Euro 2012: The Runners And Riders – Greece

May 13, 2012

The Battle of Aboukir, Antoine-Jean Gros
“There is now less than a month to go until the European Championships kick off in Poland and Ukraine, and taking on the co-hosts in the opening match will be a nation that caused arguably the biggest surprise in the history of the competition: Greece. But with a new coach and having caused something of a surprise just to reach the last sixteen of this tournament, can Greece roll back the years to the summer of 2004?” twohundredpercent

Euro 2012: The Runners And Riders – Poland
“With slightly less than a month to go until the start of the 2012 European Championships, it’s time for us to kick off our previews of the sixteen nations that will be competing at this summer’s tournament in Poland and Ukraine. We’re doing this in order of the groups drawn, so we’ll start with everything you probably don’t need to know about one of this summer’s co-hosts, Poland.” twohundredpercent

Homage to Guardiola

May 13, 2012

“Pep Guardiola liked to remind his players to have fun. Under normal circumstances, ‘go out there and have fun’ is the emptiest sort of yapped-around-a-whistle coachspeak, but with Guardiola “normal circumstances” often felt like something more profound, and also stranger, than that: He made you believe that he meant it. He had the very disorienting gift of making banal sentiments seem to come from a place of deep soulfulness. Whether he was actually banal or actually soulful was a problem you could think yourself dizzy trying to solve,1 but either way he brought results: His Barcelona teams, especially during their astounding three-year run from 2008 to 2011, ran on a kind of sustained collective joy that was thrilling to watch precisely because it seemed so sincere.” Grantland

Homage to Barcelonia
“It is January 25, 1939. You reside in what is left of Barcelona. The Spanish Civil War has raged for several years. At night, the bombs fall. Franco’s forces have surrounded and strangled your beloved city, Within, moral and societal decay have gripped the institutions you loved. At first, democracy was the war cry. Viva la Republica! Then, the anarchists arose and spoke of the need to collectivize, collectivize, collectivize. Then, the Stalinists sprang up and called for nationalization. The summary executions of suspected Franco sympathizers made you feel uneasy. Now, the anarchists and Stalinists shoot one another in broad daylight. Food and water have disappeared. Retreating Republic forces burn warehouses & offices before fleeing to France. When Franco’s forces arrive the next day, chills run up and down your spine. To your astonishment, people take to the streets and cheer and applaud and wave and welcome their arrival. You weep quietly.” Run of Play

Turkish Football’s Dirty War

May 13, 2012

“Do you know what hate, in its essence and heart-wrenching ugliness, truly is? Not only the concept of genuinely disliking something with every fibre of your being, but the sensation of slowly falling into a black hole filled to its brink with unhealthy, dirty thoughts? It is a feeling that, when activated deep below our day-to-day, unextraordinary consciousness, completely robs us of our humanity and compassion. It brings out the worst in us. Basically, hatred is what keeps Turkish football in 2011-2012 alive.” Run of Play