Category : Sports

A Lovely Tribute Article to Bobby Charlton from the (London) Times–A supreme talent and England’s iconic hero

It has been some time since an Englishman on the other side of the world could meet strangers and break the ice, find empathy, mutual understanding and common humanity, with the utterance of two words: Bobby Charlton.

Yet, with his passing, a little piece of England dies, too. He was more than a great footballer and a good man. He was our connection to what we believe was a gentler, nobler time. He was our bridge to loyalty and duty, to modesty and diligence. Sir Bobby Charlton came to represent much of what we thought was the best of us. His excellence on the football field set him apart, but Charlton the man mattered as much. His self-effacing nature, his ordinariness, his bald pate, his unassuming demeanour.

One can only imagine what he would have made of the many thousands of words spilt on his behalf today. At the height of his playing career, a respected writer described him as England’s greatest-ever footballer. Far from revelling in the praise, Charlton had the good grace to appear embarrassed. “Well,” he shrugged, finally, “he’s entitled to his opinion.”

Read it all (subscription).

Posted in England / UK, History, Men, Sports

Sir Bobby Charlton, RIP

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, History, Men, Sports

Must not Miss 9/11 Video: Welles Crowther, The Man Behind the Red Bandana

The Man Behind the Red Bandana from Drew Gallagher on Vimeo.

Posted in Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Marriage & Family, Sports, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues

Congratulations to Carlos Alcaraz 2023 Wimbledon Men’s Champion

Posted in England / UK, Spain, Sports

Congratulations to Marketa Vondrousova 2023 Wimbledon Women’s Champion

Posted in Czech Republic, England / UK, Sports, Women

Huge FA Cup Final this morning between Manchester United and Manchester City

Posted in England / UK, Men, Sports

(WSJ) Exercise Can Be the Best Antidepressant

One of the highlights of my pandemic workweek was the Zoom workout I did with a dozen fellow swimmers once we lost access to our pool. Most aspects of my life were upended, but the 7:45 a.m. home exercise session was a constant: a warm-up, two sets of resistance exercises designed by our loyal coach, then stretching and gabbing. None of us wanted to give up this routine when restrictions eased, and we’re still at it.

I feel more upbeat and quicker on the uptake on days when I do planks and squats. Now a new paper evaluating studies of the impact of exercise on mood shows that physical activity, of any kind, is just as effective as antidepressants at reducing feelings of anxiety and depression—and sometimes more effective.

Dr. Ben Singh, a research fellow at the University of South Australia, was the lead author of the study, which appeared in February in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. He and 12 other scientists combed the research literature for all randomly controlled studies published before 2022 that involved adding exercise to a person’s “usual care,” to see how physical activity might relieve psychological distress.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Health & Medicine, Psychology, Sports

(ESPN FC) Liverpool crush Man United with historic 7-0 win that puts them on course for top-four finish

Erik ten Hag has rightly won plaudits this season for transforming Manchester United with his tactical awareness and decision-making from the touchline, but he made a costly tactical mistake at Anfield. By starting with Marcus Rashford as a lone striker, Bruno Fernandes wide on the left and Wout Weghorst as a No.10, the United manager let Liverpool off the hook, particularly by allowing Trent Alexander-Arnold’s defensive weaknesses to go untested.

Fernandes is a natural No.10 and the Portugal international is best when given that role to create chances for those further ahead of him. But he lacks the pace to play out wide, and his presence in that position meant Alexander-Arnold had one of his easiest games of the season. Had Rashford played out wide, it would have forced Alexander-Arnold to deal with

As for Weghorst, the Netherlands forward has played the position before, but by using the on-loan Burnley striker in that position, Ten Hag took Fernandes away from where he could be most impactful.

Read it all.

Posted in England / UK, Sports

(ESPN FC) Manchester United win first trophy of the Erik ten Hag era in the Carabao Cup

Sometimes, to appreciate where you are, it’s good to remember where you’ve been. And just over six months ago, Erik Ten Hag had debuted with consecutive Premier League defeats (2-1 at home to Brighton and 4-0 away to Brentford). Cristiano Ronaldo was still around, angry supporters were showing up outside new chief executive Richard Arnold’s house and there was a sense that things could easily slip from bad to abject.

Many, including yours truly, questioned how Ten Hag’s brand of football was going to be effective with this group of players (starting with Ronaldo). And the club’s insistence on signing players who, other than Casemiro, all seemed to be either Eredivisie alumni did not bode well. But here we are.

The League Cup is what it is, but psychologically it matters because it’s the first piece of silverware the club have won since 2017, snapping the longest trophy drought at Old Trafford since the early 1980s. And no, it’s not a bauble won in isolation. United are third in the Premier League, and they just knocked LaLiga leaders Barcelona out of in the Europa League.

