Monday, July 30, 2012

Shevchenko goes into politics.

Andriy Shevchenko, first among goal scorers in his part of the world, is leaving soccer to become a politician.
He gave Ukraine a victory over Sweden with two sharp, superbly angled headers in Kiev during the Euro 2012 tournament last month. But those goals — taking him to 48 in 111 national team appearances — were the last of a career that made him one of the best, and richest, strikers of his time.
The mind, as we saw in Kiev, was still sharp. But the body was telling him to go before he deteriorated further still. His back was aching, his thigh was strained. And after he suffered a kick to his knee, not even Shevchenko could lift Ukraine to another victory.
So what does a revered former player, one enriched by his moves to Milan and to Chelsea and then back to his first club, Kiev, do with the rest of his life? “Probably I will shock all of you,” Shevchenko announced via the Dynamo Kiev club Web site. “My future will not be linked to football in any way. It will be linked to politics, I hope for your support.”
He may get it, if the voters in Ukraine can separate one Andriy Shevchenko from another.
In soccer, Shevchenko was absolutely singular — a tall, lithe, ruthless finisher of chances and half-chances from the left wing or center forward.
In politics, he has a namesake, an already established deputy in the Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian Parliament. The other Andriy Shevchenko is 36, the age that the former soccer player will turn in September. The older Andriy has taken a more conventional route to his seat in Parliament: He is a journalist who studied political science and economics at Kiev Mohyla Academy, then won fellowships to Yale and Stanford universities in the United States.
While the soccer star was still on A.C. Milan’s payroll, the other Shevchenko was actively involved in the 2005 Orange Revolution in Ukraine.
That is not to say that the player was unaware of the populist powers of being involved in “the People’s Game.” His boss at Milan, a godfather to Shevchenko’s first son, happened to be Italy’s prime minister at the time, Silvio Berlusconi.
And when Berlusconi sold Shevchenko for £30 million, then around $43 million, it was already clear to see that Ukraine’s finest sharpshooter was troubled by the injuries that came with the kicks around his legs.
Italian defenders had knocked Marco van Basten, Sheva’s predecessor in Milan’s red and black colors, out of the sport through accumulated injuries to his ankle. Berlusconi, then and now willing to sell a striker if he thinks he has already extracted the best out of the player, took the money from Chelsea’s Russian owner, Roman Abramovich.
The decline was apparent to all but the oligarch. Shevchenko could still do the job, as he showed in Kiev a month ago, but in short bursts of exceptional timing and sniper-like sensing of a target.
But this Shevchenko — Andriy Mykolayovych Shevchenko, to use his full name — had long possessed an eye for life’s biggest opportunities.
His family moved, when Andriy was 9, away from the poisoned air that reached their village from the fallout of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The Shevchenkos moved to the coast around the same time that the parents of the then-unborn tennis player Maria Sharapova also relocated from nearby Belarus.
One aftereffect from the disaster might be in the toughening of people, some of whom came back with a will to change society. Or maybe it is just the region — part of the old Soviet bloc — that persuades people to strive for fame and fortune in sports and then public service.
Sergei Bubka, the soaring pole vaulter, served four years in the Ukrainian Parliament before concentrating his efforts in sports and Olympic administration as well as the Champions for Peace movement in Monaco.
The heavyweight boxer Vitali Klitschko founded his own political party, known as Udar, which in Ukrainian means punch. Klitschko is campaigning now for a seat in the October general election.
And that, Shevchenko said, will also be his starting point. “I plan to support the social sector and sport,” the soccer player announced Saturday. “After all, my main slogan is a healthy mind in a healthy body.”
That adaptation of quote by the Roman poet Juvenal — “mens sana in corpora sano” or sound mind in a healthy body — is all around us right now in the Olympics.
If Shevchenko carries it out with the touch that gave him a total of 321 goals in 648 games in a professional career that spanned 18 seasons, he will be some politician.
His mentor in sports was Valeri Lobanovsky, the former coach of Dynamo Kiev, who also led the U.S.S.R. national team at the same time. Lobanovsky had dissident inclinations, but primarily lived for soccer, and among his charges was Oleg Blokhin, a winger-turned-manager who also has served in Parliament. Whippet fast and a dead-eyed finisher, Blokhin returned to take charge of the Ukraine team in time to see Shevchenko eclipse his scoring record. Blokhin had scored 42 times in 112 games for the Soviet Union between 1972 and 1988.
He sounded a bit touchy when asked if Shevchenko would be in the Euro starting lineup. “Only teamwork will bring success,” Blokhin responded. “Names do not play football. If they did, I could be playing now.”
But Shevchenko did play and did score when no one else could for Ukraine, and now has retired, one game shy of the 112 games that Blokhin played for his national team.
He follows him into politics, but again goes his own way. The first to know where this Shevchenko’s leanings lie included pupils at a summer school, where he appeared Saturday together with Nataliya Korolevska.
Korolevska, formerly a supporter of Yulia Tymoshenko, the former prime minister whose jailing angered European political leaders, has a new party called Ukraine Forward.
“I decided to join the team of Nataliya Korolevska,” Shevchenko said, “because it is a party of the future, a party of young leaders. I want to fulfill myself in politics and share the experience I gained in Europe and do something for my country.”
A former player, taking fresh aim.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Olympics Soccer 2012: OG Will Be Better Than Euro 2012

