Omen II

The Football (Soccer) Thread

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22 hours ago, Stefancos said:

Once again the England fans are disgracing their team and their country.

 

I'm beginning to believe a Brexit might not  be such a bad thing.

 

Steef, I don't think that a vote to leave the European Union would also see us defect from UEFA to CONCACAF, much as I would enjoy an away qualifier in El Salvador!

 

While I'm not about to excuse those England fans who travelled to Marseille looking for trouble - I've been to enough England games myself where I've witnessed loutish and aggressive behaviour from a minority of our supporters - a lot of this disorder seems to have been provoked by a truly dangerous hardcore of Russian hooligans spoiling for a fight and knowing they would get a reaction from England fans who had been sitting in the sun drinking all day.  Sadly a lot of Russian clubs have nasty far right ultra elements who idolise the 1970s / 1980s hooligan culture of English football and are seemingly trying to make up for lost time.  Then on top of that the default solution of the French police to deal with any disorder is tear gas and baton charges, which although is their prerogative (when in Rome, etc.) does mean that a lot of innocent bystanders are caught up in the trouble.

 

How on earth were Russian supporters able to bring a flare and fireworks into the stadium, given the heightened concerns over terrorism?  And then to charge sections of the England fans at the final whistle?  God help us with the World Cup in Russia in two years' time if this is what we've got to look forward to.

 

As for the game, I thought England were much the better team but I just knew that we would regret not taking more of the many chances we created.  Why Roy brought James Milner on instead of someone like James Vardy I don't know.  Milner had one job to do and failed.  I'm not looking forward to the match against Wales on Thursday, because win, lose or draw we will never hear the end of it from the folk the other side of Offa's Dyke.

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Oh the behaviour of the Russian fans was truly atrocious. And then a Russian minister blames French security rather then condemn his own people.

 

The game was a typical England tournament game, so close to a victory...oh well. At least it wasnt as embarrassing as that famous Robert Green gaff.

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9 hours ago, Stefancos said:

At least it wasnt as embarrassing as that famous Robert Green gaff.

 

For me that's a fond memory! USA! USA! 

 

(speaking of which, the Americans just finished first in their Copa America group, ahead of even world #3 Colombia!)

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8 hours ago, Stefancos said:

I mentioned that to some American friends....they don't care.

It's a minor sport at best here. We prefer Football, Basketball, Baseball, and Hockey above all else.

In that order. 82 days until the first Football Saturday.

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I grew up in a regional market without an NBA team so my interest in the sport ends when the college season ends. Hockey and football flip-flop as my 1 and 2 based on who's better, though they only overlap three months. Right now it's my #1, obviously. 

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10 hours ago, Stefancos said:

I mentioned that to some American friends....they don't care.

 

Yeah. The mostly empty stadiums for the tournament (which is being held in the U.S. for the first time) indicate that soccer still has a long way to grow before it becomes truly big here -- if it ever does. It seems to me that the men's World Cup is the only tournament that can really get major attention here. 

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And it's a shame because it's got to be the cheapest sport to play as a child. All you *need* are a ball and a big field. The opening to the goal can be marked by anything, and if you don't have a net, you make your kid brother chase the ball. I think soccer is just more fun to play than it is to watch, so rarely does childhood passion for the sport carry into adulthood in the US, and its limited marketing doesn't help. But in Europe, it's the bee's knees. 

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31 minutes ago, Bill said:

 

Yeah. The mostly empty stadiums for the tournament (which is being held in the U.S. for the first time) indicate that soccer still has a long way to grow before it becomes truly big here -- if it ever does. It seems to me that the men's World Cup is the only tournament that can really get major attention here. 

 

I don't think the stadiums are empty when it comes to your own soccer league though.

Americans are generally disinterested in competing against other countries in sporting events, and many South Americans probably can't afford to go to the USA.

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Yes our soccer stadiums are empty. But you can be sure the first home game in the big house in Michigan there will be 112000+ screaming fans. My team the Razorbacks will expand our stadium to 82000.

Football is life.

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1 hour ago, Stefancos said:

 

I don't think the stadiums are empty when it comes to your own soccer league though.

 

You're absolutely right. In many cities, Major League Soccer (MLS) fills stadiums. Thing is, most of those stadiums are built specifically for MLS soccer and only fit 20,000-30,000 people. The Copa's being played in (American) football stadiums, which seat 60,000-90,000. As you can imagine, it's been hard to fill even 60,000 seats, much less 90,000, during the Copa. The average attendance so far is 40,411, largest is 83,263 (and that was for a game with Mexico involved at the Rose Bowl, which is in LA very close to the border with Mexico), and smallest is a mere 11, 937. Even just watching on TV, it hurts the atmosphere of the games to see so many empty seats -- even the U.S. team could only fill a stadium once in their three games so far, once even drawing less than 40,000. 

