Thursday 18 October 2012

Week 9 results: V is for victoriousness!

It has been said that if you give an infinite number of monkeys an infinite number of typewriters, over an infinite period of time one of them will bash out some Shakespeare.  It has never explicitly been stated where one would acquire such a number of typewriters in this day and age and under which circumstances the health and safety folks would actually let this take place.  But anyway, the point is that in a similar vein, The Grambler was likely to eventually throw up a winner.  And that time is now!  Well actually, it was about 4 0'clock in the morning on Wednesday...

In previous weekends, we have had odds of around 1,500/1.  Unfortunately, this weekend was substantially lower but the £49 won is almost enough to travel back in time to April 1787 (please note: expenses for the invention and use of a time-travelling machine or device have not been included) and purchase the Lardin House Inn located in Masontown, Pennsylvania.  Alternatively, it will be more than welcome in the Bobby Moore Fund fund, which has now reached... (the audience hushes in anticipation, Dermot O'Leary feigns a somewhat anguished look and a persistent rhythm not dissimilar to that of a heartbeat can be heard faintly in the background...) 


This victory was not without controversy; two accumulator bets were placed as a result of complicated online betting procedures.  The first contained just two games taking place on Friday night and was incorrect thanks to Scotland's almost inevitable loss (thank you Mr Levein, it would be sweetly poetic if the door DID hit you on your way out).  The second coupon contained the five games taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday and this, my friends, was the bet which has made history!*

*May not actually have made history. 

Game 1: Venezuela vs Ecuador
Prediction: Draw ( ✔ )
Ecuador will be happy with a point away from home which has kept them in second place, biting at the heels of Argentina like an otter who knows you have fish in your socks.  But it was the home side who dominated at the Estadio General José Antonio Anzoátegui (named after a man with the finest sideburns of the early 19th century.)  Captain Juan Arango (as in footballing team captain, he's not in the military or anything) was in fine form, and had his side in front early in the game with a stunning long strike giving Venezuela the lead within six minutes of the start.  However, Ecuador pulled even on the 22nd minute when Segundo Castillo equalised.  Arango tested the keeper once more from long distance and also hit the crossbar with a similar effort, but Venezuela had to settle for a single point.  The draw managed to push Venezuela into the top four which would be enough to take them to their first World Cup.  But there is still a long road ahead and Chile and Uruguay will also be eyeing fourth place.  Speaking of Uruguay...

Game 2: Bolivia vs Uruguay
Prediction: Home win ( ✔ )
What a seamless transition!  The country of Bolivia is named for Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Palacios Ponte y Blanco.  Presumably Simónjoséantoniodelasantísimatrinidadbolívarypalaciosponteyblancoland was deemed to be less catchy.  Their national team have qualified just once for a World Cup back in 1994, and gave their hopes of making this one a major boost with a fine win over better-fancied Uruguay.  Carlos Saucedo opened the scoring early and Gualberto Mojica made it two minutes later with a cracking free-kick.  After the interval, Saucedo added a third before claiming his hat-trick before the game had reached the hour mark.  Luis Saurez scored a consolation goal for the visitors with only ten-minutes remaining, but the home-team were already celebrating the win.  Disappointed Uruguay manager  Oscar Tabarez went all Craig Levein on us at the end of the match, stating "we must keep focused, there are seven finals remaining.

Game 3: Chile vs Argentina
Prediction: Away win ( ✔ )
Chile went into this game knowing that a win would see them move within two points of the top-spot.  But Argentina were determined to maintain pole position and managed to take all three points, much to the disgust of Chilean ambassador Jon Benjamin.  Lionel Messi opened the scoring in the 28th minute with his third of the international break for Argentina.  Three minutes later, the Argentines had doubled their lead thanks to Gonzalo Higuian.  Chile created a host of chances but failed to score until stoppage time when Felipe Guttierez grabbed a consolation.  The draw has left the Chileans sixth in their group, but joint on points with Venezuela and Uruguay. And a joke to round-off the South American action; What do you call a Thundercat who plays for Argentina and lives with his mother who is repeatedly begging him to tidy his room? Lion-O Messy!

