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Showing posts from July, 2018

eat the cup 2018, part eight :: tout le monde

it's been nearly two weeks since france stepped up to claim their second world title in just their third ever world cup final. it wasn't exactly shocking to see them defeat croatia. after all, most people didn't favour croatia to even get to the quarter-finals going into the tournament. furthermore, croatia had had a hard fight to the finish, with several players picking up knocks that might have kept them out of commission in other circumstances. even furthermore croatia had played the equivalent of a whole other game, with their semi-final against england running 120 minutes and their previous two games going that long plus penalties. but that shouldn't diminish the fact that france put on a fantastic show. they were a class act all the way and coalesced in a way that they just didn't two years ago at the uefa euro.

it was an entertaining end to an entertaining tournament that, for once, didn't see the favourites just winnow out all the lesser teams, even th…

wrong turn

as some of you are aware, i have a long-term project building a family tree. this has led me to some really interesting discoveries, like the fact that i am partly descended from crazy cat people, including the patron saint of crazy cat ladies, that a progenitor of mine once defeated a french naval assault with an army of scarecrows, that my well-established scottish roots are just as much norwegian as scottish, and that a relative of mine from the early middle ages let one rip with such ferocity that that's basically all he's remembered for. but this week, while i was in the midst of adding some newly obtained information, i found that some of my previous research had gone in an unexpected direction: the wrong one.

where possible, i try to track down stories of my better-known relatives and in doing so this week, i realised that i couldn't connect one of my greatĖ£ grandfathers to his son through any outside sources. what's worse that i found numerous sources that con…

eat the cup 2018, part seven :: oh, lionheart

it all seemed so magical: england's fresh-faced youngsters marching all the way through to a semi-final for the first time since 1990. everywhere, the delirious chants of "it's coming home". and then, deep into added time, the sad realization: it's not coming home. oh england, my lionheart.

now, if we're being really strict about things, my scottish ancestors would probably disown me for supporting England, because those are the bastards who drove them off their land and sent them packing to this country that's too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. and indeed, shops in scotland have sold through their entire stock of croatian jerseys, as the natives rallied behind england's opponents in the semi-final. however, a few generations before they were starved and hounded from the lands they'd occupied for centuries, my particular brand of scottish ancestors would have encouraged me to support england [assuming that national football had even…

eat the cup, part six :: francophonie

well, friends, i can hold back no more. i've ducked out of featuring either france or belgium thus far in eat the cup 2018 because i had a feeling that i would have plenty of time to get around to them. now, i have to admit that i was a little hesitant when i saw that belgium were facing tournament favourites brazil in the quarterfinals, but even then, i had a feeling that we hadn't seen the last of the kingdom of waffles. last time around, i felt that they failed to gel as a team, despite their pirate's chest of talent. this time, i think that they've had the time to get used to each other.

as far as france is concerned, i can't imagine that anyone thought that they weren't going to get to at least this stage. their roster reads like a manager's wet dream: pogba, varane, kante, lemar, griezman and, of course, mbappe. part of me feels like calling kylian mbappe [assuming i had his phone number, which i don't and never will] and telling him he might want…

eat the cup 2018, part five :: last supper

no, it's not the last supper of this year's eat the cup, we still have a ways to go with that. today's feast was something i made in honour of the african contingent at this year's world cup, none of whom made it into the knockout round. the last time this happened, it was quite a scandal, where west germany and austria contrived to play their game to arrive at the exact scoreline necessary for both teams to advance and to freeze out algeria. and that, my friends, is why the final two games of each group in the opening round of the world cup are played at the same time. thanks for screwing that up for all of us ya krauts.

especially painful was the way in which senegal was eliminated, losing a place in the final sixteen because of a rule introduced at this world cup called "fair play". level with japan on points, goal difference and goals scored, they were cast out of the knockout round because they had picked up two more yellow cards over the course of thre…

eat the cup 2018, part four :: the new italy

one of the shocks of the world cup came before it even started, when italy, arguably the most football-y of footballing nations, were knocked out of qualification by sweden. i remember watching the game and thinking the entire time "it couldn't happen... could it?" italy is the team we all love to hate because they have a reputation for diving [although they've arguably ceded that crown to portugal or brazil] and for playing a resolutely defensive game that doesn't create a lot of excitement [an approach that's worked for any number of teams in recent years, including the ruthlessly organised swedes]. so while there was undoubtedly a bit of schadenfreude when we all found out that italy wouldn't be attending this year's world cup final. at the same time, it felt weird to see all the powerhouses of southern europe fall by the wayside by the first knockout round: italy, greece, spain, portugal, each of whom has been either world or european champion sin…