01 July 2012

The Final

Well, that was unexpected.
Although Spain are my team, my father's people, the Italian national team was my first football love so this final brought out mixed emotions. I both cheered and groaned with every goal; I was happy at the final whistle but felt so bad for the Italian players. It was a tragic way to lose it, on that bit of bad luck. Playing against Spain 11 v 11 is already hard enough but 11 v 10 is a near impossible task.
But let's face it, Spain were already 2-0 up by halftime when it was still an even contest. What was interesting is how Italy surged back after each of those first two goals; how they looked more likely to score after conceding which is something I haven't seen from them before. It was heartening but they just couldn't break through that Spanish defense (even missing a Puyol!) and then you really could see them deflate after going down a man.
But Spain, well, they were just beautiful. After days and days of reading bitter English press about how "boring" Spain was, it was so great to see them rub that boring tag in their detractors' noses. This win felt really good unlike the surprise & joy of the 2008 or 2010; this one felt needed as vindication. This team will go down in history as one of the greats and players like Xavi & Iniesta are already well on their way to being legends.
A worthy winner in every respect.

30 June 2012

Semi Finals Thoughts

The quarter finals were exciting and with that fourth one ending in stressful penalties I really was glad for the two day break from footy.
And then the semi finals came and I was a basket case. I made the mistake of going to the pub for both of these games and I should really know better by now. It's not that I drink too much (not anymore); it's just all the energy from everyone else in the pub adds to my nerves and by the end of the game I feel broken and battered. And I was quite literally bleeding too after the Spain v Portugal match (a whole table of beer bottles and pint glasses upturned right next to me).
I was glad to see Portugal actually give it a go at Spain after so many teams retreating into their shells against the World & European champions. Both teams had chances and close calls but it went to extra time and penalties and Spain's luck continued and poor Ronaldo went home empty handed.
And then Mario happened. By now, everyone has had their say on his breakout performance so all I have to add is this: when we showed a friend the now infamous photo from his celebration of the second goal, said friend exclaimed: "He looks like an action figure!" I think that would delight Il Postino/Super Mario to no end. So Germany suddenly run out of steam and Italy, once again when no one expects it, shoot ahead and head into the final.
And you can bet I am watching the final from the safety of my own home.

24 June 2012

Quarter-Final: England v Italy

And so, color me not surprised to see our first 0-0 with this last quarter-final. Jenny called it before the game: 0-0, extra-time, penalties. Of course she was right.
What was surprising was that it wasn't a more evenly matched game; sure, the 0-0 scoreline might make it seem that way but let's be honest: Italy pretty much dominated this game. They just lacked finishing; they lacked a true goal poacher, another Pippo Inzaghi. Mario Balotelli, on the other hand, is more the battering ram style of striker - more Bobo than Pippo - and while the big striker had plenty of chances, he didn't manage to score.
England had a few chances as well but kept losing possession. They looked tired and out of ideas by the second half but were fairly valiant in defending. And by extra time, neither team looked like they'd give Germany any trouble in the semifinal. Pirlo is a great football but I doubt he alone can defeat a talented team like the Germans.

23 June 2012

Quarter-final: Spain v France

Well, that turned out to not even be a contest now did it?
What the hell happened to France? What was their tactic, their game plan? Why even bother to show up if that was how they were going to play??
It was way too easy for Spain; even they looked bored by their dominance.
And so it was a 2-0 win for the Spanish (both goals from Xabi Alonso which was a bit of a shocker) and Portugal is up next for them. At least Ronaldo will give them more of a game than the French did.

22 June 2012

Quarter-Final: Germany v Greece

Six goals, a penalty, counter attacks, smashing volleys.... this game was another great one. This tournament seriously rocks.
Germany looked awesome and quite frighteningly deadly in both attack and defense and you could just tell this was theirs for the taking. It was wave of attack after attack from the Germans and it's hard not to see this team in the final come July 1st.
Greece gave it a game by tying it up 1-1 just after the second half began but Germany were just too much for Greece and it became a game of how many can they get? In the end, it was 4-2, with Greece getting only the second penalty of the tournament as the match was coming to a close.
So Germany move on to the semis to meet either England or Italy and Greece go home without another upset like their 2004 triumph.