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Posted in England / UK, Sports

Congratulations to the Kansas City Chiefs for Winning the Super Bowl

On Thursday night, Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs won his second N.F.L. Most Valuable Player Award, cementing him as the most accomplished passer of a new crop of young quarterbacks dominating the league. Three days later, he added the second Super Bowl victory of his career, throwing for 182 yards and three touchdowns to beat the Philadelphia Eagles, 38-35.

The game concluded a tumultuous season for the N.F.L. in which Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field from a cardiac arrest during a game and high-profile hits to Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa renewed criticisms of how the league handles players’ health, especially concussions.

Mahomes fought through the playoffs with an injury of his own, a high ankle sprain sustained in the divisional round last month that was aggravated in the second quarter Sunday.

Philadelphia dominated the first half. Yet, with Kansas City facing a 10-point deficit to begin the third quarter, Mahomes marshaled a resilient performance in a game noteworthy for pitting him against another emergent passer, Jalen Hurts, in the first Super Bowl contested between two Black starting quarterbacks.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Sports

(Post-Gazette) Steelers Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris dies at 72

Former Steelers running back Franco Harris, author of the most famous play in NFL history and one of the greatest players in franchise history, has died at 72.

Harris passed away just days before the 50th anniversary of the Immaculate Reception and celebrations that were planned in his honor leading up to Saturday’s game against the Raiders at Acrisure Stadium, the team confirmed Wednesday.

Harris learned earlier this year the Steelers planned to retire his No. 32 jersey as part of the 50th anniversary celebration. He is only the third player in franchise history to have his number retired, joining legendary Steelers and Pro Football Hall of Famers “Mean Joe” Greene and Ernie Stautner.

“It is difficult to find the appropriate words to describe Franco Harris’ impact on the Pittsburgh Steelers, his teammates, the City of Pittsburgh and Steelers Nation,” Steelers president Art Rooney II said in a statement. “From his rookie season, which included the Immaculate Reception, through the next 50 years, Franco brought joy to people on and off the field. He never stopped giving back in so many ways. He touched so many, and he was loved by so many.”

Harris’ impact on the Steelers cannot be overstated. The Steelers were lovable losers before Harris arrived as a rookie first-round pick in 1972.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Sports

(WSJ) Jason Gay–Messi, Mbappé, and a World Cup Masterpiece

It was a clash too good to be true, in real time. The first 60 minutes felt like a coronation. The second 60 minutes felt like holding on to the hood of a speeding car.

As for Messi and Mbappé: spectacular. As sports observers we harp so much on the failures and shortcomings of superstars—the great players who do not deliver in the biggest moments. It’s empty theater of scolding and schadenfreude, because it’s not what we actually want.

To see two of the greatest to ever do it—a 35-year-old generational superstar, and his 23-year-old successor—play at the height of their powers, is what we want, because it’s unadulterated joy.

Messi, seeking the first World Cup title, played with incandescent fury. Mbappé, well-defended and invisible early, burst back almost single-handedly to make it a match.

Messi was Messi, Mbappé was Mbappé. It was all you could ask for.

I haven’t even gotten to the scale of all this—how a World Cup is truly worldly, with the heart rates and birthrates of continents rising and falling with each shift in momentum. It all means so much more.

Read it all.

Posted in Argentina, France, Globalization, Qatar, Sports

Congratulations to Argentina and Lionel Messi who beat France to win the 2022 World cup today

Posted in Argentina, France, Globalization, Qatar, Sports

Congratulations to Croatia, Winner of the Third Place match against Morocco

Posted in Croatia, Globalization, Morocco, Qatar, Sports

(CT) J Y Lee–World Cup Showcases Christian Athletes and Actions in Qatar

On this third Sunday of Advent, millions of Christians will be at church. But millions will also be glued to a screen, anxious to find out if the Argentinian GOAT will at long last claim a World Cup title. Though past his prime, the 35-year-old team captain Lionel Messi has been sublime in the competition, with five goals and three assists under his belt, and is leading the golden boot race in his fifth World Cup.

Although the reserved Messi, whose right arm bears a tattoo of Jesus crowned with thorns, has not expressed his faith openly beyond pointing to heaven after his goals, this World Cup has featured numerous heroics of confessing Christians.

Leading the freewheeling French attack against Argentina will be 36-year-old striker Olivier Giroud, who has Psalm 23’s “The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want” tattooed in Latin on his right arm. During this World Cup, Giroud became the all-time top scorer for France with four magnificent goals.

While the team’s talisman Kylian Mbappé has lived up to the hype with his blistering speed and lethal shooting, Giroud has provided a reliable focal point in offense and his selfless play has created openings for his teammates. “I try to speak about my faith whenever I can,” he said after winning the World Cup in 2018. “I feel I have to use my media profile to talk about my commitment to Jesus Christ.”

