Friday, 27 June 2008

ODF 27 June Podcast Online

Hi All,
Our latest podcast is online:

We discuss:
Euro 2008 Results and fixtures
Pub Talk - all the important news of the week, which includes biting.
Tournament Highlights - sweat, hair and Greece

Download it or Subscribe to the feed

We hope you enjoy the show,
Mark & JJ

24 boozeless hours on…

Sweet mother of god why do we do this to ourselves. I write with a tremendous hangover and a useless betting slip beside me. Someone is to blame and Germany, I’m looking at you…

That’s how my blog started yesterday and at that point I realised it would go no further. The keyboard in front of me was too intimidating, and also slightly blurry, so I decided instead to concentrate on getting a sandwich, sleeping and waking up in time for the Spain v Russia game. I succeeded on all counts. Well done me.

But what of the game, well not to pat myself on the back… but fuck it, I’m gonna pat myself on the back. This is the Russian side which choked in the qualifiers and got lucky that the Croatian national anthem was booed by the morons at Wembley, rousing Slaven Bilic’s side to dump England out and drag the Rooskies to Euro 2008 with them. I’m not saying that Arshavin, Pavlyuchenko, and several other Russian players have not been fantastic to watch in their last two games and definitely illuminated the tournament.

But I did question whether they would choke again at the crucial moment and last night they froze. Admittedly they did so against a brilliant Spanish side, but the Russians’ attitude after they went one nil down was terrible. They barely mustered a shot on goal after Xavi’s neat finish, allowing Fabregas to run the show. Was Johnny Giles over the top by calling Cesc the best midfielder on the planet? Well, I hate disagreeing with Gilesey so I just won’t do it. After all, who is better than Fabregas?

Gerrard – nope, far too greedy on the ball and prone to hissy fits, the like of which Happy Gilmore would think were ‘a little over the top’.

Ballack – nope, often ineffective in big games, see Champions League final and Wednesday’s game.

Lampard – no, no, no.

Essien – possibly, but he hasn’t had the chance to prove it yet and we should all hope that Lamps fecks off to Italy so that Essien’s full potential is realised.

Downing – okay, I’ll stop here.

All in all, Fabregas been fantastic for Arsenal for two seasons now and he absolutely controlled the semi final of the European Championships. He can’t do much more than that (the whole ‘best in the world’ obsession, no matter what the position, be it left back or centre forward, tends to be a fairly futile one anyway) but that still won’t make me read any of the gushing articles that will no doubt eulogise about his talents in Saturday and Sunday’s papers. He’s fantastic, let’s leave it at that.

Elsewhere for Spain, I like the look of Marchena at the back, mainly due to the fact that we know how dodgy Puyol is, so Spain’s solid back four must be mainly down to the Valencia man. Sergio Ramos was, as ever, good going forward, headless going back… in fact he was headless going forward on several occasions as well when he took on ridiculous shots with his bad foot.

As for the final, well Mark and I are doing a podcast this evening and our predictions will be made then. We both went for Ze Germans at the start of the tournament; and somewhere in amongst the cans and the sparse pub talk we’ll try and make some sensible comments.

One interesting story we’ll be discussing concerns former FIFA president Joao Havelange, who has claimed that England’s 1966 World Cup win was the result of a fixed tournament. Bloody hell, first they don’t qualify for Euro 2008 and now England’s only achievement, and the one they harp on about endlessly, may be tarnished. Good times for non-England fans.

Til tomorrow folks, stay Cescy,


Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Semi finals… the end is all too near

Bear Grylls needed hotel rooms; alcoholics need a sip of porter and Frank Lampard apparently needs Jose Mourinho. We all need our little comforts to keep us going but the passing of Euro 2008 will leave one gaping football-shaped hole in our lives that will be hard to fill. Even two days without games have been difficult such has been our luck in the previous two weeks.

The end of two matches a day after the second round of first phase games was difficult enough, the end of the quarter finals was just plain horrific. But the end? The real, actual end? What are we supposed to do? Watch Wimbledon? How dare you.

Anyway, before we get to Sunday’s final and the death knell of a fine, fine tournament, let’s go through the first semi final.

Germany v Turkey: Turkey are, so the stories say anyway, a team with only 14 players, several of which play in mid table in the Turkish league while another was once coached by Neil Warnock. Then there’s the third choice keeper who may come on as a striker. This team, under no circumstances, should be here, face to face with the final, but here they are.

