Monday, December 24, 2007

100 football things

Since this is, I believe, my posting number 300 on this football-blog of mine, and well, because it is Christmas, I have decided to celebrate it with 100 random football things I come up with:

  1. Maradona is the best footballer ever. He is the reason I started to watch and love football. There never was and never will be anyone like him.
  2. Maradona´s best goal was the one with the hand against England in 1986. The second goal in the match is the second best goal ever.
  3. The first football match I attended was between Ikast FS and AGF, in the Danish first division, in 1986. AGF won 0-1.
  4. I have no count on the number of games I went to in Ikast and Silkeborg for a couple of years.
  5. Ikast FS doesn´t exist any more as a top team; it was merged with nearby Herning to create the team with the most unpronounceable name ever, FC Midtjylland.
  6. When studying nearby in Birkerød, I went to many games in Lyngby.
  7. Lyngby was later relegated to one of the lowest leagues because of financial trouble.
  8. I once fractured a bone in the foot playing football.
  9. Brazil-France, in the quarterfinal of the 1986 world championship is the game I mostly remember as the best I have ever seen.
  10. Two of my happiest football moments were: (1) 1986 when Argentina became world champion and (2) 1992 when Denmark became European Champion.
  11. In 1992, I was returning from the US, when I was told Denmark was in the semifinal of the European Championships. I thought they were kidding me.
  12. I have cried because of football: Argentina-Cameroon 1990, Denmark-Spain 1986 and 1993, Valencia-Bayern Munich 2001...
  13. Bayern Munich fans are probably the ones I have felt most sorry for when seeing them cry at their Champions league defeat to Manchester United in 1999.
  14. Eduardo Galeano´s "Fútbol a Sol y Sombra" is my favourite football book.
  15. I think it is unforgiveable that they made an American version of Nick Hornby´s "Fever Pitch", where it was baseball instead of football.
  16. It is called football and not soccer.
  17. I had an out-of-body experience in 1998, at Parken in Copenhagen, when Alan Ravn scored a winner for Brøndby IF against Bayern Munich in the first round of the Champions League.
  18. I fell in love with Valencia CF when studying there a semester in 2000.
  19. I once attended a friendly match in Accra, Ghana, between Ghana and Nigeria, where they forgot to play the national anthems at the start of the match, and therefore had to play them in halftime.
  20. I don't think hooliganism is acceptable, but I more than understand the passion.
  21. In the US, I once attended an indoor football (soccer...) match, and it must have been one of the most boring things I have ever seen.
  22. I don´t like the Italian catenaccio style. It annoys me.
  23. I love Italy and its people, except in football.
  24. There is nothing like a friendly football taunt among friends. Careful with the grey areas though! Only real football fans know when to stop!
  25. I am definetly not Bilardista, but Menotista.
  26. What annoys me even more are Norwegian football commentators.
  27. I know much more about football than most people.
  28. I don't like Real Madrid, but as a fan, I have deep respect for their victories and amazing players.
  29. Danish FC Copenhagen is the most overrated team in the world (overrated by themselves!)
  30. Brøndby fans are the best Danish fans, but Lyngby's are the coolest.
  31. Lyngby stadium is not a real stadium, but they serve the best sausages in Scandinavia.
  32. When I was a kid, I was selected to shoot penalties against Danish goallie Mogens Krogh, but I didn´t hear they called me in the speakers, because I was eating a sausage.
  33. The highest I ever shouted in jubilation for a goal was probably in the 1990 World Cup, when Colombia equalized to 1-1 against Germany.
  34. I watched the match between Ghana and the Czech Republic of the 2006 world cup on a beautiful beach in Ghana. Afterwards was a party.
  35. In 2006 I was the only person in Ghana who had doubts about Ghana being able to defeat Brazil in the World Cup. Turns out I was right yet again.
  36. I have won numerous beers on football bets.
  37. On Politiken's (a major Danish newspaper) sofa-liga in Denmark, I once got fifth prize in Denmark.
  38. In a bar called Champs, in Accra, Ghana, I won all prizes two days in a row, at a (Star) beer promotion contest on football trivia.
  39. At a quiz evening in the same bar, I also singlehandedly answered all football questions correctly.
  40. I am stunningly brilliant at geography, mostly because of football.
  41. The most valuable football item I have is an autograph of the legend Michael Laudrup.
  42. At a match between Denmark and Hungary in 1994 I saw Ferenc Puskas among the spectators. I tried in vain to get an autograph.
  43. I never saw Puskas play, but I think every football fanatic has heard the legends of the 1954 Hungarian team and Puskas' subsequent career in Real Madrid.
  44. The Spanish football daily Marca is the one I read the most.
  45. I like drinking beers while watching a good Champions League match in a nice bar, something I have done in Brussels, Valencia, Copenhagen, Accra, Arusha, Johannesburg, Maputo...
  46. The best beer to drink during football is a pint of Stella Artois.
  47. I think David Beckham is a great footballer, but I truly dislike all the super-star hype around him.
  48. Michael Owen is a great footballer.
  49. Last year I went to see Barcelona defeat Zaragoza 3-1 in the Camp Nou in Barcelona.
  50. I once travelled all the way to Kumasi in local buses, to see a semifinal in the African Cup winners cup between Asante Kotoko and some Congolese team.
  51. My favourite French footballer is Zinedine Zidane, in a tuff contest with Michel Platini.
  52. I hope one day to be at a World Cup final.
  53. I also hope to be at a Champions League final. I have already been to quite a few Champions League matches, in Copenhagen and Valencia.
  54. I have great football karma on the countries I live in: they usually do well.
  55. Football has always broken down barriers every where I have been in the world. It is not for anything that it is a language of the world.
  56. In 1994 I was in Colombia when Andrés Escobar was murdered.
  57. Ukraine-Switzerland in the 2006 World Cup is probably one of the single most boring match I have ever managed to watch.
  58. As a young lad playing ball, I was once red-carded for telling the referee he was a piss-referee. All the kids considered me the coolest kid on the team.
  59. Piss referees.
  60. The best goal celebration I ever saw was Marco Tardelli in the world cup final of 1982.
  61. A goal I particularly remember was Eder, from Brasil, against the USSR in 1982: A brilliant shot from outside.
  62. The USSR had a brilliant team in 1986, but in the World Cup lost to Belgium in the last-16, in a very awkward match, where the referee favoured the team full of Anderlecht players.
  63. When doing a stage at the European Commission in Brussels in 2001, I played on an excellent team called "The Empty Chairs". We didn´t win the tournament, but won many fans for our charm and beer-consumption.
  64. In 1988 I played on a team from Bording IF, which won SDS Cup in Sunds.
  65. The best team we ever played against was AGF who were Jutland champions. We lost...
  66. In Lyngby I once attended a match between Brøndby and Lyngby in which Lyngby, because of an odd mathematical invention in the Danish league, had to lose in order to qualify for a tournament the following year. Lyngby unsurprisingly lost 5-2, and every fan was happy.
  67. Michael Laudrup played for Lyngbys old-boys team.
  68. In 1991 I was living in the US when Barcelona won the European Cup final against Sampdoria 1-0 on a goal by Ronald Koeman. I listened to the match in a short-wave radio.
  69. Ronald Koeman is currently coaching Valencia CF and I hope he does well.
  70. I miss el Piojo Lopez. I went to his last game in Valencia, against Zaragoza, in 2000.
  71. The first time I saw a real womens match, was in the US. My high school at Centerville, Ohio, had a very good girls team, and they were very good-looking.
  72. First full womens match I saw on TV was the 1999 World Cup final.
  73. I think womens football is great, but it (still) does lack the intensity of passion of the men.
  74. Marta's goal against the USA in the semifinal of the 2007 Women's World Cup was amazing.
  75. The best football song ever made is Mano Negra´s Santa Maradona!
  76. I once worked for Viasat sport watching football games and getting paid for it. They could have paid me beer.
  77. My all-time best team from World Cups includes Puskas, Pelé, Maradona, Beckenbauer, Cruyff... It is almost unrealistic, but I thought there was something immoral in not including Zico.
  78. I was a big fan of Lothar Matthäus.
  79. I do not believe I will live to see an African team win a world cup.
  80. In 1991 I went to a friendly match between the Olympic teams of Poland and Spain. The following year, these two teams had made it to the Olympic final in Barcelona.
  81. Olympic football is generally boring.
  82. The best football nowadays is undoubtfully what we see in the UEFA Champions League.
  83. I am a big fan of the World Cup, but the last two have been hugely disappointing at the level of football quality.
  84. I don´t think the World Cup in South Africa will have a very high level.
  85. Last football match I went to was a friendly match between Nipita and Mazua in the Mozambican backlands.
  86. Mozambique will never ever be world champion.
  87. When Valencia CF won the UEFA Cup in 2004 I was absolutely unbeatable for half a year.
  88. Many referees have upset me in my life. The referee that has most upset me was the one between Italy and Argentina, in the semifinal of the 1990 World Cup.
  89. I was once at a kids tournament in Ghana, where each European Embassy sponsored a local school. Germany won.
  90. When I was a kid, it seemed that Germany always won.
  91. Claudio Canniggia is an idol of mine, mostly because of the winning goal he scored against Brazil in the last-16 of the 1990 World Cup. It was a totally undeserved victory, but as every fan of a team knows, that doesn't matter when you support them.
  92. It annoys me when people say, "I always support the team that wins...". Then you know they are not football fans.
  93. My favourite player at the moment is Lionel Messi. He can get far; I hope he will.
  94. Luis Aragonés is a twit.
  95. Nowadays I manage to talk less of football under circumstances that are not calling for it. Some people don´t even know that there is a passionate football heart beating behind my serious and sexy outside.
  96. In Mexico in 1986 I met some guy from the Canadian football association. He gave me a pin for Canada, who ended up losing all their three matches at the 1986 World Cup.
  97. I don´t think God watches football nor listens to football prayers.
  98. The best goalkeeper I have ever seen was Peter Schmeichel. He was all for Denmark and for the Brøndby team I followed in the early nineties.
  99. In 1989 I went to watch the Danish Cup final between Brøndby IF and Ikast FS. Brøndby won 6-3, and the Brøndby team was almost a copy of the team that in 1992 won the European Championship: Peter Schmeichel, Lars Olsen, Kim Vilfort, John Jensen, Brian Laudrup...
  100. I think Brøndby Stadium should officially be renamed to Vilfort Park.
Merry Christmas to everyone!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

