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That’s the end of that then…

July 13, 2010

The World Cup is over for the next four years and so this era of blogging must come to a end. As I type, the vuvuzelas are warming up for the team’s homecoming this afternoon.

The Dutch team’s performance in the final was nicely summed up by his eminence, Lord Cruyff:

“This ugly, vulgar, hard, hermetic, hardly eye-catching, hardly football style, yes it served the Dutch to unsettle Spain. If with this they got satisfaction, fine, but they ended up losing. They were playing anti-football.”

Packed into a heaving orange terrace on Sunday evening, cloudy with cigarette smoke, the smell of bitterballen [see previous post] wafting around, plastic cups of warm, watery beer plonked in front of us all, there was a carnival atmosphere. A huge cheer went up when the ariel view of Museumplein  flashed up on the TV, showing a hundred thousand strong bouncing and swaying mass of orange. Shouts of “Whore-Lund, Whore-Lund” erupted every three minutes. A man dressed as a giant football wobbled past. A very fat girl in a tiny Bavaria dress also wobbled past. The Italian guy in front of me was wearing large, orange furry bunny ears without a glimmer of embarrassment.

Then we saw the team arriving at the stadium and getting off the bus, almost all of them with headphones on.

Arjen Robben was, for sure, listening to this:

Nigel de Jong was preparing for the game with this:

And Rafael van der Vaart was having some quiet family time with this:

Even if we didn’t say it out loud, we all thought that if Dirk Kuyt looked any more Dutch he’d be clog-shaped.

We all cheered when Nelson Mandela was driven onto the pitch in a golf cart. I felt a lump in my throat when I saw his frail face close up, topped with fluffy, white candy floss hair. I wondered if he’d make it to the end of the game. Then I almost got lynched for not standing for the Dutch national anthem. Well, I wouldn’t stand for my own, so why would I stand for yours. And people, people, do you really, REALLY not understand the irony of singing a song with the line “Born from German blood…”?

Then the match began. And, from the first minute it was clear that the Dutch were doing something very, very wrong. Gone was the skill, the passing, the intrigue. Instead, we got borenjongens [farmer boys] crashing around trying their best to hobble any Spanish that came within 4 meters of them. By the 20th minute, there’d been five yellow cards issued. The game was in stale-mate. The play makers on both sides were marked out of the game. The mid-field closed down the play, preferring to play defensively. By half-time, I was considering shouting “OLE OLE ESPANA” just to liven things up a bit.

Arjen Robben was, by far, the most dynamic player on the Dutch side and his failure to score when faced with a pretty much open goal was too much for most of us to bear.

If I put it in the net do I get a fish? Asks Arjen

At the beginning of the second half it became clear the referee had lost control of the game. By the end of the game he’d given out 14 yellow cards, sent off one player but failed to send off Nigel de Jong for an insanely dangerous tackle resulting in a full force kick to Alonso’s chest.

It was quite obvious that they’d only chosen this referee because of his similar appearance to the world’s greatest and most authoritarian referee, Colina.

""A World Cup final deserves great refereeing and, above all, deserves a referee who dares to do everything it means to be a judge." Johan Cruyff

Now they were down to ten men, the Spanish started to crawl all over the Dutch but the defence held firm, forcing extra time. And then, four minutes before the end of extra time, the wonderful, amazing, velcro-footed  Iniesta received the ball from another of the world’s greatest footballers who had failed to shine at this competition, Cesc Fabregas, and that was the end of the Orange dream.

The atmosphere on the terrace changed immediately, from carnival to funeral, a big, orange funeral. They knew that the Dutch could not come back from one goal down and that, in all honesty, they did not deserve to.

So long folks…

Amanda, when does the premiership start again?

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It’s Spawned!

July 6, 2010

It’s been a while. Mandy’s 😉 been on an epic adventure in a camper van. I have no excuse except extreme laziness. I’m breaking our silence with the news that Fatneckiano Ronaldo has spawned. Reproduced! A progeny! He seems to have acquired a child in mysterious circumstances, a child whose mother shall remain anonymous. Did Fatneck BUY himself a baby?

(Amanda: WTF? Is this baby supposed to be a newborn?)

