Posts Tagged ‘ Portugal ’

Bad Hair, a Historic Run, Crazy Fans and Bad Refereeing (World Cup 2002) Part 1


Four years on from France 98 and I was ready. Having been completely consumed by Euro 2000, I looked forward to the World Cup in Japan and South Korea. With the help of the internet I was able to learn more and more about the teams and stay up to date on the most recent results.

The tournament started earlier than usual due to the rainy season and, due to the time difference, games kicked off in the middle of the night here in the United States. The United States had qualified (including the first Dos a Cero in Columbus) and opened up against a Portugal team led by their Golden Generation (Vitor Baia, Sérgio Conceição, Jorge Costa, Rui Costa, Fernando Couto, Luís Figo, Nuno Gomes, João Pinto, etc.), who had made the semis of Euro 2000.


The night before the game I had a strange dream, a dream in which the United States thrashed the Portuguese in a stunning upset. Quite the premonition but complicated by the fact that I had slept through the match, missing the Stars and Stripes stunning achievement. I awoke in the early hours and drove to a friend’s house where local coaches were assembling to watch the match, and, as the memorable first half unfolded, my dream was becoming a reality. Portugal fought back and nearly saved a point, but the US held on and set the stage for a historic tournament, in which they reached the Quarter Finals.

This tournament was memorable for several reasons. Recently wed, my wife and I had rented the upstairs of a house and were starting our lives together. Our house didn’t have air conditioning, so I was sweating in the heat even at 2am. I was able to get out of the house to watch the morning matches, as a local bar hosted watch parties for the US games. It was my first taste of communal watching with US fans and not just ex-pats watching EPL and FA Cup games.

moreno frings

Referees were in the news due to several key decisions: Italy falling to South Korea, partly due to some dubious decisions; Spain also losing to the hosts and some even more questionable calls (ball not going out of bounds, phantom whistles, etc); and the no handball call in the Germany/USA game. Frings  stopped the shot on the line and nothing was called.

Average goals continued to decline for the third straight competition but there were some amazing strikes (apologies for the awful music). Uruguay produced two great goals, one by Darío Rodríguez  against Denmark and another by Forlan against Senegal. Edmilson hit a half bike against Costa Rica, there was Torrado’s laser against Ecuador, and Japan’s interplay for the single goal against Russia was fantastic. Dynamic free kicks were also on show with Roberto Carlos against China, Raouf Bouzaiene for Tunisia against Belgium, and Johan Walem for Belgium against Russia. The champions produced two wonderful goals, with Ronaldinho torturing Cole before laying off for Rivaldo and their second against Germany in the Final.

YOKOHAMA - JUNE 30: Ronaldo of Brazil lines up before the World Cup Final match between Germany and Brazil played at the International Stadium Yokohama, Yokohama, Japan on June 30, 2002. Brazil won the match 2-0. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)


Defending champions France were absolutely abysmal, going home with only one point and no goals scored. Brazil made the Final but not before Rivaldo had a shameful dive against Turkey in the Group Stage. Unfortunately Ronaldo unleashed a horrible haircut on the world as well. But one of the lasting memories of the tournament was the noise of the South Korean fans. Watching them support one of the surprise packages of the tournament was a joy. This summary from the Guardian team really captures the highlights (and lowlights) of the tournament.

World Cup 2002 Film

World Cup 2002 Final highlights

Summer of Soccer–Euro 2016 Final

Read part 1 of Euro 2016 journal here

Read my Copa Centenario journal here


France vs Portugal live

The 2016 European Championship Final saw France take on Portugal. The hosts versus Cristiano Ronaldo’s legacy quest. The match up recalled previous match ups, including the Euro 2000 Semi Final and the dramatic 1984 Semi Final. The latter event was something I learned about the days leading up to the tournament (Video and Howler Radio podcast)

For the match I headed down to Fado Buckhead. The plan was to record a Terminus Legion podcast and get a seat for the game. Due to a scheduling mix up the podcast didn’t happen but thank god I was there early. I settled in at a table on the mezzanine and by 1:30 tables downstairs were at a premium, by kickoff people were four and five deep at the bar, and by halftime, you couldn’t get in. I did some get stinkeye as people walked through the bar in search of somewhere to watch the game. Sorry guys. This wasn’t my first rodeo.


