The World Game

The Month of March


Well the month of March has seen some highs and lows in the World of football and where better to start then at home in the Australian A-League.

Sydney FC under Graham Arnold went on to win the Minor Premier Plate in very impressive style, loosing only one match in 24 and scoring an amazing 49 goals. No team came close to stopping Sydney FC in the League but the Play off Finals series gives them all another opportunity to stop this well-oiled Arnold machine.

The 2 Melbourne teams look the most likely to cause an upset and the English based City group will be demanding a return on their massive investment and they will be looking to add to their FFA Cup Trophy.

At the other end of the table, the wooden spoon race continues with 4 teams battling it out no to be crowned “Worst Team”

Our local boys the Jets looked very much improved early in the season but March has seen them lose 3 matches and concede 12 goals, which has left them 2 points off bottom place. CCM are rock bottom, but we still have the M1 or F3 Derby to come so it is all to play for in my eyes between these 2 teams.

International Football

Staying in Australia our Socceroos had it all to do in their WCQ group, which saw us face IRAQ in Iran, which was spoilt by the terrible weather, and pitch conditions. Ange made several changes to his line up but the biggest change was the formation, opting for a 3-2-4-1 attacking style rather then his usual 4-3-3.

The Socceroos managed a 1-1 draw and the less said about this match the better as the system failed and IRAQ exploited its defensive frailties plus the crowd and weather made for hard viewing. (Trying to find talking points for WWOS 9 broadcast was even harder for myself) zzzzzzzzzz

A few days later they had a chance to put things right against the UAE who were only 1 point behind the Socceroos in the Group. Having beaten the UAE in the last group match plus the Asian Cup semi finals the boys were full of confidence that all 3 points could be won. For me this was a make or break match, loose and Russia was all but over, win and the Dream would still be alive.

The match was a very close affair but the quality in front of goal especially from set plays was edged by the Socceroos plus Super Sub Timmy Cahill made a massive impact of both the players and the home fans, which saw our boys win 2-0 and put us within reaching distance of Russia with matches against the top 2 teams Saudi Arabia and Japan to come the Dream continues.

Staying with International football and this time in Europe, we saw the introduction of video technology in the match between France and Spain, and it didn’t disappoint, playing a major role in the final score with two very good decisions.

The Frenchman Antoine Griezmann’s goal was rightly ruled out for offside and Spanish player Gerard Deulofeu’s strike was correctly awarded after the linesman had flagged for offside. Spain went on to win the match 2-0 but all the talk was about the technology time frame. Does it take to long or is it worth the wait.

I like this idea as we have seen a what goal line technology has done for the game at the top level, ending all “What If questions” and the money involved in teams winning or loosing on human error can now be put to bed but these 2 decisions in the France v Spain match did cause to long of a delay to the game & it is under review once again. Will we see it in Russia 2018 ? Only time will tell but I for one hope so.

Premier League

In the Premier league, we witnessed the ever-dominating Chelsea go top by 10 points under new boss Conte and his 3-4-2-1 formation. Spurs, Man City and Liverpool make up the chasing pack but I think Chelsea have the title all wrapped up.

The chase for the top 4 Champions league spots are still up for grabs with all the $$$$ that come with qualification. Man United are in 5th and Arsenal in 6th.

Jose has transformed Man United this season and already has the League Cup trophy in his cabinet and will be looking to add to that should they win in Europe league.

Arsenal & Wenger on the other hand are in all sorts of trouble on and off the field. Players not wanting to re-sign, fans protests outside the ground calling for Wenger’s head and yet again failing in the champions league last 16. I think Man United will make the top 4 and we will see Liverpool and Arsenal miss out.

Onto bad news and one topic that I’m very familiar with “Injuries”

Tragically Everton and Ireland Full Back Seamus Coleman suffered a horrific double leg brake when a tackle from Welsh player Neil Taylor was way to high and late.

Taylor was shown a red card and Coleman will be sidelined for months missing vital matches for club and country. We all wish Coleman a speedy recovery.

Europe saw some amazing Champions league fixtures in the last 16 which provided us with 62 goals.

Leicester City sacked there manager Cladio Ranieri the week before and they some how managed to beat Seville to make it through to the Quarter Finals becoming the only English team to do so this year.

The pick of the matches was Barca v PSG. PSG won the 1st match 4-0 which nobody expected and it was all over for Barca as no team had ever gone through in the 2nd leg with this deficit. However it turned out to be the greatest match in Champions League history with Barca winning 6-1 on the night, which saw them, win6-5 on aggregate. Three of the goals came in the last 5 minutes of the match, which added to the celebrations on the pitch after the match. Now having played at the Nou Camp against Barca for Leeds I can tell you it is an amazing stadium with the best atmosphere but when you’re the visiting team it’s a bloody nightmare especially when you loose as every one of the 100,000 fans lets you know who won and how shit you are.

The draw for the next round of matches which takes place in April will see Dortmund v Monaco, Juventus v Barcalona, Atletico v Leicester City and the pick of the matches will see Bayern Munich v Real Madrid.

If you enjoy a little punt then the winner of the Bayern v Real Madrid match should go on to win the Comp but don’t come asking me for your money back if they don’t.