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Source: (consider it) Thread: The beautiful game - the boys are back
Og: Thread Killer
Ship's token CN Mennonite
# 3200

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There are days where this game reminds you of why you can love it.

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I wish I was seeking justice loving mercy and walking humbly but... "Cease to lament for that thou canst not help, And study help for that which thou lament'st."

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Sir Kevin
Ship's Gaffer
# 3492

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Last week's Spurs match was one of them.

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If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Writing is currently my hobby, not yet my profession.

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Og, King of Bashan

Ship's giant Amorite
# 9562

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I got to see most of the second half of West Ham- Leicester, which was an absolute barn burner. It will be interesting to see if the FA goes through with its threat to ban Vardy for an extra game. Missing him in the Swansea game was one thing, missing him at Old Trafford is another.

It should be a wild last month. I was on the verge of writing Spurs off of this thing, but with Leicester only getting one point yesterday, possibly missing Vardy for two matches, and having to play United, Everton, and Chelsea in the last three matches, it could get exciting. I'd say that tonight's game in Stoke is must-win for Spurs. Time to start cranking the screws.

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"I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?" ― Walker Percy

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Og, King of Bashan

Ship's giant Amorite
# 9562

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But can they do it on a cold rainy night in Stoke?

(TBH, I don't know how cold or rainy it was, just thought it was an appropriate time to bring out that cliche.)

So that's five points for Leicester with four games to go. Spurs can only get a maximum of 12 points, and a tie would most certainly go to Spurs (can't see Leicester turning around a 13 GD gap). So 8 points does it for Leicester.

Leicester have Swansea, at United, Everton, and at Chelsea to finish it off. Spurs have West Brom, at Chelsea, Southampton, and at Newcastle.

How's this for a scenario. Leicester beat Swansea and Everton, lose to United thanks to a (still pending, I think,) Vardy suspension. Spurs beat West Brom, Chelsea, and Southampton, and trail by two points on the last day. Win at Chelsea, Leicester are champions. Win at Newcastle, combined with Leicester loss or tie, Spurs are champions. Only problem is that Newcastle is in a possible win-and-stay-up game. What a finish that would be.

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"I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?" ― Walker Percy

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Imaginary Friend

Real to you
# 186

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Leicester will win at Chelsea. I hate to say it, but Spurs will win at Chelsea too. We're shambolic.

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"We had a good team on paper. Unfortunately, the game was played on grass."
Brian Clough

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Sir Kevin
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# 3492

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God willing, my side shall win. We are the best and we deserve it!

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If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Writing is currently my hobby, not yet my profession.

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Og: Thread Killer
Ship's token CN Mennonite
# 3200

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Not sure playing Everton is all that difficult right now.

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I wish I was seeking justice loving mercy and walking humbly but... "Cease to lament for that thou canst not help, And study help for that which thou lament'st."

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Sioni Sais
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# 5713

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quote:
Originally posted by Og: Thread Killer:
Not sure playing Everton is all that difficult right now.

The only team that finds it difficult to play at Goodison Park is Everton.

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"He isn't Doctor Who, he's The Doctor"

(Paul Sinha, BBC)

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Sipech
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# 16870

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As a Tottenham fan, of course I want to see our team win the league. We've got the best attack in the league and the best defence. We also have a very high quality midfield. Though I wouldn't begrudge Leicester the title if they do win it; they've been greater than the sum of their parts all year.

Listening to my Arse'n'all supporting colleagues, it's interesting that they actually want Tottenham to close up the gap. Their thinking is that Tottenham would be able to win the title with a win in the last game, but that a last minute own goal means the game ends in a draw and Leicester win the league.

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I try to be self-deprecating; I'm just not very good at it.
Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheAlethiophile

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Og, King of Bashan

Ship's giant Amorite
# 9562

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Back in Europe, the color went out of my face when I saw that Diego Godin will likely be out for a few weeks (including both UCL semi games) with a hamstring injury he picked up in Bilbao yesterday. The Atletico defense is as good as they come, but even the best unit is going to take a hit when they lose the best defensive player in the world.

