View From the Stands: Argentina-Brazil Friendly

This is a guest post by reader Kinukinu on the Argentina-Brazil friendly at the Meadowlands in New Jersey on Saturday, June 9, 2012. This particular editor was there as well and it was a blast. Enjoy:

I was there.

I had a hell of an adventure on the way, and it almost went horribly pear-shaped (as my British friends say).  But in the end, it was like a beautiful dream that I didn’t want to end.

I originally had plans to see Argentina vs Brazil with a friend, but he suddenly had to leave town on business, and that was that.  Exhausted from a long week of work and with no time to formulate a plan B, no ticket, and no game companion, I was resigned to skip it and watch it on GOLTV…until I woke up this morning and realized that it was just too rare of an opportunity to miss.  I made a last-minute decision to go by myself, hopped on craigslist, and started looking for tickets.  After responding to a few scalper ads, I had a brief email exchange with a dubious guy called “Tango4Sevilla” who claimed to have great tickets at a good price.  Feeling daring, I arranged to meet him on a street corner to buy a 4th row ticket for $150, but as I approached the shady-looking man pacing nervously back and forth next to his dark, beat-up minivan, I was overcome by the suspicion that I was about to be had, so I turned around and walked home.  Downtrodden, but determined, I got back on the computer and found a ticket on Stubhub that I could buy with a credit card and download.

20 minutes and $215 dollars later, I grabbed the printout and headed for the bus station with 2 hours to get to the stadium (which is only 11 miles outside of Manhattan.)  It should have been plenty of time, but apparently the bus company knows nothing about soccer, and grossly undercalculated the demand for seats.  I stood in line for over an hour with hundreds of antsy South Americans, until the line finally started moving.  I boarded the bus 45 minutes before the game was supposed to start.  As we inched our way through gridlock traffic, I frantically hit the refresh button on my IPhone map so many times that it drained half the battery, but I couldn’t get the answer I was seeking: “1 hour and 10 minutes with traffic to destination,” it kept telling me, and I wanted to cry.  We somehow arrived at the stadium only 7 minutes after kickoff, but just as the driver pulled up to the entrance, the staff told him he couldn’t let us off there.  We circled the stadium three more times, but still couldn’t manage to gain entry.  The fans on the bus grew restless and started yelling angry phrases in Spanish and Portuguese, until everyone stood up and demanded the driver just open the door and let us out at the very back of the enormous parking lot.  We spilled out like a burst dam and everyone just ran for it.

Twenty-two minutes into the game, I finally settled in my seat, sweaty and frustrated, and just in time to have missed the first Brazil goal.  But then I looked up and saw a familiar sight–Javier Mascherano’s determined face, clear as day.  Only now he wasn’t on TV–he was just a few dozen feet away.  I instantly felt better as it sunk in that I WAS THERE.  Moments later, Higuain sent a razor-sharp through-ball to Messi, who ran faster than I could possibly fathom and just like that, he scored the first goal for Argentina.  The stadium errupted into mayhem–if nothing else happened, we had seen what we came to see.  What was left of my anger was washed away as I got swept up in the fever.  Two minutes after that, it happened again: this time an almost identical pass from Di Maria, and another Messi goal.  By now I was wholly committed; the weather was beautiful, the atmosphere was festive (drums, tambourines, samba, costumes, face paint…) I had a ridiculously good seat, (12th row dead center!!) there were goals galore, and a Messi hattrick…what more could a girl want???

I cannot express what it is like to see Messi do what he does in person; when you watch him on TV, the part of your brain that processes movies and other entertainment seems to be trained to take it with a grain of salt, as if there are surely some special effects involved.  In real life, with physical proof that there are no camera tricks or CGI, it is, quite literally, unbelievable.  The euphoria I felt when he scored his third goal actually made me cry–I was so overwhelmed that I literally didn’t know what else to do.  I was being accosted and hugged by complete strangers all around me as we all jumped up and down, and then just looked at each other with strange expressions, utterly dumbfounded at what we had just seen.  One seat neighbor, a lone Brazil fan in a sea of blue and white, couldn’t help but get caught up in it.  He just kept shrugging and shaking his head and saying “Messi.  Messi.  Messi.” over and over.  He wanted to curse and be angry that his team was losing, but he just couldn’t bring himself to mind.  Because he, like the 80,000+ people in the stadium, was in sheer awe.

It all went by so fast, I can hardly believe it happened at all.  Sure, the game was entertaining in general, and there were certainly other moments-the usual Neymar tricks, a hulking Hulk goal, some late red card drama…but there’s no mistaking the fact that above all else this was the Lionel Messi Show–a show that cules have grown accustomed to, while Argentinians have jealously resented their inability to claim the same bragging rights.  But not today.  Today, Messi was the crown prince of Argentina, a worthy captain, and hero of his proud people.

It may have been just a humble summer friendly played in Rutherford, New Jersey, but it sure felt like something special.  It was actual magic, but with no smoke and mirrors.  And I was there.

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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater New York City area with his wife and daughter.

