Sport

It’s Coming Home

I recant. I take it all back. I bow my head in shame. Well, sort of. I did at least provide a few caveats in my pessimistic prediction of how England might fare in the World Cup. It has transpired that all things are indeed possible. We have definitely had more than our fare share of luck. And we are still dreaming. Maybe, just maybe, football is coming home after all. Maybe. Or has my new found optimism cursed us? We football fans can be a supersticious lot…

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#TBT

#TBT The Castle

Britain has no shortage of castles. There’s a huge range in size, fame and condition for castle fans to choose from. Some, such as the Queen’s favourite abode at Windsor, are superbly preserved, with well appointed interiors. Others, such as my local – Corfe Castle – is in a somewhat lesser state of repair. Indeed, Corfe is just a small collapse or two away from having its status altered from ‘castle ruins’ to ‘pile of medieval blocks’. But it’s a popular and well maintained set of ruins, run by the National Trust, so I suspect any intervention by Mother Nature would be put right soon after. It’s even just had mainline train services restored to its accompanying train station for the first time since the 1970s

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Brazil 2014

The World Cup Dark Horse

Every World Cup throws up a surprise. A team that’s not expected to do anything, who ends up going far. In recent competitions, Croatia, Bulgaria and Uruguay have all had sparkling campaigns. In 2010 I picked Mexico as a potential dark horse. Which was, in hindsight, a bit silly of me. No, silly is unkind. I was simply overly optimistic about the chances of my adopted home.

a :  a usually little known contender (as a racehorse) that makes an unexpectedly good showing

b :  an entrant in a contest that is judged unlikely to succeed

Who could it be this time? There are a few candidates. But in the last few weeks, one nation has struck me as having real potential to surprise the world. That nation? Well, England. Could a case of over optimism be about to strike again? Possibly. I will admit that the closer to kick off we get, and it is just a week away now, then the more one is afflicted by irrational thoughts, hopes and belief. It’s called World Cup fever.

But hear me out nonetheless. I do have a certain amount of rational reasoning here. It doesn’t necessarily follow that we’ll win the trophy, but a good showing could be on the cards. Unlike most tournaments, when  the England squad is sent off to the host nation on a crest of euphoria, with the nation convinced that this will be our time, we have absolutely no expectation this time round that we’ll even get out of our group. We definitely qualify as a dark horse under part b of the description above.

However, Roy Hodgson has gone against what virtually everyone believed he would do. He has cast aside a string of traditional 30 something starters and picked a squad full of young players. It’s the second youngest squad England have ever sent for slaughter a victorious campaign. There’s little experience there. That’s fine.  There’s little taint of failure of previous tournaments either. There’s plenty of pace and energy. And anyone who says England can’t hit the target, clearly weren’t watching the game against Peru last Friday.

We’re going to play in the jungle first game against Italy and it will be a young guy’s game. Hodgson can make the most of Liverpool’s star players at the core of his team. Gerrard, Johnson, Henderson, Sterling and Sturridge have had a fine season. Paul Scholes has it dead right when he says we should play like Liverpool. Unlike most World Cup’s, there’s no expectation, no hype, no last minute injury concerns. We have a few important players. Joe Hart, the goalkeeper, for one. Other players can make mistakes, but the goalkeeper can’t. Well, they can. But it’s ever so costly.

But the key lies with our forward players. Daniel Sturridge seems to have gotten into the goal per game knack at just the right time. In Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana and Sterling we have wide players with pace who can go past people and create chances. And in Wilshire we have a player with a genuinely high level of technique and movement.

Whether or not I am suffering from World Cup fever is beside the point. There are plenty of reasons to have a lot more hope and belief than we had six months ago. I have my fingers crossed. We are, on paper, the third best team in our group of four. Only the top two qualify, so by rights, it should be a short ride for England fans. But truth be told, there’s not a lot between Englan, Italy an Uruguay. It’ll be a fascinating set of matches. And hopefully the springboard for England’s path to glory…

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Culture

Cry God For Harry, England and Saint Willy!

