Avram Grant putting his shirt on Ghana’s Africa Cup of Nations chances

February 8, 2015

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Riot police shield Ghana’s John Boye and his team mates from objects thrown by Equatorial Guinea fans at the end of the first half of the Africa Cup of Nations semi-final.
“As the helicopter descended, Avram Grant glanced up, his face as cadaverous as ever, but seemed emotionless. Whatever he actually felt amid the violence that led to Ghana’s Cup of Nations semi-final against Equatorial Guinea being suspended for almost 40 minutes, his outward appearance was calm. When the smoke grenades cleared, fans were evacuated from two stands of the Estadio de Malabo and the bottles and other missiles were cleared from the pitch, the overriding sense was of the sang-froid with which Ghana had reacted.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

Ghana players, fans pelted with missiles in win over Equatorial Guinea
“The Africa Cup of Nations semi-final between Equatorial Guinea and Ghana was suspended for almost 40 minutes on Thursday night after crowd disturbances that led to police evacuating part of the stadium with smoke bombs and a helicopter. In scenes that will colour what remains of the tournament, home supporters aimed bottles at Ghana players and supporters, and the visiting team were forced to leave and re-enter the pitch under cover of riot police shields either side of half-time. The crowd was largely dispersed, with reports that trouble continued outside the stadium after the match. Eventually the game was restarted in front of near-empty stands before the Gabonese referee, Eric Otogo, blew for full-time five minutes early.” Guardian

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Martin Skrtel: A Statistical Analysis Amidst Contract Talks

February 8, 2015

“Martin Skrtel has been at Anfield for quite a while now and amidst talks of extending his contract, we look back at his performances starting from the 2012/13 campaign to the current one. Karthik Ramakrishnan statistically analyses the Slovak’s performances to give a better judgement on whether the 30 year old has improved over the recent years.” Outside of the Boot


Cristiano Ronaldo returned, but bad math says Real Madrid’s still better without him

February 8, 2015

“If last week’s numbers didn’t convince you, today’s result should have. Against intracity rivals Atlético, Real Madrid wasted all the momentum it cultivated in Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence, celebrating the return of its Ballon d’Or winner with a 4-0 embarrassment at the Vicente Calderón.” Soccer Gods


Blurred Icon: Steven Gerrard’s Contradictory Greatness

February 8, 2015

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“I’m thinking about the connection between a fan and an athlete — I mean the essential one, the basic identification, the feeling that the person in the red shirt is representing me out there. That some important part of me is wrapped up in another person’s ability to hit a jump shot, score a free kick, return a serve, make a tackle. It’s one of the simplest forces in sports; also surely one of the strangest, because why should I care whether you can catch a ball or not? Why should that have the power to make me happy or cause me pain? And yet I not only care whether you can, I feel involved when you do, as though my wanting you to do it somehow made you do it — as though desire made you my avatar.” Grantland – Brian Phillips


Allez Les Éléphants!

February 8, 2015

“Two of the teams I had huge hopes for in World Cup 2014 were Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana; sadly things didn’t work out as well for them as many of us hoped. But that’s why I’m super excited for this superclásico tomorrow, the final of the African Cup of Nations 2015!!! Judging from the record cover, back in 1984 Côte d’Ivoire must have not had the team that they have today; “La victoire est possible” is even more hesitant than the Mexicans’ “Sí se puede”; when you have to explain to your team that they *could* win, things might not be looking so good for you. But things are very different today, and I’m really hoping to see this golden generation finally get the big win. Plus, I’ve waited years for the right moment to share this record with you, this better be it! Allez Les Éléphants!!! La Pelanga (Video)


Tottenham never gets the fairy tale, but Pochettino, Eriksen and Kane are on the verge of rewriting that book

February 8, 2015

“We’ve all seen this terrible romantic comedy. Girl meets handsome, rich, charming guy and falls head over heels in love. Handsome charming guy turns out to be a raging douchenozzle. Through the pain of heartbreak, girl realizes that her real prince was her previously friend-zoned, not totally un-handsome buddy/neighbor/classmate with the heart of gold. Girl lives happily enough ever after. Meh. It’s always packaged as a fairy tale, but it’s bullshit. Unfortunately for fans of Tottenham Hotspur, they’re a bit like the girl in this movie: always getting a taste of the dream; always, eventually forced to settle for ‘good enough’.” Soccer Gods