142 Comments

  1. ooga aga
    June 11, 2012

    thank you so much for indulging us! i am really glad you wrote up this account, i was looking to live vicariously. amazing the joy and intensity brought out in this little friendly in the States, land of that “other” football…

  2. barca96
    June 11, 2012

    Thanks Kinukinu. I’m so happy for you.

    via the awesome Barcastuff;
    Kanoute: “I don’t like watching football on TV, but I make an exception for Barça. The world of football has been lucky to have this team…

    In a few years time, I’ll realise how lucky I was to have played against the best team Barça has ever had.””

    Been saying this for 2 years now, why can’t we sign him as a plan B? Or impact sub. And he clearly loves our club. It’s not the first time I heard him saying lovely things about Barca.

  3. barca96
    June 11, 2012

    That tiki taka moment in the 81st minute vs. Italy.
    Been waiting for this clip to go online. I’ve been watching this 15 second clip on my DVR countless times.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9maWNfJlDuo&feature=youtu.be

    I don’t understand the lavish praise Pirlo got in that match from fans on Guardian. Yeah he had some nice moments especially with the assist but I thought Xavi and Iniesta were the ones controlling the match.

  4. Happy for you. Nice writing too. I was also lucky to see Messi once and considers that as my best live sport experience, to day. I only hope to better that experience by trying to watch him again.

    I was very disappointed by Argentina performance that day, until the hatrick goal of Messi. What a run it was and what a shot to complete the run. You were so lucky to witness it live.

    I am told that even the Brazil media sang praises of Messi. Did you talk to any Argentines after the match. There is a feeling that Messi just walked into the hearts of suspecting Argentines with that goal.
    Was there a Messi buzz, while you were walking out?

  5. nzm
    June 12, 2012

    Great account, Kinukinu – you’ve managed to catch the atmosphere and the excitement very well!

    There’s nothing like seeing Messi in action, live – even though we do have to come home and watch the video repeats to see what he actually did, because it happens so fast!

    The thing that I love most, is seeing the young kids who are so rapt about seeing Messi, and who consider him an influence on them and their dreams of playing like him. I can think of no better person for them to look up to.

    • Ryan
      June 12, 2012

      I agree! I was at the Camp Nou Super Copa game where Messi scored twice vs. EE, and had to wait till I got home to really understand how Messi scored! It’s all just a flash when watching live, especially from the nosebleed seats. 😛

    • Barcaleya
      June 12, 2012

      Michelle – would you please let me know which is the best way to get tickets for a Barcelona game? How do I get them at their real ticket value for instance?

      I’m going to try to make it to the Super Copa in August (but at this point this is more wishful thinking). However, I do want to be ready to buy the tickets soon as they come out if I know for sure that I will be in Europe.

      Also – which are the best cheapest seats in the stadium? Are those seats behind the goal any good?

      Thank you!!!

      • nzm
        June 13, 2012

        We always buy our tickets from the Barca website, but others who have come from overseas may have better suggestions.

        The cheapest seats are always those on the top tier behind the goals or on the corners. Even though it’s up high, there’s still a good view of the pitch. We’ve sat most places around the grounds and prefer it on the 3rd tier.

        As I always say, there are no bad seats at Camp Nou! 😀

  6. June 12, 2012

    What a great read, Kinukinu! Thanks very much!

    I’m really glad that you decided to go on your own–too many people, especially women, miss out on things because they feel like they need to have someone with them. You can have a lot of fun by just going with the flow and connecting with the people around you!

  7. June 12, 2012

    Sell Kinukinu (where’s that green envy emoticon when I need it)?

  8. June 12, 2012

    On a broader note, what the hell is wrong with folks? Xavii whining about the pitch, Evra and Ballack scoffing at Engkand playing turtle ….

    Xavi: Show up and play. If the pitch is deemed to meet UEFA standards, play your match and be quiet. The pitch didn’t make Silva take those weak shots, nor did it make Torres fluff his lines. The players did that all on their own. Deal with the result and move on.

    Yes, the Camp Nou pitch can spoil anyone. That’s life.

    –Damn right England parked the bus against a superior team. Duh. Perhaps people ate thinking that coaches should be suicidal and come out to play football, even against a better side. Why? Engkand played the match it had to just as Chelsea did. That the Prem is the best league in the world is propaganda. By extension, many feel that England is one of the best clubs in the world. It isn’t. It did what ANY inferior side would do to get the result it wants.

    And that’s football. Athletic came out to play football in the Copa final, and what happened? Play football against a club that is better at it, and you will almost certainly lose. Bad. If you can’t beat the parked bus, that’s on you.

    • June 12, 2012

      Via @barcastuff:

      Busquets: “Bad pitch affects both? If you move the 3-point line further away in basketball, it affects more team who shoots more 3-pointers”

      • June 12, 2012

        But I don’t think that’s a proper analogy. Moving the 3-point line farther away means that both teams still have the same standard. The number of 3-pointers shot is a tactic, rather than a playing condition.

        • June 12, 2012

          I’ve debated this with you before. I believe UEFA/FIFA have an obligation to provide a decent playing surface. You disagree. Not much else to be said.