What is wrong?

Real Madrid is playing really well and they must be creditted for their good victory tonight at the Camp Nou against FC Barcelona.
But what is wrong with Barcelona? Ronaldinho? There is a lack of motivation, of the so-contagious love for the game which made them the team of the world not long ago!!
I hope for the sake of the match that Ronaldinho & Co. are back in 2008!

Ian Rush or John Barnes?

At a Christmas dinner I recently attended, drunken talk led to a discussion on who was the best player of the two Liverpool legends of the 1980's, Ian Rush or John Barnes.
Mr. Rush definetly scored more goals, but I would personally vote for John Barnes: with his superb technique, he would be all important in creating the opportunities which made the Liverpool team one of the deadliest attacking machines in the 1980s!

Any opinions on this subject?

Champions League 2007-2008: My top five favourites

The fixtures for the Champions League last-16 to take place in February/March next year has resulted in the following matches to look forward to:
Liverpool-Inter, Arsenal-AC Milan and Lyon-Manchester United are some of the matches to look forward to a lot.
Although anything can happen in these knock-out phases, but I must at this point make a list of my top-five favourites to win the tournament:

5. Barcelona: Has not been looking that strong in the Spanish league, which seems out of their grasp. But in the CL they have been invinsible, and may put all its resources in for succes.
4. Real Madrid: The merengues seem to be reborn under Coach Schuster, and should be considered a serious contender for the title.
3. Inter: The Italians are not known for entertaining matches, and have disappointed before in the CL. But this may be their year; they are looking strong both in the CL and in the Italian League, and may have one of the broadest selection of star-players.
2. AC Milan: They are again very strong and are looking to defend their title.
1. Manchester United: With a new young and strong team, Manchester United has already been unstoppable in the first round, and I am increasingly feeling that they may be the team to beat to win the tournament!

Let us see! I can't wait!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Rafa Benitez and Liverpool

I have lately heard some rumours about Mr. Rafa Benitez shaky position as Liverpool manager, partly due to a tense relation with the club's American owners, as well as the fact that Liverpool is yet again with meager chances of winning the Premier League.
Liverpool has great players and under Mr. Benitez the team has had some amazing results in the Champions League, most memorably the 2005 victory.
Mr. Benitez is a great coach, and competition in the Premier League is bitter to say the least. Victory in the Premier League goes over a long season, and I find it doubtful whether anyone could do better than Mr. Benitez.
Instead, Liverpool people reconsidering Mr. Benitez should remember that when he coached Valencia CF, he won both the Spanish Championship and the UEFA Cup, only to leave Valencia for Liverpool the following season. Valencia has never really recovered from losing him, and Liverpool should consider whether it could recover from losing Mr. Benitez!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

World Rankings 2007

The FIFA 2007 Galla Awards are an occassion for looking back at the foregone year in terms of football: which teams did well, which players were outstanding, and all other things for us football nerds.
One of the more interesting things for me, personally, was the World Ranking standing, where two countries that interest me a lot, had a quite prominent positions:

(where I lived as a child), has ended the year on the top spot on the world ranking, a position it has held for the first time since the establishment of the ranking. This has somehow surprised me, due to the fact that Argentina, in July, lost the final of the Copa America 0-3 to Brazil, in Venezuela. But besides that, and a loss to Colombia here in November, Argentina has had a quite impressive year, and the top-ranking at the end of the year may be a prelude to great things for the coming World Cup in South Africa (and I hope so with my heart!).

The other country prominently mentioned in the world ranking, was, to my great surprise, Mozambique (where I am currently residing). I have before said that I have a great positive influence on the football of countries I live in, and that I would do it for Mozambique, and seems I have already fulfilled my promise: Mozambique was the single best mover on the world rankings in 2007, with 245 points and moving from 128th to 75th place on the world ranking. This was mainly due to some good results on their qualifiers for the 2008 Africa's Cup in Ghana, which will nevertheless not see the participation of the Mamba's. Mozambique is on the right track though, and I shall do my best next year as well!

