Football ⚽

Ladies and gentlemen, Antoine Griezmann! 🇫🇷 🇫🇷

Antoine Griezmann scored twice and also assisted in a 5-2 victory over Betis to give Barcelona their first 3 points of the season. After the brace (second goal), Griezmann known for his unique celebrations, threw blue and red confetti in the air to celebrate as if to say, “I’VE ARRIVED!” 

Greizzy played a great game without our front backing for they’re currently injured.

Barcelona lost their first game of the season away to Bilbao 0-1, but I am pleased with today’s result regardless of sitting at #9 currently. We have a long season ahead of us!

Espresso Shots ☕, Football ⚽

July 15th: a special day! 💙

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How have you been? I’ve been well and while things on my end are cooling down, I’m not sure if I’ll be returning to blogging full time as yet. Anyways, I’ll leave this for another time. I want to see how this week goes first. So, it’s July 15th and a very special day for me. 😄

Les Bleus

It’s exactly one year since Les Bleus won the prestigious World Cup. Going into that WC, France was not one of the most prepared team, but during the tournament, Didier Deschamps went from strength to strength with each game. Although France produces some of the world’s best players (ask the EPL and the La Liga), they were not outright favorites going into the tournament. Many were favoring Germany, Argentina, and even Portugal. Many fans rooted for Croatia in the final because society demands that we root for the underdog. What does that accomplish in football? 

Legend has it that I am still celebrating our victory… Okay, I’m not. I’m actually over it. 

Speaking of football, I am delighted that Antoine Griezmann is now a part of FC Barcelona! 🎊 With 5 French players on the team, FCB is slowly turning into FC Francelona! 😅

This season of football is going to be interesting and I look forward to what Griezmann is going to bring to his new team. 😄

Birthday Girl

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Another reason why July 15th is so special? It’s the day my best friend and little sis was born! You guys may know her as Tammy over on Godinspiredart, but to me, she’s more than just Tammy. She’s a woman after God’s heart, a ray of sunshine, an inspiration, my best friend and little sister! She’s multi-talented and she uses them all for God’s glory. 

One day, I’ll tell you guys how God made us meet. 💙😃

Joyeux Anniversaire, mon amie! May you continue to chase after God’s heart and may He shower you with blessings and grace in Jesus’ Name. All the best on this special day as you celebrate the gift of life which was given by the King and may today be one of the most memorable of the year! 💙🎂

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified you;
I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”

Jeremiah 1:5

Photo belongs to Tammy. She was gracious in letting me use it. 💙

And since it’s the beginning of a bright and new week, happy Monday everyone! 

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***GIFs via Google Search

Espresso Shots ☕, Football ⚽

My World Cup story ⚽

Just two more World Cup posts after this one and I’ll get back to regular posting. 😄

I’ve been so excited to share my World Cup experience during the tournament that I forgot to talk about how I became a fan of the beautiful game and why I support Les Bleus. So today, I present my World Cup story. I hope I won’t go overboard while writing. I’ll try to keep it as short as I can. 

FRANCE 1998

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If you’re born in Trinidad like me and you enjoy football, you root for two teams: Brazil or Mexico. Well, back then. My father grew up thinking that Pelé was the greatest (I went with Diego Maradona later on after watching his style) and Brazil was perhaps the best team to ever play the game. Dad used to play football with the local community team and although he had talent and what it took for him to represent Trinidad on the big stage, he never took up on the offers, instead choosing to see out the rest of his teenage years before going out into the world of work.

Dad insisted that I watch the World Cup for he wanted me to see why he supported Brazil. I was kind of reluctant for I did not want to sit and watch men kick a ball around for 90 minutes. I had to take my words back for later on, I came to love and enjoy football. Anyways, so I watched dad’s team Brazil and I was not impressed although they were the favorites to win it all. But then, then I saw this beautiful team:

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This beautiful multicultural French team led by captain Didier Deschamps had my attention. They were nicknamed Black-Blanc-Beur (Black, White & Arab) and they defied stereotypes and they were the underdogs regardless of how great they were doing and this is how Les Bleus became the loves of my footballing life. As the competition wore on, I tuned in for all of their games. At that time, a resident psychic thought she saw it all and made a bold prediction about Brazil winning the WC. I laughed because I knew they weren’t going to beat the French team to it. Even dad was like, “But the psychic said…” I was like, “Dad, I love you, but Brazil is going to Samba back to their country without the ultimate prize.”

On July 12th, the final between Brazil and France was intense, but France’s multiracial Rainbow Warriors won it 3-0 and lifted the trophy with pure joy. 