          • June 12, 2012

            We agree on the absolute quality of the playing surface, and standards thereof. UEFA/FIFA has guidelines for that. As long as the pitch meets those standards, it is a “proper” playing surface.

            But we should be careful not to misconstrue “proper” playing surface as the kind that facilitates the kind of slick, passing football that Spain and Barca play. That is something different altogether.

          • June 12, 2012

            For me it comes down to entertainment factor. As a neutral watching the Euros, I dont support any team and I just want to see good football, or at least semi-decent football. Having poor quality pitches does not help achieve that, whether it is Spain playing or anybody else for that matter. The quality of the pitch doesnt necessarly have to be like the Nou Camp but the quality of the surfaces I have seen so far have not been great. They are not slosh pits, but the minimum requirement set by UEFA/FIFA is obviously not good enough.

            I can understand using this tactic when you are the home team in the league/CL and you are using your home advantage, etc. This is fair enough because the opposition have to play on your terms the next leg and on your pitch. However when it is an international tournament and there isnt really supposed to be a “home” advantage per se then the pitches should be in better condition, not for the sake of Spain, or Holland or any team in particular but for the sake of the viewers and the sake of the game in general. Better pitches lead to better games.

            Right now the pitches are benefiting the more defensive minded, boring teams and while I can certainly understand those tactics I dont enjoy them and so far havent enjoyed most of the games. Its hard enough as it is to break a bus or a plane or whatever without having to overcome a dry, patchy pitch.

            This doesnt even take into account the injury concerns!

            Sort it out Uefa!

          • June 12, 2012

            See, I’ve enjoyed the hell out of every match that I have watched in the Euros. There have been some great moments, from Mes Bleus cocking it up to Shevchenko, to the madness that was Croatia/Ireland. Pitch quality for me, hadn’t had any bearing on anything that I have seen.

        • Messiah10
          June 12, 2012

          I have to agree with Kevin. To me the pitches have been poor, but have not affected the play or standard of excellence I’ve seen. My concern is of player safety. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen players slip and fall. The commentators have mentioned it numerous times. This could lead to a serious injury. Hopefully, not one of ours!

          • June 12, 2012

            You say the pitches haven’t affected the play, then talk about the high frequency of slips and falls by the players, to the point where you are worried about player safety. This doesn’t strike you as a contradiction?

          • Messiah10
            June 12, 2012

            No, It doesn’t. The slips and or falls have mostly happened off the ball, thus, not affecting play.

          • June 12, 2012

            But football is generally played from a standing position, and players falling affects their off-the-ball movements, which to me (and to Guardiola) is a vital component of the game. YMMV.

    • swamidigital
      June 12, 2012

      I believe Xavi said the same thing at one point in the World Cup, even when they were winning. Safe to say he is not using it as an excuse, and that he does feel that pitches should ALWAYS be kept to a certain standard. The media just happens to print it/pay more attention when they feel they can make a story out of it.

      • Ryan
        June 12, 2012

        The World Cup also had the infamous Jabulani match ball that was more plastic beach ball than football. 🙂 Trust Xavi to point out the game’s deficiencies if they’re not up to standard!

        • Messiah10
          June 13, 2012

          Oh dear Ryan,

          I’d put that Jabulani ball out of my mind! Completely forgot about it and you just had to bring it up didn’t you! 🙂 What a disaster that was. Fifa: “Hey, it’s the World Cup. Let’s try out this plastic ball that cannons of a players foot and swerves in all manner of directions” Fifa Yes Men: “Yeah, sounds fantastic! We’ll revolutionize the game!” Homer Simpson: “Dooooh”

  9. June 12, 2012

    According to the FIFA website, AC Milan is now denying that they are in talks with PSG to sell Thiago Silva.

    So they are definitely selling him. 😛

    • June 12, 2012

      Galliani is in Paris, Silva is in Paris. Maybe they both heard about this nifty little boutique in le Marais?

    • nzm
      June 12, 2012

      When Galliani was in Barcelona last week, he was categorically denying that Silva would be sold, or was going to PSG.

      There could be only 2 outcomes:
      1. He was going to PSG, or
      2. He was coming to Barca.

      I’m glad that it’s PSG for that money. Stupid price.

      • June 12, 2012

        But 50m is a “can’t say no” price for a player like that. You get a big-ass transfer fee and lose a fat salary. Can replace him with almost like for approaching half the price, with intelligent shopping.

        The unfortunate thing for us is that Javi Martinez’ price just went up by about 10m, assuming we’re serious about riding that train.

        • nzm
          June 12, 2012

          Oh – for sure.

          It creates a “seller’s market”, and if there’s a buyer wanting to pay that much for a player like that, they’d be stupid to turn it down.

  10. June 12, 2012

    Great story, Kinu! Sounds like you had a blast, and “Tango4Sevilla” could turn out to be a decent or sketchy person, but I’m glad we’ll never find out 🙂

    • June 12, 2012

      For having revolutionised football – Xavi
      He would say that 😀

      For the best possible behaviour – Keita a.k.a Pep’s ethical barometer 😀

      For every piece of advice, for every solution, for every word… – Iniesta

      The last one sticks with me the most; so beautiful and I believe in every word he said.

