Tag Archives | Spain

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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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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World Cup Dreams 2014


In the north-west part of Kho Pha Ngan in Thailand during the World Cup of 2002, two brothers ran a guesthouse. One, perpetually on a cannabis high, would routinely forget to charge ordered fruit juices and toasted snacks to his guests’ accounts. We called him Boss Man. The other sported a Zapata moustache that crawled its way gloriously across his top lip. He was ‘Tom Selleck’, Thailand’s very own version of everyone’s favourite Hawaiian-shirted private investigator.

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Dear Gareth Bale…

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Dear Gareth Bale,

You might think it’s weird to get a letter from two people who you don’t know, especially from two people who don’t actually know how to read or write yet but we just wanted to let you know that our Daddy misses you.

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But What Have The Spanish Ever Done For Us?

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There’s an apocryphal story told by many a Cypriot coffee shop patron that originates from the country’s time as a colony of the British Empire. It so goes that one of His Majesty’s subjects was called into the magistrate’s court for having the audacity to spit on a shilling bearing the head of the sovereign. He was duly fined for such barefaced cheek but continued to shock his captors by repeatedly doing it in the dock until he was taken away. My grandmother is forever telling me how befuddling it was for her to sing God Save The King in Greek as she was growing up. Elsewhere in my clan, my Uncle Gregory was brutally beaten by the British military police for distributing anti-British leaflets once EOKA’s war of independence came to a head. He then duly emigrated to Britain and married a wonderful English lady.

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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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The Class Of Euro 2012


I’ve been up to my eyeballs in report writing over the last couple of weeks. So while I’m in the mood and inadvertently starting a bi-annual Dispatches tradition, here are Mr Theoharis’ End of Term Reports for the Final Four.

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England’s Irie: Turning Defeat Into Victory

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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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From Athens To Athenry: In Praise Of The Underdog


“I won’t bow down, down on the ground,

Oh, how I love to hear him call Indian Red”

Daniel Lanois

Oh, how the sponsors and the movers and shakers at UEFA must have hated every passing second that brought Greece ever closer to qualifying for the quarter-finals last night. One of the co-hosts was about to be dumped out of the corporate orgy that taints the modern McTournament. And then there were the massed ranks of the media corps: apoplectic that Greece had once again upset the odds despite being derided as “the worst team at the tournament” by such luminaries as Mark Bright and Jim Beglin. Meanwhile, in Berlin, Chancellor Merkel must have slumped in her chair and groaned at the potential match-up between her boys and the country that has surely become her bête noire over the last couple of years.

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