My Favorite Moment from the Confederations Cup Final: Brazil Sings the National Anthem

Brazil beat world and European champions Spain 3-0 to win the Confederations Cup last night.

But really, the game was decided before the teams even kicked off.

It was hard to imagine Brazil losing, at home in Rio de Janeiro’s Maracanã stadium, after seeing this (video embedded below and online here):


HIMNO BRASIL by dm_505f34141e1f6

That, my friends, is not a team that is willing to lose on its home turf.

It wasn’t the prettiest game, to be sure, but the Seleção won through sheer determination. And, as the video demonstrates, incredible passion.

Euro 2012: English Commentary on GMM Grammy

For the record:

I wrote, in a earlier post, that the GMM Grammy Euro 2012 broadcast doesn’t offer English-language commentary.

But it does.

Simply click the button labeled “audio,” near the bottom of the remote*, two or three times to alternate between Thai and English.

Thanks to @tonygjordan for the tip.

(*The remote and AV cables are tucked under a flap in the GMM Grammy satellite box. I missed seeing these items at first.)

More on Thailand, TrueVisions, and Euro 2012

2012 06 07 euro 2012

To follow up on my earlier post: I have a story today at the WSJ‘s Southeast Asia Real Time blog that sums up the situation.

It begins:

The UEFA Euro 2012 football tournament in Poland and Ukraine kicked off Friday. In the run-up to the kickoff, though, the discussion among many fans in soccer-mad Thailand had nothing to do with who might win the competition, regarded by many as the world’s most important football tournament after the World Cup.

Rather, much of the chatter online was about whether subscribers to Thailand’s biggest cable TV provider, TrueVisions, would even be able to watch the matches at home.

(Image: via.)

TrueVisions Subscribers and Euro 2012 Games

The Bangkok Post reports today:

Cable television operator TrueVisions has failed to resolve its dispute with Euro 2012 Football Championship broadcast rights holder GMM Grammy.

About 2 million True subscribers saw Euro 2012 broadcasts from Channel 3, Channel 5 and Modernine TV cancelled last night during the tournament’s opening match between Poland and Greece at 11pm, and again for Russia versus the Czech Republic at 1:45am this morning.

The matches could be seen on terrestrial television but True blocked those stations’ broadcasts through its cable and satellite platforms. True showed alternative programmes instead.

We’re TrueVisions subscribers but got the GMM Grammy satellite box up and running prior to kickoff, thankfully. As I Tweeted on Thurs.:

Richard Barrow also has a tutorial, if you’d like to implement a similar setup.

Indeed, it turns out there’s no English language commentary or HD service. But the picture is decent, for standard definition.

More soon on this topic.

Off Topic: My Soccer Team Won Our League!

2012 03 21 team celebrations

Allow me to quickly boast about share the news that my soccer team here in Bangkok, BFC D’Pelican, beat a good Royal Bangkok Sports Club team 1-0 last night.

The victory took us into first place on goal difference on the last day of the season, and we were crowned the 2012 Chang International Football League champions.

It was a hard-fought game, but we got the clean sheet — always important to a goalkeeper like a me — and the win.

The achievement was all the more sweet for me given the great group of guys on the team and the fact that this was my first trophy-winning season in more than five years (!) of playing amateur soccer here in Bangkok.

The picture above shows us after the game.

Here I am with the trophy:

2012 03 21 np cup

And embedded below is a 12-second video of our post-match celebrations (also available on YouTube).

(Thanks to A for the pics, video, and ongoing support.)

Normal programming will resume shortly.

Bangkok Exhibition of Sport that’s like “Ice Hockey — Except that Players are Armed with Stun Guns”

How I missed this exhibition the other evening I will never know…

2012 03 04 taser ball

Today’s Bangkok Post reports:

The atmosphere was electric as a shocking new sport came to Bangkok.

Players took aim with electric stun guns at PAC Sports Centre as the Philadelphia Killawatts, Toronto Terror, San Diego Spartans and LA Nightlight battled it out in exhibition matches last night and on Friday.

UTB’s rules are similar to ice hockey — except that players are armed with stun guns that put out three to five milliamperes of electricity, with participants getting shocked dozens of times per match.

Police-grade tasers are not that much stronger and have been known to cause cardiac arrest and inadvertent death in their targets.

Eric Prumm, a cofounder of the four-team UTB league, said the stun guns hurt but are essentially harmless. The players, who have been recruited from the cream of the North American professional paintball circuit, have signed liability waivers resembling those in other contact sports.

The sport came to Bangkok as part of a marketing drive in Asia. Other exhibition matches are planned in Malaysia and elsewhere.

