Soccer

The Premier League Transfer Madness, Explained.

After a painfully slow start, Monday’s Premier League Transfer Deadline Day proved to the masses of football fans all over the world that English Football world has gone mad.

Here is the madness explained…

Aston Villa

US International Bradley on loan at Villa

 

The Villains made two transfers of note in this window, the first being the loan signing of USA midfielder Michael Bradley, an interesting signing and it will be interesting to see how he fits in at Villa.

He is a hard-working midfielder and I think he will compliment Villa’s other signing; the 24 million pound signing of Darren Bent from Sunderland. The second the Bent transfer
was announced people were talking of how crazy the deal was and that Bent isn’t worth that much and etc., however a goal on his debut against Man City which proved to be the winner says that was he was bought for, his undeniable goal scoring ability.

The only departure of note was new signing Stephen Ireland off to Newcastle, it has been well documented that he didn’t want to join Villa but rather than keep his head down he pouted and played poorly and has now found himself at Newcastle, maybe he’ll find his love for the game again.

Blackpool

Ian Holloway is most people’s man of the hour, his witty retorts and blunt opinions have brought something to the Premier League not seen since Jose Mourinho left for Italy, however the situation surrounding Charlie Adam brought into light Holloway’s resolve.

Following a number of bids from Villa and Birmingham, Liverpool made an offer and Adam in turn handed in a transfer request, however Holloway was unimpressed with Liverpool’s offer and he managed to keep his star player – just a day later, the Scott showed why he is so highly rated, putting in a man of the match effort against League Leaders Manchester United.

Holloway, then managed to add Adam Reid and James Beattie to his side on the final day of the window, signings which I believe will add to his already hard-working team and should keep them up if they play to their potential and recover their form.

Manchester City

27 Million Pound Man Dzeko excited to be at City

Only three changes at the blue half of Manchester this time round, with Strikers being the only players to move.

Out of favour Roque Santa-Cruz returned to Blackburn on loan and Emmanuel Adebayor headed overseas to Real Madrid.

Their big purchase was Edin Dzeko, brought in to replace the departed duo. Certainly an interesting move, Dzeko is a good player but so were Adebayor and Santa-Cruz, but the question will be how well he can adjust and he copes in the physical English league. If this edition works out, it appears Manchester City will be able to make a real push towards the top of the table.

Chelsea and Liverpool

I’ve grouped these two teams together because they managed to make transfer deadline day interesting.

With the revelation that Fernando Torres wanted to leave Liverpool after Chelsea had made a bid, it became apparent that he was joining the Blues and Liverpool needed to find a replacement, quickly.

Suarez took just 16 minutes to score on his LFC debut.

Their attentions turned to young Andy Carroll, the Newcastle striker and England international. After a day of drama it was announced that he would be joining fellow new signing Luis Suarez at Liverpool for a fee of 35 million pounds.

Crazy money in my opinion for an unproven striker, but a gamble Liverpool needed to make in order to replace the hole left by Torres, they do however finally have two good strikers with which to lead the line. Whether they can now turn Liverpool’s season around is going to be exciting over the next few months.

Chelsea meanwhile have a strike-force that is in transition, despite pairing Drogba and Torres up, their squad is on its last legs as its age begins to show with injuries to Lampard and Terry. The summer will be one of interesting developments, can Torres fire Chelsea to the top or will he be the lone star as the inevitable mass chop and change of the summer occurs.

As usual Arsenal and Manchester United sit quiet during the January transfer period.

The top two teams in the Premier League, happy with their squads and ready to fight to the end of the season.

One thing is for certain, an interesting end to the season lies ahead.

Tom Dobbyne throw’s his own spin on current sports affairs and offers satirical commentary on current events. Follow him @TomDobbyne or on Facebook as English Tom.

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Champions League Draw!

Football is back!

Today marked the group stage of the European Champions League being set and awards being given out for Player’s of the year.

