Category Archives: Association Football

Poetry in Telecasting

NBCSN’s Arlo White is a fount of pure wordsmithery. Amuse-toi with this chestnut from the 56th minute of today’s Chelsea-Man City broadcast, wherein he delivered the following crackerjack commentary live:

Fernandinho opens the play up to find Navas. Support arriving from Silva. Tries the give and go. Matic was back but Silva held onto it…then threaded it through to Navas. Here comes the cross  and Fernandinho with the header, it’s AN AWKWARD ONE! The bounce almost deceived Courtois.

His footwork was true.

And he concedes the corner with a fine save.

All the names are Man City players except Courtois, the Belgian Chelsea goalkeeper (he the opposing goalie of last summer’s infamous Tim-Howard-again-etching-his-name-on-our-hearts-matchup). The caps denote volume, the italics a pensive emphasis, and the spaces a tantalizing whisper of a pause. Laid atop live game-play it was a masterstroke.

The immediately following work by Graeme Le Saux was less cogent but almost as compelling during the replay:

That’s quality football again by Navas. Works the one-two really well, that’s an excellent ball in, Fernandinho arriving late. And that downward header…nearly caught Courtois out. And that bounce, it’s just looping and dipping under the bar, isn’t it, Courtois alert to the danger.

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The irrepressably-enjoyable Rog Bennett of Men in Blazers has been all over this but in the anxious run-up to US-Portugal on Sunday, it’s fun to review how despite Hondouras’ tough losses, the CONCACAF teams are doing unbelievably well! Costa Rica with six points are you kidding me? Mexico holds Brazil? Wow.

It fled my recollection, but I know I looked up the acronym at some point, and it felt like this scrappy display from the top three teams in international football’s longest weirdest-titled body merits some love for our crazy confed.  (The second best name in my book is CONMEBOL, third is OFC, O for Oceania. I told a buddy recently about Mexico squeaking into the World Cup via a two leg playoff with the winner from Oceania and he laughed out loud, “Do they play Atlantis?”  Unbeatable because they’re impossible to find.)

The most sticktuitive lil confed’s acronym stands for the much too-logical (if slightly odd grammatically) “the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Island Association Football.”

CONCACAFés all ’round!


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Life and Death and the World Cup

In the wake of their 5-1 drubbing by der Nederlanden in the group opener, hard-luck (or just bad?) Spanish/Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas has claimed that their next game against Chile is ‘life or death.’

Currently Colombia is playing Greece, bringing to mind the tragic 1994 death of Colombian defender Andrés Escobar. His own-goal against the United States lead in part to a 2-1 loss in the World Cup that year, which likely lead to him being shot to death by a bodyguard of a cartel leader.

Colombia 1994 and Spain 2014 are more than a little different, but even still, hopefully Casillas is dead wrong.


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Don’t sleep on Belgium!

Firstly, I recently came across an article titled:

Aldi confirms up to 100% horsemeat in beef products

which made me laugh out loud real hard.

While I fully recognize that I am late to the party on this one (Paul Doyle has been saying this for a long time), I am establishing my own internet date-stamped belief that Belgium is going to do very well in the World Cup. I suppose some kind of quarter- or semi-final appearance perhaps?

They murdalized their qualifying group in Europe (tough place to play though their group was not).

I would consider myself to have a passing fascination with world soccer. I divert more attention than necessary or appropriate, but am far from an expert. But reading over the Belgian national team roster, names jump out that are among the European elite.

For those too lazy to clink a link:  Christian Benteke, Mousa Dembélé, Marouane Fellaini, Eden Hazard, Vincent Kompany, Romelu Lukaku, Thomas Vermaelen. Jan Vertonghen. Plus a bunch of cats we ain’t never heard of yet.

Don’t sleep on Belgium!

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