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All right, if you enjoyed yourself a solid weekend of World Cup action — yeah! we sound like a Coke commercial! — but you're stuck back at work, not quite woken up yet, sad you're not at a pub somewhere ... worry not! We're here for you.

Today's first game: Japan taking on Australia. It's a good palate cleanser for the big United States match coming up at noon. And if you didn't get enough of The Mighty MJD over the weekend, you're in luck, because he'll be doing all our 9 a.m. games this week. Starting with this one, obviously.

So, after the jump, the live blog begins. If you're feeling frisky, leave some comments, or email MJD and let him know what you think.


90:00: Anyway, that's going to do it for me. Enjoy the USA/Czech game later, and please do not even consider treading on our boys. Have a good one.


90:00: And it's in the books. Australia gets a 3-1 win, and the Japanese guys are shellshocked. I'm not even sure if they know what happened. They look like the Raiders after they were just beaten by the tuck rule, only it's not quite as funny.

90:00: GOOOOOAL! Australia adds another one, and this has, in the last 10 minutes, turned into a rout. And that'll wrap this one up. It was John Aloisi. I'm feeling a little bad for the Japanese team right now. Shep Messing is openly celebrating, though. I believe his mother was actually a kangaroo.

90:00: Three minutes of stoppage time here.

88:40: GOOOOOAL! Holy fuck. Tim Cahill scores from way out, putting up in the top corner, saying, in effect, "That's not a goal... That's a goal." What an incredible turn. Tim Cahill, amazing shot.


87:41: Fukunishi lasers one just wide of the goal. Heating up there. Just a few minutes to play, and they're both going for the W.

86:41: Australia's got some legs under them now, they're threatening to get another one. Kennedy wastes a chance for a corner by fouling someone, though.

85:22: Japanese guy gets taken down right on the edge of the box. Shep says it should've been a penalty kick. But they get a corner... Schwarzer knocks it up in the air, it's knocked out, and it's goal kick time for Australia.


83:45: GOOOOOAL! The Soccerroos get one out of a long throw-in... Tim Cahill found the ball at his feet with an empty net, and G'day Mate. 1-1. Man, how that one found its way through that mess of legs, I don't know. Whole new ballgame.

82:55: Free kick for Australia... Just a few yards outside the box, and ANOTHER great save by Kawaguchi. That guy's been phenomenal today.

81:17:: Lucas Neill wastes a possession for Australia. I don't know if he was trying to score there, or cross it, but he ended up just rifling it into the stands.


78:08: Japan threatening again. They're pretty good on the counter attack here today. I like the way they play.

77:38: Yellow card on some Australian asshole, Aloisi, I believe, who just shoved a Japanese guy down out of frustration.

75:15: Fast break for Japan... pass just a little bit behind where it should have been. Looked threatening for a minute there.


74:15: Shep: "I feel like there's a goal coming, either by Australia or Japan on the counter." Well, thanks for narrowing it down, fella. I really thought Iceland had a good chance to score here.

73:05: "Good long ball to Nakamura, and that's not the guy you want around your box." I disagree, Glenn. I think there are a lot of women out there who would like to have him around their box.

71:39: A giveaway by Japan deep in their own territory. Australia can't make anything of it, though.


70:38: Kennedy, if nothing else, seems to have given Australia a spark. He hasn't been close to finishing anything, but he's been active.

69:22: Tim Cahill gets a yellow card for doing something mean.

68:10: Hard low shot, and a great save by Kawaguchi. That was outstanding. Reflexes, baby.


67:24: Kennedy is knocked down at the top of the box... free kick time. Tension. Six Japanese guys stand by side, holding their Japanese junk. Viduka's taking it.

66:23: Corner for Australia, and the big new guy, Kennedy, nearly gets a head to it. They need some life.

65:52:: Shep calls "Bobby Convey" "Conway."

64:51: Nakamura has the ball along the baseline (though I know it's not called that), and kinda gets shoved out of bounds. I guess that's not a foul. Perhaps a flop would've been in order there.


62:43:: Japan's playing some nice long balls across the pitch. They are definitely not out of idears. Australia's had a decent amount of possession here in the 2nd half, but they can't seem to build anything. Sounds to me like they have a case of the mondays.

60:06: Another sub for Australia. 6'4" Josh Kennedy enters the game. Shep Messing says that Australia is "out of idears." Yes, idears.

58:03:: Aussie goalie heads one, but ends up right on the foot of a Japanese attacker. And they get a corner. Nothing doing there for Japan.


56:32: Yellow card on Craig Moore of Australia. He grabbed someone's jersey away from the ball, which is cheating. Sportsmanship is for T-ball.

53:14: After an odd incident where there were two balls on the field, Japan is awarded a free kick, and they just give it right back to Australia. The commentators call it "good sportsmanship." I call it "kinda dumb." This is big show, fellas. Bad call or whatever, I say take advantage.

50:14: Australia brings Tim Cahill into the game. He's had some injury problems, and I think Australia was hoping to not have to play him today, but there he is.


50:04: It's evident that the 2nd half will not be played at the same buck-wild pace of the first half.

49:41: Australia has never scored a goal in the World Cup. Hm. I wasn't aware.

45:59: Hottest fan shown so far... blonde Australian woman. I would like to put a shrimp in her barbie. No hot Japanese fans, though. At least not for our straight male readers.