Today, the 23rd of April, is St George’s Day. Who is he, you might ask? The man is, rather absurdly, our patron saint. Few English people could tell you offhand when his big day is. Fewer still could probably recount his story. Which is disappointing, given how many versions there are to choose from. Pick one. Any one will do. Alas, you’ll probably have to ask a fair number of people before any account of substance is offered. Yet he has left his mark on the country. Our national flag bears the red cross of St George for starters.

There are campaigns to have April 23rd made into an official holiday or to at least promote and popularise the date on the English calendar. The campaigns do often originate from Little Englanders, or worse. I knew the UKIP party wouldn’t disappoint me. They are a fringe political party who are trying their hardest to have the UK pull out of Europe, spreading messages of doom and gloom about how Johnny Foreigner is sneaking over the border, taking over the country, stealing our jobs, bringing unwanted multicultural values to our shores, failing to assimilate, fornicating with our women, breaking the law, fomenting religious dissent and making ourselves easy prey for terrorists. Or something like that…

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How ironic that St George was born not in Wessex or Northumbria but in modern day Turkey, to Greek nobility, some 1800 years ago. He joined the Roman army, but became a turncoat, rebelling against the authority of the land in pursuit of promoting new and dastardly religious beliefs. He may even have come to England*, probably without a passport, and killed a dragon. Which was most certainly an endangered species. At best he was pilfering the job of a good English pest controller. I also have my doubts about just how good was his command of the English language. And he probably wasn’t even white.

On the plus side, he did a fine job of uniting Europe with his patronage of many countries including the likes of Germany, Italy, Russia, Serbia and other.  How ironic indeed. And the shame of it. There are some appropriate links to the UKIP party though. St George was also the patron saint of lepers. And much like UKIP’s manifesto and sound bites, much of his story is unbelievable, populist, unverifiable through factual sources and largely nonsense. Perhaps he is the perfect fit for their brand after all.

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Is St George really a fit for the brand that the UK attempts to project. He’s hardly exclusively ours. He’s most definitely not English. But who would we replace him with? Why not take our Scottish cousins example, who party hard for Robbie Burns in preference to St Andrew? There is the most obvious of obvious choices. The great bard. William Shakespeare. You’d not even have to change the day of our national feast, regardless of whether you’d want to pick his birthday or day of death. Conveniently, both fall on April 23rd, St Georges Day.

Let’s pick his birthday. He’s 450 today after all. We could organise street performances up and down the country. We can flood BBC 1 with movies taken from his library of plays, and BBC radio with recitals. Supermarkets can run recipe cards from the 16th century with Shakespearean quotes for inspiration. The Globe Theatre in London can be a centre point for celebrations. We most definitely should give the day over as an official public holiday. But most of all, it shouldst be absolutely compuls’ry fo’r the entire population to speaketh Shakespearean English f’r the whole day. Anyone caught utt’ring a completeth sentence without a hint of olde english to be puteth in the stocks and hast rotten tomatoes flung at them.

It won’t happen, I’m afraid. It’s as likely as UKIP winning a majority at the next General Election. The next election of any sort is for the European Parliament in a few weeks and I will have my first opportunity to cast a vote since 2005. Who shall I gift my patronage upon? That is yet to be seen. Suffice it to say, as far as UKIP is concerned, I will elect for them ‘Not To Be’. That’s most definitely the answer to the question. Because they are just a bunch of cu….no, I can’t bring myself to put the worst word in the world to paper screen. Even though it was invented by Willie himself. Shame on him. So I shall bid you farewell and a very Happy St Georgios Day!

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Tourism

Bristol

For hundreds of years, til the Industrial Revolution saw the rise of the great cities of the North West and Midlands, Bristol vied with the likes of York and Norwich to be the country’s second city. Behind London, of course. It was a key port that traded with the rest of Europe, and later the world. It didn’t entirely miss out in the Industrial Revolution, as the Clifton Suspension bridge stands testament to.  Since then, Bristol has had to reinvent itself. It’s done so pretty successfully.

