2012/13 Soccer Thread

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Euro this, Euro that. Open from Friday with scintillating watching-the-paint-dry Poland - Greece.
(Weirdly, I'll be watching that game in a pub literally fifty meters from hotel where English internationals are staying.)

Things will probably go upward from there.

U-S-A U-S-A!

Consider this thread ruined.

I don't think we'll see racist abuse during the tournament but if there is any Platini's off to a horrible start. http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2...

"It's a yellow card," said Platini when asked what would happen if a player took matters into his own hands. "We'd certainly support the referee if he decided to stop the game. It's not a player, Mr Balotelli, who's in charge of refereeing. It's the referee who takes these decisions. So, the referee has been given advice and he can stop the game if there are problems. We will stop the game if there are problems because I think racism is the worst of this."

FIFA and UEFA are just pathetic when it comes to racism. This is the federation that fined Manchester City more for starting a match late than they did Port for their fans racially abusing a player after all.

I SEE NO CHEESE PLATE OR WINE. YOU ARE A TERRIBLE HOST.

I'm going to see if the beer emporium near me has any Polish or Ukrainian beers, just to celebrate the tournament.

Also, I can see, in a way, Platini's point. You don't want to put ALL of the power on this front in the player's hands, or someone walking off and interrupting things over perceived abuse (and speaking as a person of brownness, I say "percieved" with the biggest quotation marks around it on earth).

However, Platini is doing a sh*t job communicating the fact that UEFA can and should take racism seriously by instructing its referees to deal with the problem actively and, if necessary, aggressively.

That, and from what I've read, a lot of continental Europe seems to think racism is brought up all too much by England and used as a cudgel against them. Most of the potential controversy over racism has been generated from blighty, and I think a ton of the rest of Europe is willing to say "NO U" based solely on who is pointing out the problem. I know it's ridiculous to base this on a few quotes and comments, but it does certainly seem like there's a sense of "We're not attacking them, so it's not racist/we're not making monkey noises because we're racist, we're making monkey noises because we hate him" thing.

Let's not get too much into it though, I think it's unfair to paint the hosts as Alabama circa 1931 (or, if you believe Sol Campbell, Alabama circa 1831) before a single game of the tournament has been played.

Roke wrote:

FIFA and UEFA are just pathetic when it comes to racism. This is the federation that fined Manchester City more for restarting a match one minute late than they did Port for their fans racially abusing a player after all.

Yup. Here's UEFA's sliding scale.

Arsene Wenger criticises ref - €40k
City restart game vs Porto 1 minute late - €30k
Porto fans spend ALL GAME abusing City's coloured players - €20k (and then they had the gall to complain to UEFA that City fans spent all game abusing Hulk by singing 'You're not incredible' at him).

And does anyone else think it's a disgrace that FIFA have forced a sovereign nation (Brazil) to overturn a 10 year old law designed to reduce violence in stadia in order to allow Budweiser to be sold in stadia. Still, at least transportation shouldn't be an issue....just run a pipeline from the sewers to the bars.

Krakow Post giving helpful travel advice for the England supporters.

"As the first England fans started to arrive in the city, along with a number of Republic of Ireland followers, the Krakow Post carried the warning in a travellers' advice list pointing out that the local police are well versed in dealing with football-related trouble and have dogs "trained to bite you directly in the testicles" if needs be.

"If things start kicking off, don't be tempted to stick around and watch the fun," the English-language newspaper warns. "The Polish police are going to come down on troublemakers like a bag full of anvils and you don't want to be there when it happens. Krakow has a long history of hooligan violence. The local police have seen it all before and they will ruin your day if you try it on."

Poland's anti-hooligan squads are armed, it says, with 9mm handguns loaded with live ammunition. "And that's just the stuff they admit to."

The newspaper adds: "These lads' mums and dads rioted under Soviet machine guns – a few chairs thrown by beered-up fans is not going to intimidate them. Do not expect softly-softly police tactics."