    • Momo
      June 12, 2012

      Lovely stuff. What a genuinely great guy.

  11. Miguel
    June 12, 2012

    I really identified with Tango4Sevilla.

    Glad you made it!

  12. Ryan
    June 12, 2012

    The Czechs are playing like men possessed – 2 goals in the opening 6 minutes!

  13. PM
    June 12, 2012

    “I was there” too :). Makes me happy to see that Kinukinu has so nicely captured the atmosphere and a fan’s feelings. I went with a few friends who were supporting Brazil and naturally being anti-Messi. But by the end of the match they were all shouting ‘messi messi’. One girl was shouting ‘messi is the bomb, messi is the bomb’ the whole time we were on the exit ramp. Who knows, that could be kinukinu 🙂

  14. June 12, 2012

    Pics or it didn’t happen 😛

    Seriously Kinukinu Y U NO TAKE/POST PICS?

        • Barcaleya
          June 12, 2012

          Oh ok! Thanks Ek!!

          Have no clue how to do these things unless already set up for me. Let me try twitter first and if all else fail, will just send photos to Isaiah and Kev.

    • kinukinu
      June 12, 2012

      I was too busy taking it in for real and I was afraid to miss something while fumbling with my camera phone- but I did manage to snap a few- I’ll post them on twitter shortly…

      • June 12, 2012

        😀

        Awesome write-up Kinu, forgot to add that earlier. Felt like a good ol’ thriller. You should write more!

        Sooo Jealous. Still. Can’t deal with it..

  15. Messiah10
    June 12, 2012

    Greece goal! Greece back in the game. I don’t care who wins, but like to see close games. The usually steady Cech makes a howler!

    • Ryan
      June 12, 2012

      We really could have used a howler or two in the CL semis, eh? What a mistake to get Greece back in the game!

  16. Messiah10
    June 12, 2012

    This article is interesting. Talks about the problems Brazil are facing in a race against time for WC 2014. It’s been mentioned before, but his one highlights some numbers and lack of investment in infrastructure. The “2 hour delay at immigration” is normal to me. I had to wait almost 3 hours at Heathrow. Anyone else think this is normal?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-18406862

  17. June 12, 2012

    Haha Kinu, *WHO* was late this time?? Maybe you needed a reminder 😛

  18. June 12, 2012

    Yet another reason I won’t be cheering for Italy. Antonio Cassano says he hopes there are no gays in the national squad:

    “Queers in the national team? That’s their business. But I hope not.”

    The journalist was obviously trying to provoke a controversy, mind you. Not that excuses anything. Oddly, he also asked about the rumoured presence of two “metrosexuals” in the squad . Metrosexuals? Really? Is that a thing footballers need to watch out for now? (And aren’t most Italian kind of metrosexual really, especially footballers with their fashion lines, jewellery, and fragrances?)

    *sigh*

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2012/jun/12/euro-2012-antonio-cassano-gays?CMP=twt_gu

    • mom4
      June 12, 2012

      The following are the headlines from http://www.espnfc.com/us/en .
      Five out of the ten, yes, fully half, have nothing to do with football but with ignorance and poor behavior. Sport can bring out the best in people or the worst.

      euro 2012 headlines
      •Czechs score 2 in first six minutes, beat Greece
      •Italy player says he hopes no gays are on team
      •Russian, Polish hooligans fight at Warsaw march
      •UEFA steps up probes into alleged racist abuse
      •England holds on for 1-1 draw against France
      •Shevchenko stars to give Ukraine winning start
      •Italy holds defending champ Spain to 1-1 draw
      •Croatia turns back Ireland to go top of group C
      •Czech player: Russian fans used racial taunts
      •Police arrest 14 hours before Ireland-Croatia

      credit http://www.espnfc.com/us/en

    • mom4
      June 12, 2012

      Reposting ’cause I’m punished in time out in moderation

      The following are the headlines from ESPN .
      Five out of the ten, yes, fully half, have nothing to do with football but with ignorance and poor behavior. Sport can bring out the best in people or the worst.

      euro 2012 headlines
      •Czechs score 2 in first six minutes, beat Greece
      •Italy player says he hopes no gays are on team
      •Russian, Polish hooligans fight at Warsaw march
      •UEFA steps up probes into alleged racist abuse
      •England holds on for 1-1 draw against France
      •Shevchenko stars to give Ukraine winning start
      •Italy holds defending champ Spain to 1-1 draw
      •Croatia turns back Ireland to go top of group C
      •Czech player: Russian fans used racial taunts
      •Police arrest 14 hours before Ireland-Croatia
      credit http://www.espnfc.com/us/en

  19. Barcaleya
    June 12, 2012

    Okay, guys. Hope this works.

    Here are my photos of the Argentina – Brazil friendly – yfrog.com/cbi7ihj

    It’s rather Messi-centric as he stood in front of me the whole time. And I could not take my eyes off him. I was literally in awe in his presence.

    Wish I was closer of course (although I already had relatively nice seats) and that I had nicer camera.