Fatneck holds up his latest trophy

So, back to football matters. Over the last week we’ve seen the two giants of football crash and burn. Brazil lost to the clogs, and the Argentineans got thrown around like a wet rag during their battle with the Chermans. We saw the whole world cheer for Ghana after Uruguay’s cheating scum, sorry I mean Luis Suarez, saved a goal with his hands. It’s FOOTBALL Luis, that means you play it with your FEET unless you have been issued with a set of padded gloves.

Suarez has a mid season career change

And we saw Spain unconvincingly limp past a flat and boring Portugal.

Mum! Mum! I can't find my beard!

Let’s start with the Dutch. Arjen Robben is not my favourite player. I find that he spends too much time lolling about on the floor like his animal namesake – Robben means seal in Dutch – instead of actually playing.

Arjen Robben shows of his skills

However, Robben was getting unfairly targetted every time he had the ball. A practiced and skilled diver, he flew around like a fairy and dived like a nuclear submarine as Brazil mercilessly kicked and tripped him at every opportunity. And even I had to cheer when Melo was sent off for viciously stamping on the seal.

Get up you big girl

Sitting in a room with 95% Dutch, us Brazil supporters cheered ourselves hoarse when Robinho slipped the ball past Stekelenburg after 10 minutes. In the bag, we shouted. Your little orange Bavaria dress won’t help you now, we screamed. Brazil dominated in the first half, with little bursts of genius from the Dutch and, at half-time, Brazil practically shimmied off to the dressing rooms.

I’m not sure what Bert van Marwijk had said to the Cloggies but they burst back onto the pitch and started to show the Brazilians who was boss. Perhaps the threat of no bitterballen – the Netherland’s national dish of deep fried meatballs – after the match unless they scored whipped them into action.

The Netherlands is well known for its superior culinary skills

Although it was an own goal off the head of Melo, the equaliser came shortly after half time. Brazil fell apart. The Dutch came alive.

Later that day, Uruguay played the only African contender left in the competition, Ghana. I saw the very last second of the match, literally, and all I saw was Ghanians collapsed on the floor, sobbing. Uruguay earned their place in the next round by cheating and do not even have the decency to deny it. The second hand of god? CHEAT.

Nobody will see me if I just grab it right?

Next, the Germans rolled over the Argentineans as easily as they rolled over the Dutch border all those years ago. We watched in awe as goal after goal hit the back of the net, as Sergio Romero stared disbelievingly at his defence yet again, as those Germans played the kind of football we all love to see; clean, fair, always attacking and uber intelligent. Then we realised that every cloud has a silver lining and that this thrashing was even worse than the one that England got. We smiled smugly. At least we got one (two) goals back. After the second goal, Argentina gave up, much to the chagrin of the first hand of god, the biggest cheat of them all.

The Argentinean team seemed distracted ...

Little Lionel, the Messi-ah, lolloped about like he was perusing an art gallery. He’ll go home goalless and I’ll finally remove him and his useless contribution from my fantasy football team.

Finally, we’ll go back to that epic derby – Spain and Portugal. What can I say except I almost fell asleep. Thank god for SuperBock. David Villa mocked me yet again for not putting him in my fantasy football team and Fatneckiano spent most of the match sitting on the floor appealing for penalties/free kicks/cards/ice cream. Perhaps he was exhausted from new-fatherhood. I guess that counting out a few million dollars to pay off the ‘mother’ takes its toll in the end.

I wanted to put a picture of him sitting on the floor but I found this one instead

Amanda, what’s your prediction for tonight? In an unprecedented display of loyalty to my oranje brethren, Im going to have to support the Dutch. I can’t bring myself to cheer for Cheat-aguay.

(Amanda: I’ve predicted a 2-0 win for the Oranjetans. HUP HOLLAND HUP!!!)

Oh, and have a look at this. Crazy American nutcase blames football for the socialism encroaching on America’s shores. Somebody’s gotta tell those Americans that giving poor people access to free health care is a good thing

So long, Fat Neck

June 30, 2010

Why me no can do it?

Thanks to Susannah for picking up the slack on the ol’ blog & illustrating England’s epic fail perfectly. Hey, did you hear that illusionist David Blain is said to be ‘gutted’ after his record of sitting in a box and doing nothing for 24 days was beat by Wayne Rooney? ZING.

