STADIUM STAMPEDE: 17 killed in crush at Angolan football stadium


The BBC reported yesterday that 17 people have been killed after a stampede at a football stadium in the town of Uíge in Angola, according to local officials.

Hundreds of injuries, of which five people were seriously injured, from the crush have also been reported, after fans rushed the stadium entrance after they were prevented from entering. Many of the deaths resulted from people falling to the ground or being trapped, then suffocated, according to a medic on the scene.


© Raimond Spekking / CC BY-SA 4.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)


The stadium, in the north of Angola was hosting a match between Santa Rita de Cassia, the home team and visiting side Recreativo do Libolo. The match was so sought after that the venue quickly filled to its 8,000 seat capacity, when more fans began to show up at the gates demanding entry. They were prevented from entering the stadium as it was full. As people began to storm the gates, fatalities started mounting.

Ernesto Luis, the general director of Uíge’s main hospital, told the Reuters news agency that “Some people had to walk on top of other people. There were 76 casualties, of whom 17 died,”

Recreativo do Libolo released a statement regarding the incident on their website, stating that it was “a tragedy without precedent in the history of Angolan football”.

One eyewitness, named by the BBC as Domingos Vika, reported that the stadium’s entrance was already overcrowded, when more fans began ‘pouring in’ sparking the crush.

“When they gave the opportunity for everyone to come in, we were all packed at the gate,” said Mr Vika, who left the venue with a broken hand.

Angola’s President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has ordered an investigation into the incident, local media have reported.

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“Angola stadium stampede in Uige kills 17” – BBC News – World – Africa (10 February 2017)
“File:Fans of the Angolan national football team in Cologne.jpg” – Raimond Spekking, Wikimedia Commons (11 June 2006) © Raimond Spekking / CC BY-SA 4.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)

NEW ENGLAND MANAGER?: Gareth Southgate to interview for top national football job this Monday


VIJAY SHAH via PA Sports and ESPN FC

Current caretaker England football team manager and former international star Gareth Southgate has said he will undergo an interview for the manager’s job this Monday, ESPN FC reported via PA Sports yesterday.

Southgate has been the interim manager after previous incumbent Sam Allardyce was expelled from the role last September after becoming embroiled in a corruption scandal concerning players, their agents and FIFA. According to the FA (Football Association, the governing body of English football) chief executive Martin Glenn, Southgate has said he wants to make the role permanent and the two will hold further talks on the matter at the start of next week, ESPN reports.



Before taking over from the disgraced Allardyce, Southgate was head of the England under-21s side. He quickly assumed managerial position after Allardyce was caught on camera telling an undercover reporter from the Daily Telegraph newspaper ‘controversial comments’ about overriding FIFA rules concerning player purchases.

So far, Southgate has shown some promise in the role. In addition to his many years of experience at the top end of English football, Southgate has now overseen two wins and two draws of the four matches under his guidance.

It is not known if anyone else is also been interviewed for the manager’s post. Glenn refused to be drawn into naming other candidates, citing confidentiality in the FA’s interviewing processes. He only went as far as saying that Southgate was one of their stronger choices.

He added: “Not just [because] the facts of the last four games have shown a lot of signs of encouragement but the fact he’s worked in the FA for the last couple of years.

”He’s run the Under-21s well, he understands how the international set-up works so we’re going to be having discussions with him in the coming weeks to really understand what his learnings are, what his ambition for the England team is and really, really understand that well and then we’ll take a considered view.”

Gareth Southgate was born in Watford, a commuter town north of London in 1970 and began his playing career at London side Crystal Palace as a central midfielder. His prowess on the pitch soon led him to captain the side and saw them win the 1993/1994 First Division cup. He later transferred to Aston Villa before eventually becoming manager of Middlesbrough in 2006, after joining them five years earlier. He also made appearances internationally starting with Euro 1996, the 1998 World Cup and then again at Euro 2000. In 2013 he began his first national position as head of the youth side for England.

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“Gareth Southgate’s interview for England job set for Monday – reports” – PA Sport via ESPN FC Global (18 November 2016)
“Gareth Southgate” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
Pixabay via PEXELS

FELLAINI: New manager Jose Mourinho on how he convinced footballer to excel at Manchester Utd.



New Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, who watched his team steer to an impressive 2-0 victory over Southampton FC at home yesterday, revealed today how he convinced star Belgian international Marouane Fellaini to shine since the beginning of this season and the first matches of the ex-Chelsea manager’s tenure at the Red Devils.

So far, under the ‘Special One’s ‘ leadership, Manchester United have successfully held against both Southampton and Bournemouth. Fellaini, famed for his impressive skills and height, not to mention his distinctive golden Afro hairstyle had put in much effort in the central attack in both Premier League wins this past week alongside Ander Herrera and new £40 million signing Paul Pogba. The manager said a phone call he made to the Belgian helped bring about a ‘change in the relationship’ between him and Fellaini, he told Manchester United’s football news team.


After the Red Devils’ fast-paced triumph yesterday evening, Mourinho was quick to praise Fellaini and revealed the phone call, made earlier this summer as Mourinho was easing into his new role and anxious to prove his worth in the eyes of his players.

“Fellaini is playing well,” Mourinho told reporters after the final whistle at Old Trafford. “It’s a complete change in the relationship and I am happy with the result. Maybe a simple phone call can make a difference to a player who was feeling he was not loved, to a player who when the [transfer] market opened everyone was saying he was leaving. Everyone was saying he wasn’t for me.

“Maybe a simple phone call then, after my presentation as Manchester United manager, changed a lot. I said to him, ‘Forget everything you read. With me you don’t leave, for sure’,” he continued.

“Maybe that confidence in him was unexpected. The more organised the team is, the easier it is for players to feel confident. He has played will with Michael Carrick, he has played well with Ander Herrera, he has played well with Paul [Pogba].”

Mourinho also had praises for the strong support of the team’s fans, who came out in force yesterday to see the Devils steam ahead with two impressive goals from the formidable Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He also further emphasised the improved relationships and strength of his squad.

“I am very happy,” he said. “The crowd was magnificent and they are creating a good relationship with the team, with the players. Even players who in previous years I could feel the relationship wasn’t the best.

“I’m happy with the result and the performance [against Southampton]. It’s difficult for us to be better in this moment. The opponents are good, they have good quality. You have to be mentally strong to cope with it but then we score goals and we are always in control.

“I think Pogba and Ibrahimovic were very, very good, but I could say the same about Mkhitaryan in the last 20 minutes when he showed his quality. What pleases me more is the others rising to a different level like Valencia and Blind, and I’ve already mentioned Marouane.”

Manchester will next face Hull City away at the KC Stadium on Saturday 27th August 2016 at 5.30pm.

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“Mourinho reveals phone call to Fellaini”- Man United Latest (20 August 2016)
“MOURINHO REVEALS PHONE CALL TO FELLAINI” – Jamie Allen, Manchester United FC – Football News/Manchester United Ltd (20 August 2016)
“File:Clint Dempsey and Marouane Fellani USA vs Belgium.jpg” – Erik Drost & Ytoyoda, Flickr via Wikimedia Commons (29 May 2013)

THOMAS MULLER: Is he coming to Manchester United?

