Tag Archives: football

Weidenfeller and Kehl

While browsing the history of the German Men’s National Football Team, I came across a section about Philipp Lahm not wanting to relinquish the captain’s armband to Michael Ballack. This happened amidst the 2010 World Cup competition, when the long-time Die Mannschaft captain, Ballack, was unable to play because of an injury.

Still reeling from Borussia Dortmund’s tragic UEFA Champions League exit, the aforesaid squabble came into mind when I saw Dortmund’s Roman Weidenfeller beckon to Sebastian Kehl to come up front. Kehl refused the goalkeeper’s offer of the captain’s armband as the beaten finalists made their way up the stadium to get their second place medals. Kehl is captain of The Black Yellows but was an unused substitute in the final.

Weidenfeller’s attitude towards Kehl could not have been more different to Lahm’s treatment of Ballack.  It’s refreshing to see such gestures of magnanimity still prevalent, even at the highest levels of sport.

By Joboy Quintos

Rafael Nadal vs. Cristiano Ronaldo

Check out this cool Nike ad featuring Rafael Nadal and Cristiano Ronaldo!

Ronaldo’s Farewell Match

I must admit that prior the Azkals, the only football matches I’ve watched are those of Ateneo and UP (because my sisters plays for the State U). My dad is an avid fan, but it never did rub off. I was indifferent to the world’s most popular game. College was an eye-opener, since I got to watch football games in support of the school teams (and because the lady football players are gorgeous and skilled).

Despite my ignorance of the game, one particular name stood out – Ronaldo. This morning, I stumbled upon the Brazilian’s farewell football match in front of his home crowd. I was awestruck at how revered a figure Ronaldo is, to be given the honor of one last national team appearance for your swan song.

And I’m a sucker for dramatic farewells.

UFL Promotional Video

Check out the badass UFL promotional video from AKTV. I just love the drama of the video. It captures the new-found popularity of football in the Philippines. Even if I’m far from a football fan, it got goosebumps watching the ad.

Can Philippine track & field emulate football’s meteoric rise? I hope so. Miracles do happen.

Home Track: Thoughts on the Rizal Memorial Stadium

I’ve been an avid reader of Rick Olivares’ Bleachers Brew since 2006, the year of the Ateneo Football three-peat. I found inspiration in the exploits of that Hall-of-Fame champion team, which Rick so eloquently wrote about in one of his most endearing pieces. Since then, I’ve written incessantly about my experiences as an athlete. Words, when properly written, immortalize moments in a way modern media could hardly reprise.

To be featured in Brew is a great honor. Thank you, Rick!

I was a fifteen-year old high school junior when I first laid my eyes on the Rizal Memorial Track & Football Stadium. I can still remember that big lump of nervousness I felt on my chest, as I lined up for my first ever athletics competition. The track was wet, thanks to a light morning drizzle. Clad in my awkwardly long basketball shorts and spike-less running shoes, I shivered with both fear and cold as I waited for my heat to commence.

Click here to read the rest of the post

*Note: This article also appears in In the Zone.

 

Thoughts on the Azkals-Al Azraq Match

Thanks to a mild hamstring strain, I stayed home for the better part of the weekend. After my morning class in Makati, I headed straight home to catch the UAAP festivities, the replay of the Monaco Diamond League and the PBA-NBA All Stars match. The Philippines was set to play mighty Kuwait early Sunday morning, in the second round of World Cup qualifying. Despite being exhausted by the heavy trading days the past week and the multitude of sporting spectacles listed above, I soldiered on.

After missing the past few editions World Cup qualifying, the now-popular Azkals made history by bursting into the second round. Pitted against a powerhouse Kuwaiti team that eked out hard-earned draws against regional powers Japan and Australia, the lowly-ranked Philippine team was cannon fodder – on paper at least.

Hence, I just had to endure the lure of sleep dust.

The first-half was action-packed. The Philippines’ ace striker Phil Younghusband had two golden opportunities to score, at one point in the match hitting the crossbar following a thunderous strike. Attacking midfielder Angel Guirado, who is of Filipino-Spanish descent, also nipped the bar with a powerful, point-black header.