BAE and HP have major bases here. Concorde’s maiden flight from British soil was made from here. Concorde’s final ever flight landed here. SS Great Britain, once the world’s largest passenger ship is berthed here. And nine million tourists a year come here. Which surprised me. I’d never thought of Bristol as a tourist destination. But I go where the bargain train fares take me, and from Salisbury train station, Bristol is a very manageable and affordable day trip.

I now understand why millions of people come to Bristol. It’s a fabulous city. Full of fantastic old architecture, ala Bath. There’s a lot of funky new architecture as well. The nasty post war concrete blocks are to be seen here and there, but they’re gradually on the way out. The city is buzzing with art and culture. There’s a huge range of restaurants and cafes. Antique shops. We even stumbled across a Mexican importer, where Mrs P stopped and stocked up.

There’s a lot of live music, in the streets, in parks and in bars. It was a much bigger city than I expected it to be. It definitely gets the Mexile Seal of Approval. We’ll be back. Till then, here’s a few shots I took from around the town on Flickr.

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Sport

The Essence Of Englishness

I stopped Paola as we walked along an old disused railway line. A lot of railway lines have been reclaimed by nature, or by nature loving people since the mass closures of lines and stations in the 60’s. The railway line we were on has an old iron bridge that once safely guided old steam locomotives across the river Avon. That’s where I stopped her, as I’d spotted something as equally English as a closed rail line.

Below us was a fisherman, with a bent rod. He’d caught something, and it looked like it might be sizeable. Fishing is one of mankind’s oldest skills. It still brings out the hunter in us. The battle of wits between man and beast, and the struggle for survival – to eat or to at least not be eaten. The fisherman managed to bring his catch close to the bank and scooped it up in a large landing net. He’d caught a pike, a carniverous fish that roams many of England’s natural waterways.

He used a pair of hook pliers to free the bait from its gut. He weighed the beast –  10 pounds. And then, very gently, he released the fish back into the water. He wasn’t for the dinner table. He was freed, unharmed and ready to fight another day. Which is very un-English. We’re normally very quick to kills things. We’ve spent centuries shooting, cutting, strangling and bludgeoning living things all around the world. It’s rather what we’re known for, really. But when it comes to fishing, that’s not always the case. Which could be regarded as rather eccentric. And eccentricity is very English.

Between landing and releasing the fearsome creature, the fisherman asked me to take a photo of him and his catch. It really was a very good catch indeed, and well worth recording for posterity. He handed me his camera. The battery, alas, was flat. But I always have my shiny new Samsung Galaxy S2 in my pocket, with it’s 8mp camera at the ready. I snapped and sent the resulting image by text, and he has proof of his catch when telling the tale of his battle in the pub later in the evening.

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Food and Drink

Mexican Wobbly Ginger Tosser

That’s a headline that should, in theory, grab some attention. But there’s no slur or slander involved. First impressions may count, but shouldn’t be counted on. Because today’s quick scribble is inspired by a story and a day out, with England meeting Mexico in a beerfest of a post.

The story, published on the Herald.net, starts “A teetotaling Mexican hotel worker travels to England, befriends a whisky-drinking Irishman and scrubs toilets in a pub while learning to brew killer beer.” Mexicans love their ceveza, and so does the rest of the world. The country is the world’s 5th biggest producer or exporter. I don’t remember which, but no matter. The point is, they’re a big player, producing in the Premier League along with the likes of Germany, the Netherlands, the Aussies and the English.

Dare I mention US beer? It generally has a terrible reputation outside of the country, although I can tolerate a Miller Genuine Draft. Seeing as I’ve spent so much time in Milwaukee. Just a half, mind you. At most. By and large I’m a tee-totaller. I’m sure ‘tea-totaller’ must be an American word, even if I’ve used the double ‘l’ Anglicised spelling. In England I believe the correct word is ‘freak’.