Monday, December 17, 2007


Kaká, AC Milan´s wonderful Brazilian midfielder, has just been given FIFA´s title as World Player of the year 2007.
I think Kaká is absolutely the right choice, as no other player has achieved the things he has achieved this year: Champions League with AC Milan and just a few days before, the Club world championship after defeating Boca Juniors 4-2!
And Kaká has been truly central in achieving these victories. The closest contenders to the title were Mr. Lionel Messi and Mr. Cristiano Ronaldo (who finished second anf third respectively) , but it is clear that while these two players have been spectacular this year, they have not been as important to the success of their team as Mr. Kaká.
I want to congratulate Mr. Kaká, because he is truly a great player.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Fabio Capello

The apparently neverending speculation of who should follow Mr. McLaren as coach of the English national team seems to be at an end, as Mr. Fabio Capello, the charismatic Italian coach with a superb CV, has apparently been confirmed as new manager (as I write this, some contractual issues seem to be pending).
Mr. Capello has been Champions League winner with AC Milan (the 1994 4-0 victory against FC Barcelona), Italian champion with AC Milan, AS Roma and Juventus, as well as Spanish champion with Real Madrid (in 1996 and last season). He is undoubtedly a very qualified gentleman, but is he what the English want...?
Mr. Capello was criticized in Real Madrid for being too defensive, something that is bound to happen again in England, specially if results are not forthcoming. To coach England is surely different (not more difficult though!) than anything Mr. Capello has done before, and in particular the demands from the English public will put him under pressure.
I wish him the best of luck!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

16 teams remaining in the Champions League

The first round of the 2007-2008 Champions League has ended, and we now have 16 teams left for the draw on December 21st.
Due to work obligations, I have had limited time to follow the rounds closely, and have missed (too many) matches. But I have the clear impression that it has been an excellent start to the champions league, wiith some amazing matches, and it seems bound to get even more exciting with the following teams:
  • FC Porto: The Portuguese won their group ahead of Liverpool, and as so many years before, may be bound to be underestimated. However, be sure that no team will have an easy time against Porto!
  • Liverpool: Last year´s finalists looked very weak in the start, but with three consecutive victories and 16 goals, they look to be searching for another Champions League success, otherwise eluding them in the Premier League.
  • Chelsea: In spite of changing coach in the middle of the tournament, Chelsea never really looked in danger i the group, and should be considered a contender for the title, although they are looking weaker than last year.
  • Schalke 04: The Germans made sure they would be in the last-16 by a sure 3-1 victory against Norwegian Rosenborg BK in the last match. They will have a hard time however, almost against any of the other teams.
  • Real Madrid: Under coach Bernd Schuster, Real Madrid truly seems reborn, and one player as crucial as Raul seems to have been reborn, whiile Robinho is free to do his magic, and Van Nistelrooi and Robben are super-dangerous. With the beautiful football they are displaying again, they are a welcome team by any football fan, and will surely be aiming for the title (well, they always do).
  • Olympiakos: The Greeks have performed well to be in the last 16, with some excellent results. Although I do not think they can make it all the way, they will be difficult for any team to play against, specially in Greece where they are supported by a passionate and intimidating homecrowd.
  • AC Milan: The defending champions are sure contender for the title again. Kaka & Co. have again been very strong, and their first place in the group was never really in question.
  • Celtic: The Scots are a very welcome team in the last-16 with their charming supporters, spirited fight and strategy. It is doubtful whether they can make it very hard, but they shall surely not be underestimated after the results in the first round.
  • FC Barcelona: The Catalonians were never threatened and won their group easily. They are looking strong indeed, and with Samuel Eto'o back in the last game against Stuttgart (and even scoring!), they may now be at full firepower, which will surely make them one of the favourites for the title. With their technique and positive football, any game with them is something to look forward to.
  • Olympique Lyon: The French started off a bit weak with a home-defeat to Glasgow Rangers, but improved as the round progressed, and ended with an impressive 4-0 victory against Rangers in Glasgow. I have many times previously thought Lyon was a team to watch; I don't think they are as strong as former years, but still... They are a team to watch!
  • Manchester United: The English team was one game away from maximum-points in the first round, and are looking very strong, and one of the favourites for the title. In fact, I don't think they have looked as strong since their last victory in 1999, but their weakness may be that they seem to depend very much on a limited number of players.
  • AS Roma: The Romans are always difficult to play again, particularly in the Italian capital, but I doubt whether they can make it all the way.
  • Inter: Inter always looks strong, and has a very dangerous attacking force and brilliant technical players. In that regard, they are, in my humble view, a contender for the title. However, they are every year, but I think they are looking much more dangerous this season, not only in the Champions League, but also in the Serie A.
  • Fenerbahce: The Turkish side did what they ahd to do in their last match by defeating CSKA Moscow to make it to the last-16. With a number of Brazilians and a passionate homecrowd, Fenerbahce should also be a team to watch, although I do not believe they can make it all the way.
  • Sevilla: The double-UEFA Cup winners started their Champions League adventure by losing 3-0 to Arsenal in London, but have since won five consecutive victories to win their group ahead of the Englishmen. Sevilla is a very strong team, although not looking as strong as last season in the Primera División, they should be considered seriously as an outsider to get very far in this Champions League.
  • Arsenal: They youngsters from Arsenal are leading the Premier League, and with good results in the Champions League, may be considered a contender for the title. However, their young age may also be their biggest enemy, and it remains to be seen how they do against any of the giants.

There is bound to be some amazing matches ready on December 21st. Group winners will have the (minor) advantage of starting playing away when the CL starts again in February 2008. By that time, I will again be in the Mozambican bush, and just hope I will be able to watch!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Olympique Lyon trashing Rangers

With all due respect to the many great fans of Glasgow Rangers, I must admit that I much prefer to see Olypique Lyon in the last-16 of the Champions League. I have for long admired the French champions, and in particular their deadly attacking weapon in the form of Juninho.
Nevertheless, I was expecting an all-exciting match tonight in Glasgow, where a tie would be enough to send Rangers through, after their (surprising) trashing of the French in Lyon earlier this year.
Although the early goal somewhat changed the game, and Rangers managed to put a steady pressure, besides one huge chance, it never really felt like Rangers would pull the trick. Instead, their defence was looking more and more shaky amid Lyon's deadly conterattacks, led by a marvelous young Benzema (I had never actually before seen him play, but I was overly impressed).
It is a pity for Rangers and their great fans, as they will be missed in the last-16. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to see the marvelous Lyon side, which surely will be a difficult adversary for any team.
Until next years Rangers!

Liverpool on the edge

Liverpool FC always seems to be at its best when on the edge, and last night, against Marseille, they were truly at their best.
After the first three matches in the first stage of the Champions League, Liverpool had only gotten one meager point, and last year's finalists seemed to be heading towards an early exit. However, with three impressive victories in their last three matches, Liverpool is now in the last-16, and is surely a team to be feared.
Olympique Marseille has been looking very strong lately, and in front of a strong home crowd, could have made life difficult for the English side. But with Gerrard's penalty and Torres beautiful goal, Liverpool sealed the match in the first 15 minutes, and never looked threatened. If anything, 0-4 was a small victory, and that is truly impressive result in Southern France!

In an interview, Steven Gerrard said that the team had prepared themselves by thinking of the match as a "cup" match, a "win-or-lose" match. In reality it was, I guess, but it is interesting that it is this attitude that makes the current Liverpool side. Thus, it would seem that they should not be considered contenders for the Premier League title, while indeed for both the FA Cup and the Champions League!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Portugal versus Denmark

I was recently on a road-trip of Northern Mozambique with a couple of friends who had the wisdom of bringing a small travel version of Football TP. It gave numerous hours of entertainment and discussion as we struggled through the dirt-roads of the Mozambican hinterlands in a 4x4 Pick-up truck.

While many of the questions could lead to long posting on this website, one of the questions I received got some actuality only one week later, as the qualifying groups for the World Cup in South Africa 2010 were drawn: which country has Denmark never manage to defeat: Mexico, Argentina, Portugal or the Czech Republic?

I knew it wasn’t Argentina or the Czechs, but was in doubt about the last two, but answered Mexico. Nevertheless, to my surprise, the correct answer was Portugal!

Now, Denmark drew exactly Portugal for the World Cup qualifiers! I doubt Denmark, with as weak players as they have now, can provide Cristiano Ronaldo & Co. with their first defeat ever. And the group is not easy: another team is the eternal Scandinavian arch-rivals from Sweden, whom Denmark had some clashes with for the EURO 2008 qualifiers!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A comment on England

After pathetically failing to qualify for the EURO 2008 by losing 2-3 to Croatia at home and subsequently firing the coach Mr. McLaren (who was thus the shortest serving coach ever in the history of the FA), England is the most talked-about theme in football circles, not least in England itself. Uncountable theories and thoughts are given on the subject, so I thought I may add my personal comment on England among the immense forest of opinions, where mine may be nothing but a shrub.

It is indeed a pity that some of the players that are most easily recognizable from the Premier League, drowning us all in great matches anywhere in the world almost every week, will not be present in the EURO 2008.

However, as many voices are saying, maybe one has to consider whether England just doesn’t have the players, that they are overrated…?

I personally think they are not. These are great players, playing on some of the world’s best teams, alongside other of the world´s best players.

But they may be suffering from a disillusionment of national team football: maybe playing for England isn’t as glamorous any more. Maybe glory lies in the championship, at the same time as being a star on the England team just isn’t the same: one is insulted and trashed for everything, and pressure just grows to show results…

That is the other theory: maybe playing for England is just so demanding, due to the petty nationalism of football, that even star players from the world’s biggest teams are intimidated into not performing?

Thus, it is maybe it is simply the pressure from the vicious press and spectators, ever more pursuing the glory of the “mother of football”? Mr. McLaren may have suffered this: it was apparently a direct reason for the use of the goalie for the Croatia match, and well, I have always found it strange that Mr. Lampard and Mr. Gerrard both play on the same team, in spite of them both being great players.

Or it may just be that: English arrogance, that they are simply not that good. I don’t think so; I believe the English are very aware that they are not the world´s best as they insisted until 1950, only to lose their first world cup match to the USA. However, there is a problem somewhere, since I, as so many, think that England does belong in the big tournaments.

And well, Gerrard, Owen, Wright-Phillips, Rooney… they will all be missed.

Next time guys.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

EURO 2008 Qualified Teams

Most of the countries had been settled before the last match-day of the EURO 2008 qualifiers, with only a few remaining doubts.

In spite of strong support, the Northern Irish missed their small chance for qualifying after losing to Spain 0-1 in the Canary Islands and thus not repeating their legendary 1982 World Cup victory against the Spaniards. With Sweden winning as well, the Scandinavians will accompany the Spaniards, leaving the happy Irish to look forward to another chance.

Finland had a tiny chance to qualify for the first time ever, if they could defeat Portugal away. However, in spite of an apparently close match, Finland failed to qualify, with Portugal taking their spot by playing 0-0. They will follow Poland, who again qualify for a major tournament (bringing memories back to their splendid teams in the 1970s and 1980s), even one they will be hosting in 2012!

The big surprise is undoubtedly England, who having everything in their hands, threw it away by losing 2-3 to Croatia on Wembley. This left it all for the Russians, who with a meager 0-1 win over Andorra, qualified to leave the English out.

The final list of participants is as follows:

  • Switzerland: Host
  • Austria: Host
  • Italy: The defending world champions who won their group ahead of France.
  • France: Mighty France had some difficulties, but will be a team to watch
  • Czech Republic: Won their group splendidly ahead of the Germans and will be a team to reckon with.
  • Germany: Never to be underestimated
  • Poland: Their first ever EURO tournament! And not their last…
  • Portugal: Has some splendid players, but looked shaky in the qualifiers.
  • Spain: Always strong, but unlikely to win…
  • Sweden: A welcome team, always strong
  • Greece: the defending champs from 2004 won their group and will be interesting to watch defend the title.
  • Turkey: A strong team but not bound to be popular in Switzerland after a memorable world cup qualifier in Istambul…
  • Croatia: cruised to win their group ahead of England and is surely a team to watch with some great players. A dark horse for the title…?
  • Russia: A welcome return to the Russians, who are otherwise not looking that strong but under a marvelous coach may do wonders.
  • Romania: won their group, and is a welcome return after some former amazing teams. Apparently a young team which will be interesting to watch.
  • Netherlands: A strong team as always.

In spite of England’s exit, it is a list most interesting for its lack of surprises. All big teams, old and new are in, some of the former ones will be interesting to watch, but I predict that we will have some very interesting matches.

Let us see at the draw in December!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sheffield FC

Sheffield FC may not be in the Champions League or in the Premier League. They may be a tiny club, easily overseen in the forest of mediocre teams in the world.
Nevertheless, Sheffield FC has a special place in the heart and history of all football fans, since it is the oldest football club in the world!
So this is where the first groups of lads organised themselves into a club, for the mere satisfaction of kicking the ball around. Those guys were pioneers!
And this last week, Sheffield FC turned 150 years since its foundation, with a friendly match against the mighty AC Milan.
Congratulations Sheffield FC!!!!

PS: AC Milan won 2-5

Monday, November 12, 2007

Italian football violence

I have never been a fan of Italian football. Any reader of this site knows that. Why? In fact, because of what I consider a boring and overly organised style of play, when there is such huge potential there! I stand by that I don´t think Italy was the best team in the 2002 World Cup, but I still congratulate them for their victory!

Otherwise, if I had to choose which country´s fans to party with with after a victory, Italian tifosi are surely to be on the top of the list, mainly because of the passion and kindness characterizing them (and Italians in general).

It is therefore so sad to see what is going on now in Italy, with the death of of young Lazio fan and riots in many places. Nobody deserves to get hurt when it comes to football!
I don't know whether the blame is on (all-to-often) trigger-happy cops and plain bullies mingling with the fans. But truth is that Italy is World Champion in the greatest sport on Earth! And I hope the Champions don't give such bad publicity for their otherwise strong teams, great players and wonderful fans!


Michael Laudrup, Getafe's Danish coach, has been under pressure after taking over the job as Getafe's head coach; they were outstanding last season, qualifying for the UEFA Cup, but this season's start has been difficult.
It was therefore interesting whether Mr. Laudrup could muster his troops for a clash with FC Barcelona, where he played himself, with great success, during the 1990's.
Getafe last season eliminated Barcelona from the Spanish Copa del Rey, and there was some talk of Barcelona needing to get some kind of revenge.
However, a disappointing Barcelona side didn't seem like they were overly motivated against a well-organised Getafe side. Although Barcelona had more possession and some chances in the first half, Getafe took the lead before halftime. I had been expecting Barcelona to come out attacking, but second half was one of the most pathetic displays I have seen from Rijkaard's Barcelona side. Without Deco, Ronaldinho and Messi injured/uninspired, the rest of the team seemed poor: the youngsters Giovanni and Bojan were spineless, and Henry still seems to need more adapting to the team.
In the end, a frustrated Zambrotta got a deserved red card for a headless tackle, and Getafe made a second goal on a counter-attack, to win a well deserved victory, although against a disappointing opponent.

With Real Madrid winning an apparently spectacular game 4-3 against Mallorca the Merengues are firmly on first spot, followed by Villarreal by one point, and then Barcelona and Valencia tied with 24 points.

The Spanish League seems to be as exciting this season as it was in last, with Real Madrid looking strong, but definetly not undefeatable. I am certain we have a lot of more exciting games to come!