The 2012 London Olympics are officially underway, though for those following the football at this year's Games, action had already started prior to the opening ceremony.
The Olympics represent a different style of tournament compared to what we're used to seeing in world football—namely with the fact that the competition centers around players under the age of 23, with nations only able to include three players over that age.
For some, this will possibly turn them away from engaging with the tournament and following the competition as closely as they would have originally done. In fact, many will say that they preferred the recent 2012 European Championships to the 2012 London Olympics because it featured more talent and more skill, as well as boasting the biggest names of football.
However, it simply isn't true.
The 2012 London Olympics are not a step down from the European Championships, nor are they to be considered as a "secondary" tournament. 
In fact, I want to say that this year's Olympic Games will be better than Euro 2012—starting with the fact that football's biggest names are not present in the tournament.
At Euro 2012, we know the players. We know the likes of Arjen Robben, Wayne Rooney and Fernando Torres—we watch them week in and week out in their respective domestic competitions and have seen them on our television screens for as long as we can remember.
Won't it be nice then to see players that we haven't seen or heard of before? Won't it be nice to be impressed by the talent of some of Brazil's and Uruguay's youngsters—players we most likely won't see play again in the future? The fact that all the big names have gone—well, most of them anyway—allows the stage open for a new young talent to make a name for himself at the Olympics. The fact that there is no Messi or Rooney could allow the opportunity for a previously unheralded 21-year-old striker to set the world on fire and send clubs right across the world into turmoil to try and sign him for the upcoming season.
Sure, the same thing can happen at the European Championships, but it isn't as likely to take place as it is at the Olympic Games. 
Also, just on that, won't it be nice to watch a football match without a commentator referring to who is better, Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi?
Neither player will feature at the tournament, so hopefully we shouldn't have to hear people delve into their reasoning behind the superiority of one player over another like we did at Euro 2012.
It's also like that entire countries and not just players will be afforded the opportunity to shine and be represented like they never have been before.
The likes of Senegal, Gabon, Belarus, Honduras, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates aren't going to qualify for the European Championships or the FIFA World Cup, but they are all present in this year's Olympic Games football tournament.
People associated with those countries now have an opportunity that they may never get again to cheer their team on—an opportunity that they certainly won't ever have at Euro.
I also know what the overall counter argument to this is: letting nations and players like that in to the tournament will reduce the overall quality of football being played at the tournament. The fact that there aren't those "big-name" stars will reduce the quality of football—making it boring and frustrating to watch. 
However, if you actually sit down and watch the likes of Brazil and Spain play, you'll see that there isn't an absence of talent—rather, there's an abundance of it at the Olympics.
There is so much talent oozing out of these sides that there will not be a drop-off in the quality of football being broadcast. You're unlikely to notice a real change at all, and if we were to take the argument further, you could also say that technically there is the potential formore attacking play and talent to be exhibited at the Olympics.
With younger, more raw players on hand, we're more likely to see something out-of-the-ordinary and unexpected than the tika-taka, possession football that we witnessed at Euro 2012. The players are more exciting and more open to trying something new—which can only mean that we could witness some incredible things at the Games.
All in all, you'd have to argue that the 2012 London Olympics are not a drop-off from the 2012 European Championships.
They provide a better opportunity for both players and countries, and we're in fact more likely to see incredible talent and skills at the Games than we ever were at Euro 2012.
There are fewer big names, fewer big countries, less boring football and a better chance to win more people over as to why football is the most brilliant game on the planet.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

