Portrait of an icon takes a brief look at some of the best known names in recent world football. Each profile is short (I don’t think any are longer than 8 pages) and focus more on quotes (from the person and others in world football) and anecdotes than statistics; an excellent approach, especially for the portrait of Pierluigi Collina.
Goals are the currency of football, so it is perhaps little surprise that the majority of those profiled are attacking players. Despite this, there are still portraits of defensive players and managers are also included.
As well as being an excellent book, it’s also the type to provoke discussion about who has been included and who has been left out. A final reason to buy this book (as if another were needed) is that proceeds go to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
Rating (out of 5): *****
Jacob Cox is named as the landlord for the pub his family have bought on the coast. He has the vision to make the pub one of the most successful in the country, nevermind the town. His family just can’t see his plans and how they will lead to success. Of course, it might just be because the ideas aren’t actually that great…
A short book that’s easy to pick up and get in to. It is humorous throughout and ends on a cliffhanger after Jacob’s visit to a rival pub. Well worth a read.
Rating (out of 5): ****
Phil Taylor V Rob Cross
Taylor beat Lewis by a clear margin in the semi-final, whilst Cross’ game against MVG went the full distance. Although Taylor won by a clear margin, the game was closer than the scoreline suggested with Taylor winning key legs to win sets. Cross had a close game against MVG and survived match darts.
Taylor has the experience, which could be very important. However, Cross’ game against MVG was the biggest of his career and he performed excellently in it, showing no signs of buckling under any pressure. A big difference will be the support that Cross receives; in the semi-final, he received the support of the crowd, but the crowd is likely to be strongly behind Taylor in his final ever game. It will be interesting to see how Cross is able to respond to this.
I think the game will be close at the start, but in the second half of the game, Taylor will win key legs and eventually win 7-4.
Will there be a new name on the trophy or will Taylor be able to increase his tally of titles? Leave a comment and let me know what you think.
After yesterday’s quarter-finals, I look at the semi-finals below:
Jamie Lewis V Phil Taylor
If Taylor was writing his own farewell script, surely this would be it; a preliminary round qualifier in the semi-final. However, Lewis has been in excellent form in beating Peter Wright in Round 2 and demolishing the Demolition Man 5-0 in the quarter-final. Lewis played the first quarter-final in a relatively short match, whilst Taylor’s was the last and relatively lengthy; Taylor also admitted that he felt his energy levels drop towards the end of his match with Anderson. Taylor’s game is unlikely to crack under a barrage of high scoring, so it will be interesting to see how Lewis responds to Taylor keeping pressure on him. A long match might be Lewis’ best bet of beating Taylor. I think Taylor will win 6-4.
Michael van Gerwen V Rob Cross
Both men went the distance in their quarter-final matches against Raymond van Barneveld and Dimitri van den Burgh respectively. Cross had the better of the first half of his quarter-final before eventually crossing the finishing line, whilst van Gerwen’s match varied wildly in quality throughout. If Cross’ finishing is good and van Gerwen is not on top form, Cross can win the game. However, van Gerwen is looking for back-to-back titles and I expect him to beat Cross; I think he will win 6-3.
Leave a comment and let me know how you think the semi-finals will go.
The quarter-final line-up for the 2018 PDC World Championship is complete. I look at each match below:
Jamie Lewis V Darren Webster
An unexpected quarter-final, but both players have played well. Lewis put in an outstanding performance to beat Peter Wright in Round 2, with darts that would have been beaten anyone (with the possible exception of an in-form MVG). If he can produce the same again, he will go through to the semi-final. However, I don’t think he will and reckon that Webster will win by a couple of sets.
Dimitri van den Bergh V Rob Cross
Another unlikely quarter-final as can den Bergh has played well to get this far. Unfortunately for him, I think his tournament stops here as he runs into one of 2017’s best players in Rob Cross. I think Cross will win quite comfortably by three sets.
Michael van Gerwen V Raymond van Barneveld
The two leading Dutch players meet again in the match of the quarter-final. If it’s anything like their clash last year, we’re in for a treat. MVG has already identified his target as beating the number of world titles won by Barney, who often seems to cause him problems in games between the two. MVG has achieved a lot in the game, but has yet to win back-to-back world titles. He has looked very focused on achieving this in previous matches and I think he will beat Barney by a couple of sets.
Phil Taylor V Gary Anderson
Will Anderson be the man to end Taylor’s career? Taylor has looked very good at times in the tournament and is playing knowing that he has three matches now (at the most) left in his career. Anderson has acknowledged this has not been his best season. I think this will be a classic and go down to a final set, that Taylor will pinch.
Leave a comment with who you think will progress to the semi-finals.