There’s more info on the sport’s official site, which includes this video (embedded below and on YouTube here).

(Image: Bangkok Post.)

(All emphasis mine.)

Off Topic: Watch Manchester United’s Michael Carrick and Javier Hernandez Speak Thai

Here’s a follow up to my December post about Man U players and Malaysian potato chips.

The Man U-Southeast Asian advertising synergy continues!

If you’ve ever thought to yourself, I’d really love to watch a debit card advertisement featuring the Red Devils’ midfielder Michael Carrick and fox-in-the-box striker Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez saying “hello” and “thank you” in Thai, today’s your lucky day.

The video is embedded above and on YouTube here.

World Cup qualifier: Thailand 3, Oman 0

2011 09 07 thailand oman

The Bangkok Post reports on Thailand’s surprise win over Oman last night in a World Cup 2014 qualifier here in Bangkok:

Thailand beat Oman 3-0 in a World Cup qualifier last night in their finest moments in football in recent memory.

Two first-half goals from strike duo Sompong Soleb (35) and Teerasil Dangda (41) and an own goal by Rashid Al Farsi in injury time gave Thailand their best win for years.

The victory at Rajamangala National Stadium keeps alive Thailand’s dreams of securing their first-ever World Cup berth.

Thailand have one win and one defeat in Group D after their 2-1 loss at Australia in Brisbane last week.

Oman have only one point after a scoreless home draw with Saudi Arabia in their opener. Saudi Arabia were at home to Australia later last night.

The top two teams from each of the five groups advance to Asia’s final qualifying stages (last 10 teams) for the 2014 World Cup.

Next up: Saudi Arabia, coached by one Frank Rijkaard, visit Bangkok on Oct 11.

(Image: Bangkok Post.)

Bangkok Post: NBA to hold event in Bangkok

Pro hoops fans, take note: The Bangkok Post reports that the NBA will hold an event here in Bangkok next month:

The National Basketball Association will host its first-ever event in Thailand with the NBA 3-on-3 Thailand 2011 presented by Singha Drinking Water, the league announced yesterday.

Featuring Hall of Famer Chris Mullin, the NBA 3-on-3 Thailand 2011 will take place in Bangkok at CentralWorld on Sept 10 and 11.

More info is available on the NBA’s site.

Off topic: NYT on Asian goalkeepers

2011 08 02 ali al habsi

Given my obsession with interest in soccer and goalkeeping, I would be remiss if I failed to point out a story in today’s New York Times on Asian goalkeepers.

From the lede:

Two years ago, Park Ji-sung grabbed headlines when he became the first Asian to play in a Champions League final.

Asian players like Park, a midfielder, and Atsuto Uchida, a Japanese defender with the German team Schalke 04, which United beat in the semifinals, are not the rarity they once were. They can be found playing in all positions in the major leagues of Europe, except one: goalkeeper.

That situation may be starting to change, albeit slowly.

A few thoughts:

  1. Ali Al Habsi (pictured above), of Oman and the English Premier League’s Wigan Athletic, is cited as one of the few Asian goalkeepers who is playing in one of Europe’s top leagues. And while Asian goalkeepers’ shorter height is mentioned as a factor holding some back, Al Habsi’s stature isn’t mentioned. He’s roughly 6’4″ tall, and is about as non-diminutive as you can get.
  2. I imagine that language is another a challenge. Non-English speakers playing in the outfield who can’t talk to their teammates aren’t as hindered as a goalkeeper who can’t communicate with his defenders.
  3. If memory serves, the authors of the excellent 2009 book Soccernomics1 point out that European soccer managers are not rewarded for making unconventional decisions regarding players and managers.

    Thus, suppose a manager were to recruit a Japanese or Korean goalkeeper who has all the tools needed to succeed. If the goalkeeper fails, the manager is likely to be blamed for trying something different. Better to stick with a British or northern European goalkeeper, then, since conventional wisdom says they’re better suited to the English game. That way, if the player doesn’t pan out, the boss won’t be blamed for his crazy ideas. It will simply be the player’s fault.

  4. Great to see the 21-year-old Thai goalkeeper Kawin Thamsatchanan, who plays for Bangkok’s own Muangthong United, getting a shout out. You can see him in action in this YouTube compilation.

(Image: Ali Al-Habsi, via Wikipedia.)

  1. The full title is: Soccernomics: Why England Loses, Why Germany and Brazil Win, and Why the U.S., Japan, Australia, Turkey–and Even Iraq–Are Destined to Become the Kings of the World’s Most Popular Sport. []