I love the smell of beer though, and if I am going to imbibe a little, my favourite tipple is a mild ale. Another sign of me getting old, I fear. I used to drive past a local brewery every day, and would open the visor of my helmet to breathe in the warm, malty aroma that seeped from the place.

And just a week ago I attended the 2nd Big Bournemouth Beer Festival, with more than 200 ales, porters, bitters and ciders from around the British Isles available for tasting. I didn’t get terribly far.  Including smaller samples to supplement the two halves I purchased, I think I got through just five. But it was still worth the visit.

The free taster’s booklet was fantastic. It listed everything that was on tap, complete with barmy names and dubious descriptions. ‘A pale straw coloured ale with a strong citrus hop aroma’ gives you an idea of what to expect when downing Barngates’ Cat Nap. I can dig that description. But there were some frankly bizarre examples. One had as many twists and turns as Coronation Street, apparently. How many beers had been drunk and just how sozzled that reviewer was remains a mystery. But I can guess.

But it’s the names of English beers that I really like. Pheasant Plucker, Sheepshaggers Gold and Fenny Popper don’t strike me as drinks that would go terribly well with Brewer’s Droop. The latter might go well with a Skinner’s Ginger Tosser. A combination that is, I imagine, less embarrassing. Although probably better in the long term than having a run in with Potton’s Village Bike. Bitter and Twisted and Whingers Bitter are highly recommended for England football fans after their latest flop in a major tournament. They’d also probably appreciate a pint or three of Northumberland Bucking Fastard. Just to help get things off their chest. And I’m really not making these names up, by the by.

But back to the story of Mexicans learning the microbrewery trade and taking it back home. I think it’s a great idea. It’s a part of the beer producing industry that hasn’t been exploited very much in Mexico, but I’m sure there’s a market for it. I mean, people are still swilling millions of gallons of pulque for goodness sake.

But they need to come up with some imaginative names for their new brews. A Tepito Tit Whacker anyone? How about a Tlalpan Saucy Surprise? My imagination is running low. Any pithy suggestions are welcome in the comments section. Or you could seek out Jose Morales and see if you can impress him enough to have your literary genius bottled.

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Sport

World Cup 2018

Thursday is a big day. One of the biggest days of my life. In the top 20 anyway. On Thursday, in Zurich, FIFA will announce who will host the 2018 World Cup. England are one of the four candidates, and one of three who have a genuine chance of winning – the Holland/Belgium bid is very much an outsider.

If England were to win it would be the first time in more than 50 years since the world’s biggest sporting event has returned to the birthplace of the game. If we lose, I would be in my 50’s before another chance came around. It’s a big day.

England have been big favourites to win the hosting rights for most of the bidding process. FIFA have previously stated that joint bids, such as the Holland/Belgium and Spain/Portugal bids, were not favoured. The other candidate, Russia, has serious issues. Not least because of the logistics of hosting an event over such a huge area. There’s also the issue of stadiums – Russia will need to build 13 of them from scratch. England, on the other hand, could host the tournament tomorrow.

And yet, as the final vote draws near, England’s chances have slipped. Why? Because English reporters identified a number of corrupt FIFA officials, two of whom had voting rights. They correctly identified them – six members were suspended. Were FIFA grateful to have the bad eggs fingered?

Nope. They were forced to go through the process of suspensions of the members involved, but are furious that the English media put them in the spotight in the first place. Statements have filtered out that the revelations have harmed England’s candidacy. A strange reaction – unless they are all corrupt. One is left to assume they are. And England’s bid now hangs in the balance.

FIFA aren’t fit to run a sport. But such is life. One can only hope that the voting members remember that their duty is to cast their ballot for the best bid, and not the bid that put most cash in their pocket. And that they remember that votes shouldn’t be cast to spite a few individuals, but for the joy of an entire population.