Les Bleus were the preferred team at Fado with Portugal and Ronaldo being booed during the walk out. Cheers of Allez Les Bleus rang out from time to time and not much sympathy was given to Ronaldo when he went down injured and eventually had to be subbed out. Sissoko brought out gasps of excitement and anticipation as he drove forward in search of the opener. He seemed to be the only player who was willing to create opportunities and most of the other players fluffed their lines or skewed their shots into the crowd.

Portugal took the cliché “survive and advance” and executed it to the utmost during this tournament. Ronaldo’s two goals saved them against Hungary and allowed them to advance out of the group as a third placed team. From there, a putrid performance against Croatia was salvaged by a late goal in extra time and then they held their nerve against Poland, while the victory against Wales was their first in regulation of the tournament. For the Final, they hustled and bustled without doing too much, although they did trouble Lloris from time to time. I thought for sure Portugal were going to win the match when a handball was incorrectly called against Koscielny but the free kick thundered off the crossbar. There was no let off when Eder created space and hit a low hard shot to secure Portugal’s first major title.


In the end, Cristiano Ronaldo delivered what Eusebio and Figo could not. He now has almost every major title and surely will be named Ballon D’Or later this year. Say what you want about him, but he delivers. His key goals got them to the Final and even though he only played a small part of the Final, you can’t ignore his efforts on the sideline.

As for France, I am surprised they lost. Les Bleus seemed to be peaking and were ready to join their predecessors by winning on home soil. Maybe it was nerves, maybe something else, but they never really hit top gear. Maybe Kante should have played. Maybe Martial should have come in earlier. Maybe Griezmann just ran out of magic. However their performance sets the stage for possible run to the World Cup in Russia.

A couple of odds and ends.


Surely Real Madrid is going to be pissed at the Portugal training staff for letting CR7 run about on a torn ACL.


What can you say about Quarsema’s hair? Wish some of these players would put as much time into their finishing as their follicles.

France's midfielder Moussa Sissoko (L) vies for the ball against Portugal's defender Raphael Guerreiro during the Euro 2016 final football match between France and Portugal at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on July 10, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images

As for the kits, the Final was not marred by some weird clash or alternate alternate kit. Both teams wore the home strip. Would have preferred contrasting shorts but Nike clearly has an idea of what they want their kits to look like.


In the end I enjoyed the tournament. Watching the BBC’s post Final montage and quickly skimming the Guardian’s highs and lows I was reminded of some the wonderful moments as well as the quickly forgotten episodes. Several outlets lamented the lack of excitement and quality. I thought there some poor games but some amazing goals and wonderful atmosphere. To be fair, I was a little more distant from the tournament than normal due to other commitments but still relished the event.


Check out more posts on my trips, research and memories on the MatchDay Memories page.

Top Five Matches

I came across a post on reddit asking Which five matches changed your life?Loved the question and after thinking about it for a bit, here’s what I came up with:

1996       England v Germany Euro 96

download (2)

This game created the template for watching soccer while working. ESPN picked up the rights to this tournament and I fell in love with Croatia, saw Gazza’s wonder goal against Scotland, and the Czech Republic’s heartbreak in the Final against Germany. In the previous round, England played Germany in a rematch of the 1990 World Cup Semi. I was working as a summer intern at the FBI and snuck up to a conference room to watch the second half and penalties. England were so close but after 11 perfect spot kicks, Southgate’s miss condemned the Three Lions to defeat.

1999       Bayern Munich v Manchester United   Champions League Final

99 ucl

As my love for the Red Devils continued to grow, the Treble season reached its dramatic conclusion in Barcelona. With no Keane or Scholes, United was up against it and when Basler scored in the opening minutes, I didn’t believe. Negative by nature I just waited for Bayern to seal the game and accept defeat. But when Sheringham poked home from close range I screamed with excitement. And when Solskjaer put the ball in the Germans net, I ran around the house in sheer joy.

2002       USA v Portugal   World Cup 2002 Group Stage


In the days leading up to the game, I had a dream that the US crushed Portugal like 6-0 but I had missed it by sleeping in. Due to the time difference, the game kicked off at 4am ET. On the morning of the game, I drove frantically to a friend’s house who was hosting people. After the early US blitz I thought maybe I had had some sort of premonition but alas, Portugal fought back and made for a nervous last couple of minutes. That tournament was amazing and I got up at all hours to watch the matches.

