Wednesday, 30 July 2014

I'm Back - Its all about conflict

Hey, after a great world cup and a lot of fun I am back blogging again.
Lots to blog about too.  Currently I can't help but feel for Palestinians in Gaza.  The suffering of innocent people.  

Israel has a duty to stop.  It is not defending itself.  It is ethnic cleansing the area.

Israel says it tries and keeps civilian deaths to a minimum and specifically "targets" military targets.  Well, actually, Hamas is more specific, with only 2 Israeli civilians killed and more than 50 troops.  Put the shoe on the other foot and tell me how many Palestinian civilians have been murdered versus Hamas troops taken out....

Notice I refuse to label Hamas terrorist.  The simple fact is because one mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter.

From what I can see, Israel is creating this hatred to them on purpose.  Like this they can justify having their military presence (on the basis of protecting itself), and also keep land it does not own as means of a buffer.

Did you know, Israel only allows Jewish citizens to vote...  Arab citizens of Israel have no Vote.  Which other country in the world could get away with such blatant racism and still pretend to be the persecuted???  

I wold love for there to be peace, but peace is not gained by ethnically cleansing an area.  Someone else will take issue so you will continually end up battling somebody, until all that is left is you.  Then what??

Monday, 14 July 2014

World Cup 2014 - The End...

Done and dusted.  Arsenal won the World Cup
Yes, that is right, Ozil, Mertesacker and Podolski win World Cup - Three Arsenal players are celebrating last night as Germany won the World Cup with a 1-0 win over Argentina.  Great game to watch and about 10 minutes before the dreaded pens, a German by the name of Mario scored a great goal, goal worth winning the cup.  Both Teams had chances, the Argentinian probably with the better of them.  Need to score though if you are going to stand a chance of winning.  Unfortunately for them, they didn’t.  The rest as they say is history….

Germany, probably, after the tournament they had, deserved it.  The extra days rest, not having to play Extra time much in previous games….it all helps.  Congrats…they now have 4 World Titles…  

So that is it.  What now….well, go enjoy some holidays and be good.   Shaun, Debbie – I’ll see you around.  Team is in on Wednesday so we can expect a treat :)

Top Goalscorer and Top Keeper from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Top Scorer: James Rodriguez, Colombia – 6 Goals (from 17 shots)
Top Keeper: Manuel Neuer, Germany – 25 saves (86% Save Rate)

Some numbers from this years tournament
16 - saves made by Tim Howard in the USA keeper's heroic display against Belgium

24 - years since Argentina appeared in a World Cup final

30 - seconds, the time of Clint Dempsey's goal for the USA against Ghana in Natal on June 16 - the fifth fastest goal in World Cup history

32 - teeth of an average human, like Luis Suarez, banned for biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini

171 - goals scored in Brazil, matching record set at France 1998

179 - seconds it took for Germany to score three of their five first-half goals in the 7-1 dissection of Brazil

187 - yellow cards

1000/1 - the odds on Germany beating Brazil 7-1 in Tuesday's semi-final

35,000,000 - US dollars, the cheque Germany picked up for winning the title

11,000,000,000 - US dollars, total cost of World Cup, the most expensive in history (USA 1994 cost 30 million)

Alexis Sanchez Baby

its a male thing....gotta be a male thing....  I went to be bed smiling....smiling at the fact Arsenal had signed a player of great Quality.  He is Chilean, he is a striker and he arrives with a reputation...KAPOW!!!  to all you fans who ripped us apart each and every summer in which we traditionally let go off our best players (as they went in search of trophy and medals, and board balanced books) and never replace them.  Last year we spent £42million on 1 player!  This year we have spent (note, the Royal "We") £35 million on 1 player...  thats two seasons in a row.  Not sure I can cope with the excitement.  Like an addict, 1 is never enough - Gimme more....more I tell you!!!!!

