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,
conquistadoring,
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

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

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

(iii)
Pepe not kidding.
Winking Billy hogs limelight.
Nani in shadows.

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

(v)
Super Mario?
Player One assumes control.
Mistake. Game over.

(vi)
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.

Euro 2012 Day 17 Quarter Final 4

Italy 0 England 0 (Italy win 4-2 on penalties)

Sometimes a feat of courage leaves you thunderstruck
but Pirlo’s spot-kick got what it deserved.
Would you or I have left that penno under-struck?
Sometimes a feat of courage leaves you thunderstruck.
The notion that it could have been a blunder struck
the millions watching; left us quite unnerved.
Sometimes a feat of courage leaves you thunderstruck
but Pirlo’s spot-kick got what it deserved.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Euro 2012 Day 16 Quarter Final 3

Spain 2 France 0

To Donetsk, far Ukraine city,
so far east it must be Asia,
came the Spanish in their thousands,
with Manolo, pounding rhythm,
playing with their ten midfielders,
masters of the ball retention;
and the French, the handball heroes,
lambs to slaughter sacrificial.
Napoleon, in all his glory,
never ventured this far eastwards
and no-one really gave the French a
single centime for their chances.
And so the Spanish midfield started
knocking it around at leisure,

Xabi out to Iniesta,
on to Pedro, back to Xabi,
to Alonso, back to Xabi,
on to Silva, ‘cross to Busquets,
Fabregas, then Iniesta,
Pedro, Xabi and Alonso,
on to Busquets, on to Silva,
Iniesta, back to Xabi,
Fabregas and Iniesta.

On and on and on, they did this,
like they do in pre-match training,
four ‘gainst four in small rectangle,
till the French became frustrated
charging forward, forced the issue,
like a bull, enraged and snorting.
Then Iniesta sidestepped smartly,
drove the knife deep down to Pedro,
crossed and in came bold Alonso
with a lethal downward header.
And, with this fatal wound inflicted,
they went back to red cape waving,

Xabi out to Iniesta,
on to Pedro, back to Xabi,
to Alonso, back to Xabi,
on to Silva, ‘cross to Busquets,
Fabregas, then Iniesta,
Pedro, Xabi and Alonso,
on to Busquets, on to Silva,
Iniesta, back to Xabi,
Fabregas and Iniesta.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Euro 2012 Day 15 Quarter Final 2

Germany 4 Greece 2

The lovely Mrs. Merkel
sat within the golden circle
with Platini and the rest of the antiques
and she watched proceedings smugly,
winning beautiful not ugly,
as the Germans went to town against the Greeks.

Philip Lahm’s first touch was deft
as he cut in from the left,
as reporters started drafting their critiques.
And the accolades were ringing,
like the shot that he sent winging,
as the Germans went one up against the Greeks.

Samaras then pulled one back
in a very rare attack
and the blue and white paint glistened on fans’ cheeks,
but Khedira’s fiery volley
turned a nation melancholy
as the Germans got the lead back ‘gainst the Greeks.

Ten long years now since Japan
and Miroslav is still yer man,
prospering from all defensive leaks.
And he scarcely broke a sweat
as his header found the net
to make the Germans comfy ‘gainst the Greeks.

And when Reus drove from afar
and nearly broke the flimsy bar,
the Germans showed that they could scale the peaks.
And a last-gasp Greek spot kick
scarcely mattered as the slick
and ruthless Germans breezed on past the Greeks.

So the Germans keep on winning
and Frau Merkel keeps on grinning
and this has been the case for several weeks.
They’re star just keeps on rising,
so it wasn’t quite surprising
that the Germans really stuck it to the Greeks.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Euro 2012 Day 14 Quarter Final 1

Portugal 1 Czech Republic 0

You’ve got to hand it to him,
he strode like a colossus.
You’ve got to hand it to him,
looked dangerous on crosses.
Without him, it might well have ended goalless.
Without him, they’d have struggled to a draw.
The fare would have been uninspired and soulless
and frankly turned into a turgid bore.

You’ve got to hand it to him,
the Czechs could not contain him.
You’ve got to hand it to him,
they couldn’t shackle or restrain him.
Without him, it would have been unexciting.
Without him, we’d have turned on to the news.
The game was much in need of some igniting
and guess who was the one who lit the fuse?

You’ve got to hand it to him,
though he might irk you greatly.
You’ve got to hand it to him,
he’s not as obnoxious lately.
Without him, we’d have spent the evening snoozing,
snoring at the sight of Czech resilience.
Without him, there’d have been the risk of losing
a television audience of millions.

The man of the match award.
The man of the match award.
You’ve got to hand it to him.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Euro 2012 Day 13 Rest Day

Rest Day

What, no football? Whad’ll I do?
What, no football? Whad’ll I do?
What, no football? Whad’ll I do?
Skip to Kalou, my darling.

Where’s my children, Bert and Sue?
Where’s my children, Bert and Sue?
Where’s my children, Bert and Sue?
Skip to Kalou, my darling.

Roo, Roo, skip to Kalou
Roo, Roo, skip to Kalou
Roo, Roo, skip to Kalou
Skip to Kalou, my darling.

Lord, my wife is missing too,
Lord, my wife is missing too,
Lord, my wife is missing too,
Skip to Kalou, my darling.

She must be two weeks overdue,
She must be two weeks overdue,
She must be two weeks overdue,
Skip to Kalou, my darling.

Roo, Roo, skip to Kalou
Roo, Roo, skip to Kalou
Roo, Roo, skip to Kalou
Skip to Kalou, my darling.

Regrets? Perhaps I’ve had a few,
Regrets? Perhaps I’ve had a few,
Regrets? Perhaps I’ve had a few,
Skip to Kalou, my darling.

I bet a monkey we’d score two,
I bet a monkey we’d score two,
I bet a monkey we’d score two,
Skip to Kalou, my darling.

Roo, Roo, skip to Kalou
Roo, Roo, skip to Kalou
Roo, Roo, skip to Kalou
Skip to Kalou, my darling.

Euro 2012 Day 12 Match 2


Sweden 2 France 0

The Swedes are gone; we’ll miss their chants
and how they caused us all to look askance
at France.

They led the French a merry dance
and scarcely offered up a single chance
to France.

Did Ibrahimovich perchance
administer a swift kick up the pants
to France?

Les Bleus took a defensive stance
which has occasioned many irate rants
in France.

And Guildenstern and Rosencrantz
sided with the boys from Herts and Hants
over France.

They ran around like headless ants
and played as if they’d been put in a trance,
did France.

And journos, full-time or free-lance,
have said they will not take a second glance
at France.

In football, there’s not much romance,
so Sweden did not manage to advance,
like France.

Euro 2012 Day 12 Match 1

England 1 Ukraine 0

This England team is difficult to figure,
a riddle and a puzzle, an enigma.
When they attack, they’re making schoolboys snigger
and still they have the old defensive stigma.
They’re ponderous and beatable
and eminently defeatable
but though they should be firmly in the soup,
still, they very easily topped their group.

This England team should be back home in Blighty
instead of squaring up to the Italians.
They must have struck a deal with Aphrodite
and could be coming home with gold medallions.
The tabloids are derogative
and question their prerogative
but though nobody gives the team a chance,
still they topped Ukraine, the Swedes and France.

This England team defies close analysing
but still, they’re here while others have gone home.
They’re very poor, but would it be surprising
if they broke the hearts of everyone in Rome?
This is really scatty stuff.
They’ve courage – but is that enough?
Technically they should be on the spot
but they’re still here while Netherlands are not.