Aveersingh Gopal (contributor)

Vijay Shah (reporter)

One of the biggest transfer rumours of this new football season is the talk of the town. Reports are coming in of a possible sale of the Bayern Munich forward and German national squad member Thomas Müller to English club Manchester United where he could potentially pocket a hefty £1 million per week. The Red Devils apparently want to put up £60 million for Müller as they seek to capitalise on a recent run of good fortune under the patronage of former Bayern Munich manager Louis van Gaal. They hope by offering him a significant increase on his current £135,000-a-week wages plus the fact that his former teammate Bastian Schweinsteiger had already moved to Old Trafford, it might be an incentive for him to come over, even if it means Müller making a formal request to leave Bayern and break his contract.

A United source quoted in the Daily Star said: “He is the one the club wants more than anyone else.

“With him in the side, United could genuinely challenge for major honours again and they are willing to break the bank to get him.

“But he will have to force the issue himself and make it clear he wants to leave Bayern. It is all down to him now.”

The Daily Mirror reported on Thursday (20 August) that Müller’s agent had expressed an interest in sending his player over to Old Trafford, who recently signed up new star Memphis Depay from PSV ­Eindhoven. Depay, who was bought for a cool £25 million, has already made his money’s worth by scoring two stunning goals in his first match of play versus Club Brugge in a 3-1 Champions’ League playoff.

Thomas Müller (FC Bayern Munich), german natio...
Thomas Müller (FC Bayern Munich), german national football team (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to the Daily Mail however, Bayern are keen to retain their superstar, having previously deflected an offer from Arsenal to acquire the formidable forward, one of the most invincible elements of the German top flight team’s attack formation. Müller, according to the Mail, has said that he has a ‘special relationship‘ with Man. Utd’s boss Louis van Gaal, something which will inevitably make any transition to the red shirt much easier on the 25-year-old, who currently commands a yearly salary of nearly five million euros. Likewise, another report in the Mail’s football section stated that van Gaal is a ‘keen admirer’ of the striker. Van Gaal once managed the player at Bayern and made him a key part of the team during his spell in charge at the club between 2009 and 2011, with Kicker magazine previously describing Müller as Van Gaal’s ‘star pupil’.

More confusingly, van Gaal himself has said that buying another forward is not his priority right now, with two good forwards already in the bag. New signing Depay and Adnan Januzaj are currently holding the fort and their impressive forms could mean there is no need to add more muscle at least this season.

Meanwhile back at Bayern, the rumours are being quashed by the club’s chief executive officer Karl-Heinze Rummenigge. In a message to Bayern’s supporters, Rummenigge stated that he will not let another player leave for Manchester United” after losing Bastian Schweinsteiger to them recently. Rummenigge and other top Bayern officials have also stated that the striker has ‘no price tag’, possibly meaning they are not looking to value him for any possible sale to Man. Utd. or any other team. Müller has in any case still a contract running until 2017 or 2019, depending on the source, and there is no word on whether he has a get-out-early clause in that document.

Eventually, Thomas Müller himself came to the media to talk about the rumours, which have been neither denied or confirmed by Manchester United senior figures. In a report by the Daily Mirror, Müller rubbished reports that United are prepared to spend €100 million on him as ‘crazy’. The claim has originally been reported in the sensationalist German tabloid Bild.

“It’s basically crazy the numbers which are currently kicking around in football – that’s just business,” Muller told German broadcaster Sport1.

Müller also saw the funny side of the endless speculation in the UK tabloids and sports media on this past Monday, when he played in a testimonial match against Dynamo Dresden.

“In Dresden, a fan addressed me with a megaphone: ‘Hey €100m man, what is your playing shirt worth?’ That made me smile,” Müller added.

The keen interest in Thomas Müller from Manchester United has not gone unnoticed by his Bayern teammates. Dutch national Arjen Robben told ESPN sports news channel that he could understand why Müller would be flattered by the attention and could easily be tempted. Robben himself was also a Manchester target by van Gaal, but did not make good on the move.

“First of all, I am not sure if it really is true that Thomas Müller receives such an offer but in general it is always nice for a player when such a big club is interested,” the Netherlands international told reporters. “We’re all human and have feelings.

“Receiving such an offer is flattering but it doesn’t automatically mean that you are leaving the club. I think the players like it here and Bayern is one of the biggest clubs in the world. I love it here.

“But it is always nice when other big clubs are interested — you feel honoured. Sometimes then you choose to go, but sometimes you stay.”

If Müller did decide to move to Manchester United, then what would he bring to the team and to the field? Number-crunching journalists at the Trinity Mirror Data Unit decided to look at his vital stats to see if he would become one of van Gaal’s ‘golden boys’. Since the start of the 2012/2013 season, Müller has scored an impressive 41 league goals for Bayern, which makes him the Bundesliga’s fourth highest goalscorer of the past four seasons, behind Robert Lewandowski (62 goals), Stefan Kießling (50) and Alexander Meier (43). He has netted fifteen per cent of the 277 goals Bayern have scored in that time, so a fairly hefty percentage. Eight of those goals have been against sides that finished in the top six of the Bundesliga.

Since the 2012/2013 season, Müller has also set up a further 31 goals, the same as French superstar Franck Ribéry. The figures therefore speak for themselves. Though Manchester have a strong team of world-class players who are doing better and better under Louis van Gaal’s experienced leadership, Müller could well prove to be a valuable asset and a useful tool in the box for United to rise to glory again. His maturity, technique and unorthodox approach to setting up and delivering goals has made him a cult figure in German football and he could well make that magic work cohesively in United’s game formulation.

Thomas Müller was born on the 13th of September 1989 in Weilheim in Oberbayern. He has been praised for his positioning, team work and stamina, and has shown consistency in scoring and creating goals. He has been with Bayern through almost all of his footballing career and came up through their youth team, and became established in the main side when Louis van Gaal was manager in the 2009/2010 season, the same time as he was called up for the German national team where he scored five goals in six appearances. Only two years ago, he had pledged his career to Bayern saying that “there is no club to step up from when you leave FC Bayern … there almost is no better club.

Most of this article was written at Informa’s Knect House in Mortimer Street, Fitzrovia, London with additional writing, formatting and layout done at HEM HQ in Plaistow, London.
“Manchester United news and transfer rumours: Thomas Muller to be offered £1million a month?” – Aaron Flanagan, Daily Mirror/Mirror Online (20 August 2015)
“Manchester United ‘bid £60m for Thomas Muller’ as Germans claim Louis van Gaal tables huge offer for Bayern Munich star” – Matt Morlidge, Mail Online Football/Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group/Associated Newspapers Ltd ()
“Manchester United set to ramp up Thomas Muller and Sadio Mane moves but Louis van Gaal won’t panic if no more signings arrive” – Mike Keegan, Mail Online Football/Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group/Associated Newspapers Ltd (
“Manchester United target Thomas Muller speaks out over Old Trafford transfer talk” – Samuel Luckhurst, Daily Mirror/Mirror Online (20 August 2015)
“Thomas Muller opens up about sensational £71.9m move to Manchester United” – Jonathan Green, Daily Star Sport/Northern and Shell Media Publications (21 August 2015)
“Thomas Muller to Manchester United: ‘£60m bid made’ for Bayern Munich forward” – Tom Sheen, The Independent (19 August 2015)
“Man United links flattering for Thomas Muller – Bayern Munich’s Arjen Robben” – Stephan Uersfeld, ESPN FC UK Edition/ (21 August 2015)
“What would Thomas Muller bring to Manchester United? All the numbers crunched” – David Dubas-Fisher,  Daily Mirror/Mirror Online (21 August 2015)
“Thomas Müller” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
“File:Thomas Müller, Germany national football team (07).jpg” – Benutzer Steindy, Wikimedia Commons (3 June 2011),_Germany_national_football_team_(07).jpg

IBROX DISASTER: Scottish football team remembers the fallen 40 years on – January 2011

New Year’s Day may have been a time of happiness for most, but for the Scottish football club Rangers FC, their fans and for many in Scotland, New Year’s Day 2011 was a time for remembrance for 66 fans who perished in a stampede at the club’s ground in Glasgow forty years ago at the time of the memorial service, which took place in January. The Ibrox disaster of 1971 also saw 200 people injured in the darkest day of the team’s history.