The stage was set by an array of Footballing superstars including Gianfranco Zola, Gary Lineker and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

With three London based clubs in the draw, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham,it marked the first time since 2003/2004 that three teams from one city have made it into the group stage.

Group A – Inter Milan, Werder Bremen, Tottenham, FC Twente

Group B – Lyon, Benfica, Schalke, Tel-Aviv

Group C Manchester United, Valenica, Rangers, Bursaspor

Group D – Barcelona, Panathinaikos, FC Copenhagen, Rubin Kazan

Group E – Bayern Munich, AS Roma, FC Basel, Cluj

Group F Chelsea, Marseille, Spartak Moscow, MSK Zilina

Group G – AC Milan, Real Madrid, Ajax, Auxerre

Group H – Arsenal, Shakhtar Donetsk, SC Braga, FK Partizan

Some very interesting match ups, with Group G including no less than first ever winners and 9 time champions Real Madrid being drawn with 7 time winners AC Milan. Also featuring 4-time winners Ajax, Group G is the clear “Group of Death” for this year’s draw.

Another interesting match will feature Manchester United battling with Rangers FC, a club that Sir Alex Ferguson scored 25 goals for during his time there in 1967-1969.

Elsewhere, Chelsea FC was drawn with Spartak Moscow, which sees owner Roman Abramovich takes his club to his home country and the return of Russian player Yuri Zhirkov.

First matches are played on September 14th and 15th.

Not only were the groups drawn, but UEFA Player of the Year awards were announced and awarded, here are this year’s winners:

UEFA Goalkeeper of the Year: Julio Cesar (Inter Milan)

Inter Milan continued their winning ways

UEFA Defender of the Year: Maicon (Inter Milan)

UEFA Midfielder of the Year: Wesley Sneijder (Inter Milan)

UEFA Forward of the Year: Diego Milito (Inter Milan)

UEFA Player of the Year: Diego Milito (Inter MIlan)

It was a clean sweep for Mourinho and his men in blue stripes, his legend grows and the special one will look forward to completing another clean sweep with Real Madrid this year.

England’s Goalkeeping Makeover

Flashback two months, David James was the England number one, with Robert Green and Paul Robinson seen as backups to the Portsmouth keeper.

Due to injury Green started the first match in place of an injured James, but had a gaffe that will make his career for decades, while Paul Robinson never got a shot at the big show.

James returned to injury and although he played well in his first two matches, he showed a lack of skill and very slow reflexes in the four to one drubbing by Germany.

With England playing Hungary on Wednesday, Fabio Capello has gone full

Joe Hart look's to be the future for English goalkeeping

circle on his goalkeeping selections and has named young Manchester City keeper Joe Hart as his starter. Meanwhile Scott Carson will be his backup and Ben Foster had been named as third choice.

Many will wonder that after a strong season with Birmingham, why didn’t Joe Hart get a shot at the World Cup? He will seemingly be the England goalkeeper for the next decade and the experience would have given him valuable insight into the pressures of playing in important matches.

Ben Foster has since pulled out due to injury problems and this prompted Capello to call up inexperienced Watford keeper Scott Loach and Blackburn reserve keeper Frankie Fielding.

Loach has become England’s U21 first choice after Hart made the move to the senior level and is seen as a possible replacement in years to come but has little experience at the top level.  While Fielding is a Blackburn player he has yet to play for the club at Senior level and has been on loan at various teams since 2007, his most recent stint with Rochdale where he made 17 appearances.

Fabio Capello promised a youth movement in the aftermath of a terrible World Cup and it seems the first changes will be at the back.

A Look At The 2010/2011 Premier League Season

Previewing 2010/2011 Premier League Season

With Tom’s European preview in the books and the English Premier League just over a week away from kicking-off, it’s time to preview the season and throw some early predictions out there.

You can find @TomDobbyne’s Premier League predictions throughout the article as well, enjoy the read!