    There are photos here of Messi celebrating his first goal, the team celebrating his third goal, the red card shown to Marcelo/Lavezzi, Messi’s stomped thigh, Neymar and Messi chatting, etc.

    Enjoy!!!

    yfrog.com/cbi7ihj

    • hansh
      June 12, 2012

      Oh my God, I’m so, so incredibly jealous all over again.

      There is a very real chance that I will never get to see Messi or any other of my footballing heroes live. It’s pretty likely that I will never get close enough to these players to see them with my own two eyes.

      I’m sitting here and I feel like crying. What is wrong with me 🙁

      • Ryan
        June 12, 2012

        Messi is still very young – you’ll have many years to potentially see him play live!

      • Barcaleya
        June 12, 2012

        Don’t ever give up hope.

        For decades I loved Bono and U2 and when I lived in the Philippines, I never thought I’d ever see these guys up close.

        Was ecstatic to watch their concert in Chicago in 2009.

        But one cold February day in 2010….I was having brunch in this restaurant here in NYC…and Bono walked in.

        I just had to go up to him and ask for an autograph (unfortunately, the resto doesn’t allow photos). He kissed my hand as I walked over, he chatted me up and then gave me a hug and a kiss on my cheek as I left.

        I have hopes of this happening with me and my football heroes.

        Pep perhaps? 😀

        • hansh
          June 12, 2012

          Thanks for the kind words, and thank you Ryan too! I’m still entertaining the idea that I will end up at a Liga game next year in Zaragoza, and Barcelona will be visiting, and I’ll see everyone play. Or maybe they’ll keep scheduling random friendlies in the US and I’ll get to one!

  20. Humphrey Bogart
    June 12, 2012

    seeing all the new stadia, like today in Warszwa I must say the idea to renovate the Camp Nou is getting more and more interesting for me. Hope there will be some news in that department in near future

  21. mom4
    June 12, 2012

    My comment is awaiting moderation? Oh dangit, two links. Help me, oh ye gracious mods.

  22. Ryan
    June 12, 2012

    Pique on FaceBook is saying that Milito has retired from football. He may have been a disaster at the tail-end of his time at Barca, but he was a great defender. It was fun having so much hair in the back 4 too. 🙂

    • June 12, 2012

      Yes, I was sad to hear this. Not surprised, he has had a lot of trouble with recurring injuries and his form had dropped drastically from his peak. It’s too bad, he is only 31 and with better luck could have played for several more years.

      Maybe now he can move back to Barcelona and have playdates with Messi and Masche? I know they miss him! 😀

      • Ryan
        June 12, 2012

        Right, can we hire him as official hug buddy for when Messi scores? 🙂

        • June 12, 2012

          YES! My favourite memory of Milito is him dashing down the sideline to hug Messi after he scored against RM in the CL semifinal.

          • nzm
            June 13, 2012

            And when he stripped the ball off Bendtner just after half-time during the 4-1 at Camp Nou. A goal at that point may have let Arsenal back into the game.

            Also, his goal vs. Ceuta. Much like Maxwell’s last goal in Japan.

      • mom4
        June 12, 2012

        Aw, I liked him.

        Playdates with Messi and Masche? Lego and FIFA Street? Too much fun!

  23. Helge
    June 12, 2012

    By the way, about the pitch debate Spain-Italy:

    I’ve read that Barca Spain officially asked the UEFA to water the pitch some hours before the match, but for that to happen, both sides have to agree (that was new to me). Naturally, Italy did not want a faster pitch and disapproved of the the watering.
    So we can expect to see dry and slow pitchges in the next games. Apart from Germany and France, every team will rather want to play on a bad pitch than giving Spain the opportunity to play to its full potential… :/

    • June 12, 2012

      The agreement could be extended through the 2016 season.

      This is one thing that Rosell has done right.

      😀 😀 😀

      • barca96
        June 13, 2012

        This is one of the things that Rosell has done right.

  24. barca96
    June 13, 2012

    Anyone from England here?

    First of all I don’t understand why the England ban was banned from performing when they have been given the go ahead from UEFA.

    Secondly, 99.9% of the comments I read on the Guardian are all in support of the ban?

    Why are they English men against these great guys who are trying to support their NT? Those guys are doing a good thing!

    • Messiah10
      June 13, 2012

      It was my understanding that UEFA hadn’t given clearance? It’s a shame regardless. Their not known for hooliganism. Maybe the FA thought they’d provoke some rival fans? Weird.

  25. Ryan
    June 13, 2012

    TB is having a comedy of errors for Portugal right now. Has missed 2 great chances, the second one where he had acres of space. And as I type it Bendtner scores another!!

  26. Ryan
    June 13, 2012

    Anyone else watch Portugal-Denmark? Probably the most exciting match so far, altho Ukraine’s Sheva show was pretty fun to watch too. 🙂

    • nzm
      June 13, 2012

      I actually thought that the Russia – Poland match last night was the best so far. Great end-to-end stuff. The Russians are looking dangerous – I guess that they have a point to prove after being shunted out of the World Cup. It will be interesting to see how they play against the better teams if they progress.

      • Ryan
        June 13, 2012

        Yes, but for excitement nothing beats TB schadenfreude!