21 June 2012

Quarter-Final: Czech Republic v Portugal

A tense game. And unexpectedly defensive from the Czechs; they had some moments of attack but overall, it was amazing to see how many of their players (and how quickly) would surround any Portuguese player with the ball. Ronaldo, once again, had multiple chances & his facial expressions every time he missed were excellent.
Then in the second half, when we were still 0-0, Jenny was sure it was heading to penalties but I could feel a goal coming. And, of course, it was from Cristiano. A ridiculously nice diving header and that was all that they needed to move on to the semifinals next week. Portuguese footballing legends Figo & Eusebio look like they enjoyed it.
Next up for Portugal? The winner of the Spain v France quarter final.

20 June 2012

Commerical Break

A day of no football is a sad day indeed after the excitement we've had from the past twelve days.
So, instead of games, I've been entertaining myself with one of the best by-products of an international tournament: the adverts staring famous players.
In years past this has yielded great spots such as Maldini & co fighting demons, "the cage" tournament, and the Brazilian team dribbling through the airport just to name a few classics.
This year we've already seen Mario trying out different hairstyles and now I've seen this ridiculous (in a good way) Pepsi advert featuring Torres, Drogba, Lamps, Messi & more on the telly a few times and it makes me laugh every. single. time.
Jenny's reaction (via gchat) once she saw it:
 Jenny: lol
  i was like
  "who's that dork"
  it was lamps

19 June 2012

Group stage closing thoughts

After twelve straight days of football, seeing 24 matches with 60 goals and not one 0-0 draw, it's been one hell of a tournament already. And now we come to the knockout stages where one little mistake could send your team out; I really hope that doesn't mean we'll suddenly see more cautious play but I fear it could. I have a feeling at least one of these quarter final games will go to penalties & we all know how crushing that can be (I still have the heartache for the Italians in Euro 2000).
My highlights? Ridiculously good goals from Balotelli against Ireland, Ibrahimovic against France and Welbeck against Sweden just to name my top three so far. New revelations like Russia's Dzagoev making a name for themselves up against superstars like Christiano Ronaldo and icons like Sheva. And then there were the Irish fans. Some other team should draft them in for the quarters so we don't lose them quite yet.
It's been brilliant & I eagerly await the quarter finals.
Predictions? Portugal v Germany and Spain v Italy in the semis, Germany v Spain in the final, Germany winning (even though my heart wants that Spanish win).
And what the hell will I do with myself tomorrow without a game to follow???

Time for Tech

Another international tournament, another dodgy goal line call. Maybe it really is time to allow technology into the modern game.
Now, I'm usually a purist. The last thing I want to see are instant replays on the sideline like American football. I think that would be a mistake.
But a little chip inside the ball and/or in the post to signal when a ball cross the line? Not intrusive, no stoppages, pretty simple.

Matches 23 & 24

Well well well. Interesting games, not the best of the last round but still some moments of excitement for sure.
First of all, there was Sweden v France which gave us a shockingly bad French team and a ridiculously amazing goal from Ibra. Once Sweden went ahead 1-0 and they knew England had taken the lead in their game, the French still couldn't get it in gear & do anything. And then their defense fell apart again in injury time and let in another goal and Sweden exit the tournament with a 2-0 win. It was quite incredible and if France are this woeful against Spain in the quarters they will be slaughtered.
Then there was the England v Ukraine game. England were dreadful in the first half & Ukraine should have scored. Rooney was a non-entity in that half but I guess that's not surprising as it was his first outing in this tournament. And he definitely improved, along with the rest of the team, in the second half as seen by his goal. There should have been another goal in this game as Ukraine scored but the ref, the linesman and the goal line assistant all failed to miss the ball going over the line before JT hooked it away; let the debates begin on letting technology enter the modern game. Anyway, England held on to the 1-0 win and the co-host were out.
The quarter final match ups of England v Italy and Spain v France look quite tasty but today's two teams will need improvement to make it to the semis.

18 June 2012

Matches 21 & 22

Nervy nervy games today. I was afraid we were heading to the first 0-0 of the tournament but luckily Spain dug deep and found a goal through substitute Jesus Navas. With that goal and win, they top the group but are not looking like the champions that they are. Unsettling to say the least.
Italy had one eye on that game and one on their own; Ireland had chances and gave the Italians plenty of worries contrary to the 2-0 scoreline. And while Balotelli's goal was excellent, I wonder what his teammate stopped him from saying?


