– The Language of Football|Blog 2010

World Cup Hiaku -The Final One




The contest was interesting for many reasons, but perhaps what is most worth looking at are the 31 teams that failed. Some went out with honour (Ghana, Germany, Uruguay, Paraguay) Others came home ashamed (France, England, Brazil, France, Italy, Greece, France, Portugal and finally; France).

There are lessons to be learned from failure click here to see some of them…

Oh, before that. HOWARD WEBB.

Don’t ignore the Dutch comments because their team played badly. Don’t think he was good because he’s British. He was as poor as I suggested he would be.

He will be bad in the Premier League AGAIN in 2010-2011

This is a prediction, bet on it!!!


I don’t really get Formula 1.

However, I was interested to hear earlier today (on BBC radio 5 Live) that Fernando Alonso, who will start the British GP in 3rd position, is better there than in second place.

It strikes me that the German football team, who won the 3rd place play-off are happier than tomorrow’s losers will be. Although this was a ‘losers’ final, it still meant that the German public & players have finished on a positive high.

Think on it.


This has to be my final moan concerning FIFA WC 2010.
Howard Webb, the English referee has been appointed to officiate the final between the Dutch Bland Coffee Meisters and the  Castillian/Catalan alliance representative eleven (a.k.a The Democratic Kingdom of Hispania for nearly 40 years.)

I cannot quite seen how this man gets such a prestigious job after his errors in the Slovakia vs Italy game 2 weeks ago (not to mention his weekly faux-pas in the Premiership).
The Italians know how they were so non-grata in 2002 that FIFA’s referee keep the host nation (South Korea) in the competition at the expense the Azzuri. Now Webb does the same thing and gets rewarded for it!

To remind you, in their game against Slovakia Italy had a fine goal disallowed {from the Guardian “Fabio Quagliarella was unlucky when his shot was cleared off the line – if not from behind it – by Skrtel,” and ” Italy thought they had the goal they needed to progress two minutes later, only for Quagliarella to be ruled offside by a matter of centimetres,” (in fact TV coverage showed he wasonside}.

You know that my self-imposed remit is to write about football in a way that makes folk feel motivated and uplifted, but quite frankly it’s wearing thin when a man is rewarded for being highly imperfect. England, France, Portugal and Greece were all mediocre and got insulted for being so. Why does a referee get rewarded for the same?

Or is it an advance consolation for the possibe fact that England (the country) won’t get to host 2018 after all.

I hope not, my blogs ought to be 4D holograms by then.

That’s all.

Sour grapes sweet

The second semi final (Spain Vs Germany) has just finished leaving us with the guarantee of a new World Champion. As somebody who predicted that one of the Big Four (Brazil, Italy, Germany & Argentina) would win, I have to eat my hat shaped humble pie and say “I woz wrong”.

On the other hand, and as somebody who has supported Italy and all that goes with it, it is with some pleasure that I can list the all time World Cup league table thus:

Brazil 5 wins, Italy 4 wins, Germany 3 wins, Argentina 2 wins, Uruguay 2 wins, France 1 win, England 1 win, Spain/Holland: whatever. Did I forget anyone? Once more:  whatever

So I  can declare that despite their sad performance this time out, that Italy is still the top European soccer nation.

How ironic is this? The final in South Africa will be played out by Holland and Spain, the two nations that respectively colonised much of Africa and Central/Southern America. For the very first time, a European team will win on another continent – is this a soft kind of 21st Century nouveau colonisation? No need to reply-it’s just a thought.

An Official Error Too Far

I was going to complain about refereeing errors after Italy were expelled from the World Cup on Thursday. I decided however that before demanding that CONI (The Italian Olympic committee that overseas all their football activity) pulls out of FIFA, that sooner or later another major football nation would suffer at the hands of poor decision making aided by FIFA’s stubborn and misguided refusal to use goal line technology.

England have just been (roundly) beaten by Germany. The result however may have been less emphatic or indeed very different if A PERFECTLY GOOD GOAL HAD BEEN SPOTTED AND ALLOWED by the referee.

