Steven Gerrard is a class act.

30 06 2010

O captain, my captain.  What defines the best footballing captains in the world?  A man who can be in the high-profile position of England’s captain, sitting at the foot of a humiliating defeat, and respond with a statement of this quality.

I am definitely not one to pay compliments to any player on Liverpool, but this Stevie G is one class act.  After the humiliating loss to Germany (even with the goal that should have been allowed) the captain of England was front and center taking the beating like a man.

“Everyone in the dressing room was hurting afterwards, the coaching staff and the players. We’ll go away in the summer and analyze things personally and as a team.

“Who is to blame, the manager or the players? Everyone is to blame. We came into this tournament with big togetherness and it would be very unfair of me to pick out individuals. For me it’s the group. If we’d have won we’d have all got pats on the back so we have to take the responsibility and the grief ourselves.

That’s exactly what I would like to hear my captain say.  “We” this and “we” that. No fingers were pointed, no excuses made, he simply said we should have done better.

I agree that they should have, look at the squad, but it takes a man to say what he said.

But it takes a man’s man, a true leader, a legitimate captain to go on and say this:

“If you look at the game as a whole we’ve been beaten by the better team.  We had good parts of the game where we passed the ball well and got into good areas. At 2-1 if Frank’s goal would have counted it could have been a turning point in the game, but we can’t use that as an excuse. They’ve scored four goals and we only got one, which tells it’s own story. We made too many mistakes as a team. Germany were more organised than us and were clinical.”

England at least has one thing to be proud of and that is their captain.


I still back FIFA

28 06 2010

I know it was a disgrace, but after having countless discussions on Sunday, I am sticking to my guns and backing FIFA.  My initial reasoning was as follows:

“Football is meant for you and I.  If I can’t have one aspect of the rules of the game in my backyard, then the professionals shouldn’t either.  That is how you keep the game right where it should be, with the fans” (Read the rest of the post here).

To restate what Sepp Blatter stated before the World Cup began:

“The universality of the game: one of the main objectives of FIFA is to protect the universality of the game of association football. This means that the game must be played in the same way no matter where you are in the world.”

When I tried to explain this point I was met with stern and compelling opposition.  The point that I was consistently faced with was of substantial merit.  The World Cup changes the fate of nations, the morning pick up game at the park does not.  With this much on the line, FIFA should assure that they do everything in their power to make sure that mistakes of this magnitude do not happen.

I agree my friends, but my point is this.  It is a game of the people and for the people.  If I can’t institute a FIFA ruling in my local league game, then the professionals will not have the same luxury.

Blatter was quoted after this incident:

“No matter which technology is applied, at the end of the day a decision will have to be taken by a human being.”

I am not opposed to using technology, I write for a blog, I have just attached myself to this defense.  It protects the purity and integrity of the game.  It is a part of the game, good, bad, or indifferent, and it is something we all have to adapt to as fans.  I guarantee Germany is happy there is no video replay or goal line technology.

I also am not saying that everything is perfect and we should all just hold hands and sing “We are the World”.  I think something must be done. So where does the advocate of technology and the president of FIFA find common ground?  In the use of goal line referees? Maybe, but something must be done.

All of you who are crying foul now, remember this feeling, and in the next match where a call like this goes your direction know that “the grass is always greener on the other side” especially on the pitch.

Jacob, when you’re right, you are right.

25 06 2010

If you don’t get a little misty from this America, don’t read any further in this blog.

They be Ill’in

22 06 2010

North Korea took a step into the 21st century and decided to broadcast the match against Portugal live for the entire nation to see.  In a country that has state run, sponsored, and monitor television, this move is unprecedented.  The pride that is felt throughout the country is incredible, so much so that the idea of having a “live” broadcast makes worldwide news.

Here’s how crazy the commies are:

  1. Kim and his totalitarian leadership allow only one state-run TV channel, ban shortwave foreign radio broadcasts and restrict outside Internet access to the elite
  2. In the past, only snippets of World Cup games were shown, sometimes weeks later.
  3. In 2002 and 2006, a South Korean broadcaster relayed live video as part of reconciliation efforts with the wartime rival, but North Korea chose to show only tape-delayed parts of matches.
  4. The broadcast was the first North Korean overseas match to air live back home

The national pride in this team swelled so much that they were willing to broadcast this match (through a South Korean signal) live for all to see.