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Back then, everyone was talking about Zidane this and Zidane that, but two players stood out for me and they were Didier Deschamps (the captain) and Marcel Desailly.

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They had a great friendship and still do. They’re the godfathers of each other’s sons and they always talk fondly of each other.

RUSSIA 2018

Twenty years later, a new generation arrived with Didier Deschamps at the helm once again, this time as coach. Deschamps has led France to its second World Cup victory, twenty years after winning it as a player.

Hugo Lloris

And watch the diversity of our goalies:

I talked a lot about France over the course of this year’s World Cup tournament so I won’t do that here now. This beautiful diverse team is not going to stop racism, but they’re an example of what people can achieve by working together as a team regardless of the color of skin or background.

ALLEZ LES BLEUS!!

Football ⚽

N’Golo Kanté: unsung hero of the World Cup

The engine of France and a beautiful soul.

The first time I saw N’golo, he was creating havoc in the midfield at Leicester City in 2015. The other time I took notice of him, he was individually greeting the staff of Clairefontaine with a big smile on his face. That was 2016 when he was called up for Les Bleus. Over time, I’ve come to realize that he is extremely polite, quiet, humble and he smiles a lot. He’s probably one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. This, I can guarantee. He lives a simple life and doesn’t have a drop of arrogance. The man is worth millions and he still drives to work with a second-hand Mini Cooper.

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During France’s amazing run in the 2018 World Cup, many were in awe of Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba, and Kylian Mbappé and rightly so, but one man was not getting the credit he deserved – well, 3 inclusive of Hugo Lloris and Olivier Giroud, but this is not about them – and that is N’Golo Kanté. At only 5’6″ he is the anchor of the French midfield and made Pogba look good. He covers a lot of ground and he reads the game brilliantly. 

Kanté did not have the best match in the World Cup final and had to be subbed off in the second half. Afterward, we learned that he played with a stomach bug.

France v Croatia - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Final

Coach Didier Deschamps summed up our shy midfielder best:

“N’Golo is a real ray of sunshine, a true joy. When he came off, I asked him if he was OK. His quiet reply was: ‘No, no, do not worry – I am fine, coach.’ Everybody loves N’Golo – he is a little phenomenon.”

Kante (left) shakes hands with a member of plane staff as fellow France midfielder Corentin Tolisso (right) watches on

And his teammates simply love him! His French mates sung his heroics after they won the World Cup. Here’s how it went down:

🎶N’Golo Kanté. Phalalalala
Il est petit
Il est gentil
Il a stoppé Leo Messi
Mais on sait tous
C’est un tricheur
N’golo Kante

“He is short, he is nice, he stopped Leo Messi, but we all know he’s a cheater (at cards).” Haha! Right, as if he’ll ever cheat at cards! But the chant was not meant to be taken seriously and Kanté was almost embarrassed by the praises his teammates showered upon him. He was like, “No, we stopped him (Messi) together!” 😃They even changed the lyrics to welcome him to the Champs-Élysées. 

During World Cup celebrations on the pitch with the trophy, Kanté was so shy to ask for the trophy himself so he can pose for a photo in the heavy pouring rain with it, that Steven Nzonzi had to take the trophy after Florian Thauvin posed with it and hand it to Kanté. This epic photo is the result:

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This man works hard and shuns the nightlife. In 3 years, he has won 2 EPL titles (with Leicester and Chelsea), an FA Cup (with Chelsea) and a World Cup (with France). He was also the EPL Player of the Year in 2017. A humble, polite, and hard worker who is not interested in selling his image and flaunting his wealth? Many other footballers need to get on his level. I hope I won’t have to take my words back in the future! 😉

MERCI KANTÉ AND NEVER STOP SMILING. 😄😄

Football ⚽

The goal of the tournament! ⚽

After this post, I believe that there are just three more posts to go before I get back to regular scheduling. Until July 23rd, you can vote for the goal of the tournament on FIFA here: Goal of the tournament but I already know who my winner is regardless of the end result from the very first time I saw it.  

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Benjamin Pavard v Argentina

LE PLUS BEAU BUT DU MONDIAL!

INCROYABLE!

The curly head defender’s wonder goal changed the entire match. For me, it’s the best goal of the tournament and the best goal of the year. It was a wicked glorious ice-cold beauty which delighted not only the fans of Les Bleus but also the footballing world. 

Other goals I loved:

Ángel Di María v France

This was such an amazing goal!

Edinson Cavani v Portugal 

He is too good with his head!