OG 2012 in London

The Britain's hopes of a golden start to the Olympics suffered a setback when cyclist Mark Cavendish failed to land a medal.
The sprinter began the day as one of Team GB's best hopes for a gold and thousands of people lined the route of the men's road race through Surrey into central London.
While the 250km route was packed with spectators, the Games' organisers Locog launched an investigation into empty seats at venues on the Olympic Park. In the Aquatic Centre - which saw a surprise visit by the Queen - there were hundreds of empty seats despite all public tickets having been sold.
A Locog spokesman said: "We are aware that some venues have empty seats this morning. We believe the empty seats are in accredited seating areas, and we are in the process of finding out who should have been in the seats and why they weren't there."
Cavendish missed out on a podium finish amid dramatic scenes, coming in almost a minute behind the leaders.
However, the disappointment of Cavendish's defeat could be shortlived as Hannah Miley prepares to contest the 400 metres individual medley at the aquatics arena. She is seen as a genuine medal hope after winning silver at last year's World Championships.
Cavendish told the BBC of his frustration at other teams' "negative tactics" which blocked his efforts. But he added: "We may not have won a medal but I'm completely proud of my team and completely proud of my country."
Despite the blow, spirits remained high following Friday night's spectacular opening ceremony. A UK TV audience of 26.9 million people watched the ceremony, the biggest TV audience in the UK for 14 years, according to the BBC.
The Queen - who stole the show after making her movie debut alongside James Bond before supposedly parachuting into the stadium - said she was delighted to have taken part.
Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle won international plaudits for the ceremony. Germany's Bild newspaper raved: "A gigantic spectacle. What a show!" Australia's Sydney Morning Herald said it was "an unforgettable start" and "breathtaking".

Thursday, July 26, 2012

“Elegant Support” by Olga Alonova within EuroFashion

Within EuroFashion Project a bright Ukrainian designer Olga Alonova held her art-installation “Elegant Support” on the location of Mystetskyi Arsenal. The designer engaged to her project the wives of Ukrainian football players Tetyana Alieva, Olesya Guseva, Kateryna Gay, Iryna Kucher, Yulia Voronina, Sniegeanna Garmash, Victoria Konoplyanka, Valeria Mykhalyk, Inna Yarmolenko and Alla Seleznyova, as well as celebrities Iryna Turbaevska, Olga Navrotska, Yulia Kavtardze, Maria Sobko, Tana Vorzheva, Illya Chichkan and MC Rybik.
The project “Elegant Support” is the result of the cooperation between the designer and a young artist Sasha Chichkan. The presented collection dedicated to the coming football season is based on collage, the top trend of the season. The collection is based on the prints of the portraits of each player of the National football team.
According to the designer, a true woman will try to have a feminine, elegant and bright look even at the stadium. Olga Alonova stated that they have been creating the collection wishing success to Ukrainian football players on the best European football arenas.
A Founder and the Head of Ukrainian Fashion Week Iryna Danylevska mentioned that Olga Alonova always finds diverse interesting forms to present her creativity. The designer doesn’t limit herself to catwalk shows only, but also creates other exciting projects.

The basic theme of the project is the support of Ukrainian Football players by their wives, who have faith in their potential and are trying to pass them a part of warmth and faith wearing T-shirts with their portraits. The art-installation finished with a photo-session of the charming wives of Ukrainian footballers.

What’s new in the EURO 2012 competition regulations?

UEFA has announced two changes to the Regulations of the UEFA European Football Championship 2010–12, related to abandoned matches and friendly international fixtures scheduled in the run-up to the tournament.
Paragraph 10.08 has been amended and paragraph 10.09 added to stipulate that if a match is abandoned, only the remaining part of the game must be completed the following day – unless the case is referred to the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body. If it cannot be completed the following day, the UEFA administration will take a final decision. Players substituted or sent off in the abandoned match may not be included on the match sheet when it re-starts. And those players in play at the time of the abandonment may not be included as substitutes when the match is resumed. Teams can make only the number of substitutions available to them when the game was abandoned. The other decision refers to paragraph 2.08, which prohibits teams
which have qualified for the final round from playing each other in the month before the start of the tournament. One exception is now granted, allowing teams that have not been drawn into the same group to play each other once.

Ukrainian boxers in the Cossack style prepared for the London Olympics Game

Ukrainian boxers in the Cossack style prepared for the London Olympics Game, for the official opening which will be held tomorrow, July 27. It is not just about the physical form, but also about the outlook - some of them cut their hair in the Cossack style. Ukraine boxer hair.
Before flying to London boxers have decided to emphasize the image of the strong people.

North Korea has refused to go on the field

Women's Team North Korea has refused to go on the field in a match against a team from the Olympic tournament Colombia due to the fact that organizers of events at the stadium in Glasgow, mixed flags.