Thousands of people gathered at the Rangers FC home ground in Glasgow in January 2011 to remember one of the darkest chapters in Glaswegian and Scottish football history, reported The Scotsman newspaper today in a past New Year’s events commemoration. Four years ago, the special service was attended by relatives, families and friends of those who died. Many survivors of the Ibrox disaster, despite the onset of old age, also attended to pay their respects to their fallen friends. At the time of the disaster, a match between Rangers and their rivals Celtic was taking place and players from both teams also honoured those who died at the service.

They made a vow to always remember those who perished in the disaster, in which fans attempting to leave the stadium were crushed to death as they tried to leave through overcrowded gates after the conclusion of the game. The incident occurred on the Stairway 13 part of the Old Firm’s Ibrox Stadium, then called Ibrox Park. At that time, 80,000 fans were on the stalls for the Rangers vs. Celtic clash and safety concerns had been raised about the standard of Ibrox’s passageways after two fans died in an earlier stampede. Among the dead in the 1971 disaster included several children, including five school friends from the town of Markinch in Fife. Rangers FC admitted responsibility for the disaster and were later sued by several families of victims.

Statue of John Greig at Ibrox Stadium, memoria...
Statue of John Greig at Ibrox Stadium, memorial to the Ibrox Disaster (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The tragedy was described by Martin Bain, Rangers’ chief executive, as a “tragedy beyond belief“, according to The Scotsman.

The service was attended by around 5,000 people, including past and present Rangers players, including John Greig, the team captain at the time of the disaster, whose statue forms part of a memorial to the victims of both the 1971 tragedy and a similar incident that occurred at the turn of last century. The Celtic side were represented by manager Neil Lennon, chairman John Reid and chief executive Peter Lawwell.

Victims’ relatives and the footballers placed bouquets of blue and white flowers, the team colours of Rangers at the stand as the current manager Walter Smith, a survivor of the tragedy, and Greig solemnly read out the names of the fans who did not return home that fateful day. As the act of commemoration, several relatives were reported to have turned and saluted to the stand where their loved ones watched the game.

The Celtic chairman then also laid a wreath in his team’s colours of green and white before the crowd, who had gathered at the Govan East Corner area of the stadium, fell silent for two minutes as an act of remembrance. Following this, the Rangers chief executive addressed the mourners, describing the events of January 1971 as an “unimaginable horror“.

He said “January 2, 1971, is a date that will be forever etched deeply into the soul of the Rangers family. Each year we remember with the heaviest of hearts and wish for all the world that the fate of those on Stairway 13 had been so different.

Forty years may now have passed, but as Willie Waddell said at the time, the scar is deep. It still is, and always will be.”

Martin Bain then went on to recollect to the gathered how Rangers and Celtic put aside their sporting rivalry to rally together and support each other, both fans and officials.

Rivalries do run deep – sometimes too deep – but at the core of it all is a common bond, and that is a love of football,” he explained. “A game of football should and does bring joy, happiness, frustration and disappointment in different measure, but it should never bring tragedy and disaster.

To the relatives and friends of those lost, and those who survived Stairway 13, his message was a simple one of remembrance.

We cannot fully comprehend your grief, your anguish, your torment, or your suffering, but we can come together today to offer you our comfort,” he vowed. “There is a heartfelt desire among all of us to remember and never forget.

The service was presided over by local Christian clergy, in particular the Reverend Stuart MacQuarrie, who himself was a survivor who was watching the match from the Copland Road terracing at the time the crush occurred. Rev. MacQuarrie described the tragic events as a “personal tragedy” for the families left behind.

After the Reverend’s address, a lifelong Rangers fan, Ian Loch, another survivor, read an extract from a speech famous among the club’s fans. Entitled ‘To Be a Ranger‘, it was originally delivered by past manager, Bill Struth.

No matter the days of anxiety that come our way, we shall emerge stronger because of the trials to be overcome,” he told the crowd. “That has been the philosophy of the Rangers since the days of the gallant pioneers.”

There was also a musical element to the memorial service as the Glasgow Philharmonic Male Voice Choir and the Salvation Army and Govan Citadel band led the crowd in the hymns The Lord is My Shepherd, Guide Me Oh Thou Great Jehovah and Follow On. A large banner was seen suspended from the Bill Struth Stand, which stated: ‘In our hearts forever’. Several Scottish figureheads of government and religion also paid their respects along with fans, including the Lord Provost of Glasgow, Bob Winter, Nicola Sturgeon, then the country’s Deputy First Minister, the Right Rev John Christie, the moderator of the general assembly of the Church of Scotland, and the Most Rev Mario Conti, Glasgow’s archbishop.

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Scotsman, Twitter, Twitter Inc.
“Ibrox disaster: ‘A date that will be forever etched in Rangers’ soul’ ” – The Scotsman (3 January 2011, republished 2 January 2015)
“1971 Ibrox disaster” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
“File:John Greig Statue.JPG” – Archibald99, Wikimedia Commons (18 February 2007)

FIFA 15 & WWE 2K15: Great sports gaming for 2015

with Sunny Atwal (idea contributor)

Today’s article was inspired by a good friend who is a big football and wrestling fan. In November 2014, he plans to take two weeks off of work and chill out to the max with two brand new game titles. One is the latest instalment of the highly-respected FIFA football (soccer) series, FIFA 15. Also on his Christmas shopping list is the newest WWE game for PlayStation, WWE 2K15, a game based on the popular World Wrestling Entertainment sports entertainment brand, which has the clearest graphics and involving gameplay yet.

I grew up playing both wrestling and football video games myself. I and my younger brothers are all great football and wrestling fans and we would supplement watching intense battles of the ring and the pitch with battles against each other on our PS2 console. Whether it was Real Madrid against Manchester United on FIFA 2012, finessing our bicycle kick skills on Pro Evolution Soccer, we had the time of our lives in front of the big screen. I still remember my brothers Azzy and Suraj creating wrestlers based on family members on the Smackdown release from probably around 2009 and then setting them up in duels against the Bigshow or Brock Lesnar. Nowadays both Azzy and Suraj regularly tussle for bragging rights on FIFA 14, while my youngest Arjun has found his calling as a football manager with some top names on his team and a very busy inbox thanks to the agents constantly negotiating player transfers with his alter ego, ‘Buju Banton’.

FIFA 15 is published by EA Sports, a subdivision of the Electronic Arts (EA) game developer. A football simulation game, it is in the final stages of development by EA’s Canadian arm and is scheduled for public release on the 23 September 2014 in North America, before being released in mainland Europe on the 25th and in the United Kingdom on the 26th. FIFA 15 will be available for the PlayStation 3 and 4,  PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, IOS and Android. On PC, this game runs on EA’s Ignite engine and boasts the same features as the PS4 and Xbox One editions. The front cover will feature Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona. Posed as though he was charging around the pitch, Mr. Messi has been a hallmark of the game’s cover since FIFA 13, when he replaced Wayne Rooney of Manchester United. There will be regional variations on the covers though, so for example for Swiss fans, Xherdan Shaqiri of that country’s national side will appear alongside Messi. There will also be two versions of the title, the Standard edition and an Ultimate Team edition which will cost fans more but comes with limited edition goodies, both in and outside the game.

According to British tabloid Metro, EA Sports have promised that FIFA 15 will be their most realistic football game yet, with some observers saying that it will revolutionise gameplay for the 21st century completely, although some supporters of the Arsenal football team who have seen pre-released screenshot of their players, Mesut Ozil, Tomas Rosicky and Jack Wilshere on Twitter claim that the appearance of the players on FIFA 15 is far from accurate, with one wag claiming that Ozil resembled a ‘zombie or some kind of monster’. Despite the inevitable complications that come from rendering player’s looks in computer pixels, the pre-release hype for FIFA fans has been kept ablaze with special releases of screenshots, tidbits and rumours about what the game will feature and what exactly the improvements will be. There have been reports that a pre-issue demo of the game is in circulation, with Martin Robinson of Eurogamer claiming as such, according to the Bleacher Report. The Bleacher Report also claims that there are ‘rumblings’ from an organisation called the FIFA U Team that the demo will consist of eight teams, two game modes and will appear on September 9. These rumours are of course, just that and nothing concrete has been confirmed by EA Sports or the licenser FIFA.

(c) EA Sports via Wikipedia

According to the developers, FIFA 15 will be the first game of the series to feature ’emotional intelligence’. A new and advanced AI machine means that your players will have their own memories of previous matches and will display emotion based on the outcome of the match. So if Balotelli gets sent off yet again, you will know he won’t look too pleased about it, and if you lift the cup, the players look as happy as you would be if you earned their massive salaries. This is a massive improvement on both previous titles and other rival football gaming titles, as there the players usually are expressionless and game developers were more interested in creating footballers with skills and the package to deliver on the hallowed turf rather than the niceties of a few facial expressions. Each player now possesses over 600 emotional states, responding with gusto to bad tackles, near-misses on goal and the spectacular epic goals. They probably won’t swear at the camera or flip a bird at a red-faced coach but FIFA 15 guarantees to make gameplay almost as convincing as watching a match yourself. 

The fans too will be more responsive and realistic, with actual chants and crowd behaviours tailored to each individual team or national side. The game also has advanced bench reactions, side-line character animations, ten-man goal celebrations and more to keep you firmly interested in the progress of the match. Those matches against your friends are about to get that little bit more emotional.

You can create and manage your own teams far more easily. You can customise up to six different team sheets per club and adapt your formations, tactics and star players based on the opponent, which will make FIFA 15 perfect for aspiring managers and those who really look for the finer details in formulating that winning eleven. Goalkeepers have also been upgraded, with fifty new save animations and improved goalsaving AI. Witness breath-stopping and improved save reactions at the last second supplemented with realistic tips and deflections. You will learn to fear this goalie’s fingertips. Outside the goal, team members will react convincingly to changing play, just like real-life players. New team tactics, such as ‘Park the Bus‘ and ‘In The Mixer’ will be some cool team play features on offer in FIFA 15.

The graphics are far more advanced too. Gone are the stiff, wooden and slightly pixelated player of old, and say hello to players with fluid movement and painstaking detail in their appearance and kit. Shadows and shirt creases are reproduced faithfully, which shows that FIFA 15 really does have its eye on the ball…and on the little details. The players will look and feel powerful and athletic, and even the kits will flutter realistically as your strikers charge down towards that quick-as-lightning goalkeeper. Indeed such is the attention to detail, that even small things such as debris on the pitch, skid marks from footballers’ boots, LED advertisement hoardings and the fluttering of corner flags are there in glorious lifelike three dimensions. They have really done their research here.

The players tackle in style, with shirt-pulling and shoulder barges something to contend with when getting that ball off your opponent. Once you have won the ball, prepare to be amazed as your dribbling and touches of boot on ball are more realistic and believable. Footwork, spin and general ball control will have better accuracy and trajectories as the ball is passed on from player to player.

FIFA 15 also introduces the all new ‘Match Day Live’ feature. Powered by authoritative football site, fans can keep updated and on the ball with their club’s latest matches, news and action using an internet connection while they make history with their FIFA 15 version. For budding managers, FIFA 15 builds upon the team management capabilities and career mode of last year’s predecessor with new ways to play, manage the squad and decide on transfers to boost up your side.


That other big game for virtual sports fans, WWE 2K15, is also a must-have for the Christmas stocking. Like FIFA 15, the wrestling version also promises to bring fans of sport entertainment a more realistic and relatable configuration of gameplay, as the virtual becomes more like the reality.

WWE 2K15 is being published by 2K Sports, with in-game development by Visual Concepts & Yuke’s – the second title being released from the well-received WWE 2K series. The plans in the works are for this title to be released sometime late October this year on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and will be the first WWE game to be released on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Its North American release is scheduled for October 28, 2014 and in Europe on October 31. The cover features WWE Superstar and king of the invisible John Cena and is also the first to use the new WWE logo, which was introduced at the launch of the WWE Network in February 2014. Unlike Cena, fans will hopefully be able to see this latest WWE video game appearing in their local superstore in only a month’s time.

The game’s designers claim that 2K15 will usher in a new era of WWE video gaming, delivering the experience fans have been searching for generations. It aims to be the most authentic, comprehensive and action-packed WWE video game experience to date. The ‘Next-Gen Superstars’ will have more realistic movements and mannerisms, with improvements to body, attire and facial features of individual wrestlers, resulting in a highly life-like and natural look. There will also be improvements to stage lighting featured in the sets on the game and better all-in-ring sound effects and acoustics.

The roster featured in the game will be one of the most comprehensive I have ever seen in a WWE game, including Hall of Famers, current favourites such as Cena, Bigshow, the Usos, Dolph Ziggler, Batista, Randy Orton and the Undertaker. There also good representations by the WWE Divas, including big names like Brie Bella, Natalya and Summer Rae. Full details of the complete roster will soon be announced on the WWE 2K website. It is believed up to sixty superstars may feature in the game as new modes are dribbled out to fans and gaming media.

(c) WWE/2K Sports via Wikipedia

Unlike FIFA, a collector’s edition of the game has already been released earlier this month. It features a copy of the game pre-released with special premium packaging, a collectible wrestling promo card signed by Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan, exclusive Funko “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan vinyl figure, an actual piece of the ring canvas from Hogan’s appearance on WWE Raw on March 10, 2014, two playable pre-order launch exclusive Hulk Hogan characters, and two playable pre-order launch exclusive Sting characters. There are only 25,000 collector’s editions being made at the time of release, according to a Wikipedia article dedicated to the game.

The game has been blazing fires underneath the backsides of critics, with many applauding its faithful homage to the dramatism of the WWE’s infamous storylines, the ‘soap opera with stunners’ as giant of the ring The Bigshow once described it. Review Darryn Bonthuys described WWE 2K15 as a game which heralded the entrance into an age of wrestling games that captured both the attitude and nostalgia of sports entertainment, in a way never really touched on before. Even the detail afforded to some wrestler’s beards is astonishing, amazing even the superstars themselves. On a recent scanning for his character in the game, Yes-Man Daniel Bryan said to Sports Illustrated “When I went for my scans, 2K had so much machinery in their studio, it’s like being in the future,”

“I get weirded-out just being around that much technology. I was like, ‘These things won’t give me cancer, right?”