Transfers To Watch – This year’s transfer window has been quiet, but there were a few moves that should impact teams battling at the top:

–          David Silva, Man City (From Valencia, £24m) – Adds more creativity and experience

–          Joe Cole, Liverpool (From Chelsea, Free Transfer) – Will add a lot of pace to the midfield, and will be re-invigorated after being put back into a first team selection

–          Pablo Barrera, West Ham Utd (From UNAM Pumas, £4m) – The Mexican International played well in the World Cup and will be an influx of creativity for the mid-table side

–          Ramires, Chelsea (From Benfica, £18m) – The only key signing for Chelsea this summer and should balance the departure of J. Cole, Ballack and Deco earlier this summer.

Barrera Looks To Keep West Ham Up

Mangers In The Hot seatFinally, Benitez is out of England and wreaking havoc upon another league, but now we need another couple of managers to pick on:

Martin O'Neill Faces big pressure this season

–          Martin O’Neill, Aston Villa – The Villa manager has led his team to back-to-back sixth place finishes, however he increased their point total by just two last seasons. The pressure is on to get his team into the Promised Land of Champions League football.

–          Roberto Mancini, Man City – After the quick dismissal of Mark Hughes, Mancini was able to lead his team to a fifth place finish but the pressure is always on when your owners have unrealistic expectations

–          Chris Hughton, Newcastle – Now that Magpies are back into the Premier League, there will be no allowance for going back down, that being said look for Hughton to be the first to go if the team embarks  on a steady descent towards relegation.

The Relegation Battle – Last season saw Burnley, Hull City and in tatters Portsmouth drop down to the championship and saw Newcastle, West Bromwich Albion and Blackpool pop into the top flight, here’s who is pegged to go down:

–          Blackpool – The Tangerines were an outside bet to gain promotion and managed to shock pundits by sneaking in through the playoffs, but look to see them drop back down and there won’t be much Ian Holloway will be able to do to keep them up.

–          West Bromwich Albion – WBA is famous for coming up, only to drop back down and for every season since 2000, except 2004/2005 and 2006/2007, they have either been promoted or relegated from the top flight. It would be a pleasant surprise to see them stay up, but I’d expect to see them continue their usual trend.

–          Wigan Athletic – The Lactics had a goal difference of -42  at the end of last season, which was worse than all three teams relegated and without any additions in firepower the team looks destined for the drop.

Tom’s Predictions: Blackpool, Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion

The Title Battle – A two horse race for much of the season, the final weekend saw Chelsea pip Manchester United by one point to win the English Premier League title on 87 points, while Arsenal finished third with 75 and Tottenham a distant fourth with 70 points.

–          1st, Chelsea Football Club – The defending champions are my favourites to repeat, ignoring the fact I am a diehard supporter, and should see off any challenge from Manchester United. A fit Didier Drogba will look to build on his Golden Boot season and rebound from a disappointing World Cup, look for him to break all his previous goal scoring marks.

–          2nd, Manchester United – The 2009/2010 runner-up has a lot to prove after injuries hurt them midseason and were unable to win the Champions League. They have yet to bolster their first-team, but signings of Chris Smalling and Javier Hernandez are purchases for the future.

–          3rd, Manchester City – The newest member of the millionaires club, City added Yaya Toure, David Silva, Jerome Boeteng and Aleksandar Kolarov to their team and look to push for the title. It would be foolish to look past the talent of this team, but it will be up to Mancini to make the players fit together and play a fluid game.

Tom’s Predictions: Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City

Can anyone stop Drogba from Scoring?

Top Scorer – Last season Didier Drogba finished three goals ahead of Wayne Rooney with 29 goals, while Sunderland’s Darren Bent finished with the third highest goal total at 24, closely followed by Carlos Tevez on 23 and midfielder Frank Lampard rounding out the top five with 22.

–          1st, Didier Drogba, Chelsea – Drogba missed a month of the season for the African Cup and still managed to score 29 goals. This season he’ll have a chip on his shoulder after a disappointing World Cup, and I see him scoring 30+ goals this season

–          2nd, Wayne Rooney, Manchester United – Rooney was hit with injuries last season, but I don’t see him scoring more than Drogba. However, look for it to be close all season much like last.