Football ⚽

Rain pours down on France as they celebrate World Cup title. 🏆

The tournament is over, but I’ll be wrapping up WC blogs this week.

July 15th, 2018 is a day that I'll always remember 

July 15th, 2018. 

Another unforgettable experience in my book. France won the World Cup for the second time and it was also my bestie’s birthday. 💙

France faced Croatia in the final of the World Cup and won 4-2 in what was an entertaining final. Les Bleus took the lead on 18 minutes when Mario Mandžukić scored an own goal from an Antoine Greizmann freekick. I dislike his Fortnight celebration, though. 

     

Croatia equalized in the 28′ from a wicked left-footed finish via Ivan Perišić and it was game on for both sides!

     

In the 36′ France was awarded a penalty after the use of VAR decided that Perišić handled the ball. After what seemed like ages, Griezmann converted from the penalty spot to make it 2-1.

     

In the 59′ Paul Pogba missed with his right foot, but he made no mistake with the left curling home a great effort that extended France’s lead.

Six minutes later, Kylian Mbappé joins the party with a wicked strike to put the French in the driving seat.

There were no more goals to come from the French, but Hugo Lloris made a disastrous error in the 69′ which saw Mandžukić pull one back for Croatia. 

     

Other than that, Lloris had a great game. 

France did not lose a game in this tournament and they performed well to the very end. Croatia also had the tournament of their lives. There were some fans whining about possession, but here’s a news flash: modern football is not about statistics and it certainly does not care about possession for possession does not win games. You have to be decisive in front of goal and the French were just that. 

And nature came out to celebrate victory with the French after winning their second WC after 20 years. 

     

France Achievements:

1998: World Cup champions

2000: Euro champions

2006: World Cup finalists

2016: Euro finalists

2018: World Cup champions

Vive la France et vive la République!

  

Football ⚽

Welcome to the quarter-finals!

These teams are here for they played hard and fought even harder. Uruguay and France played with passion and joy. Brazil with attitude (and Neymar slipping one too many times for many fans liking!), Belgium with pride, Russia with determination, Croatia with heart, Sweden with focus and England with pleasure. 

This World Cup is the most entertaining I’ve witnessed since France 1998. It was mostly unpredictable from the first whistle, although I got all of mine right. Some teams stole my heart all over again (Japan, Nigeria, Senegal, and Mexico) and some teams played beautiful football but were unable to it make to the round of 16 (Morocco and Tunisia). Some teams still need improvement (Saudi Arabia, Australia, and Serbia) and some teams were present, but their mindset wasn’t (Argentina, Poland, and Germany).

And I still love you, Iceland!

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THE QUARTER-FINALISTS

Uruguay v France – July 06th @10 am

I love these two teams. Whichever one wins I’ll be happy, but I’m leaning more towards Les Bleus. They’ve played some of the best football during the tournament although they didn’t start off convincingly prompting the Danish coach to say that we’re nothing special. Well, we might not be anything special, but we’re giving it our all and we deserve to be here. The boys are not going home without a good fight. 

France is the youngest team in the quarter-finals and I know I’m always stressing on this, but I’m going to stress on it anyway: Room. For. Improvement. Despite playing our best game against Argentina and despite playing with beautiful passion, I still see room for improvement, especially at the back. We need to tighten defense and we need a stronger flowing rhythm in midfield. At the end of the day, we’re all about teamwork and it’s the reason why we’ve reached this far.

France vs. Argentina: Round Of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

Uruguay also did a fine job at shutting the critics up and Edison Cavani finally stepped out of Luis Suárez’s shadow and lost his scapegoat status. Antoine Greizmann is looking forward to this match because of his Atlético teammate, good friend, and godfather to his daughter, Diego Godin. Because of Godin, Greizmann feels half Uruguayan as he has immersed himself in their culture, language, and tradition. However, Suárez thinks Greizmann should stop pretending to be Uruguayan. 🙄 Like, dude, todo bien! I love Uruguayan culture and know some Uruguayan-isms and I love listening to the gentle Uruguayan Spanish coming from El Matador’s mouth, but I have no claims to be an Uruguayan… not even if I can move to the rhythm like Cavani!

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It’s the same thing with French culture. I do consider myself a Francophile but at the end of the day, I do not feel or want to be French despite having French in my family.

Griezmann gave the country a beautiful compliment, so shut up, take it, and stop being so literal. At this time, we’re still unsure about the extent of Cavani’s injury, but it’s most likely he won’t start/face the French. I think Uruguay might make the mistake of focusing on Kylian Mbappé and this can cost them, so I hope that this won’t be the case. 

