Friday, June 07, 2013

We're still in this!!!!!

Hey Peeps, and of course Ms. Hazel Mae.

Been a long time - still hurting from the Leafs loss in the playoffs.  But today was World Cup Qualifiers day and as Hazel said on her broadcast, "It is hard to imagine a World Cup without Cristiano Ronaldo".  Hazel could not have been more right - and we responded in a must win game against Russia.

If you have read this blog over the years - we always do it the hard way, but our boys always pull it out and make it to the big show.  The 2014 World Cup will be no different - Portugal will be there.

Hazel, good job on the pronunciations - except it was Joao Moutinho, not Jose.  The "Quinas Nation" won't hold it against you, we just want you to back our boys!

The recap from FIFA

The big match
Portugal 1-0 Russia, Group F, Estadio da Luz, Lisbon
Goal: Helder Postiga 9
Portugal needed to win and win they did; the 1-0 result puts them right back in the race for automatic qualification. The Lusitanians began the match at blistering speed, unnerving the Russians, who appeared somewhat off the pace.

The opening goal did not take long to materialise: Miguel Veloso’s curling 9th-minute free-kick from the left-hand side fooled the Russian rearguard, who allowed Helder Postiga to creep in at the back post and force the ball over the line.

As the game developed, however, the away side gradually created some useful chances, and the pendulum began to swing back and forth, with both teams appearing capable of finding the net at any time.

Despite a superb acrobatic attempt by Vladimir Bystrov and numerous efforts from an on-song Cristiano Ronaldo, there would be no further scoring. The Portuguese consequently claim top spot in the pool, and lie two points clear of the Russians, who have played two fewer games, and three ahead of Israel.

In short - Portugal dominated those damn Russians - they had two half chances.  WE OWNED THEM.

The beautiful game can result in ugly and unjust scorelines - today's result was beautiful.

Now we wait til September to play Northern Ireland.


Sunday, April 07, 2013

Happy Birthday Hazel

Best wishes for a special day to be enjoyed with your family and friends.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

One More Sleep

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in.  A special Euro 2012 semi-final Ola goes out to Hazel Mae.

Well, it all goes down tomorrow - Portugal vs Spain in the first semi-final.

The pundits aren't giving Portugal a chance and the Germans are openly saying that they would rather face Portugal in the final, because they feel they can beat them.  How's that for confidence? 

That's ok - that is how we like it.  Portugal goes into this game playing as well as anyone in the tournament.  The team is unified, they are playing for each other and for their talisman Cristiano Ronaldo, who is taking over this tournament.  I won't go into all the analysis on why Portugal can win and you know I will pick them to win.

We face the daunting task of having to beat Spain and Germany to win the whole damn thing - and we will do it.  We are gonna win this tournament by beating the first, second and third ranked teams in Europe...and of course, FIFA will have Portugal ranked lower than they should be.

We are looking at the challenge this way - I think Hazel would appreciate this:

We are gonna beat the man tomorrow by a score of 3-1.  Bet Portugal guys, we are gonna do this.  We are gonna beat the man...WOOOOOO!

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world.

I'm Out!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in.  A special Euro 2012 Quarter-Final opener Ola goes out to Hazel Mae.
The quarter finals are set -

Spain v France

Italy v England

I've mentioned on many an occasion that in international football, strange things can and often do happen, not that I am implying things are fixed...they just get funny, is all.  While I expect some funny business, I never thought that the English would benefit, at the expense of the Ukraine - but it did.  For those of you who don't know, the Ukraine scored a goal that was not given...despite an official on the goal line.  An official on the goal line claims he didn't see the ball cross the line...ah, the beautiful game indeed.

So tomorrow Portugal takes the field against the Czech Republic - Portugal is going into this game on a high, coming off their most complete game of the tournament.  Portugal go into this one as favourites - rightfully so.  Portugal has more offensive fire power on the flanks and coming up from the full backs and are definitely stronger in defense - the Czechs looked pretty shaky defending against the Greeks and the Russians hit them for four in the opener.  While this is still international football - where anything can happen, I'm still looking for Portugal to progress in this one...

Portugal 3 - 1 Czech Republic

Ronaldo is going into this game off of a great game against the Dutch - he's feeling good, he's playing happy, and most of all, he is feeling the love from his Peeps all over the world.  Check out this call on Portuguese radio by Nuno Matos - my new brother from another mother - you don't have to understand Portuguese, other than the world Obrigado - thank you.  Thank you Ronaldo!

He scores one and sets one up in tomorrow's win - Nuno loses his voice tomorrow.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world.

I'm Out!

Monday, June 18, 2012

до свидания - vaarwel - zbogom - adjö

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in.  A special Euro 2012 Ola goes out to Hazel Mae.