2009       Real Madrid v FC Barcelona     La Liga


In the late 90s and early 2000s I start following FC Barcelona and watched a dramatic 2006 Champions League Final against Arsenal. In the years following, that magic team was broken up and rebuilt and taken over by Pep Guardiola who drove the Blaugrana to an unprecedented, at the time, Treble. Real Madrid hunted Barca down in the league and set up a crucial meeting at the Bernabeu, and when Los Merengues scored first, a sick feeling came over me. And then magic happened with Henry and Messi tearing apart the hosts, each scoring twice, and also getting goals from Puyol and Piqué. It was breathtaking and set the stage for Iniesta’s moment of magic at Stamford Bridge and an amazing finish to the season.

2012       Manchester City v QPR     English Premier  League


The dramatic end to the 1988-89 season was before my time, so when United came back from 0-1 against Spurs in the final league game of 1999 to clinch the title, I didn’t think it could get much better than that. I was wrong. A bunch of fellow fans gathered at Buffalo Wild Wings for Fox’s Survival Sunday, with all ten games on an array of channels. With fans from several different teams present, cheers and groans were constant depending on the action. Eventually we started calling out the TV numbers to keep track of the events. United secured victory at Sunderland and with City down 1-2 against QPR, another league title looked secure. But the fickle finger of fate intervened and Dzeko equalized, setting up Aguero’s moment of glory. Stunned I drank several shots as I watched the celebrations at Etihad. Gutted by the result, it was still one of the greatest soccer community events I have ever experienced.

Let me know what games impacted your soccer support in the comments below.


Check out more posts on my trips, research and memories on the MatchDay Memories page.

Strip Club–World Cup 2014 Kit Preview (Part 2)

In preparation for the 2014 World Cup I have been working on several projects, one of which is reviewing all of the kits from each country for the tournament.  For Euro 2012, I did an extensive series of posts, running a virtual kit tournament.  Alas time and scope do not allow me to do this sort of thing for the World Cup, so instead I went through all of the shirts and narrowed it down to the my top 20.  There are some excellent resources for this:

From there I ranked them and put together a couple of posts.  Hope you enjoy and comments are welcome.

#10  Belgium  Home       

I love the red color of the jersey with the image of the crown from the crest in the torso.  I am not familiar with the manufacturer Burrda but the company did well with all three kits.  All three use the flag colors in the ring collar and the horizontal accent is muted and adds a nice touch.

#9  Brazil  Home

Brazil 2014 World Cup Home Kit (6)               

Brazil has such an iconic yet simple jersey and it’s hard to screw up, but Nike and Umbro have both done so in the past.  The understated trim on the sleeves (as opposed to the #StoptheSleeve versions of recent years) and the new collar design really put this towards the top.

#8  Iran  Away   

I didn’t even know that uhlsport still existed but the company created a dynamic jersey for Iran’s appearance at the 2014 World Cup.  The sublimated cheetah on the away kit is pretty cool and although this could be seen as a Portugal rip off, I think is distinctive enough to stand on its own.  In my research, I came across this on wikipedia:

On 1 February 2014, Iran announced the addition of the endangered Asiatic cheetah on their 2014 FIFA World Cup kits in order to bring attention to its conservation efforts.

#7  Japan  Home

Japan 2014 World Cup Home Kit (1)

Adidas got this spot on for the Blue Samurai.  The blue is very rich and is trimmed with a peach color which you don’t see very often.  The lines that radiate out from the national badge are not only an appealing accent but, according to Football Fashion, serve a purpose:

According to adidas: . . . the uniform is an expression of the strong determination as the players and the supporters realise that now is the time to unite as one and go into a huddle (“ENJIN”) to get ready for the battle ahead, to go all in for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ and capture victory.  On the left side of the chest, there are 11 lines spreading out from the emblem, expressing the way those players depart from the “ENJIN” to their respective positions on the pitch for the battle.

#6  Cote d’Ivoire  Home

Ivory Coast 2014 World Cup Home Kit 2

Simply love this jersey.  Love the orange, and the shirt has such a great looking crest.  The African accents on the shoulders and armpits are unique and dynamic, creating a striking jersey for the team.  Here’s hoping that Didier Drogba and company get out of the group stage this time around.

#5  Holland  Home 


Another orange jersey and another classic.  As with Brazil, the Dutch kit is very identifiable and Nike has kept things very simple here.  In the end, a slightly redesigned crest really pushes this shirt up the list.