  

I won’t be able to talk about the other 6 teams like this, but I think nothing less of them.

Brazil v Belgium – July 06th @2 pm

This is going to be a good match! Brazil has a great team, but one of the reasons they’re turning fans off everywhere is due to Neymar’s unnecessary falling to the ground and then making a spectacle out of it by rolling around as if he got hit by Jack Reacher.

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Sometimes, he’s barely touched and down he goes, flopping on his back and then proceeds to imitate a rolling rock. This display is appalling. Even a bar in Rio de Janeiro had invented a new drinking game: free shots every time he falls down. And this was during Brazil’s crucial game during Serbia. Dude, leave the acting to Tom Cruise.

Although I’m not a fan of Brazil, I have nothing but love for Marcelo. 

Brazil vs. Switzerland: Group E - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

Belgium is having an amazing time at this tournament! Their football makes me smile. They’ve produced exceptional players and this generation is crafting a name for themselves. I won’t underestimate them for they’re capable of springing surprises. I don’t know why, but I’m feeling a France-Belgium semi-final showdown, but like I said, I won’t take anything away from these teams for it can also be an Uruguay-Brazil/Belgium showdown. 

Belgium vs. Japan: Round Of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

Sweden v England – July 07th @10 am

Sweden’s football might not be the most beautiful, but their focus is on another level. Many have said that they wouldn’t have strived without their talisman, but they’re proving that life without Zlatan is actually sweet.

Germany vs. Sweden: Group F - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

As for England, this is the best I’ve seen them and they’re giving their nation hope of winning it all. When Gareth Southgate came on, despite not getting the backing, I just knew that he was going to be the one to propel England to greatness and Harry Kane is simply a joy to watch even more so than David Beckham.

     

Russia v Croatia – July 07th @2 pm

Even before the tournament kicked off last month, Russia was written off. Although I chose Russia and Uruguay to advance from the group stage, the odds were expecting Egypt to advance with Uruguay. But even after advancing, the Russians were still written off, but when they beat Spain to remain in the tournament, many people started taking them seriously. And who would’ve thought it, eh? That the host nation was going to give a good fight? I am happy with their progress.

Spain vs. Russia: Round of 16 - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

I’ve come to love Croatia a long time ago. I believe that’s when I saw them participate in France 1998 and… wait, today is the 4th of July! On this day, 20 years ago, Croatia handed Germany a 3-0 defeat in Lyon, France during the 1998 tournament! That was the first game I saw the Croatians play and they stole a piece of my heart. Just like that.

Although I didn’t get to watch most of their games this tournament, they played with heart and proved critics wrong. They deserve to be here. They can go on and win this thing and they know it.

     

All the best to everyone and don’t forget to check your local schedule for listings.

*** GIFs and images via Google Search and Zimbio

Football ⚽, Musings

So, it’s July…

…and it still hasn’t settled in as yet.

We welcomed July with heavy rains last evening, so I thought this scripture was fitting. 

The World Cup wraps this month – the 15th to be precise – and I’ve been loving the atmosphere so far. The euphoria of the greatest event on the planet – it was never you, Carnival – has captured many attention and hearts globally, but please, make sure it doesn’t capture your soul. I’ve read a news article in which two fans took their lives in two separate incidents. One took his life when Argentina lost 3-0 to Croatia and the other when they got knocked out of the tournament by France. 

Bottom line is, this is just football and there is no need for anyone to take his/her life over it. The young men who took their lives were not even Argentinians; they hailed from India. I’ve been supporting France for years now and if they don’t win this WC, it’s not going to be the end of the world for me. It is selfish to take our lives over trivial and meaningless things.

We die for mortal idols, yet, we won’t die for the One who gave His life for us if the chance presented itself. Be careful of who/what you worship for these mortals aren’t gods; they’re flesh and blood just as us.

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Challenge for juillet

Again, I won’t be doing any challenges this month. Last month, I said I wanted to complete the tags and challenges I’ve been neglecting for months, but never got around to it. I’ll try to see what I can do this month. 

Blessed juillet to all and keep walking with Jesus. 

 

Football ⚽

Giroud, the heart stealer; Lloris, the quiet leader

Two Frenchmen; one post. Why not? 😄

  

Olivier Giroud and Hugo Lloris are the best of friends and they’re my boys! 

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I’ve followed their careers since they played in France and before the English league cashed in on them. Although I still can’t stand to see Ollie in that Chelsea uniform…

I can just hear the Chelsea fans now: Roses are red. Violets are blue. We have a beautiful Frenchman called Olivier Giroud. I kid you not.

This one is the heartthrob of the World Cup, but I like watching him in action on the pitch. He’s fantastic in the air, great at passing, and he makes France looks good.

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Ollie has scored all manner of spectacular goals from the bicycle to the overhead volley, but the scorpion kick against Crystal Palace while in an Arsenal jersey is my favorite goal of his to date.

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Despite his work rate, Ollie is still underrated in England (such a shame that the English can appreciate his beauty, but not his football), but he’s on the move with Les Bleus. He’s tied at number 4 with Zidane for most goals with Les Bleus (31), which I hope he surpasses soon. 

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And I love that Arsenal fans still support him. 😄

The other Frenchman up is our quiet leading captain and my all-time favorite goalie, Hugo Lloris. 

France vs. Australia: Group C - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

Football is lucky to have Hugo because his first love was actually tennis and just imagine if tennis had actually gotten him! He has great hand and eye coordination and fantastic catlike reflexes. He needs to up his penalty game, but you can’t get past him on a good day when he’s disguised as a wall.

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Hugo commands his box well and he was given the name ‘sweeper keeper’ by the media because of his lightning speed when coming off the line to clear the ball or to deal with opponents in his area. 

France is a young team – they’re the second youngest team at the World Cup – and I see so much room for improvement in all areas, but Didier Deschamps won’t listen to me so I won’t tell him where to improve. I’m not the coach, so joking aside, through victories and disappointments, Les Bleus will always be a part of my heart. 💙

ALLEZ LES BLEUS! 

Football ⚽

They call him Edinson; I call him Bae.

He may not be Uruguay’s finest, but he has his moments.

My plan was to feature a few of my favorite players during the current World Cup tournament, but things have gotten off to a slow start since I started with Lionel Messi. Speaking of Leo, I recently read that he’s paying Argentina’s security out of his own pockets. If that’s true, kudos to him. I’ll try to squeeze in two more tomorrow God’s willing, but right now, it’s Cavani time. 

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My all-time favorite photo of Bae 😄

Edinson Roberto Cavani Gómez. They call him Edinson, but I call him Bae to the point when I was super active on Twitter during football season, whenever I was absent during a Napoli game, football fans will tweet me saying things such as, “Where are you? Your Bae is playing!” That was before Twitter got boring and that’s how El Matador automatically – and officially – became Bae. 😄

Cavani is the man who got me into Italian football and the reason why I support Uruguay. I never considered Italian football a treat because it was boring how Juventus was mostly always winning the league, but when I saw Cavani play for Napoli, I thought the team was something special and adopted them as my favorite Italian team. 

I guess here is where I saw nice things about Bae now. 😆

Cavani is what we call a “modern striker”. He’s good with his feet and in the air (he’s terrific with headers!). He plays as a center-forward, but he’s capable of playing in several positions… maybe except goalkeeping. He’s the ultimate finisher with 323 goals in 12 years with Danubio, Palermo, Napoli and current team Paris Saint-Germain.

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Cavani’s mind is not on legendary status. After passing 100 Ligue goals for Paris Saint-Germain last year, he said, “I don’t play to be a legend. I play for pleasure, for the passion that I have as a football player.” And that’s good enough for me at the end of the day for lately, footballers play for money rather than passion. 

He has a quick temper (thus do most Latinos), but he’s easy to forgive. Case in point: he and David Luiz (then at Chelsea) once got into a heated argument during a Champions League match, but when Luiz came to PSG, they put aside their differences, became fast friends to the point where they roomed together out on the road and they only had nice things to say about each other. 

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And they weren’t afraid to embarrass themselves together in front of the footballing world:

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It’s too bad Luiz went back to Chelsea. Oh, and he’s got the greatest hair in football. Shampoo models ain’t ready yet. His hair is glorious!

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It took a long time for Uruguay fans to realize what a gem they have in Cavani. Their support for him wasn’t excitable as it was back then when they were busy making him the scapegoat whenever Uruguay lost a match as if he was carrying the entire team on his back. This isn’t Messi’s Argentina.

Uruguay v Russia: Group A - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

His friendship with Luis Suárez both on and off the pitch is a joy to watch. They found their flow in this WC and they even managed to score in one match (against Russia), something that never happened before. 

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And this doesn’t really matter, but he and teammate Martín Cáceres could be twins:

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Despite all the things I like in Cavani as a footballer, he’s still massively underrated, but that won’t stop him from representing his country to his full potential. 

Arriba Uruguay!

Uruguay Vs. Russia: Group A - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

***Photos and GIFs via Google Search