The article by Bonthuys delves deeper into WWE 2K15’s obsession with detail, aided by the better graphics handling of the latest consoles, such as the PS4:

It’s incredible what they can do now. The detail they capture is amazing. My beard looks perfect in the game. It looks exactly how it does in real life. But they also have small details like the scar on the top of Randy Orton’s head. He has this small little knick, and it’s detailed perfectly. I know when I was playing the game, when I saw the little things like Randy’s scar, when I saw how my beard looked, I was blown away.”

Grappling and other moves are more like what you would expect in a wrestling match than running up and just hitting the analogue stick. The game, despite its many visual and gameplay improvements and tweaks, is still easy for first-time and casual gamers to pick up the skills needed to lift the championship belt, while keeping seasoned gamers and wrestling fans hooked and impressed with the new 2K way of chokeslamming things. The ratio of ring to wrestler sizes is more believable and you can no longer take the easy route out by simply running around the squared circle.

The game will also feature a match history mode, tailored to be just like the bad blood and storylines of the Smackdown and Raw shows as seen on TV. The mode will pick up on past rivalries between superstars and is provisionally being called the ‘2K Showcase’. In comparison to the previous older sibling of the WWE 2K family, the story mode will be similar to WWE 2K14‘s 30 Years of WrestleMania mode in that it focuses on historical events, but will be more like the Attitude Era mode where it focuses on specifics rather than generalities. The two main feuds highlighted in 2K15 are John Cena vs. CM Punk which took place between 2011 and 2013, and the Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels rivalry which began in 2002. Players will be able to relive a total of 33 matches across the feuds, where key historical objectives must be completed in order to progress further in the mode. As with last year’s game, high-quality documentary packages will accompany each rivalry. This emphasis on the nitty-gritty will also make gameplay just that more believable for diehard wrestling fans who want the perfect story of hatred in the locker room. Players will also have access to a self-operated ‘MyCareer’ mode which sees them take on the Lycra mantle of a superstar and gives them the chance to develop his or her career via the Creative Suite and to evolve and take on challenges for title belts. This mode will be exclusive to the XBox One and PS4 versions of WWE 2K15 though.

I can definitely say this about my best friend and I can say this for myself and my games-mad siblings as well. Playing these two games will be an experience that will blow away all the memories I had of previous playing PlayStation and XBox games on the sacred subjects of football and wrestling entertainment. Just the detail and dedication the designers have spent on the graphics and kinetics of the FIFA footballers and WWE wrestlers alone will be mind-blowing. Even though I do not own a games console, and am what nowadays you could convincingly call a ‘casual gamer’, a part-timer in the world of video games, I can appreciate the way these two titles will change my whole viewpoint of gaming for 2015. Just the thought of being able to play and control something that is so very near the real deal is itself a moment I look forward to experiencing. The thrills, the spills, the crossfaces and the cross-kicks. Whether slamming an opponent into the ringside or booting a ball into the net, I think FIFA 15 and WWE 2K15 are the ones to watch for sports games on the PS and others. Let’s hope my brothers have put in their pre-orders.

The official game sites:

Special pre-release gamer’s videos & trailers

“FIFA 15” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
“FIFA 15 – FEEL THE GAME” – EA SPORTS/Electronic Arts Inc.
“You won’t believe how bad Mesut Ozil and these Arsenal stars look on Fifa 15” – Jamie Sanderson, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (29 August 2014)
“FIFA 15: News and Rumors Leading Up to Release Date” – Brian Mazique, Bleacher Report – Video Games/Bleacher Report, Inc. & Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (29 August 2014)
“WWE 2K15”  – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
“WWE2K15” – WWE2K/Take-Two Interactive Software
WWE 2K15 Roster” – WWE2K/Take-Two Interactive Software
“WWE 2K15 has innovative beard tech” – Darryn Bonthuys, (29 August 2014)
“WWE 2K15: FIRST HANDS-ON — IGN FIRST” – Vince Ingenito, IGN UK/IGN Entertainment, Inc./Ziff Davis (12 August 2014)
“WWE 2K15: WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR” – Chris Mawson, Power Up Gaming (30 August 2014)
“FIFA 15” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
“WWE 2K15” –  – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
“FIFA 15 Gameplay Demo – IGN Live: E3 2014” – IGN, YouTube GB (11 June 2014)
“FIFA 15 | Liverpool vs Chelsea Official Next-Gen Gameplay Demo @ Gamescom 2014 [1080p]” – Kalax03 | FIFA 15 Entertainment!, YouTube GB (15 August 2014)
“WWE 2K15: ”A New Era Begins” (Trailer)” – DTreatsGaming, YouTube GB (27 April 2014)
“WWE 2K15 Gameplay Trailer (New Moves,Reversals,Finishers,Animations & More)” – Espacio Ninja, YouTube GB (20 August 2014)



FRANK LAMPARD: Ex-Chelsea footballer to sign short-term contract with Man. City

The English and ex-Chelsea footballer Frank Lampard has announced this past Friday that he is planning to sign up with rivals Manchester City in a short-term contract, reports the Guardian newspaper. The ‘shock’ move could occur within the next week or so and will mean that Lampard could end facing the Blues (Chelsea, his old team) twice while playing in City’s kit. Lampard will then switch nations to play for an American team being developed by the Mancunians. City will be squaring off against Chelsea, and Lampard’s former teammates, at their Etihad Stadium on the 21st September, which he may well feature in if his contract is signed and stamped.

Manchester City currently has an investment in the US soccer leagues, running a team, New York City, who will appear for fixtures in the new Major League Soccer tournaments. However the New Yorker eleven, which will begin kicking about in March next year, may well have Lampard back on their team sheet once his temporary contract with owners City is rolled-up, meaning they can transfer him to their MLS franchise. Lampard signed a two-year contract previously with NYC FC, after vacating Chelsea and English football earlier this year. The former Chelsea midfielder had previously turned down an opportunity to appear in Melbourne, Australia for another of City’s international club ventures, while also becoming a signing priority for Queen’s Park Rangers, who he also declined. The 36-year-old has now made it clear that he favours a spell with Manuel Pellegrini’s side. According to Metro, Lampard has rejected the prospect of playing football in Australia as he had expressed a desire to remain in England,which will seem confusing for many as Lampard will be flying across the Atlantic once his stint in Manchester has run its course. He had also previously stated that he would not want to appear for any other Premier League team apart from the Blues after leaving Stamford Bridge.

The move to New York will see Lampard keeping his levels of fitness up as he nears the end of his active career and will also benefit Manchester City in making him free and available for their Premier League and Champions League squads. He is likely to sign a six-month contract which will run until he begins pre-season training with New York. The Lampard signing also means that City can increase the number of English players on their teams to counteract criticism that English clubs are too reliant on foreign players and not making enough use of home-grown talent. For Lampard, who is only a handful of years from making his retirement from the game, it will also keep him fresh in the eyes of England national team manager Roy Hodgson, who has considered him one of his star players. City hopes to have Lampard on the training field with them before their Community Shield clash against Arsenal, on Sunday 10th August.

Frank Lampard recently spoke about the importance of keeping fit ahead of making his debut in MLS, scheduled for March 2015 at the earliest.

I will have to keep fit. I’ll have to train at the very top level, whether that’s on my own or with a club somewhere, I’ll have to see,’ he said at his New York City unveiling.

‘Of course I’ll keep fit and make sure my levels don’t drop too much. When we come here for pre-season I want to be ready to go. I want to fly out of the blocks. I don’t want to come out sluggish.

