Soccer / world cup

talesfrmthecrypt
My Sporting Highlights of 2019
In all aspects of life, this year seems to have flown by and it feels like only yesterday that I was writing a "best of 2018" sports blog to reflect on the moments of that particular 12months. Here again, then is a list of my personal highlights from 2019 with a few of the blogs I've written during that time linked for further reading and greater reminiscing about what has been a year of the purest sporting drama. I'll watch and play pretty much anything that involves a ball but my favourite sports by a long way are Cricket, Football and Rugby Union, all of which have delivered some great results this calendar year. Football In general, it's been a fairly awful 2019 for Spurs and in fact, they put a graphic on during the Norwich game on Saturday that showed Spurs had lost more games this calendar year across all competitions than any other side in the English top flight. Now that statistic is somewhat misleading because of course Spurs have played a lot more games than most teams in that same time period including a run to the Champions League final that threw up some of the most exciting games of football that any fan could wish to see. To be honest we bluffed our way through the group stages of the Champions League and were fortunate that other teams didn't take their chances to progress but perhaps that luck was a sign of things to come. Having swept past Dortmund in the 2nd round, we were drawn against the form team in Europe in Man City for the Quarter Finals. We bossed the game in the first leg at home to win 1-0 but I always felt that we might end up looking back at the missed opportunities to have won by a bigger margin. When Sterling scored early in the 2nd leg I genuinely felt that was it and City would run through us in front of their home crowd. What happened next though was why knockout football matches can produce such incredible drama Guardiola and City fans will winge and whine until the cows come home about the 2 VAR decisions but given they are in breach of pretty much every financial fair play rule that exists in football you could argue that they shouldn't even be in the competition to start with! We were drawn against Ajax in the semis and although the Dutch side had had a great run to get that far and had some special young players, I kind of thought we'd done well to avoid Liverpool and Barcelona. However, our performance in the first leg of that tie at home was very poor and Ajax really should have finished it as a contest there and then. Still, with their partizan home support, they undoubtedly felt confident of getting over the line back in Amsterdam. I have to say the support for the home team in that second leg was incredible and the the "no filter" video produced by BT Sport below gives a great account of one of the most incredible nights of football I've ever known. Again, you could argue that Ajax should have put more past us in the first half of this game and they were so much the better team that it was very hard for even the most optimistic Spurs supporter (I'm not sure they actually exist) to have dreamed about what would happen next. Here's the blog I wrote in the hours after the comeback - it still gives me goosebumps to watch those highlights again! I wonder if the euphoria of that comeback win plus the significant length between it and the final itself left the side a little flat for the final. If we'd have been outplayed by a superior Liverpool side then it would be understandable but to be honest they were rubbish and had we have played to our potential then it could have been the greatest moment in the club's history. Cricket After the excitement of the football in the Spring came the possibility of a great summer in the cricket with a home World Cup and Ashes series to follow and England didn't disappoint. The tale of England's transformation from 50-over laughing stocks to World Cup winners is quite remarkable and Eoin Morgan was rightly rewarded in the New Years Honours for the role he played in the near-total metamorphosis during his 4 years in charge. Of course, it's England and it's a World Cup and regardless of the sport, we've never won anything the easy way! The defeat by Pakistan was disappointing, the loss against Sri Lanka infuriating and then to be beaten by the old enemy Australia and have our chances of making the semi-finals severely impacted was just humiliating. However, the team came back strongly against India and New Zealand to squeak through to the knockout stages and once again face our nemesis Australia. For those of you who follow my blog with any kind of regularity, it won't come as a surprise to hear that I took time off work to watch most of England's games in the World Cup this summer and this one was no different. It was pretty much the perfect performance by England and to see the Aussies having to turn in desperation to Steve Smith to bowl as they searched for a way back into the game probably gave me more pleasure than anything! With New Zealand knocking India out in the other semi, it would surely be a cakewalk in