I should preface this by saying that ever since the Turkey v Ireland play off for Euro 2000 I’ve hated the Turkish national side. Anyone else remember that dodgy Star TV prick who wouldn’t sell the rights to their home game to RTE (forcing me and many others into the shithole of choice for Dublin Celtic fans, Frasers, to watch a hazy satellite feed of the second leg)? Just as dodgy were the Turk officials who punched Tony Cascarino. Then to top it all off they had Hakan Sukur, the most instantly dislikeable footballer of our time, up front. Steven Gerrard and Ronaldo wish they could be as instantly hate worthy as this guy, but sorry lads, he was just born with it.

Anyway, begrudgingly I will have to admit that they deserve their place here simply for the frenetic, insanely late entertainment they have provided in their last three games. The equaliser against Croatia the other night was bizarrely predictable after their previous heroics in the dying seconds against the Swiss and the Czechs respectively. But do they have a chance against the Germans?

While Germany do possess a resurgent Bastian Schweinsteiger, Lucas Podolski in top form, Michael Ballack doing his usual pre-final heroics in the early stages as well as some other solid performers throughout the side, they still have the air of a team that could be found out. Their coach for one, just looks like a guy who will be discovered as the charlatan he is any minute. Not, that I know Joachim Low is a charlatan, I just know that he looks like an actor in a bad American soap opera and those guys always have secrets… anybody else getting the impression I’m finding it hard to pick out weaknesses for Germany? Thought so.

So logic and sense point to the northern Europeans and away from the frankly un-European Turks (come on, even if Turkey struggle to penalties, they’re playing the Germans for feck sake). Prediction: 3-1 to ze Germans.

I’ll be back to go over the far more difficult to predict Spain v Russia game tomorrow, and before any of you ask, yes I will address writing off the Rooskies earlier on in the tournament.

‘Til then folks,

Tuesday, 17 June 2008


Totally off the subject of Euro 2008 but I was just wondering what your thoughts are on the downfall of Shoot? For me it was one of those things that you think is great when you’re a kid but one day, all of a sudden, realise is actually just a little bit pants.

One moment you flick through and read the articles avidly then a week later you realise it’s not really that important to find out what CDs footballers like (why always with the Phil Collins lads? Why?), or what John Scales gets up to on his day off.

Are any of ye mourning its passing? Or were ye more Match kinda people?


Meanwhile, totally on the subject of Euro 2008, ya gotta love the Italian conspiracy theory that those fiendish Dutch will send out a collection of hunchbacked circus freaks and the Craggy Island Over 75s Priests Team against Romania tonight. The Italians are only familiar with matches being fixed due to the convenient nature of their final few league fixtures every year while they are the only ones to blame for their current predicament in this tournament. Johnny Giles' view of their 'moral courage' should be an interesting aside this evening anyway.

Anyway, tonight I’m going for the French to go through. I just have a sneaking suspicion that the Romanians will get over-excited, send way too many up forward and get caught out by the Dutch on the break. In the battle of the over the hill heroes of yesteryear, I think the French may be saved by one of their bright young things – Benzema or the quiet thus far Ribery. Just a hunch, no doubt utterly wrong of course, but there you have it folks.

Later, JJ

Friday, 13 June 2008

ODF 13 June Podcast Online

Hi All,
It's Euro 2008, and we are here to supply you with the one week old news, the Sun-esque analysis and the consummate professional presentation of Greece.

We discuss:
All the fixtures and results of Euro 08
Pub Talk Featuring Scolari and more
And our pre-game, half time and fulltime assessment of Holland vs France.

Download it or Subscribe to the feed

Mark & JJ

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Gotta love a bandwagon

So how empty or full is that glass at the moment folks? Scan through the dailies and you’d swear that the only people enjoying Euro 2008 are James Richardson and Barry Glendenning; along with a couple of Dutch folk and even the normally surly Spanish. Well, head on the block time here but Euro 2008 is entertaining the bejaysus out of me (and I’ve never used that phrase before, possibly with good reason, but I’ll stick by it for now). Anyway, like a roma family on a roundabout, let’s move on.

Maybe it’s the fact that as an RTE-watcher I’m accustomed to seeing pundits who are used to their national side not being there. From the uniformly average reviews of the coverage on ITV and BBC, it sounds like the Brits are somewhat struggling without the daily reports from Baden-Baden.

So much so that some papers are giving more coverage to Wayne Rooney’s wedding than they are to the tournament. The long held suspicion by us at OkeyDokeFootball that so much time reporting on the game has left some tabloid journalists actually hating it, seems to have a grain of truth in it after all. Come on, get in the spirit of things people.

