Archives For Football

The football (soccer for you children of the US Empire) season has started again. And today, pre-game, I had the opportunity to pitch a few, well, two, new tactics to my team mates. They were reluctant to try them, but should you attempt these, and film them – I guarantee viral success.

The Flying O

  • The goalkeeper catches the ball.
  • The ten field players from your team gather in a tight circle (O shape) in their own goal box.
  • The goalkeeper drops the ball into the O shape.
  • Each player in the O touches the ball in quick succession to prevent obstruction rulings while the O flies, or perambulates, down field, and over the goal line.

This is, of course, an alphabetical adaptation of this famous Mighty Ducks move…

So is basically foolproof.

The Stationary I

On an attacking corner six players from the attacking team forms a wall (an I) on the near post. Players from the defending team may try to join this wall or stand in front of it. If this happens, distract the referee and administer a wedgie. The corner kick should be aimed at the feet of the wall. As the ball is kicked the wall must all step back together and tap the ball into the net. GOAL.

Celebrations ensue.

No. Seriously. That’s all I’ve got. But I figure it’s time for me to write something.

Flipbook Ronaldinho

This uses a crazy amount of paper.

Why goalkeepers wear gloves

Goals. Lots of goals.

Last night I dreamt that Summer was over, and the football/soccer season was on again. It was great.

Today, in intermittent gaps in essay writing, I watched these videos to recapture the essence of my dream. Only when I dreamt I was, as is my custom, between the sticks.

There are some amazing goals in this little collection.

And while we’re on the subject of football highlights – here’s some Messi. This is quite incredible – lesser players go down from lesser challenges.

And here are all his goals from last season.

It’s incredible how often he dribbles past the hapless goal keepers.

That’s all fixed by this amazing non-Messi moment.

And then there’s these.

It’s moments like this that a Foxtel subscription starts to look really attractive.

When life hands you grenades…

Get rid of them very quickly…

This is insane.

Grantland is firmly established as my favourite blog. Even if 90% of its content covers American sport, it’s just filled with the kind of writing I aspire to.

Here are some recent samples of Grantland writing that you should most definitely flick through. This seems as good an opportunity as any to put a new tweet-a-pull-quote plugin I’m trying.

1. Chuck Klosterman – he recently went to a Creed concert and a Nickelback concert on the same night to figure out why it’s ok to hate both bands (also this piece on indie music, well, one particular indie band).

“Over the past 20 years, there have been five bands totally acceptable to hate reflexively (and by “totally acceptable,” I mean that the casual hater wouldn’t even have to provide a justification — he or she could just openly hate them and no one would question why). The first of these five acts was Bush (who, bizarrely and predictably, was opening for Nickelback that very night). The second was Hootie and the Blowfish, perhaps the only group ever marginalized by an episode of Friends. The third was Limp Bizkit, who kind of got off on it. Obviously, the last two were Creed and Nickelback. The collective animosity toward these five artists far outweighs their multiplatinum success; if you anthologized the three best songs from each of these respective groups, you’d have an outstanding 15-track album that people would bury in their backyards.”

“A better answer as to why people dislike Nickelback is tautological: They hate them because they hate them”

“The day before the New York show, Kroeger appeared on a Philadelphia radio station and was asked (of course) why people hate Nickelback so vehemently. “Because we’re not hipsters,” he replied. It’s a reasonable answer, but not really accurate — the only thing hipsters unilaterally loathe is other hipsters, so Nickelback’s shorthaired unhipness should theoretically play to their advantage.A better answer as to why people dislike Nickelback is tautological: They hate them because they hate them. Sometimes it’s fun to hate things arbitrarily “

2. This piece on horse racing, and the murky world of gambling.

“I boarded the Jockey Club elevator with a group of filthy-shoed men I assumed were from California; they headed to the Winner’s Circle, I headed back to the proletariat. They were staid and dignified. One of them shot his cuffs and adjusted his tie, ready for his picture. Just another day at the office.

The elevator opened and dumped us out into the throng. People were lining up at the windows to cash their tickets and collect the $1.20 in winnings that Secret Circle paid on a $2 bet. It was nowhere near the six figures that Secret Circle’s connections had won, but these fans were high-fiving and back-slapping like their ship had come in. Perhaps my dad was right. Having a winner was fun, even if everyone else in the track had it, too. I pulled my tip sheet from my jacket pocket and unfolded it. Disgusted, I read the words Secret Circle — BEST BET!”

3. This review of the Avengers.

“auteur types and people with new, unproven ideas are dangerous and threaten the bottom line.”

“The insane advertising and development costs of the Harry Potter–style franchises we consistently reward at the box office have turned studio heads into marketers trying to find audiences big enough — i.e., young enough and male enough — to justify the cost of movies whose budgets routinely exceed $200 million. At that kind of rarified airspace, in which the marketing budget amounts to as much as half or more of whatever is spent on the actual film, you need a sure thing,like a toy, or a preexisting brand; auteur types and people with new, unproven ideas are dangerous and threaten the bottom line. Better to just make a movie called Candy Land starring Adam Sandler and pray that people remember that a board game of the same name once existed.”