the final, right? While I will be enjoying the 3 video highlights I've posted above for a very long time to come, I actually find it quite difficult to watch the highlights of the World Cup final despite the fact that we won! I had so much emotionally invested in that game and the final hour of it was such a nailbiter that I reckon I must have aged about 5-years during the course of it. By the time the final over was bowled, I'd switched off the commentary and was just watching the game on my laptop huddled on the sofa. When Stokes didn't score off the first 2 balls I let out a long moan and my wife came in with some concern on her face to find out what was wrong. "We've lost the World Cup", I said but then... One massive shot and one freak occurrence and we suddenly need 3 from 2 balls. Surely it's ours to lose again! I've heard Stokes say since that he just wanted to make sure he didn't hit the ball in the air and give the Kiwis a chance but that final ball was there to be hit and instead of smashing it over mid-wicket he bunted to long-off and took us to a super-over. "Why Ben?" I was screaming at the screen! We were in touching distance of the World Cup but instead you wanted to put me through half an hour of more pain! Ultimately it was the kind of game that whoever lost would look back at and think that they had the opportunities to have won and so I think in the aftermath of it all I was more relieved than I was happy that we claimed victory. It was a truly emotional rollercoaster of a cricket match but the thrills for that summer weren't over yet... Stokes' return to form this year was a wonderful story of redemption in itself for a gifted cricketer whose personal life was threatening to undermine his God-given talents. Ashes series, particularly in England, almost always throw up a great game or 2 and this year was no different. The stand-out of course was the Headingley Test where Stokes played one of the great rearguard innings to keep the series alive. England had battled hard on the 3rd day to give themselves a slim chance of victory and at lunchtime on day 4 with Bairstow and Stokes having taken England to within 114 of victory with 6 wickets in hand the possibility of pulling off a famous chase begin to become a reality. However, England did what they have and continue to so often do and lost a flurry of wickets (5 for 41) to leave Australia needing just 1 wicket to retain the Ashes while Stokes and last man Jack Leach needed a further 73 runs for victory. If ever there was a ground to do it on it was going to be Headingley and who better than Botham's latest incarnation of the English Yeoman all-rounder sent to deliver us victory from the jaws of defeat. It was a magnificent display of hitting from Stokes and if his heroics of the World Cup final hadn't made him a leading contender for Sports Personality of the Year then this feat pretty much guaranteed it. Rugby Come the Autumn and the Rugby World Cup took a little bit of time to really ignite from an England fan's perspective. We cruised our group by winning games against opposition who were there to be beaten and the only match-up during that stage that could have presented a problem, France, was called off due to a typhoon hitting Japan. It wasn't until the Quarter-Finals against Australia that it really felt like a game of Test Match Rugby and it was with great delight that I watched our boys smash the Wallabies for 80mins culminating in us dumping another Aussie side out of a World Cup in 2019. The cherry on the top of the whole thing was the recording of Michael Cheika's less than uplifting half-time team talk to the Australia side that was losing to the English - warning there are a few home truths in this clip that are delivered in a manner not suitable for those of a gentler persuasion. I knew that beating the reigning champions the All-Blacks would be a tough ask in the semis but at the same time, I was quietly confident that this wasn't the all-conquering New Zealand side of previous years and that we definitely stood a chance of getting a win. The performance that England put in during the semi-final is probably the most complete 80mins of Rugby I've seen them play for many years and I think the All-Blacks will be glad to have left that match only having been beaten by 12 points. Owen Farrell's smirk during the Hakka will live long in the memory but ultimately the side was overpowered by a superior South Africa side in the final. I guess in that sense if I was going to be selfish it would have been nice to have notched up another trophy or 2 this year with Spurs losing the Champions League Final, England drawing the Ashes series and the Rugby side coming up short against the Springbok. That being said it would be hard to find a year that has delivered as much sporting theatre as 2019 did for me. 2020 has a lot to live up to but with Spurs still in the FA Cup and Champions League, The Six Nations beginning in a months time and the T20 World Cup due to be played later this year who is to say that more sporting excitement and success isn't just around the corner. Happy New Year.
