Posts Tagged ‘ Sport ’

#showertune: ‘the greatest’ by kenny rogers

nonetheless albeit inasmuch whomsoever heretofore andsoon

yesterday i was in a bad mood with the US of A for their electoral madness. today i want to swings thoughts back toward things on a positive tip by crediting where credit is due.

heartfelt RQT congratulations go out to the San Francisco Giants on their ‘World’ Series win (which i think is big of us, given that we are all, to a woman, Yankies fans up in here. fo’ever).

the Giants play a good ball, but the biggest thing in their favour as far as we’re concerned is Brian ‘sweet cleats’ Wilson (relief pitcher extraordinaire, not confused former Beach Boy) – here he is doing his best Kenny Powers (boo-ya) on ESPN.

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as for a #showertune, let’s go all The Wonder Years nostalgic for an American childhood we never had by joining hands and singing along to The Greatest by Kenny Rogers (then let’s watch Field of Dreams and go out for icecream shakes)

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#eyesontheprize: the final countdown

despite the name tag of these World Cup posts, i took my eyes well and truly off the prize with regard to keeping y’all up to date with my thoughts and predictions about the quarter and semi-finals. it turned out that the timing of the games just didn’t fit my hectic schedule. sorry. eagle-eyed readers (i.e. those that look like Diego Forlan) will have noticed that i did, however, predict all but one of the winners of ties in ‘the 16’ – although, to be honest (for once), there weren’t any real shocks in there.

it seems, however, that my work timetable saved me from embarrassment given that i had a feeling that Brazil would come good against the Netherlands, Uruguay would put a handful passed Ghana and Paraguay would beat Spain. my only successful prediction of the quarter finals was that the wheels would finally come off Maradona’s nitro-powered box cart.

for the semis i had an even better escape. a few days away without access to the interweb saved me from incorrectly predicting wins for Uruguay and Germany.

so there we have it. the 2010 FIFA World Cup will be won by either Spain or the Netherlands, neither of which has lifted the trophy before. my tip, for what it’s worth, is the Netherlands – they’ve certainly played the more positive football of the two sides (with Spain having strung together three 1-0 wins in their last three games – zzzzz). given that in the 70s and 80s ‘Holland’, as few people over here knew better than to call them, were one of the most stylish and dynamic footballing forces around and yet didn’t manage to win, it would be nice if now that we’ve got round to calling them by their proper name, they finally got a star.

that having been said, if the change-of-name-to-a-more-inclusive-one type experience of the Germans is anything to go by then the odds are stacked against them. during the divided era, in eleven tournaments West Germany made it to six finals, winning three (with East Germany making it into (effectively) the quarter finals in 1974 and Saarland failing to qualify for the only tournament they entered in 1954). since reunification, however, not only is the combined Germany team yet to win the World Cup but it has made the final only once (in 2002) from five attempts. this, added to failures to trouble the wallcharts in 1930 and 1938 and only a third place in 1934 to heil Hitler about, makes for a far inferior record as a united country. and that is why, regardless of his almost certainly dangerous levels of insanity, i will always love David Hasselhoff.

#eyesontheprize: into the 16…

so finally we’ve arrived at what people variously call the last or round of 16 or the first knockout stage, but never the 1/8th finals. i was not a fan of super 16s and glad that that nomenclature seems to have been and gone, but i do quite like just ‘the 16’ – so that’s what we’ve gone with.

so far, i can honestly say that this is one of the strangest World Cups i’ve seen. it’s not just France and Italy going out in the group stage – i think most of us saw the France disaster coming a mile off – or Switzerland beating Spain, Slovakia beating Italy and Brazil only just  beating North Korea, or even all losing to those sodding horns. the tournament has just had a strange feel about it.

without wanting to resort to cliché, i feel that the one tabloid story that really deserves attention is controversy surrounding the ball. by now it’s pretty standard for a new ball at a tournament to be the target of the complaints of a few disgruntled goalkeepers or perhaps strikers who’ve missed penalties or squandered open goals in the first few games, but the cloud of discontentment surrounding the Adidas Jabulani gathered quite a while before the opening game and has yet to fully disperse. one thing that i have noticed in every game i’ve watched is that the ball seems to be bouncing abnormally high. there have for example, been several downward headers from within the six yard box that have bounced up to around the height of the crossbar, which is something i’ve never seen before.

perhaps it was Rob Green’s slip that cooled the British media’s interest in the fairly widespread complaints about the ball, after all we wouldn’t want there to be a reason for his traitorous evil. however, there have been several incidents of keepers clearly struggling to cope with the ball’s movement, with, interestingly, many having been to do with how it has ballooned and bounced rather than how it has moved through the air (although that has raised eyebrows too).

