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.)

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.

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.)

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. []

Thailand FA chief Worawi: cleared by FIFA

To follow up on previous posts regarding England’s failed World Cup bid, the cancelled Thailand-England friendly, and allegations against Football Association of Thailand President Worawi Makudi, I wanted to point out a Retuers/Bangkok Post story today. It says:

Thailand’s Worawi Makudi and three other Fifa executive committee members accused by former English FA chairman David Triesman of seeking favours for votes have been cleared, soccer’s governing body said on Sunday.

Here’s the FIFA statement, and here’s a detailed “review of allegations” (PDF).

For an overview of the crisis that has engulfed FIFA, by the way, I suggest reading this Rob Hughes piece — headline: “FIFA’s Mess Gets Even Messier” — in today’s NYT/IHT.

More on World Cup bids and the cancelled England-Thailand friendly

You might recall my December post about World Cup bids, England, and the cancelled Thailand friendly. Today’s Bangkok Post reports:

Football Association of Thailand president Worawi Makudi was hit by another hammer blow yesterday when former English Football Association chairman David Triesman accused him and three other Fifa executive members of asking for favours in return for their votes for England’s 2018 World Cup bid.

Triesman was giving evidence to a British parliamentary inquiry into the reasons why England failed in its bid to secure the finals which were awarded to Russia in December.

Triesman alleged that Worawi demanded to be awarded broadcasting rights of a possible friendly match between England and Thailand in Bangkok this year.

(All emphasis mine.)

TMB bank ad: Thailand’s Panyee FC and the floating soccer pitch

TMBbrand on YouTube:

TMB bank have launched a new brand vision “Make THE Difference” by making a film to inspire people to start thinking differently. With a hope that they will start to Make THE Difference to their own world. It doesn’t have to be big, but a little can create positive changes. This film is based on a true story. In 1986 a football team that lived on a little island in the south of Thailand called “Koh Panyee”. It’s a floating village in the middle of the sea that has not an inch of soil. The kids here loved to watch football but had nowhere to play or practice. But they didn’t let that stop them. They challenged the norm and have become a great inspiration for new generations on the island.

(Via Kottke.)

Thais beats Palestinians in historic soccer match

An AP story from yesterday:

Palestinian Pride On Display At Home Soccer Match

The Palestinian national soccer team lost to Thailand in a penalty shootout on Wednesday in an Olympic qualifying match deep in symbolism: it’s the first time the Palestinians have hosted a competitive match at the international level, and for excited fans in this conflict-ridden area, it marks an important step in their struggle for independence.

Trailing 1-0 from the first leg in Bangkok, the Palestinian team scored the only goal through Abdul Hamid Abuhabib just before halftime but lost 6-5 in the shootout.

However, the game meant much more to Palestinians than the final result.

“The world now will see Palestine in different eyes, in sports eyes,” said Jibril Rajoub, a former West Bank strongman who now heads the Palestinian soccer union. “This is a new launch for the Palestinian people toward freedom and independence.”

(Emphais mine.)

Click through to the story to see some images. There’s more from the Asian Football Confederation, the Washington Post, and the BBC.