Leo Messi, Irish football, Arsene Wenger and Mark Hughes all feature in this week’s the good, the bad and the ugly section of the podcast. Vocabulary support can be found for the words in bold at the foot of the post.
It’s great for football fans as the countdown to the World Cup in South Africa well and truly begins after the draw that took place earlier today in Cape Town. Some mouth-watering ties await us indeed: England vs USA; Argentina vs Nigeria; Netherlands vs Japan and all the games in the groups of death involving Germany, Australia, Serbia and Ghana in group D and Brazil, Portugal and Ivory Coast in Group G.
Good for Lionel Messi as he romps to this year’s Ballon D’Or win, the first Argentinian to do so. In the process, he pushes Cristiano Ronaldo into a distant second – and that’s how it finished on the pitch last weekend with Messi’s Barcelona overcoming Real Madrid 1-0 and overshadowing the return of Cristiano. They also go top of La Liga. So good for the Catalan side too. Talking about going top, Chelsea stay top in emphatic style in a Premier League London derby as they take apart rivals Arsenal in the Gunner’s own backyard 3-0 with a brace from Didier Drogba, who according to Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger didn’t have much affect on the game!
The fall out from the France-Ireland World cup qualifier continues, with FIFA this week turning down the Republic’s request to play in the World Cup as an extra side – the 33rd team. This desperate plea to play in next year’s tournament is rather embarrassing as most football fans from Ireland understand that in football these things happen – the very strange penalty that was awarded in our favour against Georgia for example in an earlier round. This request follows on from other attempts to get the Irish into South Africa by any means, ranging from calls for a lifetime ban for Thierry Henry, facebook groups set up to ask for a re-match, the Irish Justice Minister demanding … justice and a protest march to the French Embassy in Dublin by nearly 200 people last week. That’s 200. All of which is really quite ridiculous indeed.
Sour grapes from Arsene Wenger after his side were beaten by Mark Hughes’ Manchester City 3-0 in a Carling Cup quarter final. The Arsenal manager walked to the dressing rooms without shaking hands with his opposite number – a usual courtesy and not doing so is regarded as a snub. The loss rounded off a bad week for Arsenal – as we’ve already mentioned they also were beaten by Chelsea, again 3-0.
Racism reared its ugly head yet again on Sunday – this time from Italy’s Serie A when Cagliari fans abused Juventus midfielder Mohamed Sissoko. They were fined the frankly ridiculous sum of £9.000 which does very little to deter clubs from preventing this type of action to stop. Juventus were fined for their fans’ racist behaviour last season against inter Milan’s Balotelli so it will be interesting to see how they react when they come against the Inter striker again this weekend.
It’s not just in Italy either as it transpires that Sunderland striker Darren Bent’s mother was racially abused by one of his own supporters after a defeat by Wigan. The fan in question has subsequently been arrested. Racism in football – very ugly indeed.
mouth-watering ties: A game that everyone is waiting for
the group of death: The strongest group in the tournament
romps: To beat easily (to romp home is sometimes used to describe an easy victory)
in emphatic style: In a clear manner; an easy victory
own backyard: The home ground of a team (here it refers to The Emirates Stadium, home of Arsenal)
a brace: Two goals
The fall out: The problems after the event
desperate plea: A very strong request – almost begging (pleading)
was awarded: A penalty was given (granted)
sour grapes: feeling bitter / angry especially after losing a game
opposite number: someone who has the same position in another team or organisation – in this case, the other team’s manager
to snub: to ignore rudely, act in an unfriendly manner, rebuf
to round off: to comlete, to finish
ridiculous sum: A very small figure
to deter: To try to stop something, to prevent
transpires: Something has happened