Instead, the flag of North Korea on the scoreboard was the flag of South Korea. The teams entered the field an hour later required, after the organizers apologized to the Korean football player, according to AP.

Ukrainian Olympians ready for the fifteenth Olympic Games

Flag of Ukraine, symbolizing that the state is ready for the Olympics, raised in the Olympic village in London.
It is reported by the National Olympic Committee.
Together with our state flag  were raised the flags  of Argentina, Hong Kong, Turkey. The ceremony, which lasted no more than 30 minutes, started in theateral-acrobatic act. After the official speeches and the immediate flag-raising procedure, the mayor of the Olympic Village handed to President Sergey Bubka and Olympic Committee chief of mission at the Games the NOC XXX Olympiad Nina Umanets symbolic gift, and they handed - Ukrainian souvenirs.
"Ukrainian Olympians ready for an honest and uncompromising struggle to compete at the Olympic Games", - said Bubka. In raising the national flag was also attended by Ukraine's ambassador in Britain, Vladimir Khandogiy, as well as coaches, athletes, which were already arrived in the Olympic village.
Flag raising ceremony - one of the oldest official Olympic ceremonies and is extremely important. The fact that it symbolizes a willingness to participate in team games.
July 27  London will host the opening ceremony of the Olympics.

Euro 2012: So Poland and Ukraine can host but not Pakistan?

The UEFA‘s decision to choose Poland and Ukraine as hosts for the Euro 2012 was dealt with criticism and rightfully so: The two countries are known for their hostile attitudes.
Poland, where 96.7% of population is pure Polish, is ranked number 14 in the list of the most racist countries in Europe. Ukraine, which has a whopping 78% of pure Ukrainians, has bagged the 23rd position on the list.
However, we were not aware of the situation regarding racism inUkraine and Poland before the release of the famous BBCdocumentary “Stadiums of Hate”.
Asian countries are often stereotyped as terrorism-infested and are deprived from sporting events. However, take a brief look at the events in these two host nations; the murder of an Irish fan, open warning from Ukraine racist groups to the English supporters, and riots with the police. Let’s not forget the brutal overcharging of the tourists. Despite all of these hate-filled incidents, these countries gained more than they lost under the banner of hosting the Euro 2012 cup.
How did the Euro 2012 benefit these nations and their economiesthen?
Just the infrastructure spending associated with the UEFA Euro 2012amounted to 110 billion Zloty (about €25.6 billion). 63 billion Zloty was invested in the construction of roads and investments in hotels also naturally increased. With all the development that took place for the Euros 2012, the overall infrastructure projects add around 1.5% to the Polish GDP.
Infrastructure expenditures related to the UEFA Euro 2012 championship totalled to a hefty 107 billion Hryvnia (Ukrainian currency) or 8.3% of their GDP. More than 73.8% of Ukraine’s Euro 2012 investments have been aimed at modernising their transportation infrastructure, namely urban transport, roads, railways and airports. This will in turn boost their GDP by almost 5%.
The official number of foreigners who visited Poland for the Euro 2012 is around 820,800 out of whic 453,500 were expected to stay in Poland for longer than one day. The Polish press expected 200-250 thousand people to come from countries whose national teams were to play in Poland during the group phase and only expected them to spend 180-230 million zloty. Given that Ukraine hosted the final, it was naturally expected to be the more attractive tourist destination.
Government officials expected 800,000 – 1.2 million tourists through the duration of the tournament, each staying for about three to four nights and spending $1,000 at average. But these numbers were based on 700,000 ticket sales, a large portion of which were bought by local residents.
Doesn’t all this call UEFA’s sanity into question? I mean, barring the economic boom it provided the host nations with, didn’t it put thousands of lives at risk?
There was one attack on Sri Lankan cricketers during the arrival of players at Iqbal Stadium, Lahore – just one attack – and the whole western media turned their eyes against Pakistan. They deprived Pakistanis from almost all major sports, mainly cricket, hockey and other South Asian games.
Pakistan is still suffering from the consequences and international teams of all sports are afraid to visit Pakistan just because we have been misrepresented by the western media as a failed, terrorist Muslim state, and not a part of the European council, apparently whom they wish to support even by putting many lives at risk. What the western media did has severed us from any means of developing or benefiting our economy. The state of our tourism industry is not even worth commenting on as it is just too disheartening.
My question is, if the two most racist and dangerous countries in Europe were given the chance – with many notable players protesting and voicing against it – to host such a massive event why was Pakistan demonised for an attack likes of which were never repeated?
Pakistan does not have a history as heavily laden with chronic ethnic and racial violence like Poland or Ukraine, nor do our spectators attack people of different ethnicity or colour. Yet, Pakistan suffers from the ill-fate bestowed on it by the western media and its manipulation.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Euro 2012’s death toll