–          3rd, Carlos Tevez, Manchester City – The Man City striker will build off of a strong season and will be key to the final position for City.

–          Honourable Mentions – Jermaine Defoe, Fernando Torres and Gabriel Agbonlahor

Tom’s Prediction: Wayne Rooney

The English Premier League kicks off August 14th and make sure you come back each week our Weekly Premier League Roundup and our Fantasy League Roundup, where we will breakdown the top players each week.

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Henry Whitfield covers all things sports and can be found on Twitter @HenryWhitfield, where he live-tweets Mooseheads, Bluejays and much more!

World Cup: Semi Predo’s

Let’s all collect our breath shall we?

Now then, it’s time for some Semi-final predictions. Now that Germany has thrashed another opponent, and for the third time this World Cup scored four goals in a game, they will face pre-tournament favourites Spain, who have struggled thus far to put in an impressive performance in any of their games.

The other matchup features Two time World Champions Uruguay, who  are now the only South American team left in the tournament after Brazil and Argentina crashed out, against the inventors of Total Football, the Dutch who showed they can go down and come back with fighting spirit as they knocked off the Samba Boys.

Last round my predictions were almost spot on, picking three out of four winning teams correctly. Uruguay, Spain and Germany all went through, while the Netherlands upset my Brazil to book their place in the final four. Going 75% was a big improvement, but let’s see if I can keep it going this round.

If you were listening to CKDU Sports today, you heard my predictions on air with Bill Mclean, but for the rest of the world, here we go with my predictions for the semi-finals:

Uruguay 0 – 2 Netherlands

This is by far the tougher of the two matches to pick a winner and it features a defensively responsible team in Uruguay, against a patient Netherlands team who is more than willing to sit back and wait to pick apart their opponent bit by bit.

The Dutch fell behind early to Brazil, but instead of breaking apart like they have in the past, they used a game-turning save by their keeper to gain momentum and beat the five-time world champions. Their execution and pin-point passing was spot on and they looked incredibly strong in their play.

Uruguay needed penalties to barely squeeze by an inspired Ghana side, which more than deserved to win the match. A handball by Luis Suarez in the final moments of extra time was the only reason they booked themselves into the final four, and without their leading goal scorer they will have to rely even more on Diego Forlan.

The strength in midfield for the Dutch will be the key to this match and both Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder will be relied on heavily to both control the pace of the match and create chances on the attack.

Although Uruguay is extremely solid in the back, their team is susceptible to the speed of the Dutch attack and I am looking for the passing game of their opponents to really expose the back four.

In the end, the quality of the Dutch team will shine through and after a first-half goal gives them the lead, they’ll score a late second half goal to secure their spot in the finals and one win away from their first World Cup.

Key Netherlands Player – Arjen Robben

Key Uruguay Player – Diego Forlan

Spain 1 – 4 Germany

I know what you’re all thinking, four goals against Spain by Germany? You must be crazy!

But let’s look at the teams not just on paper, but in form and the recent performances both teams have put together.

Germany destroyed Australia in their first match, but got set back by Serbia in a 1-nil loss, however, since that game the young Germans have not looked back and each game has seen them get stronger and stronger. The combination of Miroslav Klose’s experience and the influx of speed and creativity by Thomas Muller, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mesut Ozil, has seen the easy destruction of both England and Argentina.

Spain has yet to impress me in this World Cup, a pre-tournament favourite to lift the Jules Rime Trophy, but the team has failed to show any interest in winning while in South Africa. However, this team has made it into the semi-final’s without showing anything exciting, an optimist would say that it’s only a matter of time for Spain to find their game and play the way they can, but a realist must look at the team and say, that maybe, just maybe, this team doesn’t believe in itself anymore.

The play of Fernando Torres has been dismal to say the least, and the manager’s insistence on sticking with the out-of-form striker is as baffling as the loss of his scoring touch.