#4  Ghana  Home 

Ghana 2014 World Cup Home Kit 2

Love the contrast of the white shirt with the accents on the cuffs and shoulders.  Sometimes the simplest shirts are the best.

#3  England  Away   

England 2014 World Cup Home Kit (1)

Nike got this absolutely right for England.  The pinstriped red shirt with a ring collar cleverly hides a St. Cross design, and the crest pops against the red background.  Combined with the white shorts and red socks, this is one of best strips at the World Cup.

#2  Croatia  Away

Croatia 2014 Nike World Cup Away Jersey Image

I’m a big fan of Croatian kits, and this jersey uses the standard royal blue of their away kit and accents it with the red and white checks across the shoulders.  Speaking of the red and white checks, I found an interesting post on Wikipedia about the Croatian Coat of Arms, which gives insight into the colors used in the jersey.  It also appears that there is a two tone blue in the Football Federation crest but I haven’t been able to find anything that confirms that.

#1  Portugal  Away     

Nike Portugal 2014 World Cup Away Kit (1)

Wow.  When I first saw this shirt, I was reminded of previous Portuguese away kits.  Turns out that the 1998. 2000 and 2002 away kits were white with navy blue trim and accents, although for the life of me I couldn’t remember them ever wearing those at a competitive event.  This jersey has so much going for it: a white base with minimal blue trim around the collar and sleeves; a collar that combines modern design with the Nike button phase; and a crest that pops while referencing history (Portuguese Football Federation’s centenary).  Combined with the blue shirts and white socks, I hope Portugal wears this every game instead of their historic maroon kit.  This has definitely gone on the wish list and hope to pick it up in the coming months.

Strip Club–Tip Out Edition

As I’ve written before, Euro 2000 was one of my favorite and most memorable soccer tournaments ever.  During a window in the late 90’s to early 2000’s, I turned from casual fan into full-on Soccer Nerd.  During those years I was reading, watching, coaching and playing to a level that raised the game to an obsession (an unhealthy one my wife might add) in my life.

One of the disappointments of that tournament was Germany.  The defending European champions had crashed out against Croatia at the 1998 World Cup and began defense of their title with a strong Bayern Munich contingent, a sprinkling of German contributions in the English Premier League and some domestically based stars.

The Germans were drawn in a group with Romania, England and Portugal.  In the opener, Mehmet Scholl pegged back the Romanians with a goal to secure a point (his goal is early in the video).  Next up was England, and Alan Shearer doomed Die Mannschaft to an early exit with a headed goal, marking the first time that England had won a competitive match against Germany since the 1966 World Cup final.

Portugal added insult to injury with a 3-0 demolition via a hat trick from Sérgio Conceição.  The winger nodded in Pauleta’s shot cum cross at the back post before getting laid out by Kahn to open the scoring.  Conceição then danced around Hamann and hit a shot right at the German keeper, which somehow he didn’t save.  Later in the second half, Conceição was released down the right hand channel and thumped his shot home to the far post.

The poor performance of the Germans started a rebuilding process that is paying dividends to this day.  Two years later Germany were in the World Cup Final.  They made the World Cup Semi-Finals in 2006 on home soil and were Runners-Up at Euro 2008.  Another Semi-Final appearance at World Cup 2010 was followed up by Semi-Final defeat by Italy at Euro 2012.  The team is poised for great things at the 2014 World Cup with players hitting their prime and Bayern Munich finding domestic and European success.

As for the jersey itself, I got it in unique circumstances.  The BIGGBY franchisee I worked for had three daughters.  The oldest daughter’s husband was in town on break from military service and was looking for a soccer game.  I hooked him up at a local facility and afterwards he said he had a jersey that he didn’t really wear or want.  So I took the bait.  Turns out it was the Germany away shirt from Euro 2000, which was seen in the game against England.

In my research, I found this information from Picking up the Threads about the color green being used:

The German away kit is traditionally green and white; there is a widespread urban myth that this was a mark of respect that Ireland retained neutrality in WWII, or they played their first post-war friendly against them; however neither of these stories are true (it was in fact Switzerland who West Germany first played a post-war friendly against in 1950).  The colours of the away kit actually reflect the colours found on the flag of the second biggest kingdom of ancient Germany; Hannover and Saxony.

