Saturday, June 20, 2009

Confederations Cup Liveblog: New Zealand v. Iraq

Random picture... check

New Zealand versus Iraq.... on Telefutura ESPN2 (another last-minute scheduling change by the Worldwide Leader). I'm taking one for the team here, but we've just got to liveblog every single Confederations Cup match, right? Let's get it started!

Precious Roy has the intro: "Iraq is still alive though, right? I mean they've got 1 point and a -1 GD (I think that's all). If Spain wins, the Iraq just needs to win by 2 or better such as."


NZ: Moss, Scott, Lochhead, Sigmund, Vicelich, Elliott, Brown (c), Smeltz, Killen, Bertos, Brockie

Iraq: Mohammed K., Mohammed Ali, Basam, Nashat, Imad, Younus (c), Hawar, Karrar, Salem, Ali Hussein, Mahdi

Fun fact: New Zealand and Iraq have only played each other in the 1973 World Cup.

Most likely I'll have no idea what's going on, what with the Spanish broadcasters and all but I'll try my best.

Your ref: Howard Webb (Engerland). Vuvuzelas are buzzing and... we're off!

1: Iraq kick off

Okay it has now been pointed out to me that the match is actually on ESPN2, with Spain-South Africa on ESPN. Uh... ESPN, excellent job telling people that you're broadcasting both matches. Excellent job. On the plus side, I get to listen to Tommy Smyth. Ugh.

4: The first of what will likely be many NZ turnovers. They recover and punt the ball out of play. So far, Iraq looking like they will push forward aggressively.

7: Iraq runs the length of the pitch on the counter and earn a corner kick. The ball bounces off the Iraqi player's head (no idea who!) and goes just over the goal. Decent chance there.

10: Nashat takes a flying elbow on a setpiece. Iraq get the foul but no card. Howard Webb letting them play, perhaps? Meanwhile, Derek Rae says that Iraq look a bit shaky in the back. I can't disagree.

11: Younus goes slicing through the NZ box completely unmarked but skewers the ball completely off target. A wasted chance!

14: Now it's end-to-end stuff. Both teams have fairly weak defenses (I'm being kind) so just a matter of time before someone opens up this game.

15: Right on cue Killen gerrards the ball over the goal, completely unmarked in the middle of the box. Hilarious miss. And to think, I could/should be running errands right now. I'm wasting my Saturday for you peoples!

17: NZ corner, headed out of play in the box. NZ might be more dangerous if they could actually find the goal. They get another corner and waste that opportunity too.

18: Third mention of Norwich City of the Confederations Cup!!

23: Dribble, dribble, pass, ball out of play, Iraqi player injured, handball, turnover, punt, pass, dribble, turnover.

24: Graphic points out that NZ are 0-8-0 in Confederations Cup matches. Impressive!

26: Looks like it's just ü75 and me who are the masochists watching this one. Or maybe there are hundreds of lurkers??? I can dream can't I? Meanwhile, more bumbling play from NZ in and around the box results in another corner.

27: Corner cleared, Iraq can't convert on the breakaway, NZ counter back and pepper a couple shots straight at the Iraqi keeper.

28: Smeltz shot goes wide and Derek Rae with the Special Olympics compliment of NZ... "This is better." Yes, much better to constantly shoot the ball out of play than to not even take shots at all.

30: Smeltz clear header .... wait for it ... goes wide.

32: To clarify, Iraq needs to make up a 3 goal differential with South Africa. So far not looking all that likely.

35: Killen with a good header on goal, but straight at the keeper. Iraq looks quite shaky. Meanwhile, Howard Webb looks very snazzy in his pink ref uni.

36: Iraq freekick into the box is cleared. Long throw into the box is ... cleared.

38: Tommy Smyth with a beauty: "Iraq aren't putting any pressure on the left side or the right side, or the middle either." That about covers all of the pitch, doesn't it?

41: A tame shot by NZ, followed by a tame long shot by Iraq.

44: Killen earns a free kick near midfield. Iraq heads the ball out for a corner.

45: Killen heads the corner out somewhere near Madagascar. 1 minute of extra time.

HALFTIME 0-0: Tuffy makes a good point (he also might be the only person reading this!) and asks whether Iraq knows they need to score goals? NZ have improved from their previous two matches, in that they aren't complete shit. Otherwise, this has the look of an U-12 match -- lots of sloppy play, no real chances on goal. I can't wait for the second half!!

Second half about to start. So far the highlight of the past couple hours has been the turkey sandwich I just made. Brie cheese, a little salad greens, mayo. Truly world class this sandwich.

46: Iraq sub, Hawar out Fareed on. NZ kick off.

47: Smeltz makes a run down the right and his corner goes flying behind the goal. In other words, we're picking up where the first half left off.

49: Iraqi player trips over the ball and Webb awards a free kick. Well done, England.

