7 Oct 2010

It's time to talk about the final...

Xabi Alonso - What a wimp...
You may have noticed that until now, I have not at all mentioned the World Cup Final this summer and considering that I am Dutch, you might find this a bit weird. However, there is reason for only posting a response to this relatively important event in the sporting calendar almost 3 months after the final whistle was blown. You see, I've been a bit irritated by people in England, as well as other countries, in fact, pretty much everyone who is a sports fan who isn't Dutch. During the Quarter-Finals, England was in a sort of depression mode, hoping that everyone good went out because at least it provided some drama in a then-Englandless tournament, and when underdogs Holland defeated Brazil, people congratulated Holland on beating the footballing country of the world. Yet a week or two later and all of these people who "really liked the way that you guys played" had turned into back-stabbers. All because of one blatant dive from Xabi Alonso, see picture above, and a card-happy English ref, Holland was suddenly World Enemy No #1, convicted of being the anti-football. One second they're the classy underdogs, the next, they're being associated with the football equivalent of the devil. During that World Cup Final, Holland became more hated than, incredibly, Uruguay. Yes, the day after the World Cup Final, I saw someone post on Facebook that "Spain vs Uruguay would have been a better final". What!?. Uruguay, the country that stopped Ghana, probably the most widely loved team of the tournament, from progressing to their first-ever semi-finals, with a hand ball by Suarez, who then followed that with a celebration, were now preferred to the Holland that had "outplayed an outstanding Brazilian side with their classy style". What gets me going the most about all of this is that in England, the line between Anti-football and solid defensive play is incredibly blurred. Many of the pundits on television laud the way that the Premier League is a physical game, where skill is not everything, yet the moment Spain are suddenly on the receiving end of that and it's Holland not, say, Wolves (by the way, you think van Bommel's bad, take a look at some of Karl Henry's tackles), it's evil. Against Barcelona, in the semis of the Champions' League, Inter were praised for finding the key to beating the seemingly-unbeatable team in what was seen by Henry Shawdon, of the Guardian, as a triumph for Mounrinho's style of management" which just slightly leads me to think that if only Casillas' heel had not stopped Robben's shot in the second half, then maybe Holland would be praised for beating a seemingly-unbeatable Spanish side (although I suppose the Swiss had already done it and they were rubbish). Anyway, I suppose that, through gritted teeth, I owe Spain a congratulations... ah... it feels good to finally get that speech out of my system...

19 Sep 2010

Results of a Pointless Experiment

As some of you will have read in my previous blog post, I started an experiment to see which Premier League clubs were the "nicest" by sending each club an email requesting player shoe sizes for a survey to see how player shoe sizes affected a team's style of play. I am afraid to tell you that said experiment was a total disaster. Most of the clubs, I assume, saw through the request and thought it implausible that any of the interweb's many bloggers would spend any time researching this kind of thing, becuase none of the teams had the information I was looking for, only 7 people got back to me, and only 2 of them didn't direct me to another department, never to get another reply again. As a result, I have changed my experiment to use a simpler method, Google. I have rated teams based on the hits for pages under "I like "/"I hate ". So, here it is, the final table of the My Thoughts About Sports Premier League Club Niceness Index:

  1. Tottenham 47.35

  2. Fulham 43.59
  3. West Ham 12.76
  4. Stoke City 12.31

  5. Wigan 8.85
  6. Sunderland 6.19

  7. Bolton 4.86
  8. Man U 3.45
  9. Blackburn 3.10
  10. Arsenal 2.11
  11. Blackpool 2.07
  12. Man City 1.78
  13. Liverpool FC 1.60
  14. Newcastle FC 1.17
  15. Chelsea 1.16
  16. West Bromwich Albion 1.00
  17. Everton 0.55

