribute the lack of comments to the time, and not my more-like-commentary and less-like-incisive-point-making. Goodnight.

93 min: PEEEEEP! And that's that.

93 min: Navas succeeds in annoying me one more time, as he wastes a perfectly good opportunity to find one of three Spaniards in the box and win me some much needed money, uh, if gambling were legal. But he idiotically plays it along the ground to a Honduran instead. Just notional losses then. So long, Ulysses S. Grant...notionally.

93 min: 85th minute on has been pretty pedestrian. Spain taking the foot off the accelerator, allowing Honduras more of the ball, while breaking periodically.

92 min: Villa > Mata deflected shot > Cesc attempted nutmeg backheel to Navas > nothing.

91 min: Navas plays another ball over the box, to no one. He must think Villa is 14 feet tall.

90 min: Spain tease me again, trying to walk it into the goal, as Mata, Navas and Alonso play a series of passes which eventually result in the goalkeeper picking the ball up with relative ease. 3 minutes of stoppage time.

89 min: Spain break again, Cesc to Villa on the right, with Mata streaking down the left. Villa is dispossessed, however.

88 min: Not too much going on here, really. Even the cameraman knows it, as he focuses on the Spanish fans, dancing in the crowd. Some of them look pretty ridiculous. One in particular, is wearing a hat with bells, and looks like Adam Duritz.

87 min: Villa should have had at least 4 goals tonight. I want to slap him. And Torres. And Navas.

85 min: Spain break 4 on 1, as Navas finally gets a good ball into the box, putting it on a platter for Villa. He takes too many touches however, and a Honduran slides in to clear.

83 min: Suazo goes off for Palacios brother no. 2, Jerry. Honduras waste a corner by pushing someone in the box.

82 min: No sense of real urgency from Spain, but they are still attacking, albeit leisurely. Ball in from Mata, just goes past Villa as it deflects off a Honduran head. Nothing comes off the corner. "Over 2.5" looking increasingly unlikely. Come on, Spain! Or Honduras. Anyone, really. Just come on!

80 min: Villa goes for goal with his left after build-up play by Navas and Arbeloa. Hits a defender in the stomach. Must have hurt. Honduras sprint the other way, and earn a free kick within striking distance of the box. Welcome gets his head on the delivery, but it drifts harmlessly wide. Not a welcome effort, that. Sorry.

79 min: Puyol gets to it, completely unmarked - but he can't jump high enough to get any direction on it. Perhaps a couple of years ago...

78 min: Mata fouled 10 yards outside the box. Cesc stands over. Poor delivery. Corner eventually results. Spain's 9th of the night.

77 min: Munez smacks the ball, which rebounds off one of the goal supports (the ones holding the net up in the back) and almost hits Casillas in the face. That would have been interesting with Spain having used up all 3 subs.

76 min: Arbeloa comes on for Ramos, who got pretty far forward, and had as many chances on goal as anyone bar the two strikers. Decent game, overall, I think. Navas stays on to keep me interested.

75 min: Spain strolling here. Villa tries a wide one-two with Navas, but expectedly, the latter's ball is played too far in front for the striker. Okay, okay, it wasn't that bad. Still hasn't impressed me though, this Navas.

73 min: Mata, Cesc, and Navas combine to get Spain in an attacking position again, before Navas crosses it wide over the box to the left hand side of the field. Would have been a perfect ball for Mata had he not been standing next to Navas at the time. Idiot.

72 min: Spain pile forward again, but after a half-clearance, Mata shoots miles over from 25 yards out.

70 min: Ramos streaks through the middle of the field, thinks about shooting, passes it to Navas on the right, who gives it right back, as Ramos attempts an athletic scissor kick. Spain then dink it around a little before Honduras clear. They really should be up 5 or 6. Goal difference may come into play in this group, and then they'll really regret this performance. Not to mention it's effect on my "over 2.5" bet. If, as Bill Simmons would say, gambling were legal.

69 min: Another Spain substitution as the disappointing Torres goes off for Ahsan's dark horse to start, Juan Manuel Mata. There will be a bit of an adjustment here, I suspect, as he will slot into the left with Villa moving up top.

68 min: Honduras with a free kick just outside the box. Nunez kicks it over, though. They've already had twice as many shots here as they did in the first half. That is, 2 shots to 1 shot.

67 min: Spain should have had a third there. Multiple opportunities to score for Villa and Ramos. And now, Navas - whose deflected crap header is saved by the keeper. Cesc in the middle of everything, says the commentator. What a man.

66 min: OH MY GOD! I love this man. Fabregas makes a beautiful run as Alonso plays it for him over the top. Cesc's first touch is almost a goal, as he rounds the keeper and shoots, but a defender clears of the line. Please stay for one more year. Please.