Spain and Portugal, I know, would love to host the event. But should such a massive event with massive costs be given to two members of the PIGS, who may (will probably) need bailing out by other EU members in the not so distant future. That would be galling – for the English taxpayer to effectively be paying Spain to host the World Cup.

England’s bid video is below. But there are other videos worth watching. An unofficial England bid video is pretty funny. Finally, the one bit of hope we have – Paul the Octopus, may he rest in peace, selected England as the winners of the hosting competition before he popped his clogs suckers. Come on England!

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How I Lost 7-2

The joy of living in another country is that you get to follow two teams in the World Cup. Double the opportunity for some glory. It also doubles you opportunity for misery. I got a double dose of the latter. The first infusion of misery hurt most. England being knocked out by Germany.

Yes, Germany were the better team. Yes, England’s defence looked as solid as a paper house in a hurricane. Yes, John Terry probably does a better job of staying erect with team mates girlfriends than on a football pitch. But if you think you’re about to read a humble post from a gracious loser, you’ve so come to the wrong blog!

In the northern hemisphere at the moment, in a small town in south London, Wimbledon I think it’s called, there is a tennis tournament going on. And they have this fancy little device called Hawkeye. It will tell your ears quicker than your eyes can tell your brain that a small, fluffy green ball less than 3″ in diameter, travelling at up to three times the speed of a football, has gone 1mm wide of a chalk line.

In the southern hemisphere, at the World Cup, you have three officials running round a pitch like they’re playing a game of musical chairs at an RNIB Christmas party. And getting things hopelessly wrong. Repeatedly. And yet I don’t blame the referee. Who, when shown the video replay at half time, is reported to have exclaimed ‘Oh my god!‘ Read the rest of the article for a more objective account of the point I’m trying to make.

Why is there no goal line technology in football? If you don’t know, here’s the reason. Because Fifa, and Sepp Blatter in particular, don’t want it. Because, apparently, football should be the same game whether played in a World Cup final or on a Sunday afternoon in an amateur league in Blackburn Lancashire. What a load of nonsense!

How many amateur teams play on pitches with under soil heating, that are maintained by a professional crew? How many amateur teams pay their players millions of pounds a year? How many amateur teams have tens of millions of fans watching them on television? How many amateur teams call off games because there’s a bit of ice on the road outside the ground?

How many amateur teams screw around with each others girlfriends? Ok, the last point might be both irrelevant and just as true as the pros. But still. You get my point. The amateur game and the professional games already have massive differences between them. Adding some technology to the professional game isn’t going to kill the amateur sport.

Sometimes games are won or lost according to who takes their chances and who doesn’t. Today it was about who’s goals were allowed and who’s goals weren’t. I know, I know. Germany went on to score two more after that incident. But that goal would have brought England level at 2-2. And that changes the game. The whole style of the game. If England hadn’t had to chase the game. If, if, if.

Maybe Germany would have gone on to win 6-2. Maybe England would have sneaked a third and triumphed. Maybe undeservedly so. I don’t care. Who knows? We’ll never know. It’s not fair on the fans who paid thousands upon thousands of ever devaluing British pounds to travel half way round the world to see their team. They paid enough to deserve to know what would have happened.

But such is life. It wasn’t to be. It turned out that Adolf needn’t have been so concerned after all. My Mexican amigos have common ground to commiserate with me too, after the first goal that Argentina scored was so blatantly off side. It had been a tight game before that. the goal really knocked the wind out of their sails. They lost their composure, discipline and soon after a second goal – game over.

So that’s probably pretty much the last of my World Cup posts. Maybe I’ll find some enthusiasm to write something more come the latter stages of the competition. Otherwise, I’ll sign off now. What’s left to say. Oh, I know…..who won the bloody war anyway?! 🙂

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Tsk. The Beeb are getting clever. The video won’t work if you’re outside the UK. Click here to see a slightly crappy video of the disallowed goal, to see just how bloody far it was over the line!