So now England have been hoisted on Blatter’s petard too and I could quite legitimately demand the FA pulls out of FIFA with CONI. I am so sure however that yet another ‘big’ soccer nation will also soon be done in by shoddy refereeing underwritten by the narrow minded attitude of FIFA that I am quite content to wait for this to occur. After all, three dissenting voices WILL BE better than two.

So who will be Blatter’s next victims? I suspect it’s meant to be a small fish like Japan but I confess I rather hope that it will be Brazil . They will be the next hosts and if they are to open their rythmic doors to the World in four years from now, it would be good for them to have an axe to grind in FIFA’s neck long before.


27 June 2010

Argentina 3 Mexico 1

OK, Mexico is not the big fish I was looking for (perdona amigos, es el opinion de FIFA non es miyo)

But we didn’t have to wait long after the England defeat for yet another arbiter blunder. Argentina’s  Carlos Tevez scored the opening goal with a header when he was blatantly offside. The Ref missed it but the linesperson saw it – not in the flesh, but on the big screen. Because he witnessed it through ‘the lies of technology’ and told the Ref, the officials, abiding by the FIFA rules had to pretend they had not seen it and allow a totally illegitimate goal to stand.

This would be a joke if it were funny, but it’s not.

It occurs also that my suspended call for the Italian, English and Mejican FA’s to walk out of FIFA area a bit premature as the English are still hoping to win the bid to host the 2018 competiton. They are not likley to argue with FIFA while their bid still has life in it.

Perhaps they should go for a half-nelson approach; ‘We will galvanise all the cheated nations to set up a rival FIFA unless you give us the hosting rights. Mr Blatter’.

Dream on…

ONE GOAL, remember to follow it through

Obama and Fabio Capello both say ‘Mistake’

I’ve tried really hard to avoid discussing John Terry during this World Cup blog, and  although this entry is inevitably about him, for the sake of balance I shall switch focus to two other leaders also on slippery slopes. While (I don’t wanna be) The President of America is still hoping to out slick BP, he’s become side-tracked by his John Terry surrogate – a certain General Stanley McChrystal who has criticised in Rolling Stone Magazine (not the N.Y.Times. nor the Washington Post), his top admin officials and by extension – Mr President himself. Heaven Forfend! the BBC has reported that The General has already apologised, presumably because he heard that John Terence had done the same thing.

Likewise, the Fab Cap on the other hand has had to deal with his former leader of men doing a similar thing by talking directly to the gentlemen of the press.

Super Sulk Sacked

First Robbie Earle gets sacked for allegedly ( ) moving match tickets in the wrong direction, then Nic Anelka is removed from the French team for telling the most vilified coach in recent football history where to stick his astrological map.


Split loyalties-spilt royalties

Right now I am listening to callers on a BBC Radio 5 phone-in adding opinions as to why England failed to beat Algeria tonight. I am sure the same conversations are taking place on German radio shows (Germany lost today to Serbia) and I am equally certain that Spanish callers did the same thing 2 days ago and their French €uro brothers (for now at least) did the same thing last night.

Without even listening I can guess that people are saying, via voice, blog and tweet, that ‘their’ players lack passion, ability and modesty.

I recall some six or seven years ago that Franz Beckenbauer (who has also spoken out of turn this week) said that international football had a limited future because the power of the clubs was getting greater and that international football was less a priority than earning a (great) salary and playing for a (great) club. It’s clearly too early to write off England, France, Spain and Germany from this year’s World Cup, but the question I’d like to raise is “Is there really such as thing as a consolidated international team?” I have no doubt that somebody will win the tournament, and whoever it is will have become ‘teamified’ between now and July 11th -but what of the 31 ‘teams’ that will have failed?

Right now this is just a hypothesis, I often preach keeping an open mind, so I’ll do that for the short term, but watch this space, I have a theory and I’m quite ready to produce the evidence to back it up!

Pays-Bas winners

Today saw a cunning victory for Dutch beer makers BAVARIA, who managed to get loads of free publicity by delivering an example of ‘Ambush Marketing’.