50: Nashat with a wicked sliding tackle that brings down Killen. No yellow card (one was deserved) but NZ gets a free kick about 30 yards outside the box.

51: Freekick straight into the wall but NZ earns another freekick, near the end line... but Iraq clears.

53: NZ still looking like the team more likely to score, even though the window is open for Iraq after Spain has scored.

55: Oh good clearance by Moss for NZ after Iraq get a long ball into the box. Word must've finally trickled out that Spain is winning and Iraq are starting to press. Sub for Iraq: Alaa on Emad off.

57: Yes, Alaa is the Kaka of Iraq. This game has made me too sleepy to make a joke. NZ corner... cleared, along with the resulting play.

59: Ball in the back of the net!!! Too bad Iraq was miles offside, but still, I saw it!!

60: I think a NZ player just handballed off both of his hands. Iraq punt the freekick straight at Moss.

61: YC to Brockie, who takes out an Iraqi player who was about to go flying past. Free kick about 10 yards outside the box.... straight at the keeper. Ugh. Kick it away from the keeper. And now ESPN is showing highlights of the Spain-SA match.

63: Another Iraq freekick around 10 yards outside the box... blocked low by a defender. More crap set plays.

65: Moss flaps at a corner but Iraq can't convert.

66: NZ has a freekick into the box but can't convert.

67: NZ has a corner but can't convert, ball goes out of play. Last Iraq sub: Sadir on Mahdi off.

69: Iraq long shot goes sailing over the bar. Slightly more urgency from Iraq but not sure this game has a goal in it for either side.

70: Iraq play the ball into the box but can't covert. Get a cornerkick but can't convert, ball goes out of play.

71: Sigmund comes off with a knock, Boyens on. Remember Boyens had a shocking missed kick against Spain. This'll be fun.

73: Boyens makes his presence felt right away and kicks the ball out for a corner which ... wait for it, wait for it ... Iraq can't convert.

74: C'mon Iraq, Spain is up 2-0, all you need to do is score a couple goals!!

75: Smeltz does well heading the ball in the box, but Iraq clears.

76: Iraq long shot off target. Maybe they needed to play this game with bigger goals? Oh and ESPN with more highlights of the other game. WTF fellas, I have a remote and can switch over whenever I want.

77: Iraq break into the box but the ref rightly calls the play offside. NZ have played the offside trap well this game (about the best compliment I can give at the moment).

79: Rae says if Iraq scores than it'll set up a big finish. That's a big, big "if."

82: Nashat bangs heads with one of his own players, and there's a shot of an Iraqi fan in the crowd sleeping. 'Nuff said.

84: A decent chance for NZ yet again goes wasting. Killen just outside the box, shoots the ball wide. Iraq counters but NZ clears.

85: Another Kiwi with a knock. Scott off Mulligan on.

87: Key save by Moss who covers up some terrible defending by blocking the shot with his face. Best chance of the game for Iraq. Then going the other way Smeltz totally muffs a shot in the box.

88: Nashat earns a free kick just outside the box. Kiwis complain to Howard Webb but it was an obvious call. Let's see if Iraq can actually convert (word of the day!).

89: Nope. Over the crossbar. Completely useless.

91: Four minutes extra time. Seems a bit excessive. Please, let this game end!

92: Two great defensive plays by NZ. Moss clears a good long shot, and then NZ clears the corner off the goalline after Moss was beat. NZ just earned their first first point in the Confederations Cup there!

FULLTIME 0-0 A very dreadful match. Iraq failed to take advantage of the opening given to them by Spain-South Africa. NZ and Iraq eliminated. NZ earns its first point ever in the Confederations Cup. So long, thanks for following as I committed karoshi.


ü75 said...

Hey, it's on ESPN2 because there is no CWS.

ü75 said...

Both matches moving exclusively left to right on the TV.

ü75 said...

That Killen miss was horrible.

Tuffy said...

Does Iraq know that they need to score goals? Tommy Smyth even knows!

Tuffy said...

I'm jus' sayin'... I've had more urgency in bowel movements than Iraq has shown.

Spectator said...

Agreed. They've managed to make NZ, by far the worst team in this tourney, look competent.

Tuffy said...

Do we need to bail out the Iraqi nickname industry, too? "The Kaka of Iraq"?

Johnny said...

An Iraqi gave Howard Webb a thumbs up there while he was receiving a warning. Wonder if Webb knows that's the equivalent of "Eff you" over there.

Tuffy said...

Do you have "but can't convert" set as a macro on your computer? It'll save you a lot of typing.

Tuffy said...

New Zealand has returned some of its national pride by playing an entire match the New Zealand way: making sure nothing happens for long stretches.

Andrei Filimonov said...

How did these two dreadful teams get into the tournament anyway?

Johnny said...

Well New Zealand hand to run a gauntlet of New Caledonia, Vanuatu, and FIji.