Monday, July 2, 2012

Euro 2012 Day 24 The Final

Spain 4 Italy 0

A perfect night for football, free from rain,
they came to far-famed Kiev railway station
or flew there in their hordes by chartered plane,
thousands in a state of high elation,
to witness Italy and mighty Spain
battling to be top-dog football nation.

Spain began with fired imagination
and, from the start, the shots began to rain
in on Buffon’s goal. Strange vacillation
gripped the proud Azzurri  -it was plain
an early Spanish goal was in gestation.
Fabregas to Silva – goal for Spain!

Still Italy tried putting it to Spain,
tackling hard with grim determination
but the midfield nine were tugging at the rein.
All football skills were here in combination
and television replays showed quite plain
the Italians had no cause for protestation

when Alba scored. Though gripped by devastation,
still the Italians took the game to Spain,
though now it was a hopeless assignation.
But it was clear that they could not restrain
the rampant Spanish, high on sheer elation.
Down to ten through injury, it was plain

that it was now for pride that they were playin’.
But the Spanish swarmed again, an infestation
that swept like locusts ‘cross the wide terrain.
And so we watched with morbid fascination
as Torres, first, augmented Buffon’s pain
and Motta helped complete the mutilation.

No-one could deny the correlation
between display and score. Some may complain
that Spain play sideways like a mad crustacean.
But not last night. The world saw Spain
carving forward with such domination
you might as well have tried to stop the rain.

Extending their proud reign with great elation,
their rightful station taken, it was plain
that Spain remain the ultimate football nation.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Euro 2012 Day 23 Rest Day

Goodbye to Poland, adios to Ukraine

Goodbye to Poland, adios to Ukraine.
Although you were tagged by the racism stain,
the media searched for examples in vain
in a generous, warm population
that welcomed the Croat, the Swede and the Dane.

Auf wiedersehen Poland, aloha Ukraine.
The matches ran smoothly throughout the campaign.
Theatrical dives seem to be on the wane
as the TV picks up simulation
and offenders know well they will garner disdain.

Au revoir Poland, ha det to Ukraine.
You hosted things well, we’d no cause to complain.
The referees stayed in control in the main
and the football evoked much elation.
And thank Christ we had no vuvuzela refrain.

Sayonara to Poland, shalom to Ukraine.
We thought here in Ireland we knew summer rain,
but you must have constructed one helluva drain
to cope with your precipitation.
By rights it should mainly all stay on the plain.

Arriverderci to Poland, slán agat to Ukraine.
Oh, how can you cope without Jordan and Wayne?
Your loss, my good friends, is the Premier League’s gain –
they’re the pride of the Sky TV station.
For you, only bittersweet memories remain.

Hejda to Poland, do svidanja Ukraine.
From Wroclaw to Donetsk is three hours by plane.
It would probably take you a fortnight by train
and use up your entire vacation.
Ah, the distances travelled would drive you insane.

Do widzenia Poland, pa pa Ukraine.
All that is left now is Italy-Spain.
The world waits to see which of them can attain
the title of champion nation.
And, when it’s all done, can we do it again?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Euro 2012 Day 22 Rest Day

Where are they now?

Where have they gone, that green-clad crowd
that everybody so admired?
whose singing was, at times, inspired,
strong, resilient, loud and proud;
who spent their time in Poland drinking,
licensed, as it were, to roam
by wives and children stuck at home;
and sang out as our hopes were sinking.

What happened to those green-clad souls
that lived up to their stereotype,
became ensnared by all the hype
as darlings of the glad-eyed Poles?
who sang the Fields of Athenry –
a maudlin and depressing tune -
throughout the merry month of June
until their well-oiled throats were dry.

What will they do, those green-clad fans,
returned home to the peat and bog?
They’re on the net now, mouths agog
and making season ticket plans
for Celtic, Arsenal and United
and other big-name foreign teams
that captivate their hearts and dreams,
while our national league is blighted.