Absolutely ridiculous.
How committed to stamping out racism is Uefa? Okay, they fined the Croatian FA 10,000 euros for the racist chants & banners against Italy. That's a small step but hey, at least they acted! And fairly quickly.
And then they announce a 100,000 euro fine (yup, you read that correctly) for Nicklas Bendtner's act of showing his underwear which promoted a company that was not a "official sponsor" of the tournament.
Let's look at that again: a 10,000 euro fine for racism but a 100,000 euro fine for something that affects their pocketbook.

17 June 2012

Matches 19 & 20

My goodness. Another day of amazing games! This tournament is spoiling us! Two more games with goals goals goals, attacking play, and just general craziness.
I never want this tournament to end.
Both games ended 2-1 with Germany and Portugal the victors, Denmark and Holland heading home. The Germany v Denmark game was flatter than the 2-1 scoreline would suggest with the second half petering out to an end and Denmark feeling more than unlucky with a good shout for an overlooked penalty.
The Portugal v Holland game was all action. With so many chances for both team, so many chances for Ronaldo alone, it is surprising this wasn't a higher scoring game but there were many shots just wide and smacking on the post to account for that. And Christiano Ronaldo finally did get on the scoresheet with both goals and a ridiculously breathless performance overall.
The first set of quarter finals has been now set: Germany v Greece and Portugal v Czech Republic and I wouldn't be surprised to see today's two winners moving on to the semi finals.

Watch out! Here comes Portugal v Holland

So, the last time these two teams met was in the World Cup back in 2006. That game ended with 16 yellow cards, 4 red, and a ridiculous amount of handbags. Here's a 6+ minute video compilation of all the fouls. You know you want to see it.

16 June 2012

Matches 17 & 18

Ridiculous day of football. Dear god.
At first I was worried we were going to get our first 0-0 game with both matches heading there close to halftime.
And then all hell breaks loose.
I admit I expected Greece v Russia to not even be a contest so I watched Czech Republic v Poland. And after awhile, when there were quite a few chances for the Czechs that they kept missing and Poland didn't seem to be doing much, I would switch over to the other game, where Russia (!!) didn't seem to be doing much. Incredible. I am still amazed that Russia played so poorly against Greece; they simply looked out of steam and/or ideas. And Greece did what they did in 2004: defend defend defend and nick a goal.
It's a shame though that Russia are out. I was really looking forward to seeing them up against a really good, quick-paced side, someone like Portugal maybe, and see if Russia could really show us their capabilities. But alas, in this funny old game of football, surprises like this always happen in these big tournaments so I guess I should have seen this coming.
Ciao Russia, and thank you Dzagoev for all the fantasy points. I look forward to see you guys at the next tournament.

Don't you miss The Treble, part 3?

(I'm watching Czech v Poland while Jenny is watching Greece v Russia.)

Jenny:  half time on one

 me:  yup

 Jenny:  sokratis
not socrates
sokratis is hot

 me:  gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool
i have 2 russians on my fantasy team

 Jenny:  yjjjjjjjjjjref

 me:  they better get it together in the 2nd half

 Jenny:  the greeks are hotter
i'm cheering greece

 me:  hahahaha
nice reasoning
time for the traditional halftime cuppa

 Jenny:  i'm nothing if not logical

Uefa acts!

Good news finally emerges amidst all the troubling reports of racism at the tournament so far: Uefa has officially opened disciplinary proceedings against Croatia for the numerous reports of racist chantings & banners from their fans in the game against Italy. Hopefully they will also look into the banana incident as well.
This follows Uefa's actions against the Russian federation earlier in the week which was for "improper conduct" and sees a suspended 6 point deduction hanging over them if their fans continue to cause trouble.
Is Uefa developing a backbone??

15 June 2012

Matches 15 & 16

Well those matches left me breathless! What a crazy day of football.
First there was the Ukraine v France game which was suspended & delayed because of a pretty spectacular thunderstorm with some scary-looking lightning, But once it was safe to resume play, the game was an open, back & forth affair. Both teams had chances but it was France's two goals in a crazy four minutes in the second half that made the difference and the Ukrainian team just couldn't get back in it. 
And because of the delay, as soon as that game was finished, it was straight away time for Sweden v England. And if we thought the first game was crazy, this one was even crazier. Back & forth, great goals, bad defending, actual attacking play... it was a little bit difficult to remember that this was an England game. Honestly, I can't recall the last England game that was as entertaining as this one and am still amazed they didn't give up a third goal. As it is, Sweden becomes the second team to be knocked out of the tournament but the other three teams all still have a chance to make it to the quarter finals.
And we still haven't had one 0-0 encounter after two full rounds of matches!