It doesn't matter how you say it or what language you say it in - "goodbye" sucks.  But as the group stage is getting set to wrap up tomorrow, goodbyes were directed at the Russians (known choke artists), the Dutch (again imploding because of inner turmoil - ahhh, who are we kidding?  they just can't beat Portugal!), the Croatians (coolest uniforms) and the Swedes, who were gone after their second game.

Two of the four quarter-finals have been set -

Group A winners Czech Republic face Group B runners up Portugal on Thursday

Group B winners Germany face Greece on Friday

Group C winners Spain will play ????

Group D winners ??? will play Group C runners up Italy

The Group of Death lived up to its name - just ask the Dutch who were picked by many as one of the three or four teams who had a legit shot of winning the whole thing.  If you have read this page in the past, you know how much the "experts'" opinion means here.  The Dutch were never going to get out of the group stage - not with games against Germany and Portugal (1-4-7 in there last 11 games against the good guys..yes, seven losses).  Both Germany and Portugal should win their quarter-final games and make it to the final four. 

There aren't enough superlatives to describe Cristiano Ronaldo's performance yesterday - both in terms of on the field play and his leadership (just ask Nani).  Portugal seems to be gelling at the right time and have to be considered a legit threat to win the Euro.  Because I can't resist

Tuesday's games

France 2-0 Sweden
The French are playing relatively well, while the Swedes are just looking to start their shortened summer vacation.  France knows that they are in with a win - they'll take care of business early and coast to an easy victory.

England 1-1 Ukraine
I'm calling a tie in this game - but if things are tied up late in the game, don't be surprised if the referee makes a shocking call to give the Ukraine a chance to win this game and advance.  The organizing bodies hate it when host countries don't make it to knock out stages - with Poland out, they'll drag the Ukraine in if they can.

You've been warned.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world. 

I'm Out!

Three more to go

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in.  A special Ola goes out to Hazel Mae.

On to the quarter finals at the Euro - Portugal disposes of the Dutch and continues on.

Two goals by Cristiano Ronaldo were enough - no time to write it all up.

Today's picks

Spain 1-2 Croatia
While the Italians worry about the Biscotto - we are going out on a limb here and picking the Croats to just don't repeat European Championships. 

Italy 2-0 Ireland
Thanks for coming out go home.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world.

I'm Out!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The irony of the biscotto

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in.  A special Euro 2012 Ola goes out to Hazel Mae.


So as we go into the last round of games in the group stage - leave it up to the damn Italians to start the head games and gamesmanship like only they know how.  Before the Italy/Croatia game, I picked a tie - check it out.  Essentially, I knew the Italians would be weasels, and play not to lose...hoping that the Spaniards would do their dirty work and beat the Croats in the final game, leaving the Italians needing a win over the Irish.

Well, it started with Andrea Pirlo and is now being picked up by other players and the media.  The Italians are confident that there will be no "biscotto" in the last round of group games.  I'm sure Hazel knows what a biscotto is - having group up in a multicultural city like Toronto...surrounded by Italians - but for those of you who don't know, a biscotto is an twice baked italian cookie...super crunchy, and quite tasty.

Nothing wrong with that right?  Well, in Italian Football, a biscotto is a slang term to reference something being cooked up by both teams.  If Spain and Croatia tie 2-2 on  Monday, the Italians are out, regardless of what they do against the Irish.  Under UEFA's tie breakers - if more than two teams are tied, the first tie breaker is goal differential in games between the teams that tie.  Oh never mind, it is harder to explain than the Pythagorean theory.

So the Italians, some of whom play for teams that have been accused and/or found guilty of match fixing are worried that two teams are going to collude to tie the game and bump them out of the tournament.  Oh to be denied the opportunity to watch more of the Italians' "tactical football".  These guys really have no shame...

For those of you wondering - pictured above, Italy's Antonio Cassano and Spain's Iker Casillas

Croatia 2-2 Spain - YEAH BABY!

On to today's games - very unlucky to have England score that third goal yesterday.  That game should have tied, oh well, still hotter than a pistol when it comes to Euro picks.

Russia 1-1 Greece
A win would guarantee that the Russians progress as Group A winners - a tie gets them in, regardless of the result in the other game.  The Greeks have an outside chance of making quarter-finals - but they have to win by more than 1 and have the other game end in a tie.  The Greeks will come to play, they will look to choke the game down in the first half and go for it in the won't be enough.  Nice return of 2.67/1

Poland 2-1 Czech Republic
Poland make it to quarter finals with a win - perhaps against Portugal.  Given that Poland is one of the hosts, I think there could be some controversial decision that goes against the Czechs and helps Poland along.  Biscotto you ask?  No, not quite - but with the emotion and the frenzied atmosphere, referees can get caught up in things and make questionable decisions.  Poland is going to make it, you can count on it.  Poland pays 1.32/1

If you are feeling daring enough - putting both games together gets you  7.6/1.