Friday, November 09, 2007

While I was gone

I have been out in the Mozambican bush doing poverty assessments in poor communities. Out there, on tired evenings in a random hostel, I have had urges to watch football. Even though I have seen the results of thr Champions League, I still have a huge urge to sit down, watch some matches, get excited...
The results from last round though, would have been bound to excite me:
  • Liverpool destroyed Besiktas by 8-0! Incredible to see such a result at top European level, and well, Liverpool showed they are not in as bad a shape as many were insinuating! However, they are still trailing Porto and Marseille in the standings, and need to win their last two matches.
  • Valencia lost again, at home. This time to Rosenborg! It is amazing how far the team has descended lately, and Mr. Koeman has a lot of work. Deep crisis for Valencia, who is looking unlikely to make it to the next round.
  • After being held 0-0 in Glasgow, Barcelona managed to defeat a very defensive Rangers side by 2-0. Glasgow is still on second spot with 7 points, but being threatened by Lyon, who defeated Stuttgart 4-2 to have 6 points.
  • Manchester United is looking more and more as a serious candidate for the title after crushing Dynamo Kiev by 4-0, and with four wins for four matches, is far ahead in their group F.
  • Real Madrid tied Olympiakos 0-0. They are winning their group ahead of Lazio and Olympiakos (both with 5 points), and seems progress is in their own hands.

Inter and Fenerbahce in group G, and Arsenal and Seville in group H seem set to progress on the first two spots. In many other groups however, there is the potential for some exciting matches, as more teams are potentially in the next round.

I hope to be able to watch!

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Fortunately, I have been working out in the Mozambican bush, and was not informed of the result of the Valencia-Real Madrid game until a day later...

This is the stuff that can get one to dislike football again. I am happy I have other things to thing about.


At home!? In the impregnable Mestalla!?


Ronald Koeman has only had one game as coach, but he should already be fired.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Brazil 2014

Brazil has just selected to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup. This is a welcome change to the crap World Cup I am expecting in South Africa in 2010...

Brazil is still the most successful World Cup country of all-time, and with 5 titles (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002) also the most winning nation ever. However, what makes the hosting of the World Cup very interesting is that Brazil, in spite of its dominance, has not hosted the World Cup since 1950.

In 1950, Brazil was already one of the most powerful footballing nations on the planet, but had still never won the World title. But in 1950, at home, in front of record crowds, the Brazilians surely expected to come top of the world. In the final match in Maracana, in Rio, in front of an all-time record crowd of (an estimated) 200,000 spectators, Brazil lost 1-2 to their little neighbor Uruguay, in what is still one of the most painful defeat for Brazilians.

To this day, of all the World Cup winners, Brazil is the only one that has not won the title at home.

It is likely too early to predict anything for 2014, but I don't think we should expect a repeat of 1950... But be sure that Brazil will probably do anything to wash away that date, and finally be win the title as hosts!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Champions League

I was working; I was out in the bush, talking I don't know about what to some poor Africans. And I tell ya'all: seeing the results didn't excite me too much:
  • Valencia lost to Roseborg (of all teams!)
  • Liverpool is messing it all up by losing to Besiktas
  • Chelsea beat Schalke
  • Real Madrid defeated Olympiakos 4-2 even though being down 1-2
  • Arsenal cruised through to a 7-0 (!) vistory against Sparta Prague.
  • Inter defeated CSKA Moscow in Moscow.
  • Roma defeated Sporting Lisbon 2-1.
On more positive news, Rangers continued being great by tying Barcelona 0-0; Sevilla beat Steaua Bucharest; Marseille tied FC Porto 1-1 and are in the game, and Manchester United defeated Dynamo Kiev away.

Loads of interesting matches! Hope I will be around to watch on 6-7 November!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Greece to defend its title

Greece qualified for the EURO 2008 in Austria-Switzerland last night, after defeating their arch-rivals of Turkey 1-0 in Istambul on a goal by Amanatidis.
All in all it was a very well-deserved victory, and I was impressed by the defending 2004 champions, who were otherwise missed in the 2006 World Cup. Greece managed to put pressure on the home team, who was unable to open the typically tight Greek defense. But Greece played great, and will be very welcome next year to defend their title!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


I recently read the book, "Dynamo", by Andy Dougan.
I think that many people have heard part of this tale, at least the more popular version: the Ukranian footballers who in Nazi-occupied Kiev defied the Wehrmacht in what was to be a friendly football match they were supposed to lose, and died for it. Much of the myth around the legendary side Dynamo Kiev is built up on this. Andy Dougan largely follows the story; he tries to demystify the myth of the heroic players who defied all odds for their love of the game; most were men trying to survive a war, and had been working at a bakery managed by a sports-crazed Ukranian, who decided to make a football team from all the former stars to play in a football tournament set up by the German occupiers.
The team outperformed all, even humiliating a German side. But that is where the story somehow questions whether the team actually was torn apart because of that victory: many of the players continued in Kiev, some survived the war, and some were sent to Siretz, a prisoner camp known for its barbarism on the outskirts of Kiev. Three of the great players of Dynamo Kiev were executed at Siretz, a part so well described in the book that one feels the grueling suffering the prisoners went through. The ones shot were Ivan Kuzmenko, Alexei Klimenko and the great Nikolai Trusevich, who had been one of the best goalkeepers in the world at the time. And here, Mr. Dougan adds to the legend telling how Trusevich last words were “red sport will never die” and wearing his goalkeeper jersey!
The book is excellent, as it puts the dilemmas of the war into the trivial world of football; how football was seen both as a means to motivate people, and as an outlet for political protest in an environment where life was worthless (this book is interesting to read in conjunction with Simon Kuper’s “Ajax, the War and the Dutch”, also about the world of football during WWII).
If one is interested in sports, football and history, this is well-worth a read!

Denmark-Spain and other EURO qualifiers

Danes call Spain their "onde aand", or bad spirit, ever since the painful defeats inflicted by the Iberians on the Danes in 1984 and in 1986. For this EURO-2008 qualifier, it seemed that what the Spaniards were fearing most was the danger of some unruly spectator invading the pitch, even though the game was being played in Aarhus and not Copenhagen after the misshap against Sweden.
I must admit, that I didn't watch the match, under my present condition, but on the Spanish magazine Marca there was a debate raging on whether Sergio Ramos' goal was the best of a Spanish national team ever. This is surely a big remark, considering all the great goals of Spanish history.
Otherwise, this group F is quite clear: with Sweden winning 3-0 against Liechtenstein, only Northern Ireland could potentially upset the two top teams.

In group D Germany's goalless draw against Ireland put them firmly in next year's European Championsship, likely to be followed by the Czhechs.

Group B, with some great footballing nations, is one of the most interesting ones. as three teams are bitterly fighting for the two spots. Surprisingly, the mighty Ucrainians are out of this struggle after losing 3-1 to the ever-fighting Scots, who have now taken to the first spot in the group, ahead of World Champions Italy and France. A bit unexpected I guess, but well-deserved for a Scottish team that seems to be on its way back into the world limelight. With a victory away in Georgia, Scotland will qualify for sure, leaving either France or Italy out.

In group G Romania is looking more and more likely to participate after defeating the Netherlands 1-0 in Bucharest. next game against Luxembourg can seal it for them, while the Netherlands are ahead of Bulgaria bya couple of points.

Portugal took a small step towards the EURO-2008 by defeating Azerbaijan 3-1 in group A, at the same time as Finland only drew against Belgium. this puts them on equal points on second spot, but with Portugal one game ahead of the Finns. They are both trailing Poland by 6 points on first place. The Poles are only a game away from sealing their participation as well.

The defending champions from 2004, Greece, after winning against Bosnia-Herzegovina 3-2, are leading their group C four points ahead of Turkey. Next match will be between these two rivals, and that may be the only hope for Norway on third place.

Finally, in group E, England seems to have found its way. They defeated Estonia 3-0, and is now on second spot after Croatia, who won 1-0 against Israel. England's big test will be next match, against Russia in Moscow. The Russians are trailing England by five points, and will need to win to keep hoping for participation.