The ‘shock move’ by Lampard is bound to raise eyebrows among many in the Premier League, especially at his old side Chelsea, where he became a legend of the team affectionately known as ‘Chelski‘ after thirteen trophy-packed years with them. The move may well be even more of a shock for Chelsea’s fans, who worshipped him in his days playing for the south London side at their hallowed home in Stamford Bridge. Many may well see his joining of one of their biggest Premiership rivals as a Judas move and a betrayal, while others have described it as a chance for Lampard to make his last few years playing professionally a success and an guiding inspiration for the young and fresh-faced American footballers he will encounter in the ‘Big Apple’.

Facebook, Facebook Inc.
“Frank Lampard set for shock short-term move to Manchester City” – Steve Brenner, The Guardian – Sport/Guardian News and Media Limited (1 August 2014)
“Frank Lampard to make shock loan move to Manchester City to maintain fitness ahead of MLS debut” – Vaishali Bhardwaj, Metro – Sport/Associated Newspapers Limited (1 August 2014)
“Frank Lampard Close to Shock Move to Manchester City” – Chris Deeley, FTB PRO (1 August 2014)
Getty Images via Zemanta.



IBRAHIM TOURE: Brother of famous footballers passes away

Ibrahim Toure, the younger sibling of world-class Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) footballers Yaya and Kolo Toure, has died. The Cote d’Ivoire football team announced the passing of the third Toure brother yesterday in an official statement witnessed by the Bleacher Report.

The Ivory Coast Football Association also stated that the remaining brothers have been deeply affected by Ibrahim’s passing away, which happened in the English city of Manchester this past Thursday. Further in the statement, the ICFA offered its deepest condolences to the Toure family.

(c) R. Gorączniak/Wikimedia Commons

The Cote d’Ivoire national side before a match against Poland in 2010.

The statement reads:

Kolo and Yaya Toure just heard about the death of their young brother, Toure Oyala Ibrahim. The entire Ivorian delegation want to show their support to the players.

The football Ivory Coast federation president (FIF) and the Executive Committee announced to the entire family of Ivorian football the death of Toure Oyala Ibrahim, the younger brother of Toure Kolo Abib and Toure Yaya Gnegneri, which happened on the 19th of June in Manchester (England).

In such a sad situation, the players from the Ivory Coast national team, and the entire delegation here in Brazil, show their support to the Toure brothers and their whole family. The president of Football Ivory Coast Federation and the Executive Committee ask Ivorians for their prayers.

Ibrahim had like his brothers become a shining star in the world of football. Aged only 28 at the time of his death, the professional player had played in Egypt for Misr El-Maqasah, before relocating across the Mediterranean to play for Lebanese side Al Safaa where he featured as one of that team’s strikers. As a centre forward, Ibrahim also featured highly for many Far Eastern sides while his brothers sought their chances developing their sporting careers in the top flight clubs of England.

Born in the Ivory Coast town of  Bouaké on the 27th September 1985, the youngest Toure brother first appeared on the international scene for Ukrainian side Metalurh Donetsk in 2003, before starting with a French club.

He began a globetrotting career, seeing action on the pitch in Ukraine, Syria and France, but was never able to join the roster for his country of birth. Fans and clubs have expressed their shock on Twitter and forums, with Kolo’s team, Liverpool, tweeting “The thoughts of everybody at #LFC are with Kolo Toure following the news of the passing of his brother, Ibrahim…” Kolo is currently a defender for Liverpool. Yaya’s club, Manchester City, also expressed their condolences: “Ibrahim was a regular visitor to Carrington and was a popular figure among the staff and players and was extremely close to his two older brothers...the thoughts of everyone connected with City are with the Toure family at this most difficult time.” Condolences were also sent in by Sepp Blatter, the FIFA president as well as teammates of the surviving Toure brothers.

Kolo and Yaya are both currently in Brazil with the Cote d’Ivoire national side. The west African nation’s first match in the tournament had Yaya in action for the whole ninety minutes, which saw Les Éléphants slide to a comfortable 2-1 victory over Japan. Their next match against a respectable Colombian side saw them defeated 2-1 at Brasilia. The death of Ibrahim was notified to his brothers a few hours later.

Ibrahim died after a short battle with cancer. He was undergoing chemotherapy treatment to battle his tumours at the Christie clinic in Manchester. The specialist cancer facility describes itself as “one of Europe’s leading cancer centres” according to an ITV News bulletin published in the wake of the death announcement.

A video of Ibrahim Toure being interviewed by an Arabic news channel after he was signed by Al-Safaa FC of the Lebanese Premier League last year.

Facebook, Facebook Inc.
“Ivory Coast Statement Confirms Death of Ibrahim Toure, Brother of Yaya and Kolo” – Rob Blanchette, Bleacher Report UK – World Cup 2014 edition/Bleacher Report, Inc./Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (20 June 2014)
“Ibrahim Toure dies: Liverpool and Vincent Kompany among those to pay tribute to late brother of Kolo and Yaya” – Bruce Archer, Mirror (20 June 2014)
“Ibrahim Toure dies aged 28 as brothers Kolo and Yaya represent Ivory Coast at the World Cup” – David McDonnell, Mirror – World Cup 2014 edition (20 June 2014)
“Ibrahim Toure ‘died after battle with cancer’ ” – ITV – News/ITV plc (20 June 2014)
“Yaya and Kolo Toure’s younger brother Ibrahim, 28, dies in Manchester” – via Sky Sports – World Cup  (20 June 2014)
“Ibrahim Touré” – Wikipedia/Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
“File:Cote d’Iviore NT 2010.jpg” – Roger Gorączniak, Wikimedia Commons (17 November 2010)’Iviore_NT_2010.jpg
“Ibrahim Toure aiming for trophies with Safaa” – SNTV (Sports News Channel), YouTube GB (19 September 2013) – via The Mirror.

HEI FRANGUEIRO, COMO VAI?: Brazil’s World Cup soccer slang

If you are fortunate enough to be one of those exceptionally lucky visitors to Brazil during the World Cup now in full swing there, you will have noticed two inescapable things about the country. One is the Portuguese language. Portuguese is the national tongue and is spoken over the majority of the country. A legacy of the Portuguese empire that once ruled over Brazil until the 19th century, the local flavour of the language has its own expressions, spellings and idioms. Coupled with the distinct sing-song accent, Brazil’s Portuguese is very different from the Portuguese used in its former colonial ruler. It is rather like the differences between American and United Kingdom English.

The other thing that will not have escaped your attention is their love affair with football. From the battered favelas of Rio to the beaches of Porto Alegre, its football that helps keep the bars ticking over, keeps children busy in their spare time and has helped keep a nation behind one of the best football teams in the world.

Not surprisingly these two modes of expression, the spoken and the kicked, have come together in a way that is very unique to Brazil and may well be very convenient for football fans learning Portuguese who want to get the inside story on what the locals think of their chances of making it to the quarter-finals.

Português do Brasil: Brasília - Mesmo trsites ...
Português do Brasil: Brasília – Mesmo trsites com a derrota do Brasil, o casal Juliano Peixoto e Silviana de Moraes consegue fazer piada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The life and culture reporters at the Wall Street Journal have put together a glossary of Brazil’s football lingo to celebrate the World Cup.