What do they wear, the Olé –Olés?
They’re sporting shirts from Liverpool,
propped up upon their own bar stool,
and waiting for their salad days,
when English football’s on the box
and Sky’s mass-media campaign
relentlessly cranks up again,
while Irish football’s on the rocks.

Where are they now, those green-clad hordes?
They’re not at Pat’s or Turner’s Cross,
whose terraces are sprouting moss;
and they’re not congregating towards
the Brandywell or Tolka Park
or Terryland or Dalymount,
where football is of no account
and apathy has left its mark.

They don their English shirts in pubs
and roundly cheer on English clubs.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Euro 2012 Day 21 Semi Final 2

Germany 1 Italy 2

They’d been moaning about him,
they’d been groaning about him.
On the football chat shows,
they’d been phoning about him
but Balotelli came up trumps
and left the Germans in the dumps
in Warsaw.

They’d been suspicious about him,
they’d been seditious about him,
vicious, repetitious,
superstitious about him
but Balotelli scored a brace
and got the critics off his case
in Warsaw.

In Warsaw, we ignored Italian sermons.
We said they had a softish underbelly.
In Warsaw we all came to praise the Germans
and ended up admiring Balotelli.

They’d been bitchin’ about him,
nervous twitchin’ about him,
married couples had been rowing
in the kitchen about him
but Balotelli got a double,
put the Germans deep in trouble
in Warsaw.

They’d been malevolent towards him,
not benevolent towards him.
Hostility had certainly
been prevalent towards him
but Balotelli cut the mustard,
got the Germans hot and flustered
in Warsaw.

In Warsaw, the Italians scaled the Eiger,
roped together by Signor Prandelli.
Down the slope rolled Őzil and Schweinsteiger,
gaping at a posing Balotelli.

They’d written pages about him,
flown into rages about him,
maintained that there was something
quite contagious about him
but Balotelli scored two crackers,
squarely silenced his attackers
and didn’t end up at the centre
of a most unseemly fracas
in Warsaw.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Euro 2012 Day 20 Semi Final 1

Spain 0 Portugal 0 (Spain win 4-2 on penalties)

Alonso not scoring,
Portuguese guffawing,
doubts start gnawing,
Casillas clawing,
big hand pawing,
two teams drawing,
Iniesta restoring,
much esprit-de-corps-ing,
Piqué encoring,
the balance see-sawing,
two tribes warring,
Ramos matadoring,
Ronaldo ignoring,
hope now soaring,
fans imploring,
Fabregas roaring,
emotions pouring,
tension thawing,
public adoring,
but whisper it softly –
are Spain getting boring?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Euro 2012 Day 19 Rest Day

Six Haiku

Long balls Given away.
Keane but never in the Hunt.
Performances Duff.

Fortunes on the Wayne.
England fire turns to Ashes.
Hart is not enough.

Pepe not kidding.
Winking Billy hogs limelight.
Nani in shadows.

Loew a fickle thing.
Gomez and Müller jilted.
Germans get Klose.

Super Mario?
Player One assumes control.
Mistake. Game over.

Assemble, purists!
Flat pack four won’t lift trophy.
Going to Ikea.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Euro 2012 Day 18 Rest Day

Five seconds of fame

Five seconds of fame, you’re up on the big screen.
Yes, you, the one who can’t believe his eyes,
with silly hat and face all painted green.

The game itself is mundane and routine.
(The whistle blows more than you realise.)
Five seconds of fame, you’re up on the big screen.

It takes some time to lose your puzzled sheen
before you jump and holler with surprise,
with silly hat and face all painted green.

You shake the girlfriend till she bursts her spleen,
pointing wildly up into the skies.
Five seconds of fame! You’re up on the big screen!

But by the time she’s clued in to the scene,
the camera’s panned away to other guys
with silly hats and faces painted green.

You hope it’s taped, and no-one wipes it clean,
so you can reminisce when old and wise.
Five seconds of fame, we were up on the big screen.
with silly hats and faces painted green.