A SECRET LIES UNDER ARIZONA

what I would go to be in the crowd of an envy on the coast show one more time.

(Source: makingoutwithwindshield)

my brains the burger and my hearts the coal

(via bradydale)

dvilla07:

so, this is my first graphic, and it’s kinda stupid.

dvilla07:

so, this is my first graphic, and it’s kinda stupid.

(Source: geeroud)

ridethewhiteswan:

Some girls are bigger than others

Sorry My Prada Is At The Cleaners: nothing like your sister’s bf buys your sister a real madrid jersey in...

Preach.
mesqueunfilm
:

nothing like your sister’s bf buys your sister a real madrid jersey in your presence, KNOWING how much of a dedicated barcelona fan are you. mind you, your sister does not know shit about soccer. and then of course, you over react and cry at the sight of her trying on the jersey. every bad thing…

Fifty Shades of Piqué


     Another tournament come and gone; with it, another photo of San Iker hoisting silverware in the air. In case you weren’t counting, in the past 6 years there have been 3 major international tournaments (no CONCACAF, you do not count), of those 3 tournaments, Spain has gone tres for tres. For someone who has only truly followed the world’s game for the past 10 some-odd years, that’s big chunk of my experiences. With a 4-0 win against Italy this previous Sunday, La Furia Roja have accomplished something that’s never been done before and poses the question on everyone’s mind; is this Spain the greatest football squad of all time?

            Summer 2008 begins with myself sulking due to the fact that England failed to qualify for Austria-Switzerland’s big dance. Little did I know history was about unfold itself in the form of a few Iberians with a unique style of play and something to prove. While the golden boot went to David Villa, the likes of Xavi and Iniesta paved the way for a team who won every game they played. 9 out of the 23 players named to the UEFA Team of the Tournament wore the red and gold. (Russia was next with 4). So what if my precious three lions didn’t qualify for the Euro, there’s always the 2010 World Cup…right?

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So what its just the Euro…right?

    Torn between routing for my home country or one that made me love the game, 2010’s World Cup was a rough one. Donovan vs. Rooney? Howard vs. whoever England picked out of the hat that morning? The internal struggle was quelled pretty quickly. Both teams failed to make it out of the knockout stage first round.Spain meanwhile, after a shaky start and a first game loss to Switzerland, came out on top of their group and surged into the final in Johannesburg.Portugal, Uruguay, Germany, Netherlands all fell to the tiki-taka-ers. While the Golden Boot went to Thomas Muller, the Silver Boot landed on David Villa’s foot. (Both players had 5 goals a piece but Muller edged out on assists). 6 out of 11 players for Spain were named to all-star team, with coach of the tourney going to Spain as well. Dos for dos.

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World Cup Champs

    Anywhere can be a football town if you want it to be. I spent the opening weekend of this year’s Euro in Philadelphia with ArizonaSecrets, something I looked forward to and feared for my life. On the one hand, I can enjoy the opening games with someone who follows and understands the sport to the same level as myself, on the other, he roots for Spain. The same Spain trying to three-peat, something I could not and would not stand for under any circumstances. As the first three days came and went (which included getting thrown out of one bar and my comrade being denied alcohol at another), the Spaniards tied Italy in their opening match. Then they became “Spain”. They flew through the rest of their group and enjoyed a laughable opening knockout match against the French. It was only then that they faced, in my mind, one of two teams that could possibly de-throne them; Portugal. Penalties decided it, and whether it was “injustica” or not, it was on toItaly. 4-0, the biggest win in the history of the Euro. Did I mention David Villa wasn’t even there? 10 out of 30 Spaniards graced the UEFA Team of the Tournament (Italy was second with 5). Player of the Tournament went to Iniesta and Fernando Torres threw on the Golden Boot.Spain not only showed why they were the best in Europe but told the world they’re not going anywhere anytime soon.