0.00
28
8

talesfrmthecrypt
My Sporting Highlights of 2019
In all aspects of life, this year seems to have flown by and it feels like only yesterday that I was writing a "best of 2018" sports blog to reflect on the moments of that particular 12months. Here again, then is a list of my personal highlights from 2019 with a few of the blogs I've written during that time linked for further reading and greater reminiscing about what has been a year of the purest sporting drama. I'll watch and play pretty much anything that involves a ball but my favourite sports by a long way are Cricket, Football and Rugby Union, all of which have delivered some great results this calendar year. Football In general, it's been a fairly awful 2019 for Spurs and in fact, they put a graphic on during the Norwich game on Saturday that showed Spurs had lost more games this calendar year across all competitions than any other side in the English top flight. Now that statistic is somewhat misleading because of course Spurs have played a lot more games than most teams in that same time period including a run to the Champions League final that threw up some of the most exciting games of football that any fan could wish to see. To be honest we bluffed our way through the group stages of the Champions League and were fortunate that other teams didn't take their chances to progress but perhaps that luck was a sign of things to come. Having swept past Dortmund in the 2nd round, we were drawn against the form team in Europe in Man City for the Quarter Finals. We bossed the game in the first leg at home to win 1-0 but I always felt that we might end up looking back at the missed opportunities to have won by a bigger margin. When Sterling scored early in the 2nd leg I genuinely felt that was it and City would run through us in front of their home crowd. What happened next though was why knockout football matches can produce such incredible drama Guardiola and City fans will winge and whine until the cows come home about the 2 VAR decisions but given they are in breach of pretty much every financial fair play rule that exists in football you could argue that they shouldn't even be in the competition to start with! We were drawn against Ajax in the semis and although the Dutch side had had a great run to get that far and had some special young players, I kind of thought we'd done well to avoid Liverpool and Barcelona. However, our performance in the first leg of that tie at home was very poor and Ajax really should have finished it as a contest there and then. Still, with their partizan home support, they undoubtedly felt confident of getting over the line back in Amsterdam. I have to say the support for the home team in that second leg was incredible and the the "no filter" video produced by BT Sport below gives a great account of one of the most incredible nights of football I've ever known. Again, you could argue that Ajax should have put more past us in the first half of this game and they were so much the better team that it was very hard for even the most optimistic Spurs supporter (I'm not sure they actually exist) to have dreamed about what would happen next. Here's the blog I wrote in the hours after the comeback - it still gives me goosebumps to watch those highlights again! I wonder if the euphoria of that comeback win plus the significant length between it and the final itself left the side a little flat for the final. If we'd have been outplayed by a superior Liverpool side then it would be understandable but to be honest they were rubbish and had we have played to our potential then it could have been the greatest moment in the club's history. Cricket After the excitement of the football in the Spring came the possibility of a great summer in the cricket with a home World Cup and Ashes series to follow and England didn't disappoint. The tale of England's transformation from 50-over laughing stocks to World Cup winners is quite remarkable and Eoin Morgan was rightly rewarded in the New Years Honours for the role he played in the near-total metamorphosis during his 4 years in charge. Of course, it's England and it's a World Cup and regardless of the sport, we've never won anything the easy way! The defeat by Pakistan was disappointing, the loss against Sri Lanka infuriating and then to be beaten by the old enemy Australia and have our chances of making the semi-finals severely impacted was just humiliating. However, the team came back strongly against India and New Zealand to squeak through to the knockout stages and once again face our nemesis Australia. For those of you who follow my blog with any kind of regularity, it won't come as a surprise to hear that I took time off work to watch most of England's games in the World Cup this summer and this one was no different. It was pretty much the perfect performance by England and to see the Aussies having to turn in desperation to Steve Smith to bowl as they searched for a way back into the game probably gave me more pleasure than anything! With New Zealand knocking India out in the other semi, it would surely be a cakewalk in the