It was always going to take a heroic effort to beat Barcelona and Bayern back to back, and it just got that much tougher. That said, if there is anyone who can sell his team on their chances of winning without their best defensive player, it's Cholo.

(Simeone's Atletico vs Pochettino's Spurs in the UCL next year would be a hell of an entertaining draw, by the way. Maybe not the prestige or pedigree of Juve-Real, but it would be two hot young squads, two spectacular defenses, and the two hottest managers in the game. I'm drooling already.)

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"I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?" ― Walker Percy

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Sir Kevin
Ship's Gaffer
# 3492

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Looking for forward to Spurs match Monday afternoon. Four-nil would be helpful for my side!

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If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Writing is currently my hobby, not yet my profession.

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Og, King of Bashan

Ship's giant Amorite
# 9562

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Sorry, Sir. Kev, but that knocked Leicester's magic number down to 3. One more win and they are the champions.

I suppose Leicester could manage a total and truly historic collapse in the last three games, but after many months of anticipating a collapse that has never come, at some point I might just have to admit that they are for real.

Every team plays the "no one believed in us but us" card (seriously, I bet PSG said it when they clinched the French League back in January,) but it might actually be true for the Foxes.

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"I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?" ― Walker Percy

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Imaginary Friend

Real to you
# 186

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Craig Dawson, you beautiful, beautiful man!

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"We had a good team on paper. Unfortunately, the game was played on grass."
Brian Clough

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Imaginary Friend

Real to you
# 186

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In more serious news, the jury at the inquest into the Hillsborough tragedy returned it's verdict today. In particular, they came down on a decision of unlawful killing of the ninety six people who died that day.

It's twenty seven years too late, but I hope this smattering of justice will be of some comfort and help to those impacted by those awful events.

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"We had a good team on paper. Unfortunately, the game was played on grass."
Brian Clough

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Sioni Sais
Shipmate
# 5713

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The game really can be beautiful! To quote the top story on the BBC News website "Leicester City win Premier League title".

Congratulations to Claudio Ranieri and co.

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"He isn't Doctor Who, he's The Doctor"

(Paul Sinha, BBC)

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Doublethink.
Ship's Foolwise Unperson
# 1984

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I suspect some kind of heartwarming comedy drama about that will be along in a couple of years.

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All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. George Orwell

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Imaginary Friend

Real to you
# 186

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Just so long as it wasn't Spurs...

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"We had a good team on paper. Unfortunately, the game was played on grass."
Brian Clough

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Imaginary Friend

Real to you
# 186

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...Or Arsenal, or Liverpool. [Biased]

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"We had a good team on paper. Unfortunately, the game was played on grass."
Brian Clough

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L'organist
Shipmate
# 17338

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Michael Morpurgo has written a new fairy-tale, Fox and the Ghost, which was read on Radio 4 this morning.

If you can't guess the identity of the ghost I won't spoil it for you.

Well done the Foxes [Yipee]

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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Og, King of Bashan

Ship's giant Amorite
# 9562

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quote:
Originally posted by Imaginary Friend:
...Or Arsenal, or Liverpool. [Biased]

Right, given that it's Leicester rather than one of the usual suspects, I can't imagine anyone getting too too upset about the end of the season. (Does Leicester have a famous rival? Wiki suggests Forest, Derby, or Coventry, but if you were to list off the most heated rivalries in England, none of those would come to mind first, I don't think.)

Atletico go to Munich today with a 1-0 lead over the German giants. So 1-0 Bayern gets a shootout, otherwise Bayern needs to win by two. I'll be a lot more comfortable if Griezmann can slip through with an away goal, because I can't see this defense conceding three goals to anyone.