  18. Aston Villa 0.50
  19. Wolves FC 0.05
  20. Birmingham City 0.001

Tottenham top the table with an astounding 664 000 "likers" to only 13 600 "haters", and Fulham maintain their "Nice Guys" image with only 3000 more "likers" than Spurs but also1700 more "haters". Chelsea have, unsurprisingly the most "haters" by a factor of about 15 with 745 000 "haters" but also manage to have the highest number of "likers" with 864 000. West Brom fans and rivals alike are incredibly quiet about their feelings with only 1 hit for either of the statements on google. For some of the clubs I had to put the long name of a team to avoid people's opinions of certain cities or, in one case, carnivorous canine mammals. The one that clearly stands out is Birmingham, with a ratio of likers/haters of only 0.001. There were only 5 hits for "I like Birmingham City" but 4430 for "I hate Birmingham City". If you think that any teams are unfairly placed or would like to comment on anything else in this post feel free to comment below.

20 Aug 2010

Hi there again...

I've just got back from my holidays and I realise that I haven't posted anything for ages so I thought that a great way to get the blog back up and running would be to do a completely pointless experiment to find the "nicest" club. Most people would consider a number of clubs like Fulham to be nicer clubs than other clubs like, for instance Birmingham but this will prove which ones actually are the nicest. So, how does it work? Well, I send the message below to the enquiries e-mail address of all the clubs in the Premiership and judge the responses I get to make a league table.

I am looking to write an article for my blog about how players' shoe sizes relate to their success and if it relates to a team's style of play. As one of the Premiership teams, I was wondering if I could have the shoe sizes of the first team players as part of my survey.

Yours Sincerely,
Stijn (Diehard fan)

14 Jun 2010

WC 2010 Update (Day 4)

So, the World Cup has finally got underway in South Africa and has already been causing a lot of talk. England and France are doing worse than expected, as usual, and Germany are getting on better than expected, as usual. A so-far uninspiring start to this World Cup has been categorised by a number of things:


Blunders

So far, this tournament has been a shocker in terms of goalkeeping and defensive mistakes with almost one goal conceded by a complete blunder every game. It started with Rob Green's error where he let the ball roll in off his gloves, sparking a frenzy of jokes about Rob Green all over the internet and destroying his reputation as a reliable keeper in an instant. It carried on in Algeria's match against Slovenia, one of the most boring matches I have ever watched in my life. Algeria keeper Faouzi Chaouchi dived for a relatively easy save but instead of catching the ball with his outstretched hands, he tried to grab it into his chest, and the ball went straight through his arms for Slovenia's winning goal (see video above). Mark Schwarzer, against Germany let in a barrage of goals including one where he failed to punch away the ball, giving Miroslav Klose a free header to score. For our next blunder, it's Holland vs Denmark and this time Danish defender Poulsen tries to clear an aimless cross but ends up heading the ball into his own goal off Daniel Agger's back. And the final blunder in this long list is one by Justo Villar, the Paraguayan keeper, against Italy. On a corner, he came well off his line to punch the ball away but missed completely and the goal was converted by de Rossi.


Red Cards (and other foul play)

The last World Cup was the one with the most cards handed out in the tournament's history, helped by one match where there were 16 yellow cards and 4 red cards, but this tournament looks set to beat that record. There have been 4 red cards in the first 3 days of play. The first was for Lodeiro of Uruguay for a nasty challenge on Bacary Sagna; the next went to Ghezzal of Algeria for a completely unnecessary handball, for his second yellow; Lukovic of Serbia got his seconds yellow for manhandling Gyan and Tim Cahill was unfortunate to get a ridiculous straight red card for a seemingly non-bookable offence. Diving has already been seen in vast quantities, especially in Paraguay vs Italy, where de Rossi fell over clutching his leg when he was at least a yard away from the nearest defender.




The Jabulani Ball

Above is the production method for the new Jabulani ball, which looks pretty complex but it seems that it is going down a shocker with the players as I said in my previous blog post. It seems that the ball feels lighter which is why you see many of the free kicks flying over the bar as well as a number of over-hit crosses. Pertly to blame for the boring matches so far and also partly responsible for all of the blunders by keepers.



