If you’ve missed Day 9, you can catch up here
Day 10 already? Where does the time go. If you’ve stuck with us so far, you’ve read over 10,000 words of retro Championship Manager. Nobody is more grateful for that than me, so thank you. With just 4 of our last 16 decided though, it’s not time to stop yet. We’re barely half way!
So it comes down to this. Strictly speaking, all four teams can qualify here. Which also means all four can be eliminated, but that would involve Eire beating Holland by three goals and Colombia beating South Africa. I mean it’s unlikely but not impossible. Holland vs Ireland will see Ash (ALIVE AND KICKING) go up against Rob Tait (WROTE BLOGS FOR ME) and it’s on a knife edge. The Dutch have barely had to get out of 2nd gear – a lazier blogger would make a quip and a schmoke and a pancake, but we are above that here. Ash stays with his tried and tested formation, the Bergkamp/Kluivert partnership has done the business so far.
Rob’s Ireland improved significantly since the switch to 4-2-3-1, although they also got Roy Keane back which would help any team. Sean Devine gets the nod ahead of Niall Quinn but expect Quinn to be introduced later on for plan B if things aren’t going to plan. Put them under pressure!
A big game means big audience – remarkably, I remembered to press record. You can view the action below or scroll down for a more retro feel.
Nobody does pressure like the Irish. It’s like they wait for the chips to be down before bringing out their best performances. Right from the off they are at the Dutch. Harrying, pressing and getting it in the box. Van der Sar can’t cope and he fumbles a cross and Keith O’Neill does the rest. Dreamland! Well, sort of. The reality is that Ireland need to win by more than Colombia beat South Africa by, assuming they do. With that in mind, Bergkamp equalises. Can the Irish come again in the second half?
Philip Cocu is at Man Utd incidentally. He’s having the time of his life.
Eire can’t be kept down and still they launch the ball in the general direction of Van der Sar’s goal. Another ball over the top and Stam’s in trouble, he sticks out a hand and he’s off. Holland reorganise but they are still at 6s and 7s from the restart and a corner ends in Devine scoring the most important goal of his life. It’s a helter skelter finish but Ireland win – incredibly – but will it be enough? It’s actually a result that secures Holland’s passage into the last 16, as Ireland can’t overhaul their goal difference.
You would have to say, it is fully deserved. How Holland are ahead on percentages I’m not really sure.
Bergkamp takes man of the match. The ratings are surprisingly high on the Dutch side given how it turned out but nevermind. Will it matter?
WHAT A DULL GAME!
That means Ireland go through in second place and both our lads survive. I was fearign the worst there, I’ll be honest.
Incredible. Any goal for Colombia would have been interesting, they’d have gone through on head to head presumably. Nevermind. They will face teams from Group F, which we’ll worry about tomorrow.
England and Argentina played out a bit of a bore draw which was meant to lead to them gallantly thrashing Australia and Tunisia. England did their bit, they beat Tunisia 5-0. Argentina though, my word. They struggled past Australia 1-0, with an ageing Maradona pulling the strings with minimal skill. With England more or less through, we’ll save their Ashes clash for later. Let’s focus on Argentina vs Tunisia for now.
Chris Darwen, or Ronnie Dog Media if you prefer, is a cornerstone of the FM Community. At times though I wonder if he ever played CM9798, though to be fair he’s done the right thing and focused on the newer games and made several successful projects out of it whilst I am stuck in the past. The problem he has here is that second in this group are likely to play Spain in the last 16, which is a stinker of a draw. He needs to match England’s 5-0 here, really.
Tunisia stick with the 5-3-2 despite it being less than good against England
It’s on TV! Or scroll down for text. You know the gist by now…
Oh, Chris. What is happening here. Argentina find themselves 2-0 down after 7 minutes. Goodness me. The response from Argentina predictably comes but Tunisia don’t care. They’ve got more than what they came for and Boumnijel forgets he’s at West Ham and makes save after save. That is until the 44th minute, when Redondo finally beats him. It’s looking like Argentina vs Spain…
Once again Tunisia showed their plans by subbing two players immediately after taking the lead. Who’s in charge, Pardew?
The Argentine onslaught continues and eventually Batistuta equalises. The winner doesn’t follow. Darwen’s head will be on a stick in Buenos Aires.
Pochettino is happy enough. Must have a decent transfer budget afterall.
The second half was actually remarkably tranquil. My my.
So England will just need a point to claim top spot.
Dan Barker, who is your man if you are a Man Utd fan and like the past (and present), is without the suspended McManaman and has taken the piss by bringing in Jamie Redknapp. Matt Le Tissier remains unamused.
It’s a good game for Alan Shearer to make a move towards the golden boot with another two goals, both headers, as England stroll to a 2-0 half time lead. I, er, forgot, again, to take half time screenshots so here are the stats at 60 minutes…just after Australia pulled one back.
The two sides only manage a couple of shots each in the closing stages and there’s no change to the score. England through as group winners, the football ashes are coming home (disclaimer: this is not a thing)
Sol Campbell gets man of the match despite Shearer’s heroics. Redknapp makes me eat my words by being as good as anybody on the pitch. All coming up Millhouse for Dan.
That leaves the group like this:
We’ll see the end results of Group E tomorrow but as I said earlier, it will almost certainly be Spain who top that group which is bad news for Argentina. Still, they can only improve.
That’s it for today then, a rare good day for the UK & Ireland as both live to fight another day. We’ll find out their opponents tomorrow when Groups E & F are finalised. That means you’ll see Italy and Spain play games to top the group and Romania bidding to join them in the last 16. Bye for now!