    • Ryan
      June 13, 2012

      They could go out with zero points and none scored. It’d be like a NT version of Villarreal!

      • June 13, 2012

        They are still disjointed, albeit with a bit of urgency now..

  27. Helge
    June 13, 2012

    Ah damn it! Somebody please kick the Germans – my homecountry by the way – out of the tournament !!!
    I can’t stand Ozil, Schweinsteiger (who made some very arrogant and disrespectful commemts about Messi) – only German players I like are Lahm and Hummels (plus Reus, but he’s not playing anyway). But that ain’t enough to make me root for thenm!

    All this hype about German national team is too much for me to take^^
    I always think they would get ripped apart by an in-form Barca side 🙂

    Hopefully Spain gets it together and once again eliminates Germany.

    • June 13, 2012

      I have a bet with a friend that Germany is going to win the Euro, and it seems pretty likely. How come you don’t like/support your home country? What did Schweinsteiger stay? How come you even speak English being German? What is the meaning of life? So many questions.

      • Helge
        June 13, 2012

        Haha! 😀

        First of all, What is the meaning of life? is probably the most important question that I’m constantly seeking to find an answer to… but I can’t!

        How come I don’t like Germany? Apart from the last 6 years, Germany mostly played unattractive football and it was deemed pure luck when they reached the finals in 2002. Or even 2006, I don’t think that Germany deserved to reach the semi-final (although there was lots of euphoria here, too much if you asked me^^). It was Argentina who played the more beautiful football.
        Historically, Germany is known for their fighting spirit, their discipline and all those German ‘Tugenden’ (virtues). I am not a fan of those, I’m not a fan of the typical German characters like Effenberg, Jeremies or Janker (Schweinsteiger belongs to the same category, imo).
        I have to agree that, over the last 4 years, the Germans have played some really attractive, offensive and fluent football. But you cannot start liking a team that you disliked during your whole childhood.
        I am a Barca fan, above everything else, and that is why I support Spain (and, especially before the 2010 final, the Netherlands).

        So my averseness to Germany is mainly due to their former style of play, but also due to the history of Germany. I’ll never be proud of a country that took the main part in two World Wars, costing more than 60mio. people’s life.
        How can you cheer for a country that has done so much harm to almost the whole world?!? I cannot forget this past, and it will always be an unforgivable aspect of the German history.

        Truth be told, I always felt more comfortable and experienced more awe-inspring momnents during holidays in foreign countries (Spain, France, Italy, Portugal), so the landscape or culture of Germany isn’t the most pleasing part for me either!

        So why should you not support the team which philosophy you like the most? Many of us support club teams from foreign nations and that is absolutely common. But as soon as I state: ‘I prefer the Dutch football due to their style of Voetbal totaal (or Spanish Tiki-Taka)’, I would almost get slaughtered in some areas or ‘fan zones’ of Germany. I don’t want the choice, about which national team I support, to be confined to my home country!

        I do not dislike everything of Germany, I am a huge fan of BVB’s foorball and managerial concept, I also support my home town team DSC Arminia Bielefeld. But local and national patriotism are – for me – two completely different things. I can identify with the former, but the latter is almost a no-go.

        • Helge
          June 13, 2012

          the italics should be closed after ‘meaning of life?’

          • nzm
            June 14, 2012

            Helge – you should come to Barcelona and talk to the German in my household. You have a lot in common! 😀

          • K_legit in Oz
            June 13, 2012

            Don’t mention ze war!!!!! (FTFY)

          • Messiah10
            June 13, 2012

            It was awesome. I don’t think anyone should be confined to anything. I support the U.S. b/c I’m American. However, they haven’t played particularly attractive football for years. Klinsman is finally getting a quick tempo/pass tiki taka philosophy instilled in the players. It will take time, but well worth the wait. Obviously, Klinsman laid the foundation for what is now the attractive play of the German team. I know it’s not ideal to have your country known for causing such destruction and ruthlessness twice over, but I feel the new generations shouldn’t be held responsible for what their Grand Fathers or Fathers actions created. Never forget, but time to forgive. IMHO

          • Messiah10
            June 13, 2012

            I also meant to say that besides supporting my “home” nation, I also “root” for many other nations when the U.S. is not involved or eventually knocked out. 🙂 I love Spain. Primarily because of the heavy Barca influence. I enjoy watching Brazil, but “root” for Argentina if they play each other. Primarily because of Messi! and Masch now! I have a soft spot for England, but they play such unattractive footie! I’ve enjoyed watching Germany the last 4 years. I’ve always enjoyed watching the Dutch, except for the 2010 WC Final. Horrendous. I’ve “rooted” for Poland this year, b/c I like their Borrusia Dortmund stars. It’s the globalization of the game! We are so lucky we get to watch such gifted players from all over the world week in week out.

        • June 14, 2012

          Helge’s argument will stand for me when people wonder why I support Les Bleus rather than Team USA. Nice one!

          • Messiah10
            June 14, 2012

            That’s perfectly fine Kevin. I don’t want you jumping on the band wagon when football becomes our 2nd biggest or 1st(sigh, dream) sport and all our best athletes play and we dominate the world in 20-30 years. You stick w/Les Bleus! Red, White, & Bleus for me! LOL

  28. Messiah10
    June 13, 2012

    Dutch were pathetic. That team has sooooo much talent, but soooo many egos. Arjen Robben is the biggest jerk in football. You could see him always looking back at his coach and yelling back at him. Announcers said the coach was telling him to get back and defend. He obviously disagreed. Hence, the acres of space for Bastien, Muller, etc. What I don’t understand is WHY the coach doesn’t bench him? Who cares if he is a good player? If he disrupts the team chemistry and won’t play defense then he doesn’t deserve to be on the pitch. I also don’t understand why the Dutch started with 2 DM again! What the hell? You need to take the game to Germany and get goals. Van Bommel and De Jong don’ create chances. Germany looked good, but the Dutch were horrible defensively the whole game. They looked sluggish and I thought they quit. It was only when RVP scored that they picked the tempo up. To little to late. If I were a Dutch fan I’d be irrate.

  29. Dave
    June 13, 2012

    I’ve said before and I’ll say it again the Dutch have not had a centre back since Jaap Stam. They are terrible. Who do their cbs playing for? All small clubs.

    The Germans have really overtaken them in youth development. Actually it seems that the good youth players coming through the clubs are foreign like Eriksen Vertonghen.
    They need to go back on a scouting mission to Suriname.

    Like Messiah said above there are too many egos there. Robben,Van persie, Snieder and Van der Vaart are such pre madonnas.
    Van der viel also is overated massively. Must be such a poisonous atmosphere.

    Shame because I really like the Dutch

    • Dave
      June 13, 2012

      Hummels is an utter monster of a defender. 35 million no problem

      • Helge
        June 13, 2012

        My words 🙂

        IF there is any defender worth 35 or 40m, it’s Hummels, but not T. Silva!

    • Helge
      June 13, 2012

      You could add Frank de Boer to that list, or Gio van Bronckhorst (in his prime) and Cocu as true fullbacks.

      • ooga aga
        June 13, 2012

        Philip Cocu was a mid, or defensive mid maybe, but not at all a center back. GvB was a left fullback. The only CB you mention is FdB, but you are right, besides he and Jaap Stam “the big Dutchman” i cant think of another.

    • G6O
      June 13, 2012

      There is a lot of truth to what you’re saying – Snejder, Robben, Van Der Vaart, Van Persie, all great players, but somehow you can’t help feeling this team does not have the same quality as previous Dutch squads. The previous generation had at least dominated Europe at the club level with Ajax between 1994-1996, but even they never managed to translate that dominance at the national level and did not have a player that truly dominated games like Van Basten and Cruyff did. The player production pipeline has not dried by any means, but it has been a while since the last time the world’s best player was its product.

      • G6O
        June 13, 2012

        And of course, there is the whole issue with abandoning the traditional Dutch way of playing the game…

    • June 13, 2012

      I’m gutted by this loss. I haven’t been able to watch the match yet, but things are not looking good for Oranje. Between supporting Holland and Argentina, I might go crazy 🙁

      The so called “Dutch golden generation” is becoming more and more like its English counterpart. I don’t think Holland Under-something teams are competing in major tournaments this summer either. Maybe the priority now is to return to their root and focus more on developing youth.

      After the World Cup, there was a brief euphoria for what the team achieved, but later questions were raised by respected national papers regarding the Dutch style. Now back to the drawing board again.

      • Barcaleya
        June 13, 2012

        Messifan 😀 My first two teams have been Holland and Argentina, as well.

        And it drives me crazy.

        I think I only started supporting Spain in the 2004 Eurocup.

        • Ryan
          June 14, 2012

          What a time to start supporting Spain; they didn’t even make it out of the group! Granted, the two finalists came from Spain’s group, but they were Portugal and Greece. As a Spanish fan and a fan of attacking futbol, that was a tough tournament to watch.

  30. Dani_el
    June 14, 2012

    Mats Julian Hummels
    Date of birth: 16.12.1988
    Place of birth: Bensberg
    Age: 23
    Height: 1,92
    Nationality: Germany
    Position: Defence – Centre Back
    Foot: right
    Market value: 17.500.000 £
    20.000.000 €
    Contract until:
    30.06.2017

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbBWgUMJES4

  31. providence
    June 14, 2012

    pleassssss who can show me how to write a word and cancel it. all courtesies welcomed. especially MOM4,BLITZEN. and KXEVIN.

    …. where was messi during this time Last year?

    • June 14, 2012

      Various nicknames such as Troll, Troglodyte and other size and appearance-based monikers.

  32. nzm
    June 14, 2012

    BvM in the press this morning criticising Afellay and Robben for not doing enough.

    So, take Robben off earlier.

    And, if you play Afellay on the LEFT wing and he hardly gets given the ball, what do you expect him to do? The guy should have been playing inside right or RW next to Van Persie.

    I would have taken off Sneijder and Robben, stuck on Van der Vaart and Huntelaar and told them to go for it. Kept Van Bommel on until he was red-carded off too.