It is looking more and more clear what the EURO-2008 will be like!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Womens World Cup

As promised in an earlier post, below is a table of the five official FIFA World Cups for women that have taken place so far:

China 1991





Sweden 1995



USA 1999





USA 2003





China 2007





As can be seen, the lot has been dominated largely by the same countries, even as hosts, not giving womens football the more interesting variations of the mens side.
The next World Cup will be hosted by Germany in 2011.
The list of top-scorer of each tournament is as such:
  • 1991: Carin Jenning, USA
  • 1995: Helge Riise, Norway
  • 1999: Sun Wen, China
  • 2003: Birgit Prinz, Germany
  • 2007: Marta, Brazil

Friday, October 12, 2007

Top Five Dida Excuses

Dida, AC Milan's great acting Brazilian goalkeeper just got two days match ban for his performance against Celtic.
I have a proposal of top five excuses he could use though:

5) Come on! I deserve an Oscar!
4) He patted me! Nobody did that before! I was so touched!
3) Too much Scottish whisky for me!
2) It was a delayed reaction. I am really that slow!
1) He smeared my make-up!


This is a service message for my football-blog:
Due to my precarious access to internet, I will be back-posting entries. That is, I put back the date, as I usually write the entries on my laptop.
Sorry, a bit old-fashioned, but best I can do living in the Mozambican bush...

Friday, October 05, 2007

Champions League in Nacala

And so, Football Mojo is back... On Tuesday I went out of the way to watch football... I was working in a poor community in Namatapa (don't try to find it on a map...) and then afternoon, drove some farmers on lousy roads to the community of Nivali (site of the splendid match between Nipita and Mazua). I then hurried 120 Km, on lousy roads to the community of Geba, by the coast, before taking the last 60 Km to Nacala. This is a medium town, a port town, with a few hotels, bank, so I figured there was an hotel showing football. And there was... But they weren't showing it. I drove around, desperately and tired to three possible places, until finally crashing a small hotel where the South African run DSTV was available. It was a relief. I was tired though, having left home at 4.30 that morning.
I started watching Besiktas against FC Porto. But predictably, I fell asleep... Not the glorious return of Champions League I would have hoped for after all the hazzle... I saw that FC Poto had won 0-1, thus achieving a second place in a group where Marseille upset a horrible Liverpool side at Anfield.
They then announced that they were showing Celtic against AC Milan. The defending champions against the ever-fighting Scottish underdogs. And this was an exciting match, with Scott McDonald's last minute strike giving Celtic a well-deserved and surprising win. The end was marred by a spectator running on the pitch, but Dida's pathetic acting made it all seem very grotesque!
Otherwise, I was disappointed to see that Valencia lost at home to ever-present Chelsea. There were also some surprises in this round, with Benfica losing at home to never-to-be-underestimated Shakhtar Donetsk and Glasgow Rangers destroying Olympique Lyon in Lyon (Really a great day for Scots!).
The teams to watch, Barcelona, Manchester United, Inter Milan and Arsenal, all won, while Real Madrid managed a 2-2 draw to Lazio in Rome.

But for me, football mojo is back :-)
Pity I am living somehwere where it may prove difficult to follow...

Monday, October 01, 2007


A friend sent me a message after my recent "update", that nobody cared about David Beckham any more: the new star was Marta! The Brazilian super star of the world cup for women in China. In spite of Brazil losing the final 0-2 to Germany, Brazil came out as a new entertaining super-power of football.
I have never really enjoyed watching womens football. Not any gender thing here, but I have found it too mechanical, too much "women wanting to be like men", and not too much spice. You can even see it in which teams have done well in women football (and I hereby promise to publish a table of the Women's World Cups): Germany, Norway, US.... Not exactly the teams that get fans overly excited on the male side... (with all due excuses made).
Now the Brazilians have arrived.
I have little access to communication, but in a small cheasy bar, did see the goal Marta scored against the US, where she made a marvelous heel-tip to snare an American defender. Splendid!
I think womens football needed some Brazilian spice, and I just hope we will see more in the future!
In the meantime, congratulations (again) to the German ladies.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Nipita versus Mazua

In my realization that football may be my way into the communities in the north of Mozambique, I accepted the invitation to drive 80 kilometers to the very small and poor community of Nipita (40 kilometers off Alua, on the Pemba-Namialo road, towards Memba. But that probably means nothing to anyone reading this…), on a national holiday, when the local lads were facing their counterparts of Mazua.

On a very uneven pitch of blood-red dirt, under a burning hot sun, the teams stood facing each other, a bit later than anticipated… Nipita, the home team, in old Benfica shirts, and Mazua, in a variation of Brazilian national team shirts: on their starting lineup I counted three Robinho’s, three Ronaldinho’s and four Ronaldo’s.

No wonder that the whole thing was confusing for the home-side Nipita’s defense…

Many players wore no shoes, but that seemed to make no difference as the game started with Nipita feverishly attacking the visiting side, and disappointingly not getting ahead on some huge chances. The home-spectators were grabbing their heads!

But as football often is with (the real) Ronaldo & Co.: on one single counterattack the Nipita defense was open wide, and Ronaldo surely made a goal (I decided to call this guy long-panted Ronaldo, since he was the more prominent of only two guys in long pants in the heat – the other was also a Ronaldo… Long-panted Ronaldo was also the best player of the match). The home audience protested loudly to the referee, some saying the ball had gone behind the wooden post marking the goal. But the referee was adamant, and correctly gave the goal to the visitors.

Here I saw that in spite of the differences, the poverty, lack of education, etc., all people in the world can agree that the referee sucks. Someone shouted (in Portuguese, although most people speak Makua): “take that analphabet referee off the pitch!!!”, which I found very amusing considering that 80 percent of the population in the area cannot read or write.

At least people demand something of their referees.

I have no idea if it was the pressure from the spectators, but after mere 20 minutes into the first half, and the away team being up 1 to 0, the referee called for half-time (!?). Protests then took on huge effect, as numerous people ran on the pitch, and all were discussing with the referee, who after a somewhat confusing circumstances was substituted for a new referee.

I think FIFA should learn from this: “let us change the referee when he sucks”.

The new referee continued where the first had left off, and after only a few minutes gave a completely non-existant penalty for the home-team.

This was when I realized that the away-team also had some fans among the spectators; the pitch was invaded by dissatisfied fans. After a heated argument with a spectator in a Kaká shirt (there were no player’s in Kaká shirts on the Mazua team), the referee then changed his mind to the home-spectators huge disappointment, although they remained completely calm - probably because there had been no shadow of a penalty at all.

I think referees elsewhere, too proud to change their minds, should learn from this.

A few minutes after all this happened, Mazua went ahead with a second goal, after a deadly run down the right side by long-panted Ronaldo.

The bare-footed left-hand defender of Nipita (although he was never there), had a hard time with long-panted Ronaldo, and at one point he was viciously tackled by the bare-footed defender. That was when I learned that the referee had no red or yellow cards. In any case, Mazua’s long-panted Ronaldo was accused of dragging out time, so a Nipita player kicked the ball away (?), way into the bush behind the pitch, and a horde of children were unable to find the ball, for which reason the match stopped for a while (someone did eventually find the official ball).

Unfortunately, as I didn’t want to drive home on the lousy back-roads after dark, I had to leave midway through the second half. However, I am sure there were no more goals, as especially Nipita, who had started with headless feverish attacks in the burning sun, seemed completely run down and barely able to run.

I would however would like to thank the people of Nipita, who I may be doubtful may ever read this (there is no electricity or phone coverage in Nipita), for this great match.

The passion of football is alive here, in an area so poor and isolated, as much as in any international capital of football.