The only reason Spain is in the finals is the fantastic play of David Villa and one crucial save by Iker Casillas, who made the save of the tournament when he stopped the Oscar Cordozo penalty shot in their last match.

The Germans are inspired, full of belief and already have one foot in the door and now find themselves against a lacklustre Spanish side that played like they were already going home against Paraguay.

This Germany side has left pundits wondering if they’re lucky or just that good, but yes, they are just that good. Eight goals in two games against England and Argentina shows how lethal they are in front of goal, their ability to counter in a moment and the passing of their midfield shuts out their opponents from the match.

Keep in mind that Klose is just one goal behind All-Time World Cup goal scorer Ronaldo and leads all-time goals from headers, and you’ve got one inspired player that is SURELY going to hit the back of the net once today.

Easy win for the Germans today and if we’re lucky, that sets up an exciting Netherlands – Germany finals.

Man of the Match: Miroslav Klose

World Cup: Quarterfinals Day 2

With the first day of the Quarterfinals wrapped up yesterday, we have the total football Netherlands through and the resurgent Uruguay through to the final four.

Today features the young, impressive Germany against a Diego Maradona led Argentina, while another South American team, Paraguay, take on an underperforming Spain.

Once again, you can go check out my predictions for the quarterfinals but for now here’s a reminder on what I predicted for today:

Argentina 1 – 2 Germany

Paraguay 0 – 2 Spain

I managed to go 50% with yesterday’s results, let’s see if my predictions hold on for today. Here we go:

Argentina 0 – 4 Germany

After thrashing England 4 – 1 in their encounter, I felt that there was no way that Argentina could keep up with such an impressive German team. I was right. For the entire ninety minutes it was all Germany, the South American’s seemed out of their depth and Maradona just didn’t have the tactical answers to compete with Joachim Loew.


It took just three minutes for the Germans to strike first blood, with Bastian Schweinsteiger curling in a free-kick that Thomas Mueller headed home, leaving Sergio Romero wondering why he’d come out instead of staying on his line.

With a lead in hand, the young Germans went to work and continually opened up space going forward, with Mesut Ozil taking full advantage of the space and setting up a number of clear cut chances. However, with all their pressure Germany could only put one past the Argentineans in the first half.

Argentina started promising in the second half and looked favourites to score the next goal, but Germany slowly took back control of the game and all hope was lost for Maradona when Thomas Mueller, while on the ground, sent in Lukas Podolski who then passed a ball in front for Miroslav Klose to tap home and give the Germans a two-goal lead. The goal was another example of the German’s pin-point passing and their raw football ability.

The German’s looked relentless and just six minutes later Bastian Schweinsteiger danced through half the Argentinean defence before setting up Arne Friedrich in front for his first ever goal at the international level.

Germany was rampant and the rout was on.

Javier Mascherano, who had been tasked to hold off the entire German Midfield, looked lost for much of the game and picked up a yellow card in the 80th minute, but it made no difference as his team looked well and truly trounced.

With just one minute remaining, Germany added insult to injury as young star Mesut Ozil floated in a perfect cross that Miroslav Klose volleyed home to put him second all time with 14 goals in the World Cup. He is now only one goal behind Ronaldo’s record of 15 at the World Cup.

A final score of 4-nil was nice to Argentina, as a master performance by Germany could have easily put ten goals past a lacklustre and uninspired South American side.

Man Of The Match: Bastian Schweinsteiger

Spain 1 – 0 Paraguay

What. A. Boring. Match.

Other than a few moments of madness, this match was a complete bore from start to end. A lacklustre Spanish side failed to capitalize on chances, and an even worse looking Paraguay rarely looked interested in making it into the final four.

Another cap for Fernando Torres and another uninspired performance from the soon-to-be ex-Liverpool striker, it is a real wonder why he keeps getting awarded starts. Maybe the manger likes his new haircut?

