Congratulations Mannschaft!

This is a post I never imagined I would be making… a CONGRATULATION TO THE GERMAN FOOTBALL NATIONAL TEAM! And a THANK YOU, because for one of the few times in this World Cup, the team that won actually deserved it!


I never rooted for the Germans before and given that they started their course into this championship by defeating Portugal by 4-0, one wouldn’t think that I would ever root for them. It came down to who I hated less and who had played the best football… the answer came quickly: GERMANY! Within the 4 final teams, Germany and Netherlands were the only ones who actually played like a team, and not as a group of people with one excellent player. The Mannschaft was a concise group, were able to give an amazing football show, they were fast, on point and a united group. Let’s be honest, they’ve been deserving this since 2006!

Congratulations are in order as well to Manuel Neuer (Germany), who won the Golden Glove, being considered the best goalkeeper in the World Cup. I really liked Merkle reactions throughout the game, I don’t like her, but she was clearly enjoying herself 🙂 !


The Adidas Golden Ball had a total of 10 candidates:

And from these, FIFA picked the worst possible choice: Messi! I’m not saying that he isn’t a great player, I’m just stating, as so many did, that he was not, by far, the best player in this World Cup. Robben would be my choice, but even if they wanted to pick someone inside that football field, heck, Mascherano, Kross, Muller and Hummels would have been a far better choice… and I’m not even going to mention James Rodriguez!!!!


(not even Neuer is convinced!)

The Golden Boot went to James Rodriguez (Colombia). Colombia also won the Fair Play award, and Paul Pogba (France) won the Hyundai Young Player Award.

What am I gonna do without the World Cup now?! =(

FIFA World Cup 2014: Portugal out, Vampire on the loose and who am I gonna root for…

I promise this is my last post about football… unless something really excites me in the next couple of weeks :P! So last night, and although Portugal won against Ghana, its result was still not enough to make it through the next round. I was sad, obviously, I even shed one tear or two (or a lot more), but I was pleased that at least we played well (and way better than the two previous games). Our players tried their best, but the result we needed was way improbable – although, if Ronaldo’s aim was a little better, we could easily have scored the 5 goals we so desperately needed!


I’m still sad about the things I keep listening and reading online about our national team. People seem to forget the dimension and difficulties of our little country and expect always more, instead of being content about what we’re given. Until 2002 we hardly ever qualified for a World Cup before, and already then we had our “Golden Generation” and we did worse than we did now. Still, people talk, are stupid about the comments they made, think the players had the duty to the more, even if hurt, and that the fault is all on Paulo Bento, our coach. I know I don’t understand much about football, to be honest, 10 years ago I hardly knew what an offside was, but I think is stupid and close minded to judge a team and all the people involved in preparation in 2 games, and that’s what everyone did. Chill out people, we didn’t pass on to the round of 16, but it was hardly the end of the world… 16 national teams go home at this point, and it is known that European teams do not do so well below the equatorial line!


On a very different subject, after having bitten the italian player Chiellini, FIFA gave a close look to Suárez action and decided to pass on a harsh sentence: FIFA disciplinary committee decided that Luis Suárez is suspended for nine matches and banned for four months from any football-related activity!

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The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has decided that:

· The player Luis Suárez is regarded as having breached art. 48 par. 1 lit. d of the FIFA Disciplinary Code (FDC) (assault), and art. 57 of the FDC (an act of unsporting behaviour towards another player).

· The player Luis Suárez is to be suspended for nine (9) official matches. The first match of this suspension is to be served in the upcoming FIFA World Cup™ fixture between Colombia and Uruguay on 28 June 2014. The remaining match suspensions shall be served in Uruguay’s next FIFA World Cup match(es), as long as the team qualifies, and/or in the representative team’s subsequent official matches in accordance with art. 38 par. 2a) of the FDC.

· The player Luis Suárez is banned from taking part in any kind of football-related activity (administrative, sports or any other) for a period of four (4) months in accordance with art. 22 of the FDC.

· A stadium ban is pronounced against the player Luis Suárez in accordance with art. 21 of the FDC as follows: the player Luis Suárez is prohibited from entering the confines of any stadium during the period of the ban (point 3). The player Luis Suárez is prohibited from entering the confines of any stadium in which the representative team of Uruguay is playing while he has to serve the nine-match suspension (point 2).

· The player Luis Suárez is ordered to pay a fine in the amount of CHF 100,000.

The decision was notified to the player and the Uruguayan FA today.

“Such behaviour cannot be tolerated on any football pitch, and in particular not at a FIFA World Cup when the eyes of millions of people are on the stars on the field. The Disciplinary Committee took into account all the factors of the case and the degree of Mr Suárez’s guilt in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Code. The decision comes into force as soon it is communicated,” said Claudio Sulser, chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee.

Even though many people already came to his defense, including Diego Maradona, who called FIFA a mafia, I do agree with his punishment. Sure, there are much more serious attacks, players that do dangerous entries, or those who decide to step on some other player’s testicules, or stuff in those lines. Bitting, unlike kicking, elbowing or stepping is not (at least in my opinion) a reflective action, which means that there’s more intention behind it. If you saw it at the moment, we can clearly see Suárez coming straight to the other player and biting him. And it was not the first time either, he was already punished two previous times for the same kind of offence. So, this is strike 3, the guy clearly has a problem! You know Suárez, Vampires are coming out of fashion again… you should think about quitting! I do hope that Barcelona thinks long and hard before spending something like 80 millions euros on a player that won’t be able to play until the end of October (and who clearly has some issues!). I’m just sorry that he was not expelled during the game, because, although I wanted Uruguay to win against Italy, at the moment  that this scene takes place they were still tied, who’s to say if he had been expelled if the result would be the same?! I think it wouldn’t, and maybe it would be Italy now in the 16 round.