Read it all.

Posted in Globalization, Other Churches, Qatar, Religion & Culture, Sports

Congratulations to France who beat Morocco in the World Cup Semi-final today

Posted in France, Globalization, Morocco, Qatar, Sports

Congratulations to Argentina who beat Croatia in the World Cup Semi-final today

This was a Diego Maradona performance from Lionel Messi. This was one man inspiring his team-mates through his goal, his assist, his genius. This was the Argentina captain running the show, even when seemingly inhibited from running at full pelt by a slight hamstring strain, driving his team to the World Cup final.

Even Luka Modric and his gutsy side who fear no one had to bow down before Messi. Even Croatia’s usually noisy supporters fell silent as they stared open-mouthed at Messi’s brilliance. He took his penalty unerringly, helped create Julian Álvarez’s first and then destroyed the new prince of European centre backs, Josko Gvardiol, by finally racing through the gears and setting up a simple finish for Álvarez.

Read it all (subscription).

Posted in Argentina, Croatia, Globalization, South America, Sports

Congratulations to France who beat England in the World Cup to Become the Fourth Semi-finalists

Posted in England / UK, France, Globalization, Sports

Congratulations to Morocco who beat Portugal to book their place in the World Cup Semi-finals

Posted in Globalization, Morocco, Portugal, Sports

Argentina win over the Netherlands to book their place in the World Cup Semifinal

Posted in Argentina, Globalization, Sports, The Netherlands

Croatia Knock Brazil out of the Wolrd Cup in an Exciting Quarterfinal Match

Posted in Brazil, Croatia, Globalization, Sports

The Quarterfinals of the 2022 World Cup are now Set

Eight great teams, four wonderful matches.

Posted in Globalization, Men, Qatar, Sports

(WSJ) U.S. Eliminated From World Cup With 3-1 Loss to the Netherlands

The Dutch, too, had spent the past four years resetting under a coach who plays the kind of soccer that Berhalter has always tried to emulate. The Netherlands manager, Louis van Gaal, is considered to be one of the finest tacticians in the world. And 10 minutes into the match, his team reminded the Americans why with a stunning buildup to its opening goal.

Memphis Depay’s strike came at the end of a 20-pass move that started with a gentle ball back from Van Dijk to his own goalkeeper and couldn’t have been more Dutch if it had been grown in a tulip field.

Over the course of 61 seconds, Van Gaal’s players eluded the American pressing game, dribbled away from tackles, and seemed to find a passing solution every time they looked up. Van Gaal’s Netherlands had been accused repeatedly of straying from Dutch soccer principles, but the players’ movement as they carved up the U.S. could have come straight from an orange textbook.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Globalization, Men, Sports

(WSJ) The U.S. Coach Wanted a Soccer Education. He Went Dutch.

…when [Gregg] Berhalter leads the U.S. team into its first World Cup knockout match in eight years on Saturday, he will be up against an opponent that has taught him practically everything he knows about soccer. Nearly every fundamental belief that Berhalter holds about how the game should be played was learned during the six years he spent as a player in Holland.

“A lot of my basic ideas of the game are formed around the Dutch style,” Berhalter has said. “That had a huge part of forming who I am.”

Berhalter’s self-styled immersion program started in Zwolle in the Dutch second tier, where he found, like all Americans who travel to the Netherlands, that everyone spoke surprisingly excellent English. When he had questions, there were actually people who could answer them. This would not have been the case in, say, Genoa.

“He was humble, but not shy—he wasn’t afraid to speak in the dressing room about mentality or about work,” says Marco Koorman, a teammate at Zwolle during Berhalter’s first season there. “But when it came to tactics, he was quiet and he listened.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Sports, The Netherlands

U.S. Men’s National Team Advances To Knockout Round Of 2022 FIFA World Cup With 1-0 Shutout Victory Over Iran

The U.S. Men’s National Team advanced to the knockout stage of the 2022 FIFA World Cup with a 1-0 victory against IR Iran on an historic night for U.S. Soccer. Needing a victory to advance, forward Christian Pulisic scored the game-winner in the 38th minute off an assist from defender Sergiño Dest.

With the result, the USA finishes second in Group B with five points and will face Group A winner Netherlands in the Round of 16 on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 10 a.m. ET (FOX, Telemundo). England defeated Wales 3-0 in the other Group B match tonight to finish atop the group with seven points. The victory also ensured the USA’s advancement to the knockout round at five of the last seven World Cups in which the USMNT has participated.

It was fitting that Pulisic, the USMNT’s talisman for much of this four-year cycle, provided the difference maker in a crucial win-or-go-home match. Goalkeeper Matt Turner and the U.S. defense held strong against a spirited second half push by Iran to record a second clean sheet of the tournament, marking the first time that the USA has recorded multiple shutouts at the World Cup since 1930.

