3 for FCB!

In the midst of worries about the effects of martial law in the region, I did still have time to be updated with my football team. I’m thrilled about their three-straight Copa del Rey wins and stunning play. But, I’m also sad about Luis Enrique’s leaving. All the best ones leave sooner, noh? Nonetheless there’s still the team and future games to look forward to!

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Goings on in the Games capital

Game spirit’s really heating up in Rio. Philippines won a silver at, surprise, surprise, weightlifting (such is the trend these days- Filipinos are winning in sports that mainly showcase sheer physical strength and stamina e.g. boxing, martial arts and the like)! What incredible strength in a woman! 200kg! Now I know what masculine strength in a woman looks like. It’s sexy. Reminded me of Jane Fonda’s Barbarella.

Then there’s my other two favorite Olympics sports: gymnastics and synchronized swimming. These have always been dominated by the US, Russia (USSR before), and China. Same today apparently. They must have in them or their training particular algorithms that do not accept nothing less than a win in these categories. I’d like to know. Or, is it already obvious? Ha ha.

And of course soccer. After a tremendous upset of Honduras six to none, Brazil (with Barca’s Neymar and Rafinha no less) will go up against an equally worthy rival, Germany, in the finals! Crossing my fingers then.

Brazil advances to finals Rio Olympics 2016

All roads to Rio

In the meantime that senor Messi is reportedly rethinking his decision to quit soccer (yes), Barca has rounded up a 21-member team to the Olympics! They will compete in football what else (Neymar Jr.!, Rifanha, and Alves in women’s) as well as basketball, handball, athletics, field hockey, and rugby 7. One more reason to look forward to the Games!

FCB in Rio Olympics
source: fcb

From FCB we go to the US Team. Someone from the rowing team, Megan Kalmoe, wrote an open letter to decry US media’s sudden vigor in reporting the dark side of the Olympics host. Here’s an excerpt:

Stop trying to ruin the Olympics for us. I can’t be sure when the first headlines about the water quality in Rio appeared and the conversation really started. But ever since then, it seems like it’s all people want to talk about. And I can’t really understand why…

Think of it this way: every time you sensationalize the poor water quality, or try to get athletes to react to Zika,or chastise the Brazilian people for allowing their government to collapse, you’re not just insulting the Brazilian people. You’re also insulting us, your American athletes…

Every time you ask us to shift our focus from our specialty during the one time in a four-year cycle that we get the opportunity to share our expertise with the world, it’s an unnecessary distraction that we as competitors do not need and should not have to deal with from people who are supposed to be on our side. Every time you steer the conversation away from the athletes and competition and on to things that are outside of our control, you’re suggesting to us: “I think you should probably waste some of your energy worrying about this, don’t you?” That’s not helping anyone to be faster or perform better in Rio, so why would you do it? It seems a little mean-spirited and like you don’t care if we do well. Or that you somehow think that we should not enjoy our trip to the Olympics. And that hurts. Because we are doing this for you, after all.

I’ve been watching the Olympics as long as I can remember. Then, the Games was greatly anticipated by nations and their athletes. It’s like the world’s shrunk into a neighborhood, festive, and focused on the games. The world’s simpler back then. Perhaps because there were lesser distractions. These days, the Olympics to a world that has lots of life-and-death things going on at once is just another event. And like many world events these days, a possible target of attack from opportunists. Read the entire letter here.

This fan’s reaction to Lionel Messi retiring

Lionel Messi Copa America 2016

Lionel Messi announced his retirement from international duty after missing in a penalty shootout as Argentina lost a fourth major final in nine years.

“It’s not meant for me. For me the national team is over. I’ve done all I can, it hurts not to be a champion,” the 29-year-old said after defeat by Chile at the Copa America.

I can’t believe it! I am stunned! I want to go out there and say, No! But of course I can’t. So I’m feeling just as shitty as the word unexpected retirement.

Argentina and Manchester United goalkeeper Sergio Romero said he hoped Messi would “reflect” on his decision and reconsider, adding: “I think he spoke while he was heated, because a beautiful opportunity escaped us. I can’t imagine a national team without Messi.”

I can’t too.

So…it’s the US

Only one has got to be the champ and US Team it is, congratulations!  They came out as a very strong team in that final game. Seeing that, it may be why Japan lost a bit of their usual focus (as also mentioned by their coach Norio Sasaki in the after-game conference)

but to me they’re already a winner because they’re the only Asians to make it up there, toe to toe with the more established teams. We’ll be seeing mostly new players of the team in the next Cup (France) so I will miss this year’s incredible players who I’ve followed over the years.

The US team meanwhile earned many more following especially after Carli Lloyd’s unbelievable record setting 50-yard goal (I replayed that several times, mesmerized, and still am). No player from the men’s soccer teams has done that.

On the whole, the match between these two (as well as the others in this Cup) has gained for women’s soccer the attention and interest it deserved internationally.

us women soccer

WWC 2015 Final take two: U.S v Japan

It’s a rematch!!!  Japan’s win in 2011 was unexpected, which stunned albeit in different ways both the U.S team and Japan.  In this World Cup however, Japan has shown once again it’s truly a formidable  team.  The U.S are surely out for revenge.

There are now several predictions with the U.S. taking the win.  But as I’ve mentioned here before the start of this WWC, I’m for Japan. It just came as a surprise that the two will meet again, and so soon, for the title.  Japan’s Zen-like play (smile-breathe-go slowly and deliberately) will see them through.  I can’t wait for Monday!

Back to the future: China PR v USA

Sixteen years on since their iconic Women’s World Cup Final showdown, USA and China finally met again at this level. That match at the end of last century ended scoreless before USA prevailed on penalties in front of a record crowd. And briefly it looked like the dearth of goals would continue until Carli Lloyd’s powerhouse header six minutes after the break.