It's a slow Thursday morning, scouting the internet for something, came across these Neymar fan videos:
Here's a little something for you to watch as you wait for today's Euro match - Hero: The Official Documentary of the 1986 World Cup.
The 1986 World Cup finals, which were held in Mexico, is best known for Maradona's "Hand of God Goal" against England in the quarterfinals as well as being known for the birth of the "Mexican Wave." Here's the official documentary, which is narrated by Michael Caine. Not sure how long these videos will be up on YouTube, so watch it now if you've never seen it.
One can forgive Houston Dynamo fans if they're feeling rode hard and put away wet this morning, it's been a long, emotional week for them, and the week isn't even over yet.
This long week began on Saturday when the Dynamo hosted their rivals from North Texas, F.C. Dallas, at BBVA Compass Stadium. This was Dallas' first visit to the new Dynamo stadium and the only match between these two clubs this season.
The Dynamo got off to a quick start thanks to a Will Bruin goal in the 3rd minute. In light of the rough season that Dallas has had, many fans, especially Dynamo fans, suspected that the early Dynamo goal would demoralize the Dallas players, and it did for the rest of the first half.
Schellas Hyndman must of fired up his players with a good halftime speech, because Dallas started the second half like it was a whole new game. When Jackson picked up the Dallas equalizer in the 59th minute, there was a sense that Dallas was not going to be content to leave Houston with a draw and one point.
Any plans Dallas had for picking up the win pretty much died in the 63rd minute when Jair Benítez picked up a red card for an off the ball elbow to Colin Clark. Then, in the 76th minute, Adam Moffat scored a goal from distance, giving the Dynamo the win and bragging rights.
Last night, Toronto FC paid its first visit to BBVA Compass Stadium and, despite sitting at the bottom of the Eastern Conference table, started the match like a team determined to win the league. In a chaotic first 22 minutes Toronto went top first with a goal by Jeremy Hall in the first minute. Bobby Boswell managed to tie things up for Houston with a lovely header in the 20th minute, but then Danny Koevermans put Toronto ahead in the 22nd minute. Thanks to second Koevermans goal in the 45th minute, Toronto had a 3-1 lead over the home side at the half.
Those of use who grew up Houston sports fans are used to our professional teams playing to their competition - putting up great performances against top teams while losing to the bottom feeders they should easily beat. But, based on twitter, it seems that many Dynamo fans are not familiar with or used to that Houston sports dynamic, because their tweets during halftime suggested that the world was coming to an end, that this was the worst Dynamo match ever, and the season was over. I was almost surprised I didn't see any fire Dom tweets during the half.
For the second half, it seems that the Dynamo managed to channel their inner 1993-1994 Houston Rockets, the team that turned Houston from Choke City into Clutch City, and decided that Toronto was not going to leave Houston with 3 points. Will Bruin ended up playing the role of Houston hero by picking up goals in the 73rd and 90th minutes, giving Houston a 3-3 draw.
The Dynamo's week is not over, they head north of the border to face Montreal on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. The match will be broadcast on Fox Sports Houston.
Let's face it, the off-pitch news swirling around Euro 2012 has not been pretty. Before the matches started there was a huge focus on how much racism players would face in the Eastern European countries hosting the games, Ukraine and Poland. Then there were the violent clashes between Poland and Russia fans the other day, which have raised concerns about the specter of hooliganism at the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.
Despite all this bad press concerning football fans, yesterday one group of fans acquitted themselves quite well, serving as an example of why and how football fandom can be fun, should be fun. Despite the economic situation in their country and despite the fact that their team lost to Spain 4-0 and previously lost to Croatia, 3-1, the Ireland fans stayed for the full match, serenading their team, their country with The Fields of Athenry.
The cynic can easily, and rightly, point out that Euro 2012 was Ireland's first appearance in a major tournament since the 2002 World Cup Finals; therefore, its fans have low expectations and can frivolously enjoy just being at the Euros. On the other hand, I think that the fans of more "serious" teams (England, Russia, etc.) would do well to take a moment and try to learn something from the Ireland fans, because, when all is said and done, football is just a game and sometimes you don't need to win to feel good about your country, and to feel good about yourself.
Nigel De Jong has a reputation of being something of a thug on the pitch, willing to commit a hard foul with no remorse. Now De Jong, who is with The Netherlands side in Poland for Euro 2012, has extended his attitude to a friendly match against a group of children:
Here's some of De Jong's "Greatest Hits":
This week Texan footballer Clint Dempsey was named Fulham's Player of the Season, this is the second straight year that the 29 year old has received this honor. Here's a look at all 23 of the Deuce's goals for Fulham in 2011-2012:
As Euro 2012 approaches, Italian striker Mario Balotelli has made the news because of his reasonable response to the potential racist atmosphere in Poland and the Ukraine and now he's featured in the new Nike line of Football commercials - My Time is Now: