Some days so much stuff goes whizzing by that the only problem is deciding which topic you want to blather on about for a while.
Today, I don't feel like deciding, so I'll write about all of them.
Today's Switzerland-Turkey match might normally be one you'd choose to skip. While the Swiss are a host nation both sides lost their openers and neither is stocked with the kind of glittering array of stars the Euro-Glam sides are.
Three years ago in Istanbul, the two teams completed a 4-4 aggregate and the Swiss advanced to the WC on the dreaded "away goals" rule.
It was a rough match with cards raining down like snowflakes but the Turks felt that Switzerland got the better breaks from the referee because Sepp Blatter wanted them to play in Germany.
At the final whistle, the two teams raced for the tunnel and proceeded to conduct a riot, with players, coaches and stadium security all pummeling each other with great relish:
So there's PLENTY OF GOOD OLD-FASHIONED HATE in this one and you might want to check it out. UEFA has quietly doubled stadium security and assigned the game to hard-ass Slovakian Referee Lubos Michel
Could be entertaining.
FIFA Competitions always make me envious of teams that have really cool nicknames.
In UEFA alone, there's The Oranje, The Azzuri, The White and the Red. (Germany is something like "Mannschaft" and I'm just not touching that one.)
The Australians have the typically carefree "Socceroos" which sounds a little like kids underwear but they seem to like it.
My favorite is the Saudi Arabian "Sons of the Desert" but judging by the gifts the players get when they happen to win something, "Sons of Ferdinand Porsche" might be more accurate if less prosaic.
Our own region, CONCACAF, has some great ones: Jamaica has the "Reggae Boyz". (Heck, even their women - "The Reggae Girlz" - have it all over us). T&T has the "Soca Warriors". Grenada has the "Spice Boys", which could be considered unfortunate I suppose, but still isn't bad.
Even little Belize ("Motto: "You Gotta Belize")(Sorry) is the Jaguars, which, while it may make you think "Small town High School", at least it's something.
Is it too much to ask that the US find a really cool name? I mean, "The Nats" is pretty embarrassing. This is the USA, the world capital of hype and marketing and brass balls and "Nats" is the best we can do?
Speaking of CONCACAF (which I seem to do a lot) do you suppose there's some chance that a stray relative of yours is from Barbados? Not sure? Never thought about it?
No matter: THE BARBADOS FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION WANTS TO CHECK IT OUT. Give 'em a call.
The role of Captains on a soccer field is the topic of this INTERESTING PIECE FROM SOMEPLACE.
Time was, the Manager ran practices and made out the lineup card but after the whistle blew it was the Captain's team out there.
Nowadays, the role of Captain is reduced to participating in the pregame coin toss. The other official function, that of being "the only one allowed to talk to the referee" is so laughably inaccurate that it's not worth mentioning.
In "the modern game" the armband is a ceremonial honor given to the oldest graybeard or the most accomplished player and here on BigSoccer you can gin up 300-400 post threads anytime you like by asking "Who should wear the armband for (fill-in-the-blank)?
But as a practical matter, how much does it really mean?
One of the great things about the US Open Cup is, of course, the theoretical opportunity for the lowest level teams, even amateur sides, to knock off some bigger name teams.
The fact that it seldom happens is beside the point. It's the romance, the dream, that everyone appreciates.
Then there's the CLEARWATER INTERNATIONAL GALACTICS FC an "amateur" side that most PDL, USL2, even USL1 teams would do well to take seriously.
Somehow, with Carlos Valderrama running the show and a 15-0-1 record, some egos could easily end up embarrassed.
And finally just because I can, here's a clip some evil person sent me of some Canadian Forces troops demonstrating a French weapon.
If the link punks out TRY THIS