Trouble in Paradise, part 5

Sadly there is yet another report of a racism, this time during the Italy v Croatia game. Once again it involves Balotelli and it is good to see he didn't react (if he was aware of it on the pitch).
On a lighter note, the Ukrainian PM is in trouble because he made a footballing bet with a Swedish fan and when Ukraine won, he shared the beer he won with the fan in his office.... where drinking alcohol is banned. Whoops. (And that's my kind of PM!)

Alexi Lalas

As the rain falls in Donetsk and we awaiting the restart of the Ukraine v France game, the ESPN commentators are having to improvise. Alexi Lalas has stepped up and has shown he should have been an honorary member of The Treble. The cameras shown the French manager Blanc chatting in the tunnel with Sheva and Alexi proceeded to fabricate a whole conversation between the two. It was excellent. And it was exactly the sort of thing we did on The Treble all the time. We did interview him once on the show and were so pleased when he willingly gossiped about the vanity of the Italian players from his time as a player there. Top man.

14 June 2012

Matches 13 & 14

Typical f'cking Italy. Looking good, impressing, scoring and then.... DOING ABSOLUTELY BLOODY NOTHING. And so Croatia score & then they wake up and are like "Oh? What? Wait? Where are we?" and by then it is too late. After years of watching the national team I can not be surprised, just disappointed. Again. Balotelli looked better than Cassano did in this match but still didn't score. But the best Italian moment was Gigi really feeling the national anthem, eyes squeezed shut tight & belting it out.
And then there was poor Ireland. Bad timing facing Spain when the European/World champions felt the need to prove their worth so to speak. A great 4-0 win for them with my little blondie bear getting two goals. See what happens when you play a striker?
I can't wait for the final games of this group. The Irish playing for pride while Italy needs the win to advance and Croatia going all out for a win against a resurgent Spain. Should be fantastic!

Don't you miss The Treble, part 2?

The build up to the Spain v Ireland game:

Sent at 11:12 AM on Thursday
Jenny:  keanooooooo
 me:  your people are DRUNK
Jenny:  shhh
stop judging
 me:  i'm spanish
it's what i do
spanish inquisition much?
Jenny:  inquisition
 me:  hahahaha

13 June 2012

Matches 11 & 12

Great games in the Group of Death today. The Denmark v Portugal game got crazy, lots of goals, lots of chances, and lots of missed chances from CR7!!! What happened to Christiano?? Forget his shooting boots this tournament? Too much pressure leading the team?
And then there was the much anticipated Holland v Germany which luckily wasn't too touchy but also had plenty of bite.... just not from the Dutch. There didn't seem to be any real urgency or passion from them until later in the second half when they finally scored. Germany was really threatening to overrun the Dutch once they were 2-0 up and I was a little afraid that it was going to be a slaughter.
Even more exciting, technically everyone in this group is still in the running for the knockout stages. Yes, it would be difficult for Holland but never say never.

A Different Kind of Crowd Trouble

Way to be Irish guys... keep it up. (Seriously, click on those two links.)

12 June 2012

Matches 9 & 10

Good games today. Nice to see the Czech Republic get back on track but this might be it for the Greeks. They now HAVE to win against Russia to move on to the knockout round and on the basis on what we've seen of Russia.... it looks bleak.
And then there was Poland v Russia which was yet another ridiculously entertaining draw (and still no 0-0 games in this tournament!!) and continued to showcase the skills of the young Russian striker Alan Dzagoev. So will Chelsea & Man City battle it out with the big bucks this summer to sign him? Will Real Madrid swoop in instead? Or will he stay in Russia? It will be interesting to watch the speculation rise as his star continues to rise; I guess we'll just have to wait & see.

Trouble in Paradise, part 4

So, we knew the Russians and the Polish had a bit of history... to say the least. And unfortunately, tensions broke out between the fans even before the game started.
And then there's Cassano and his big mouth.
On and then there's another historically bad-tempered match up coming tomorrow with the Holland v Germany game.
Thank god I found the Shiba Inu puppy cam today; I need a little bit of happiness.