As the Euro 2012 euphoria settles, many are assessing the legacy of the football championship co-hosted by Ukraine and Poland last month.
One of the most overlooked costs, however, is the deadly price that the country paid for the three-week party. At least six people died and two were seriously injured while building two of the nation’s fanciest and most expensive stadiums – Olympic in Kyiv and Donbass in Donetsk.
For Tetyana Samoiluk, Euro 2012 was not a joy, but a reminder of her tragedy.
Samoiluk is from the small village of Kamyanka in Khmelnytsky Oblast. Her husband  Serhiy was killed building Olympic Stadium. Now, two years after his tragic death, she still cannot speak about what happened without tears. 
“I got a call Wednesday morning. A man from the construction company where my husband worked told me there was an accident the day before and my husband was crushed by a concrete panel. The next day they brought his body home,” Samoiluk said with a trembling voice.
On April 20, Serhiy Samoiluk and 29-year-old co-worker Ihor Biba were removing a concrete panel on the site when it fell, fatally crushing Samoiluk and seriously injuring Biba. This was the first tragic incident at Olympic Stadium, a grand construction that cost the state budget Hr 4.6 billion ($575 million).
Two years afterwards, the Pechersk District Court in Kyiv found the foreman of the construction company guilty of neglecting safety rules at the site. He was fired but escaped with a suspended sentence. 
Workers who built the Olympic Stadium in Kyiv blame lax safety.
Stepan, one of the workers who witnessed the fatal accidents that claimed the lives of Samoiluk and injured Biba, says it was normal for workers not to wear safety straps.
“There were no straps, not even enough hard hats. There were lifting machines that were supposed to be used for height works, but they were not used. The workers were told to make wooden scaffold platforms instead. These things are very shaky and dangerous,” says Stepan, who didn’t want his surname published because he fears conflict with his employers.
A dozen construction workers with whom the Kyiv Post spoke said safety improved after the tragedy that claimed Samoiluk’s life and left Biba in critical condition. 
However, this did not prevent more accidents that left people dead or injured.
The prosecutor declined to reveal names of the other victims, citing confidentiality of personal information. But the construction workers’ trade union shared names of the victims and details.

They include:
37-year-old Olexandr Ponyaev from Dnipropetrosvk Oblast, who died on Aug. 1, 2010, when he fell from the second level of a stadium tribune;
Pavlo Koval, a 51-year-old worker, died on Oct. 19, 2011, when he was crushed by a concrete panel; 
Andriy Pirogov, a 29-year old, died on May 31, 2011 after he fell from a height of eight meters;
An unnamed man was badly injured on Oct. 8, 2010; and
Another unnamed man was killed on Jan. 23, 2012. 
Another person, also unnamed, was electrocuted, but the prosecutor did not open a criminal case since the investigation found that the incident was the worker’s fault.
But in all other cases, prosecutors blamed loose safety regulations on the construction site. Three cases are already ruled on by the court and several foremen found guilty. They were fired and received suspended sentences. 
Donbass Arena, a gleaming stadium in the eastern city of Donetsk, also claimed one life. An unnamed construction worker died while installing windows there in 2008. This brought the death toll of Ukraine’s preparation for Euro 2012 to six lives, compared to two in neighboring Poland, which co-hosted the championship. 
However, construction workers say the real number might be even higher. 
Vasyl Andreyev, head of the all-Ukraine trade union of construction workers, says he has unofficial information of eight deaths at Olympic Stadium.
 “However, we do not have enough evidence to confirm it. But what we learned from our sources is that in some cases officials did not register the deaths and let the construction company bring out the body quietly, since most people work at the site unofficially anyway,” says Andreyev.
The Kyiv prosecutor denies allegations and claims all cases were investigated.
“All people who died [at Olympic] were officially employed,” said Myroslava Mushka, spokesperson for the Kyiv city prosecutor. 
The stadium that hosted the Euro 2012 final, attended by 70,000 football fans from around the world, became the subject of controversy after tales of unpaid wages, poor working conditions, corruption and deaths emerged. 
Dozens of construction workers who built the fancy stadium are still demanding pay and protesting outside the city prosecutor’s office in Kyiv, demanding action. Most of them, however, were employed unofficially, which makes it hard for them to take legal action. 
Experts say that because many subcontractors were trying to save as much money as possible, they often hired unprofessional workers. 
“These are usually poor men from villages around the country,” says Vitaliy Manchuk, head of the Kyiv construction workers trade union.
Since her husband died, Tetyana Samoiluk has been receiving  a couple thousand hryvnias every month in insurance from the state. 
“There is no job in the village and I work occasionally, as a cleaning lady, cook, or anything I can find,” she says. 
She adds this will not be enough, since her daughter is going to college this year to study to be a lawyer.

