Friday, July 04, 2008
  It's In The Post

Not everything I write makes it into one of my blogs, either here, Green Indonesia, Performing Monkeys or Out Of The Indonesian Box. If I use the above heading it indicates either a fairly lengthy comment or a contribution posted somewhere else in the blogosphere.

Here are a couple posted on my favourite Charlton Athletic site, Dr. Kish's Surgery. Managed by old friend Frankie Valley, this site is now more co-operative in that there are several contributors, all Addicks. I'm honoured to be the South-East Asia correspondent. China watchers, please note that the captain of their national soccerball team is a much-valued Charlton midfielder.

What could be more important than Euro 2008?

That everyone and his, or her, mother is supporting Holland is all well and good, but when their matches take place at 2 or 3 in the morning, local time, and ESPN/Star isn't showing the matches anyway - or, in Indonesia anyway, then one's focus turns inwards.

To those of us resident in Asia, and presumably Asians resident in Europe, the footballing answer must be the Asia group qualifying rounds for the 2010 World Cup.

So far Saudi Arabia, Iran, Australia, Japan, Bahrain, Uzbekistan and both Koreas are into the final round. North Korea went through courtesy of goals either side of half-time from Serbian-born Hong Yong-jo who beat Jordan 2-0. (This, of course,leads one to ask what's wrong with Serbia.)

Qatar were beaten on Saturday by Australia with Brett Emerton scoring two and Harry Kewell scoring towards the end of the match for a scoreline of 3-1.

Iraq ensured its place in the sudden death match by beating China 2-1, in Tianjin, China.

Reuters reported it thus: The Chinese fought hard and went ahead through Zhou Haibin, but Iraq dug deep and found an equalizer close to halftime through Emad Mohammed. Playmaker Nashat Akram blasted Iraq's winner on 66 minutes.

China's elimination reduced captain Zheng Zhi to tears and prompted an angry response from the 30,000 or so fans, who chanted "Sack! Sack! Sack!", calling for the federation to be dismissed.

I didn't see the match, nor did I hear the chant. Come to think of it, I don't speak Chinese either, but I do wonder if the fans weren't telling ZZ to grow up, be a man and stop being such a wimp.

One may also wonder about Charlton's reputed investment in China. It can't be anything but long-term, but wouldn't Iraq be a better bet?

BTW. If anyone should wonder about Indonesia, a country which boasts a ManYoo theme bar/restaurant, it's because the country's football team didn't make it out of the preliminary qualifying stages for the qualifying stages.

There is, however, an Indonesian team, captained by Paul Walsh, in the final of a Star TV football knowledge quiz, so things are looking .... up?

Zheng Zi is going to the Olympics as an overage player. As a warm up for the Games, China subsequently beat Australia 1-0 in their return group match. Unfortunately, pride doesn't make prizes.

I love Wimbledon because I've been there.

I only like sports I've played, so, being incredibly myopic, I hate rugby because you tend to get hurt if you're not wearing your glasses. But tennis, great game which I played at college level (and think I once took a set in mixed doubles off Our Ginny). Yep, way back whenever I also saw Tony Roche and John Newcombe compete in the men's doubles on the hallowed court in Plough Lane (Is this right? Ed.) where I also saw Stanley Mathews play.

Seriously, Stanley Mathews Jr. was a pretty good tennis player and if my memory serves me right, which it probably doesn't, he won the boy's title that year. He was almost as good as Buster Mottram.

As I am currently in a between gigs/terms situation and ESPN/Star is available with a click on my remote, I get to listen to John McEnroe, Andrew Castle (who?), Boris Becker, Tim Henman and Our Ginny going "Ooooh, look at that back swing" and other interesting stuff. I often find myself uttering comments a split-second before the commentators. "What??? Fudge me! Bloody amazing!"

So, last night I didn't have to be forced to watch Nadal, all the while thinking that Andy Murray, playing a French guy in the following match, would find it very difficult to beat the Spanish guy "playing the world's best tennis at the moment." But it would be worth watching.*

It was but it wasn't, if you get my meaning. It was one in the morning and I'd watched Murray not getting in as many passing shots as in his previous matches, although he was still making me jump out my seat, metaphorically speaking, at his retrievals, but Gasquet (who, like so many other players at this year's Wimbledon, I'd never heard of) was dominant.

Two sets down, oh dear, Murray's doing a heroic Henman ~ wins hearts, loses heart, loses ~ and I needed my beauty sleep, so I went to bed.

I was up at the crack of nine, time to read the Gruaniad online and ...... what???

He won? What, he won? And I slept through it all? Fudge it!!!

Watching a repeat is no fun when you know the result, so I'm REALLY pissed.

Now, where's my remote?

Watching the repeat, seemingly repeatedly, has been, and will be, worth it. This was a classic match. However, Murray must have been exhausted from his four hours on Monday because he had very few chances against Nadal and lost in three straight sets.

Sunday's final, probably between Nadal and Federer, should be one of the best ever: both are playing the best tennis it's been my privilege to watch - ever.



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