Embedded above are a couple of Vines and a longer YouTube clip. Crazy stuff. Goal of the year, no?
If you’re not following them already — and if, as I’m assuming, you love everything about the World Cup and the U.S. team — be sure to follow Roger Bennett and Michael Davies, a.k.a. Men in Blazers.
The two pundits, Brits who are long-time U.S. residents, combine in depth knowledge of the sport with an immigrant’s love for U.S. soccer.
They are especially well informed about the transformation in style and attitude that U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann has brought to the American side. (For more on that topic, see this WSJ interactive from earlier this month.)
Also, they are delightfully silly.
While I also follow The Guardian‘s World Cup Football Daily podcast and occasionally BBC 5 Live’s World Cup Daily, Rog and Davo, as they’re known, are so enjoyable because they’re lighthearted: They frequently weave in cultural references and inside jokes, and do not at all take themselves seriously.
Here are some of their recent podcasts.
You can also find their ongoing videos and other contributions on ESPN FC here.
They’re on Twitter at: @meninblazers.
Suarez biting excuse best Magic Realism to emerge from South America since death of Gabriel García Márquez
— Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) June 28, 2014
Soccer has long been a bastion of a peculiarly 19th-century conception of Englishness the nation seems reluctant to relinquish. The game was born during the era of empire when the country’s elite public schools adapted earlier forms of violent folk football for the purpose of education.
Typical rustic folk games involved hundreds of drunken men from rival villages rampaging through streets and fields, trying to drive, say, a casket of beer (the proto-ball) into the crypt of a church (the proto-goal). The schools distilled such testosterone-fuelled rituals into new formats involving smaller teams, sober boys and sodden leather balls. Codified by the Football Association and later disseminated to the world, this style of soccer was never the so-called beautiful game; the original purpose of educators was to instill manly and martial virtues into future imperial soldiers and administrators.
Just as adapting to their diminished, post-imperial status in international affairs has been a struggle, so the English are taking a long time to abandon the fantasy that, having invented the game, they should still expect to win the World Cup.
The truth — as everyone elsewhere noticed long ago — is that the nation has only once gone further than the quarterfinals of a major tournament played abroad (it reached the semifinals in Italy in 1990).
English soccer confusion, delusion and cloying nostalgia have become tedious. The time for the national team to adopt a bit of modesty and modernity — and to move to embrace change — is long overdue.
Read the whole thing.
(Via Amy Lawrence.)
Yes, that’s me with Juventus, Fulham and Manchester United great Edwin van der Sar.
— Newley Purnell (@newley) May 15, 2014
— Newley Purnell (@newley) May 15, 2014
That is all.
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):
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.
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.)
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.:
1. #Euro2012 fans in Thailand: Can confirm GMM Grammy box works w/ True. Swap out box, coax, AV cables, HDMI. Box is ~THB 1500 at 7-11.
— Newley Purnell (@newley) June 7, 2012
2. Technical assistance by @Anasuya. Still unclear if will have HD and English commentary, but we have lift off for pics and sound.
— Newley Purnell (@newley) June 7, 2012
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.
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:
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.
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.)
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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. [↩]