LONDON  - Former England captain John Terry was found not guilty of racially abusing fellow player Anton Ferdinand on Friday after a five day case which cast a spotlight on racism in football and could have had a huge impact on his career.
The 31-year-old Chelsea captain, who earns a reported 150,000 pounds a week, was in Westminster Magistrates' Court to hear chief magistrate Howard Riddle read his verdict.
The high-profile case, focusing on foul language from both players during a Premier League game last October, triggered the resignation in February of England's Italian manager Fabio Capello after the FA decided to strip Terry of the captain's armband for Euro 2012.
Terry had denied committing a racially aggravated public order offence when he had an expletive-littered exchange with Ferdinand on the field of play when Chelsea visited QPR's Loftus Road ground.
Although, in evidence, he admitted using the highly offensive words, he maintained he was sarcastically repeating what Ferdinand mistakenly thought he had said.
During cross-examination, Ferdinand agreed he had sworn at players in the past and been on the receiving end himself.
He said he was angry at Terry seeking a penalty call and there had been some barging on the pitch.
He had also alluded to an alleged affair between the Chelsea player and the ex-girlfriend of former England team mate Wayne Bridge.
Terry had been stripped of the England captaincy before the 2010 World Cup following those allegations.
Allegations of racial abuse cast a shadow over the Premier League last season, with Liverpool's Luis Suarez banned for eight matches for abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra during another Premier League match last October.
That case was dealt with by the English FA rather than going to court.
"The very serious allegation at the heart of this case was one of racial abuse. It was our view that this was not "banter" on the football pitch and that the allegation should be judged by a court," said Alison Saunders, Chief Crown Prosecutor for London.
"The Chief Magistrate agreed that Mr Terry had a case to answer, but having heard all of the evidence he acquitted Mr Terry of a racially aggravated offence. That is justice being done and we respect the Chief Magistrate's decision."

Friday, July 6, 2012

Euro 2012 song by Jim Daly

Text of Euro 2012 song by Jim Daly:
Another summer of football at an end
Another summer where Spain win again
They with no striker but had no problems scoring
Some even had the nerve to label Spain a bit boring
Balotelli always had a smile on his face (apart from in the final)
Ronaldo's hair was rarely out of place (grease ball prat)
His head had more grease than a piece of donna meat
The Greece team collapsed quicker than their economy
Some fans wore red and some fans wore blue
When Ronaldo scored he fondled a pair of invisible boobs
Karagounis was angry he's the same height as a small boy
Joachim Low spent his time bullying ballboys
Ireland were so shit their fans couldn't bear to see
Thousands protested at Martin Keown's commentary
The Poles started strong in their opening games
And no-one could pronounce any of their names
But then for Poland it all fell apart
And Ukraine, well they also had a good start
But Shevchenko and kids with terrible hair
Couldn't take them through, England progressed instead
When it wasn't raining like the apocalypse
When players weren't punching the turf cos their team were shit
For picking on kids, Low's Germany were sent home
Balotelli played a game of musical chairs on his own
In the final Spain gave Italy a lesson
Thanks to their interplay and their heavy pressing
They scored the most goals ever scored in a final
They didn't even need to start with any strikers
Silva tried to eat his own arm thats a bit strange
Surely you're not allowed to balance balls on your head during games
Even Andy Carroll scored, Sweden were ashamed
That guy for Poland scored a belter, can't remember his name
Here the trophy with a Spain shirt falling
Here's Jordi Alba happy after scoring
Here's a Spain fan dressed as a Matador
And now a replay of Alba running through to score
And so we have to celebrate Spain's glory
Another chapter in a legendary story
Even though their counter' finances are in dire straights
Watching this team play the game seriously priceless