The shirt is a little big and can get a touch heavy during hot conditions, but I love the look.  Adidas incorporated the German flag into the collar, bands on the sleeves and the three stars representing each World Cup victory.  One of the coed teams I played on recently used green as their team color, so I made sure to wear it every once in a while.  I enjoy watching this current German team, so break out the jersey occasionally during International weekends.  For the 2013 Champions League Final, I wore it to the Watch Party as I didn’t support either Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund.  It’s a nice collector’s item but not a heavy part of the rotation.

MatchDay Memory–Going Hollywood

During one of our Mid-Michigan United watch parties, after yet another Joe Hart/Rachel Maddow joke, I had the idea to do a post about players who like actors/characters.  I started jotting down some ideas and kept my notebook with me watching games in case something came to mind.  As usual, I was a day late and a dollar short to an idea.  Putting the post together, I came across the tumblr page Footballers Who Look Like Actorswhich had already gotten quite a head start.  Disheartened I pushed on, because I had a couple in my notes that they did not have, so here is my starting eleven plus a manager, a referee and a mayor.


From the moment I saw David de Gea at Atleti, I was convinced he was the starting keeper for the Whoville National Team.  Look at him.  Crazy hair and sideburns, little button nose, scrawny as Calista Flockhart on a bad day.  As a United fan I want him to bulk up and be more of a controlling presence in the penalty area.  As a bitter, snarky prick, I want him to remain ridiculously frail so that everyone can make fun of him.

Val Kilmer is preparing himself for his role as Sergio Ramos in the upcoming biopic about the Spanish defender.  Not a single part of the last sentence is true, especially because Val would have to lose too much weight to even make that happen.  When I see the current Sergio Ramos (beard, highlights, shorthair), I think Ice Man and Thunderheart.


Philippe Mexes has an uncanny resemblance to actor Jeremy Renner.  Credit to Footballers Who Like Actors for the pic, who did the hard work for me on that one.  Mexes occasionally has a moment of glory but sometimes (read: most of the time) can be utterly useless.  Likewise Renner has been in decent movies (The Town and Hurt Locker) but also has made some bad choices (The Avengers and Ghost Protocol).

Cedrick suggested that Thomas Vermaelen IS Jude Law.  Have to agree that some of the pics on the interwebs are striking in their similarities.  Tough to say whether the Belgian player is actually a decent defender or impersonating one in hopes of running off with Arsenal’s great fortunes.  Wait, what?

Fabio Coentrao is probably not chasing around supernatural forces or writing another best seller but he does have a resemblance to David Duchovny’s characters over the years, especially Hank Moody from Californication.  The actor has a little squarer jaw but Coentrao could probably do in a pinch.

ashley young

Another United player has a twin in the acting world.  Skimming the Footballers Who Look Like Actors website, a recent post showed side by side pics of Ashley Young and Jaime Hector.  Think what you want about Young (diver, poor crosser of the ball, waste of space) but Hector’s performance as Marlo Stanfield in the Wire was amazing.  What you say.  You haven’t seen the Wire.  Stop reading this post and start watching the series right now.

For the purposes of this post and as an acknowledgment of the Spanish Waiter’s tactical creativity with Chelsea at the 2012 Club World Cup, I have moved David Luiz into central midfield, and his doppelganger is easy: Sideshow Bob.  Next.

Mesut Ozil / Peter Lorre(submitted by mimirose)

Out on the left side of the pitch I have put Mesut Ozil.  Again the Footballers Who Look Like Actors website provided the comparison, in this case—Peter Lorre.  His name sounded familiar but had no idea who he was.  After a little research, found out he was in Casablanca, the Maltese Falcon, the Mr. Moto movies and Arsenic and Old Lace.  Who knew?

Pulling the strings for this eleven has to be everyone’s favorite Uruguayan—Luis Suarez.  Hopefully in some hypothetical match he doesn’t offend the opposition, try to dive for a penalty or save a goal bound shot with his hand.  His twin, Anne Hathaway, has been a running gag on the Men in Blazers podcast for a while now, even generating an entry on the MIB wiki.


Hopefully scoring the goals for the team would be Roberto Soldado and Edison Cavani. I started referring to the Spanish striker as Bradley Cooper in my early posts on La Liga, while Cavani’s particular facial features reminded me of days gone by and Masters of the Universe villain Skeletor.

holloway sloth

Mean-spirit-ness ahoy. Managing this team has to be Iain Dowie.  Due to his long record of success?  No.  Due to his inspiring man management skills?  No.  Because he is Sloth, again a touchstone to another movie of my youth—The Goonies.  Not nice to say but most think it and don’t say it out loud.  Credit to ROLFrazzi for pic.