[tweetmeme style=”compact” source=”themexile” service=”bit.ly”]

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Redemption

I’m not generally a superstitious person. Religion is all hocus pocus to me. Black cats crossing my path have no effect on the rest of my day. Walking under ladders is a favourite past time, a poke in the eye to bad luck. But when it comes to football, I do get peculiarly drawn into to patterns, superstitions, habits and other silly nonsense. The fact that England wore all red today made me feel that bit more positive.

I went to watch the game in the Zocalo, on the Fifa Fan Fest screen. Of the six important matches so far of the competition, the three England games and the three Mexico games, only two of them were won. Well, won by the team I wanted to win. And I watched both of those games at the Zocalo. Coincidence? I think not!  Therefore, I must watch all future England games at the Zocalo, and England are guaranteed, yes guaranteed, to win the World Cup….

England’s performance today was such a turn around compared to their efforts against the US and Algeria. For the first sixty minutes in particular, they simply blew Slovenia away. With class, if not with an avalanche of goals. We could have had a half dozen though. In fact I’ll go so far as to say that that was the most impressive sixty minutes of football I’ve watched at the World Cup so far.

That late, late goal by the US was unfortunate though. Although you could say we should have scored a second goal and secured first place in the group without relying on other teams to help out. To win the World Cup, we’ll now have to do it the hard way. After the next round against Germany, Argentina will possibly be waiting. Then Spain. Then Brazil in the final. If all goes as it is expected to go….

But anyway. Bring on the Germans! The Hun. The Krauts. Let’s have at old Jerry! Sink the Bismark – oh and has anyone mentioned Hitler only had one ball? And who won the war anyway?! Yes, it’s time for the English tabloids to go into a nationalistic, rhetoric filled, literary overdrive. It might be politically incorrect to be abusive towards blacks, asians, jews and the rest. But the Germans are still fair game. Red heads too. And of course, the French. That goes without saying. I wonder if they could hear the gut wrenching belly laughing on their side of the channel when South Africa scored yesterday…?

I won’t go so far as the tabloids though. I actually like Germans. They make excellent travel companions. But there’s 23 Germans I’d rather were back in Alemania come Monday morning. Instead of abuse, I feel it’s time for some cheesy England music…..although this was the best England World Cup song of all time, even if it was unofficial.

If you’re in the mood for some old skool, then there was 1990’s World In Motion by New Order- if you’re looking for history to repeat, you’ll surely have noted that in 1990 we drew our first game 1-1, the second game 0-0 before going through by winning the third game 1-0. And then onto the semi final. Let’s have some of that rather than what happened in Mexico in 1970. No one wants to come back home just yet….Hopefully, this time we’ll get it right.

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Back The Bid Amigos!

England might have won, but the atmosphere at Wembley, and in the cantina in Mexico City I had stationed myself at, wasn’t….well, as ‘hooligany’ as many Mexicans might have expected. We do still have a reputation. Still. At every football match I ever go to, or Lucha Libre for that matter….or whenever the subject of football comes up – I’ll be called a ‘Hoooooligan’!  In good humour. I think.

There are far, far worst countries around the world for hooliganism these days. Not that there aren’t incidents at matches in England, but not anything near as bad as they used to be. Is it worse in Mexico? Well Pumas fans can get a bit wild. And when Americas play away, it’s not unusual for a few chicken feet to fly around. But I’ve never witnessed any real trouble. Just good humour. And bad language. Of course. Going to a football game is a great way to expand your vocabulary.

But back to Mexico and England. I found some photos on England’s ‘Back The Bid’ Facebook page. With Santo in our corner, how can we lose? I’d love the World Cup to come to England in 2018. Viva Inglaterra!!!!

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England v Mexico

It was all just about bragging rights really. In the English Premier League game, derby matches are always important, regardless of the league position of the two teams, regardless of who wins what trophy, regardless of any relegation that might happen. It’s all about bragging rights. The ability of the winning teams supporters to be able to wave victory in the face of their fellow city dwellers. For at least a few months.

