Posts Tagged ‘soccer’

Ladies and gentleman, Russia will be hosting your 2018 World Cup, and Qatar in 2022.  Qatar is neither here nor there (seriously, where is Qatar?  (RHETORICAL)), but Russia?  Really, Russia?

My brain is exploding with Potemkin jokes, snide remarks about human rights, and generalized indignation.  Was it not bad enough to award the tournament (riskily) to South Africa out of a sense of condescension?  What’s wrong with Holland?  They have infrastructure and food!  Also beer.  And I imagine the Panorama program on corruption in FIFA did hurt the England bid.  Possibly because many of the allegations were true?  FIFA, we are so done.

Anyway, I’m going to go calm down, so I leave you with this.

Yes, even with the neckbeard. How DOES he do it?


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That’s pretty much all I have to say.  Except that we here at NTSI very much hope he is well for the World Cup because otherwise disappointment.


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Yeah, he got booked for that.

I am sorry to  lower the journalistic tone of NTSI, but that photo is great, so we’re going to run with it.  And, look!  I am not talking about his hair.  Well, now I am.  But I’ll stop.

I am not overfond of Atlético Madrid.  They are less adorable than Mr. Forlán’s previous team (Villarreal), they are sort of under-dogs but not that appealing, and I cannot figure out why there is a bear on their crest.

Also they under-perform like it is their job.  Whereas it is not their job.  Their job is performing.  Under-performing merely allows the BBC commentators to mock you for losing to Xerez.  And they have a right.  Now, it is going too far to say that Atlético are a poor team, because after all they just won the Europa League, and they have produced many excellent shows this season.  They’re just not consistent.  Except that they might also win the Copa del Rey next week (on Mr. Forlán’s 31st birthday).  So, really, they’re just mystifying in the extreme.

But Diego Forlán is not mystifying, except to opposing goalkeepers.  He is just awesome.

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Club vs Country? (Part I)

Yeah, it's an old photo, but he's been injured forever. Still cute.

So, Owen Hargreaves is no longer injured!  Probably.  Also, Manchester United spent £17 million on him.  For this reason, Sir Alex thinks that Mr. Hargreaves should probably not fuss himself about the World Cup.

Now, £17 million is a great deal of money, and generally you want a better return on that kind of investment than Mr. Hargreaves and his big brown eyes looking picturesque on your bench for a year and a half.  He might get injured at the World Cup.  England will almost certainly not win, though they might have a better chance of winning with Mr. Hargreaves in midfield, since everyone else appears to be a child, antique, or broken, and he was by far their best player last time ’round.  (Obviously fitness issues play into this.)

On the other hand, as Roy Keane has pointed out, probably in some rather salty language, you should want to play for your country.  That’s where the glory is.  It’s selfless.  There’s no sponsor’s logo on your chest, just the Cross of St. George (or what-have-you).

This subject is complex, and there’s a great deal to be said for both sides, since not everyone has my starry-eyed ideals of love of country and lack of mercenary instinct.  Possibly because their livelihoods rely on making money from sport.  So we’ll leave it to a vote!

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So are: broken legs, and people vomiting.

Stop showing us pictures and video of these things.  Zinédine Zidane and David Beckham are both very good-looking, but that doesn’t make it okay to show them puking their guts up.  Tim Tebow isn’t very good-looking at all, but I still don’t need to see him being sick.  Just tell me he has a concussion.  You don’t need to prove it.

Djibril Cissé broke his leg very badly a few years ago.  I am still haunted by the image.  Peter Schmeichel actually vomited on the pitch when he saw David Busst’s leg broken.  This should clue you in that no one ever wants to see it again.  Unless that person is sick, in which case tell him to get help.

Compared to this, Paul Collingwood’s dislocated finger is chump change, but I still don’t want to see it as I am browsing a gallery of today’s photos from the Test against South Africa, all unsuspecting.  We’d all much rather see Ian Bell, even if he is all sweaty and disappointed to be out:

Ah, Bellers. Nice innings.

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Er...what's this award for, again?

Er...what's this award for, again?

Fortunately, Diego Forlán is cutely awkward.  I just love the photos from the presentation of last year’s Golden Shoe (which happened earlier this month), because he looks like he’s not really sure why he’s there, as if he wasn’t present the thirty-two times he scored a goal in league play last year.  Which is adorable.  Especially because he’s now won it twice.

Not adorable is how totally crap Atlético are this year.  Not sure how it happened.  I predicted that they would be beaten today at Stamford Bridge (not a terrifically bold prophecy), but I was thinking maybe a 3-1 sort of scoreline.  Not 4-0 with an own goal.

With one point out of three matches, the future’s not looking too rosy.  Also, they have but one victory in league play, which is bad.  I can’t remember the last time they even bothered to score a goal.  In the other team’s net, I mean.

So I get why Mr. Forlán looks a little awkward–it can’t be too much fun to be accepting an award for individual magnificence when your team is bobbing around the drop zone.  Although he looked just as awkward the last time, when Villarreal were enjoying what can really only be described as meteoric success.  So, in conclusion, good thing he’s cute.

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Arrivederci, Sheva.

I remember when Andriy Shevchenko made his much-heralded move to the Premier League.  That’s not particularly impressive; it wasn’t very long ago.  But I also distinctly remember not having great hopes for him.  Part of this was wishful thinking, as Chelsea isn’t a team I support, but my powers of analysis are mildly greater than that.

One has only to look at that great European Cup final (AC Milan vs Liverpool, you know the one) to see that Mr. Shevchenko was probably not going to be a howling success in England.  He was utterly bamboozled.  The Liverpool defense will probably never play a better second half than that, or even as good, it’s true.  But Mr. Shevchenko was utterly out of his depth.

And the (once-record) transfer hasn’t worked out, unfortunately.  Few footballers live up to transfer expectations–it would be difficult.  He is among those who fail to do so rather spectacularly, especially considering his outstanding success with AC Milan and his heroic leadership with Ukraine.

I wish footballers wouldn’t squander promising–or even already delivering–careers.  It’s of course impossible to predict such things, and, like Alexander, I’m sure footballers are always looking for new worlds to conquer, but there are so many cautionary tales out there one would think circumspection would be the watchword.  Watching players fail isn’t enjoyable (in most cases), even if they play for Chelsea.  I sort of feel like Mr. Shevchenko’s been making that same “I can’t believe we just lost to Liverpool” face for the past four years.

Well, his English is probably improved, and he’s still cute, so I guess it’s not a total loss?

And blue was such a good color for him, too.

And blue was such a good color for him, too.

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