Anyways, back to fat neck. I am so happy Portugal are out. Bye-bye you whiny, diving, greasy, fat-necked playboy! Better stick to your sock-stuffed-underwear Armani ads, ’cause clearly, you arent’ cut out for football on this kinda stage. After an hour of no goals, I was fearing a 0-0 draw and dreading staying up the extra 40 minutes for extra time and penalties (I wanted to watch True Blood before bed, what can I say?). But that was not to be, thanks to David Villa (my predicted top scorer of the WC) rattling the back of the net 63 minutes in. Portugal’s first conceded goal of the WC, finally!

Portugal didn’t equalise, opting to let Spain dictate play with their quick, sharp passing. Ronaldo was hopeless. At the end of the match, in true form, is sulked off the pitch, spitting very near a camera man who got a bit too close for comfort. OH CRY ABOUT IT BABY.

Spain showed moments of brilliance, but still didn’t play to their potential considering who they’ve got on the squad. Like I predicted, Torres lost his power when he cut off his hair. Either that, or he hasn’t regained confidence after his knee operation. If Spain want to go to the finals, he’s going to have to man up. Maybe a beard would help. Actually, what am I thinking, Torres hasn’t even hit puberty yet.  In any case, I reckon Spain could pull the win against Paraguay, which puts them in the semi-finals with either Argentina or Germany.

Just for fun, let’s look at this humiliating photo of Ronalo, shall we:

This bowling ball is remarkably greasy.

And here’s what G20 protestors (or, cops dressed as anarchists) in Toronto think of Ronaldo:

And, in other interesting news, FIFA president Sepp Blatter has come to his senses and admitted that the technology issue needs to be reexamined again…check it out: http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2010/jun/29/sepp-blatter-goalline-technology

And thank god, those two god-awful refs were sent packing, tail between legs.

I’m off to a music festival in France in a VW bus with some pals for 5 days, and though I shall be watching Friday’s game (Brazil v. Holland) and hoping for a Holland win, I fear the worst for the Orange Army.

I leave it to you, Susan! 😉

Bye bye England

June 29, 2010

It’s been a bit quiet on the blog front for the last few days. It’s been hot here, and we know when it’s hot here, it has to be enjoyed for as long as possible because, usually, it only stays hot for a matter of hours.

As I type, I am watching Japan v Paraguay and, at last, we may get the coveted penalties we all hope for in these competitions. What can be better than watching grown men cry when they don’t get their own way?

Poor old Chris Waddle

So, Amanda, yes, where do we start? Well how about here: go home, England, you useless bunch of overpaid amateurs. I’m sure there won’t be much of a welcoming committee for you.

We were completely outplayed by a youthful German side, a side that plays the kind of football we Englishers like; hard, honest, and committed to the end. None of yer fancy Ronaldinho-bouncy-on-the-back-of-the-necky thank you very much, just perfect passing and whack-bang in the back of the net. It should have been a brilliant game, evenly matched.

Referee tries to work out what's going on...

The Germans hoped it would go to penalties I suppose, what with England’s great track record with penalties. Yep, we’ve been booted out of competitions by being crap at penalties five times. Once is a mistake, twice is a coincidence, but five times indicates a chronic problem with bone structure in English mens’ feet.

Once that third goal went in, England just gave up. I could imagine old men screaming at the TV: “That’s not how we won the war, you useless pillocks!”.

I was sitting on a terrace in the sun with a few England-supporting Dutchies – no one wants the Germans to win, least of all the Dutch. Small issue about being invaded a few years ago – and a lonely german tourist. When Germany scored, he let out a nervous laugh. By the time it was 3-1, he was about ready to make a run for it.

Let’s not try to make ourselves feel better by mentioning that disallowed goal. It wouldn’t have made a difference. Let’s not whinge that ‘our boys’ were tired. No one who gets paid that much has a right to ever claim they’re tired. I head the commentator mention John Terry’s name once. Once. In 90 minutes. Wayne Rooney lumbered around like an angry buffalo trying and failing. I’ve always thought he was one of the world’s most overrated players and now I am proven correct.

