The Five Billion Person Party

Notes of a wandering American soccer fan

Archive for the ‘Czech’ Category

Czeched Out

Posted by steigs on June 16, 2008

The Czech collapse against Turkey yesterday was startling, a rapid unraveling of a previously solid team.  (Wait, Petr “possibly best goalie in EPL” Cech made a crucial error?)  Credit the Turks for an impressive display of fortitude.  My wife M. says she likes to root for teams that show “can do” spirit — clearly she should be cheering on the Turks now, given that remarkable comeback plus the way they came from behind against the host Swiss in that wicked rainstorm.

This may represent the end of an era for the Czechs, who like other smaller nations with strong soccer cultures, usually need a couple of stars to lift them from the “regular qualifier” level to “dark horse threat to win it all” level.  (See also: Croatia, Sweden, Bulgaria etc.)  American fans remember all too well the way we were dismantled by the Czechs at the 2006 World Cup, before the Czechs went awry at that tourney.  They’ve had a handful of world-class players in recent years but they are largely moving on — Pavel Nedved has retired from international play, giant Jan Koller will join him soon, Tomas Rosicky has injury problems and missed this tourney.  They’ve still got Cech but he wasn’t exactly helping the cause yesterday. 

This Czech side peaked at Euro 2004, where they arguably played the best soccer of any team before running into the brick wall of the Greek defense in the semi-finals.  I was lucky enough to see them beat Denmark in the quarter-finals.  What was it like?  Here’s a taste.  For more, read on after the jump.

Around minute 30, the Danes start swaying in unison.  The Czech fans, on the other hand, perhaps provoked by the Danes, begin doing one of the stranger cheers I have seen.  First, they chant “Czech-ia!” and then “Hop Hop Hop” hopping as they say it. 

As best I can gather it means “Onward, Czechs!” but the effect is as if the section beside us is getting a Ramones concert on a frequency the rest of us can’t hear and doing the pogo — either that or offering encouragement to rabbits.  “Hop!  Hop!  Hop!”

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Posted in Czech, Denmark, Euros | Leave a Comment »

The Euro 2008 Beer Finals

Posted by steigs on June 6, 2008

The Guardian comes through for us, on this “Euro 2008 eve.”  Let’s play Euro 2008 through a tasting competition with a national beer for each representative!  For example, the Dutch choice:

Grolsch Weizen, 5.3%
This widely revered wheat beer, from the same stable as the iconic swing-top, is bursting with lovely flavours. But, as always with the Dutch, much depends on whether they get along in the glass.

The early favorites are obvious — Germany, Czech Republic, etc.  For example, Pilsner Urquell’s early triumph:

Czech Republic: Breezed through the group stages with its sturdy malt base, brusque hop bitterness and a mouth-feel as velvety as the revolution.

Alas, Belgium didn’t qualify for Euro 2008 else, as one commenter notes, they’d be overwhelming favorites.  (Perhaps Belgium is the Brazil of beer!) 

The winner is slightly surprising.  I won’t spoil it for you — click the link to find out.  In the meantime, I sense a theme for the next few weeks of soccer watching…

Posted in Czech, Euros, Germany, Holland | Leave a Comment »

The Monday Update — High and Low

Posted by steigs on May 12, 2008

Slavia do toho, indeed!  On the verge of winning the Czech league!  Just got to beat thirteenth place Jablonic next weekend. 

Alas, poor Parma.  On the verge of relegation from Serie A.  Time to sack the coach!  Heck, I managed to finish 14th with my virtual Parma in Championship Manager.  I’m sure I’ll do better next season — I signed Jozy Altidore.  Still, they’ve fallen from when I saw them.

Posted in Czech, Games, Italy | Leave a Comment »

Slavia Do Toho!

Posted by steigs on January 11, 2008

Long-time bridesmaids Slavia Prague are having a year to remember.  Leading the Czech league at the break.  Getting a new stadium in March.  Made it to the group stage of the Champions League for the first time.  Maybe they were embarrassed 7-0 at Arsenal but they held the Gunners to a scoreless draw in Prague.  And they beat Steaua Bucharest to earn third place in the group — so they’ll face Tottenham in the UEFA Cup when the European Cups resume. 

I was lucky enough to catch a Slavia game in ’03 — one of the better (and cheaper) European soccer experiences I’ve had.  For more on Slavia, the wonderful city of Prague, and the meaning of the post’s title, read on after the jump…

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Posted in Champions League, Czech | 1 Comment »