Friday, 11 July 2014

WC2014 - The Final Weekend

Meaningless I hear, shouldn’t be played, pointless, all words I have heard said about Saturdays 3rd Place showdown between Brazil and Netherlands.
Tell Debbie and Nav that.  This game is super important, it is all or nothing stage.  The difference between drinking free cups of water or walking up the coffee shop and asking for the fresh Large Mocha…
Brazil will have something to prove and I think that may just be the extra spur for them to win this.  I think Holland will have preferred to go home and will only be at the game physically, with their minds already thinking about what could have been…..

The final is on Sunday.  I hope its a cracker!!  Both teams going out to win the trophy for the third time…and No, they will not be able to keep it.   This trophy replaced the original World Cup “Jules Rimmet” which was handed to Brazil when they won it for a third time.  This cup was then designed (by an Italian), and Sunday will be the first time someone will have won it for a third time.  FIFA though changed the rules and nobody gets to keep this trophy.  So the winners will make do like every other winner and keep a gold plated replica.  IF you believe the rumours, then apparently there is only space on the cup for Four more winners.  That means somewhere in 2030, which apparently would make it 100 years old…  Opportunity to let the winners keep this one and create a new one…?  Im sure Jim and Shaun will not be too fussed.  Again, all or nothing between these two powerhouses.  Hard to plot them, but I loved Maradona as a kid so my allegiance will be with Argentina.  Germans, as only Germans can, will not make it easy for them.

By the way, Arsenal released their new kit and announced the signing of Alexis Sanchez.  Nice !!!  That sentence is for me and any other Gooner out there.  Statement of intent.  
After what I saw at the World Cup, the Puma tops are quite figure hugging…VERY figure hugging as you can see.  So what size do I need to pick in order for my 1 pack to not show??  I think Santi Cazorla is really breathing in his packs for the picture below… Maybe just Gael will get one this year :)

Have a lovely weekend!!!  Enjoy then football, more importantly, enjoy your family and friends!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Semi Finals - Day 3

Good day to you all.  So there we have it.  Yesterday concluded the run up to the World Cup Final.
It was the mighty nations of Holland and Argentina who slugged it out.  Unfortunately all the goals for the semi finals were used up in the previous game so we had none after a whole 120 minutes.  It was still an interesting game and with Arjen Robben playing, cue the music, anything was possible for the Dutch.  The Argentinos had Leo Messi… and looked a lot to him, but he was man marked by the Best that is De Jong.  As such, game just fizzled to life now and again with no real sustained pressure from either.  Two heavyweights just jabbing their way through the rounds with no real team being able to deliver any kid of knockout hit.  We went to penalties.  Why didn’t Holland change their keeper again?  What changed from the last match to this to suggest he should stick with the same keeper from the match.  The lost 4-2 missing two of their spot kicks and the dutch keeper saving NONE of the Argentians one.  My thoughts are that the changing the keeper was actually a master stroke, fresher, more spring and bounce, it kind of mad sense.  Really think he should have again changed the keepers.  If anything to see if there was consistency behind the madness….  Guess will never know now…

All that’s left now is to determine the final four and their “official” positions from 1-4.  

To be honest, the way the tournament has gone, it is a very good and exciting Final awaiting us.  A repeat of the 1990 World Cup final that West Germany won 1-0.  Wasn’t the greatest show on earth that day.  
The Argentinians ended that game with only 9 players on the field, so they will need to be better disciplined this time round.  The game is to be played on Sunday evening UK time.  Im hoping for Goals, lots of Goals.

First however is a game on Saturday between Holland and Brazil - if the Brazilians haven’t gone AWOL by then.  The Brazilians have a point to prove, if only to themselves.  They failed to turn up (let alone deliver) to a World Cup semi final, something that only happens (if you are German) once every 4 years.  They have to show they care.  Doesn’t matter how they play, but a performance and result will be more important than ever.  

Good luck to both.  
Be good and have yourself a great Thursday

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Semi Finals - Day 2

Over to you Netherlands and Argentina.  