Finally, taking charge of the match must be Spanish referee Cesar Nunez Fernandez who, along with University of Kentucky Lead Car Salesman Head Basketball Coach John Calipari, is keeping the world’s hair gel economy afloat.  Obviously he’s been hitting the beach or tanning bed more than the UK coach, and I’m sure he could make sure that any game goes off without a hitch.  Even with Suarez on the field.

Overseeing all of the festivities would be Mayor Quimby from the Simpsons, giving the match a sense of decorum.  And if he couldn’t make it, I’m sure his understudy, Brendan Rodgers, could step in.  Have to give a shout to Mid-Michigan United Supporters John and Ravi who tipped me off to this one.


So that’s the list.

GK      David de Gea              Who from Whoville

RB       Sergio Ramos              Val Kilmer

CB       Thomas Vermaelen     Jude Law

CB       Philippe Mexes            Jeremy Renner

LB       Fabio Coentrao           David Duchovny

RM      Ashley Young             Jaime Hector

DM      David Luiz                  Sideshow Bob

AM      Luis Suarez                 Anne Hathaway

LM      Mesut Ozil                  Peter Lorre

ST        Edison Cavani             Skeletor

ST        Roberto Soldado         Bradley Cooper

MGR   Iain Dowie                  Sloth

Referee Cesar Nunez Fernandez        John Calipari

The goal now becomes creating another squad for this team to play against.  The notebook will be at the ready and if I can’t create it on my own, then I’ll “borrow” from Footballers Who Look Like Actors.

In my research I found some more resources:

Enjoy and thanks to everyone for their suggestions and notes.

Old Futbol Buffet–Insane Afternoon

Albert Einstein has been quoted as saying “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Consider me crazy.

Why I continue to watch any game involving Portugal is beyond me.  They run with purpose and pass the ball and defend and CR7 prances around and then nothing.  No goals, few chances.  I tweeted to a fellow soccer fan after the match:

ME: CR7 is surrounded by players with low soccer IQ’s. he will never win any international trophies.

FAN: mind you, not much anyone can do with this Spain side playing how they are!

ME: true but even as #ESP come back to pack a la #FCB, Portuguese team struggles to score & win important matches. why do i watch?

I’m pretty sure Capello’s pre game notes read grab early goal (check) and soak up pressure (check) and secure three points (check).  Kerzhakov punished a Portuguese turnover as Bruno Alves was out to the lunch in transition.  From there Russia collapsed centrally and allowed the visitors to go wide, where their service was poor, while attempts at interchanging passes around the penalty area ended in frustration.  Portugal’s best chances came from set pieces in which their aerial dominance (Alves in particular) came to the fore.  Had Russia been able to possess better, they could have added several more goals.  As it was they continually gave the ball back and invited the hosts on to them.

Nani was his usual terrible self, mis-hitting crosses and dribbling into pressure, although he had a layoff of exquisite quality that almost led to an equalizer.   Didn’t recognize Coentrao a) because I didn’t realize he was still playing as he has disappeared from RMFC and b) because his highlights were gone, so I looked for a blond haired left back and couldn’t find one.  Unfortunately he went off injured and did not look good.

As for kits, pleasing to the eye.  Both are still wearing their kits from Euro 2012 and here were my thoughts going into that tournament:

The Russians return to a redder red instead of the maroon version of 2010 (which was released as a World Cup kit before they were eliminated by Slovenia).  Usually I go for the sash, but the Russian kit doesn’t work for me, especially since the sublimated design looks like chain mail.


The Portuguese kit is simple and clean.  Not as good as the home but fine nonetheless.

Strip Club–Euro 2012 Kit Tournament (Knockout Stages)

In an ambitious effort to get involved with the upcoming Euros, I followed the draw, game by game, to determine which kit would win Euro 2012 based on my tastes.  These posts are an extension of my Strip Club posts and the epic Kit Tournament done by Avoiding the Drop for the 2010 World Cup.

Special thanks to Mao Football, whose post got this all kicked off for me.  Also to , who put together a slide show of each jersey.  Finally, 7football created a graphic representation of each strip complete with shirt, shorts and socks.  Truly phenomenal stuff.

I’ve made it to the knockout stages and here are my picks.