Don't you miss The Treble?

Taken from Jenny's & Nikki's gchat:

me:  ok
how made up do these names look!!???
Poland (4-2-3-1): Tyton; Piszczek, Wasilewski, Perquis, Boenisch; Dudka, Polanski; Blaszczykowski, Murawski, Obraniak; Lewandowski. Subs: Sandomierski, Wojtkowiak, Kaminski, Matuszczyk, Rybus,
Wawrzyniak, Sobiech, Mierzejewski, Wolski, Grosicki, Brozek.

Russia (4-3-3): Malafeev; Aniukov, Berezutsky, Ignashevich, Zhirkov; Shirokov, Denisov Zyryanov; Dzagoev, Kerzhakov, Arshavin.
Subs: Akinfeev, Sharonov, Izmailov, Pavlyuchenko, Kombarov, Kokorin,
Granat, Pogrebnyak, Nababkin, Glushakov, Semshov, Shunin.
 Jenny:  i think someone had a sneezing fit
 me:  hahahahahaha
i think you are correct

11 June 2012

Matches 7 & 8

Honestly, I'm just happy with a draw for the England v France game. A win and the English media would have been overboard with praise & excitement; a loss would have meant more negative press than one team could possibly handle. A draw is just about right even though it was France's for the taking. Seriously, the French should be the ones to wake up to bad press. They had loads of chances and they really should have won this.
The Ukraine v Sweden game I touched on earlier; neither team look bad but neither look like they could beat Spain or Italy (or Croatia for that matter) in the knockout stages. And I think both France & England will be wary of the next round and meeting either a flying high host nation or a team licking its wounds but still looking dangerous. This group finally has me excited.

The Beautiful Game

I wasn't even particularly looking forward to Ukraine v Sweden; I thought it might be the first 0-0 of the tournament.
The first half didn't really assuage my fears and then something magical happened in the second half; a true legend of the game stepped up and made this match memorable.
In his & his country's first ever game in the European championship at 35 years old, Andriy Shevchenko, captain & talisman of the Ukrainian team, scored a brace & won Ukraine's first game. The crowd went wild with both goals (this young boy is already becoming internationally famous) and the players looked close to tears in their happiness. It was an amazing thing to watch and a game, a simple game of football, suddenly meant a little more than 3 points and a win: pride and glory and love for a country and its people erupted and I admit that I got teary-eyed. How lovely for Sheva. How lovely for Ukraine. And how lovely for all of us football fans lucky enough to be watching such a spectacle.

Trouble in Paradise, part 3

Sadly, here is a report of racism by the Spanish fans against Balotelli during the Italy v Spain game. It's a credit to Balotelli that according to these reports, he did hear the chants and he managed to not react on the pitch. I hope Uefa opens an official investigation on this asap.

ESPN coverage

Usually, by now, I'm already bitching about the American coverage of an international football tournament.
But, for once, ESPN has got it right: the dynamic duo of Alexi Lalas and Michael Ballack is endless entertainment. Seriously, let's have Ballack on all the time, even chatting about American sports, in all his Germanic glory.

10 June 2012

Matches 5 & 6

And so Croatia top the group that includes the current Euro champions and previous World Cup winners. Oh and Ireland.
Poor Ireland. All the press build up towards this match was about their strong defensive capabilities and then they just fell apart. And Croatia, as always, looked good. For the past dozen years they have always been good - not great - but good & solid & with a couple of players that are truly special. So really it should be no surprise that after this first round of matches they sit on top of the table.
And no real surprise that an Italian team with a makeshift backline (my De Rossi as a defender?) and a Spanish side with no striker cancel each other out. Especially with both Balotelli and Torres misses chances handed to them on a golden plate.
Spain v Italy has always been the battle of the hotties (the past classic of Maldini v Raul in particular comes to mind) and while this year was true to form, I spent most of the game spotting Sergio Ramos with his new haircut and would think "Who is that??" before it clicking; at least he was using less hair gel than Fabregas. Those were some serious spikes.

Trouble in Paradise, part 2

So, another night at the Euros, another fight.
This time apparently 14 fans were arrested after a massive brawl broke out in Poznan.
Can't we all just get along??