Who is David Beckham?

I think I had forgotten the international language of football. I have been working with subsistence farmers in some very isolated areas of Northern Mozambique for some six months now, and football had never really come up much; I had concentrated on doing my work, and trying to get to know these extremely poor subsistence farmers through the numerous silly sociological methods I have been pounded in with at university…

Then, someone asked me if I could bring a football to the community. The proposal amused me a bit, and I thought, “what the heck…”, and brought a cheap ball for my next visit. This made me suddenly a coveted person among the youngsters in the community, as well as suddenly gaining more trust with the rest of the farmers. After kicking the ball around after a short official meeting, young lads were asking me if I would come and play with them sometime; they asked me if I knew how to play.

I smartly told them I was a David Beckham without the haircuts.

They looked at me completely clueless, and I realized they had no idea who David Beckham was.

Maybe these people are not “underdeveloped” at all!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Messi: the best in the world

The Spanish football magazine Marca is posing exactly this question as the only 20-year old Argentinian has started overshadowing Ronaldinho as the main star of the Barecelona team, where he already ahs the record of being the youngest player to score a goal.
Already he has been top-scorer of youth world cup, best young player in the world, and now, only 20-years old, and still free of injuries, he seems bound for the complete stardom.
I have always found him amazing, and in my nostalgia for the great Maradona days, I have all my hope on young Messi!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Champions League 2007-08: First round tips

I have not been following the leagues, and have little knowledge of transfers and changes. However, I still feel I need to give my tips for the first round of the Champions League, however meager those tips may be due to my poor level of information…

The tips are in any case based on what happened after first matchday, so they may be a bit better and I may not look totally pathetic…

Group A:

Liverpool was not looking too strong against FC Porto, but still managed a tie, and under Benitez’ wise tutelage, they remain a strong cup side, so I predict that they will succeed in continuing from the group. Olympique Marseille is far from old times’ greatness, and may have confidence after starting with 3 points against Turkish Besiktas. Nevertheless, I think FC Porto will prevail: with a bit more luck they could have taken out Liverpool, and have a strong attacking force.

Group B:

Chelsea and Valencia are the obvious choices in this group where I think anyone will reduce Schalke 04 and Rosenborg to fight for the UEFA spot on third place. The two giants clashed in the quarterfinal last season, with Chelsea coming out victorious. This season, I think (and hope) Valencia will prevail to get the first spot: they started well with an away victory to Schalke 04, while a Chelsea team that has also looked shaky in the Premier League, only managed a tie in Trondheim. The Norwegians may be on their way into the UEFA Cup.

Group C:

The Spanish champions will win this group. After selling the galacticos, I think real football will prevail in the club instead of fashion and design. They started by defeating a Werder Bremen side that has before given them trouble, and should be ready to defeat the others. Lazio and Werder Bremen will be having a tense fight for second spot in the group, with the defensive Italians being upset by a fighting Bremen side.

Group D:

In this group AC Milan and Benfica are my obvious choices, and with AC Milan starting the whole thing with a victory against the Portuguese, I think they are in for a first spot. Shakhtar Donetsk started another good Champions League with a victory against the Glasgow Celtic, and it is likely these teams will be fighting for the third spot. Benfica, the Lisbon club with such great tradition and history, should get into the next round on second spot.

Group E:

Barcelona seems set for another good season, in spite of them not winning anything last season. They are still putting priority on entertaining attacking football, and young Lionel Messi is starting to shine brightly on the otherwise dark sky of great footballers today… They started with a sure 3-0 victory over Lyon and I think they will cruise through this group. The rest of the teams will be in a harsh fight for the second spot, which may be a true nail-biter. Lyon are still a strong team of talented youngsters and excellent foreigners, VFB Stuttgart are German champions, and Rangers should have confidence after defeating them. Hard to predict, but I go for Lyon, whom I have always felt sympathy for.

Group F:

Manchester United, defending English champions and with one of the most awesome young teams in Europe is likely in for the first spot, more so after starting with an away victory against Sporting in Lisbon. The only possible threat may be AS Roma: the often unpredictable Romans seems to be looking more stable, and started with a good 2-0 victory against Dynamo Kiev in Rome. They could upset Manchester, but I doubt they will, but should nevertheless take second spot.

Group G:

While many would have predicted Inter Milan, I think this group could be in for an upset. Fenerbahce, who apparently has bought some excellent new players, managed to defeat Inter in the first match, and PSV, full of young motivated players, also managed to defeat CSKA, and may also manage to upset the Italians. I only predict CSKA to be out of the race. Inter Milan should continue to next round, but I am not sure it will be on first spot. This will be one of the most interesting groups.

Group H:

Arsenal for sure. They started out destroying the twice UEFA cup champions from Sevilla, who seemed surprised to see the different level in the highest European competition. However, as they are now in, I predict they will prevail against the other two sides. Admittedly, I know little of either Steua or Slavia (more of the formers good historical results), but I feel they should not be a threat to Sevilla.

Let us see how I do!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Top-ten reasons for Mourinho leaving Chelsea

And just as I am starting to read football news again, a bomb-shell falls in the world of football news: José Mourinho, undoubtedly one of the best but also controversial coaches in the world, is leaving Chelsea, whom he made double Champions after almost 50 years, FA cup winners and League Cup winners. There has been talk of disagreements between José Mourinho and Chelsea-owner Abramovich, and disappointment at the late performance of the team. However, I have my top-10 reasons for Mourinho leaving Chelsea.

10. “Abramovich never lets me try out his cool mini-sub”

9. José Mourinho still refused to be re-dubbed Josef Mourinovitch…

8. His text-messaging bill was swallowing up his entire salary.

7. “I can always retire to a more quiet life of becoming coach of a national team like the Portuguese.”

6. “I want another striker or I will tell my Mommy…!!!!”

5. “Why does Princess Diana still get all the attention!?”

4. There are plenty of billionaires buying second-rate teams that Mourinho may make champions with just buying players and no coaching.

3. Portuguese haircuts just never caught on in London.

2. It was lonely for him to be the only super-star in the club.

1. God needed a coach for his team, and Mourinho was the most able candidate.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Champions League start

I was in a small village on the Northern coast of Mozambique, when a colleague told me that the Champions League was starting again. I felt a tickle of embarrassment, since as I have mentioned before, my football passion has gone, and I have not followed anything as of late. I wasn’t even aware that the Spanish league had started, or any of the groups in the Champions League. I haven’t even made a UEFA Fantasy team, and considering that I am a leading expert on football on the internet, it is all an embarrassment. I am indeed, that my football site has been gone for so long.

Anyway, as I got to my friend’s house to see the first match between FC Porto and Liverpool, I had the sudden feeling that I had been missing this a lot! That in spite of my reservations about the international capitalist football machinery having taken the magic out of the sport, I need the “fix”. I am addicted again I think, and greatly enjoyed the match: FC Porto was on to an amazing start against a really lame Liverpool side. However, Liverpool is known for getting back into matches, and completely underserved, managed to get an equalizer by Dirk Kuyt. After that Liverpool settled better into the match, and FC Porto was unable to be a major threat. It ended up a boring game…

On the more positive note, my old darling Valencia started with a good 0-1 away victory against Schalke 04 and Chelsea managed only a meager tie with Rosenborg in the same group.

Lionel Messi was magical in Barcelona’s 3-0 victory over Olympique Lyon, with Thierry Henry scoring for Barcelona as well. UEFA champions from Seville were shown how to play with the big boys, when Arsenal destroyed them 3-0, and Real Madrid defeated Werder Bremen.