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"I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?" ― Walker Percy

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Og, King of Bashan

Ship's giant Amorite
# 9562

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ANTOINE GRIIIIEZMANNNN!!!! [Yipee]

Griezmann proved to be the difference after all! Although I probably added quite a few gray hairs down the stretch. Going into a match knowing you are going to concede 70% of possession isn't good for your supporter's health, that's for sure.

I'll pull for City tomorrow, not because I think they would be an easier draw, but because I can't bring myself to root for Real. Still, part of me wants Real and a shot at revenge for Lisbon in the final.

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"I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?" ― Walker Percy

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Tukai
Shipmate
# 12960

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Leicester's triumph of the "little team that can" reminds me of how Western Sydney Wanderers won the Asian Champions League in 2014, despite having less than 1/4 of the funds of most of the rich Chinese and Japanese clubs they beat.

But the Wanderers are a new club (less than 10 years old), and don't have Leicester's 100-year history of having won no trophies at all! Which makes Leicester's performance all the brighter, not least for those who bet on them at 5000 to 1! (longer odds, it is reported, than finding the Loch Ness monster or finding Elvis alive!)

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A government that panders to the worst instincts of its people degrades the whole country for years to come.

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Og: Thread Killer
Ship's token CN Mennonite
# 3200

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News of Leicester's triumph has made North American soccer twitter and pundits and media wax lyrically about the greatest sports upset ever

causing media workmates who do not follow the game to wonder what the North American equivalent would be

causing a lot of umming and awwing because its just not really possible to replicate over here.


**********

In other news, TFC finally gets its first home game of the season 2 months after everybody else. Construction of a roof and it looks good now.

Picture link


31K regular capacity, making it the second largest capacity ground in the league (after Seattle's 40K) Yes, there are larger MLS stadiums used also for gridiron, but they usually rope off the upper sections.

First home game in 7 months.

[ 04. May 2016, 01:08: Message edited by: Og: Thread Killer ]

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I wish I was seeking justice loving mercy and walking humbly but... "Cease to lament for that thou canst not help, And study help for that which thou lament'st."

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Og, King of Bashan

Ship's giant Amorite
# 9562

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The Colorado Rapids are looking like the Leicester City of MLS! (Get used to it, that comparison is going to be done to death for the next 25 years.) The team has been pretty bad for the last few years, with absolutely no attacking punch. They signed aging USMNT stars Jermaine Jones and Tim Howard over the off-season, moves which were mostly seen as ticket sales drivers. (Howard in particular, who will be an upgrade at GK, but GK wasn't where they needed the upgrade.)

Low and behold, the team got off to a strong start while Jones was serving out a suspension from last season, and are now on fire, even showing the ability to fight back from behind! Jones is creating offensive havoc, and having a respected veteran in the locker room has worked wonders for the team's confidence. Howard should only help on that front.

So any predictions for the last day of the BPL? Will Spurs manage to stay ahead of Arsenal? Will Spurs get through the game without any more suspensions? Who gets relegated (today will play into that)? Are United doomed to years in the wilderness? Could winning the Cup save LVG or are they etching Jose's name on the manager's door this afternoon?

And how about the Championship playoffs? (Knowing little about any of the teams other than remembering hearing the fanciful name "Sheffield Wednesday" as a kid watching the one Premier League replay game we got in the USA in the 1990s, I have a soft spot for the Wednesday, but tell me if I should be pulling for someone else.)

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"I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?" ― Walker Percy

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Sioni Sais
Shipmate
# 5713

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Spurs and Arsenal both play relegated sides at the weekend: I expect Newcastle will want to put up a show at home to Spurs while the dismal Villa are away at Arsenal. That is advantage Arsenal.

OTOH, Arsenal's casualty list is to Spurs advantage. Danny Welbeck will be out for nine months, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is out for at least three and Jack Wilshere has just made his second appearance of the season after his latest long-term injury. Just what is it about Arsenal? Is this something else that Wenger gets wrong time after time?