The game lacked any energy for much of the first half, and it was a sad display after three other wonderful Quarterfinal matches. Both teams lacked an attacking flair and neither looked interested in moving into the second round to face an impressive German side.

The match finally found some energy halfway through the second, when controversy poked it’s ugly head.

With Spain bringing on Cesc Fabregas to inspire the troops and try and pull out a win, it was Paraguay who finally had the first clear chance to win.

Oscar Cordozo went down in the box after a Gerard Pique challenge and it was a penalty for the South Americans. Cordozo took the shot himself but Iker Casillas‘ got down in time for the save and maintain the deadlock.

The excitement wasn’t finished there, as just two minutes later as David Villa breaks into the Paraguay box going full tilt and goes down softly under a challenge from Antolin Alcaraz.

ANOTHER PENALTY!

This time it`s Xabi Alonso who steps up, surely a goal, and sure enough he puts the ball away in the corner and it is… wait… no… the referee has called the goal back for encroachment by the Spanish players in the box.

Alonso clearly shaken now, steps up to re-take the biggest penalty shot of his life, shoots…SAVED!


Justo Villar guesses correctly and dives to make an incredible save; it may well have been the biggest save in his career. Fabregas is taken down in the box during the chaos that ensured after the shot, but the referee isn’t interested in another Penalty it seems.

Giving the fans some time to catch their collective breathe, the game once again slows down and loses all sense of life, until David Villa decides it’s time for Spain to go through to the Semi-finals.

Andres Iniesta moves in past a couple of Paraguayan players, sends in Pedro who crashes a shot off the woodworks but it’s Villa who is there for the rebound and latches onto the ball, a shot that careens off of one post, along the line and off of the other post before crossing the line. An unbelievable shot, you really have to step back and admire that effort.

With a one goal lead and a place in the next round secure, Spain goes back to sleep and the game is done with.

Man of The Match: Anyone that had the courage to watch the full ninety minutes…

World Cup: Quarterfinals Day 1

Only eight teams are left in the World Cup and today we have our last remaining African nation in play, with Ghana facing a resurgent Uruguay, while the late match offers us a classic matchup between the five time world Champions Brazil and the nation that brought us total football the Netherlands.

My predos came out before the matches and you can go find them here for the whole Quarterfinals, but as a quick reminder here’s today’s predictions:

Uruguay 2 – 1 Ghana

Brazil 3 – 2 Netherlands

With those predictions sure to be utterly wrong, here’s today’s recap and roundup of the matches:

Uruguay 1 [4] – 1 [2] Ghana

Forty years have passed since Uruguay have made it into the last four of the World Cup and on the other side of the bill, Ghana is hoping to remain Africa’s last hope to crown a champion at this year’s tournament.

The game started tentatively, with both teams cautiously attacking and probing for space, trying to find the go ahead goal. With so much pressure on the teams to get a result, the first thirty minutes offered few clear cut chances but Ghanaian goalkeeper Richard Kingson was called upon for a  couple of keys saves from Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez.

It was once again Asamoah Gyan who led the African attack and had a number of clear chances as the first half came to a close, however, it was Sulley Muntari who would open the scoring with a forty yard strike in first half injury time. The forward was allowed too much space and seemed to move in slow motion as he turned and struck a long-range speculative effort, only to be rewarded with a goal that curled just outside of the reach of keeper Fernando Muslera.

Although it was Ghana with the edge going into halftime, it was the South Americans that came out hard and full of life in the second half. They started brightly and were rewarded just ten minutes after the break when Diego Forlan curled in a wide free kick that deceived Kingson with its movement and tied the match at one goal apiece.

The game once again fell back to the two teams playing for extra time, but Ghana looked brightest forcing the opposition keeper into a number of important saves. The game finished 1-1 after ninety minutes and the two teams were forced into extra-time.

As the game looked to head into penalty kicks after a pair of scoreless halves of extra-time, it was controversy that took over the game.

