If you need a link to stream the Euro 2012 final, set to start in a few minutes, I’ve found one for you.
Who are you rooting for?
I’m Italy all the way!
Remember way back when I told you how I, as an Italy fan, was getting ready for my team’s opening game against Spain in the group stages?
I had my jersey ready.
I had the flag at my disposal.
And for good measure, I had all forms of deities I can get to at hand:
Now that my team has reached the final after an awesome win against Germany (which I was deep-down expecting but went about lowering my expectations and doing some necessary pre-game damage control, just in case. Those Lebanese football fans can sure be a pain when you lose), how will I get ready for the big finale?
Well, if anything, this Euro tournament has shown that you cannot dismiss the Italians easily, which many (including some of their supporters *raises hand* have done).
1 – Some hadn’t expected Italy to get past the group stage. They did.
2 – Some didn’t expect Italy to then beat a very mediocre England in the quarter finals. They dominated England and were unlucky not to have won in the game’s original time. Many had even predicted a 3-0 score for England. Those same people are predicting a 3-1 Spain win today.
3 – Once Italy reached the semi-finals against Germany, the only thing you could hear is resounding confidence how this will be the end of the road for the Italians. But it was far from it. The Italians should have won with more than two goals.
So what’s my mentality going in to the final?
Well, I cannot but have a faint tinge of panic (or a lot of panic). But I am proud of what they have done in this tournament. Italy have proven that they are so much fun to watch. They are attacking, creating chances. Not just scoring on a counter-attack and parking their legendary bus, stopping any team from even thinking about scoring.
On the other hand, Spain have been boring this Euro tournament. Their game against Portugal was such a pain to watch that I ended up catching up on my reading and blogging about a festival named Wickerpark before they reached the penalty shoot-out during which I still had no idea which team I wanted to advance. Out of the six goals they scored, four were against the same team (Ireland). Their showing against all the other teams they played (Croatia, Portugal, Italy) was far from impressive.
Am I confident Italy will win today? Hardly. But regardless of what the result of tonight’s game turns out to be, I – as a supporter of the Azzurri – am extremely happy with what they’ve accomplished and hope the cherry on top will be them winning.
Rising from the tournament’s underdogs to stars, this Italy side has proven that one doesn’t simply take them lightly. The game tonight will be great to watch, as was the group stage game between both teams.
I think Pirlo will be as great as he was in all of this tournament’s games. I think Balotelli will shine again. I think Buffon will prove, yet again, why he is the world’s best goalkeeper – bar none.
But regardless of what happens: FORZA EFFIN ITALIA! I can’t wait to see what Prandelli does with Italy in the next World Cup.
As the Euro 2012 tournament draws close to an end, the second and last semi-final game is here between football rivals Germany and Italy.
Germany haven’t beaten Italy since 1995 and they’ve never beaten them in competitive games. Ever. On the other hand, the Italians should be extremely tired after their 120 minute game against England in the quarter finals. The game is up in the air. As an Italy fan, it saddens me to predict a Germany win.
But a streak has got to end sometime, no?
Either way, here’s a link to watch the game online (here).
And FORZA ITALIA! Always.
I was reading the past couple of days sports articles about how a Croatia-Spain 2-2 tie would see Italy out, even if they beat Ireland by 10 goals.
So I asked people about that because it didn’t make sense to me and I was linked to the tie-breaker regulations, which are as follows:
If Spain ties Croatia, they would both have the same number of points as Italy in the case of Italy beating Ireland. In that case, they’ll go down through the above criteria in order. The first two, a & b, do not break the tie. Point c, however, which precedes goal difference, does. Italy tied Croatia 1-1. In the event of Spain tying Croatia 2-2, the number of goals scored by Spain and Croatia in their own game is higher and therefore, they would both advance. Unfair? Well, it’s the way things are.
Either way, sports blog figo29 has taken his time to write out a detailed scenario for all the different possibilities for the next few days playing out. So if you want to know, for example, how Holland can actually still advance despite having lost twice, I invite you to read this very simple analysis here.
Until then, I’ll go back to praying for the sake of Italy advancing. They leave their supporters to the very last round every single time.
I’m definitely biased towards Italy when it comes to football but I can appreciate a good game when I watch one, regardless of who’s playing and regardless of my sentiments towards the teams.
For instance, even though I’m indifferent towards both Germany and Portugal and even though I wanted Germany to win yesterday, which they did, I was still bored by the game which everyone would agree was fairly lackluster.
Well, here comes the Italy vs Spain game which ended a few minutes ago to bring some good football to a pretty mundane Euro tournament so far.
Sure, the score is 1-1. No team won. But both teams were great, had many opportunities to score and gave fans a great display of football.
The first half was all Italy. They entered the game as the underdogs. I even thought a good outcome out of this had low outcomes, which is evident by the many Holy forms I had summoned. But suprisingly, Italy were attacking and building opportunities and threatening the Spaniards in ways I’m pretty sure the most optimistic supporters of the Azzurri didn’t think was possible.
They reminded me of the 2006 Italy that was mesmerizing, at least to me, to watch.
The second half held a clear Spanish advantage with Italy returning to their defensive self but it saw both teams scoring within minutes of each other: Di Natale, followed by Fabregas. The second half saw Buffon prove to the world why he is the best goalkeeper in the world today. It saw the Spanish offense & midfield shine and the Italian defense stand firmly in their path. It showcased both teams playing to their strengths.
All in all, the Italy vs Spain game can be summed up this way: Great football. Great teams. There’s no way in hell Italy is a pushover. Buffon is a god. That is all.
PS: I just noticed I actually wrote a sports-related blog post here. Awesome. Oh, and just a piece of trivia. Spain haven’t beaten Italy in a tournament game since 1920.
Since Al-Jazeera (the only source to watch the games in the region) is proving a headache for many, I figured I’d prepare a live streaming link for you all in order to watch tonight’s game, which is one of the most anticipated games of the first round.
Italy meets Spain tonight at 7 pm. You can watch the game here.
Last but not least: FORZA ITALIA
If you don’t know by now, I’m a supporter of the Italian National team in football. They’ll be taking on World and European champions Spain today in what should be the first round’s highlight game.
So, as an Italy fan, this is how I’m preparing myself for tonight’s game. The two-step process is as follows:
1 – Get the kit ready:
There’s the current kit.
The 2006 good luck-charm kit.
And the flag Italian girls gave me last summer while I was, ironically, in Spain.
2 – Call on deities:
Christianity needs to be sufficient for now, for lack of other options around.
The bible with a rosary straight from Lourdes in France.
And a whole lot of prayers recited.
Forza Italia. #Panic
I am a big football fan (not the American one, the regular international one). I do not follow every single thing related to it simply because I get way over excited, especially when it comes to teams I care about.
For instance, in Euro 2008, when Italy was playing Spain in the quarter finals and Buffon blocked a penalty shot, I shouted so loud in the restaurant that the owner still remembers me. Yes, I support the Azzurri. Another instance that comes to mind was the game Germany vs Argentina in the latest World Cup’s quarter finals. I wasn’t originally a supporter of either team but I decided to root for Argentina – and ended up doing so more vigorously than the original Argentina supporters present.
So I do understand how the game works and when a team doesn’t play well. I do understand most of the technicalities as well and after tonight, I know most of the players as well – even for teams I don’t root for. I mean, one glance at a substitute and I blurted out his name. Awesome, no?
So the Champions League Finale was on yesterday and it set Barcelona against Manchester United. I had no idea how the odds for each team stacked up but I honestly dislike Barcelona (the team, not the city) so I decided to root for Manchester United instead. Glory, glory Manchester United, right? Absolutely not, apparently. It should have been “pity, pity Manchester United instead”.
I was so horrified by how bad they played that it wasn’t even funny. The only goal they got in was due to a mistake from the other team and it wasn’t even a stellar goal for you to think that lots of work was put into it. Their possession of the ball was 33% and they got only 3 shots the whole game.
On the other hand, Barca had a 67% and had more than 15 shots, 3 of which resulted in goals. See? I’m not always biased. I give credit where credit is due – although I still think they’re not the best team in the world and I vehemently do not approve of the notion that Messi is the football incarnation of God.
So yeah, for all matters and purposes, Manchester United were a big failure tonight. They were absolutely atrocious. Their first half was less than stellar but it kept them in the game. The second half, however, was a disaster. You can’t even begin to fathom how bad it was! When the only team you see playing is the other team, dear Manchester United, you should maybe get a hint to pick up your game? Or maybe it was that the players had enough money and not enough motivation? Either way, I almost felt shame for deciding to root for them. Even more ashamed than the time I supported Argentina in that quarter final and they lost 4-0. At least back then I was more involved and therefore more pissed off than able to see how bad Argentina really was. And yeah, they were worse.
I was not familiar with Vittorio Arrigoni until about 10 hours ago when my twitter timeline exploded with tweets about his death. So I decided to look into the man, see what he’s all about and why there was a genuine sense of sadness among many people who didn’t even know him.
Vittorio Arrigoni is a man who left the comforts of his safe country, Italy, and decided to pursue a cause he believed deeply in: Palestine.
He spent his time in Gaza, supporting the people and the land, defending their rights as human beings and asking for their freedom.
Vittorio, aged 36, was kidnapped in the Gaza strip by an extremist religious group that demanded Hamas to release one of their leaders from prison. He was found dead this morning, his body thrown away like some useless piece of garbage.
February 9th, St. Maroun’s day, the founder of the Maronite Church.
On this day, we are observing two totally different scenes.
One in Bkerke, Lebanon and one in Brad, Syria.
In Bkerke, the Maronite Patriach, held Mass to celebrate the day. Notable politicians attended.
In Brad, a Lebanese Maronite political leader took his family and supporters to celebrate the day.
The difference in meaning between both celebrations is anything but subtle…
Do not be fooled by the apparent religious cover of the celebration in Brad… it is all political.
Brad might have been an important Maronite location in the past but the present value of this site is what matters: there is nothing currently Maronite about it except its history. If Maronites had felt it suitable to stay in Brad, I’m positive Brad would have been a Maronite beacon today. But this is not the case. What is left in Brad is a few ruins to commemorate the days when Maronites were actually there.
On the other hand, Bkerke is the seat of Maronitisim of the whole Levant region – it is the reference. It is the place where people should celebrate St. Maroun’s day. It is where all Lebanese citizens, regardless of their religious affiliations, come to share the celebration with the Patriarch.
Look at it this way, what would be the value of Rome and the Vatican if they weren’t the current location and base of the Holy See?
This political leader probably thinks he’s making a good deed by visiting Syria to celebrate this day. He probably believes that showing that not all Maronites consider the Patriarch and Bkerke their reference, to further solidify the idea that the diversity in Lebanon, even within certain sects, is a good thing, only working to the enriching of society. I believe this is the best case scenario explanation of his motive.
It would have been good if this precise leader wasn’t so adamant about fighting for Christian – and precisely Maronite – rights.
A simple common sense question I believe I am entitled to ask: do you believe, Mr. politician, that showing a divided front to the world is a good way to fight for your rights? What rights are we supposed to fight for if we can’t even agree where we want to celebrate our founder’s day? What gives us the right to even fight for our rights if we can’t even agree on a proper reference for us in our country?
The reality is: he wants to show that a sizable fragment of Maronites actually consider him their reference.
What is even more ironic is the hypocrisy this leader has shown throughout his dealings with Bkerke and yet his followers seem to forget about it.
2005: The patriarch and Bkerke side with him… the patriarch does not receive any bashing
2005 onwards: This politician shifts sides.
2005 onwards: The Patriarch and Bkerke became critical of him and he, along with his followers, began bashing the patriarch.
This leader is preaching to his followers in Brad. But what about those followers? I know some of them. Some of them are from my hometown, I even share blood with some. And I’ve heard them say on way too many occasions that “our patriarch isn’t worth Hassan Nasrallah’s shoe”. This is how low these people think of their patriarch, their true reference. What does that say of them?
And why do they think so low of the patriarch? Because their political leader is at odds with how the Patriarch views the right direction for our country to be… You see, the simple chronological sequence I illustrated earlier only goes to show that the Patriarch and Bkerke are firm in their convictions. They have not changed. It is those who have changed and cannot tolerate criticism that have been the most sensitive and therefore, the most brutal towards Bkerke.
There are many more differences between Brad and Bkerke than a few hundred kilometers… the difference between Brad and Bkerke is that of ideology.
The only thing this political leader is accomplishing is distancing himself from the Maronite Church. If only he had the common sense to see that this Church he is trying to ignore is a 1600 year old institute that has overcome many, many bigger hurdles than the one he thinks he’s setting up.
If only he had the common sense to see that, at least on St. Maroun’s day, he should at least attend Mass at Bkerke and show the world that at least on the day of their founding, Maronites are united in their cause to stay in the country that made them and in the country that they have made.