WORLD CUP! (day 3) [Update]

It’s Alergia – Slovenia, Germany – Australia, and Serbia – Ghana. As per usual, I’m wearing a jersey (Germany) and rooting for their opponents. Just realized I have two Australia jerseys and so will be wearing the yellow one for today. Ah, the beauty of a large jersey collection…Yesterday’s draw between the USA and England was a big deal and I’m happily recovering from post-draw celebrating.

It’s also Barça Election Day, which I’ll be keeping tabs. Polls close at 9pm local time (3pm EST) and hopefully we’ll learn the winner today.

Categorized as World Cup

By Isaiah

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater New York City area with his wife and daughter.


  1. Rosell will have it sewn fairly quickly, according to the way things look. I will be monitoring from the office. My only hope is that all of the craziness being talked was election hyperbole. I can’t believe that Rosell’s ego would say to him that the fiscal, sporting and philanthropic successes of this club during the Laporta reign should be discarded or significantly altered, just because of spite and rancor.

    There are some 24,000 more eligible socis who have the opportunity to vote this time, than when Laporta was elected. Wow. Results should be known at about 11 p.m. Barcelona time. Yet as of 1 p.m. BCN time, participation was just over 18%, compared to 19% in 2003.

    They’re setting up a big screen so that people can watch the Atletic match, while waiting to vote.

    –Oh. Latest rumor is that HeWhoWillNotBeNamed can be ours for about 45m, a price that, frankly, is about 5m below what I figured we would end up paying. The two prevalent rumors are:

    1. He comes this season.
    2. He comes next season, allowing Rosell to lay complete claim to bringing our wandering Catalan home.

    –Did Citeh really offer almost 50m for Dani Alves? The Daily Mirror says that they did, and that Alves is unhappy with us about “contract violations” of some sort. This, despite the fact that we are about to renew he and Keita. I love me some BritPress. Alves is said to be “excited” about the opportunity to play in the best league in the world, or some such.

    This makes sense to me. I can see Alves leaving a championship club in which he is an integral part, that plays a style that perfectly suits him, for a club that won’t be going to Champions League, and doesn’t have a shot in hell of winning a title, no matter how much it spends, because it doesn’t have a striker who can put the ball in the net with sufficient regularity to ensure enough wins to make the big European dance, never mind winning the Premiership.

    Yep, I can see that happening.

    –Apparently we’re stuck on The Yaya talks. Citeh will offer the highest transfer fee, at just under 30m. Our valuation of him is 35m, but it is believed that we will take just over 30m. Guardiola, according to sources, would love for The Yaya to stay, as he understands his value, but has also said that there are no guarantees of playing time. Nor should there be.

  2. The Jubalani ball has struck again! One to nil for Slovenia v Algeria on a low, hard one bouncer that the keeper didn’t even touch this time. That should make Mr. Green feel a little better.

    1. I don’t think that was the ball, El Tel. I think Algeria’s keeper just screwed the pooch, setting up one hell of a scenario:

      Slovenia parks bus against U.S. and England, draws 0-0 both times, for 5 points to win the group. U.S. and England both beat Algeria, finishing tied at 4 points. Next up with goal differential as the tiebreaker, which means that both sides will be trying to kick the crap out of Algeria.


    2. That’s quite a scenario for Slovenia. You’re always thinking one or two moves ahead, Kx. That was one soft goal there, even worse than Green’s gaffe. With Slovenia’s win, maybe we can get Slavoj Zizek as a guest blogger.

      Have you seen that for the next match, Serbia-Ghana, Ghana has a Serbian coach?! Milovan Rajevac.

    3. I think you made an early morning math mistake, if England and USA both tie Slovenia and beat Algeria then all three of England, USA and Slovenia will have five points.

  3. Ghana needs to take the lead early Serbia’s backline is terrific and if they score they are going to lock down the pitch.

  4. It looks like the Jubalani ball is giving the strikers a hard time. All ties were low scoring so far.

  5. Hate to be the bearer of negativity- but this world cup has been so boring so far- SO TACTICAL but without the glamour of the cl. Will support anyone that plays attacking creative football at this stage. Can’t wait for Spain or Holland to brighten things up

  6. Serbia down to ten men; Ghanian goalkeeper just make 2 amazing saves.

    C’mon Ghana! Get the first win!

  7. Whooo! 1-0 Ghana full time!

    First African team to claim a win! Congrats, Jnice (and any other Ghanians reading the blog) 😛 !

    1. Thank youuuu, Kari. And hooray to everyone rooting for Ghana. We are going crazy over here.

      And I find it funny that Lukovic was talking trash before the match, “Most of our players ply their trade at the very top club level while you can’t say the same for Ghana,” yet he was the one who got the red. Hope he liked his shower!

  8. The Ghana-Serbia match was rather terrific and I’m super glad Ghana was able to pull it off. Kuzmanovic’s handball was so utterly absurd, though.

    1. absurd how? it was a clear hand ball but maybe the absurdity in the fact that after they defended so well, they gave away the goal on a silly mistake likke that.

      gotta feel for the lad but im still glad ghana got the 3 pts

    2. It was an absurd action–it itself was absurd. The call was spot on. 100% penalty. Except for 2 strange decisions in the middle of the 2nd half, this was a perfectly reffed match.

  9. Congratulations to Ghana. For them to beat Serbia without Essien, Mutari, and Appiah is a tremendous achievement. Serbia was playing very well coming into the Cup. The score was on a penalty, but Ghana was the better team today. They placed more pressure on Serbia and forced more of the action.

    1. especially in the 2nd half it seemed maybe serbia fatigued and ghana just had better athletes. the 1st half was evenly matched i thought, serbia did have several chances

    2. Ghana wasn’t just better athletically – they were superior in tactics and execution.

      What build up did Serbia engage in offensively? There was almost none. They played Stankovic relatively deep and then had Zigic playing more in the support striker role, almost in the hole. Zigic is the tallest player at the cup – 200 cm tall – and he’s playing the more withdrawn striker role with Pantelic generally more advanced? How will that provide link up play with Stankovic deep?

      All Serbia did was play balls long over and over. Krasic is a very good winger and they didn’t play the ball out to him.

      Ghana was more disciplined and patient and able to control midfield. Assamoah, Annan and Boateng played very soundly. Ghana isn’t great technically but that’s not their forte. Overall their possession was much more well thought out and directed than Serbia’s.

    3. He did. I was assuming Appiah wasn’t starting due to some issue with fitness but it very well may have been related to tactics.

  10. Nice…Nice…
    Now only Côte d’Ivoire need to meet my expectations and the worldcup will start getting more interesting.

    But I am rooting for Ingla till then!

  11. all credit to Ghana for the W, but how often did one of their players either charge at goal themselves, or try a wildly speculative shot instead of play their team mates?

    frankly i don’t see them getting past the round of 16 if they qualify.

    1. I think they’ll gel a bit more as the tourney goes on. They looked pretty fantastic at times.

      Serbia surprised me with how fast they are. Wasn’t expecting that, for some reason.

  12. Still think he should have subbed in Quincy around the 65th mark, but hey, can’t complain. And Inkoom needs to play over Pantsil next game.

    And jd09, hopefully the manager can talk to them about that stuff, but that’s an African mentality.

  13. Some thoughts;
    Think Boeteng adds something extra to Ghana- a play making quality other sub Saharan African teams lack. Great to see Appiah back, wish he was fitter thou So far not impressed with players of the ‘ones to watch’ category namely Di maria and Krasic- both were anonymous.

    Germany next and it seems there is no hype around them- will be interesting

    1. Ayew and Asamoah need to be on that one to watch list, altho I think Asamoah was already.

  14. Early observation – so far in this Cup there’s creativity and technical skill in midfield distribution has been very limited in many of the matches. I think that’s part of why scoring has been so low.