Poland v Denmark

On another day, Denmark might have rekindled memories of 20 years ago when they won the 1992 Euros in stunning fashion, but their red kit gave them no chance of advancing in this matchup.  The hosts playing in white easily win this game as there will not be another Danish miracle.

Portugal v Czech Republic

This is one of the toughest match-ups of the tournament.  The maroon home kit of Portugal against the white kit of the Czech Republic.  In a highly entertaining, back and forth match, penalties will decide the winner.  Maybe I have a bias against the Portuguese or maybe the memory of Cristiano missing another penalty is still fresh in my mind but I am going with the clean, classy strip of the Czech Republic.

Croatia v Sweden

Easy pick here, with the checkered home kit of Croatia getting the job done against the navy blue kit of the Swedes.  How they even got this far, I’ll never know.

Ukraine v Ireland

I imagine Ukraine will run out in yellow against the Irish in green.  Since I’m not a big fan of the Irish home kit and the hosts will have full support, the Ukrainians will be in the semis of a major competition.


Poland v Croatia

Poland’s home kit has gotten them pretty far on home soil and they meet a kit that is unique in form and design.  Now that we are down to the final stages, it is very hard to make a choice.  I am trying to temper my love of Croatia and look at things clearly. Poland is at home, which is a factor, but it’s not enough to take down the blue kit of the Croatians.

Czech Republic v Ukraine

Assuming the Czechs were their all red kit, which strip does Ukraine wear?  All blue, all yellow?  My guess is that the blue kit of the Ukraine will make another appearance. Again, two nice kits which are hard to separate.  And again a host country is eliminated at the final hurdle.


Croatia v Czech Republic

In this final, Croatia should wear their traditional checkered pattern, but since it is red and white and the Czech kits are red or white, I see Croatia wearing their blue strip and the Czech Republic wearing the all white, which will provide a nice contrast.  At this stage, there are no losers.  In a tightly contest affair, I’m going with the all white strip of the Czech Republic.

So there you go.  Hope you enjoyed reading about and viewing these kits as I did putting it together.  I hope to have a proper preview up before the tournament starts.  And by proper I mean short, uninformed and not very clear.  Can’t wait for this competition to kick off.

Strip Club–Euro 2012 Kit Tournament (Group B)

In an ambitious effort to get involved with the upcoming Euros, I followed the draw, game by game, to determine which kit would win Euro 2012 based on my tastes.  These posts are an extension of my Strip Club posts and the epic Kit Tournament done by Avoiding the Drop for the 2010 World Cup.

Special thanks to Mao Football, whose post got this all kicked off for me.  Also to , who put together a slide show of each jersey.  Finally, 7football created a graphic representation of each strip complete with shirt, shorts and socks.  Truly phenomenal stuff.

Here we go.






Netherlands v Denmark

The Netherlands kick off the Group of Death wearing the traditional orange, but Nike got it wrong this year.  The Dutch World Cup 2010 kit was ok, with the badge a touch too big and the collar a little disconcerting, but they have regressed at this championship.  The alternating four panels on the front are terrible and they should pray (for the sake of this exercise) that they don’t wear it beyond this match.  As for the Danes, their white away kit is a straightforward adidas template with minimal accents.  The Danes earn all three points.

Germany v Portugal

These two countries have met at the two of the last three major championships, with the Germans winning both (Third Place Match at World Cup 2006 and Quarter-Final at Euro 2008).  In this opening match I am assuming that Germany will wear their white kit and Portugal will go with their maroon home kit.  The German kit would be fine if not for the diagonal pinstripes.  As for the Portuguese, their kit has been relatively simple over the years, which is a good thing, so I give them the win in this match-up.

Denmark v Portugal

The Danes will take the field in their traditional red jersey, a red that always seems to be uniquely Danish.  My only problem with this kit is the shoulders.  Not sure what adidas is going for here (I’ve read/heard that it is a shoutout to the victorious Euro 92 kit), but I don’t like it. Portugal’s away kit is white and features a green and maroon cross in the center.  It works for me and I award them the win.

Netherlands v Germany

What must the TV people think ahead of this match?  Going by the book, it will be the Dutch orange home kit against the German green away kit.  That can’t be good for the audience.  My guess is the Germans will go white.  This match is drab draw with neither kit really doing it for me.

Denmark v Germany

Again a horrifying scenario for the networks as they are faced with the possibility of a Christmas themed game featuring the red of the Danes and the green of the Germans.  Again, neither one is a winner for me so I’m going to call this a draw, which eliminates the Germans from this tough group.