I'll be cheering Manchester City on to keep Manchester United out of the "Champions" League.

As for the Championship play-offs these are, like most things Championship, a lottery. Brighton were 15 points ahead of Sheffield Wednesday at the end of the season: that's equivalent to five wins, which must mean something. If I was a betting man I'd plump for Hull who have experience and that bit of class.

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"He isn't Doctor Who, he's The Doctor"

(Paul Sinha, BBC)

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Imaginary Friend

Real to you
# 186

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Well, Mike Ashley deserved that.

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"We had a good team on paper. Unfortunately, the game was played on grass."
Brian Clough

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Piglet
Islander
# 11803

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quote:
Originally posted by Og, King of Bashan:
... I have a soft spot for the Wednesday, but tell me if I should be pulling for someone else ...

My soft spot is Ipswich Town, for whom my late father-in-law had a season ticket (it's only an hour or so from where he lived). They're currently just south of the play-offs, but too many points behind the team above them to have any chance.

With Norwich having gone down, we'll get proper East Anglian derby matches again ... [Eek!]

I also have a slight soft spot for Newcastle; several of Ipswich's players from their Premiership days were transferred there after they were relegated, so I was sorry to see the Magpies go down.

A friend who lives near Durham posted a photograph on Facebook captioned Sun setting over St. James's Park - sadly appropriate today.

[Frown]

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I may not be on an island any more, but I'm still an islander.
alto n a soprano who can read music

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Sioni Sais
Shipmate
# 5713

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Can't say I'm surprised

The worst aspect of Martinez' reign at Everton has been that his first year in charge was good, and players like Barkley and Coleman came on a treat. Then he started to tinker with the defensive setup and he hasn't had the wit to change his ways.

I just hope we get a decent replacement who can take advice and recognise the need for Plan B when Plan A isn't working.

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"He isn't Doctor Who, he's The Doctor"

(Paul Sinha, BBC)

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Og: Thread Killer
Ship's token CN Mennonite
# 3200

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There is this thing in North America about having the national anthem(s) played before a sporting match.

Most of the time people kinda sing along or they stand there while some pop star or pop star wannabe sings it all.

In MLS, certain teams have taken to singing it full belt.

In Toronto, we sing it acapella.

31K - new stadium, loud, good fun. Team won. Decent beer. What more can one ask for in a match?

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I wish I was seeking justice loving mercy and walking humbly but... "Cease to lament for that thou canst not help, And study help for that which thou lament'st."

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LeRoc

Famous Dutch pirate
# 3216

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Koeman!

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I know why God made the rhinoceros, it's because He couldn't see the rhinoceros, so He made the rhinoceros to be able to see it. (Clarice Lispector)

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Sir Kevin
Ship's Gaffer
# 3492

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I am no longer wearing my Spurs jersey outside of the house. Just as well, I don't come across many supporters in this part of the US. It was humiliating to see Arse'n'all get second when I'd been harassing one of my colleagues who is a school principal and rabid fan all year.

[brick wall]

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If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Writing is currently my hobby, not yet my profession.

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Og, King of Bashan

Ship's giant Amorite
# 9562

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I'd rather see United do something interesting for once than stay the course, so even though I was rooting for Palace, good on them for dumping LVG for Jose M. I still won't root for them, but good for them for dating a bad boy.

As for next weekend, if Wednesday win, I'm an owl as long as they last. And for the one that really matters, I see no way Atletico lose to Real. Mark it down now, Real with 70% possession, Atletico with revenge for Lisbon, 2-1. There is no way Cholo and co. beat Barcelona and Bayern and lose to the team with a lot of history that they usually beat.

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"I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?" ― Walker Percy

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basso

Ship’s Crypt Keeper
# 4228

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quote:
Originally posted by Og, King of Bashan:
…if Wednesday win, I'm an owl as long as they last.

