Blog Archives

From 2nd Place to 3rd Place to No Place

Total Football’s total mess is over…but only briefly.

The Dutch blanked Sweden 2-nil in Amsterdam ArenA today in the final game of World Cup qualifying. However, as a consequence of a massive goal differential shortage entering the match, the Oranje finished tied for second in points. But because goal differential is the first tie-breaker, the Dutch technically finished in the non-qualifying position of third place in their group behind Sweden and France. Therefore, the Dutch will miss the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

As a lifelong fan of the Netherlands, it’s tough to see this team not playing in a World Cup. Without diving too deep into the weeds right now (failure of a youthful, next generation of footballers to develop at a world-class level), what’s even more depressing is what was said after the final whistle blew.

Arjen Robben (33), my favorite soccer player, declared he is retiring from international competitions with the Dutch National Team.

This move was predictable, as it was either going to be announced this year or after the World Cup next summer had the Dutch qualified. Still, to know that Robben won’t put on a national team jersey again is jarring. One of the leaders of a golden generation of players for the men in orange (Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder, Robin van Persie) was excruciatingly close to winning his country’s first-ever World Cup on multiple occasions. The Dutch finished second in 2010 and finished third in 2014.

Now, as this disastrous World Cup cycle has proven, the Dutch will not be serious contenders for a long, long time. There is a very concerning talent gap for such a historically influential and talent-rich soccer nation.

Returning back to Robben’s breaking news, three pieces of immediate solace are:

  • He will continue to play for Bayern Munich.
  • His two goals today (especially his second) were classic Arjen Robben moments.
  • He retired from the Dutch National Team in front of his home fans.

Speaking of his classic second goal today against Sweden…

Ironically enough, the Netherlands won today’s game with the worst lead in soccer. And 2-nil proved, once again, to be the worst lead because they needed a much higher goal differential to miraculously qualify for next summer’s World Cup. It was a loss disguised as a win.

As opposed to Arjen Robben’s legacy with the Netherlands, which was always a win-win situation.

Thank you for all the memories playing for the Oranje! 

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One Person’s Painful Exit is Another Person’s Helpful Departure

Good? Bad? The right move? The wrong move?

Whatever your view, whether you were for or against Brexit, the historic exit happened and the process of Britain leaving the EU (European Union) continues to unfold. The fascinating dynamic that’s been transpiring in the months that have followed is that the EU still appears to be exuding an air of arrogance and utter disbelief that Brexit was the elective choice of the British people last year.

When votes are cast by the public, there are consequences, both good and bad in a variety of forms. However, many votes in elections (if not all) are cast for specific, passionate reasons. Even proponents of the EU conceded a little bit that the bureaucracy of the governing body needed amending and reform. The simple fact is the EU has not catapulted Europe and its diverse citizenry to the forefront of the globalized world, as many predicted during its inception. The gamble was big and the winnings have been, to a majority of voters in Britain, nonexistent…or perhaps only microscopic.

Some voters prefer to take a scalpel to a problem and surgically fix an issue piece-by-piece. Some voters prefer to take a sledge hammer to a problem to begin knocking down a long-standing institution that’s not working and not getting any better. The macro vs. micro debate, as demonstrated in Britain, the United States of America and other countries around the world, is swinging quite significantly towards the macro solution. This meaning people are leaning towards dramatic, wholesale change versus tinkering with the failing status quo.

To make matters more intense, the recent smugness of the EU not only illuminates their resistance to the reality of its struggling and frustrated European people, but also fuels the strength of the current populist movement well into the future if that reality isn’t understood and resolved with both a scalpel and a sledge hammer.

“…the least painful for the EU.”
–Donald Tusk, President of the European Council

And now the acclaimed and brilliant historian Niall Ferguson with his trademark insight, quick-wit and humility.

Mr. Tusk chose the correct word near the end of his remarks above: painful.

Ironically, that’s actually the word many of the Brexit voters likely felt concerning their working and living situations day-to-day under the failing bureaucratic labyrinth that is the EU.

P.S. My thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by the terrorist attack in London. 

DUNKIRK Looks & Sounds EPIC

The very first trailer announcement for Christopher Nolan’s next cinematic project Dunkirk just landed on our shores.

Watch and get chills of excitement.

Watch again and get more chills.

Using the same marketing playbook as his 2014 science-fiction epic Interstellar, Mr. Nolan, Syncopy and Warner Bros. are offering the first theatrical glimpse about a year out from the release date (July 21, 2017). Given the success and ground-breaking nature of previous films from Christopher Nolan, his World War II story about the Dunkirk evacuation will have relentless buzz and anticipation. Nolan Fans, like myself, have been excited for this movie ever since it was revealed Chris and his brother Jonathan were spotted scouting shooting locations in the French commune. It’s fair to presume that attention for this film will not only last, but build with excitement during the next yearlong time frame.

And yes, I have the exact same question as you: Can I buy my ticket today?

Weather’s Awakening

Global warming.

Climate change.

Global cooling.

As climate scientists at national and international institutions continue to change their minds as to what the exact disastrous term should be used regarding their apparent Kung-Fu grip on weather, meteorologists provide the public with daily weather observations and insights. To be blunt, their job really is to tell us coat-or-no-coat.

And yet, they don’t always make the right prediction.

However, one British meteorologist did something that was all kinds of right during yesterday’s newscast.

A beautiful woman who has a stunning smile, a cute accent, a great sense of humor and is a fan of Star Wars (with no ring on the left hand).

Will you marry me?