A mighty counter-attack by the Kuwaitis ensued after Guirado’s close shave with scoring an upset goal. A Kuwaiti winger let loose an accurate cross to a teammate, who headed a searing shot to the back of the net, eluding the outstretched arms of Fulham’s Neil Etheridge. The home side went on to score two more goals, as it dominated possession all throughout the match. The Philippine defense was in seeming disarray, sans captain Aly Borromeo. Etheridge made some fine saves to keep the deficit from building up.

The Filipinos were unable score in the remainder of the match, against the well-oiled (pun-intended) Kuwaiti footballing machine.

I was disappointed, of course. But we had our chances. Kuwait was indeed at an entirely different level of football, in light of its relatively storied football pedigree. It was the first time I stayed up late for a football match – an unthinkable thought a few years ago for this hardcore athletics fan! Despite the loss, I enjoyed the game. I shouted passionately with each missed goal attempt, saying to myself that, hey, an upset is in the offing!

I don’t see myself following professional football matches or the UFL any time soon. My loyalties still lie with athletics and the occasional basketball (tennis, boxing, etc.) game. Most of the rules and nuances of the beautiful game are still alien concepts.

When the Azkals (or the Malditas) are aired on live TV, I’ll be glued to the boob tube to cheer on my countrymen. Since matches and competitions featuring our various national teams are rarely given media coverage, I might as well take advantage of what’s readily available!

UAAP 73 Football Opening Weekend (16 January 2011)

Yesterday afternoon, my brother and I went to the good ole Alma Mater for my sister’s first UAAP football game. It was surreal seeing my youngest sibling man the goal at the Ateneo Ocampo Football Field, albeit wearing the maroon and white.

The first half went remarkably well for the State University. After all, the girls finished second behind perennial contenders DLSU during last October’s Unigames so they weren’t really pushovers, in light of their underdog status. During the first half, UP controlled most of the possessions. Much of the action was with UP’s offense. I must admit that it bored me seeing my sister just standing around at her own little box.

The UP booters, however, could not connect. The match remained scoreless after the first 45 minutes.

FEU came out with guns blazing at the second half. In a reversal of roles, much of the action was with the Morayta-based schools offense. For this football newbie, the ball-handling of FEU seemed more refined, more coordinated. Being ignorant of all aspects of football tactics, I take notice of the aesthetics (as well as the physicality) of the beautiful game.

There were some close shaves for FEU at the early part of the half, but the score remained nil-nil.  My sis made one spectacular, Neil Etheridge-esque save as she leaped high up to deflect the ball. However, a botched attempt by my sister to put a stop to a lone breakaway FEU striker proved futile. A splendidly executed corner kick saw another FEU player score, this time by a pinpoint header.

In other news, both the Ateneo Men’s and Women’s Teams succumbed to stronger opposition. The Lady Booters fell 0-3 to UST, whilst the Blue Booters (who once scored a rare three peat several years ago) fell 1-5 to a dominating performance by archrivals DLSU. According to Rick Olivares, this drubbing was the “worst loss to La Salle in over two decades.”

Read Rick Olivares’ account of the UAAP Football Opening

I only root for three collegiate football teams (yes, I must admit that I cheer for the green-clad Lady Booters too!); it sucks how these teams got bamboozled right at the season opener. Such is sport.

Being immersed in that exuberant collegiate atmosphere infused much needed enthusiasm into the flailing basketball season. It reiterated the fact that I am at my best on the track, not on the hard court. It was refreshing to watch a different sport other than basketball and athletics.

Azkals end glorious AFF Suzuki Cup run

The Azkals lose to the Merah Putih, 0-1.

Cristian Gonzales’ accurate shot at the 43rd minute spelled the difference between victory and defeat. The Uruguayan-born striker made the stellar shot after several tantalizingly close attempts. The Philippines’ prolific goalkeeper, Neil Etheridge, did the best he could to stop the powerful volley from hitting the back of the net.