    Damn – now the Dutch need to beat Portugal and the Danes have to draw with Germany.

    But the highlight was seeing Cristiano slip up again and again yesterday, although I am feeling a bit sorry for him that the crowd keeps chanting Messi’s name at him. That can’t be easy, but the saying “reap what you sow” comes to mind. 🙂

    • June 14, 2012

      I wish one of the Portuguese speakers on this site would clear this up – Was he actually asked about Messi? Did he snap just like that?

      • K_legit in Oz
        June 14, 2012

        Well, I heard it and don’t know Portuguese but the reporter didn’t even finish his question and I did not hear the word ‘Messi’ anywhere..I think what was asked to Ronaldo was regarding the ‘atmosphere’ in the stadium.

      • Messiah10
        June 14, 2012

        Funniest thing in world. He gets heat for missing EASY chance and starts talking about Messi. Could you imagine Messi doing that? No. He wouldn’t because he’s a class act. Ronnie is the biggest baby. That’s why people don’t like him. No accountability for when things aren’t going well. He soaks it up when he’s hot and scoring goals, but in times of struggle he is not a teammate or professional. Ronnie = Easy to Hate Messi = Easy to Love

    • June 14, 2012

      Afellay even tried moving to the center to see more of the ball. And Robben can’t do enough, because he doesn’t make other players better. Same problem with Van Persie. What makes Barca so good is that it is an entire TEAM of players that exists to maximize the collective potential. It’s why the team so often rushes over to congratulate the assist maker before the goal scorer, and why team goal celebrations come so naturally. The difference is a marked one.

      • nzm
        June 14, 2012

        ‘xactly.

        I’ve never seen such a bunch of selfish players as those in the Dutch team yesterday. I would have taken out Robben and Sneijder after 30 minutes.

        • June 14, 2012

          I didn’t think Sneijder was that bad, but I swear I have never seen a more selfish player than Robben. We go on about CR7 being selfish, but he’s got nothing on Robben. You could literally see him pouting every time someone dared to pass the ball to someone other than him.

          • nzm
            June 14, 2012

            But what did Sneijder actually do that would warrant keeping him on instead of Afellay? At least Afellay got some crosses in, on the rare occasion when he got the ball.

            The longer the game went on, the more enraged Sneijder became, to the point where he was ineffective because of his anger.

  33. Manish
    June 14, 2012

    Yeeah.. getting my new number plate.. Messi 10..:D

  34. Manish
    June 14, 2012

    Yeeah.. getting my new number plate.. Messi 10..:D .. so anytime you see a car with a Messi 10.. (NC).. you know it;s me….

    • ooga aga
      June 14, 2012

      if you see someone jockin’ you, you know it’s me….

  35. June 14, 2012

    Having an interesting debate on Twitter about talent, Messi and Wrongaldo. Some suggest that Messi is more talented than his counterpart. I argue that they are differently talented, but as physical gifts define a specific potentiality, Wrongaldo is in fact more talented, but Messi has heretofore been more effective at maximizing the potential created by his talent. Further, his feel for the game comes from being less talented, in that he can’t overpower a situation in the same way that Wrongaldo can.

    Pretty interesting to contemplate.

    • K_legit in Oz
      June 14, 2012

      So, we are calling him Wrongnaldo instead of Thong Boy now?

      • June 14, 2012

        It’s the evolution of a nickname. And his free kick stance isn’t as exaggerated these days. And I wouldn’t say “we,” unless it’s the royal “we,” as in me.

        • nzm
          June 14, 2012

          And his free kick stance isn’t as exaggerated these days

          Jeez, and here I was thinking that real-life Cristiano looks more like the animated character in the Fifa 12 game than the game character actually does.

          Cristiano looks like he’s made of plastic, these days. Even his hair looks like the hair on Lego characters. Stick a Ken doll beside him for comparison!

    • mega_tajh
      June 14, 2012

      “Leo Messi is all talent, while Cristiano Ronaldo is the product of much training,” Ibrahimovic.

      One of Ibra lines I actually agree with. I say Ronaldo is only more talented in the terms of being an athlete, speed, stamina etc.

      • barca96
        June 14, 2012

        Even though Ronaldo maximizes his true talent, potential, he will not be a better player than Messi. And I think CR7 is already at 99% of his potential.

    • June 14, 2012

      You’re all hectored. Feel free to continue this discussion here, but comments for upcoming Euro matches can go in the new post

  36. barca96
    June 14, 2012

    I’ve never expected Holland to beat Germany. It’s not based on skills but I’ve always noticed that the Dutch have a mental block against the Germans. They feel inferior to them. And with theses sets of players, the Germans simply have a better mentality.

    The Germans didn’t even play great. They just let the Dutch have the ball.

    Ah well, hopefully we’ll beat Portugal by 2 goals and make sure Ronaldo doesn’t score again.

  37. Messiah10
    June 14, 2012

    People have talked about the Germans intentionally tying Denmark if Portugal tie Dutch or lose to rub it in their faces? It was right after the Germany v Dutch game. ESPN announcers were talking bout it. Does this make sense? Any perspective would be appreciated.

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