09 August, 2010

Ta-ra, love!

Me and Ruth are in Vancouver for a week to celebrate the wedding of my sister, Kate, and her partner, Neal. Blogging on hold for a fortnight.

09 July, 2010

Awesome Names of World Cup 2010: Part 5

Freak Scene

Captained by Skrtel (born on the Klingon Homeworld),
Slovakia show strength and depth throughout the team. From Lubos Kamenar, Zabavnik, Hubocan, and Kornel Salata (which, by the way, is a delicous snack in Greece!), through Pecalka, Juraj Kucka, Zdeno Strba, to Holosko and Sestak, Slovakia look promising, and win through to the final, but their they face a veritable pantheon of unfortunate names.

Holland has taken the foolishly-named players of their European Awesome Football Names Cup 2008 campaign, marinaded them in strangeness and bred them with the unnatural, run their names through a word-mangler and served up a stew of uncanniness that would bemuse even the mighty Cthulu.

Stekelenburg, Boschker, Vorm, Van Bronckhorst, Ooijer, Heitinga, Edson Braafheid, Khalid Boulahrouz form a sturdy, if unsettling backbone. Afellay, Stijn Schaars, Demy de Zeuw (pronouced Dummy Duh Zeeoww!) and the implausible Rafael Van Der Vaart will be pulling the strange-strings in midfield and Dirk Kuyt, Eljero Elia and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar will dominate the odd-box. Quality will out, Awesomeness will win!

Golden Name: Waldo Ponce
, Chile

Awesomest-named Newcomer:
Nikita Rukavytsya, Australia

02 July, 2010

Awesome Names of World Cup 2010: Part 4


Switzerland's peculiarly-named (ghoul-faced) manager, Ottmar Hitzfeld, fields a team as wealthy in the unfortunate-name stakes as it is in the chocolate and cuckoo-clock stakes. Eggiman, Grichting and Huggel are ably supported by Pirmin Schwegler, Xherdan Shaqiri and Albert Bunjaku and led by the redoubtable and hilariously-named Hakan Yakin. The Swiss power into the semis.

USA was the form team coming into this competition. With Brad Guzan, Steve Cherundolo, Jonathan 'Wall of Sound' Spector, DaMarcus Beasley, Landon Donovan, Benny Feilhaber, Clint Dempsey, Edson Buddle and Herculez Gomez, the USA pushed hard, and only narrowly lost out in the second semi-final.
They earned an honourable third place.

25 June, 2010

Awesome Names of World Cup 2010: Part 3


Uruguay look strong, mainly in the first names with Maximilliano Pereira, Walter Gargano, Egidio Arevalo, Edinson Cavani among their top performers, but with Muslera and Scotti playing a part, they do alright in the surnames too.

Germany delivers another strong team of efficient memorably-named footballers, led by people's favourite, Hans-Jorg Butt and Leo's favourite Mertesacker. Holger Badstuber, Schweinsteiger, Mesut 'Admiral' Oezil and Cacau.

Ghana will also provide strong opposition. John Pantsil, Hans Sarpei, Isaac Vorsah, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Quincy Owusu-Abeyie, Asamoah Gyan and Prince Tagoe have plenty going forward and will keep it weird in defence.

Serbia traditionally dominate in Awesome Names games. Any of Zeljko Brkic, Neven Subotic, Gojko Kacar, Zoran Tosic, Nenad Milijas and especially Dragan Mrdja could be Bond villains. But their bus stops at the quarter-finals.

Nigeria fields an incredibly strong team. Bassey Akpan, Elderson Echiejile, Yobo, Shittu, Dickson Etuhu, Lukman Haruna, Mikel John Obi 'Wan Kenobi'. Disappointment for them, I fear.

Ivory Coast shows up with typical strength. Boubacar Barry, Slaka Tiene, Yaya Toure, Gilles Yapi Yapo provide the ammunition for Kanga Akale, Aruna Dindane and Drogba. Their extra strength - in the form of Sven Goran-Eriksson (or Svengo Raneriksson, for the duration of this competition) - will surely push them into the semis.

18 June, 2010

Awesome Names of World Cup 2010: Part 2

Sixteen of the Best

Greece will field a stronger side than the one that dropped out in the first round of the European Awesome Football Names Cup. Alongside the experienced Patsatzoglou, they bring in three demons from the Hell Dimensions: Tzorvas, Moras, Gekas. They may cause some problems, but rely too heavily on the -opolous suffix.

Denmark will battle valiantly, with Kroldrup, Agger and Mtiliga and Enevoldsen giving support to Bendtner, but lack the randomness necessary to get out of their group. Italy face the same problem. Long-serving Buffon, will lead out the likes of Quagliarella and Gilardino. With only oddness (rather than outright weirdness) to offer, these teams will not challenge for places in the later rounds.

Spain have some good names, with Mata and Jesus Navas, supported by the weirdly-named veteran Capdevila. Brazil always have a chance when there's a player called Kaka in their team, and Nilmar and Grafite make up the numbers. But both teams lack awesome strength in weird depth. Neither through final sixteen.

Those other Iberians Portugal are in a rich vein of form with Beto, Ze Castro, Duda and especially Danny, backing up Nani and Fartface... I mean Cristiano Ronaldo.
France have some good names - Mandanda, Squillaci, Planus and Gourcuff - but just not enough of them. Little Aussie battlers Galekovic, Culina, Vince Grella, Mile Jedinak, Tommy Oar will punch above their weight, but cannot prevail to the quarter-finals. Both teams will fall at the second hurdle.

Bobadilla: YES! Ortigoza: Fantasmus! Estigarribia: Wundermeistersturm! Rodolfo Gamarra (recently awoken by an accidental Nuclear explosion and intent on destroying Japan): A Thousand Times WHY!? Formidable names all. However, despite sporting an array of names that sound like they have gone through the word blender, Paraguay lack depth in their squad. It will cost them.

South Africa put together a super-strong team this time. Macbeth Sibaya led the line, ably supported by Surprise Moriri, Bongani Khumalo, Innocent Mdledle and Shu-Aib Walters.
Cameroon too is back to something like its strangest, with Gaetan Bong, Rigobert Song, Eyong Enoh, Georges Mandjeck, Landry N'Guemo providing steel, and Aboubakar and Eric Choupo Moting giving a cutting edge. Both teams topped tough groups, but could not survive the pace of the final sixteen.

Sixteen have gone. Sixteen remain.