Now without Portugal in the competition, I find it hard to find a country to root for. My choice should fall on Brasil: they have the same language as us and a know a lot of people from there, but, I don’t necessarily think that winning the World Cup would be beneficial for the people. I think that a win would throw sand into everybody’s eyes, and most people would forget everything that went on this past few years in order for them to host the World Cup. The other obvious choice would be some of the european teams… so let’s just go game by game…


  • Brasil x Chile – I’m going for Brasil because, well, it’s Brasil!
  • Colombia x Uruguay – Colombia, because after what happened in their last game, no way I want Uruguay to win!
  • Netherlands x Mexico – Here the rule of Europe and sympathy wins! Netherlands all the way!
  • Costa Rica x Greece – Greece has a Portuguese coach, so, while he’s competing (and even though I have not forgotten the Euro 2004), I’ll be rooting for them.
  • France x Nigeria – Nigeria is was of the few African teams still in play, so my support goes to them
  • Germany x Argelia – Same as above… never liked the Germans.
  • Argentina x Switzerland – I just seriously dislike Argentina… It might have something to do with Messi… =/ (sorry!)
  • Belgium x USA – USA because I think they deserve it. Their national team has evolved so much, and even got their country interested in football, so good for them.

Portugal National Team: 2000-2012

I love the International Football tournaments! I’m a late bloomer in regards to football, I always watched the occasional game, rooted for my team (Sporting) or the National team, but it wasn’t until Portugal hosted the UEFA Euro 2004 that I really started to pay attention – me and most of my generation.

Four years before, however, is where the dream started. The UEFA Euro 2000, organized between Belgium and the Netherlands, saw the epitome of our “Golden Generation”. We won our three games from the group stage, winning with Romania and England, and given that we already had enough points to pass on, our coach rested some of our biggest players for the match against Germany, and we played with our so-called B-team, where Sergio Conceição, in a match that i still vividly remember, made an hat-trick, and we won 3-0!


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That year we went to the semi-finals, where we played with France, and unfortunately lost, with a penalty converted by Zidane at the 117 minutes mark, due to a “hand” from Abel Xavier. To this day, this is probably still one of the most heated discussions you can have with a Portuguese supporter, because there’s no doubt that there was a touch, but what was in question was the intentionality of that touch, and the referee decided that Abel Xavier willingly put his hand in the trajectory of the ball, in order to stop its progress. And just like this, the Euro 2000 was over.

The 2002 FIFA World Cup is not even worth mentioning… it was that bad! And then came the UEFA Euro 2004, which was incredible, and most importantly, we had a kick ass national team!



Back then, Cristiano Ronaldo was just a 19 year old kid, playing in Manchester, that still wore the number 17 and didn’t have a permanent spot on the main team. The real stars were other names, such as Luis Figo, Rui Costa, Pauleta, Fernando Couto, Ricardo Carvalho, Rui Jorge or Ricardo. Just a year after he arrived to train the team, the brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari encouraged the people to believe and for the very first time really, we did! And we did so well!!! We got to the Final, having lost only 2 games throughout the whole competition, the first one and the last, both against Greece. On the way, we won with Spain, England or the Netherlands.


Two years later, we managed to qualify to the FIFA World Cup 2006 in Germany. Once again, Luiz Felipe Scolari managed what no one before him could: unify the country in front of the TV screens! Everywhere you went in Portugal, you would see the flags flying from the windows, scarfs in the cars and everyone supporting their players. This was going to be the goodbye to the last members of our “Golden Generation”, such as Luis Figo.


So, taking advantage of the fact that Angola also qualified and was on Portugal’s group, me and a big chunk of my family, flew to Germany, where we watched the first two games of Portugal and Angola.


387990We won all the games in our group stage and went to the round of 16, where we won with the Netherlands. Next was England in the Quarter Finals, and, as we were used to by now, we had to go to penalties. The country stopped! The man of the hour was our goal keeper, Ricardo, who not only kept 3 balls from coming in, he also did it without gloves! Unfortunately we lost with France in the Semi Finals, and then again with Germany and ended in 4th place.

In the UEFA Euro 2008 we stayed for the Quarter-finals, losing to Germany, and shortly after that we said goodbye to our coach, Luiz Filipe Scolari.

Four years ago, at the South Africa FIFA World Cup 2010, we stayed for the Round of 16, losing to Spain, who would become World Champion that year. The team, now over the direction of Carlos Queiroz, failed to reach the unity that had once had, and the coach had enough problems of his own with FIFA after the World Cup.

Soon after, Paulo Bento took over the team. The now coach is none other that number 17 in the first photo of this post! At the UEFA Euro 2012, in Poland and Ukraine, we reached the Semi-finals, losing again to Spain, who would become, again, European Champion.


John Oliver: FIFA and the World Cup

The 2014 FIFA World Cup™ kicks off today, with the Brazil – Croatia game, from group A. A lot of controversy as been surrounding this particular World Cup, mainly because of the ridiculous amounts of money spent in Brazil and the government attitude towards the people in regards to this subject.


Still, I’m with John Oliver in this one. For one, I’m really excited about this, it’s football, I’m Portuguese, it’s impossible not to be excited. We have been having a good run for the last few international competitions, and we have such an amazing team.

For the other hand, and I’m not even going to talk about FIFA, because the video below explains it so well, but I’m really doubtful about the organizational success of this cup. I do hope I’m wrong, but I’m predicting that a lot (a lot) of things will go wrong during this next month…