Whatever the legality or morality of this stunt, it wins admiration for being clever. I must admit to being slightly confused as to why a Dutch company, with its own great tradition of brewing has assumed a German marque – but marketing is clearly what these people are good at, so who am I to question them?

Marketing is all about image, style and substance. If BAVARIA can foster ( ) a reputation for being renegades and rule benders (as opposed to law breakers), then more power to their elbow. For some nice links to this story and one regarding Britain’s own renegade Prime Minister.

Will you remember this FIFA World Cup in 30 years from now?

If we fast-forward to August 2040, the chances are that you will remember the events of June/July 2010 better than what will have happened just a few weeks before.

Dimentia unfortunately, is an ever increasing problem. Medical progress is being made but the progress is mainly in the vain of discovering the depth of the issue rather than potential treatments.

I made a few observations on this blog back in February (see them here and scroll down to Inequality rules-not OK. )

An interesting and informative article by Gordon Cairns in The Guardian was published this week showing how by stimulating memories of football from days gone by, some patients are gaining pleasure by reviewing their glorious (or indeed inglorious) soccer pasts.

Football proves to be a beautiful game for people with dementia



Alzheimers Scotland


When a draw is a draw, a defeat and a victory

4 days in and we’ve seen an impressive victory (Germany 4 Australia 0), a professional victory ( Argentina 1 Nigeria 0), a victory with great celebrations (Ghana 1  Serbia 0) among various others.

What interests me however,  albeit at this early stage in proceedings, are the three draws concerning England, France and Italy.

Robert Green falls asleep while Patrice Evra just wishes he could

But would they really like to swap shoes?

ENGLAND ( Cameron 3.58) 1 USA (Obama 40) 1. The Oil still troubles the waters.

GB (a.k.a BP) Vs. USA = DC Vs. BO

No smoke without fire, no sting without bee

Momentum begins to gather as football coaches name their final FIFA World Cup Squads. I however am not here to discuss that just yet because until June 11th we can still wallow in tabloid stimulated scandals that keep the front pages alive.

Once again I am delighted to turn your attention to how Football and Life walk hand-in-hand/in tandem/pas de deux/Doppelgaenger/Deja-vue/Honi soit qui mal y pense  etc etc…

Everything is known, yet we know nothing

It’s been a long gap between the last post and this, but I felt it worth waiting to find out who won what before launching into the month plus of fever that will be the FIFA World Cup 2010 which starts kind of now.

So, to summarise the season –  European trophies were won by Madrid’s second club and Milan’s most international one.

The English Premiership was won by the record scoring power house of Chelsea, the German and Spanish leagues by the predictable suspects of Bayern and Barca and Inter won all the Italian domestics.  Other teams won in other places, the most notable being the Dutch champions – FC Twente who were guided to the tree tops from relative obscurity by former England boss, the over maligned  Steve Mclaren.

At this point, I am in search of a theme for the World Cup. The Mclaren story is a nice one – how somebody with talent, appears to lose it, and then regains it. Sort of  Ziggy Stardust in reverse. Another theme that I suspect will reap rewards would be entitled something like ‘Who needs sanity when we’re talking football’. To this end I propose none other than the great survivor of the losing final fours ago, Raymond Domenech of La Belle France. There is little need for me to review what he’s done and said – nobody wanted him and nobody wants him, but somehow he’s in charge for one last tournament. Laughs are quasi-guaranteed (and in case you’re unsure, I do mean laughing at and not laughing with.)

I have enough time to come up with other subtext themes, I’ll let you know as the prep unfolds.

Football’s over, let the football begin.

Getting out of Jail

Escape is today’s theme. Take a look at Football Mirrors Life Mirrors Football to see how one man’s real life story reflects badly on the World Of Football.