Game 4: Oman vs Jordan
Prediction:Home win ( ✔ )
A win for Oman Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex took level with Australia in the race for qualification from the Asian groups.  Ahmed Mubarak opened the scoring after 62 minutes and Juma Al Maashari made it two with three minutes remaining in the tie.  But Oman were in for a nail-biting finish as Jordanian Tha'er Bawab pulled one back immediately after.  The Omanians, if there is such a word, held on to take all three points much to the delight of Paul le Guen.  Yep, that's where he ended up.

Game 5: Wales vs Scotland
Prediction: Draw ( x )
Where to start with this, our only incorrect prediction of the week?  We could blame the officials for incorrectly ruling out Steven Fletcher's goal which have put Scotland two in front.  We could blame Gareth Balee for taking yet-another 'unfortunate' tumble in the box to win his side a penalty (something that seems to happen week-in week-out but he gets away with because he's the poster-boy for the Best League in the World™ and not one of them 'dirty forrins').  But really, it is much more satisfying to blame the all-round cluelessness of the manager.  Some facts for you:  
  • Berti Vogts lost the Scotland job after taking just two points in the opening three qualifiers for Euro 2006
  • George Burley lost the support of the fans and the media when he won only three games in the qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup, his one full campaign
  • Burley was finally sacked after losing against Wales in Cardiff
Craig Levein has now managed to emulate all three of the above.  He is now officially the worst Scotland manager in history (and highest paid!), yet still claims that he is doing things right.  Please leave, Mr Levein... We all know you are reading this!  Oh and I'm meant to say what happened during the game...  Morrison put Scotland in front, Bale dived for a penalty and scored it, Bale scored a second.     

Game 6: Romania vs Netherlands
Prediction: Away win ( ✔ )
Romania's perfect start to the qualifying stages came to an end on Tuesday evening as Holland scored four to preserve their status as favourites in the group.  Jermain Lens was first on the scoresheet in the 11th minute when he headed in from 20 yards.  That's some header!  Bruno Martins added a second when he headed in from a Rafael van der Vaart free-kick but the home side were given some hope when Ciprian Marca pulled one back with five minutes to go until half-time.  But before the referee could signal the end of the half, Gabriel Tamas conceded a penalty which was calmly scored by van der Vaart.  The second half was not to be as eventful and Romania rarely looked like coming back into the match.  In the 86th minute, Robin van Persie sealed the win with a fourth for the Dutch, who now look certain to qualify for the World Cup.  Romania meanwhile have slipped to third in their group but will hope that they don't Romania there.  

Game 7: England vs San Marino
Prediction: Home win ( ✔ )
The mighty England took another step towards qualification thanks to a flawless win against their fierce rivals... er, San Marino.  Or I imagine that's how The Sun will have spun it on Saturday morning.  Although a comfortable win for England, it took them a while to get into their stride.  For the first third of the match, the minnows put up a good fight and it took a penalty call for England in the 35th minute to start the goals flowing.  Wayne Rooney diverted the penalty and minutes later, his Manchester United team-mate Danny Wellbeck had made it two.  In the 69th minute, Rooney got his second and not to be outdone, Wellbeck once again scored minutes later.  England added a fifth via a goal from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who described his goal as 'spiffing' before hopping onto his thoroughbred horse, yelling "pip-pip and tally-ho" and riding back to his manor where his butler Reginald awaited him with a bowl of caviare and a fine brandy.   

Back to league football tomorrow and it's probably best not to get carried away on the back of one win.  But I can say with 100% accuracy that we will definitely be winning again this weekend!

"Winning is only half of it. Having fun is the other half."

                                                                         - Bum Phillips (Really, his name is Bum!)

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