    Many sides have turned midfield into a defensive space to control or to try to skip over by playing the ball very long. Advanced midfield in particular hasn’t been used constructively.

    Hopefully we’ll see something different from Germany. Usually midfield creativity is not their strength, but Mesut Ozil is a very gifted and imaginitive player.

    Very different German team this year. They are one of the most interesting teams playing this tournament.

  15. I didn’t expect South Korea and Ghana to be the most fun teams to watch as the tournament opened…please let’s keep this on a roll 🙂

  16. Haha! Cafu! For some reason, this made me smile 🙂


  17. The game between Barca Atletic – Sant Andreu is about to start.


    1. Oier; Ilie, Sergi Gómez, Marc Bartra, Espasandín; Oriol Romeu, Sergi Roberto, V. Vázquez; Thiago, Jonathan Soriano y Nolito

  18. I wonder how many Mesut Özils we can buy for the same cash we are spending on Cesc…

    1. Ozil is extremely talented. He’s not a “need” but he would fit perfectly in Barca’s system. Today we’ve seen him play on the center and right wing but he’s a left footed player who plays on the left wing as well.

  19. Germany has used and controlled space in that half better than any other squad we’ve seen so far and it hasn’t been particularly close.

    Australia is not playing well – but that’s what happens when you take a less talented, older side with less pace and stretch them this much.

    Germany is overloading the right flank with Muller, Ozil sliding over and Lahm making runs. But then they are quickly switching the ball to the left and doing so very accurately.

    This is a very interesting squad because it combines elements of what Germany has traditionally done well with new talent.

    Mesut Ozil has been very good. He’s looked a bit nervous in finishing but it is his first world cup game and he’s 21. His creativity set up Muller to make the cross for the first score. Ozil is a very mutlidimensional player. At times he’s acting as a support striker at others as a traditional 10 and then at others as a winger on the right. And the right side isn’t even his best – his natural side is his left.

    Lahm is just a world class player. His crosses are tremendous. Muller’s crosses have also been excellent.

    German’s two holding midfielders have also been very good. They are both multidimensional. Schweinsteiger is both physical and skilled (he would make a terrific replacement for Yaya…). Kheidira has made a number of strong runs.

    Impressive stuff. The young talent on Germany has been particularly impressive.

  20. I like Mesut but does he not play in centre of mid-field. So if we want something with that skill set, i would go for Silva.

    Btw, Rosell has become president of FCB. With 62% of all votes so in a landslide. I hope he does not make some stupid decisions just cause he can. His election promises were quite alarming. I do have to say that if anything, his elections make me worry.

    Germany though look very good. Young, inventine and as always reliably organized. They will prove to be difficult nut to crack for any team in this tournament.

    For me, the best team till now has to be Germany followed by South Korea followed by Argentina and than Ghana. Rest have nothing to write about yet. Best player till now has to be Messi!

    1. Mesut can play almost anywhere in the midfield and Offense. Aside of his skills, his work rate is exceptional. Fits high pressure style like a glove. But he is not on my wish list as there is no hope we get him. We have other target$

      I will give Rosell the benefit of doubt. I certainly hope he win us over, as there is nothing personal against him.

  21. Slow world cup. Not many teams have impressed with great build up moves. England was the most disappointing of them all. Striking has also been unimpressive. Only ji sung parks goal was a beauty.

    Milito should get the nod over Higuain, atleast for the first 60mins or so. Why isn’t Aguerro not starting? De maria has good moves, but ive always been unsure of him because he seems soo panicked with the ball, and his decision making is not matured yet.

    I thought Ghana were very confident and calm with the ball, but aren’t near their 2006 levels yet. There was a game they played, (was it against serbia, or croatia?) it was a beauty. And Serbia just didnt look well organized offensively.