That's it for today - tomorrow it is "total football" vs "Sexy Football".

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world.

I'm Out!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Surviving Matchday 7

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in.  A special Ola goes out to Hazel Mae.

Today's pics

England 1-1 Sweden
Both teams know that a loss means that they are pretty much out of the tournament.  England is all about playing it safe, today won't be any different.  No need for a lot of analysis here - much like yesterday's match between Italy and Croatia.  It is all about survival today.

France 2 - 1 Ukraine
Unlike above noted game - this is a must win for France.  Coming into the tournament, the Ukraine was seen as the weak sister in this group - anything less than a win today means au revoir for the French.

That's it for this morning gang.  Happy Friday

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world. 

I'm out

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Never say die - NEVER

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in - a special Ola goes out to Hazel Mae.

Well there you have it, for people who say soccer/football is boring - Portugal 3-2 Denmark.  Yesterday's game was the beautiful game - from joy, to fear, to agony, to jubilation all in the space of two hours.  Things looked great early on with a 2-0 lead inside of 40 mins - a goal by that bulbous headed bugger Bendtner before the end of the half made things a little dicey. 

Things looked even more bleak in the second half when Cristiano Ronaldo missed two breakaways...yes TWO.  For us Portugal fans, it was an omen, that sinking feeling that the Danes would find their way back, even though they didn't deserve to be in the game.  Then Bendtner - AGAIN.  This guy is terrible for club and country, except when he plays Portugal, then he turns into superman.

We were staring an early exit straight in the eye...until.

That bit of brilliance from a substitute - and the world is a happy place again.  A win against the damn dirty Dutch on Sunday and we can book our place in the quarters...a tie and we need some help.  Too many scenarios to go into today - and really, most Portugal fans just wanna savour that win.  FORCA PORTUGAL!!!!!!

On to today's games

Italy 2-2 Croatia
This game is where you throw analysis out the window - sounds crazy, but it is true.  If you know anything about the Italians (and you probably don't, since most of you likely hate soccer) - they are the biggest weasels in international play.  On the surface, one would think, Italy really needs to go for the win - not so roundeye.  The Italians will look at this game as survival - they are only too willing to let other teams do the dirty work for them - in this case, our Iberian cousins the Spaniards.  Italy will play for a tie in this game, knowing that a win over the Irish, coupled with the a very likely Spanish win over Croatia in the group's final games gets them through.  The Italians have pulled this before - they'll do it again.  The tie pays 2.20/1 - take it and say Thank you!

Spain 3-1 Ireland
This will be Ireland's last meaningful game at the Euro - Spain go into the game focus, after missing a number of golden opportunities to beat Italy last Sunday.  The Irish go into this game just happy to have finally qualified - they would never admit it, but these guys don't deserve to be at a European Championship - they come to defend and hope not to lose.  Spain has too much firepower for Ireland - the game is won in the first half, the Spaniards coast in the second before giving up a late consolation goal.  Play Spain minus -1, it'll cost you a bit more, ok, a lot more, but it is worth the play.  or just play the over.

Well gang, that's it for today...what a great day to be alive!

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world.

I'm Out. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Let's do it!

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in.  A special Euro 2012 Ola goes out, as always, to Hazel Mae.

Ok, I crapped the bed with my picks for Tuesday's games - hey, everyone has a bad day.  The ship gets righted on Wednesday - count on it.

Netherlands 2 - 2 Germany
Two of this page's most hated sides - the Dirty Dutch and the boring mechanical Germans.  The Dutch will go into this game knowing that a loss pretty much sends them home, while the Germans know that at tie will pretty much get them into the quarters.  The Dutch have enough offensive firepower to exploit what I think is a relatively slow German team - their finishing has to be better than the first game.  However, the Dutch's back four is awful...if Johnny Heitinga is starting for you, you are in very big trouble - the Germans will exploit that back four.  The Dutch extend their tournament lives for another few days, until Portugal beats them on Sunday.

Portugal 3-1 Denmark
The recent history between these two teams is strange - Denmark has routinely been outplayed, actually, they have been beaten all over the pitch like rented mules, but the manage to get a result.  2-1-1 in their last four against Portugal, but it all changes on Wednesday.  Portugal will go into this game knowing that they should have had a result against Germany, they won't let this one slip away.

The Danes will sit back like they always do and try to play for the tie - it is just the way they roll.  They hope to catch a break and hit on the counter or a set piece.  This game holds a lot more urgency for Portugal and they will play like it.  While most will look to our captain Ronaldo to have a break out game, some of us know the Danes will look to take him out of the game by double and triple teaming him.  That's why I'm tipping Nani to have a big game - he usually takes advantage of the extra space to abuse the Danes, he just needs to be more clinical in his finishing.  Portugal grabs a first half lead and builds on it in the second when the Danes get drawn out chasing the game. 