Machester United’s Ronaldo scored the winning goal against his old Sporting Lisbon, and the defending champions of AC Milan started defeating the other Lisbon club Benfica. The other Milan team, Inter, defending Italian champions, were surprised by a good Fenerbahce side, who won a deserved victory.

All in all, Champions League is back, and I have a lot to learn about the new season!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Lyngby Boldklub

I have great sympathy for Lyngby Boldklub. Firstly, when I was in High School in Birkerod, not far, I often went to their games in their tiny stadium - to eat their delicious sausages in this charming town north of Copenhagen.

They always hosted young talented players, and there have been and are still many of Denmark´s best players that were schooled in Lyngby.

In 2001 the club was forcefully relegated to "Danmarksserien" due to having gone bankrupt. They closed their whole professional office, and returned to being amateurs, but still, with massive talents. Havign ascended through 5 divisions, they are now back in the Superliga where they belong.

Who would have thought!? I did. Back in 2001-2002 I told a friend, who is a die-hard Lyngby fan, that they´d be up again latest by 2010. I was right again. And he didn't believe me, and did bet a crade of beer with me.

Even though I am not watching football I am still earning beers from it!!!!


Real Madrid became champions. A bit amazing considering how the season started out for them, and how much Barcelona was ahead.

Anyway, I just heard it, and haven't been following. But why the hell should I start watchign football again...?!?

Friday, June 01, 2007

Why Tanzania will never win a world cup

Presently in Arusha, Tanzania, I casually asked a guy who talked to me in the street if anyone played football in Tanzania. He said yes, and mentioned a field where a few days prior, I had seen some kids play. They were really bad.
"So where are the great Tanzanian players"
"Oh!", he said indignantly; "That is because the government doesn't support football!"

I was surprised and said that in South America no kid needed government support to play football. Instead, you see kids everywhere kicking balls or whatever with a medium round shape.

"Did Pele or Maradona need government support!?", I asked him.
He didn't say anything.

At least I know why Tanzania has never been to a world cup, and likely never will. You can't expect your government to support something the people are not really playing. Football, in spite of all the political involvement, the capitalism that today has totally overtaken the sport, still belongs to the people of the world, and any kid playing with whatever, may one day turn into a new Pele. No need for government support.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Milan Champions

I watched last night's final. It was a typical final, quite predictable in the sense that Liverpool fought, while AC Milan were the better organised. In the end I believe it was the right team that won.

Don't know when I will bother to watch football again.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

FA Cup and Champions League Final

I recently climbed the Kilimanjaro. That has nothing to do with football, but actually felt for a moment the old fever return. A friendly englishman was also climbing it, and one of the days, he was eagerly following the scores of the champions league semifinals. I had hardly followed who had played, but when he told me, I happily engaged in a discussion of the possibilities, as well as on some of my many random football anecdotes. For a moment, I was a football fanatic again. I tried to grab on to the fleeing moment, but it left me.

Last weekend, I was in Arusha, Tanzania. Having little to do after a long stroll in the city, I overheard someone say that the FA Cup final was that same day. The teams were Manchester United and Chelsea. Last year I watched a great FA Cup final between Liverpool and West Ham in Nairobi. Maybe I could watch this final and maybe find that little football mojo again...? I decided to find a nice bar to watch the match.

I would be very nice if I said I found a nice bar. But it was a bar, and they were showing the match. And that was it. No feeling of football mojo as I watch a long boring goalless match between two teams that disappointed me a lot. Only good thing was Drogba's goal, but that deprived me of at least the excitement of pentalty kicks. In spite of this, being an ex-grumpy football fan, I would like to congratulate all Chelsea supporters.

Tonight is the Champions League Final. Liverpool and AC Milan: A repeat of the amazing 3-3 match in Istambul two years ago. Incidentally, I watched that match in a small hotel room in a random north Ghanaian town called Wa. I almost cried when the light went out just as the penalty kicks were starting. That was back in the day when I was young a cool...

If anything, I have good stories with football matches in random places.

I don't know if I will watch the match tonight. Don't feel like it. Should hardly expect something like 2 years ago. Nevertheless, at the same time, a small hope of finding little football mojo was lit inside me on that mountain.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Valencia brawl

What a huge fight Valencia and Inter had in their CL match. It is a disgrace. Although I support Valencia, this support is limited to the qualities of the players on the pitch. And Inter... well, they are not much better.
David Navarro is truly a coward, and I hope he is no longer seen on the team.
There is a reason football just ain't the same any more. And it ain't just because of fan violence, but seems the players are as bad at least - they should know better and be more responsible.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Barcelona out

Last night I went to watch football. I haven't done it for long, but went to a local bar here in Maputo called Mondos, where they show many sports. The place is full of South Africans though. In spite of they having the next world cup, they know absolutely nothing of football.

It's tuff to watch football not drinking beer. The result was rather predictable nevertheless: Liverpool was surely going to pull home the victory over the two games, although the Barcelona pressure would give tham a narrow victory, which would keep the fans of both teams awfully nervous.

Barcelona is out, the champions are out. Still, no team has ever managed to defend the title in the CL!

Friday, February 09, 2007


Still not watching much football. Actually, ain't much of a life without football. If anyone asked me what I was doing, I can only say working and studying. All the extra time, which used to be filled in with the emotion and passion for football, is empty.

Nevertheless, I was reminded recently of the passion: A football-fanatic French friend sent me a message during the recent Argentina-France friendly: "What is wrong with us?"

Actually, the direct answer, is simply that Argentina is far superior to France!

I didn't watch the game, but heard Argentina won.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Football in Mozambique

I am not in Mozambique due to football. The beautiful country has been little known for anything to do with football, except for the fact that Eusebio, Portugal's best player ever, was actually born in Mozambique, during the days of Portuguese colonialism.

Mozambique has never played a World Cup, they have qualified for only three African Cups, where they were eliminated in the first round each time. Not impressive.

The Mambas, as the national team is called, took part in the preliminary qualifiers in the African zone for the 2006 World Cup. They lost to Guinea after two matches, and that was it for Mozambique's world cup adventure. Not impressive.

Football is popular all over Africa, and many teams compete at highest level. Another lusophone colony, Angola, played their first world cup in 2006, and many should be on the way. However, it doesn't seem Mozambique is one country we will see in the world cup in any foreseeable future. Although I wouldn't bet on it, I have personally been known to have good karma for local teams: Silkeborg IF won their first (and only) Danish Championship when I was there; Ghana qualified for their first world cup when I was there; Valencia qualified for their first champions league final when I was there.

I won't promise Mozambique anything, but I shall do my best while I am in the country :-)

Monday, January 15, 2007

Cheer from someone looking for football

I have been trying to get some of my passion back:
  • Saw Valencia defeated Villarreal in the Spanish League. They are now back fighting for the title and Champions League spots. Yuhu.
  • Watched one half of Espanyol-Barcelona. Half a match in three months...
  • Mourinho is on his way out of Chelsea apparently. If he has got no job, he is welcome to hang out with me.
  • Had a vivid discussion on the return of Lyngby B to the Danish Superliga, as well as Brøndby's awful season. I was drinking beer with some guys, so it wasn't hard.
  • Heard Christian Poulsen was made player of the year in Denmark. Only heard it two weeks after it happened.
  • Some Italian became world player of the year.
  • Beckham is on his way to Los Angeles (did anyone know they play football there!?). Big Surprise: people will appreciate his haircuts over there.
  • A friend challenged me on the UEFA Champions League Fantasy Football. I made a team, but forgot who is on it.

I am seriously looking for my football passion. I think it disappeared with "my mojo" somewhere. Little goofy guy, big grin, with glasses, and losing his hair. If anyone has seen him, please let me know, as I am i serious need of some football!