29
Jun

World Cup Day 17: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

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What’s worse? The fact we won’t be seeing Mexico coach Miguel Herrera in action anymore, or the brutal way his side crashed out of the World Cup? Probably the former. 

The controversial call leading to El Tri’s elimination dominated the news cycle on Sunday, and for good reason. What else caught your eye on the second day of knockout round play? Check it out:

THE GOOD

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Costa Rica’s amazing Cinderella story continued with a penalty shootout victory against Greece, handing them their first-ever place in the World Cup quarterfinals. Los Ticos also became the first CONCACAF side to reach this stage since the United States in 2002. Not too shabby for a tiny country that Mike Tirico mistook for an island on ESPN’s live broadcast.

Not impressed? What if we put it this way:

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9
Jun

Neymar makes young pitch invader’s day at Brazil training

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This lucky kid got to dribble next to Neymar. (Image: @fcb_OneTouch)

There may not be a more likable soccer star right now than Neymar Jr.

Brazil’s World Cup poster child saved a young pitch-invading fan from being taken away by security at the Selecao’s training session on Monday, and instead brought 8-year-old Bernardo Nunes over to meet his idols and snap some pictures.

Neymar has a history of doing this, too. In a March friendly against South Africa, the Barcelona forward came to the rescue of another young pitch invader, even getting his teammates to hoist the boy up in the air for a night he’ll never forget.

With acts of kindness like these, it’ll be hard for anyone to root against Neymar during this World Cup, especially with it being held in his home country.

18
Apr

Wolves win over Rotherham nearly abandoned because of pitch invasions

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Perhaps Wolverhampton fans should take lessons from Brentford fans on how to properly invade the pitch, because on Friday they almost cost their club the match for spending too much time on the field.

The Wolves defeated Rotherham in a wild 6-4 victory, but it wasn’t without frequent interruption.

The invasions started small…

…but slowly got more and more out of hand, and eventually resulted in two huge invasions in the final minutes of the match:

Luckily for the club and that obnoxious group of fans, the referee was incredibly patient, because the madness could have cost them the match.

Wolves have said they expect a fine, and condemned the fans, but let’s be honest: they’re just as excited as everyone who ran onto the pitch on Friday. After all, they’re going back to the Championship!

(H/T SB Nation)

10
Apr

Crawley Town defender in hot water after slapping fan

The Number 1 rule professional athletes must follow is about as simple as it gets, yet we see it broken way too many times:

Don’t. Hit. The fans.

Alas, the latest incident of an athlete getting into it with a fan comes courtesy of Crawley Town defender Paul Connolly. During a League One (Third Division) match at Brentford, the visitors looked to quickly re-start play with a throw-in when a home supporter chucked the ball rather forcefully at Connolly. The defender immediately lost his cool, visibly reaching into the stands to give him a slap in the face.

Though the referee took no action against Connolly at the time, we would be surprised if he doesn’t get a call from the Football Association. For his part, the culprit took to Twitter afterwards and tried to brush the whole thing off as much ado about nothing:

Yeah, not so sure the FA will look at it that way.

14
Dec

Fenerbahce plays match in front of women and children only

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Have you ever wondered what a football match looks like with no men in the stands? Well, Fenerbahce found out, and apparently it’s not a big deal. At all.

The Süper Lig leaders banned all male adults for one match after drawing all kinds of negative attention for their expletive-laced chants, but the absence of testosterone clearly didn’t affect the outcome. In fact, the fairer sex may even have helped Fenerbahce’s cause, as the home side ran out easy 4-0 winners against Akhisar Belediye on Friday.

Take a look at the incredible scenes below (image courtesy of 101GG):

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Still a larger crowd than half of the teams in Serie A can lay claim to.

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And to think, this wasn’t the first time that Fener hosted a match filled with just women and children. Back in 2011, Fener distributed free tickets before a friendly after the Turkish FA banned adult males in result of fan violence during a preseason match against Shakhtar Donetsk.

Respect!

5
Nov

New-found passion: Lessons learned at Emirates Stadium

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LONDON, ENGLAND

Any American over-enthusiasm for my first major Premier League match had to be immediately hidden by the slightly disgruntled grimace one adopts when jammed ear to ear into an Underground train. I had taken a studious approach to dressing — wear all black and then piece together your pitch-side outfit from the team shop when you get to the grounds. I had been joking beforehand that I would go full kit, but figured I’d buy a hat and maybe a shirt. Past experience has proven there is nothing colder than soccer stadiums during the UK in winter, so the extra layers wouldn’t be a burden.

One hour later and many pounds lighter (in money, not weight), I had a hat, three pairs of socks, shorts, a retro jacket and a Cup-font away jersey with my name custom printed on the back. I’ve been trying not to let my head perform the currency conversion ever since, but, hey, I crossed an ocean to get here. Sometimes you gotta let the pence fall where they may.

image   This lad in front of me clearly enjoys Jack Links beef jerky.

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