    Again, teams lack ideas going forward, is it the jubulani ball or the vuvuzelas that are making teams look disjointed?

    This world cup is just build for Iniesta and Xavi to shine.

    1. South Africa’s goal into the top right hand corner was pretty nice. The duel between Messi and Nigeria’s keeper was fun to watch too.

  22. Ozil has stated on many occasions that he loves Barça and can I just say that out of all the kids to look out for, he has looked the best by far. Sign him up, Pep!

  23. Ozil’s been very enthusiastic about playing for Barca in the past. His ability to play in the center, left, and right makes him particularly attractive. He’s one of the few young players from outside the system I could see being able to play the role Iniesta does.

  24. with rosell as our new presi, could this be the beginning of the end of our time in the sun?

    1. That’s my worry 🙁 But we still have Pep as coach so we’re safe this season. Next season though…

      Wednesday come sooner, so I can revel in the magnificence of Spain and our Barca boys!

    2. This is on my mind too, if you consider that our time in the sun started when Laporta squeezed through the referendum..

  25. Well congrats to Sandro Rosell and his crew. They announced their running a long time ago which gave him a big edge. The continuity candidate was a non runner as 60% voted against Laporta 2 years ago so I didn’t expect it to go through. I don’t think that the voting members have taken Laporta’s success into account. My vote would have been Ingla but I’m optimistic.
    Rosell pretty much guarantees Cesc’s signing in my opinion. If Ingla or Ferrer got in then they would have been happy enough with the current squad.
    Rosell will want to put his stamp on the team, possibly with Cesc and if early rumours are to be believed, Fernando Torres will replace Ibra.

    1. Cesc, whatever. Torres for Ibra? no way. i think Ibra has failed to do as advertised in our system, but i’d rather give him 1 more season than bring in Torres who’s partnership with Villa for Spain is more coextensive than cooperative.

  26. Wow just after watching Germany- super performance. Tournament needed it and not a galactico among them. Great that there bringing through a new generation thought that euro 2008 ended the previous one. Ozil class act the technique, the vision.

  27. Damnit! Rosell is president 🙁

    Sigh. It’s not really a surprise, but it doesn’t depress me any less. Here’s hoping for the best…

  28. How come that he receives 5 times(!) as many votes as the second-placed? I cannot understand it… wish we could have continued with Laporta for some more years.

    1. I KNOW! I thought Ingla, or even Benedito would get more support for sure 🙁 .

      Laporta, for all his “I am the King of Catalunya MUHAHAHAHA”-ness, wasn’t a bad president and did a lot of good things for the club and its image. At least, he can run again in a couple of years.

      I wish Pep would run for president!

      Oh, and congrats on Germany winning by the biggest margin so far (sorry Aussies…). I think they’re actually better without Ballack. Ozil was particularly impressive.

  29. Our B-team just beat Sant Andreu 1-0. An 87th min Jonathan Soriano pen. was the difference.

    Nice! A win and no goals conceded! Promotion here we come 🙂

    1. Nope 😀

      They’ve got the 2nd leg at Sant Andreu to finish. The plus of goal and none conceded comes in handy. I think if they avoid a loss, then they go through. Whether that means promotion or one more round I don’t know…

  30. I dont really know why everyone is so Anti-Rosell. I am in Barcelona now and was fortunate enough to watch 3 debates. Ingla and Ferrer both came off as huge idiots, especially Ferrer. Benedito seemed ok, although rather awkward during the debates. Ingla seemed like he was high all the time with a shit eating grin on his face talking about how wonderful everything is and how everyone just needs to focus on the good and everything will be fine. Ferrer would never look at the camera and sounded like he had memorized all his responses. Sandro has some very good ideas:

    – Changing game times to earlier than 10 at night so more children and people from out of town can go (not too sure how he would do this, although he was convinced that he could)

    – It sounded like he wanted to reduce the amount of money invested into Masias outside of Catalunia and increase funds to local Masias. He also mentining starting a new Masis in Catalunya. I like this, the Masias in other countries seems wierd to me and not “right”. We should definateley focus on homegrown kids that really feel the colors.