45:00: Shep Messing is saying that the Japanese goal should've been called back. I disagree, it looked to me like the keeper went plowing into some other people by his own will, but... I think it's also worth pointing out that Shep Messing knows infinitely more about soccer than I ever will.

45:00: Alright, that's the half. Still 1-0 Japan, and hey, I dig the way they're doing business. Entertaining game. I'll be back for the start of the second.

44:29: Action has slowed a little bit here, just before the half.

43:04: I also failed to learn Spanish. I did get that "T-Mobile" in Spanish is "T-Mobile," though.


41:00: I'm back on ESPN2. I just missed Shep Messing, and I was tired of not being able to tell if the commentators were saying names or just random Spanish words that maybe sounded like "Nakamura." And their time/score thingie is back.

40:32: Free kick for Australia, and it's a long attempt on goal. Pretty good one. Shot goes off the side of the net.

36:25: Okay, now there is a Japanese guy laying on the field like a bitch. I guarantee you he's back on the field in two minutes, despite looking right now like he's just been atacked by Jeff Gillooly.


32:52: Nakamura gets drilled from behind, and there's no call. And to his credit, he's not just laying there like a little bitch. He's up on his feet and back in the play. Maybe that shouldn't be noteworthy, but it is. A Japanese shot goes just wide.

32:52: Nakamura gets drilled from behind, and there's no call. And to his credit, he's not just laying there like a little bitch. He's up on his feet and back in the play. Maybe that shouldn't be noteworthy, but it is. A Japanese shot goes just wide.

30:59: This is probably the most exciting game of the Cup thus far. Australia's just banging on the door. A corner, followed by a free kick just outside the box. And then Japan responds by getting it down to the other end quickly and threatening to score on the other end.


29:39: That was Nakamura on the goal, by the way. Sorry.

25:48: GOOOOOAL! Oh, I think I'm turning Japanese. A crossing attempt from outside the box just went over everybody. The Aussie goalie tried to jump out and play it, but he hit a mass of players and didn't get there. He screwed up. And it's 1-0 Japan.

24:02: Close call for Australia there... nice shot off of a nifty back-heel pass, and a diving, fingertip save from the Japanese goalie. This is some handsome soccer.


21:33: Nakamura whistles one just wide of the goal along the ground. Japan's best chance yet, and it wasn't far from going in. I think that's who it was, anyway. I can't understand these guys.

20:05: Long, sustained possession for Australia in the Japanese zone. Seemed like Japan got away with a little foul there to finally end the possession. But man, it feels like the Soccerroos are going to get one soon. Goal kick for Japan.

19:19: Okay, welcome to Univision. Bienvenidos, I should say. I'm going to learn Spanish before halftime.


?.??: For some reason, ESPN2 has decided to dispense with their live time/score thingie at the top of the screen. I've said some unflattering things about the Worldwide Leader... They might just be intentionally screwing with me.

13:34: Australia keeps the pressure up, and the Japanese defense is scrambling. Not a lot of midfield play here. It seems like all the time has been spent with one team or the other threatening. More Australia than Japan.

12:21 Fukunishi blasts a long shot just over the bar. And by the way, there's no way I'm not going to screw up a few names today, so that's just something we're all going to have to deal with.


11:03: Japan's wearing blue jerseys. I'd have guessed red. Hm.

10:00: Pretty good action here, up and down the pitch. Lots of room. Japan earns a corner... Aussie goalie punches it away, and he was fouled. Goal kick.

6:46: Another corner, Viduka can't quite get to it. Phew. Alright, I'm starting to wake up.


5:48: Mark Viduka gets a couple of good looks at the goal, met by two saves by the goalkeeper. Corner for the Soccerroos... Japanese header goes over the bar.

5:08: Lots of movement up and down the field, but no one really getting close to the goal. Lots of talk from Shep Messing about Zico, the former Brazilian star and Japanese head coach.

0:30: Japan gets fouled right away, and gets a free kick right outside the box. Nakata is taking it. Into the wall.


0:00: Commentator just described Nakata as the "Terrell Owens" of this Japan team. Oh, good. Hey, what's Japanese for "Our striker is a homo"?

0:00: If you'd have told me two years ago that a day would come when I'd wake up to talk about a pre-9 a.m. soccer game between Japan and Australia, I'd have assumed that you were suffering from some sort of psychosis. But here we are. Let's get it on, baby.

0:00: So I'd say Australia's probably a little better team here, and they'd be expected to win. But it wouldn't be a huge upset if Japan won, either.


0:00: And for Japan, Hidetoshi Nakata, who's with Bolton of the EPL, is in the mid-field setting things up. Shunsuke Nakamura, of Celtic of the Scottish League, joins him. Shinji Ono will be up front trying to score the goals, an area where Japan isn't thought to be that strong. It's Ono's third World Cup, despite being just 26 years old. He was on the 2002 Feyenrood team that won the UEFA Cup, but he eventually made his way back to the Japanese league.

0:00: Here are some of your key players for this one, on the Australian side: Mark Viduka's the captain, and a pretty good goal scorer up front. He's been a stud for Middlesbrough of the Premier League this year. And Tim Cahill's very good in the midfield. He plays for Everton. In fact, Australia's got nine guys on Premier League teams. That's a lot. Mark Schwarzer's pretty good in goal, too.

0:00: The official MJD simulation of this game went like this on the FIFA '06 World Cup game on the XBox: Japan 1, Australia 0. Chances were about even, but Australia hit the post a couple of times. I controlled Japan, and what can I say, I'm a gifted finisher.