final, right? While I will be enjoying the 3 video highlights I've posted above for a very long time to come, I actually find it quite difficult to watch the highlights of the World Cup final despite the fact that we won! I had so much emotionally invested in that game and the final hour of it was such a nailbiter that I reckon I must have aged about 5-years during the course of it. By the time the final over was bowled, I'd switched off the commentary and was just watching the game on my laptop huddled on the sofa. When Stokes didn't score off the first 2 balls I let out a long moan and my wife came in with some concern on her face to find out what was wrong. "We've lost the World Cup", I said but then... One massive shot and one freak occurrence and we suddenly need 3 from 2 balls. Surely it's ours to lose again! I've heard Stokes say since that he just wanted to make sure he didn't hit the ball in the air and give the Kiwis a chance but that final ball was there to be hit and instead of smashing it over mid-wicket he bunted to long-off and took us to a super-over. "Why Ben?" I was screaming at the screen! We were in touching distance of the World Cup but instead you wanted to put me through half an hour of more pain! Ultimately it was the kind of game that whoever lost would look back at and think that they had the opportunities to have won and so I think in the aftermath of it all I was more relieved than I was happy that we claimed victory. It was a truly emotional rollercoaster of a cricket match but the thrills for that summer weren't over yet... Stokes' return to form this year was a wonderful story of redemption in itself for a gifted cricketer whose personal life was threatening to undermine his God-given talents. Ashes series, particularly in England, almost always throw up a great game or 2 and this year was no different. The stand-out of course was the Headingley Test where Stokes played one of the great rearguard innings to keep the series alive. England had battled hard on the 3rd day to give themselves a slim chance of victory and at lunchtime on day 4 with Bairstow and Stokes having taken England to within 114 of victory with 6 wickets in hand the possibility of pulling off a famous chase begin to become a reality. However, England did what they have and continue to so often do and lost a flurry of wickets (5 for 41) to leave Australia needing just 1 wicket to retain the Ashes while Stokes and last man Jack Leach needed a further 73 runs for victory. If ever there was a ground to do it on it was going to be Headingley and who better than Botham's latest incarnation of the English Yeoman all-rounder sent to deliver us victory from the jaws of defeat. It was a magnificent display of hitting from Stokes and if his heroics of the World Cup final hadn't made him a leading contender for Sports Personality of the Year then this feat pretty much guaranteed it. Rugby Come the Autumn and the Rugby World Cup took a little bit of time to really ignite from an England fan's perspective. We cruised our group by winning games against opposition who were there to be beaten and the only match-up during that stage that could have presented a problem, France, was called off due to a typhoon hitting Japan. It wasn't until the Quarter-Finals against Australia that it really felt like a game of Test Match Rugby and it was with great delight that I watched our boys smash the Wallabies for 80mins culminating in us dumping another Aussie side out of a World Cup in 2019. The cherry on the top of the whole thing was the recording of Michael Cheika's less than uplifting half-time team talk to the Australia side that was losing to the English - warning there are a few home truths in this clip that are delivered in a manner not suitable for those of a gentler persuasion. I knew that beating the reigning champions the All-Blacks would be a tough ask in the semis but at the same time, I was quietly confident that this wasn't the all-conquering New Zealand side of previous years and that we definitely stood a chance of getting a win. The performance that England put in during the semi-final is probably the most complete 80mins of Rugby I've seen them play for many years and I think the All-Blacks will be glad to have left that match only having been beaten by 12 points. Owen Farrell's smirk during the Hakka will live long in the memory but ultimately the side was overpowered by a superior South Africa side in the final. I guess in that sense if I was going to be selfish it would have been nice to have notched up another trophy or 2 this year with Spurs losing the Champions League Final, England drawing the Ashes series and the Rugby side coming up short against the Springbok. That being said it would be hard to find a year that has delivered as much sporting theatre as 2019 did for me. 2020 has a lot to live up to but with Spurs still in the FA Cup and Champions League, The Six Nations beginning in a months time and the T20 World Cup due to be played later this year who is to say that more sporting excitement and success isn't just around the corner. Happy New Year.
