Five things from….Ecuador 2 Honduras 1


These middle games were always going to be a challenge for me as I was due to essentially spend twenty four hours in the air, and miss the Friday night games completely.  However, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, and the fact that every country in the world wanted to see even the most random games, I was able to watch this one cruising at 37,000ft between Melbourne and Kuala Lumpur.  Beggars can’t be choosers when you are so high above the earth’s surface and whilst the rest of the cabin chose to sleep, I grabbed a gin and tonic, laid back and watched the clash of Central v South America.

Neither of these two really set the world alight either in their friendly games against England a few weeks ago in Miami or in their respective opening games.  But both would have targeted this game as the one to win in the race for second place in the group. France’s demolition of Switzerland earlier in the morning/afternoon/evening meant that a win here would give someone a foot in the second round.

1. Flags on socks – It’s the little touches that make all the difference and the flag of Ecuador on their red socks makes them one of the winners in the World Cup so far.  Add in the big H on the Honduran shirts and you having the makings of the kit of the tournament – which would be a great idea to present at the end of the competition.

2. That goal could be Costly for Ecuador – I wonder how long a World Cup commentator has had that line up his sleeve?  Finally, Ian Darke was able to deliver the line, pausing for dramatic effect after the Real Espana striker scored Honduras’s first World Cup goal in 32 years.

photo (1)3. The other Valencia – All the talk before the tournament was of Antonio, but it has been Enner who has grabbed the headlines with his third goal of the tournament so far.  Neither goal was what you could class a good goal, although if I was watching BBC’s coverage I am sure Lineker and Shearer would have called them “classic centre-forwards goals”, i.e benefiting from poor defending and deflections.

4. We all love a good story – Apparently Valencia came from a poor family and had to milk cows to get money to buy his first pair of boots.  Heart warming stuff when you hear it once, but when it is repeated every time he touches the ball it does get a little bit BORING.

5. Fouls in front of the dug out – We all love these…especially when one of the players ends up in the opposing dug out and all the handbags come out.  The Honduran bench weren’t best pleased with Valencia’s tackle on Garcia that led to a little spat and scenes similar to his sending off versus England two weeks ago.  He used to be such a nice man too.  Over 30 fouls in the game broke up the play far too often.

The Beer World Cup

No surprises I struggled to find a beer from either country on an Emirates flight so instead we substituted a Tiger Beer for Ecuadorian Cerveza Umiña and a Amstel Lite for Hondurian Cerveza Salva Vida.  Not a particularly fair way of doing things but completely within the FIFA spirit we felt.

Ecuador 2 Honduras 0

The Kit World Cup – Day Nine

Nike – 24
Adidas – 18
Puma – 18
Lotto – 6
Marathon – 3
Burrda – 3
Uhlsport – 1

 

Five things from….France 3 Honduras 0


The title should read “Five things from the First Half of France v Honduras” as I am currently watching the game from the lounge in Gatwick waiting for a flight to the Middle East. Nothing much will happen in the second half, right?  No controversial incidents or commentating faux pas? But that does mean the Beer World Cup has been suspended once again, as despite the opulence of the Emirates lounge, they are rather lacking on beer, or any spirit at all from Honduras. Luxury airline? You are having a laugh! (Before I get downgraded, that last comment was a joke. Top service from top airline).

photo (1)I have a funny feeling about France this year. Whenever they are hyped up they crash catastrophically, normally with massive collateral damage. But this time they have passed relatively un-noticed under the radar on their way to Brazil and now line up in a group that has been thrown wide open by Switzerland’s last gasp win over Ecuador. Honduras wont be a push over, as England found two weeks ago in Miami but the decision to not start with Giroud did seem strange.

Honduras liked up with the fantastically named “Costly” in their starting XI – how long before the commentator could slip in “that’ll be Costly for Honduras” ? 2 Minutes?