I hope they win it. [Please!] The chance to play in this final may not roll around again for another 20-odd years.
Getting out of the Championship isn't going to get any easier. C'mon, Wednesday. Do it while you've got the chance!

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Og, King of Bashan

Ship's giant Amorite
# 9562

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Shootouts are the worst. That's all I really have to say about the UCL final. It was another valiant effort. Atletico actually looked to be the better attacking side for much of the match, but it just wasn't to be. There is apparently talk that Ramos was offside on the Real goal, but you know, that happens when you have guys rushing towards the goal to cover rebounds, and I'm not going to be upset about it.

It was nice to see Juanfran's letter to the fans on the Atletico Facebook page. He was grateful to be accepted into the stands to share his tears with the fans, and promises that they will be back and finish it off soon.

On to Copa America. (Oh, and isn't there some other second-rate competition going on as well? [Two face] )

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"I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?" ― Walker Percy

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Imaginary Friend

Real to you
# 186

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I don't think Ramos was offside, tbh. But it was such a dull game. So boring! And of course, there was only one person who could be basically anonymous all night, score the winning penalty, and celebrate like he'd won the EuroWorldGalactic Cup. What a knob he is.

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"We had a good team on paper. Unfortunately, the game was played on grass."
Brian Clough

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Sioni Sais
Shipmate
# 5713

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I'd really like to call the press to a low, hot place for their criticism of Roy Hodgson's selection of Rooney, Vardy and Kane as a three-man front line last night.

For goodness sake, the whole purpose was to prepare for the European championships. Had we gone to France and failed without ever trying that combination up front he would have been panned: as it is, we know that three centre forwards, or even two plus a #10 doesn't work. Not with the other players selected anyway.

I think Roy has a thankless task. We have good players but conjuring up a team that is greater than the sum of its parts is very difficult (Ranieri's done it). I think we still need five in midfield and four in defence, as ball winning and retention appears our weakness which means we can only have a single striker.

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"He isn't Doctor Who, he's The Doctor"

(Paul Sinha, BBC)

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quetzalcoatl
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# 16740

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Yes, I find the level of negativity towards England, baffling. It's almost as if some people actually prefer a bad performance, then they can get into their invective.

Portugal are a pretty decent team, and obviously, they went into their shell after the red card.

Most of the England players looked out of sorts or out of position, but I don't see why we have to go into terminal gloom immediately. It's an experiment, FFS.

It's a collective kind of bipolar syndrome amongst critics, so that England are brilliant or complete shit.

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Imaginary Friend

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# 186

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So then boys and girls, the Euros kick off tomorrow. Who are you supporting? Who are your tips for the title, and your dark horses?

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"We had a good team on paper. Unfortunately, the game was played on grass."
Brian Clough

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Hedgehog

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# 14125

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Germany.

Because I always do.

And I've got the shirt. It is far more cost efficient if I don't have to buy a new one.

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"We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it."--Pope Francis, Laudato Si'

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Sioni Sais
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# 5713

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Hedgehog - you could always buy Germany's alternative shirt, which is green. I'm sure they will wear it for a couple of games.

Back to my tip/curse: maybe they are a year past their best and Vincent Kompany is missing but I'm backing Belgium.

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Og, King of Bashan

Ship's giant Amorite
# 9562

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There is a Colorado Rapids team member (Shkëlzen Gashi) actually playing in the Euros. Unfortunately, he's playing for Albania. So for now, go Eagles!, but I'll likely be reassessing come the knockout round.

(Honestly, it has to be France, Germany, and everyone else, right?)

I'm more engaged in the Copa America these days, since my native side (USA) and my adopted number two (Uruguay) are involved.

That said, I'm not going to complain about the prospect of soccer from morning till night in my timezone.

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"I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?" ― Walker Percy

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Hedgehog

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# 14125

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quote:
Originally posted by Og, King of Bashan:
I'm more engaged in the Copa America these days, since my native side (USA) and my adopted number two (Uruguay) are involved.