0.00
28
8

talesfrmthecrypt
My Sporting Highlights of 2019
In all aspects of life, this year seems to have flown by and it feels like only yesterday that I was writing a "best of 2018" sports blog to reflect on the moments of that particular 12months. Here again, then is a list of my personal highlights from 2019 with a few of the blogs I've written during that time linked for further reading and greater reminiscing about what has been a year of the purest sporting drama. I'll watch and play pretty much anything that involves a ball but my favourite sports by a long way are Cricket, Football and Rugby Union, all of which have delivered some great results this calendar year. Football In general, it's been a fairly awful 2019 for Spurs and in fact, they put a graphic on during the Norwich game on Saturday that showed Spurs had lost more games this calendar year across all competitions than any other side in the English top flight. Now that statistic is somewhat misleading because of course Spurs have played a lot more games than most teams in that same time period including a run to the Champions League final that threw up some of the most exciting games of football that any fan could wish to see. To be honest we bluffed our way through the group stages of the Champions League and were fortunate that other teams didn't take their chances to progress but perhaps that luck was a sign of things to come. Having swept past Dortmund in the 2nd round, we were drawn against the form team in Europe in Man City for the Quarter Finals. We bossed the game in the first leg at home to win 1-0 but I always felt that we might end up looking back at the missed opportunities to have won by a bigger margin. When Sterling scored early in the 2nd leg I genuinely felt that was it and City would run through us in front of their home crowd. What happened next though was why knockout football matches can produce such incredible drama Guardiola and City fans will winge and whine until the cows come home about the 2 VAR decisions but given they are in breach of pretty much every financial fair play rule that exists in football you could argue that they shouldn't even be in the competition to start with! We were drawn against Ajax in the semis and although the Dutch side had had a great run to get that far and had some special young players, I kind of thought we'd done well to avoid Liverpool and Barcelona. However, our performance in the first leg of that tie at home was very poor and Ajax really should have finished it as a contest there and then. Still, with their partizan home support, they undoubtedly felt confident of getting over the line back in Amsterdam. I have to say the support for the home team in that second leg was incredible and the the "no filter" video produced by BT Sport below gives a great account of one of the most incredible nights of football I've ever known. Again, you could argue that Ajax should have put more past us in the first half of this game and they were so much the better team that it was very hard for even the most optimistic Spurs supporter (I'm not sure they actually exist) to have dreamed about what would happen next. Here's the blog I wrote in the hours after the comeback - it still gives me goosebumps to watch those highlights again! I wonder if the euphoria of that comeback win plus the significant length between it and the final itself left the side a little flat for the final. If we'd have been outplayed by a superior Liverpool side then it would be understandable but to be honest they were rubbish and had we have played to our potential then it could have been the greatest moment in the club's history. Cricket After the excitement of the football in the Spring came the possibility of a great summer in the cricket with a home World Cup and Ashes series to follow and England didn't disappoint. The tale of England's transformation from 50-over laughing stocks to World Cup winners is quite remarkable and Eoin Morgan was rightly rewarded in the New Years Honours for the role he played in the near-total metamorphosis during his 4 years in charge. Of course, it's England and it's a World Cup and regardless of the sport, we've never won anything the easy way! The defeat by Pakistan was disappointing, the loss against Sri Lanka infuriating and then to be beaten by the old enemy Australia and have our chances of making the semi-finals severely impacted was just humiliating. However, the team came back strongly against India and New Zealand to squeak through to the knockout stages and once again face our nemesis Australia. For those of you who follow my blog with any kind of regularity, it won't come as a surprise to hear that I took time off work to watch most of England's games in the World Cup this summer and this one was no different. It was pretty much the perfect performance by England and to see the Aussies having to turn in desperation to Steve Smith to bowl as they searched for a way back into the game probably gave me more pleasure than anything! With New Zealand knocking India out in the other semi, it would surely be a cakewalk in the final, right? While I will