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Three for Three

    Some nations wait generations for a chance at a major title, for Spain the right generation is here now. Football is a team game, Spain takes it literally. Every player on the pitch is effortlessly comfortable with possession-there is no individualism. Built on short quick passes, they treat the ball like gold, keeping possession and pressing relentlessly to retrieve when it’s lost. This style of play depends on a midfield able to control it. The ‘barca carousel of Xavi and Iniesta forms the backbone of a team who’s built to last; they’re the best central midfield pairing in the world and might be the best ever.  Add Alonso, Silva and Fabregas to the quintet and you have the only team in the world with enough midfield depth to employ a 4-6-0 and get away it (7 of 12 goals came from Spain’s midfield). While the lack of a natural striker will only work for Spain, they can still play a center forward for only 189 minutes and have him win the Golden Boot. Add Iker Casillas, who’s only allowed one goal in the tournament, with a solid back line including Sergio Ramos and Pique, and it’s no wonder they were favorites.

            Is this Spain the greatest football squad of all time? Who knows. What I do know is that for the past 6 years I’ve been watching history in the making; a dynasty built on teamwork in the truest sense of the word. I wish I could hate this team; say I’m sick of watching them and mean it, but I’d be kidding myself. You can’t not like them for what they are; and incredible generation of footballers whose accomplishments are only surpassed by the means they’ve accomplished them. 



from Fifty Shades of Piqué

‘Final’ Predictions – Spain v. Italy


Instead of having our picks and preview together, @ArizonaSecrets wrote a magnum opus of a preview earlier today that you simply must read if you care about us, football, or shirtless Andres Iniesta. Also, please realize we’re giddy that we pulled off a pun in this title without you knowing. 

Our final picks before Euro 2012 comes to a close are:

 July 1, 2012

Cáit

Brendan

Amanda

David

 Spain v. Italy

Spain

(2-1)

Spain

(2-1)

Spain

(1-0)

Spain

(2-0)

It seems that all of our bloggers are with Spain for the final in their effort to win three straight major tournaments. It may come down to goal prediction to decide which couple is purchasing dinner for the other.



from ‘Final’ Predictions – Spain v. Italy

Final Match – Spain v. Italy


The conclusion of this magical tournament is upon us and two Mediterranean footballing powers are ready to clash tonight in Kiev Olympic Stadium. Surprisingly enough, both of these teams met in their first group game of Group C, with Italy striking first but Spain equalizing shortly thereafter and the match ending in a tie. The result was one of the better games in the tournament at the time and neutral fans will be hoping for a similar showdown.

As with any final, there is a lot of history on the line in this matchup as Spain looks to be the first footballing nation to win three straight major tournaments, a run that began when they won Euro 2008 against Germany and continued in their World Cup victory over the Netherlands in 2010. Spain is enjoying a golden generation, something that Iker Casillas, Spain’s number 1 and captain, alluded to in a press conference today in an effort to highlight the hunger that the Spaniards still maintain because it may be the twilight of this era. In the last two major tournament victories Spain has not allowed a goal, giving a certain level of gravitas to their keeper’s remarks. Furthermore, Spain has not allowed a goal in this Euro since that first goal of the tournament against Italy.

Italy, on the other hand, have been far removed from their historic football prominence as this Spanish fiesta has occurred over the past 8 years or so. Italy came far in Euro 2008 only to be eliminated in penalty kicks by Spain and had a very poor showing in the World Cup, prompting the Italian Football Federation to remove Marcelo Lippi, Italian managing hero of World Cup 2006, and replace him with Cesare Prandelli who has integrated youth into the team and has enjoyed great success as coach. Some bastions of the old Italian guard remain in Andrea Pirlo and captain Gianluigi Buffon, but the youth movement from the likes of Antonio Cassano and Mario Ballotelli have beent he life blood which has allowed Italy to look comfortable playing a brand of football that is unlike their historical Catenaccio stalwart defensiveness. Their offensive firepower proved too much to handle for tournament favorite Germany in their semifinal match and may have been a surprise to those who were still reading the tired Italian playbook and expecting much of the same. Instead of Italian focus being on a defensively willed squad led by a legend like Nesta, Maldini, or Cannavaro; the midfielder Andrea Pirlo is the heart that circulates the life blood across the pitch in a fashion that is not unlike how Xavi or Andres Iniesta guide the Spanish ship.