Pity about Uruguay. AIUI, they just got eliminated last night.

So, Euro 2016. I will make a bold prediction that France wins today's game.

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"We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it."--Pope Francis, Laudato Si'

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Og, King of Bashan

Ship's giant Amorite
# 9562

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Cavani had a good season at Napoli a few years back, got paid, and as far as I can tell, has done next to nothing since.

He'll have a flash here or there. But where Suarez has a Maradona-esque ability to just will himself into position and score when his team needs it (which helps when you have a totally pedestrian midfield playing between two of the best defenders and and one of the best attackers in the world), Cavani seems to blow chances left and right. Diego Godin's head can only dig you out of so many holes. Uruguay is lucky to have done well despite the Suarez suspension through the first half of World Cup qualifiers, and hopefully he will be back at full strength when the second half starts.

But the USA is still in it, for now at least! I'll be watching tomorrow as they take on Paraguay for a shot at the elimination rounds. They'd likely be playing Brazil, and who knows, on home soil against a team that looked beatable in their first game and unbeatable in their second, it could be a historic game.

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"I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?" ― Walker Percy

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Imaginary Friend

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# 186

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I sort-of feel like I'm kinda obliged to take a half-arsed interest in England. But I'm sure you can sense my enthusiasm levels: It's a bit of a struggle! Mostly, I'll be hoping Iceland continue to exceed expectations. Partly because I love visiting Iceland, partly because every Icelandic person I've ever met has been a wonderful human being, and partly because Eiður Guðjohnsen is a hero of mine and this tournament is his swan song.

As for a pick for the winner, I'm afraid it's hard to see past the hosts, but maybe Belgium stand a chance because they have a few Chelsea boys.

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"We had a good team on paper. Unfortunately, the game was played on grass."
Brian Clough

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Hedgehog

Ship's Shortstop
# 14125

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I see Wales has begun its inexorable march to the title!

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"We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it."--Pope Francis, Laudato Si'

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Jonah the Whale

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# 1244

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I am a Liverpool fan, and even I am amazed that Skrtel doesn't get sent off most weeks. His cloak of invisibility seems to stretch to international matches too.
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Og: Thread Killer
Ship's token CN Mennonite
# 3200

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That was sooooo very England.

Wales was good fun. I'm watching the Euros for the minnows.

As for the Copa, only Mexico and Argentina seem to be taking it seriously (well and the US but they are winning on fumes).

There is talk of making the Copa in the US with 6 from CONCACAF also there thing a once every 4 years at the same time as the Euros event. I could live with that, especially if my country could actually get into it.

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I wish I was seeking justice loving mercy and walking humbly but... "Cease to lament for that thou canst not help, And study help for that which thou lament'st."

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Og, King of Bashan

Ship's giant Amorite
# 9562

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For all of the talk about how no one took the Copa seriously, they did get full international sides from everyone except for Brazil, who held back Neymar for the Olympics. Granted, a few injuries have held back a few stars, which might say something about playing three summers of competitive international fixtures in a row.

And holy crap, a "just enough" performance against Paraguay and a Costa Rica upset of Colombia means that the USA wins the group and is in line to face Ecuador or Peru in the quarter finals!

(Gashi apparently had Albania's best chance against Switzerland, as well.)

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"I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?" ― Walker Percy

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Imaginary Friend

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# 186

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Italy v Belgium was a cracker last night. Beautiful example of a team of individuals being beaten by a team who played as a team.

And Iceland come up against Ronaldo FC tonight. That should be good too!

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"We had a good team on paper. Unfortunately, the game was played on grass."
Brian Clough

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Sioni Sais
Shipmate
# 5713

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This might only be available in the UK but worth a look if you find teams representing the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland at the final stages of a major tournament for the first time a bit baffling.

[ 14. June 2016, 22:25: Message edited by: Sioni Sais ]

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"He isn't Doctor Who, he's The Doctor"

(Paul Sinha, BBC)

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