“State TV made no attempt to conceal scenes of the crowd and sponsors’ ads plastered around the stadium.”  Pure craziness!!

Quote from a family member of the North Korean squad, “Watching the game live, I felt like I was in South Africa myself,” and that and seeing the outside world made him feel like Alice chasing the white rabbit.

At least they didn’t go overboard and let John Harkes do the color commentary.  They chose instead to let their own wit and charm take over, example:

“Our defenders didn’t see him unexpectedly coming out from behind,” the state TV commentator said. “They should have more awareness about those coming from behind.”

Amen brother. Sounds like an important life lesson as well.  Maybe he is better than Harkes.

After the pure destruction of the North Korean squad, and them knowing that their nation was watching live in this historical broadcast, I think the line up may be a little thin come Friday, and South Africa may just have increased their Korean population from 0 to 23 if you follow me.

A lesson on how to NOT referee another World Cup match.

18 06 2010

I apologize, but I must vent and I am “slightly missed” as my colleague Jacob puts it.  If you want a lesson on how to referee your first and last World Cup match than there is none greater example than what I just witnessed in the US versus Slovenia match.

What a disaster!  A phantom call cost the US a vital win in the second group match.  I don’t want to focus on the first half debacle of a performance that the US decided to produce (even I called the subs that were going to be made), the second half was an outstanding performance and more than deserved that third goal.

This great performance was disgraced by a call that no one could explain.  Offsides? A foul in the box? Neither were apparent in the replay and even Donovan’s interview at the end described a moment of confusion that turns out to be pure madness.  I am definitely one to question a referee’s decision making ability on a minute by minute basis, that’s just the type of fan I am.  But to not even know the call was (still sort of unsure) is an absolute travesty.  That goal was meant to be.  The comeback was meant to be.

Chalk it up to a “rookie” mistake, but that match was definitely a lesson in how not to succeed in World Cup refereeing.

O, it’s so on!

17 06 2010

2010-2011 Campaign preliminary fixtures have been released!  Among the Thugs has a cracker of a first day lined up:

Saturday, 14 August 2009

Aston Villa v West Ham
Blackburn v Everton
Blackpool v Wigan
Bolton v Fulham
Chelsea v West Brom
Liverpool v Arsenal
Man Utd v Newcastle
Sunderland v Birmingham
Tottenham v Man City
Wolverhampton v Stoke

We will post to discuss the rest of the schedule just as soon as we have a chance to breathe.  For the complete list from ESPN click here.

Vuvuzelas to the the EPL?

15 06 2010

I love the EPL.  I have ever since I was little.  It is a close second to my family.  Just like your family there are very few things, or next to nothing, that will cause you to turn your back on it.

The Vuvuzela is one of those things.  This is the skeleton in your closet, your dirty little secret, or your hidden love for Chelsea, the thing that once discovered will cause you to be shunned by those you love.

In an alarming report released on ESPN today revealed that these horrible devices may be unleashed on the beloved EPL.  When I saw the headline I laughed out loud.  “Not in my beloved EPL! They would not stand for such things!”  Thinking this was a joke, I read on looking for a punch line.

I thought I found it when the article read, “Nothing in our rules specifically prohibits musical instruments from being brought into grounds as these matters are dealt with at a club level. It will be down to stadium managers, in consultation with supporters groups, to determine what is appropriate.”

Surely the fans would not stand for this.  That quote was our saving grace.  It cannot be possible, right?

Then I was hit with this realization, “One bookmaker is already taking bets on which Premier League club would be the first to sell vuvuzelas in their team’s colors.”

Marketing material, sponsorships, club logos, dear Lord they can make a profit off of this!  We are hosed EPL fans.  Prepare yourself for the buzzing on the tele, the 8 year-old behind you with the iron lungs going at it for 90 minutes, and most of all, be prepared to see your club logo on the side of that disaster of a noise making instrument.

You want to know the worst part?  Slap a Manchester United logo on one of those bad boys, and yes you will see it at my house, and in my lap on game day.