mcgillianaire: (Default)
I wish there was a job that existed along the lines of "Professional Sport Armchair Spectator" because not only would I be very good at it, but I'd also bring two decades worth of extensive work experience. It occurred to me that in the past ten days, I have been smothered with at least one match/race of all the sports and teams which I follow and/or love. Starting with cricket, India and England have been in action, in football both England and Liverpool have flattered to deceive (as usual), Federer's lost at the US Open, Usain Bolt got disqualified from one race, won another and helped set a world record in a third, while the Rugby World Cup got underway and Sebastian Vettel won yet another Formula One race. Sportsgasmic!
mcgillianaire: (Changing Guard London)
Last night was the deadline to enter the ballot for obtaining tickets at next year's event. My dad, sis and I have applied for tickets to the Opening Ceremony, Badminton Semifinals, Men's 100m Final (includes Men's 100m Semis, Women's Triple Jump Final, Men's Hammer Throw Final, Men's 400m Final, Women's 400m Final and Men's 3000m Steeplechase Final) and the Women's Individual All-Around Artistic Gymnastics Final. I have also made a separate application with a couple mates for tickets to the Men's Football Final at Wembley and a Ground Pass to the Tennis First-Round at Wimbledon. I doubt we'll get it all but I'll take anything! I just can't wait for it! :)
mcgillianaire: (Liverpool FC)

The Anfield faithful voice their displeasure at the ongoing financial disarray at England's most successful football club.
mcgillianaire: (Football player)
Thought the Spanish seniors were good? Check out Ezequiel Calvente's audacious penalty scored during an U19 Euro game on Friday!

mcgillianaire: (Football player)
1. Brazil
2. Spain
3. Portugal
4. Netherlands
5. Italy
6. Germany
7. Argentina
8. England
9. France
13. Greece
14. USA
15. Serbia
16. Uruguay
17. Mexico
18. Chile
19. Cameroon
20. Australia
21. Nigeria
24. Switzerland
25. Slovenia
27. Côte d'Ivoire
30. Algeria
31. Paraguay
32. Ghana
34. Slovakia
36. Denmark
38. Honduras
45. Japan
47. Korea Republic
78. New Zealand
83. South Africa
105. Korea DPR
mcgillianaire: (Shakespeare)
There once was a team from Iberia,
Who claimed they'd overcome their hysteria,
European Champs notwithstanding,
The Swiss did the scoring,
It might just have been collective am-nesia!


I've been experimenting with limericks on Facebook this afternoon. So I thought I'd share my latest version with you.
mcgillianaire: (Default)
A major study by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce) has found that black students are more than 3-times less likely to be awarded a 1st-class university degree than white students. Can somebody please hide its contents from Nick Griffin and his ilk!

Britain's oldest cinema, the 100-year-old Phoenix in North London is getting a £1 million makeover and will reopen in September.

Sticking with London, the UK-based chain Selfridges has been named the world's best department store, fighting off competition from NYC's Bloomingdales and Hong Kong's Lane Crawford, by the International Group of Department Stores and the International Association of Department Stores. Less known is that it was founded by a Wisconsin-born American-magnate unimpressed with British stores in 1909!

Sources close to Inayat Bunglawala, the founder and chair of Muslims4UK (a group to celebrate the UK's democratic traditions and promote active Muslim engagement), tell him that the Home Office is considering issuing two exclusion orders; one against Jamaican-born Muslim preacher Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips and the other against Mumbai-based Zakir Naik. Bunglawala argues that if we really care about freedom of speech, we should let these Muslim speakers in and let the law take its course. He includes a good quote from a spokesman for Nick Clegg from a couple years ago over the controversial proposed visit of Qatar-based Islamic scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi:
    "Many of Yusuf al-Qaradawi's views are repugnant; the job of a truly liberal society is to defeat such abhorrent ideas by arguing forcefully and persuasively against them. Giving al-Qaradawi the publicity that a ban would create would ultimately serve only to legitimise his views in the eyes of extremists. If he is allowed into this country he is of course subject to our laws; and if he were to break the law in any way including inciting or glorifying terrorism he should obviously be prosecuted."
I couldn't have put it better myself. I hope the Lib Dems put their foot down on this issue and ensure the two men are not excluded.

