Nae more for Neymar – Belgium 2 Brazil 1

The omens were promising: a 77-year-old German-Canadian in the hostel was attending his 12th consecutive World Cup.

He travelled to his second – Argentina in 1978 – by cargo boat. “I saw Scotland, they weren’t very good.”

Continue reading Nae more for Neymar – Belgium 2 Brazil 1

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Cricket in Calzaghe’s back garden – Abercarn v DinkyPooThrees

Essex is great, you might be surprised to hear, but after 13 Saturdays of less than magnificent arenas what a treat to play at Aber-lovely-carn. ‘Carn’ as in Imran.

After Orsett Vs in Stanford le Hope, it felt like Lord’s. 

Continue reading Cricket in Calzaghe’s back garden – Abercarn v DinkyPooThrees

Fortaleza fan fest fun: a critical evaluation

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Kharkiv two years ago in Ukraine was dominated by the Dutch, who brought their oompah songs, orange boiler suits and their shtrange anticsh that would probably be banned in any other country.

It was much more fun than the game that followed.

Continue reading Fortaleza fan fest fun: a critical evaluation

The ‘Death Match’ stadium, Kyiv

Death Match Stadium, KyivThe ‘Death Match’ inspired a film starring Sylvester Stallone and is still a cause of furious debate more than 70 years after it was played.

The stadium in Kyiv which hosted the game on August 9, 1942, still stages games but is in typically decrepit Ukrainian condition.

It inspired the Escape to Victory movie but if you read wikipedia accounts then eye-witnesses claim players were not killed as a result of inflicting defeat on German players

Continue reading The ‘Death Match’ stadium, Kyiv

Back in the USSR! Soviet soccer at the Pele Museum

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Lev Yashin and burning passion for Soviet links with Brazil feature strongly in the Pele Museum in Lugansk.

It has a host of fascinating Soviet football artefacts collected by its owner Nikolai Khudobin.

Lev Yashin, the most famous Russian footballer ever, is regarded as maybe the best goalkeeper who ever played.

Continue reading Back in the USSR! Soviet soccer at the Pele Museum

Pele Museum, Lugansk – Музей Пеле

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Yes there really IS a Pele Museum in Lugansk.

Lugansk is in Ukraine. Twenty miles from the Russian border,  it  is the easternmost major city in the country and has about 500,000 inhabitants. 

There is a Pele museum in Santos, where Pele played for the local team, which is about 7,000 miles away from Lugansk.  I hope to visit the Santos museum later this year. 

Continue reading Pele Museum, Lugansk – Музей Пеле