The Five Billion Person Party

Notes of a wandering American soccer fan

Archive for the ‘Portugal’ Category

Professor Zidane vs. More Cowbell

Posted by steigs on April 28, 2008

I see Aaron over at Fighting Talker thinks the Swiss 2004 side may have been one of the worst to play in a modern European championship.  I disagree — I actually saw them play a decent game against France.  Average, perhaps, but they didn’t belong among the truly atrocious.  (As I wrote about before, I also saw the 2004 Latvian team and, well, they had a lot of heart.) 

I was lucky enough to spend 10 days in Portugal for Euro 2004.  Alas, I won’t be getting to Germany and Switzerland for this year’s tourney.  (Then again, even if I could get the time off, I don’t think the feeble dollar would allow it.  Sigh.)

I was also lucky enough to get to see the legendary Zinedine Zidane play for France against Switzerland in Portugal’s college town, Coimbra.  What was that like?  Read on after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Euros, Portugal | 1 Comment »

Keeping up with Adu – the Benfica life

Posted by steigs on January 2, 2008

For those of you who missed it, the Washington Post caught up with local boy Freddy Adu in a story published on Christmas Day.  And here I thought it was only the fringe elements on Bigsoccer that considered the kid to be the savior…

Freddy, it appears, is off to a decent start with Benfica, the traditional (if not current) leader in the Portuguese league.  He’s often the supersub off the bench, regularly scoring a goal or getting an assist in the late stages of a game, and able to learn from Rui Costa, the legendary (if aging) Portuguese attacking mid, a number 10 of the most classic type.

Fitrell wrote that after Adu’s third game-winning goal for the club the papers were filled with headlines like “The American Hero” and “Freddy Saves Us Again.” The next day Fitrell had 40 e-mails congratulating him on Adu’s success, “as if I had anything to do with it,” Fitrell wrote. Fitrell’s favorite post-game message came from a Communist Party member of parliament there, which read simply: “I love America.”

I was glad to see the story was by Jason La Canfora, who ordinarily handles the Redskins beat but who developed a friendship of some sort with the Adus during the early stages of Freddy-mania.  While I love the work of Steve Goff, it’s nice that a young reporter with a liking for soccer — displayed during World Cup blogging and in asides during his Redskins work — gets to indulge himself.  The more mainstream writers who know and enjoy the sport, the better for us in the long run.

This seems a good opportunity to retell the tale of my visit to Lisbon and trip to see Benfica play, which also involves cherry brandy, a bit of poetry, and a reminder of the glory days of Benfica.  It’s a little dated, being from 1999, and Portugal (if not Benfica) have had some international success since then.  But I think it’s still of interest.  Curious?  Read on after the jump!

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Portugal | 2 Comments »