Portugal v Netherlands

Based on the team listings, this match would feature the maroon of Portugal against the black away kit of the Dutch.  Don’t see that happening.  Instead I see Nike making sure they get some mileage out of the away kit so Portugal will go with their white jersey.  The Dutch away jersey is absolute tops.  I’m a sucker for black, and this hits all the right notes.  The difference between the home and away is stark and the Dutch secure all three points in a comprehensive victory, but it’s not enough to get them to the next round.


Portugal 2 0 1 6
Denmark 1 1 1 4
Holland 1 1 1 4
Germany 0 2 1 2

Old Futbol Buffet–Back from the Interlull

What a week.  Labor Day was actually semi-relaxing but then it was right back into my life, which continues to be busy.  During the week, I missed most of the US game against Belgium due to work.  I kept trying to peek at it, and, when I did, all I saw were Belgians ghosting past US defenders and Altidore turning the ball over.


WFPI 9.3.11

Tim Vickery (@Tim_Vickery) discussed Coates’ move to Liverpool.  He has been a hot topic the last couple of weeks as callers are interested in what kind of player he is and how to say his name.

Andy Brassell (@andybrassell) talked about the rebuilding of Roma.  Kjaer, Pjanic, Gago, Pablo Osvaldo, Stekelenburg, Krkic and Lamela to name a few summer signings.  Not sure if they can improve on their sixth place finish last year but should be fun to watch.

Finally there was discussion on Everton’s new signing Denis Stracqualursi (aka Straka).  Mostly it was about his name.


In trading twitter replies with Andy Brassell, I asked about Ricardo Carvalho retiring from international football.  He pointed me towards his article on the topic from  Not a lot of detail about the conflict, but it’s safe to say that Ricky won’t be pulling on the shirt for a while, if at all.


This week was all about Juventus.  Tuesday saw the guys at It Ain’t Over podcast finally released their end of season podcast.  I gave it a listen to that and was finally able to put last season’s nightmare behind me.  It’s all about closure.  Moving forward, Adam (@adz77) posted his season preview.  There are lots of new players that honestly I’m not familiar with, and I’m hoping for an entertaining ride to a top 6 spot. Finally, Thursday saw Juventus open their new stadium.  I got back to my hotel to catch the end of the opening ceremonies, which were pretty cool.  @TeamGrease at wrote a great piece that set the stage for the festivities.

As for the game, which Adam noted seemed liked an afterthought, Notts County held their own.  They didn’t threaten the Juventus goal too many times (although Storari had to sharp early in the second half) but they kept the Bianconeri at arm’s length pretty easily.  An unfortunate hand ball gave Quagliarella the chance to open the score from the spot, but the keeper saved and Luca Toni finished it off.  A scramble off a set piece just minutes from time netted the visitors an equalizer.


The panel on the United Redcast (@unitedredcast) surprised themselves about how optimistic they are about the new season.  How can you not be?  MUFC are off to a fantastic start, led by several by young players.  They crushed Bolton, with Rooney continuing his great start and Chicharito starting right where he left off.  Several tests are in front of them in the league (9/18 v Chelsea; 10/15 @ Liverpool; and 10/23 v City), so we’ll see.


The latest Unprofessional Foulcast looked back at the US/Belgium game and the guys are taking the long view on Klinsmann’s US team.  Orr gave a quick five minute preview of Serie A, which starts up after a one round delay.  Finally, they briefly, and mostly incorrectly, looked ahead to the EPL fixtures.


The panel at Football Weekly Extra wrapped up Euro 2012 and previewed the EPL games, but Philippe Auclair had some hones criticism of Les Bleus.  The new era under Blanc has faded and where will they go from here?  He also talked about Ligue Un, including Joe Cole’s transfer to Lille.


Grant Wahl was on Beyond the Pitch talking about the USMNT.  He discussed Torres’ re-integration under Klinsmann, future permutations of the squad , the enigma of Jozy Altidore (target player or second striker) and the emergence of Break Shea.


Saturday I caught up on some La Liga.  I watched the replay of Real Sociedad v FCB and Valencia v Atletico Madrid, which I plan to discuss on this week’s Morbo Minute.  Sunday I wasn’t able to catch the Juventus season opener live (6:30 am ET) or on replay.  I’m hoping to watch it Monday or Tuesday but may just have to settle for highlights and analysis.  This week’s over.  On to next week.