To quote the words of a college friend and football fan, RJ Jalijali, even Iker Casillas couldn’t stop that shot.

Photo from AFF Suzuki Cup

All game long, the Indonesians had more chances at goal. The Philippine defense was relatively more porous this time, with the Indonesians having quite a few close shaves. A combination of sheer luck and superb goal keeping kept the deficit from growing any further.

We had our chances though. Chris Greatwich, who owns 2 of the Philippines’ 3 goals this tournament, had a couple of missed opportunities. The New Jersey-based striker almost equalized with a header that landed on top of the net.

Nevertheless, it was a great run for the Azkals. Let’s just hope that all these new-found attention showered upon our national football team will not turn out to be mere flashes in the pan.

The magnificent Azkals run had piqued my interest on the beautiful game. I am still not a football fan though. I probably never will be. But I am definitely watching the next Azkals game aired on TV (whenever that is) – for flag and country.

There are just some things that transcend personal preferences.

Video credit:

meriamsijagurtube

AFF Suzuki Cup Upset: The Philippines beats Vietnam, 2-0!

I just watched an entire football game on TV.

The Philippines stopped the Vietnamese juggernaut, two goals to nil. Fresh from drawing three-time AFF Champions Singapore, the Azkals followed it up with an emphatic victory over the regional powerhouse – the most resounding upset in AFF history!

Photo from AFF Suzuki Cup website

Read “Azkals beat Lions in AFF Suzuki Cup”

Chris Greatwich scored a header in the first half, silencing the highly partisan crowd. Despite a multitude of goal attempts, the Vietnamese couldn’t find an opening into the solid Filipino defense anchored on captain Aly Borromeo and Fulham’s Neil Etheridge. Phil Younghusband buried the hapless, oftentimes luckless Vietnamese into a 0-2 deficit as the game wound to a close.

Watch the priceless, post-game videos from Bleachers Brew

Read Rick Olivares’ “Giant Killer” from Bleachers Brew

Read the article on the game from the AFF Suzuki Cup website

All throughout the game, this football ignoramus was in constant awe, grunting with each close call – cheering with each fine play!

Photo from AFF Suzuki Cup website

Like I always say, I am not a football fan. I didn’t partake of the World Cup euphoria a few months ago. Frankly speaking, I did not see the point staying up until the wee hours of the morning just to watch a bunch of guys kick balls. Unless it’s an Ateneo football game or my sister’s team (or any of the other sisters’ team, if you get what I mean!), I don’t watch football at all!

I must admit that the resurgent Philippine national football team got me interested in the so-called beautiful game. My daily dose of Bleachers Brew also did much to get me into football mode. Call me overly patriotic, but when I see the “PHILIPPINES” written in front of a team jersey, I just get hooked. In a sense, this isn’t surprising, since international-level sporting spectacles hardly get featured in local TV.

Go Azkals!

Video credit:

AllGoalsOnline

Great Nike Ads!

I like the Three Stripes better than the Swoosh. There’s just something elegant about Adidas. But then again, Nike makes the best sports ads.

Here are some of the Nike Ads I love best:

1.) Write the Future (2010) –
I’m not a football fan, but this somehow gets me into the World Cup groove. I like how the clip explores the various outcomes of a football match – and the touch of humour as well. The fact that Kobe and Federer are featured in the campaign bridges the football divide.

2.) Nike South Africa (2006) –
I used to recite the lines uttered in the video back in college. It exudes the gung-ho, no-fear attitude one has to have to succeed in sports. I’m not familiar with most of the South African athletes in the ad, aside from Godfrey Mokoena and the Blade Runner, Oscar Pistorius, nevertheless, it’s a quite a powerful commercial.

3.) Nike Training –

Liu Xiang and Manny Pacquiao in one commercial. Need I say more?

4.) Nike Courage (2008) –

The following ad is short, but the awesome soundtrack and classic sporting moments (Liu Xiang, Carl Lewis, Derek Redmond, Michael Jordan!) featured in it contribute to one inspiring, bad-ass ad – the best among the three.

%d bloggers like this: