Euro 2012: England v France

Nice one England. You had me as nervous as ever in a major tournament, I didn’t enjoy the closing minutes but you did a fine job.

I think we’re in really safe hands with Roy Hodgson and I’d be really surprised if we don’t make it through the group now.  The team played calmly and well together but probably lacked the quality to see us look really dangerous in this tournament.  Oxlade-Chamberlain made an energetic innocent presence and there were some respectable performance by most of the team – Johnson, Parker and Welbeck stood out for me.

I think the result is outstanding to be fair, considering Hodgson has only been with the team six weeks and some of the best of the average crop of players we have were not there.  It’s noteworthy to look at the quality of the team that lost to France in the respective fixture in 2004 – David James, Gary Neville, Ledley King, Sol Campbell, Ashley Cole, David Beckham, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Paul Scholes, Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen.  We could have done with some of that quality in the team.

I think with a ref who’d allow us to build up some pressure and with Rooney’s world class quality we’d have won it.  Wish I could say I was looking forward to the Sweden match but at least I’m expecting a win now.

“Are we there yet?” “NO!!!”

Each country feels really different.  The French seem to avoid the north east corner of their country – everyone was driving there apart from them. The Belgians have a motorway ring road around their capital that is more scenic than the M25 but just as chocka.  The Germans truly are advanced as they have Subways at their service stations and charge you to use the toilet.  The Austrians build great tunnels that work out better value than the Dartford Tunnel.  The Slovenians….well its been dark since we got here and our host seems a cheeky chappy so I’ll reserve my supreme judgment on this nation.

It’s been good.  I must admit I suspect I’m enjoying it more than Rada but she’s always been reluctant to drive to Montenegro and has a stinking cold.  Both nights we’ve arrived exhausted at places claiming to be hotels but aren’t quite and have also had to scrape around for food.  They’ve been comfortable in their own way and, for me, add to the whole eccentricity of travelling in new places but they’ve not quite been what we needed.Are

I think three lessons have been learnt for the return journey:

  1. Spread it over as many days as possible – 13 hours a day travelling really is draining
  2. Find Motels/Hotels that are right on motorways – there’s only so many times you can drive round Bonn in the middle of the night before you are on the brink of murder
  3. Audio books are the way forward – absolute pleasure listening to Prince Caspian together

South Africa 2010 Draw?

The following is what are likely to be the seedings for the draw for the World Cup on 4th December:

Pot 1:    South Africa, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Spain, England, France, Argentina

Pot 2:   Portugal, Netherlands, Switzerland, Slovenia, Greece, Denmark, Serbia, Slovakia

Pot 3:   Uruguay, Chile, Paraguay, Ghana, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Algeria

Pot 4:    South Korea, Japan, Australia, North Korea, Mexico, USA, Honduras, New Zealand

What do you reckon would be good, and bad for England?  Can you spot any potentially juicy ties?  What about Spain v Portugal?

I think a fascinating, and historical, group for England would draw us with Portugal, Cameroon and Australia.  What are your thoughts?

Complain to FIFA

Lots of people are VERY angry about the Republic of Ireland being cheated out of the World Cup.  If you are then take five minutes out of your day and go to http://www.fifa.com/contact/form.html and express your feelings to FIFA directly.  If anybody can get an email address for Sepp Blater then let me know!

Here is what I wrote to them this morning:

Subject:  Immoral FIFA

Dear FIFA

I am writing to express my disgust that you, the governing body for the world’s biggest sport are a blatently corrupt and injust organisation.

If you want France to be in the World Cup Finals so much please be honest and come out and say it.  You could have at least given them a free place from the start and not doomed Ireland to having no chance by fixing the play-off draw and then using suspect officials who have ‘missed’ one of the most obvious discrepancies of all time.

The decisions you make have galactical implications right down to the grass roots of society in every country in the world.  As a youth worker, how can I instill positive values into young people when you allow the message to be broadcast loud and clear by one of the world’s most recognised players, ‘you need to cheat to get what you want in life’?

As an organisation you are a disgrace and should make the world a better place by standing against decisions like that which happened on Wednesday night and by not fixing who gets into the World Cup for your own financial gain.

Yours faithfully

Nathan Adams

It would be great to bombard FIFA with emails about this.  Thanks!

Thierry Henry = Maradona

Except the Frenchman is clearly not as skillful.

I just don’t know what to think about last night.  The injustice of it all makes me livid.  There are handballs and then then there are handballs.  Just like Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’, Thierry Henry clearly deliberately controls the ball with his hand, TWICE(!), to set-up William Gallas to score the goal the cheats France into the World Cup Finals and robs the more deserving Irish from their place in South Africa.  Here is a video of it from Irish TV:

I could understand a split second of madness from Henry by using his hands, but as a human being you have to own up to stuff like that but instead he runs off to the security of the adoring French fans and takes with him the lifetime label of being one of football’s great cheats.

Also, is it beyond the realms of possibility that FIFA put pressure on the match officials to help the former World Champions get carried into the World Cup like an inept but corrupt politician frauding his way into power…?

World Cup is a fix

I am really disappointed that FIFA are doing their best to prevent heroic efforts from weaker footballing nations enabling them to qualify for the World Cup.  Instead favouring the under performing giants of Portugal and France.  We are currently in between legs in the play-offs for the Finals in South Africa.

Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Republic of Ireland gave a fantastic display in the Group Stages:

  • Bosnia finished ahead of Turkey and Belgium with only Spain, arguably the best team in the world, beating them.
  • Ireland remained undefeated through the whole campain.

However, once FIFA saw that precious France and Portugal were struggling they decided to seed the play-offs to give them a much better chance of qualifying.  Both giants are now firm favourites following the first legs despite atrocious group performances.  In my opinion neither of these teams deserves to be in the Finals.  They achieved similar results to Ireland and Bosnia despite playing much weaker nations.  I say chuck them and their prima donnas out!

 

Growing a beard

Last week, while I was ill, I couldn’t be bothered to shave.  I grew a beard.

It looked magnificent.  I looked magnificent!

I was like Aragorn.  If I hadn’t felt a bit poorly surely I would have saved the Midlands from the evil hoardes of Ork-Bankers.

I was like Olaf Melberg, I was like Obi Wan Kenobi, I was like Che Guevara, I was like a Spartan warrior, I was like Sebastien Chabal.  Just look what you can achieve with a beard:

I could have done anything – maybe even saved the world from everything.  But I shaved it off while I was sat in the bath.