Vuvuzelas

These are the stupid air horns that are "livening" up matches this year at the World Cup, drowning the commentary out on the television by the sound of hundreds of thousands of bees. They are a tradition in South African football and are meant to intimidate the opponents but have only succeeded in annoying everyone else in the world. For us at home, we were almost spared this torment when FIFA considered banning the vuvuzelas after some clever scientists came up with the excuses that they spread germs and could cause hearing loss, but the idea was rejected after some human rights people came along and said it was illegal to ban them. :-(

Poor decisions by Fabio Capello

Almost all of his decisions have backfired on him. By picking Ledley King, he has just lost yet another central defender to injury; by picking Green he has allowed a ridiculous mistake to let a draw happen and by not selecting Walcott, he has realised that he now lacks players who can be dangerous on the flanks. He needs to sort everything out... and fast.

For now, that is pretty much all to say. Tomorrow should be interesting with Portugal vs Ivory Coast, which will probably be the deciding match for seconds place in that group and Brazil vs North Korea which should be a laugh.

6 Jun 2010

10 seconds...

It would seem that Youtube's Content ID tracking system is very effective, it's already down... all that effort for nothing...

Downfall

Let's play a game of "How long does it take for YouTube to take down a Downfall parody" starting with... this one I just made. It already won't embed, but it might still work at this address :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBIhORxn6us

Very Busy Week

After failing to get my video on Youtube, I have managed to get it onto Facebook, so if you're logged into Facebook and you're my friend you can watch the Downfall below :


This post is going to be a cluttered collection of news and thoughts on everything that has happened in this eventful week starting with a rather large World C-update.


This picture reveals who took down my video


World Cup players have been dropping like flies in recent days, most of whom play for Chelsea or other clubs who have played a particularly long season. Bosingwa (Portugal) , Mikel(Nigeria), Essien(Ghana), Ballack(Germany) and possibly Drogba(Ivory Coast) from Chelsea as well as Robben(Holland) and Ferdinand(England) could all miss the World Cup. In fact, if they could play, the injured XI would probably beat half of the teams that are in the tournament. The combination of FA Cup, Premier League and Champions League in the last few months probably relates to the amount of injuries that are happening. Perhaps we should scrap the FA Cup in World Cup years to avoid this kind of a scenario. It would never happen because of sponsorship but all it does is provide inconsistent teams a chance to fluke their way into a position where other teams who aren't in the competition would beat them easily. I'm sure that everyone except the people who win the FA Cup and the FA would scrap it if it meant fewer injuries for the World Cup.



Criticisms have been flying in from all corners about the New World Cup ball, the Adidas Jabulani. It is the first thermally bonded World Cup ball, meaning that it has a truer, rounder shape than other footballs. It also has tiny bumps along the ball which allow for better control in all conditions and grooves which are intended to give more deviation but this has angered a number of keepers who say that it swerves too much and travels too much making it, according to Gianluigi Buffon, Italy keeper, a striker's dream. It does however, look very good with the 11 colours representing the 11 players in a team and the 11 languages of South Africa.

Players who say the Jabulani is bad - Gianluigi Buffon, Xabi Alonso, Iker Casillas, Julio Cesar, David James, Mark Schwarzer, Morten Olsen, Giampaolo Pazzini, Marcus Tulio Tanaka + more

Players who say it's great - Kaka (guess who he's sponsored by)


The World Cup Final will be watched by billions around the world, but I might not be able to watch it because I'm on a sailing trip so I will be sailing across the Channel on the 11th and I doubt any of them will have a satellite computer because international roaming charges on a 90 minute match will probably be well over £100.

Fabio Capello announced the squad numbers, suggesting that David James will be his first-choice keeper by giving him the #1 shirt.

Aside from the World Cup :



Nadal has won the French Open against the only man to ever beat him in the competition, Soderling.

Schiavone beat Stosur in the Women's final to become the first Italian woman to ever win the Roland Garros

Valentino Rossi, motorbiking legend, has broken his leg in a horrific crash and is predicted to make a recovery in 4 months time.

England crushed Bangladesh by an innings and 81 runs in their Second Test after forcing Bangladesh to follow on after which they only managed 123 runs.

That is all. I hope that it makes up for the last month when I have hardly posted anything because of my exams.