You're quoting this for laughs, right? Kraków Post = monthly magazine couple of pages long with small circulation written by few random ex-pats. So they're every bit as true, as stories from African NGOs who've been there for six months and now they're the best experts in the world on everyday goings in every country with black population on planet Earth.

There is no such thing as "anti-hooligan" police and no, they don't shoot shotguns at crowds. Also, it comes from this article. "How to stay safe in Kraków? 1. Stamp your tickets."

That said, yes, there is a lot of trained riot police in Krakow, because Wisła-Cracovia divide in this city is very much of Celtic-Rangers type.

davet010 wrote:

Yup. Here's UEFA's sliding scale.

.pdf

UCRC wrote:

Bummer

Poor chap didn't have a lot of luck....wife died in 2002, 15 year old son died in a car crash and his father was knocked down and killed by a car in Santander a couple of years ago.

In other news, second rate player and first rate drama queen Sol Campbell is going to hand back the England caps he somehow won if Plug's exclusion from the squad turns out to be not for football reason. Sorry Sol, but why do you think anyone gives a flat f**k what you do with your caps ?

As for the KP stuff, that was originally posted by a British journalist. Whether he believes it or not is a different matter.

And now Terry is out of the France game. And Jermaine Defoe is to return home after the sad death of his father last night.

And if you are doling out Panini stickers, any chance you can get 1978 World Cup ones for me - I think I only need 8 or so

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/euro2012/article-2155591/Michel-Platini--style-substance--Martin-Samuel.html

British journalist in good article shock ! And in the Volkischer Beobachter as well !

Better go for a lie-down.

davet010 wrote:

As for the KP stuff, that was originally posted by a British journalist. Whether he believes it or not is a different matter.

I guess everyone is out for a bit of "exotic" and mildly shocking angle.

But hey, instead of bitching about everything that media will report, maybe I should explain the whole 'racism' situation in here, at least provided there is an interest from any of you. Personally I don't feel like writing lengthy post about it because generally my attitude is that it's a series of simple misunderstandings and there won't be any trouble during Euros, at least this side of border.

To be fair, UC, almost all of the stuff in the papers over here has concentrated on the Ukraine rather than Poland. Both the Panorama program and a lot of the print media have opined that the Ukraine is a good 10-20 years behind Poland in terms of both the prevalance of inappropriate behaviour (not just racism, but general crowd violence) but also the willingness of the authorities to identify it and to deal with it, as exemplified by the Ukranian chief of Police with his 'they're just pointing over there' response to 2000 blokes on a terrace doing what even a muppet could see was an orchestrated Nazi salute.

It is also clear that the fears of those who have expressed them is definitely not concerning England's base in Poland, but the fact that all of the group games are in the Ukraine, which requires basing yourself there for a week or so and braving their stadia.

I am extremely excited. Matches start tomorrow, and I have the whole day off work. HUP HUP!

But hey, instead of bitching about everything that media will report, maybe I should explain the whole 'racism' situation in here, at least provided there is an interest from any of you.

Very interested, if you find the time between exams

Yeah, I'd be interested too, if you get the time.

Yeah, too often I see clueless people place FIFA on a pedestal like the UN. Not only is FIFA just as incompetent as the UN, it's actually greedy, corrupt, and evil.

And sadly, there's not a damn thing anyone can do about it.

You've surely been on this series of threads long enough to come across one of my frankly-epic anti FIFA rants ? Assuming that people can stomach the bile (!), no one could get through them and believe that Sepp Blatter, the Gallic Gonk and co are anything other than the spawn of Beelzebub.

Assuming that people can stomach the bile indeed.

I would also love to see that post UCRC.

I don't think there will be an issue in Poland or the Ukraine. There were loads of concerns about crime and violence in South Africa and I didn't see anything negative come out of there other than FIFA over-zealously protecting its sponsors. The Euros are going to be a party and I figure everyone's going to be too busy having a good time rather than get caught up in antagonism and hatred.

dejanzie wrote:
But hey, instead of bitching about everything that media will report, maybe I should explain the whole 'racism' situation in here, at least provided there is an interest from any of you.