1. Bloody Tottenham – France became the millionth team in the World Cup to field a player who was either formerly with Spurs, or was still there now. Not sure whether this is a hallmark of quality or badge of shame? In this case, Hugo Lloris has earned his “spurs” this season.

2. Oops – Did someone forget the music? No national anthems were played in the stadium – conspiracy theories abound. Has the PA system broken (in which case isn’t that a bit of a safety issue?)? Someone stole the CD? The French players went on strike? At least it’s something to talk about at half-time if this game turns out to be the first dud of the tournament.

3. There’s no need for that! – sooner or later it was bound to happen – a team going postal, and that Central American temperament came to the fore in a feisty first period that eventually saw Palacios red carded. Surprised it took so long actually.

4. Studio experts….and Robbie Savage – Vieira and Henry. Two players who have won every honour at club and country level under the sun, respected by their peers and by fans globally. And then there’s Savage who did once win the Worthington Cup…guess whose voice is the loudest, trying to get their opinion over?

5. Big H – You can’t talk about Honduras without mentioning the big H on their shirts. Depending on the game it can either stand for Heroes, for qualifying for the World Cup, or horrible based on their mistimed tackles. No surprises what it stood for tonight.

Beer World Cup

With no Honduran-based alcohol in the lounge at Gatwick a decision was made that Magners had decided to become duel nationality and adopt it’s Honduran roots. In a tightly fought contest it earned a scrappy draw with Kronenburg 1664.

France 1 Honduras 1

Early doors


And so 7 years and 3 weeks since we were awarded the games, the London Olympics is upon us. How could anyone in Great Britain not be excited by the next 18 days featuring the world’s greatest athletes? And here we were, ready to experience the opening events. Whisper it quietly, but the London Olympics didn’t start with the multi-million pound opening ceremony in the Olympic Stadium, but actually started on Wednesday in Cardiff when Team GB ladies took on New Zealand. Even the official Olympic website suggests the games start on the 27th July – as if someone is embarrassed by the fact that football even exists in the games.

It has hardly been a surprise that virtually every game outside of London or not featuring Team GB has struggled to sell tickets. I have argued on these very pages about the logic in using such big stadiums in the far flung areas of the United Kingdom. Those romantic few told me that the residents of Glasgow and Cardiff would flock to watch the likes of Honduras, Morocco, Belarus and Gabon because it was “the Olympics”. Last week, LOGOC took the decision to remove over 500,000 unsold tickets for the football tournament from sale and simply close down parts of the stadiums, obviously making sure that the TV facing seats were full.

It is too late to argue the merits of using smaller grounds closer to London for the football (Reading, Southampton, Brighton for instance), but it still leaves a bad taste in the mouth that such a logical outcome was ignored. However, that hadn’t stopped me heading north of the border to notch up event one of ten I would be attending during the games. Hampden Park would be our destination for a double bill of Morocco v Honduras, and then a little throw-away tie between Spain and Japan. I mean, who would want to watch Spain these day? What have they ever won eh? Dull, negative football. Give me Allardyce route one anyday! Who wants to see the ball on the pitch. There is a million times more room to hoof it in the air….I’ll stop now.

Despite my frequent trips north of the border, Hampden Park has never featured on the TBIR radar for a game (great tour and even better museum) so when it was announced that games would be held in the Scottish National Stadium it was too good an opportunity to miss, especially as tickets to any events in the proper Olympic venues were impossible to get last year. One thing you could not complaint about was value for money – £61 for four tickets for a double-header of international football. Of course a year on and tickets can be acquired for just about any game – the football was to be the first of TEN events that we would see in a 12 day period during the games (and we will bring you action from all 10 right here). But confusingly, wherever you went, all the signs/websites/newspaper articles said the Olympic games was due to start on Friday 27th July with the opening ceremony. The website told us Big Ben was to chime 40 times on the first day (i.e Friday 27th); the countdown clock was to the 27th July and all of the official records say the games run from Friday 27th July to Sunday 12th August. Continue reading