4. This tribute to Pep Guardiola (and pretty much everything they write about football, like this piece about Pele, and this one about Messi)…

“Playing in goal was, to put it mildly, a special kind of suffering…”

“Throughout his early life he’d been consumed, Valdés had, by the fear of failure and compulsive perfectionism that tend to haunt top goalkeepers.”The mere thought of next Sunday’s game horrified me,” he has said. And: “Playing in goal was, to put it mildly, a special kind of suffering…

For Guardiola, joy was also instrumental. He had realized that, in order to play the game the way he wanted, his players would need to be tuned in a certain way, that it would require a kind of psychic generosity for them to read one another well enough to move in the perfect tandem he envisioned, and that even the goalkeeper had to be part of that, which, odds were, would be impossible if the goalkeeper were sealed in a self-created hell. “Have fun,” the way Guardiola said it, was a cliché, and a profound statement about the nature of the game, and a tactical manipulation as fussily meticulous as the kind that used to torment Victor Valdés.”

5. The Masked Man – overthinking the WWE. This piece on a recent Pay Per View, which travels back to the 1920s to resolve a modern wrestling dilemma, is really something.

“Back in the 1920s, there was a wrestling stable called the Gold Dust Trio. They were the most powerful group in pro wrestling’s fist heyday, and they helped mold the sport into its modern form. The Trio’s members were Ed “Strangler” Lewis, the champion; Billy Sandow, the businessman; and Toots Mondt, the enforcer and, more important, the wrestling visionary.

Prior to the Trio’s ascendance, wrestling mostly took place on fairgrounds and in vaudeville halls. It was, more or less, real. According to legend, grapplers would travel from territory to territory, taking on local tough guys, and if the wrestler began to feel overmatched, he would wrangle his opponent back against the curtain at the rear of the stage, where an accomplice would clock the local with a blackjack, unbeknownst to the audience.

The subsequent era of higher-profile, “championship” matches had its share of fixed bouts, but they contributed to a more fascinating reality. The Gold Dust Trio would change everything. Sandow hired Mondt to be Lewis’s sparring partner and enforcer; Mondt would take on opponents before they got in the ring with Lewis to make sure they were “worthy” foes, but in reality, he would soften them up for his colleague. Then, when wrestling audiences started to dwindle, Mondt conceived of a new style that combined Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling with brawling and boxing.”

There you go. If you’re not persuaded now, you never will be…

Messi: The documentary

I can’t get enough of watching Messi.


Image Credit: abc.net.au

Embedding is disabled on this one, so you’ll have to mosey on over to YouTube.

All of Messi’s goals in one place

Continuing with my stream of Lionel Messi fanboyism…

Via Kottke

Al has been sharing some memories from the Premier League – this collection of goals is quite stunning. They are perhaps surpassed by the solo work of Matt Le Tissier.

But for me. My fondest memories of the Premier League involve these two players.

I’m so keen for this year’s football season (the one I play, not the stuff I watch).

Messi, aged 5

Lionel Messi is a freak. In ten years we’ll probably be talking about how his work on the global stage is unlikely ever to be repeated. Just like people did with Pele, Maradona, and like I say about Eric Cantona.

Anyway. Here’s Messi as a five year old. The ball is almost half his size, and it’s still on a string.

Here he is ripping Bayer Leverkusen apart in the Champions League 19 years later.

Vinnie Jones is heart smart

Thanks to Scooter for this one.

I love Vinnie Jones.

This is why.

Then for his turns as a crim/hardman in the fillums.

Go Tim Howard. This is a goalkeeper’s dream, and the other goalkeeper’s nightmare.

Coining the offside rule

The British Mint is producing a series of sport related coins for the Olympics. This one will be welcomed by husbands/boyfriends/brothers/fathers everywhere.

My wife assures me she understands the offside rule. So I’ll just have to use it to teach my daughter.

Via One Plus Infinity.

Meet Bulgaria’s Best Footballer…

Bojinov? Berbatov? Stoichkov?

Nope.

Boiko Borisov. The nation’s prime minister. Who, at 52, turns out occasionally for a third string Bulgarian league team. Which apparently speaks volumes about the quality of Bulgaria’s football leagues.

He’s been nominated in a novel protest vote in Bulgaria, where the citizens are revolting. Actually, I’m sure they’re quite nice. But they’d like more money spent on football…

The Beautiful Game

Barcelona play a beautiful style of football. It is mesmerising.

Allas is a YouTuber who is devoting his energy to studying what makes them tick. The production quality of some of these is low, but if you’ve ever wanted to understand the way modern football is played – get on this…

A lot of what they do revolves around the brilliance of Lionel Messi.