Some of the top reasons to watch so far include…

Zlatan Ibrahimovic: The man who makes Ronaldo look like he’s got confidence issues. What a goal last night and now that he’s kicked into form, he could be that player we love to hate but hate to miss throughout this tournament. Although…

The Rooskies: Zlatan’s time in the tournament may be cut short by a first round exit should the Russians get their act together. They showed signs of promise in that demolition by the Spanish and could come back strong yet; bizarrely this group (excluding everything involving Greek players) could be more entertaining than Group C and its deathly hallows.

Billo: Extracting the urine from the BBC and ITV put together by spinning a ridiculous amount of airtime out of teams both he and the panel have little knowledge of. The other stations are barely on five minutes before kick off, lest we all find out what we knew already – Alan Shearer has nothing to say. Nothing. My favourite Billo moment so far? Throwing in what I suspect was a made up comment to gain a reaction and it worked to a tee:
Bill: “Well I read somewhere that this is in fact the greatest German side ever. What do you think of that?”
Dunphy: “That’s… that’s just rubbish…”
John: “Never Bill…”
Brady: “Not a hope Bill…”
Cue ten minutes of TV gold. We didn’t name our site after this man’s catchphrase for nothing!

Trevor Stevens’ white jacket: A horrible garment but the reaction it provoked was hilarious.

The hosts: I know this might not be the popular opinion but I actually enjoyed the Austria v Croatia match because of how much effort the co-hosts put in. The same can be said for large portions of the Swiss match. Thankfully, I missed the France v Romania game so I haven’t seen an out and our borefest yet (though yes the Swedish game was close until that goal).

The return of Apres Match: Words can’t do it justice. So just watch this. Or follow the link here.

The promise of what is to come: Portugal v the Czechs in three minutes, Holland v France; Croatia v Germany; Sweden v Spain… and that’s before we even get to the final matches of the first round. Anybody still missing $tevie Me hitting 70-yard Hollywood balls to the corner flag? Thought not.

Til the next update, later folks, JJ

Friday, 6 June 2008

ODF 06 June Podcast Online

Hi All,

Our latest podcast is online now.

We discuss:

Pub Talk: All the news that matters

Euro 2008 Preview - we run through the main contenders and decide it's going to be Deutschland uber Alles

Mark & JJ


Thursday, 5 June 2008

The Euros and all that jazz

Heya folks,

Sorry for being all quiet on the blogging front but as I said last time out we’re taking it handy for the next while and since the only things that seem to be going on this summer are reckless rumour; feck all signings and the odd smattering of decent but hardly earth shattering news (ala Hughes to Citeh), there hasn’t really been much to blog on. Have we blogged when there has been feck all to blog on before? Well yeah, but it probably wasn’t sunny at the time. So, no news + sun = feck all blogaroo. It’s nature people.

Of course, this news vacuum is about to go ‘bye-bye Dorothy’ as the European Championships draw ever closer and now that we’re within two days of seeing quality football after that life threatening gap of… oooh two and half weeks since the Champions League final, I can’t wait for it to begin.

Many of course have floated the idea that a tournament without England or, in our case anyway, Ireland loses a lot in the build up due to no massive media encampment throwing back 100 stories a day. However, despite some people seeing this as a reason to say that the tournament would be richer with Ireland or England (or hell even Scotland, Norn Iron or even Wales) in it, I think this opinion will be blown out of the water once the tournament begins.

Look through the top sides – all with players we’re completely familiar with. Premier League players we see for 38 games a year; Champions League stalwarts we watch from the group stages to the business end of the tournament, not to mention others who entertain on Spanish football or in online highlight reels from Germany, Italy and France that many of us football geeks entertain ourselves with each week. It’s not like 20 years ago when we would have known a few top stars alone.

There will be no lack of familiarity once the games begin, so I stick by my stance of last November that Croatia’s 3-2 win over England at Wembley was a good thing for this tournament. But that’s enough England bashing, let’s concentrate on the teams that are there. Myself and Mark are doing the first of our Euro pods this evening (we asked our bosses to send us over to Vienna for two weeks but to no avail… some people are so selfish).

We’ll be discussing the groups; the contenders; the jokers; why Greece must not be allowed to win the thing again and a little bit of Pub Talk to boot. So, now it begins… football, drinking, football, more drinking… how did we ever survive that two and half weeks since John Terry slipped on his big fat arse.

Later, JJ