In the dying seconds of the game Dominic Adiyiah has a shot cleared off the line by Suarez, and then second later it is Suarez again saving the day stopping a header from Adiyiah, however, this time he uses his hand and punches the ball clear.

A certain goal is stopped; Luis Suarez sees red and Asamoah Gyan steps up to take the penalty, where a goal will put his side just one match away from the World Cup finals.

He steps up. And. MISSES. With the ball skimming the woodworks and going over the net, absolutely heartbreaker and the match heads to penalty kicks.

Forlan scores first, then Gyan steps up moments after missing his chance to win the game and scores top corner. Brave move and it pays off.

Then Victorino scores, but Appiah answers back for Ghana and its tied two a piece after two shots. Scotti then scores for Uruguay and Mensah tries to score without a run up but Fernando Muslera guesses right and makes a save. 3 – 2 for Uruguay after three shots.

Maxi Periera up next and can put his country in the driving seat, but gaffes the shot and puts it high and wide, while all of Africa goes wild. Adiyiah steps up to score but is saved by Muslera.

With a goal putting them through, Abreu steps up, the weight of all of Uruguay on his shoulders, and dinks the ball right down the middle and puts his country through to the final four.

Man Of The Match: Fernando Muslera

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Netherlands 2 – 1 Brazil

Netherlands 2 – 1 Brazil

Whenever these two teams meet up, dreams are crushed and memories are imprinted upon supporter’s minds forever.

Five time world champions Brazil had been pegged as favourites to win the tournament, whilst many were waiting for the inevitable collapse that has plagued Dutch teams in the final stages of international tournaments for decades.

Le Oranje came out impressively and had a number of clear chances in the first few minutes, but the Brazilians hit back quickly on the counter-attack. In the 8th minute the South Americans sent Dani Alves in and he slipped a ball across for Robinho who tapped home but a late flag from the linesman put Alves offside and the Brazilians were unlucky to not be ahead.

Robinho didn’t have to wait long for his goal, as just two minutes later Felipe Melo sent him in alone and the on-loan Man City striker slotted a strike past Dutch keeper Maarten Stekelenburg to give his team a 1-nil lead early in the game.

With a lead in hand, Brazil is eager to sit back and hassle their opponents, fouling Arjen Robben at will and slowing the pace of the game down. Brazil pushes back and has a couple of chances with Juan blazing over from a few yards out and a brilliant curled shot by Kaka is turned away by Stekelenburg.

Michel Bastos, who had already fouled Robben a number of times, is shown a yellow card in the37th minute and has to make sure he doesn’t fall into Robben’s crafty movements, and although Brazil held a lead going into halftime their players looked increasingly frustrated at the fouls being called by the referees.

Going into the second half, it was up to the Dutch to come out and take control of the match as the new look Brazil who plays defence first were more than happy to sit back and play the game out to a 1-nil win.

Moments after receiving a yellow card, Felipe Melo turns villain as he goes up to head away a Wesley Sneijder cross and heads it into his own net. Own goal for Melo and it’s a 1-1 game in the 53rd minute.

The goal woke up both sides and suddenly a match was being played, Kaka has a chance go narrowly wide and Dani Alves has another shots saved. With Brazil looking frustrated and Netherlands growing in confidence, Arjen Robben drills in a corner kick that takes a deflection off of Dirk Kuyt and onto the head of Sneijder who heads home goal and puts his team into the driver’s seat with only 20 minutes remaining.

Just five minutes after the goal, Brazil finally implodes as own-goal scorer Felipe Melo see’s red for a vicious stamp on the leg of Arjen Robben. What a terrible day for the Brazilian, who set up the first goal, hit in an own goal and received a yellow and a straight red card.

Down a man Dunga’s side just seemed unable to compete and the Dutch seemed to smell blood, attacking over and over again, and throwing caution to the wind looking for more goals. Kuyt was unlucky not to add a third, but in all fairness, the final moments saw Netherlands walk out easy winners and into the next round.

Man Of The Match: Wesley Sneijder