Mile High Handbags @ Dawn

It’s really hard to keep the concept of Life and Football constantly reflecting each other going without reverting to John Terry. We scour international websites and try our best to find somebody else worth using as an example of an ‘interesting person’ but somehow JT (as he’s often known in Knightsbridge and Leatherhead) is the fave of both the broadsheets and the tabloids. This weekend saw another two moments…

So, here we are in just the second month of Twenty Ten, the election’s coming, the World Cup’s coming and not before time, the British National Party shows those dumb footballers just how to behave.

flick to Football Mirrors Life Mirrors Football and scroll to Make room for racism – the World Cup’s coming

Toyota Juve and Arsenal backfire

Toyota, the car brand that exemplified the patient step-by-step, small change by small change approach to improvement is on the verge of slipping downhill at break neck speed. It’s happening to Juventus – could the Arsenal follow?

flick to Football Mirrors Life Mirrors Football and scroll to Toyota knows they got it wrong, Juve too – but does Mr.Wenger?

Can Dementia become as ‘cool’ as Cancer?

Crass as the above heading may be – the serious issue here is that people who represent charities (who in turn represent people) are cottoning-on to the fact that professional business level marketing is required to establish a voice.

As the words ‘credit-crunch’ and ‘recession’ are scattered to the wind (they are just so last year) fights develop betweeten equally deserving causes for our diminishing cash (i.e. research, treatment and awareness). It may appear trite when contemplating Cancer and Dementia to compare them to football, but yet again we see that the Football/Life mirror is reflecting away like mad…

Terrie Blair – Leadership Fusion Weekend!

February 1, 2010 in The Book by RenatoFantoni | No comments (edit)

What do you get if you mix Tony ‘Raising Iraq (To the ground)’ Blair and John ‘Super Injunction or nuffin” Terry? Why- Terrie Blair of course

Phew-we’re out of recession and don’t it feel good?

As euphoria and relief mingle and the country feels a sense of unity, we throw our bowler hats in the air and shout ‘hurray’. This is just as it must have felt at Liverpool 2 days ago when they overcame the mighty Hotspurs of London to show once and for all that they can still have a great season.

But then again, there’s always the risk that recovery might be subject to a double-dipping W (a lot like the one in ‘Wolverhampton’) (or is it ?)

Proof of Soccer’s High Profile

Information and reaction about today’s armed attack on the Togo football team will unfurl in the hours that follow this one. What is clear however, is that football is now so high profile, that people with a cause know they can  get noticed by combining their issue with the sport.  Neither the African Nations’ Cup, nor FIFA ’s World Cup have even kicked off yet but politics will walk side by side them both even after the final goal of the final penalty shoot-out. Read the rest of this entry »

Justice just is (not)

There’s something about a New Year that brings the preceding Autumn’s ‘motormania’ to the surface. Press indignity surroundsthis link to our Football Mirrors Life Mirrors Football pages in which a comparison is drawn between current deputy Prime Minister Harman and Southampton footballer Wayne Thomas.

image ref-



Rob Mancini 1, Lord Mandelsohn 0 

While Manch City have a new coach and a big big budget, Lord M offers a  highly reduced Higher Education budget yet still demands educational excellence from our universities.

As these two high profile men swing from zero to hero to zero to hero (ad infinitum) their skins will thicken and their personal wealth remain protected. Yet the people they influence (City fans and tax payers) will have other experiences. What else do they have in common…?

Inappropriate captaincy and ill-repute in the National Gallery. Compare & Contrast

It’s really not worth comparing the News Of The World’s nasty suggestions about John Terry and The National Gallery’s recent exhibition.

Know Your Place!

So to what extent can a football manager use the word ‘we’ when talking about his club?

Mark Hughes has discovered that no matter how loyal he has been to his employer of eighteen months (give or take) the phrase really has to be ‘my current employer and I’.

Old friends never die-they just come back to haunt you

Champions League Draw 18/12/09

Among other ties (see this item), Manchester United draw Milan (including one David Beckham) and Chelsea are drawn against Internazionale (whose players ears’ are now damaged by their former manager Jose Mourinho).

I often tell training delegates (especially students) not to bad-mouth former bosses and co-workers. Football people have a habit of taking a ‘PARTING SHOT’ or ‘a snipe at’, and ’spilling the beans about’ their former teams only to have to retract it weeks/months/years later when their agent reminds them that the person they maligned may be useful to them one day.

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