Meanwhile viewing figures from both sides of the Atlantic during last weekend's World Cup fixture between England and USA appear fairly similar. 17 million people watched the game in American homes, more than the number who watched the first four games of the NBA Finals! It's all the more impressive given that the NBA viewing figures itself were up on previous years. Game 5 of the NBA Finals drew in an audience of 18.2 million. And though we don't know what the total viewing figures were because of those who watched it in pubs and bars, it's worth pointing out that over 100 million Americans watched this year's Super Bowl. Closer to home, it appears a similar number of people watched it on the telly. There was a maximum of nearly 20 million as full-time approached, but the real talking point was felt by the 1.5 million watching it on HD, who missed Gerrard's goal as ITV broke into an ad-break. Plebs like myself who were watching it on Freeview were not affected. ITVs coverage of the World Cup has generally been poor and this major blunder has not won them any friends. And from what I gather about their coverage of Formula One events in the past, this isn't entirely surprising either! Thank goodness for the BBC!!

Finally, Jeffrey Archer has been approached by Bollywood producers intent on making blockbusters of his short stories. Not a rupee more...
mcgillianaire: (Three Lions (WC 2010))


Simon Cowell has the Midas touch as evidenced by this production of a song built on 1984 Tears for Fears hit "Shout". It was officially released just last month and Cowell has promised to have it played in the dressing room before England's next game against Algeria. All proceeds from the song will be donated to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London. But will it inspire our Men In White? It's OK.
mcgillianaire: (Default)
mcgillianaire: (Default)
Dear Stevie G,

I'm sure it would not have escaped your attention that it is now nearly 234 years since our illegitimate American brethren revolted against the wise and generous leadership of our beloved monarchy. Since then these children of Empire have embarked on a path to belittle our waning global influence and blame us as a whole for the actions of a few bad apples (ahem, BP), among a plethora of other points of conflict. Do not be fooled by these knaves who suggest a 'special relationship' as a trap for fools. There is nothing special about giving them sixty years of bragging rights since that day in Belo Horizonte. It's time to reclaim the past and what is rightfully ours. It's time to show who's really king in the world's most popular game. It's time to beat the US of A. Don't hold back any punches. We want goals and we want them by the dozen. But I'm sure you already knew all of this. Good luck and best wishes. Do it for England!

Yours Affly,
A Fan (on behalf of many others)
mcgillianaire: (Football player)
South Africa 1 - 1 Mexico, [Tshabalala 55'; Márquez 79'], Group A
Uruguay 0 - 0 France, Group A

The most boring start to a World Cup I've followed since Germany's laboured victory over Bolivia in 1994, salvaged purely by a goal of sheer class by Bafana Bafana, Tshabalala. At this rate I don't mind if it takes a week for the teams to bed in and assume exciting game duties upon the completion of my exams. Though if any England team members are up early and reading this post, STOP NOW AND IGNORE!! :)
mcgillianaire: (Default)
Group A
Uruguay
France
South Africa
Mexico

Group B
Argentina
South Korea
Nigeria
Greece

Group C
England
USA
Slovenia
Algeria

Group D
Germany
Serbia
Australia
Ghana

Group E
Netherlands
Denmark
Japan
Cameroon

Group F
Italy
Paraguay
Slovakia
New Zealand

Group G
Brazil
Ivory Coast
Portugal
North Korea

Group H
Spain
Switzerland
Chile
Honduras

Round of 16
A1 v B2: Uruguay v South Korea: Uruguay
C1 v D2: England v Serbia: England

E1 v F2: Netherlands v Paraguay: Netherlands
G1 v H2: Brazil v Switzerland: Brazil

A2 v B1: France v Argentina: Argentina
C2 v D1: USA v Germany: Germany

E2 v F1: Denmark v Italy: Italy
G2 v H1: Ivory Coast v Spain: Spain

Quarters
Uruguay v England: England
Brazil v Netherlands: Netherlands
Argentina v Germany: Germany
Italy v Spain: Spain

Semis
England v Netherlands: England
Germany v Spain: Germany

3rd Place
Netherlands v Spain: Spain

Final
England v Germany: England
mcgillianaire: (Default)


I was fourteen when I watched this live on the telly, sat alone in our house in Chennai on the night of 30 June 1998. It was nearly an hour past midnight and we were barely a quarter-hour into the Round of 16 clash between rivals England and Argentina. Eighteen year-old Michael Owen was playing in his first World Cup but the occasion didn't affect him. This was the first World Cup encounter between the two countries since Maradona single-handedly (pun unintended!) dumped England out at the Quarter-Final stage of the 1986 World Cup. But his second-goal solo effort in that match was still fresh in the memory of English football supporters. It is widely considered to be one of the greatest goals ever scored. And when Argentina took an early lead through a penalty, it looked like a familiar storyline. But England hit back almost immediately with a penalty of their own which Shearer duly converted. As the teams settled in, Michael Owen made a couple darting runs at the two-time World Cup champions showcasing his pace. Then came that pass from Beckham and Owen did the rest. Pace, strength and a clinically precise finish. The tables had been turned and about time too. I was in dream land. England imposed their dominance but as luck would have it, the Argentinians equalised with a cunningly crafted free-kick on the stroke of half-time. It was a cruel blow and once Beckham was sent-off for a petulant back-heel, England did well to take the game to penalties. And you know the rest. In six attempts at the World Cup and Euros, England have won only once on penalties. The Argentinians had knocked England out again. But even today, those forty-five minutes remain the best first-half of football I have ever watched. All thanks to a wonder goal by eighteen year-old Michael Owen.
mcgillianaire: (Default)


Savour the moment. It's not often you'll catch me singing praises of a Red Devil but what can I say? It's World Cup O'Clock. A time when club loyalties are set-aside as national passions take centre-stage. And boy, do I want my England to bring the trophy home. But we won't. Not without Paul Scholes to pull the strings in midfield. With Barry missing the first game due to injury, Carrick out-of-form and Hargreaves not even in the squad (and rightly so), we really could've done with Scholes services. He maybe 35 and he may have played his last game for England in 2004, but few could argue with his stellar form this season. Phenomenal to say the least. He would've been the perfect foil to Lampard in central midfield, marshalling the troops, with Gerrard either playing off Rooney or in an upfield left position. Unstoppable, I say!

But why isn't he in South Africa? Because Capello called on him too late. Granted it was in May, but still. It's the fuckin' World Cup. Even Carra said yes, so why not you Scholes? The mind boggles. Cunt. England will not win the World Cup and it's all Scholes fault. Oh well, I suppose it was asking too much of me to set aside club loyalties, World Cup notwithstanding. At least Gerrard will be captain. And we all know what that did to his Liverpool confidence. Hopefully he can finally translate it onto the grandest stage of all. It's now or never mate.

COME ON YOU THREE LIONS!!!
mcgillianaire: (Three Lions (WC 2010))
I hate the person/people who scheduled our final exams with the first weeks of the World Cup. This is a big reason why I moved here!!!
mcgillianaire: (Football player)
From a tourist's perspective, Turkey would've been the ideal choice but our neighbours across La Manche will do just fine. [BBC LINK]

EDIT:
Hmm. There's gonna be an expansion from 16 to 24 teams in 2016. Fifty-one matches spread over a month. If England still can't qualify...
mcgillianaire: (Three Lions (WC 2010))


It's international football o'clock again! w00t! w00t! Nearly two months of non-stop action including the small matter of a World Cup. As has been the case for a few years now, I've virtually stopped supporting Italy any more. They're like a third team now, behind England and Spain. I've always wanted England to win and since moving here permanently I've become a more committed fan. Italy was fun while it lasted but once Roberto Baggio hung up his boots and I moved here, the inspiration dwindled. I'll always keep an eye out for them. As for Spain, it boils down to two words that will determine whether Liverpool can even qualify for the Europa League next season. Fernando Torres. Spain should've always been my natural second team. I've loved the language since I was a kid, studied it in high school and enjoyed my best ever holiday there in the summer of 2008, incidentally just two weeks after La Furia Roja won their second Euro Champ title!

And they happen to play the best brand of football on the continent, surpassed only by potential fellow contenders, Brazil. Spain are clearly this year's favourites and although history suggests otherwise, they should win their first ever world title. Their biggest challengers are probably Germany and Brazil. On paper Argentina are by far the strongest team but they have by far the worst possible manager. If they had a better manager I'd be tempted to put my money on an Argentina-Spain final. And what a match that would be. Sorry, what's that you say? England? Good question. They've got a great manager and it beggars belief how a team of champions is unable to play as a champion team. I doubt they'll make the semis but I'd love to be proven wrong. Don't let tonight's scoreline belie our largely shoddy performance. Mexico couldn't convert their chances and were the more creative of the two teams on display. Nevertheless, this was not our strongest eleven on display. Come June 12 and hopefully all will have been sorted out. So bring on them Yanks! FOOTBALL's COMING HOME!!! GET IN!!
mcgillianaire: (Did You Know?)
He is England's most capped outfield player (whether you like it or not) and has scored 17 international goals, but none at Wembley.

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