Lakenheath Old Boys

We are all former students at Lakenheath High School and other public schools in East Anglia. We were in school in the 70s and 80s and drank deeply from the well of British culture of those decades - the pints, the telly, and of course the footie!

Monday, June 30, 2008

UEFA's Best Players of the Tournament

UEFA's listed their picks for players of the tournament. As usual, there are some head-scratching omissions and inclusions.

Here's the full list.

Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Buffon (Italy), Iker Casillas (Spain), Edwin van der Sar (Netherlands).

Defenders: Bosingwa (Portugal), Philipp Lahm (Germany), Carlos Marchena (Spain), Pepe (Portugal), Carles Puyol (Spain), Yuri Zhirkov (Russia).

Midfielders: Hamit Altıntop (Turkey), Luka Modrić (Croatia), Marcos Senna (Spain), Xavi Hernández (Spain), Konstantin Zyryanov (Russia), Michael Ballack (Germany), Cesc Fàbregas (Spain), Andrés Iniesta (Spain), Lukas Podolski (Germany), Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands).

Forwards: Andrei Arshavin (Russia), Roman Pavlyuchenko (Russia), Fernando Torres (Spain), David Villa (Spain).

Of the inclusions in this list, I don't think Pepe, Modric, Ballack, Iniesta, and Podolski should be there. Pepe didn't show that he had a Scooby when asked to defend, Modric was very weak in the midfield, Ballack didn't carry his team like so many other German captains have in a pinch, Iniesta was not nearly as effective as he is in the Barca system, and Podolski looked good in precisely one match, against the Poles.

I wonder why Raszdan Rat and Daniel Goian for the Romanians weren't considered. I wouldn't suggest any of the Romanians for their attacking qualities but they didn't ship many goals at all. In the midfield, there's not one Turk, despite the constant running of Tuncay, Turan, Balta. They're aced out up front too, despite how well Nihat played and how many times "Lifeguard" Semturk came through in the clutch.

How is it that the classy David Silva got overlooked? Didn't he have a ton of assists and chip in with a goal to boot?

So who would make up your players of the tournament?


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Germany vs. Spain Live!

And now, the big one. It's a marquee match-up between perennial winners Germany and perennial chokers Spain. I'm plumping for the plucky Spanish today who I think are the better footballing side, but as the old footie adage goes, "you can never rule out the Germans."

Join me for the big match, lads!

D.C. United vs. LA Galaxy Live!

Right, all you Euro snobs - it's time to put aside your negativity about MLS and get on board. ABC is favoring us with a double header today. First up - D.C. United hosting the LA Galaxy with old Goldenballs himself. Pull up a comfy chair and join me for what promises to be a great day of footie.

Friday, June 27, 2008

LOB Book Club

Who needs Oprah? It's time that the LOB filled the void for the literate footie fan base out there. Here's my first recommendation - Chuck Culpepper's new book Bloody Confused: A Clueless American Sportswriter Seeks Solace in English Soccer. Culpepper, a journo for the LA Times became fed up with corporate American sports and decided to adopt Portsmouth as his club and spent a year following Pompey in the Premiership. It's been favorably compared to Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch and Bill Buford's Among the Thugs. Sounds like a good summer read, eh?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Russia vs. Spain -- Semi Final 2

I'd be very concerned if I were Aragones. The Russians are peaking at exactly the right time and extremely fit. The Spanish picked the lock of the Russian defense four times in the group stage, but since then, they've conceded only one in three games.

The Spanish did go the distance to get by the Italians, which demonstrates unbeforeseen resolve, and they do have Villa, Torres, and the mighty, mighty Fabregas.

This should be a cracker.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Germany vs. Turkey -- Semi Final 1

If the Germany that showed up for their group match versus Croatia turn up again today, the organized and full-of-running Turks could pose a threat. But the Turks are without any of their players who have scored in this tournament today, either through injury or suspension. In fact, coach Tehram has said earlier that one option would be to put their third goalkeeper in the field. That would be fantastic to see at this level, some galoot of a keeper hoofing around the field.

You have to fancy the Germans in this one but this tournament has been big on the surprises, no bigger than that the Turks have advanced this far.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Euro 2008 Trivia of the Week

One of the features of this tournament has been the presence of naturalized Brazilians, so....

"How many countries have included Brazilian-born, naturalized citizens in their squads? Name the players and their teams."

Good luck, lads!

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Damned United

The Euro 2008 hiatus allows me to comment on the upcoming film version of David Peace's book The Damned United about Brian Clough's ill-fated 44 -day tenure at my beloved Leeds United. It'll be directed by Peter Morgan, who was responsible for the QE2 biopic The Queen featuring Helen Mirren.

In the film, Ole Bigmouth will be played by Michael Sheen, who's previously played Tony Blair in The Queen and David Frost in the stage play Frost/Nixon. Timothy Spall with play Cloughie's long-time side-kick Peter Taylor.

