Friday, 2 July 2010

Interview for "The People's Game Radio Show"

"7560 Minutes Later" features in a recent episode of "The People's Game" - catch up with what I have to say on a range of topics, mainly Slovakia's World Cup past, present & future as well as watching football in Hong Kong. My work is currently keeping me rather busy, but I will do my best do upload some more articles by the end of this week! I am on from approx. 24:40.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

200 Words on Slovakia v. Netherlands

Slovakia's win over Italy gave its fans something they had lacked - hope. The outlook of most fans ahead of the Netherlands game was no longer desperate - many acknowledged the strength of their team's opponent, yet had enough courage to ask the "what if?" question. Slovakia's players were on a similar boat - they found courage at the right moment, only to lose it when it mattered the most.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

200 Words on Slovakia v. Italy

When Pandora opened her pithos, she released all the evil spirits of the world, leaving Hope trapped inside. The joy of Slovakia's fans was extinguished and replaced with disappointment when their team conceded a goal in the dying seconds of their first-ever World Cup game. Agony continued against Paraguay - even if La Albirroja played without their goalkeeper, they would still win 2-1.

Despair took over - fan forums were filled with posts, posts were filled with anger. Slovakia's presence at the World Cup was described as a matter of pure luck, Weiss's coaching skills were questioned, many players labelled as hopeless. Weiss's outburst of rage lead him to swear at Slovak journalists.

Pandora must have reopened her pithos on Thursday and it certainly contained more than just Hope. Most match reports focused on Italy's shambolic play, overshadowing their opponent's performance. Slovakia delivered played like a real team. Rookie Kucka was one of the best players on the pitch; veteran Štrba kept playing despite suffering a knee injury which later on required twelve stitches; the often-criticized striker Vittek scored two goals. It was a moment of great pride for every Slovak - those, who made it happen, deserve one big "ďakujem".

Friday, 18 June 2010

200 Words on Slovakia v. New Zealand

Three days later I finally mustered the courage to reflect on Tuesday's match. My expectations were nearly as high as disappointment that kicked in after Winston Reid scored - it has been with me ever since. I am not bitter about his goal - I am happy for New Zealand and disappointed about what I saw on the pitch. It reminded me of the dark days of Slovak football that lasted for over 15 years. 

Apologies for the lack of length - you may find this reflection in The Observer this coming Sunday and they have their limits. I have also started my job in HK, leaving me with very little spare time - I will, however, try my best to keep things as up-to-date as possible.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Interview for Italian 'Serie A' Football FanCast

"7560 Minutes Later" features in the most recent "Italian 'Serie A' Football FanCast" - please find all the details below. I'd advise you to listen to it in its entirety - the insight of its guests is truly unique. If you are only interested in what I have to say, I am on from approx. 38:20 - enjoy my podcasting premiere!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Slovakia World Cup 2010 fan's preview: Paraguay will be make or break [unabridged & Aptured]

You might have come across my Slovakia-centric World Cup preview for the Guardian Fans' Network and some answers might not have made much sense [e.g. why am I worried by Paraguay's striker Lucas Barrios?] - below is the unabridged version of the preview that should put some answers into perspective.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Slovakia v. Costa Rica

A visit to the Pasienky stadium on a warm Saturday afternoon brought back memories from more recent as well as more distant past. Pasienky [Slovak for "pastures"] used to house Inter Bratislava, a club that provided Slovakia with much of its exciting young talent in the late 1990s and the early 2000s [see this "7560 Minutes Later" article for more detail - subheading "Mirage 2000"], a club where three Vladimír Weisses spent parts of their football careers [the eldest won a silver medal at the 1964 Olympic football tournament; Senior is Slovakia's current manager; Junior one of the rising stars of Slovak football], a club that sold its major players and, some years later, ceased its existence, a situation that was repeated earlier on this year with the legendary Artmedia Bratislava. Pasienky is also the last remaining stadium in Bratislava - Artmedia's old stadium was sold for "property development", whereas Tehelné Pole, located just across the road from Pasienky, is awaiting its demolition and should rise from the ashes as the new "National Football Stadium". All in all, it was a very symbolic place for concluding Slovakia's World Cup preparations and Costa Rica, that recently narrowly lost to France [1:2] and beat another World Cup side Switzerland [1:0], seemed like a decent-enough opponent.

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