England, Croatia win world cup quarter finals

In the early hours (NZ time) England beat Sweden 2-0 in the third football world cup semi final. Hoes of something great are rising in England.

WTF is SWEENG?

England’s semi-final opponent is still to be determined, with the Russia versus Croatia game due to start soon.


Russia v Croatia 1-1 after 75 minutes of game time.

Still 1-1 at the end of normal time, so the game will go in to extra time.

Both scored goals in extra time, ending 2-2, so now a penalty shootout.

Croatia win the shootout 4-3.

Russia did very well to get this far, they were ranked 70 going into the tournament. Croatia was 20.

Semi finalists:

  • France versus Belgium (Wednesday 6:00 am NZ time)
  • England versus Croatia (Thursday 6;00 am NZ  time)

 

Joubert correct not to refer to the TMO

There’s been a lot of fuming, especially from Scottish connections, over Craig Joubert’s awarding of a penalty to Australia to enable them to win the World Cup quarter final.

No matter what the facts are it looks like a very tough call against Scotland, but the rules say that  Joubert was not able to refer the possible knock on to the Television Match Official.

According to this list at SMH – Rugby World Cup 2015: Referee Craig Joubert almost hit by bottle as decision breaks Scotland hearts:

Under World Rugby rules, the TMO can only be called into play for:

  • Determining the grounding of the ball in goal for a try, and/or whether players were out of the field of play before the grounding;
  • Determining whether a kick at goal has been successful;
  • Confirming an infringement has occurred in the build up to a try or prevention of a try within two phases of the try, and;
  • Considering acts of possible foul play.

The offside ruling does not fall into any category and therefore Joubert’s decision on the field stands.

It can be argued whether the awarding of a penalty was correct or appropriate or not, but it was correct not to refer to the TMO.

And while Scotland did very well to get so close to winning against Australia in what would have been a major upset they can also look at their own decision making in the last few minutes of the game when they had a two point lead.

  • They chose to throw to the back of the lineout, a relatively risky call in that situation.
  • They didn’t take the line out cleanly, instead deflecting the ball backwards.
  • They didn’t tidy up the messy deflection.
  • They may have knocked it on (I’m not sure if this has been proven or disproven).
  • The player who took the ball took a risk he should have known about unless he was certain it wasn’t a knock on.

As it turned out Scotland were penalised for offside and Australia were awarded a penalty, which they kicked to give them a one point lead.

Then Scotland made another poor decision – they kicked off deep giving Australia a clear shot at securing the ball and protecting it to run down the clock and take the win. Which is what happened.

Scotland could only hope for an Australian mistake, which didn’t happen.

Scotland could have kicked short to at least give them a 50/50 chance of securing possession and making play to try and find a way of regaining the lead. They didn’t.

So the penalty may have been tough but it wasn’t the only factor in the loss by a long shot.

If Scotland had not been penalised for offside at the line out there is also no guarantee that they could have prevented Australia from scoring in the last couple of minutes, or of not giving away a penalty for another infringement that they could score points from.

I can understand Scotland being devastated. But it wasn’t the referee that lost them the game. He was only one of a number of factors that are all a part of the game.

Southern hemisphere semis

A slightly surprising win to Argentina and a near shock loss to Australia has resulted in an all southern hemisphere semi final in the Rugby World Cup.

The semis will be:

  • South Africa versus New Zealand – 4 am Sunday 25 October (NZ time)
  • Argentina versus Australia – 5 am Monday 26 October (NZ time)

Results from the quarter finals:

  • South Africa beat Wales 23-19

The Springboks ground out a win against a weary looking Wales without wowing. They are still in the hunt but surely have to lift and show more enterprise to match it with the All Blacks in their semi final.

Wales were gallant and kept close but looked like they ran out of gas after some punishing pool games and an awful injury toll.

  • New Zealand beat France 62-13

The All Blacks bltized Les Bleus as individuals and the new Zealand team came into form at the business end of the tournament. The question will be whether the ABs can repeat this sort of performance again next week. And if they win that whether they can lift to that level again. They are well prepared and may, but sport does funny things sometimes. They must now be favourites.

France battled well in the first half but couldn’t match the ABs and couldn’t keep up in the second half. They have serious questions to ask about their coaching and club system.

  • Argentina beat Ireland 43-20

I didn’t see this game but the Pumas pounced after showing promise in pool play and ended up with a decisive win.

Ireland had lost some key players to injury after a punishing clash with France last week, which turned out to be both teams’ peak.

  • Australia beat Scotland 35-34

Scotland nearly had a shock win over the Wallabies with a late intercept try putting them in front but a controversial penalty two minutes from full time let Australia rescue what would otherwise have been an embarrassment.

Scotland played very well an deserve much credit. That penalty was a huge blow but they bumbled the lineout that led to the penalty. And then after the Wallabies took the lead Scotland kicked off deep, Australia took it and played out the remaining seconds. Why on earth didn’t Scotland kick short so they could contest possession instead of giving possession to the Aussies on a plate?

Australia managed to do what counts, they won, and they scored five tries, but they didn’t have a very good game in many respects. They looked lacklustre. Their scrum fell to pieces. Scotland may have beaten them on turnovers. And Foley missed his first three kicks (but nailed the one that really counted at the end).

The Wallabies will have a big battle against Argentina next week and will have to up their standards.

Already this World Cup has been a major disappointment for the Northern Hemisphere, with four teams from the south filling all semi final slots.

RWC and All Blacks versus France

The business end of the Rugby World Cup started this morning. I’m writing this during half time of the first quarter final, between South Africa and Wales.

It’s been an even first half with South Africa punishing Welsh mistakes clocking up 12 points in penalties, but the Welsh kept in touch with a penalty, a very good try and a drop goal right on half time to give them a one point lead – 13-12.

At 8 am this morning New Zealand time (7 am if you want to sit through a big bunch of Sky advertising and 7.55 am if you want to catch the anthems and haka) the All Black campaign to win back to back world cups gets serious with a knock out match against France.

The French have been predictable in their unpredictability in the lead up, with rumours of squabbling in the squad and dumping their coach, but this is nothing new from them.

The All Blacks will be very well aware that anything can happen playing the French, including getting a beating, so this will test their mettle.

UPDATE: South Africa 23 – Wales 19

South Africa ground out the second half in typical fashion, dominating much of it but trailing Wales until a well executed scrum move led to a good try in the corner. They got away with several missed shots at goal.

Wales hung in but looked jaded and lacking the passion that beat England. They led well into the second half but finally leaked a try and just didn’t have enough in the tank or in their heads to take the lead back.

Wales should be credited with a gutsy World Cup considering their difficult pool and a number of major injuries, some to key players, but it goes down in the record books as a quarter final exit.

South Africa did just enough to win this. They will be a difficult opponent in the semi final against either France or New Zealand but they look quite beatable, this is not one of the best Springbok sides – unless the win the cup perhaps!

Now the countdown to the All Blacks versus Les Bleus.

All Blacks versus France in quarter finals

Ireland have beaten France in their final pool game so that lines up a quarter final match-up between New Zealand and France.

France have shown in the past they can rise to the occasion against the All Blacks, most notably in the quarter final eight years ago, so this will be a very interesting game.

Other quarter finalists:

  • Australia versus Scotland
  • South Africa versus Wales
  • Ireland versus Argentina

The business end of the Rugby World Cup gets under way this weekend.