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

High-quality Euro 2012 leaves lasting impression

With an average of 2.45 goals per game, Euro 2012 was the most low-scoring European Championship for 16 years, but what it lacked in rippling nets, it made up for in excitement and technical quality.
After a build-up dogged by concerns about infrastructural problems and the potential for fan violence, the competition caught the attention from the opening game.
Robert Lewandowski claimed the tournament's first goal for co-hosts Poland at Warsaw's National Stadium, but their opponents Greece secured a 1-1 draw in a breathless game that saw both sides finish with 10 men.
Poland were to entertain again, sharing a thrillingly open 1-1 draw with Russia in their second Group A game before falling to the Czech Republic and exiting the competition.
Fellow hosts Ukraine also bade their farewells in the group phase, but they could at least treasure the sight of 35-year-old national icon Andrei Shevchenko claiming a match-winning brace in the opening 2-1 defeat of Sweden.
By the mid-point of the group stage, journalists were already beginning to draw comparisons with the 2000 tournament in Belgium and Holland, widely seen as a high watermark in the recent history of European football.
Portugal let slip a two-goal lead over Denmark in Group B, only to prevail 3-2 through an 87th-minute strike from Silvestre Varela that provided the spark that would take them to the last four.
England also came from behind to beat Sweden 3-2 in Kiev, with substitute Theo Walcott lashing home an equaliser and then motoring down the right flank to tee up Danny Welbeck for a cunning improvised winner.
Penalty shoot-outs were required to separate England and Italy in the quarter-finals, and Spain and Portugal in the last four.
They made villains of Ashley Young, Ashley Cole and Bruno Alves, and heroes of Cesc Fabregas and Andrea Pirlo, who tipped the balance of the shoot-out against England in Italy's favour with an audacious chipped spot-kick.
Cristiano Ronaldo suddenly found form to score twice in Portugal's 2-1 win over Holland, before repeating the trick with the only goal against the Czechs in the last eight.
Pirlo and Spain's Andres Iniesta graced the turf wherever they trod, while Pirlo's 21-year-old team-mate Mario Balotelli came of age in stunning fashion with an emphatic brace against Germany in the semi-finals.
There were also several high-profile flops; most notably Holland's Robin van Persie and England's Wayne Rooney, who missed the first two games through suspension, scored against Ukraine, but then disappeared from sight.
Beaten finalists at the last World Cup, the Netherlands vanished amid a cloud of in-fighting and insinuation after three consecutive defeats, with Bert van Marwijk losing his job as coach shortly after.
France, meanwhile, failed to live up to expectations that they could prove to be the tournament's dark horses, with Laurent Blanc leaving his post as coach following a campaign marred by stories of off-pitch squabbles.
Les Bleus did at least end a six-year wait for a major tournament win by beating Ukraine 2-0 in a game held up for over an hour by a massive thunderstorm at Donetsk's Donbass Arena, but fell 2-0 to Spain in the last eight.
Germany also met a disappointing end, strolling through Group B and crushing Greece 4-2 in the last eight before wilting meekly against Cesare Prandelli's increasingly assured Italy.
In contrast to the Germans, Italy seemed to grow in strength with each match, before their legs and their luck deserted them in the final.
Spain found themselves unexpectedly assailed by complaints about the tediousness of their football, but there was nothing dreary about their record 4-0 demolition of the Azzurri at Kiev's Olympic Stadium on Sunday.
Despite a high-profile blunder in Ukraine's group game with England, when Marko Devic's goal was not awarded even though the ball clearly crossed the line, the trial of extra officials behind each goal-line was a success.
Their eagle-eyed presence seemed to afford greater freedom of movement to attackers, with only four penalties awarded over the duration of the tournament.
The Adidas Tango 12 match ball was a notable improvement on the unreliable Jabulani from the 2010 World Cup, with Balotelli's thumping second goal against Germany the pick of a collection of fine long-range strikes.
"Poland and Ukraine organised an exceptional tournament, that will stay in people's memories," said UEFA president Michel Platini.
"It was one of those unique moments that brings people together."
The Euro will expand to 24 teams in France in four years' time, but the 16-team format bows out having delivered a rich concentration of highly watchable matches that may prove impossible to repeat.