Just as it is said that the Inuit (Eskimos) have dozens of words for different kinds and states of snow, the Brazilians have a cornucopia of nuanced football terms for every kind of player, set piece or ridiculous situation that could ever happen in a match. However, it is not just about figuring the literal meaning while quickly through a bilingual pocket dictionary, it is very much about the context too. The Half-Eaten Mind presents the WSJ guide to Brazilian footballing expressions.

You might well see yellow and green clad supporters shouting out loud for the popcorn guy “o pipoqueiro!!”, but no it is not because they are trying to get his attention for that urgent refill of Butterkist. It is a reference to any show-off or overhyped players who just seem unable to deliver the sweet goods on the pitch and end up popping up around the game aimlessly. Much like your popcorn bag splitting open and bouncing about in the microwave. Either way, it is not a good outcome.

If you hear fans muttering under their breath about lettuce and chickens, it is not because they got lost on the way to a farmers’ convention and they are not complaining about what has wound up in their McDonald’s chicken sandwiches. Oh no, it is just their way of expressing contempt for players with slippery feet and fingers. A goalie who just about touches the ball with the tips of his gloves before it slams into the back of his net is dubbed “lettuce hands”  – “mão de alface” , as his goalkeeping skills soon seem to be as soggy and limp as an old leaf of the green stuff (an unfortunate goalkeeper in an English Premier League match may well be called ‘butter fingers’ among the printable nicknames heading his way along with the ball). Goalies who just cannot seem to stop a ball and let in goal after goal are said to be like clumsy farmers “chasing chickens”. Anyone for a half-time Caesar salad?

There are other terms that are hard to translate suitably into English and reflect the unique culture and psychology that Brazilians bring to the beautiful game. If a player does loads of fancy moves which do not seem to mean any goals being scored, he could be described as engaging in a bit of pointless “firula“, which roughly translates as ‘showing off’ or ‘razzle dazzle’.

If fans start calling out for a “sheriff” it’s not because they are looking for security guards to escort rubbish players off the pitch. This is a term of respect for a defender who seems to be running matters and is playing more strongly than his teammates.

Likewise, a “thief” is no allusion to someone in the stadium connected to the high crime rate in many of Brazil’s big cities. It is a player who seems to appear out of nowhere to tackle the ball from an opponent.

Some more “termos do futebol brasileiro” – Brazilian football terms :-

* “Futebol arte” – the art of football, what England supporters and pundits devoutly refer to as the ‘beautiful game’. In Portuguese, this would be “o jogo bonito“!

* “Chocolate” – the same word in English and Portuguese, but pronounced differently. This is not people handing out Quality Street to struggling players in need of a glucose boost, but an expression for when a team utterly slaughters the other side. The winners have handed the losers a ‘chocolate’. A rather bitter one.

* “Salto alto” also known as the ‘high-heel shoe’. It is rather problematic to play footie with kitten heels, but this Brazilian term is in fact a playful, but painfully accurate, moniker for a side that goes into a match thinking they will own the place, only to see their high expectations crushed under the heel of a well-aimed stiletto.  Rather like anyone unfortunate enough to get on the wrong side of a party of ladettes on a Friday night in Romford.

* “Fazer cera“, this means ‘to wax’. A term for players who just dribble the ball around the pitch to pass the time and use up the extra minutes. Not an allusion to the alleged vanity of certain big names in top flight clubs.

* “Frangueiro” – the infamous ‘chicken guy’. A goalkeeper who has a hard time keeping balls out of nets. Just like a farmer trying to round up her chickens, the errant goalie is said to “tomou um frango“…take a ‘chicken’.

(c) Big Frango via ITESNE

* “Tapete” – literally ‘carpet’. This does not refer to the red carpet treatment that Brazil’s megastar footballers never tire of receiving, but refers to pitch turf which is in mint condition.

* “Drible da vaca” – a cow’s dribble. When a player runs toward an opponent and kicks the ball to one side of his opponent while running around the opponent’s other side, regaining possession of the ball again behind the opponent’s back. A very artful move and one the Brazilian national team is fond of employing. It leaves the opposing side fuming like a bull in front of a red rag…or red card.

* “Peixinho” – a small fish, like a guppy or a minnow. Not because of a player’s size, but because of his slipperiness in diving, sliding and heading the ball effortlessly into the back of the net,  while the sharks in the little pond of the pitch are caught unawares.

* “Amarelou” – to turn ‘yellow’. While Brazil’s team kit is heavy on this hue, this is nothing to do with switching sides. This term is used to describe a team that lives in such awe and respected fear of their opponent that they just cannot help but lose.

* “Na gaveta” – in the drawer. Alternatively you can say “onde a coruja dorme” (where the owl sleeps). These very peculiar quips both describe a well-aimed shot on goal that the keeper has no chance in Hell of stopping. Among British fans, it is a bit more literal “[slotting it in] the back of the net”.

* “Na banheira” – in the bathtub. This is not Neymar getting locked in the shower room after a match, but is Brazilian slang for an offside position, which no-one ever really likes. Unlike Neymar. Who is very likeable.

* “Cavar uma falta” to dig a hole – this one is for those players who just love dramatics, faking fouls, rolling over in mock pain; to deceive the referee.

* “Do meio da rua” – in the middle of the road. A shot on goal from halfway down the pitch, which seems, and often turns out to be, a futile exercise.

* “Caneta” – pen. A move where a player on the ball slides said ball between the legs of an opponent and retrieves the ball to continue onwards. In UK terms, a ‘nutmeg’. At its best when a player uses the ‘pen’ to scribble in a good aim on goal.

* “Gol relâmpago” – flash score. One of those amazing quick-fire goals that happens in the first few minutes of play and takes everyone by surprise. Brazil’s weapon of choice.

A useful glossary of terms prepared by the Wall Street Journal to help you negotiate the seemingly impenetrable Brazilian football culture and avoid dropping words like chickens while your newfound Brazilian friends think you have a tongue made of lettuce.

HEM News Agency, Half-Eaten Mind, Twitter
“‘Hey, Lettuce Hands!’ and Other Brazilian Lingo” – Hannah Karp, WSJ Europe/Wall Street Journal – Life & Culture/Dow Jones & Company, Inc. (16 June 2014)
Google Translate, Google Inc.
“File:Reactions in Brasilia to Brazil’s loss to Holland in World Cup quarterfinals 2010-07-02 2.JPG” – Elza Fiúza, Agência Brasil via Wikimedia Commons (2 July 2010)’s_loss_to_Holland_in_World_Cup_quarterfinals_2010-07-02_2.JPG
Centro de Educacao Profissional ITECNE, Itecne

FIFA WORLD CUP 2014: HEM’s unofficial guide

with Sunny Atwal (idea contributor)

(c) Wikimedia Commons

This month, the football-crazy south American nation of Brazil will play host to one of the biggest sports showdowns of modern history, the FIFA World Cup. National teams from across the globe will converge on cities such as Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre and Manaus to clash in an epic battle to decide who will lift the World Cup and be crowned the greatest footballing nation of the next four years. With the dozens of teams taking part, hundreds of thousands of loyal supporters and intrigued television viewers will converge around big screens and big stadia to take in this mega spectacle that will not only celebrate the majesty of the beautiful game but also unite cultures, creeds and colours in a festival of footballing fun that cuts across seas, oceans and international boundaries.

The FIFA 2014 World Cup begins on the 12th June (next Thursday) in Brazil, the largest nation on the South American continent. It will be the 20th tournament of the World Cup series and the initial group matches will kick-off on the 12th June. The final between the remaining two teams will take place on the 13th July. It is the second time Brazil has played host to the Cup and the country was selected by the FIFA governing body virtually unchallenged in 2007, after organisers felt South America should play host this time round. Brazil last experienced national World Cup of this magnitude over half a century ago, in 1950.