65 min: Spain ticky-tack it around the box again. Honduras clears the danger and break, as Welcome sweeps it out to Suazo who cuts in and shoots, rather unwisely with better options waiting. That, however, allows CESC FABREGAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! to come on for Xavi, who was playing rather well. Resting him for Chile already?

64 min: Ramos is fouled on the right by Palacios. I think he (Palacios, not Ramos) has committed about 62 fouls so far.

63 min: No harm done to Spain though, I don't think.

62 min: MISS!!!!! Idiot Villa misses a perfect chance for a hat-trick as he puts it wide to the right of the goal, with the keeper going the wrong way. Jackass. Really hurt my team there.

60 min: PENALTY! Spain break quickly from a free kick, and Xavi passes it on to Navas, who is promptly stepped on by Izaguerria. Ref immediately points to the spot. Villa steps up...

59 min: Villa looking really sharp. Gets on to a difficult through ball from Capdevilla and crosses it in, albeit straight to the keeper.

58 min: Honduras holding on to the ball for a bit. And getting forward even! Oh wait, Spain has the ball back. Normal service resumes.

56 min: Two corners in a row, before the pressure ends with Navas uselessly crossing past everyone from the left. Have to give him credit though, he seems to be everywhere.

55 min: Spain with some lovely passing in the box, but it's more Arsenal like than anything else, with the ball being bundled out for a corner. Pique is back on with a wad of toilet paper in his mouth. Almost half a roll, that.

54 min: Ouch! Pique's mouth is bleeding profusely, after a Honduran boot caught him accidentally in the face. Hope he doesn't go off - would be more of a blow to my fantasy team than to Spain, mind you.

53 min: Spain pile forward again. Villa > Alonso > Navas > weak shot straight to the keeper.

52 min: Oof. Spain opening it up here. Ramos breaks clear and smacks one just right of the post. Keeper was in the vicinity.

50 min: GOAL!!!! Brace for Villa! Honduras get men forward, but Spain counter quickly, as Xavi runs 25 yards with the ball, leading a 4-on-4. Xavi gets it out to Navas, who thankfully plays it sideways to Villa instead of crossing it in. Villa shoots from just outside the box and scores (after a deflection), for his second of the game. He's now three behind Raul for the all-time Spain goalscoring lead.

48 min: Navas dribbles down the left this time, for a good 30 yards, as someone (Villa?) stands all alone on the edge of the box on the right with his arms raised plaintively. Nothing doing - Navas runs it straight out of bounds.

46 min: Honduras pressing, and Casillas plays it out under very little pressure. Looks nervous, he does. Chile must like the look of this.

2nd Half: Welcome back. I mean that literally - Honduras have just brought on a chap by that very name. Yes, yes, I'm here all week. Figueroa tries to shoot straight from kick-off. Better effort than Alonso's but still not on target.

HALF TIME: Spain dominated the ball in that half with 66% possession and 10 shots (to Honduras' 1), but couldn't put the game to bed due to poor finishing - that would be you, Fernando. While they weren't entirely convincing, I still think they'll go on to score at least 2 more in the 2nd as the game opens up towards the end. Honduras are clearly on a damage limitation exercise and are probably hoping to maintain this scoreline till the 80th, at which point I hope they will try to attack.

44 min: Honduras with some possession and a foray towards the box, but it goes nowhere. Spain quickly counter, with Villa streaking down the left. His cross is deflected however, and the extra minute of injury time seems to be petering out. Wait a second - Honduras have what must be their first corner, after the ball goes out off of Pique's uhh balls. Decent cross in, but Spain deal with it, if unconvincingly. Whistle blows for the half.

43 min: Torres goes down in the box as the ball is played to him after a series of nice little passes by the Spaniards. Nothing there though.

40 min: Bit of argy-bargy in the box here (I've always wanted to say that). As Xavi stands over a free kick, Villa slaps a Honduran in the face. Could have easily gotten a red card there, the stupid git, but the referee didn't see it.

39 min: Navas to Villa again from the corner, but the striker's cheeky backheel is misdirected.

37 min: Honduras pick up another yellow, and Xavi absolutely strolls to the edge of the box from the resulting free kick. Passes it out to Navas, whose cross is deflected into the arms of the goalkeeper. Moments later, Navas has the ball on the edge of the box again, and gets it into Villa, but it's jussst kicked out for a corner.

36 min: Torres was apparently on. Sorry 'Nando.

35 min: Xavi playing well here. Finds Torres with a long ball but he was offside. Sounds about right. Seconds before, he had turned his defender with ease when receiving a ball from Alonso, but his pass on to an open Torres was found out by Figueroa.

34 min: Now Torres is gifted the ball on the edge of the area, but shoots miles over from just inside the box. This is getting painful to watch - Spain should be 3 up. Bring Cesc on!

32 min: Speaking of which, Navas puts in an early cross to no one, but Villa saves it on the left side, easily beats two defenders but can't find anyone in the middle. Shortly after, Ramos skips past his defender with a classic schoolyard play-on-one-side-run-the-other move, and crosses it in, but Torres can't put an open header away from 8 yards.

31 min: Spain being afforded a LOT of space in midfield, as Honduras hangs back. Inviting disaster, I think. In other news, Navas loses the ball. I think he's had one good ball in so far.

28 min: I can't even hear what the commentator is saying, which is unfortunate, since I was hoping to rip off some relevant and incisive commentary from the chap. Stupid vuvuzelas. As far as the game, Torres could have been through, but he couldn't control the pass. Seems quite rusty, understandably, one might add. Navas sends in another useless cross.

27 min: Navas' crosses have been below par. Xavi seems to be finding his targets rather well though. Like Barca Xavi, not last week's Xavi. Also, Suazo handles a deep ball for the second time in a weak effort at controlling it. And he isn't Fabiano, so it isn't okay.

26 min: Busquets goes down theatrically on minimal contact from Palacios. Typical. Real choot, Busquets.

24 min: Spanish width is resulting in a lot of open spaces in front of Xavi when he has the ball within 35-40 yards of goal. Scary, that.

24 min: Pique is being given a lot more space here to drive forward than he was by the Swiss. May be significant later...

22 min: The Hondurans are keeping things interesting. They counter again, and only a semi-accidental intervention by Puyol prevents a forward from being clean through.

20 min: Ramos blatantly pushes Figueroa (1 of 3 Hondurans I know), from the resulting free kick, but heads straight to the keeper from 3 yards anyway. Whistle had already gone. Also, on watching the Villa goal replay - he actually got past/through 3 defenders. Nicely done.

19 min: Spain get the ball back fairly quickly, and push it out to Navas on the right again. He's not doing much with the ball out there though. Villa is cynically brought down on the other side on the next Spain attack. I feel like the Honduran right back is going to suffer a long night. And 1 Card, at the least.

17 min: GOAL!!!! Beautiful goal from Villa. I told you so! He absolutely skins his defender, jinks in from the left, and belts it into the top right corner while falling down, no less. Wonderful effort.

16 min: Honduras were tippy-tappying it around in the center of midfield until they suddenly broke through the defence with two quick passes, and Casillas had to rush out to pick the ball off the attackers feet.

14 min: Honduras sweep forward on a sort of counter, and Casillas very unassuredly slide-kicks the cross away. At the other end, Alonso tries scoring from 50 yards. Pitiful. Not everyday is the 29th of February, son.

13 min: Villa shoots across the face of goal from just inside the box on the left. He really seems in the mood. Is my fantasy captain too. Bodes well.

12 min: Honduras hold possession for 2 minutes, primarily because their goalkeeper is down injured. Still counts towards their percentage...which will end up around 35%, I feel.

10 min: Ramos now heads over from a Xavi cross, with three Spaniards waiting to connect. All three defenders, interestingly, with Puyol and Pique being the other two.

8 min: Ramos is pushed over in the box as Xavi delivers the free kick. Two decent penalty claims for Spain already - that push was rather deliberate, although Ramos didn't seem to mind falling over.

7 min: Cute backheel from Navas to Busquets, who's surprisingly high up the field. He's subsequently fouled and a Honduran picks up a foolish yellow card by needlessly interfering with the taking of the ensuing free kick.

6 min: That "Over 2.5 goals" bet looks legit as well. Xavi passes to Villa who thumps the bar with a cracker from 25 yards with the goalkeeper nowhere near it.

5 min: Penalty claims seem legit. Contact was not intentional, but the defender's hand was away from his body.

4 min: Capdevilla steals the ball near the box, and Xavi shoots but is blocked. Spain claims a Honduran handball from the resulting confusion but the ref waves on. Shortly after, Torres miskicks a nice little cross in from the left (Villa, I think it was).

3 min: It's early days yet, but Spain (expectedly) seem to be maintaining a much wider formation with Navas hugging the right touchline, and seeing a lot of the ball too, might I add.

1 min: All I can hear so far are those infamous vuvuzelas. Quite a racket too. Spain maintaining most of the possession. Nice little backheel from Torres but unfortunately the recipient was not on the same page.

Kick-off: Spain in Red and Blue, Honduras in White. Not that it matters...

The graphic on my TV shows Spain playing a 4-1-3-2, but I think it's going to more of a 4-2-1-3, with Xavi playing behind Villa (left), Torre and Navas (right). Meanwhile, for Honduras, only one of the three Palacios brothers makes the starting lineup. Also, Suazo is playing alone up front, I think I saw him play for Inter once...

Team News: Spain: 1-Iker Casillas; 15-Sergio Ramos, 3-Gerard Pique, 5-Carles Puyol, 11-Joan Capdevila; 22-Jesus Navas, 14-Xabi Alonso, 8-Xavi, 16-Sergio Busquets; 9-Fernando Torres, 7-David Villa.
Honduras: 18-Noel Valladares; 23-Sergio Mendoza, 2-Osman Chavez, 3-Maynor Figueroa, 21-Emilio Izaguirre; 19-Danilo Turcios, 8-Wilson Palacios, 20-Amado Guevara, 13-Roger Espinoza; 15-Walter Martinez; 11-David Suazo

Iniesta and Silva make way for Navas and Torres. Iniesta seems to have picked up a mild thigh strain, so his exclusion is understandable, but I'm surprised at Silva being left out - would have thought it would be Busquets. And what does Cesc have to do to get a game? Perhaps Del Bosque needs to give this a quick once over.

Pre-match: Hello all, and welcome to my first liveblog, and what i'm vaguely certain is the first soccer liveblog, on Rs. 5.
We're here for Spain-Honduras, and while one may expect the Hondurans to suffer a fair shellacking, one never knows - especially on a day when Federer was within a whisker of losing in the first round of Wimbledon after making the final for 6 straight years. It would have made for a far better analogy had he actually lost, of course, but still...
Moreover, there were a couple of Hondurans on my casual co-ed weekend football league team in New York who were pretty darn good, so I wouldn't write them off just yet.
That being said, Spain are 1/8 favorites to win, but there's still a good bet to be had, if you're interested in that sort of thing, by having a flutter on "Over 2.5 goals" at 1.60 (Win 60p on a Rs. 1 bet). For a team capable of scoring goals like this, you'd have to think they'd fire sooner rather than later.


Anonymous said...

yaaawwwwwwwnnnnn....its late already...will the spanish bore again?

right side of the river said...

can you please time-stamp your updates?

vics said...

and villa caresses it wide! :(((

YoMa said...

Couple of points:

1. Amazingly, aside from one half try, Spain has tried no power shots from outside the box. Makes their attack a bit predictable I think.

2. Spain has flubbed so many chances that had this been any team other than Honduras, they might have found themselves in trouble. As happened against Swiss.

3. JJY's liveblogging, fair to say, does not add much to the game. Singularly lacking in humor or great insight. Advice: there has to be a reason why we should read your blogging rather than just watch the game.

Rohit said...

I've been worrying about goal difference, but the equation is actually a lot simpler for Spain that we think: comparing Spain to Chile, Chile is +2 right now and Spain is +1 (its 2-0 in the 78th minute as I type this). Essentially, even a one-goal victory for Spain over Chile, puts Spain at +2 and Chile at -1 i.e. Spain goes through ahead of Chile. Of course, this does not guarantee that Spain qualifies top of the group, ahead of the Swiss, but it guarantees that they go through. Spain "only" needs to beat Chile: goal difference doesn't matter for them at this point, unless Honduras scores in the last 12 or so minutes.

Best of all: a Portugal-Spain Iberian Derby looks likely in the second round.

Farooq said...

Wow Nikhil! 5 whole comments. Quite the successful move to fiverupees. You're like the Shevchenko of blogging. (football diss to match the content)

AKS said...

Please never blog for us again!

ADBC said...

Chile won't be too easy. They require only a draw to ensure qualification for the knockout stages. Although very uncharacteristic of South American teams, but they might as well throw all their men behind the ball. Afterall, its the World Cup. I just hope the Swiss loses against this horrendous Honduras side.

somethingrichandstrange said...

farooq, i think you should try your hand at this guest blogging thing, considering your own seems to have died an early death. much missed it is.
also, 5rs admins: where's the header quote from?

Anonymous said...

Five Rupees,at first when I discovered your blog,I thought it was great.
But live blogging a football matach,goodness, you have far too much time on your hands.Who cares ?
And just to reiterate,I really like your blog when you talk about issues that matter.
Best Wishes

Madihah said...


it's a quote by Lyndon B. Johnson to the the Greek ambassador in 1964. I wiki'd it a while ago ;)

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Nice Article Thanks for sharing this and very written by the writer

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