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The average attendance as it turns out is 21k. In the US pro baseball attendance is 72 million for a season. College football is over 49 million for the season. College Basketball is over 32 million. Then pro basketball, hockey, pro football all over 17 million and then soccer at 7 million.

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No easy way to say this, Alex. But Belgium is very disappointing. 

Italy did what they usually do and didn't have to do anything more.

 

Pity....

 

Great final goal!

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3 hours ago, Stefancos said:

Americans are generally disinterested in competing against other countries in sporting events

 

That's true of me, other than a few Canadian hockey teams. In Europe, a few hour drive can put you through a number of different countries, all with their own culture and sports teams. The same length of time drive through the US keeps you in the same country. This can put you through a number of large cities, each with their own sports teams, carrying rivalries I find more compelling than other countries. 

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OTTVAN!!!!!

I was minus 2 years old when Hungary last participated in a World Championship in 86 and even "older" when they were at their last Euros in 72, and I've watched and played football since I was 5, so this 2-0 win against Austria is HUUUUUUUGE! Hajrá magyarok!

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15 hours ago, Omen II said:

My dad once got Ferenc Puskas's autograph!

 

Fact.

 

That's awesome! Where did he get it?

I watched the match with my 85-year-old grandpa who took me to my first Győri ETO match when I was around 5, they're the last generation who's seen Puskás play with Honvéd and Hungary. So cherish that autograph :)

Hungarian football was in such a bad shape during my lifetime that I don't think my grandpa thought he would live to see them again in the big stage.

Now, I would love to get a signed sweatpants from Király Gabi, who became the oldest player to play at the Euros, and he did it stylishly, with a clean sheet and his signature no-look pass at the end :D

 

 

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9 hours ago, SzPeti42 said:

 

That's awesome! Where did he get it?

 

 

I think it was at Heathrow Airport, many years ago.  Sadly my dad is no longer around for me to check the details but I might be able to find the autograph somewhere.

 

Gabor Kiraly is quite well known to us English football fans, having played over here for a few seasons, most notably with Crystal Palace.  Those grey tracksuit bottoms are something of a trademark!

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So what are they saying in Belgium? What are the predictions? Will De Bruyne finally find his form, will Lukaku be less isolated up front this time?

 

Will Marc Wilmot stop stifling his team and let them play less defensive this time? The honour of the Low Countries is in your hands!

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They are saying it's a team full of star players but they don't form a real team. They also lack the will, the enthusiasm, the drive, ...

 

But who knows, now that the pressure is gone, they might surprise us today.

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On 2016. 06. 15. at 11:38 PM, Omen II said:

 

I think it was at Heathrow Airport, many years ago.  Sadly my dad is no longer around for me to check the details but I might be able to find the autograph somewhere.

 

Gabor Kiraly is quite well known to us English football fans, having played over here for a few seasons, most notably with Crystal Palace.  Those grey tracksuit bottoms are something of a trademark!

Oh, sorry to hear that.

A real, authentic Puskás signature could be really valuable to a collector, for us 90s kids he was like a national hero, even a legend, role model, etc. He had really good PR after the communist regime collapsed :D For a time he was a national enemy of course because he deserted in the 50s, but he proved himself at Real Madrid too and eventually even the communists forgave him.

Yes, I followed Király’s career from the start, I even remember Scholes’ brutal goal against him when he was at Aston Villa :D

I was a keeper too in elementary school, he and Casillas were huge inspirations for me as a kid, just like Williams musically :D

Now that was better from the Belgians, Ireland is disappointing so far.

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5 hours ago, Alexcremers said:

Today! Belgium vs Ireland!

 

Will Belgium make ... eh ... green hills, sheep and Guinness out of the Irish?

 

I predicted the score! 

 

Green hills (1-0), Sheep (2-0), Guinness (3-0)!

 

 

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Huhh, that was a nail-biter against Iceland. This team have really come alive since Dárdai Pali and the Germans took over. It will be super hard against a Portugal team that must win, but anything happens after this, they've gained my respect.

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On 18 June 2016 at 3:07 PM, SzPeti42 said:

Yes, I followed Király’s career from the start, I even remember Scholes’ brutal goal against him when he was at Aston Villa :D

 

Coincidentally, I've just got Gabor Kiraly in my latest packet of Panini Euro 2016 stickers!  Does anyone else admit to collecting these?  I had not bought Panini stickers for a tournament for donkey's years, but they were giving the albums out free at my local supermarket and I had about ten stickers I had received free with the matchday programmes from the last couple of England games I attended.  Anyway, to cut a long story short, a couple of beers later and I'm on Amazon ordering a retail box of 500 Panini Euro 2016 stickers.  Initially I felt dirty and ashamed until I opened the first packet and it contained the Croatia golden, one of the most beautiful items in my possession.  Now I gotta collect 'em all!

 

I am enjoying the tournament very much so far.  There have been a lot of matches decided by very late goals (not least that of Dani-El St. Ur'ridge against the Taffies), while the standard of refereeing has been excellent on the whole.  I was sceptical about the expansion of the finals to 24 teams, but it has maintained interest to the final group games with the prospect of three countries qualifying from each group.  I'm kicking myself now that I did not try to get tickets to one or two of the matches in the general sale, but hey ho.

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3 hours ago, Omen II said:

 

Coincidentally, I've just got Gabor Kiraly in my latest packet of Panini Euro 2016 stickers!  Does anyone else admit to collecting these?  I had not bought Panini stickers for a tournament for donkey's years, but they were giving the albums out free at my local supermarket and I had about ten stickers I had received free with the matchday programmes from the last couple of England games I attended.  Anyway, to cut a long story short, a couple of beers later and I'm on Amazon ordering a retail box of 500 Panini Euro 2016 stickers.  Initially I felt dirty and ashamed until I opened the first packet and it contained the Croatia golden, one of the most beautiful items in my possession.  Now I gotta collect 'em all!

 

I am enjoying the tournament very much so far.  There have been a lot of matches decided by very late goals (not least that of Dani-El St. Ur'ridge against the Taffies), while the standard of refereeing has been excellent on the whole.  I was sceptical about the expansion of the finals to 24 teams, but it has maintained interest to the final group games with the prospect of three countries qualifying from each group.  I'm kicking myself now that I did not try to get tickets to one or two of the matches in the general sale, but hey ho.

 

Haha, Panini stickers, the memories :DI was an avid collector too, my first experience was the 98 World Cup which coincidently (or not, if you look closely at Platini and his corruption charges :D ) also took place in France. Don’t ever feel ashamed, I remember that in 98 when I was 10, I wrote to Panini about missing cards, but they were all out of Del Piero :D We were spending a holiday at Croatia at the time, so it was a big banzai there with their team finishing 3rd and Suker becoming the leading goal-scorer. It’s starting to feel like that here too, with people celebrating on the streets, one guy climbed a tram, he came really close to some high voltage (~600V), but he didn’t really care (ignorance is bliss, right? :D )

So yes, I’m enjoying it too, but I can say that I’m a bit biased on the subject, because this is the first time in my life that I have a team that I can root for a 100%. It’s a whole new experience.

I really hope someone discovers Nagy Ádám and takes him to a good team, he has the potential to be a big star and a pillar of the future, he’s just turned 21, and with Gera retiring soon (he’s 37 and he’s had a pretty great UK career too, taking Fulham to an EL final), he will have a lot of responsibility at a very young age.

 

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The Russian Hooligans are targeting English supporters because they make to "dethrone" them in a way. Since England is pretty much where hooliganism in football started.

 

A corrupt, near dictatorship like Russia should not have been given a World Cup tournament to host in the first place. But I guess money talks.

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On Monday, June 13, 2016 at 1:17 PM, Stefancos said:

 

 

Americans are generally disinterested in competing against other countries in sporting events.

This is because you guys are so patriotic about your sport. Americans are often deemed to be obsessively Patriotic but I see it is true about Soccer fans. In America people are not Patriotic about sports. Our sports start in our cities and states. We're obsessed on this level, not on a national team in world competition. In Alabama or Ohio people are more concerned about the Tide or the Buckeyes chances of winning a National championship. In the rest of the state's people are hoping that Alabama or Ohio St. won't win the national championship. Our fans know our local High School teams, the state College teams and their favorite pro team. Only the most die hard fan would know the players on a US National team.

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Yesyesyesyes!!! Where the English failed yesterday, the Germans pulled through today, they've kicked Hungary into the last-16! With 4 points and two other 3rd place teams with only 3 points it's sure even if Ronaldo scores 5 goals tomorrow :D It's been 52 years since the last time Hungary was in the knockout stages. 

I'm happy for the Welsh too.

In Hungary, school sports are nearly non-existent, we have a dedicated Sport College and that’s it. We’ve had like an amateur indoors school competition when I was in a pretty ordinary high-school, but nobody took it seriously, it was basically just for exercise and fun. University was almost the same. At that point if you’re talented you find a club and play. There are a few football academies with elementary and middle schools integrated into them, but they represent the parent club, not the school as a unique entity. So the Fehér Miklós school and academy in Győr represents Győri ETO in the youth competitions and so on. (The namesake, Fehér Miki played for Győri ETO and then for Benfica, he was going to be our next worldclass star-player before he collapsed and died on the field, that’s one of the saddest moments for me, I had seen him play live as a kid.)

We are equally passionate about the club level, ask a Fradi or an Újpest supporter about it, it’s just that club sports are for supporters mostly, but national tournaments and Olympic games are like summer holidays, it’s sunny, it’s fun, you can drink beer outdoors with friends who are not really interested in sports during the club-season, etc.

 

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