Often during this campaign, the managers of both campaigns have made intriguing decisions but it would be wrong to say that Prandelli’s inventiveness hasn’t reaped more rewards than Spain’s del Bosque’s. Prandelli confused Spain in the first match and surprised other opponents on their path, while Vincente del Bosque has been confusing more often than not. Some will say that Italy deserved to wing because they created greater chances, most notably a stage-fright effort by temperamental post-teenager cum golden boot candidate Mario Balotelli that we’ve included for your viewing pleasure.

Perhaps Ballotelli forgot which team he was on and thought that he was actually one of the Barcelona players who was playing for Spain.

ballotelli barcelona

Why Always Tiki Taka?!

His recent form however, shows that he has remembered which team he plays for, creating a powerful juxtaposition with Spain’s top man Andres Iniesta.

Andres Iniesta and Mario Ballotelli Euro 2012

How many differences can you spot in these pictures?

One thing that VdB’s squad has done well is defend, an unheralded quality of the team that needs to be noticed after stymieing as surging CR7 in the semifinal against Portugal. If Spain want to lift the crown once again, they must find a way to take away Andrea Pirlo’s surgeon-like passing ability and creativity. A team that did that well was Croatia, when they employed a 4-3-2-1 in the second half of their group stage match with Italy and Luka Modric continued to surge ahead and force Pirlo on his heels. Spain has not played that formation this tournament, however Vincente del Bosque’s recent decisions have never been dictated by precedent or familiarity; he’s often over-thought the task at hand. If Spain lose, however, maybe they will regret not partaking in the biscotto match-fixing effort with Croatia that Uefa alluded to before Italy’s final group stage match with Ireland when the Azzurri would’ve been eliminated if Spain and Croatia decided their game in a 2-2 draw.

This surely isn’t the Spanish way, but if the Italians were the ones with Spain on the ropes….We’re not saying, but we’re just saying there’s a history of these kinds of things with Italy.

So enjoy the match and get ready to see our predictions in shortly! Also, follow @GdanskIfUWant2 on Twitter for some live tweets/drunken commentary.



from Final Match – Spain v. Italy

Alexi Lalas: A coming of age tale. (sort of)


I’ve watched a lot of ESPN over the past two weeks and I’ve come away with some insights; first and foremost, as shocking as it is, Alexi Lalas isn’t that bad. Yes, he’s American and tries to work MLS organically into any conversation, yes he’s a pretentious ginger, yes he formed a rock band called the Gypsies and produced the “hit” single titled “Kicking Balls” for the movie “The Big Green”, but compared to anything else the U.S. has to offer…I’ll take it.

A face made for radio.

When the Euro kicked off roughly two weeks ago and I found myself sitting on the couch tuning into the pre-match analysis for the Greece-Poland match. I moaned and grumbled at the thought of putting up with Lalas for a whole 16 days; that was before I saw what else ESPN had to offer. Before I get into the plethora of analysts ESPN dug up from the bowels of hell I want to give out three gold stars.

Gold Star #1Alexi Lalas. Reason-You didn’t completely suck. Between the fact that he cut back on the MLS talk and his witty banter with Michael Ballack, Lalas didn’t necessarily impress but not once did I throw something at the TV. To be honest, the guy’s come a long way. He states his opinion and isn’t scared to be challenged by another analyst, he’s gotten off the England-bashing bandwagon and knows that Lionel Messi will not be playing in this tournament. (fast forward to 1:05)

Gold Star #2Michael Ballack. Reason-You didn’t kill another analyst. I thought for sure the our boy Michael here was either going to head-butt Alexi for a stupid comment/mention of Phillipp Lahm or storm off stage in a fit. The ex-captain of Deutschland didn’t disappoint; the witty repartee between him and Lalas was incredible. You could cut the tension between the two with a warm stick of butter. I for one hope they pair these two together again in Brazil.

Gold Star #3Roberto Martinez. Reason-You were just…great. We didn’t get enough of the Wigan manager this summer, especially seeing as though he made more insightful comments than anyone. His commentary in Poland/Ukraine has been top notch especially when he gives insight into the managerial decision making including the Spanish front/false line.