be enjoying the 3 video highlights I've posted above for a very long time to come, I actually find it quite difficult to watch the highlights of the World Cup final despite the fact that we won! I had so much emotionally invested in that game and the final hour of it was such a nailbiter that I reckon I must have aged about 5-years during the course of it. By the time the final over was bowled, I'd switched off the commentary and was just watching the game on my laptop huddled on the sofa. When Stokes didn't score off the first 2 balls I let out a long moan and my wife came in with some concern on her face to find out what was wrong. "We've lost the World Cup", I said but then... One massive shot and one freak occurrence and we suddenly need 3 from 2 balls. Surely it's ours to lose again! I've heard Stokes say since that he just wanted to make sure he didn't hit the ball in the air and give the Kiwis a chance but that final ball was there to be hit and instead of smashing it over mid-wicket he bunted to long-off and took us to a super-over. "Why Ben?" I was screaming at the screen! We were in touching distance of the World Cup but instead you wanted to put me through half an hour of more pain! Ultimately it was the kind of game that whoever lost would look back at and think that they had the opportunities to have won and so I think in the aftermath of it all I was more relieved than I was happy that we claimed victory. It was a truly emotional rollercoaster of a cricket match but the thrills for that summer weren't over yet... Stokes' return to form this year was a wonderful story of redemption in itself for a gifted cricketer whose personal life was threatening to undermine his God-given talents. Ashes series, particularly in England, almost always throw up a great game or 2 and this year was no different. The stand-out of course was the Headingley Test where Stokes played one of the great rearguard innings to keep the series alive. England had battled hard on the 3rd day to give themselves a slim chance of victory and at lunchtime on day 4 with Bairstow and Stokes having taken England to within 114 of victory with 6 wickets in hand the possibility of pulling off a famous chase begin to become a reality. However, England did what they have and continue to so often do and lost a flurry of wickets (5 for 41) to leave Australia needing just 1 wicket to retain the Ashes while Stokes and last man Jack Leach needed a further 73 runs for victory. If ever there was a ground to do it on it was going to be Headingley and who better than Botham's latest incarnation of the English Yeoman all-rounder sent to deliver us victory from the jaws of defeat. It was a magnificent display of hitting from Stokes and if his heroics of the World Cup final hadn't made him a leading contender for Sports Personality of the Year then this feat pretty much guaranteed it. Rugby Come the Autumn and the Rugby World Cup took a little bit of time to really ignite from an England fan's perspective. We cruised our group by winning games against opposition who were there to be beaten and the only match-up during that stage that could have presented a problem, France, was called off due to a typhoon hitting Japan. It wasn't until the Quarter-Finals against Australia that it really felt like a game of Test Match Rugby and it was with great delight that I watched our boys smash the Wallabies for 80mins culminating in us dumping another Aussie side out of a World Cup in 2019. The cherry on the top of the whole thing was the recording of Michael Cheika's less than uplifting half-time team talk to the Australia side that was losing to the English - warning there are a few home truths in this clip that are delivered in a manner not suitable for those of a gentler persuasion. I knew that beating the reigning champions the All-Blacks would be a tough ask in the semis but at the same time, I was quietly confident that this wasn't the all-conquering New Zealand side of previous years and that we definitely stood a chance of getting a win. The performance that England put in during the semi-final is probably the most complete 80mins of Rugby I've seen them play for many years and I think the All-Blacks will be glad to have left that match only having been beaten by 12 points. Owen Farrell's smirk during the Hakka will live long in the memory but ultimately the side was overpowered by a superior South Africa side in the final. I guess in that sense if I was going to be selfish it would have been nice to have notched up another trophy or 2 this year with Spurs losing the Champions League Final, England drawing the Ashes series and the Rugby side coming up short against the Springbok. That being said it would be hard to find a year that has delivered as much sporting theatre as 2019 did for me. 2020 has a lot to live up to but with Spurs still in the FA Cup and Champions League, The Six Nations beginning in a months time and the T20 World Cup due to be played later this year who is to say that more sporting excitement and success isn't just around the corner. Happy New Year.
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