England v Mexico was a derby match for me, albeit an international derby that no one else will recognise as such. I’ve held the bragging rights for the five years I’ve been here, since England crushed Mexico in 2001 (I think) with a 4-0 margin. And I’ll hold those bragging rights for….well, who knows. If England and Mexico both win their World Cup groups, and come through their first knock out matches, we’d meet in the Quarter finals. So the bragging rights are mine till then at least. In your face, losers!!!

There’s a million different ways to analyse yesterday’s game. That was one of the most disjointed and underwhelming England performances since Capello took charge. On the other hand, there were four players in the team – Milner, Carrick, King and Baines – who will not start for England in the World Cup. Five if I had my way. I’d pick Joe Hart in goal ahead of Rob Green.

Gerrard also played out of position on the left in the first half. He just isn’t any good out there. And of course, the Chelsea contingent of Terry, Lampard and Cole were all rested. England learned what won’t work yesterday. Nothing more. Personally, I’d have liked to see England playing like they mean it, like they’ll need to in a couple of weeks. Not still experimenting with players and formations.

As for Mexico. Pobrecitos! You can look at their performance very positively. They were quick, passed well, created some great chances. They were by far the better team in the first half, and still competitive in the second half, although England did run them a little ragged as the game wore on. But. But, but, but. What’s the saying?  They played like never before. Lost like always. When you get a chance, you have to score. Or all the pretty play before it was a waste of time. Mexico need to start finishing more clinically.

It is, to be honest, easier to judge Mexico from this game. Their preparations have been ongoing for longer, they’ve played more games recently and they fielded a team that is pretty close to being the ‘finished article’. Bar Perez in goal – who didn’t do so badly really. I must confess I have little faith in him normally! I personally choose to take the positive point of view – if they can build on this and get themselves into a scoring streak in South Africa, they’ll do well.

Their preparations have been incredibly thorough, including putting together a tough triple Euro friendly schedule against England, Holland and Italy, all away. I had my doubts about that sort of fixture list. Being on the end of three thrashings isn’t the way you want to go into a World Cup. But they’ve come through the first game with a lot of credit. I suspect they’ll lose against Holland too I’m afraid. Maybe a 3-0. Playing them just two days after playing England will be tough. And Holland are tough.

But then they have a little rest, and on to what I think is the most important game of them all. Italy are there for the taking. I’m going to go for a 2-1 win for El Tri, and a huge high to take with them to South Africa. You can watch the highlights of the Mexico v England game by clicking here. Sadly, the FA don’t allow videos to be embedded. If the highlights are too painful to watch, then I have embedded a more upbeat video for all you Mexicans below, to help build up the hype and excitement.

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Make Your Predictions

I’ve been waiting for this to happen since I arrived. I wasn’t sure it would. But in May it will. Mexico are travelling to Wembley to play England in a friendly match as part of both teams preparations for the World Cup in South Africa. I am a huge football fan, and have quite a few friends and students who are as equally enthralled by the beautiful game. Bragging rights are up for grabs. I’m sure they will be mine!

England have played Mexico 8 times, winning five of them, drawing once and losing twice. England have won the last three, with Mexico’s last win coming in 1985, a 1-0 victory in the Estadio Azteca. Less than a year later they played again, in the US, which England won 3-0. Mexico’s other win was also on Mexican soil, way back in 1959 in the first game they played against each other, at the Estadio Olimpico. The result was 2-1. The sole draw between the two teams was also in Mexico, at the Azteca.

When playing in England Mexico have fared less well. England have won all four games, scoring a total of 16 goals, including an 8-0 win back in 1961. In fact Mexico have never even managed to score a goal against England outside of Mexico. History is on my country’s side. So is current form. I’m going to make a prediction for the May match – England 4 Mexico 0. Of course, it is just a friendly. The real business starts a month later. Mexico could theoretically play England in the Quarter Finals. They have played each other once before in a World Cup match. Back in 1966….such a glorious year!

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