Very interested, if you find the time between exams :-)

I'm studying like crazy because I've got an exam on Sat morning and want to wrap it all up so I can watch the game tomorrow.

edit: Mildly interesting random fact about tomorrow: only 11% of Polish team goals come from set-pieces. Greeks score 33% of theirs that way. I post that because I have a feeling that inability of this team to defend and utilise set-pieces is going to bite them hard.

O international football how you always suck me in.

It must be because Portugal honestly dont have a chance but they do? a quick exit might be less painful this time around.

all I know is as hosts you guys are going to have a hard time topping this after every goal!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GG4dn...

We've replaced post-goal songs with free and obligatory vodka shots for everybody. Players included.

If I was wanting to replicate this experience in a home setting, what vodka would you recommend ?

Dunno, I can't stand vodka these days

This first game is better than the entire previous World Cup. So excited.

Wow, try that hyperbole on for size.

That was very reminiscent of an exceedingly important game from last month. But enough of the League Two playoff final....

Some observations.

- Both sides were completely lacking in composure and quality. Where was the midfielder who could just put his foot on the ball and look up ?

- The gulf between how good Szczesny is, and how good he thinks he is, is an almighty chasm. His decision-making is laughable.

- Poland had a man advantage for about 30 minutes...and yet I doubt they had a meaningful shot after the Greeks went down to 10 men. The commentators on BBC made the point before the game that Poland had strengthened over the last few years but were still looking for an inventive midfielder, and that was well borne out. In fact, they would have gotten beaten if (a) the penalty was taken properly (b) Samaras wasn't still completely sh1te. He had two chances and any competent striker would have at least made the keeper work for at least one of them, rather than missing the target entirely. Unfortunately, as I know from having watched the big goon for two seasons at City, Samaras is far from a competent striker.

- The refereeing was fussy, and somewhat lacking. The Greek defender shouldn't have got the first yellow card (the second one was fair enough), but both sides didn't help by throwing themselves to the ground at the first opportunity.

- I would have to say that both the stadium and the atmosphere looked excellent, as did the fan area in Warsaw centre. Let's hope Poland show a little more penetration against the Czechs or the Russians to give the fans something to get excited about.

Time for the Czech Republic v Russia.

davet010 wrote:

- Both sides were completely lacking in composure and quality. Where was the midfielder who could just put his foot on the ball and look up ?

Didn't you see my Poland team preview?

Poland should have been two up by half-time. Second half has been absolutely awful, but first 30 minutes were really encouraging. But I'm not complaining because I've been expecting us to be average, so no surprises.
My throat is absolutely gone.

I betted on 1-1 in our company's internal gambling game, so I'm happy One small step towards a PS3 with FIFA 12!

I can't remember what I predicted for Russia - Czech Rep., 2-0 or 2-1. If the game keeps going in the same direction, it will end in a 5-1 score or something. The Belgian journalists who predicted a bright future for Russia at the tournament were spot on it seems.

I'm happy that Poland at least gave everyone an entertaining game. Drab 0-0 was very much on cards before the game.

Wouldn't want to play the Russians - although oddly enough the striker doesn't look great. The breaking midfielders are quality though, and even Arshavin seems to have the motivation toggle switched to 'on' for a change.

Unfortunately, my half-time is now being ruined by ITV's choice of commentary team and half time analysts...they have decided to go for an 'edgy' team of Roy 'unintelligible bogtrotter' Keane and his arch-enemy, Patrick Vieira, with the stunning blandness of Gareth Southgate as a third way, although at least he is making some valid points.

BBC went with a much more insightful halftime group of Hansen, Dixon and the excellent Clarence Seedorf, just a shame they decided that Mark Bright was a good commentator - memorably described on notBigSam's twitter as "sounding like an anxious, confused cretin, trapped in a lift".

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