National teams of thirty-one countries will arrive in Brazil to play a total of 64 matches across twelve of its biggest cities, which will use special goal-line technology for the first time ever in a World Cup tournament. The winner of the previous tournament held in South Africa, was Spain. However the reds-and-yellows may well be unseated by either the host nation or another great South American team such as Argentina. All of the previous tournaments that were held in the continent were won by teams from it.

In the run-up to the World Cup, FIFA announced that they will be holding a series of special parties, also known as the ‘Fan Fests’ in each of the twelve cities holding the various matches. As Brazilians do enjoy a good party and are wholehearted dedicated to their football, these events are expected to be highly popular with both local and visiting fans.

The 2014 World Cup is expected to be the most expensive in history. There have been numerous charged protests by people in Brazil who felt that the country had taken too much with hosting both the Cup and the Rio Olympics, especially in the cost of building new stadia, hotels and facilities. However many others think that the money is well spent in safeguarding Brazil’s enviable place in the football world stage and that the country will financially reap the rewards from the millions of dollars in sales, sponsorships and tourism that will come in the wake of the World Cup. The Brazilian government expect costs of  $14 billion, while FIFA will spend $2 billion on staging the finals. The bill for building and renovating stadia is likely to be around $3.6 billion, including five new venues built especially for the matches. FIFA are aiming to sell 3,334,524 match tickets, of which 1.1 million will go on sale to the general public and the rest going to corporate sponsors, VIPs and FIFA personnel and team staff.

(c) Agencia Brasil/Wikimedia Commons

The distinctive trophy logo in the Brazilian flag colours of green and yellow is nicknamed ‘Inspiration’ and was created by designers with the marketing agency Africa, based in the host country. The design was based on a photograph of three victorious hands lifting the World Cup trophy to show Brazil’s warmhearted welcome to the world. FIFA’s official slogan for the tournament, which will appear along with the Inspiration logo on branded products like signage, souvenirs and tickets, will be “All in One Rhythm” (Portuguese: “Juntos num só ritmo“). The official mascot is an armadillo by the name of Fuleco. He belongs to a uniquely Brazilian subspecies of the creatures known as the ‘tatu-bola‘. When armadillos are threatened by predators they roll up into a protective ball, completely shielded by their armour of bony plates, which makes the armadillo a fitting mascot for this world-class football tournament. Fuleco’s name comes from the Portuguese words “futebol” (football) and “ecologia” (ecology), a way of combining the popularity of the sport in Brazil with the vital need to protect the nation’s unique wildlife and ecosystems. Two of the cities where matches are scheduled in located right in the middle of the Amazon rainforest – ‘the world’s lungs’.

The official World Cup 2014 stadia

(c) Wikimedia Commons
(c) Wikimedia Commons


(c) FIFA
(c) FIFA

The World Cup 2014 sites

The Official Website of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™

The Official Match Schedule for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil.


The Half-Eaten Mind is officially supporting the England team for the FIFA World Cup 2014, with Brazil as the second supported team should England fail to make it to the finals. While England’s World Cup fortunes have not been as stellar as Brazil or Italy, they are a team that are at least ready to slog it out when facing the big boys. Despite last winning the World Cup in 1966, at the old Wembley Stadium, which was near London, England, we are a regular feature at tournaments. England has produced some continental-class, if not world-class players, and football is very much a religion here. We play hard, we play proud and we play with passion. Names like Wayne Rooney, David Beckham and Bobby Moore are revered by football fans not only in England, but across the world, as well as top flight English teams such as Manchester United and Arsenal.

The 2014 team blends experience with youth. Already in a previous friendly earlier this month against Peru, new player Daniel Sturridge has shown promising form, and it is hoped that Hodgson’s go-to squad of established playing talent will be strengthened and complimented by the injection of fresh blood, which will hopefully mean a faster, more possessive and ultimately more delivering England. Let’s wear those three lions with pride!!

(c) pixabay
(c) pixabay

This is the team line-up for Brazil.


Roy Hodgson


Theo Walcott

Danny Welbeck

Daniel Sturridge

Wayne Rooney

Andy Carroll

Rickie Lambert

Jermain Defoe


Leighton Baines

Ryan Bertrand

Gary Cahill

Ryan Shawcross

Kyle Walker

Ashley Cole

Chris Smalling

Phil Jones

Kieran Gibbs

Steven Taylor

Steven Caulker

Glen Johnson

Joleon Lescott

Phil Jagielka

John Terry


Frank Lampard

Steven Gerrard

James Milner

Michael Carrick

Jake Livermore

Jack Wilshere

Leon Osman

Andros Townsend

Ross Barkley

Jonjo Shelvey

Scott Parker

Ashley Young

Adam Johnson

Aaron Lennon

Raheem Sterling

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Tom Cleverley

Adam Lallana


Ben Foster

Fraser Forster

Jack Butland

Joe Hart

John Ruddy

(c) Wikimedia Commons

To round up the Half-Eaten Mind unofficial World Cup Guide, here are three football anthems, two produced especially for this year’s Cup alongside the ultimate England football song and melodious stirrer of national pride, the mighty Three Lions song.

“We Are One – [Ole Ola]” – the official World Cup song for international release. This song was performed by rapper Pitbull alongside songstress Jennifer Lopez and Brazilian singer Claudia Leitte. The song was released through RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment. A really energetic song, infused with Brazilian passion, international flair and brimming with World Cup fever.


“The World is Ours” – the Cola-Cola WC campaign anthem. This song was sung mainly by David Correy alongside backing vocals by Rio percussion group Monobloco who also provide the samba rhythms, and was produced and written last year by Mario Caldato Jr & Rock Mafia


In homage to my country of birth and the determination, style and inspiration of those who proudly put on the shirt with the three lions badge, here is the anthem that has been sung along to by hundreds of thousands of fans since the late Nineties and which has passed into English football folklore. It is as inseparable to the English way of celebrating our team’s triumphs as big screen TVs, barbecues, cold beers and pub get-togethers.

“Three Lions ’98” – with comedians David Baddiel and Frank Skinner and the band The Lightning Seeds. The chart-topper was originally released by Sony Music Entertainment UK Limited in 1998.


“2014 FIFA World Cup” – Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
“2014 FIFA World Cup marketing” – Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
“FIFA World Cup – England” –, UEFA
“2014 FIFA World Cup” – Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
“2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil TM” –, FIFA
“WC-2014-Brasil” – FIFA/OAlexander, Wikimedia Commons (8 January 2011)
“Fuleco.2013” – Tânia Rêgo & RobSabino, Agência Brasil/Wikimedia Commons (17 June 2013)
“Football World Championship England World Cup” – DasWortgewand, Pixabay (5 June 2014)
“Fil:England Away Shirt 2010-2012 (crest).jpg” – The Laird of Oldham, Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons (25 March 2010)
“We Are One (Ole Ola) [The Official 2014 FIFA World Cup Song] (Olodum Mix)” – PitbullVEVO, YouTube GB (16 May 2014)
“David Correy — The World is Ours (Lyric Video): Coca-Cola’s 2014 FIFA World Cup™ Campaign Anthem” – Coca-Cola, YouTube GB (11 September 2013)
“Baddiel, Skinner & Lightning Seeds – Three Lions ’98” – LightningSeedsVEVO, YouTube GB (17 November 2012)


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