After putting plenty of pressure on the Iran defense for the majority of the first half, the USA’s breakthrough finally came in the 38th minute. Left back Antonee Robinson ran a ball down on the left wing deep in Iran territory. He played a bass back and centrally to Adams, who then played Weston McKennie and the U.S. midfielder spotted Dest making a run behind the defense into the right side of the penalty area. Dest ran under the perfectly chipped pass and sent a header bouncing through the middle to Pulisic who put his body on the line to smash home a half-volley from four yards out a second before enduring a heavy collision with the Iran goalkeeper, an incident that would cause Pulisic to be replaced at halftime due to an abdominal injury. The goal was the 22nd of his international career for Pulisic, who was replaced at halftime by Brenden Aaronson, and the young midfielder played a stellar second half.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Men, Qatar, Sports

(WSJ) For the U.S. vs. Iran, It’s Win or Go Home. That’s Pressure Enough.

“We used to be excited when one of our young players took the field against Chelsea, or Juventus or Milan,” said [Roger] Bennett. “Now we have talents that play for all of those teams and more. They have gained both the self-respect that comes with that, as well as the commercial opportunities.”

Stereotypes linger, especially overseas—the U.S. as plucky, undertalented overachievers from a country that doesn’t say football and can’t hang with the highest contenders. You could sense a little of this from the disappointed England fans who booed their homeland squad off the pitch following the draw with the U.S.

But that’s an old mindset. The U.S. team is in Qatar not to represent, but to win, the surest signal that the sport has evolved past any kind of existential debate about its future or perception around the world.

What does Tuesday’s game versus Iran mean for the United States? It means survival at the World Cup. That’s meaningful enough.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Qatar, Sports

(ESPN) United States make a valiant effort in a draw with England at the 2022 World Cup

The United States was dominant in attack but could not find a way past England as it was held to a 0-0 draw in their second 2022 World Cup game on Friday.

The U.S. was the better side in a game lacking in clear cut chances. The closest threat came when Christian Pulisic rattled the crossbar with a ferocious effort midway through the first half, but neither side was able to break the deadlock.

The result leaves head coach Gregg Berhalter’s team third in Group B with two points from two games, needing a victory in their final group match against Iran on Tuesday to advance to the knockout stages. Meanwhile, England will qualify as long as it avoids a three-goal defeat in their match to Wales.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., England / UK, Sports

538 ranks teams chances of winning the World Cup

It’s hard to believe — mostly because it’s currently November and not June 1 — but the 2022 World Cup kicks off at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar, on Nov. 20. The host nation will square off against Ecuador in the first World Cup match ever played in the Arab world. And the start of the tournament comes with plenty of questions about who might lift soccer’s most prestigious trophy.

Will it be Brazil, the betting favorite? Or could France become the first nation to repeat since 1962? Is Spain’s new golden generation — piloted by teenagers like Barcelona midfielders Gavi and Pedri — as good as its previous golden generation? 2 Does Lionel Messi have enough left in the tank to lead Argentina to glory and further cement himself as the G.O.A.T.? Is football finally coming home?3 Which squads could shock the world? Is there any shine left on Belgium’s underachieving golden generation?

Last week, we used Elo ratings to measure historical Groups of Death at the World Cup, and also to see where this year’s groups rank — or if a Group of Death even exists this time around. (TL;DR: We’re not sure/it’s complicated.) Today, we’re back with our full-fledged World Cup forecast model to take a broader look at the field and try to answer who’ll be the last team standing on Dec. 18.

Read it all.

Posted in Globalization, Qatar, Sports

[Former Auburn Football Player] Philip Lutzenkirchen and his legacy

Watch it all–used in the sermon yesterday morning by yours truly–KSH.

Posted in Alcohol/Drinking, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sports, Young Adults

(ESPN) New York Yankees star Aaron Judge launches 62nd home run, sets AL single-season record

The American League has a new single-season home run king.

New York Yankees star Aaron Judge launched his 62nd home run of the season Tuesday night on the road against the Texas Rangers, breaking the AL record he shared with Roger Maris.

After depositing a Tim Mayza sinker into the Toronto Blue Jays bullpen to tie Maris’ mark last Wednesday, Judge went without a home run during the Yankees’ final regular-season homestand — a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles. Back on the road, Judge, who had gone 2-for-9 with two singles in two games against the Rangers through Game 1 of Tuesday’s doubleheader, took Texas pitcher Jesus Tinoco deep in the first inning of the nightcap to reach No. 62.

“It’s a big relief. I think that everyone can sit back down in their seats and watch the ballgame, you know? No, but it’s been a fun ride so far,” Judge said. “Getting a chance to do this, with the team we’ve got, the guys surrounding me, the constant support from my family whose been with me through this whole thing … it’s been a great honor.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., History, Sports