    – He has been labeled as “intervencionista” (interventionist). From the debates it seems he would intervene if need be (i.e. rather absurd purchase, Chygry…….). This also seems like a good thing if done properly.

    – Starting a Barca travel agency with big travel discounts for socios and bigger general discounts for clothing.

    I think Sandro is the best, although Benedito would have been ok as well. My 2 cents.

    Tomorrow I visit the Barca Museum by Camp Nou……… yay for Barca Atletic!!!

    1. – Changing game times to earlier than 10 at night: This is not up to him nor any club president. There was an argument about it since ever and the decision in that matter after 2012 is independent of Barca president. Its more related to the Liga restructuring attempt.

      – It sounded like he wanted to reduce the amount of money invested into Masias outside of Catalonia: I am against this one. I prefer to raise the talents in their homeland rather than bringing them overseas while they are children. “We should definitely focus on homegrown kids that really feel the colors.” If you mean multinational kids but brought to Barca, I answered that one. If you mean exclusively catalan, then imagine doing it few years ago= No messi. No Iniesta. No Pedro. etc…

      – He has been labeled as “intervencionista” : he is not labeled so. He is so. Till he proves he changed.

      – Starting a Barca travel agency: Thats the dumbest idea ever existed. If he wants to make offers for fans coming from various destinations, he need to link to respective domestic agencies anyway to get better offers. Beside, if he wants his agency to click, he needs at least to stop getting worried if the Russian members became 50,000 (or Chinese,etc…). Thats his only hope for his agency to get good offers from airlines. Penyas across the world can get better offers to arrange trips than he can, if he supported them rather than doubted their commitment to the club and treated them as second level supporters. Get off the none-Catalan fans backs and they can manage their own stuff.

      The other candidates were not impressive may be, but that was better than a candidate who keep repeating:”I have great plans but I cant announce it till I win the elections” That was more annoying than anything else.

      Again, so far he got advantage of hype+other candidates bad campaigns+ rubbing on the Catalan nerve. Yet, I will still support him for a period of time (for being our club president already). Afterward, we will see how it goes.

  31. Rosell is president. We must try to support him. Most importantly we must now support Pep through thick and thin.

    Honestly, I think this means the end for Ibra. Sandro will want to put some mark on the team, and Ibra is the easiest target as he doesn’t rate particularly high with many Barcelona fans.

    Ozil is class. I would sign him in an instant. Forget about worrying about where he would play, he is so versatile he’ll certainly find minutes.

    1. Honestly, I don’t really know what to think. I hope for the best and that Rosell really isn’t as bad as I think he is, but…

      I just hope we don’t become a Catalan version of EE. I don’t want Torres and I don’t think they’ll sell Ibra this season. No way, no how. Not after all the money we spent on him.

      I’m just worried about what direction Rosell’ll take the club. We finally got Villa so we don’t need Torres, or any other striker. Since Pep was the one who wanted Ibra, I don’t think Rosell is dumb enough to go against Pep so early. As it stands Pep > Rosell in the eyes of the media, so I think Ibra (and Pep) stay for one more season.

      From then on, well…Sigh.

  32. Rosell … sigh.

    We all must stand by Pep more so now, oh well. welcome new pres.

  33. Watching the German game finally… Ozil really is good (although I haven’t seen him really pressing off the ball yet). I think he would be good in the midfield, but honestly I think he might be better on the wings as he likes to play very high up the pitch.

  34. All we can do now is hope that the Rosell natterings that so distressed us were campaign hype. I imagine that he and Guardiola will have a sit down, and the end of it we either will or won’t have our genius coach. But prima facie, it’s safe to say that this will be the least desirable winner for those looking for sporting continuity. Txiki B. is gone for sure, and it wouldn’t shock me to see Guardiola leaving, or signing a one-year extension with his eye toward the door.