Ex-Liverpool striker, ponytailed inventor and notorious Australian, Craig Johnson, who designed the Predator boot and Traxion sole – which were both bought up by Adidas – as well as consulting on ball design, has been fiercely critical of the Jabulani, calling it a scandal. Johnson blames the change from stitching to thermal bonding for changing the ways the balls curve and accelerate, calling the Jabulani, which is the lightest ball ever made, “basically a $200 beach ball

the standard of refereeing, by contrast, has, i’ve thought, been on the whole pretty good, with some exceptions – not least the decision to only yellow card Juan in yesterday’s Brazil Vs. Portugal game for a blatant deliberate handball. Harry Kewell must have been turning in his grave.

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players we think will shine from here on in:

Diego Forlan – he’s been arguably the best player so far, and we see no reason for that to change when Uruguay face South Korea in the 16s. Suarez will probably score more goals (he is one of the most in-form strikers in the world right now), but Forlan’s ideas are at the heart of what Uruguay do best.

Kevin Prince Boateng – Portsmouth’s lively midfielder has had about as good a season as you can playing for Pompy and seems likely to make them more money after the tournament than he would have before. I can’t see Ghana getting to the semis, but the USA will have to keep him quiet in order to stop them making the quarters.

Wayne Rooney – he’s not shown anything near his best form yet, but RQT pities the fool who writes him off too early. prepare for a different Rooney and a different England come Sunday. We’d also recommend the Germans keep an eye on Crouch and Joe Cole.

Rafael van der Vaart – again, Madrid’s favourite substitute hasn’t hit his stride yet, but i’ve got a sneaky suspicion that he’ll still end up having a bearing on the tournament.

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our predictions for the 16s:

Uruguay Vs South KoreaUruguay (2-1)

USA Vs GhanaGhana (1-0)

Germany Vs EnglandEngland (3-1)

Argentina Vs MexicoArgentina (2-0)

Netherlands Vs SlovakiaNetherlands (2-0)

Brazil Vs ChileBrazil (1-0)

Paraguay Vs JapanParaguay (3-1)

Spain Vs PortugalSpain (2-1)

#eyesontheprize: world cup week 1

so, we’re three days into the 2010 Fifa World Cup and what do we know so far apart from that it’s really annoying if everyone blows insect sounding drone-horns throughout football matches? well, in terms of our pre-tournament expectations here at RQT a few things have risen to meet them, but others have proven surprising.

Argentina’s somewhat underwhelming display against Nigeria more or less meshed with our feeling that what TheShortCheatingBastard’s men possess in terms of unbelievable tekkers is significantly offset by what they lack in preparation, organisation and basically anything to do with management. Not that they should be there in the first place, but France’s opening game likewise confirmed us in our opinion that they will struggle and things will probably prove more 2002 than 2006 for Les Bleu. it wasn’t that they played poorly, but just that they arsenaled it all around the place without ever looking like being able to actually score. we think not taking Benzema might just prove a critical error for Domenech.

South Korea showed yet again in their opening game that they’re not to be ignored, but they no doubt basically will be.

England (or ‘Britain’ as the New York Post would have it) showed more of the promise that began to emerge during the qualifiers, playing some very tidy football in spells against the USA. unfortunately after 15 minutes of solid passing and a stevie g special, things fairly quickly reverted to type. if there is one kind of team that you don’t want to concede a freak goal as a result of an inexplicable goalkeeping fumble against, it’s a compact team that boringly get men behind the ball and commit very few forward. It’s all OK though because Emile Heskey makes goals for other players and Peter Crouch has got good feet for a big man.

Germany showed us exactly how to deal with that sort of tie this evening as they walloped Australia’s painfully named Socceroos 4-0. one key tactic, apparently, is to make sure the opposition gets a man send off for not a lot. despite only scoring 3 goals during this domestic season, we were convinced that Lukas Podolski would be one of the players to watch out for, and if tonight is anything to go by we might be on to something. not only did he open the scoring, but alongside Mesut Özil he basically ran tings proper.

In terms of the TV coverage, we’ve been confused/bored to death by the BBC team of football ex-people, who so far have either been unremittingly dull or indecipherably foreign, but ITV has been making us laugh – and sometimes on purpose. my magical moment of the tournament so far is the amazing Rio Ferdinand “come on England” sting that played before the England – USA game. if you missed it, keep your eyes more peeled for it next time round.

James Corden’s World Cup Live is a disaster, so let’s not talk about it OK? OK. also, since when did betting stop being a vice that trapped poor people into swapping their incapacity benefit for nothing, and start being something that every advert on TV wants us to do? also again, who is so boring that when they do put a bet on, they put it on how many corners there are going to be?

In summary, we’ve yet to see The Netherlands, Brazil, Cote D’Ivoire, Italy, Portugal, Spain or Honduras, so it’s far too early to say very much, but basically England should still win.