Euro 2012 champions return home

Swathed in the red-and-yellow colours of Spain, hundreds of thousands packed central Madrid to give a hero's welcome Monday to "La Roja" — the national soccer team that erased the country's gloomy mood by winning the Euro 2012 Championship with such flair.
With the celebrated team back home on native soil, it was time to party for a second straight night.
King Juan Carlos and members of the royal family congratulated players at the Zarzuela Palace outside Madrid within hours of their returning from Kyiv, where they crushed Italy 4-0 to defend their title Sunday night. The Iberia plane that brought them to the Spanish capital bore the logo "proud of our national team."
Team captain and goalie Iker Casillas proudly held the tournament cup as he emerged from the plane in Madrid with coach Vicente del Bosque.
In the palace gardens, the king, Prince Felipe, his wife, Princess Letizia, and one of the king's two daughters, Princess Elena, chatted and laughed with the players while two of the monarch's grandchildren gazed at and touched the cup.
"Congratulations on behalf of the family and the whole of Spain," the king said. "You have made the entire country happy."
In town, a multitude jammed the paths and roads along a near five-kilometre route chanting "Champions, champions Ole, Ole, Ole!"
Blowing horns, they put up with a baking evening sun to catch a glimpse of their heroes as they paraded by on an open air bus ride for a victory rally in the central Cibeles plaza. The players were escorted by police on horseback and motorbikes. Thousands more fans cheered on from apartment balconies.
The players danced and sang, raised the trophy and sprayed sparkling wine on the screaming, flag-waving crowds below as the bus crawled along at a snail's pace.
In Cibeles plaza, organizers sprayed the crowds with water hoses to help them keep cool as they awaited the team's arrival.
The team's elegant performance in the Euro 2012 final raised spirits across a country drowning in financial woes and rampant unemployment. It also made them the first team ever to bookend a World Cup championship (2010) with two Euro Cup triumphs (2008, 2012).
"This is historic and I'm here to support the team. They just might be able to do it again so we can win the (2014 World Cup) in Brazil," said Jose Luis Clemente, 47, a bus inspector clad in the team jersey. "It's a rare positive point against such a terrible crisis in my country. It gives you some relief."
Still, he was realistic.
"No football win is going to solve the crisis. That's work for the economists and the politicians," he added.
The victory even had some Spaniards offering a tongue-in-cheek suggestion: Why not have the players run the country instead of Spain's feckless politicians?
In one newspaper cartoon, del Bosque is surrounded by Casillas and other stars such as Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta, who are all dressed up in suits for a new line of work.
"The solution to our problems: the government of prime minister del Bosque and his ministers," read the vignette in El Mundo.
As the country recovered from a national hangover of elation, pride and booze, Spaniards soaked up sweet memories of a night no one will forget. For a few hours, the realities of 25 per cent unemployment, a grinding recession and a banking bailout from the European Union to the tune of up to C100 billion (C$128 billion) were put aside.
"No team has ever done what they have done, and it helps you to stop thinking about the crisis for 90 minutes during the game and the next day for the party," said Carlo del Pino, 25, a university student.
Del Pino said he hopes to teach physical education and coach one day but prospects are grim for graduates now with cutbacks in education funding, teacher pay cuts and layoffs of temporary teachers.
"I don't know where I will be working when I graduate, whether it's in Spain, Portugal or some other country," he said. "But all the Spanish kids who are here cheering the team may want to do sports because of the victory, so that could help me."
Retired air force officer Ramon Ramirez, 76, looked a bit out of place, dressed smartly in long sleeve formal shirt and pressed jeans amid a sea of folks decked out in red and yellow as he waited for the team to pass.
"For Spain, the headlines around the world have finally changed to good instead of the bad we've seen for months. Let's hope it continues," he said.
Maria Jose Herraiz, a 54-year-old homemaker, was so nervous she had to listen to the game on the radio instead of watching it on TV.
"When I heard people scream 'Goal!' I would run to the TV," she said.
She called the victory marvellous, a potent shot of mood-boosting adrenalin for people sorely in need of it, but said reality would come back soon.
"It will be a sort of flower that blooms for just one day, because economic problems do not go away just because Spain wins," Herraiz said.
Her two adult children — aged 26 and 28 — are both still living at home. They are struggling on rock-bottom salaries as low as C300 ($384) a month for half-day work despite being a computer scientist and a physicist.
Still, for one night, they came home just before dawn after a rousing celebration, their faces painted in red and yellow.
Fans welcome runner-up Italy
A thousand fans cheered loudly, applauded and sang the national anthem when Italy coach Cesare Prandelli and his players returned to Rome after having lost the European Championship final.
The squad was first greeted by about 200 workers Monday as they stepped off the plane at Rome's Fiumicino airport before departing on one of the four coaches reserved for the Italian delegation.
Italy lost 4-0 to Spain in the final on Sunday, and captain Gianluigi Buffon says "we are still bitterly disappointed, but we know that we had a great European Championship," adding "we played the final against the strongest team and not in the best conditions."
The loudest cheers were reserved for Buffon, Daniele De Rossi, Mario Balotelli, Antonio Cassano and, above all, for Prandelli, who was beaming broadly.
— The Associated Press