Tag Archives | Argentina

I’ll Be Back After The Break


For Nina, Bonnie & Jesse

A malady has taken me over. It’s not something that you’ll find case studies on in prestigious medical journals or in the latest pop-psychiatry bestseller from Oliver Sacks but its symptoms (in my mind, at least) are very real and have an effect on how I’m to digest football for the next few months. You see, I’m currently within the grip of a heavy dose of the Post World Cup Blues. Don’t worry. It doesn’t last for long. Usually until October at which point, I inevitably and finally commit those glorious days of summer to memory and once again nuzzle back into the ample bosom of club football.

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Die Größte Show Der Welt

Mario Gotze Kissing FIFA 2014 World Cup Trophy Wallpaper

It’s staring at me, that wallchart. It’s a little bit frayed and crumpled now since the move back from Greece and after finding its way around Jesse’s sticky fingers and teething gums. Since Sunday, I haven’t been able to summon the requisite will to complete the final vacant space. The one that states that Germany beat Argentina, one-nil, AET. It’s the finality that daunts me; the knowledge that once complete it becomes a historical artefact, no more a tantalising map of an unknown future.

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Germany: Killing Football To Save Football

APTOPIX Brazil Soccer WCup Brazil Germany

It’s hard to put into words but I’ll try. They could be, and were, described as ‘clinical’, ‘efficient’, ‘methodical’ but those adjectives somehow don’t sit well alongside the manner and magnitude of Germany’s annihilation of Brazil. Outmoded phraseology that lazily takes refuge in the defining of a nation through the scars of conflict is best left to the fingertips of the tabloid hack or the mouth of Alan Shearer. This was so much more.

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¡Vamos Argentina! ¡Vamos South America!


It’s always been Argentina. The thoughts that run through my head may undoubtedly be tinged with an English hue and the blood that courses through my veins is unquestionably Hellenic, but my football heart has always belonged to a country shimmering in silver.

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The World Cup Is For Losers

Belgium v USA: Round of 16 – 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

“In sport, winners can survive only if losers do too; otherwise, there’d be no game” – Tim Flannery

How will you remember this World Cup? Will it be for the collective panic attack that gripped the Brazilian nation when the penalties crashed and fluffed but ultimately undid that effervescent band of pirate footballers from across the border? Or will it be for Angel Di Maria’s anonymous ghosting of a goal against the Swiss as Argentina sweated minutes before the dead ball roulette wheel loomed ominously for yet another random spin? Is Kevin De Bruyne a name that will enter our game’s folklore? Will the talking head previews of World Cup 2026 still be condemning the scurrilous swan dives of a Dutch footballer, long after he has accepted a lucrative role as a World Cup talking head?

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This World Cup! This Bloody, Beautiful World Cup!


“And when good football happens, I give thanks for the miracle and I don’t give a damn which team or country performs it” – Eduardo Galeano

The unrepaired cracks in the ITV studio’s glass panels serve as a poignant reminder of the real world. Every time Glenn Hoddle, Ian Wright and their fellow pundits blow another gust of hot air on English football’s pyre, they’re there. Brazil is not just a sunny postcard playground for bikini-clad nymphettes and bronzed soccer gods. People are angry and when people are stripped of their voices they throw things. At Adrian Chiles. And for all the cossetting, bewitching magnificence we’ve all witnessed over the last two weeks, Brazil’s problems, or even our own, are not about to vanish into nothingness once the carnival has packed up and left for the Russian dourlands.

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Manchester United A-B-C, Chelsea 1-2-3


It’s because of football that I know what the capital of Cameroon is. Football has also taught me to make quick mental calculations when working out the possible permutations for final group standings in World Cups. I also understand how football can be hijacked to serve the purposes of totalitarian propaganda, how it can assimilate all manner of scientific breakthroughs to enrich it as a spectacle and how it can rival any form of dance when it is executed with exquisite precision. In short, football has educated me in ways that transcend the narrow parameters of the pitch or the screen. It’s because of football that my understanding of the world is a little better.

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Unpredictable Predictability – Vol.3: How UEFA Would Like To Control Your Memories


As another tournament draws to a close and prepares itself to be locked away into the mental archives we carry with us on a daily basis, I can’t help feeling a certain degree of anticlimax ever-so slightly gnawing away at the back of the mind. It isn’t the usual sense of loss I feel when the final act of nearly a month of football concludes with the always anticipated montage of memorable moments that plays out the closing credits once Gary Lineker has said his goodbye. This time, it feels a little different.

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England’s Irie: Turning Defeat Into Victory

Picture 7

I’ve been set a mission tonight. I’ve been told I have to spend the entire evening being positive. This directive was given to me and a group of colleagues today at the end of the first day of a two-day course designed to unlock the potential that lies within all of us. Now usually, such team-building, self-help endeavours tend to involve me clock-watching and thinking about whether it’ll be stir fry or bolognese for dinner that night. I don’t particularly enjoy the enforced bonhomie of these events. I don’t like talking about my ‘qualities’ to relative strangers. And as for role-playing? Don’t even go there. As much as I’ve chronicled my Greek roots in these Euro Dispatches, I am nevertheless the product of growing up on this, as The Good, The Bad and The Queen put it, “stroppy little island with mixed up people” and all this positivity smacks of the whoop-whooping slap of backs our American cousins are so famed for.

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Tiki Taka? Schmicki Schmacka: The Hollow Soul Of Spanish Football


Ladies and gentleman, the inevitable backlash has begun. Judging by the criticisms and desperate (but ultimately futile) imploring to the footballing gods for Croatia to score on Monday on various forums, social media and sports websites, Spain are no longer Everybody’s Favourite Football Team. It would seem that their brand of football once tagged, ‘death by a thousand passes’ has become just a little bit passé when compared to the organised, fighting spirit of England and Greece or the forward running of the Germans and Portuguese.

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