    A coach has to have the unequivocal support of his president. Rosell’s “Guardiola will be fine, as long as I agree” doesn’t cut it for me. I don’t imagine it will for Guardiola, either, nor should it. Meddling presidents never, EVER augur well for a sporting project.

    We are on the verge of making history as one of the greatest football clubs of all time, and any person with half a brain would want to see that succeed, rather than messing with it just because you have won via election the right to mess with it. Rosell is a fool if he interprets his vote as anything more than a massive anti-Laporta vote. This isn’t to dismiss the people who were for Rosell for their own reasons. I am sure that to many, his platform and campaign convinced them utterly. But I do think that there was a ton of anti-Laporta going on, which killed any reasonable chance that the Continuity folks had.

    And frankly, I can’t see us having anything vaguely approaching continuity. Don’t forget that Rosell still might sell the front of the shirt, as well. He brought that up and people howled at the moon, so he backed off. But he’s the president now, right?

    Just not that happy right now, and very worried about the future of the club as a sporting project.

    –On to brighter things: I can’t believe people are ragging on the World Cup matches. Of course the group stages are played not to lose. Duh! You only have three shots (yes, I did the math this time vicsoc 😀 ) to make a first impression. Get it wrong and your chances could be dead in the water. So you start out by not conceding. Group stage WC matches are no different than first legs of Champions League ties.

    We have had some great football, and some real surprises. Ghana and Slovenia were the biggies today. Germany looked good, but Austrailia was complicit in its own demise. And there are some GREAT matches coming up this week.

    1. And by the by, Ribery was TERRIBLE the other day. During the World Cup, player prices can go up or down. I see his getting lower by the minute. Same with Gourcuff.

      There’s also the buzz that there’s a possibility that Henry and Marquez might be staying. Wouldn’t that be weird?

    2. I almost prefer to see Pedro start over Iniesta, just so that he can be completely healthy for the bigger games, and that P! can get his first WC goal.

    3. Math is something best left for early evening – there’s a reason I always use my credit card to buy breakfast.

      Rosell will want to leave his mark, but he does have some things against him. Rosell won with 65ish% of the vote, but Pep commands 98% support. Rosell can only get rid of Pep by making his life so unpleasant that Pep quits. It will be very interesting to see what type of contract Pep signs… it will tell us a lot about what Pep thinks of Rosell.

      I actually think the world cup has been very interesting so far. The only really boring games so far have been France – Uruguay and Algeria – Slovenia.

  35. Can’t wait for the Ozil to Barça rumors in Sport and EMD in the coming days. He also only has a year left on his contract, so they are going to play that up.

    Corrine, I changed my mind, I know who I want us to sign!

  36. One of the real concerns with Rosell is how little anyone knows about his plans for the sporting project.

    In particular – what is his long term vision?

    Here’s the kind of scenario I’m concerned about – Real Madrid under Mourhino is going to hyper-prioritize short term success. Mourhino has no interest in building a sustainable, long term project. His goal is to win in 2 years and then move on. He clearly has ambitions to coach a national team so his priorities post-Real are already there.

    So under the current trajectories, even if Real engineers success over the next season or two, Barca will still be much, much better positioned to excel over the intermediate to long term. Real under Mourhino can win trophies in the near term, but they are unlikely to achieve equality with Barca in terms of their project’s sustainability.

    But if Real has short term success, particularly with older players – will Rosell use this as a straw man to push Pep out?

    I bring this example up because Rosell’s support for Pep was contingent on “performance conditions” and related clauses.

    In no way am I trying to suggest that Real is going to be favored to win next year. It’s just an example. I don’t have a good sense at all for where Rosell’s priorities are going to be with the sporting project and what that will mean for Pep.

    Rosell strikes me as a person who is going to want his own manager in place.

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