Gli Azzurri

I am a fan of Italian football. Their national team was the first team I ever "followed." AS Roma is my obsession, my first true football love. I still miss Maldini, Baggio, Zola, Vieri, Panucci....
So what I say now is out of love: it is time to kick Italy out of Uefa until they clean house.
It is shameful that yet another match fixing scandal is out in the open; and I say out in the open because we all know it was never completely cleaned up after the last time. This isn't something new. This is the same old corruption and deceit and lies that has been in Italian football for years now. And the only way that it is ever going to get better, the only way the Italian FA will take direct action, is if there are some serious consequences for their actions. And the loss of the revenues from all the Uefa competitions, both club and country, is exactly the kind of punch in the gut that Italian football needs right now. Severe? Yes. Needed? Yes. How else will they ever get the impetus to really change the ingrained attitudes in their footballing culture? How else will they ever regain respect in the football community? And we know that Uefa does not have the balls to do something this drastic, this radical, so Italy needs to step up and own up to their faults. The Italian FA should voluntarily withdraw all of their teams as a show of respect for the game, clean house, and come back all the stronger for it.

09 June 2012

Matches 3 & 4

This is about what I expected from the first matches in the Group of Death: cagey, cautious, feeling each other out. The two 1-0 wins were not surprising. What was, of course, was that Holland was on the losing end. Coming into this tournament as one of the favorites, maybe we all expected too much from the Dutch. It's not all over for them by any stretch of the imagination - remember what Spain did after they lost their first game of the World Cup in 2010? - but we'll definitely need to see more from them if they even want to make it out of the group now. And after two 1-0 victories you can bet that the next two rounds in this group are going to be something special.

Best. Headline. Ever.

From the Fox Soccer homepage: Police detain shirtless feminists outside Euro stadium

Non-Euro related but...

Can we pause a moment and talk about how distasteful these people really are...
Rubentus Merda!!!

Trouble in Paradise

So while the games on the pitch were excited enough, there are already a few reports of trouble from the first day of the tournament as well.
Apparently there were clashes between the Russian and Ukrainian fans last night, Russian fans attacking stewards at the stadium, and, even worse, reports of some Russian fans racially abusing one of the Czech Republic players during the match yesterday.
I guess we'll wait and see how Uefa responds.

08 June 2012

Matches 1 & 2

Wow. What a way to start a tournament!
First we get Poland v Greece with 2 red cards, 2 goals, and a saved penalty. And a fantastic home crowd.
Then we get Russia v Czech Republic where the Russians show they really do deserve the dark horse tag. They can easily top this group and once they are in the knockout rounds, anything can happen. That Dzagoev boy is a bit special, as they say. And poor Cech. I was hoping his Chelsea form would bleed over to the Euros... but then again, he doesn't have the Chelsea defense in front of him, now does he?

Mario Balotelli

I just referenced him in the racism post but I thought I should mention that I LOVE Balotelli. Seriously, one of the best characters in modern football and he could be one of the GREATS if he doesn't go completely off the rails. Either google him, check out this Top 10 list, or watch his excellent Euro 2012 Nike advert.

Racism at the Euros

If you were following any of the buildup to the Euros then you are already aware of the many fears that racism will rear it's ugly head at this year's tournament.
There was a "sensationalist" documentary shown in the UK that focus on the racism and antisemitism alive in the stadiums of Poland and the Ukraine (unlike the crowds in England which are oh-so-perfect?) and there was news from the Holland camp this past Thursday that the team was subjected to disgusting chants during their public training. Uefa has already denied that there is any problem and the referees have vowed to book any players walking off the pitch due to racist chants. Several players have expressed their concerns and Mario Balotelli, in particular, has been very vocal on what his response will be if faced with racist chants or actions during a game.
It is a difficult position for Uefa who don't want the threat of racism to overshadow the tournament as a whole but they need to stand firm. This is their chance to show the world that the football community wants to take a strong stance against racism and I feel they already missed their first opportunity to show that commitment by ignoring Holland's concerns. It's a shame that they are already too frightened by the threat of controversy to focus on the real threat at hand.

07 June 2012

Uefa Euro 2012!

It's time, my friends. Time for my favorite tournament: the one that serves up the best goals, the most outrage, the craziest controversies, the worst hairstyles, the hottest players...
It feels like Christmas Eve.