Amanda, have you noticed that Capello looks like this children’s cartoon character?

http://www.binaryzone.org/xmaschortles/gfx/tidyup.gif

Capello…should he stay or should he go?

June 28, 2010

Amanda: Oh Susannah, where do we even begin?

Italy would be proud, Keita

June 21, 2010

Amanda: Well, thanks to Susannah for being a bit more articulate on the England performance. Actually, performance probably isn’t the most appropriate word, really. England’s ‘showing up and running around the pitch for 90 minutes’ maybe?

To answer your question, I predicted 2-0 and 2-1 for England v. Slovenia. Oh, but how my predictions would have changed after the first round in the group stages. I’m hoping Spain’s poor-form was a fluke, or else I’m doomed for the rest of the pool. ACK, I just saw that I dropped to 5th in the fantasy football! I’m doomed :/

Did you see the Brazil game last night? More importantly, did you see the TERRIBLE refereeing, courtesy of Stephane Lannoy? For those that didn’t watch the game, it was Brazil v. Ivory Coast. Brazil, as you surely know, is the best team in the world. They play the ‘beautiful game’. And Ivory Coast is the only African team that stands a chance to make it out of the group stages, not because the other teams are *so* terrible, but because Ivory Coast have a very dangerous side. Their captain, Chelsea’s Didier Drogba, played the full 90 minutes with a recovering broken elbow, and scored the only goal for his side last night.

Anyways, the refereeing. Brazil’s second goal was a bona fide ‘handry’. Definition of Handry: Using one’s upper body twice to manoeuvre the ball down to one’s feet in order to score a goal. A double handball. Named after Thierry Henry, of France, who utilised this method to score against Ireland in the World Cup Qualifiers.

Incident #1, a little helping elbow from Fabiano

Did anyone notice that Fabiano’s eyes turn black, a la True Blood Maryanne psychosis, when he’s scoring? Seriously creepy.

Anyways, he used his upper-body twice to score goal #2 for Brazil, and after the goal celebration, you could see the ref joking around with Fabiano, pointing to his shoulder and laughing. Here’s the video: http://bit.ly/aT67ZO

Here’s what Fabiano had to say about it: “It’s true, the ball really touched my hand and then my shoulder. But it was involuntary. It was one of the greatest goals I’ve scored in my career.”

Really? It was good, but it wasn’t as good as the first goal he scored:

Fabiano's first goal, a thing of beauty

The first half was all Brazil. It was everything you’d expect from them. They held onto the ball with short, sharp passes, often involving 7-8 players to move the ball down the pitch. Ivory Coast, despite all their vigour and want, were left frustrated when the whistle blew at half-time. The MOTD half-time punditry had Hanson, Linneker, Shearer and Adebayour, all salivating over Brazil’s performance.

Second half highlights included another aaaa-mazing 62nd minute goal from Brazil, courtesy of Elano (with some help from Kaka), who took off his shin-pads to show the camera; each had the name of one of his children printed on them. In a twist of sick irony, a few minutes later, Elano suffered a revolting and dangerous tackle, cleats up, from Cheick Tioté. Elano was carried off in a stretcher, contorted in pain. Ivory Coast were getting desperate, and the incident only heightened the tension and aggression on the pitch.

Alas, at the 88th minute, the game was overcome by the increasing cynicism of play, when Kaka caught Ivory Coast’s Kader Keita running at him from behind and put his elbow back to either a) protect himself or b) get a little jab in while the ref wasn’t looking. Either way, Keita’s reaction was something worthy of an Oscar, as he grabbed his face with both hands, dropping to the ground, and rolled around in agony screaming. Kaka, totally dumbfounded (and already on a yellow card) began backing away, stunned. Ref Lannoy, however, was at least 15 metres away, occupied with another scuffle further up the pitch. That didn’t stop him from marching towards Kaka and thrusting another yellow in his face, which resulted in an automatic sending off. An absolute disgrace.

Here’s the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q52HvF32ZCk

Sending off Kaka is like sending off God.

FIFA has punished players before for blatant simulation, so let’s hope this incident is no exception. Let’s also hope that Stephane Lannoy doesn’t end up reffing the final.

European Football Meltdown

June 20, 2010

Susannah: European football is in complete chaos. I love it. There’s nothing better than watching a multi-billion pound industry dominated by fat, bearded, gum-chewing men in puffa jackets unravel before your very eyes.

Hot favourite to win Spain was beaten by Switzerland. Yes Switzerland, a country of 7.5 million people and 8 million cuckoo clocks,  and a team where only three of the players play for clubs that I’ve ever heard of (Everton, West Ham and Lazio).

Que?

France’s team is in meltdown following the sending home of Anelka for apparently calling the coach something very nasty involving the words Fucking and son and of and a and whore. Nice work sonny. The rest of les bleus have decided not to train anymore out of protest but ‘went out to meet the fans yesterday because they, like, show us support’. Right. So waving at a few little boys is going to make up for getting out on the pitch and performing like headless goats is it? If I were a French fan I’d be touting my ticket outside the stadium right now to the highest bidder.

You're not my bessy mate anymore and you're not coming to my party. AND my big brother is bigger than yours ...

Italy has just drawn with New Zealand, a country that has more sheep than people and has never won a world cup match. EVER. I only saw the last few minutes of the match. I wonder if too much brylcream hinders one’s ability to head the ball properly…

The New Zealand youth team in training

However, the piece da la resistance has to go to England and their farcical game against the great footballing nation of Algeria on Friday night. In an immensely embarrassing 90 minutes, England performed like a hungover Sunday league team. We watched in squirmy discomfort as Gerrard and Lampard fluffed cross after cross, pass after pass.

The ball? You mean that thing that's about this big?

I saw chip shop Rooney lose the ball and not even try to get it back. He just stood there looking at his feet as if he could not quite understand what had happened. I know he’s got the IQ of an amoeba but really, he should have been through this situation enough times to know that he had to take some action.

Oh. Am I supposed to do something?

No one could quite believe Heskey was in the squad, let alone in the starting line-up. We watched him lumber about and prayed that Capello would put on Crouchy, football’s nice guy and often underestimated player, soon. Very soon. But he didn’t. He waited until the 83rd minute. It was far too late for him to find his [enormous] feet and, by then, the rest of the team had practically given up and were having a metaphoric ciggy on the sideline. I don’t get paid 6 million to dispense my ideas but Capello does. How can his be so different from mine when mine are obviously right?

It took England almost forty minutes to even get close to the goal. The cameras kept panning to David Beckham in his posh suit sitting on the bench, his eyebrows furrowing deeper and deeper with every minute that the match went on. In the last shot that I saw he was either boiling with rage or almost in tears with relief that he was not part of the fiasco.

Once the excruciating boredom was over, chip shop Rooney decided it would be a great idea to blame the fans for the team’s poor showing. Hey, fat head, they were booing you because you were SHITE. They were booing you because they’d spent thousands on a holiday of a lifetime so see some amazing footballers play amazing football and all they got was a bunch of moody millionaires lolloping around blaming each other for being shite.

Then came news that an angry fan had stormed the changing rooms, screaming that the team was a disgrace. What actually happened, according to a certain right-leaning red top, was that some Cypriot mortgage lender, who looks like he’s eaten far too many kebabs, had stumbled into the dressing room while looking for a toilet – really, you couldn’t make this up – and asked David Beckham what he was going to do about the awful performance.  The most interesting thing about the interview with him was his description of the atmosphere in the changing room, which he said was absolutely shocking. He also mentions naked men several times.

You're a disgrace!

Anyway, I’m back up to second place in the fantasy football league, mainly thanks to cloggie Sneijder who scored a goal. I wasted two transfers on Gerrard and chip shop and another two getting them out of my team, replacing them with Kuyt and Elano. Rock on Brazil. I’m not sure I’ll even bother to watch the England – Slovenia match.

Can’t wait for tomorrow’s Portugal v North Korea match. My loyalties will be called into question here, being firmly attached to a Portugeezer but wanting the North Koreans to slam their way into the next round.

Finally, I’ll leave you with a quote from one of the greatest writers of all time, Albert Camus, who played in goal for his university in, funnily enough, Algeria: “All that I know most surely about morality and obligations, I owe to football”. Think about that England players and sort yourselves out.


Amanda, what’s your prediction for England – Slovenia?