Three guys go home with gold stars, another three go home with F’s that need to be signed by their parents.

F #1Giuseppe Rossi. I’m not even going to get into the dual-nationality irony here. The guy looked like paranoid schizophrenic in a mental hospital. Did he not know where the cameras were? Did he not know where the analyst’s were?

F #2Tyler Twellman. Tyler who-now? (I know who he is, but for the purpose of this post who cares). He literally sat there and agreed with whichever analyst looked back at him the most when he spoke (90% Lalas).

F #3Casey Keller. C’mon. It’s Casey fucking Keller.



from Alexi Lalas: A coming of age tale. (sort of)

Seminfinal Match – Germany v. Italy


Yesterday showed us that a team can actually take the wind of the Spanish sails, as Portugal played a brand of high pressing football that saw Spain only able to complete a little over 400 passes, well below their average of 677 a game. The game that was decided by penalties somehow did not see Cristiano Ronaldo take one, a gaffe of epic proportion by either the coach Bento or cocky CR7 himself. Spain is through to the final again with an opportunity to be the first team to win three major tournaments in a row (yayyyyy the Confederations Cup doesn’t count guys) and the first nation to win consecutive European Championships. The legacy of this Spanish dominance could never be undersold if they are to succeed.

What, that you were beaten by the better team or that you didn't take a pen?

Injusticia. 

Their opponents, however, will be determined today. Germany look to find their way back to the final after losing four years ago to Spain but will need to go through Italy first. Italy is playing with a rejuvenated Andrea Pirlo, who has certainly made a case for himself as a Balon D’Or finalist with his impressive showings for club and country this year. The panenka he scored in penalty kicks against England was so beautiful that Sergio Ramos decided not to send airmail to the moon when he attempted his pen yesterday, but rather imitate the beauty and the grace of the immortal Pirlo’s penalty. Germany went through Greece with a new lineup in the quarterfinals and there was no need for Die Mannschaft to take penalties with their show of dominance (although we are curious as to whether Manuel Neuer would’ve taken one as he did in the Champions League). Below are two beautifully done lo-fi recaps of each team’s quarterfinal match courtesy of Tim at When Saturday Comes.

I hope you enjoyed those as much as I have. Anyway, for our picks we’ll continue to predict scores despite nobody correctly guessing the winner would come out on penalties after a 0-0 draw yesterday.

 June 28, 2012

Cáit

Brendan

Amanda

David

 Germany v. Italy

Germany

(1-0)

Germany

(1-0)

Germany

(1-0)

Italy

(1-1)



from Seminfinal Match – Germany v. Italy

Semifinal Match – Portugal v. Spain


The Iberian Derby is upon us as Portugal, the runners up in Group B will face the winners of Group C, who also happen to be the reigning European and World Champions, Spain. Portugal has title aspirations that will allow them to shed the reputation of not being able to win a major tournament, a surprising distinction when you consider the history that football has in this country and some of the great players to play for A Selecção das Quinas (like Eusebio and Figo to name a couple). It was only four years ago that Spain, another country with a rich footballing history, heard the same kinds of criticisms (despite the country winning the 1964 European Championships) but silenced them all after winning the Euro in 2008 and then the World Cup in 2010. Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo looks primed to launch his country on a similar run, although they will need to unseat the current World Champions in this tournament to prove their worth, much like how Spain did in the 2008 Euro quarterfinal match against Italy.

Fans of La Liga, or just casual Clasico watchers, will see plenty of familiar faces in this matchup with Real Madrid and Barcelona stars taking the pitch in Donbass Arena, Ukraine. Barcelona players Victor Valdez, Gerard Pique, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Cesc Fabregas, and Pedro Rodriguez will trade in their blaugrana kit for La Furia Roja’s. Real Madrid’s Los Merengues, however, are split amongst the squads (courtesy of playing in La Liga but coached by Jose Mourinho who is from hell Portugal). Representatives from last year’s La Liga winning squad on Portugal include Pepe, Fabio Coentrao, and Cristiano Ronaldo. Somehow managing to get along with their blaugrana counterparts on Spain’s national team are Real Madrid’s Iker Casillas, Raul Albiol, Sergio Ramos, Alvaro Arbeloa, and the Man Of The Match against France Xabi Alonso.

Both couples are knotted up again with the same amount of points as we enter the last three games. To make things interesting, each blogger has been asked not only to predict the winner, but also the final score (for a possible bonus point). Here are our picks:

 June 27, 2012

Cáit

Brendan

Amanda

David

 Portugal v. Spain

Spain

(1-0)

Spain

(2-1)

Spain

(3-2)

Spain

(2-0)

Remember to follow our coverage on this very website but also on Twitter.



from Semifinal Match – Portugal v. Spain

“Dear Joe Hart, How Does It Taste?” -Mario Ballotelli*


*We can only assume that Mario said this and much much worse to his Manchester City teammate after today’s penalty kick shootout to decide the quarterfinal match between England and Italy. This post comes from our “Offsides” section.

Ian Darke mentioned as the penalty shootout began that there is a video floating around of Joe Hart blocking a Mario Ballotelli penalty shot in training for their club team. We’ve included that video below.

Anybody watching the game must’ve enjoyed hearing this and seeing Joe Hart talk some trash as he stepped back to his line for the first shot in the penalty shootout. Mario Ballotelli, however would have none of it. See it here - (Penalty taken at 2:47)

If Mario hasn’t done so already, we can only guess that Mario will strike this familiar pose when the two reconvene for club training ahead of the next Premiership League campaign. Pantomiming the action that goes with the title of this post, Ballotelli has exacted his revenge on Hart.

How does my dick taste Joe Hart?



from “Dear Joe Hart, How Does It Taste?” -Mario Ballotelli*

Quarterfinal Match – England v. Italy


After a long night of playing some football of our own last night, our post is somewhat belated but with a tie at halftime we don’t feel too terrible about posting the picks now.

 June 23, 2012

Cáit

Brendan

Amanda

David

 England v. Italy

England

England

England

Italy



from Quarterfinal Match – England v. Italy

Quarterfinal Match – Spain v. France


Yesterday the gridlock between the two couples was broken as Amanda’s Big Fat Greek hopes were dashed to bits after a stunning display by the Germans. There will be no change in the standings today as all bloggers have chosen Spain to beat France.

La Furia Roja (isn’t it time for a new name Spain?) will try to exorcise the demons of last being eliminated from a major tournament by France in World Cup 2006. Since that tournament, the two countries couldn’t be more different in terms of footballing accomplishments. The Spaniards have won the previous Euro and World Cup, while the French are a picture of infighting and self-destruction at nearly every competition.

One cannot deny, however, how talent rich both of these teams appear to be on paper. While the French team does not have the same depth as their Spanish neighbors, they have a true number nine striker in Karim Benzema that even Spanish eyes must envy in this tournament. The Spaniards know all too well of Benzema’s brilliance since he dons the Real Madrid kit as his club. The Spaniards will start with David Silva and Cesc Farbregas as the fifth and sixth midfielders in their lineup today, with Cesc serving as the false number nine. The embarrassment of riches for Spain is clear when you look at the players watching the game from the bench (Fernando Llorente, Fernando Torres, Javi Martinez, Victor Valdez, Juan Mata to name a few), however it will be up to the starting eleven to play with pace and pass with precision to break down what is sure to be a French wall in defense. Expect that much of the first 30 minutes to be played in the French half with no less than nine players for Les Blues behind the ball. Croatia’s model in the last group game and to a certain extent, Chelsea’s Champions League victory over Barcelona will will guide French coach Laurent Blanc’s game plan today.

Our picks are as follows:

 June 23, 2012

Cáit

Brendan

Amanda

David

 Spain v. France

Spain

Spain

Spain

Spain

A few last things of note, today’s match is being played in Donbass Arena in Ukraine, marking the first time that Spain will play away from Gdansk, Poland. France played their first two group games against England and Ukraine (a tie and a victory respectively) at Donbass Arena in Donetesk, Ukraine. Also, remember to follow all the action on our Twitter account (@GdanskIfUWant2).




from Quarterfinal Match – Spain v. France