Can't wait!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

spain vs. italy

Only one group winner is left. Can Spain turn over Italy or will the Spanish succumb to Italy's awesome tournament mentality?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Holland vs. Russia

No predictions today because certainly what I thought would happen yesterday did not turn out to be the case.

I will hope that the Dutch continue to thrill us. Should be a cracker.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Croatia vs. Turkey

This quarter final and the Holland Russia one were the two that I predicted would be the most entertaining. Both the Croats and the Turks have one option, which is to go for it. Both played some good stuff in the group stages and let's hope they keep it up.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Portugal vs. Germany

I expect this to be really cagey. Big Phil and Cristiano have both tried their best to scuttle Portugal's chances with their extra-curricular activities. But both Portugal and Germany put in pretty labored performances in their most recent outings.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Euro 2008 Group Stage Highlights

Before we jump into the Quarterfinals tomorrow afternoon, let's take a moment to take stock of what we've seen so far. Here are my highlights:
Best Team - Holland (9 goals in three games in the Group of Death).
Best Player - David Villa (4 goals in three games).
Best Goal - Wesley Sneijder's against Italy.
Best Commentator - Andy Gray

Best Game - Italy vs. Romania - Goals, disallowed goals, penalty misses. It had the lot.
Worst Team - France (a shadow of the team that won in 1998 and 2000).
Worst Player - "Super" Mario Gomez
Worst Match - France vs. Romania
Worst Commentator - Tommy Smyth

I'd love to here what you lot think.

Russia vs. Sweden

This is the match of the day. The Russians are a bit dull, but finally we may get to see Arshavin after his 2 match ban. The Swedes are a little predictable, and may not be able to field Zlatan whose knee looked like the Hindenberg after the last round. It would be fun for Larson and Ljungberg to get a last hurrah, but it might be a test too great for the ageing Swedes

Greece vs. Spain

The Greeks are already out, the Spanish already through. If I were Grand Wizard Aragones, I'd pull a Holland and throw 9 new faces at the Greeks. Just not Fabregas, please, we need him healthy in August.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

France vs. Italy

This could either be a rip-roarer - after all, both sides do need a win at a minimum in order to qualify for the quarter-finals - or it could be the kind of cagey, boring affair between two big European sides that brings the game into disrepute. Join me to find which one it'll be.

Holland vs. Romania

"Will the Dutch show up?" That's the question on the minds of every conspiratorial Italian today as they contemplate another humiliating, early European Championship exit due to a "biscuit." We'll soon see! Join me for all the shenanigans.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Austria vs. Germany

Austria need to win and a Polish loss to advance. Germany control their destiny and will need a Croatian loss to top their group. No chance of a repeat of their infamous encounter in '82.

Poland vs. Croatia

Poland need a win, Croatia are through but have their QF destiny in their hands.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

USA vs. Barbados

The road to South Africa in 2010 starts here.

Turkey vs. Czech Republic

There's everything to play for in this match. The Czechs and Turks dead even on points and goal difference. They who dare, win this one today.

Switzerland vs. Portugal

The hosts already out, the Portugeezers already through, and likely to rest their stars. Forgive me for thinking that this is as dead a rubber as we'll see in this tournament.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Greece vs. Russia

Russians have a history of dealing with monarchs, and King Otto is sweating.

The Greeks need to kick-start their tournament and the agricultural defending of the Russians may give them the set-pieces that they love to exploit. The Russians however are full of running which may take it's toll on the older Greeks.

Sweden vs. Spain

Sweden's Zlatan finally scored again, but will he continue against a quite rampant attack of David Villa, and can you hear the drums "Fernando" Torres? "The Name Of The Game" is Second Round of Group D, and quite possibly, "The Winner Takes It All."

Friday, June 13, 2008

Holland vs. France

Well, lightning couldn't strike twice for the Dutch, could it? Will those creaky French legs be able to deal with the counterattacking Dutch? Will Benzema recover from a pretty awful outing and restore his budding reputation?

Domenich says "Sitting in the stand of the sports arena, waiting for the show to begin.
Red lights, green lights, strawberry wine, a good friend of mine
follows the stars, Venus and Mars are alright tonight."

I dunno Coach, you might be reading the wrong entrails.

Italy vs. Romania

Dr. Gator reckons that the Italians are finished after getting Mullered by the Dutch last round. The Gypsy Kings are looking to fulfill that prophecy and get their own campaign kick-started after a really defensive effort against France.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Austria vs. Poland

Who'd bet against there being two lame-duck hosts of these Euros by the end of the day? A very tough test for Austria against a running team of Poles.

Croatia vs. Germany

The top two in the group clash today.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Switzerland vs. Turkey

The hosts really must get a result in what is likely their best chance in the group

Czech Republic vs. Portugal

Creaky Czechs up against underperforming Portugeezers. A top of the group clash.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Is there a doctor in the house?

A lot of hard work bears fruit when our Gator defends his dissertation today. Wish him well.

Greece vs. Sweden

Turn that bloody bouzouki off!!! I'd like to see the Swedes take a chance, take a chance, take a chance and make the Greeks send up an S-O-S.