WOW, we have our first finalists!!!  Congratulations to Germany for making it all the way to the 2014 World Cup final.  You’re that bit closer, and what a signal of intent.  
Yesterdays game was historic in many ways, first Klose broke the 15 goal mark and notched in hist 16th (in four World Cups) to ensure he goes into the record books as the all time greatest Goalscorer in World Cup Football.  Fox in the box indeed, with all 16 goals being scored from no further than the penalty spot.  Genius :)
So, 5-0 down after just 30 minutes or so…the weight of a nation just dropped and left to smash on the floor…  Never seen anything like it, not in a World Cup semi final…  The Germans were unplayable and the Brazilians…, well, the best thing they have is the fact there is one more game they HAVE to play…  at least they can try and salvage some sort of pride from this disaster.  This will be a moment in Brazilian football they will never forget, no matter how hard they try!

Tonights games has a lot to follow after last night.  The Dutch lest we forget have already provided us memorable moments – the 5-1 thrashing of the Globetrotting team that was Spain, that Van Persie header against the Spanish, the Goalkeeper substitution at the end of the Quarter Finals just for the penalties, the countless Robben dives…  The Argentinians have Messi, nuff said.  He is doing his best to emulate Maradona and has pretty much carried them on his own in many of the games.  Has he enough left to help guide the “Albicelestes" through to the Final, as the opening line said…. Over to you…

Finally, You have fought hard for your country.  You did your best.  The fans feel the pain of losing too.  On the whole, people will forgive you if they see you gave your all.  Sometimes however, doing your best, it is just not good enough…  There can only be the one winner.   Without the other 31 teams though there is no show.  The other 31 teams, the hosts, they all help contribute to a great spectacle.  Welcome Home

There you go. Have yourself a lovely Wednesday “Hump Day” - They have already started coming!

Spare a moment for a thought...

Following on from the post yesterday where I shared images of politicians and royalty enjoying the World cup I have one quote I would like to share from the President of Uruguay, who some would claim to be the poorest Politician/President out there.  Got to admit I know nothing of his policies, and I’m sure someone will tell me that he is doing something wrong, somewhere, somehow. But I don’t want to get political here, only to quote some of the wisest words I’ve heard for a long time.  Less is more, just like this note ;)

"I'm called 'the poorest president', but I don't feel poor.  Poor people are those who only work to try to keep an expensive lifestyle, and always want more and more.  This (referring to how he lives) is a matter of freedom.  If you don't have many possessions then you don't need to work all your life like a slave to sustain them, and therefore you have more time for yourself."

It's good for us all to take a moment out and sometimes re-evaluate exactly what it is that makes us happy, making those tweaks to the things that are important.

That’s it. Deep thought provoking moment over. Off to look for that new car I would love to buy myself :)

Viva La Revolucion.

Semi Finals - Day 1

From presidents to queens, the world leaders just can’t help getting caught up in the passion of it all…  Even Irans leader tweeted a pic of himself.  Take a look for yourself...

So what now…?  Today is the first semifinal….  A repeat of the Final in 2002.  Brazil beat Germany 2-0 on that occasion.  However, they were a little more “Brazil” like than this years particular team.  

Therefore 4 powerhouses of Football left, ready to slug it out for that one chance to become 2014 World Champions!!
They will all want it badly, for many reasons.  Personally, the way I see it, its has to be an all South American showdown.  
A battle between two nations, who from a historic and political sense, seem to get on….but put both teams out on a football pitch, and its pretty much all out Tribal war.  They really dislike each other on that pitch and debate about who is THE GREATEST, Pele or Maradona.  Messi or Neymar… (Note - Neymars World Cup is now over after fracturing a lower vertebrate - its a shame for Brazilians and football fans alike)…

