An Old International

Jatta for Germany?

For a month the football press and the fans were witnessing a debate that has many observers left shaking their heads. It went way beyond football and could have far reaching consequences not just for football but society as a whole. What has happened? Read more →

The Dunkirk Spirit

After an hiatus of more than four years, I went back to Stade Bauer to watch Red Star’s match against Dunkirk in the third division of the French football pyramid. There was little to sway me toward the home crowd who as usual were there in big numbers (more than 1000) and who supported their team loyally throughout the ninety minutes plus additional time.

Grip on the Game

The game started with either side holding back for about five minutes before dropping any restraint. It was Dunkirk who found their momentum quicker and more convincing and as a consequence they went ahead after just nine minutes. It was awful defending and way too easy. The Red Star supporters turned up the noise to push their team forward but it was to no avail and it took twenty minutes before they won a free kick on the left side from which Karamoko scored. From open play Red Star were harmless and that is the polite version. Throughout the first half they created one chance, maybe. Instead they were pinned back by Dunkirk who appeared to have a game plan and the players to apply this very plan. That the scores were level at half time was due to Dunkirk’s wastefulness and Red Star’s bluntness. The visitors were simply smarter with the ball, their moves quicker, more purposeful and thus better.

To the credit of the home supporters they never ceased singing despite their team letting them down quite brutally. How Red Star have so far inhabited place two in the table is beyond reason. They were too slow to go forward and too sloppy in defense to come out as winners of this contest.

Dunkirk holds a special place in British mythology as it was the place where the British Army was forced to retreat during the Second World War. Dunkirk showed exactly that spirit tonight: never giving up, always have a spare man to cover a comrade. That Dunkirk spirit carried them to victory and did so without much hassle.

In this form Red Star will struggle to keep their position this high up the table but will have to settle for a place mid-table.

Catering

In their last promotion season 2017/18 Red Star had no beer on offer. This has changed thankfully, though bthe waiting time for a pint are far from being ideal; in fact the service is slow and inefficient and that is an understatement. My own experience as a bar tender probably influence my judgement.

Summary

Whatever the holds in store, the ground will always keep its attraction. Where else do you see a whole pitch length stand watch getting overgrown with weeds with Sacré Cœur in the background? Whatever, there is still a season to be played and a lot can happen. Though what the home side have shown tonight must be considered an aberration and hopefully they get back on track rather sooner than later.

Some Rusty Old Game

While on holiday in the North-West of France I have discovered this old game of table football in a shed next to our accomodation. My son and I regularly engaged in matches which he almost exclusively won. My skills at this game were just as rusty as the set itself. I heavily relied on long balls surpassing the midfield, hoofing the ball from defense straight to the three strikers. Needless to say, these often missed the target while my son launched swift counter attacks to which my goal keeper reacted as if he was frozen: he did not move an iota. Passing movements were scarce, nor was there any hint of a tactical idea tangible. There was no shape in defense which made it easy for the opposition to score.

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This table set has seen many summers and winters. The floor, i.e. the pitch is bent and makes ball control in some areas of the pitch almost impossible. Some of the seven balls were not round but slightly egg-shaped. For the red team one cone for the goals was missing, so a game was won after only nine goals were scored. However, the bars have been well oiled as they made no noise while turning. Thankfully the shirt colours were recognisable: it was the Reds against the Blues. It was fun to play though at times tedious to be on the receiving end of proceedings. The number of games I won comes up to a possible five, maybe less. The total number of games was somewhere in the 30s or forties. In one way or another it resembled my own playing career: passionate but limited talent.

Not Acceptable

Sometimes it is difficult to imagine that we live in the 21 century and moreover in an open society. It appears some haven’t made the step towards an era that is defined by the free movement of people and goods. For some it appeared this step is not just a step but leap forward; so much so that it is just too much for them. Read more →

World Cup Review

This year’s Women’s World Cup was hoped to be the best ever. This is possibly what has been said and will be said about past and future tournaments. More accurately, a World Cup can give a glimpse into the state of the game. And there is still some work to do. This review will look into several aspects of the World Cup, covering a brief media analysis and several points that are necessary to mention. Read more →

Match 4/4: Sweden progress against Canada

The last of four matches at this world cup saw me attending a knock out game between Sweden and Canada, two of the wider circle of favourites in this year’s competition. Read more →

Match 3/4: Scotland v. Argentina

The two teams could not have been more different: Scotland with a professional team and Argentina who are part time amateurs. Historical and farcical. Read more →

Match 2/4: China v. South Africa

Another no brainer on paper: China were the favourites and South Africa the underdogs. It seemed that China had almost forgotten that they come with some footballing pedigree. This was close to an embarrassment. Read more →

History has been made: Japan v. Argentina

What on paper looked a sure thing for Japan turned out to be a historical match for Argentina. Read more →

Relegated: A Season in Review

Last year a brief post stated that 1. FC Magdeburg had achieved something historical by reaching Bundesliga 2. This year, just over a year later, the club have been relegated. Time to draw some conclusions. Read more →