I have to think our girl will be watching the game

So the song of the day goes out to her - from our man of the match Nani...he's gonna take us where we want to go

Enjoy your Euro match day six.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world.

I'm Out

Monday, June 11, 2012

This thing is wide open right now

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in - as always, a special Euro 2012 Ola goes out to Hazel Mae.

Day four of the Euro was a great one - England and France tie and Andriy Shevchenko turns back the clock and looks like he is 25, instead of 35, scoring two to lead the Ukraine to a 2-1 victory over Sweden. 

Full disclosure here - if you read the page yesterday or this morning, you have seen that I picked France and a tie in the Ukraine/Sweden game...if you picked those games, I owe you an apology, because I didn't stick to my gut feeling.  I cashed a $300 ticket on a $5.00 four team parlay that I started with Sunday morning's picks

Spain/Italy tie
Croatia over Ireland
France/England tie
Ukraine win over Sweden

I shouldn't have changed my mind last night...from now on, I'm going with my gut.  I should be 7 out of 8 (in reality I am), but I'll take 5 out of 8 on this site.

So all 16 teams have played their first game - what have we learned?

1) the experts are full of crap - they don't know anymore than we do...they don't watch every game, they don't know how every player is feeling coming into the tournament - they just recycle safe picks and pass them off as informed.  Last week, they looked to dazzle with their in-depth knowledge by talking up teams like the Dutch and the "dark horse Swedes and French", in addition to their safe picks of Spain and Germany.  They'll be singing a different song by Wednesday

2) reputation means nothing - the Germans, Dutch, and Spaniards came into the tournament like they expected the opposition to roll over and allow them to waltz through to the quarter finals.  All three were given everything they could handle.  The Germans and Spaniards could very well have suffered the Dutch's fate, but were fortunate to get away with a win and tie respectively.  Reputations very earned by players who came before this current crop -

the "clinical" Germans looked slow and lacked any real imagination...they loft balls into the box and hope whatever 7 ft ogre in the box can get a head on the ball

the "free flowing - tiki taka" Spaniards attacked with some flair, but they were opened up on a number of occasions and could have just as easily lost - a brain fart by Ballotelli and some poor finishing saved their culos

the "deadly" Dutch who loved to talk about their "total football" philosophy were anything but deadly - wasteful, disorganized up front and terrible in the back...yup, total shit show. 

Ok, the Portuguese were definitely guilty of not "dancing" against the Germans...that will be rectified against the Danes and Dutch.

3) there is no such thing as a favourite - you can't call anyone a favourite based on a collection of players who likely haven't spent much time playing with each other.  The exception being Spain because Barcelona forms the heart of the Spanish team - with experienced players like Casillas, Alonso and Ramos (Real Madrid) being very familiar with how the majority of the team likes to play.

This tournament is all about peaking and coming together at the right time - there have been plenty of examples of this happening...please, let's never talk about 2004 ever again.   The Spanish and Italians have to be very leery of facing Croatia right now - one of those big boys may be (I think will be) going home early.  The win by the Ukraine leaves England and France in the unenviable position of having to play a host team with a change of progressing - I'm not saying soccer is fixed...but UEFA would love nothing more than seeing one of the co-hosts progressing, they aren't above dragging one or both into next phase of the tournament.

4) hmmmm not feeling the Hazel Karma being directed Portugal's way - actually sensing some doubt there.  that's alright - the boys will get'er done...with or without the karma.

Tuesday's picks - desperation games now

This is where the tournament starts to get really interesting - this is where some teams are staring an early exit right in the face.  5 out of 8 in 1st games (that represents a HUGE profit margin, even bigger with 7/8)  Get this picks while their hot ladies, gentlemen and degenerate gamblers.

Group A - The group of pretenders and "never-weres"

Greece 2-1 Czech Republic
The easy pick is to go tie - with both teams being offensively challenged.  This will likely be one of the more boring games of the tournament...the Czechs know a loss will leave them out of the tournament, while a tie keeps them alive.  Still though, we don't play it safe here (still picking Portugal to win it all - currently at 25-1) - the Greeks will be smelling blood, knowing that if they are patient, they'll get a few cracks at the porous Czech defense - a win by Greece and they can pretty much guarantee a quarter-final date with Germany or Portugal (have I mentioned that Portugal WILL progress out of group stage?)

Russia 2-1 Poland
Poland blew their chance on Friday - it was all there for them, an early lead, a couple of questionable calls to get a Greek player sent off...they couldn't seal the deal.  It isn't going to get any easier against the Russians - too many weapons for Poland second choice keeper to deal with.  This host is going down.

That's it gang...enjoy Euro Day 5

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world - even if you aren't on our side.

I'm Out

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