Argentina fans have been singing this throughout the tournament.   
"Brasil, Decime Qué Se Siente / Tener En Casa Tu Papá / Te Juro Que Aunque Pasen Los Años/ Nunca Nos Vamos A Olvidar / Que El Diego Te Gambeteó / Que Cani Te Vacunó / Estás Llorando Desde Italia Hasta Hoy / A Messi Lo Vas A Ver / La Copa Nos Va A Traer / Maradona Es Más Grande Que Pelé"
Loosely translated as  -
Brazil, Tell Me How It Feels / To Be Bossed Around In Your Own Home / I Swear That Even If Years Pass / We Will Never Forget / That Diego [Maradona] Out-Skilled You / That Cani [Claudio Caniggia] Surprised You / You Are Crying Since Italy [World Cup 1990] Till Today / You Are Going To See Messi / The World Cup Will Be Ours / Maradona Is Greater Than Pelé

The love for each other.  Nice to see X  Saying all that, I expect Germany to win this match (if we consider players and style).  Brazil have struggled to find a rhythm without Neymar is like my car without an accelerator.  Put it on top of a hill and yeah…it can go quick….put it at the bottom of the hill, and boy is it going to struggle to get up…

Now, not to dismiss Netherlands (who play Argentina) and Germany (who play Brazil), if they were both to win, then again we have another two european nations, who on a football pitch, will certainly leave no stone unturned.   They have previously met in a final, 1974, with the Germans - West Germany as it was known then - coming out the victors (Technically Im not “old” enough to know, LOL, but I think that was the birth of the Cruyff turn).   For me though, as poor as they have been, to see Brazil get knocked out would be an anti climax.  That’s just me.  If I was German, I wouldn’t care about climaxing at this moment.  

Whatever the outcome, there will be two winners and two losers.  The losers will face the burden of being up for another game, with the winner getting the honour of….errrmmm…  oh yes, winning the 3rd placed match, why of course...  Traditionally the third place match is generally a high-scoring affair, with no match having seen fewer than three goals scored since Poland's 1-0 win over Brazil in 1974

The other semi final between the Dutch and Argentina y Las Malvinas takes place Wednesday.

Finally, that is one big grasshopper.

Happy Tuesday to you all.

Monday, 7 July 2014

the World Cup Quarter Finals

So my interest, like many of you reading this, in this years 2014 Brazil World Cup is over.  My passport nation, my adopted nation, my financial nation…they have all gone, finished, kaput.  

So there I was beer in one hand (consolidating my loss (had Belgium in the Office sweep) at the hand of Argentina), while the pillow was in the other, starting to get that double image of footballers, footballs which normally results in that next stage, the Zzzzzzzz - BUT not on this occasion, No!  something happened in about the 92nd minute of the Costa Rica Holland match, an opportunity for Van Persie - he shoots, his shot, which hits the defenders foot, which then whacks onto his head, from which it smashes onto the bar, and out to a masse of players to create a “Scramble” moment when the ball shot around like a ping pong game.

That’s it, I was back on my arse drooling at the prospect of the minnows from Costa Rica pulling off a surprise win.  
That Keeper (Navas) from Costa Rica was again in tip top form as he produced amazing save after save…  Then, with about 5 minutes to go, they had their chance, a golden opportunity to win the game as Urena (I think that was his name.  He's the guy, a striker, who hadn't scored for over 2 years until he scored against Uruguay in the first game of this World Cup) burst through, one on one with the keeper.  Unfortunately for him, Costa Rica, me, the rest of the population who wasn’t dutch, he missed.  The keeper to be fair did a fine save.   That was it, we were into penalties.  The Dutch were ruthless, and also swapped their keeper just before the ref blew his whistle.  Master stroke some might say.  Me, I think he was a little on jammy side.  Penalties is 50/50 and the coin fell kindly for them. 

So there we have it, 4 giants of World football in the final four.  Only one hasn’t won this tournament before.  They (Netherlands) got to the final on the last occasion, only to fail at the last hurdle…will this time be their time.
  • Brazil vs Germany  
  • Argentina vs Netherlands
Previous Winners:
Brazil 5 (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002).  Have lost 2 finals (1950, 1998)
Germany 3 (1954, 1974, 1990). Lost 4 finals (1966, 1982, 1986, 2002)
Argentina 2 (1978, 1986) also lost 2 finals (1930, 1990)

Netherlands 0 (Losing finalists on 3 occasions, 1974, 1978, 2010)