Football ⚽

Congrats Giroud and all the best Cavani!

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Today was a good day for Olivier Giroud! He played his 100th game for France becoming only the 8th player to do so for Les Bleus joining the likes of Hugo Lloris, Lilian Thuram, Thierry Henry, Marcel Desailly, Zinedine Zidane, Patrick Vieira, and current Les Bleus manager, Didier Deschamps. It was only a friendly against Ukraine in which Les Bleus won 7-1, but it was brilliant!

Welcome to the 100th club, Giroud.

Ollie is a World Cup winner and France’s second-highest goalscorer at 42 goals. Only Henry stands in his way with 51 goals. I’ll love to see Ollie beat that. Only today I was reading an interview about Ollie talking about his new book, ‘Always Believe It’ and he said something that stuck with me, so I’ll share that here: 

“I am a very religious person who asserts his Christian faith more and more in recent years. It allowed me to overcome trials, to put things into perspective and to always believe in my chances, in his destiny and in Jesus, who is there, at all times, to watch over me.” 

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And Edinson Cavani is a new-mint Manchester United player. I’m no fan of anything Man U, but all the best, Cavani… even though that red shirt is going to hurt mi eyes. Show the English why we call you ‘El Matador’! I’ll also leave something from Cavani’s interview that resonated with me:

“I believe that in life things come when they are meant to and sometimes, no matter how much you want something, if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen.”

The 33-year-old put pen to paper on a two-year deal on around £210,000 per week after tax

**GIFs/Images that don’t belong to LPM are via Google Search (Right-click for original source)

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Blog Related

Ghost comments!👻

Déjà vu! That’s what it is. Déjà vu, I tell you. 

Oh, hi guys. 

Image result for gif waving hi

I just have a few things that I need to get off my chest, so please bear with me a little.

Ghost Comments👻

WordPress is back at it again. For the past few days, I’ve been leaving comments on some blogs only to see it disappear. Please check your spam folders for comments from bloggers for they’re most likely to appear there. I don’t think WordPress is likely to solve this problem permanently.

Slow Reading 🐌

Since I’ve returned from my hiatus last month, I’m spending less time on WordPress for time is limited. The result is slow-reading of your blogs, but I do try to make use of the time whenever I log in, so I mostly read blogs from the Reader or whenever I’m replying to comments I’ll pop in at your blog. I hope to rectify this soon.

Still under construction 🚧

Despite changing the fonts (which I love!) and the banner, I’m still searching for a theme. The Penscratch 2 theme is the one I may eventually go with whenever I decide it’s time to change this theme. I also like the Eventbrite Single Event theme. Also, I’m reworking the ‘Bonjour’ page. So many changes to go; all in God’s timing.

And congrats Spurs!Related image

This has got to be the most romantic season of Champions League and Europa League for the English! Well, where my team Tottenham Hotspur is involved. Hugo Lloris captained France to World Cup victory last year and now he has captained Spurs to a CL final against Liverpool. If they win, Lloris for Ballon d’Or! Ah, just joking, for they already made a grave mistake with the last Ballon d’Or winner.

As for Europa League, Arsenal all the way! My sister is rooting for Spurs and Chelsea for since at the beginning of the season, she said those two teams will reach their respective final and she was right. 

Scenes from Wednesday evening after Spurs won against Ajax to go to the final:

Lucas Moura’s hat trick sent Spurs to the final plus a wonderful save from Lloris in extra time.

Joie!

Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris raises both his hands into the air to the delight of Tottenham's fans

*** Images via Google Search

Entertainment

Les Bleus: thank you for the memories!

Mes Amis, this is my final post on the World Cup tournament. 😃

We came to the end of a wonderful World Cup tournament two weeks ago and I already have wonderful long lasting memories. I just want to look back on a few moments. 

THE SUPPORTERS

The fans were incredible from the very beginning. They soaked in the atmosphere of the game and enjoyed every minute of it. I didn’t hear of any hooligan reports which was good. Some French fans said the locals were very accommodating and allowed them to couch surf. 

DIDIER DESCHAMPS

Deschamps implemented discipline and a sense of togetherness in this young team. He even showed Jose Mourinho how to get the best out of Paul Pogba. 😉 One of my favorite moment is when some of the players gatecrashed his post-conference, chanting his name. It shows that the players have a special bond with him regardless of what the media thinks.

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LES BLEUS

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The various backgrounds blending together really enriched the squad.

They didn’t start well, but they grew during the tournament. When I look back at their victory against Croatia, I’ll always remember Les Bleus standing in the pouring rain, golden confetti stuck to their skin and sparkling in their hair, as they hoist the trophy over their heads. They deserved this victory. They and their people.

THE EMIR PRINCE OF QATAR SHEIKH TAMIM

The French media praised him for offering his front-row seat to the French First Lady Brigitte Macron. Little things that the media don’t talk about, but I want to highlight it anyway. 

THE FRENCH & CROATIAN PRESIDENTS

Emmanuel Macron was such a delight! After his team won the WC, his animated display made one of the best highlight and iconic photo when he lept to his feet and punch the air. Credit goes to Alexei Nikolsky for this superb capture!

Golden Glove - Thibout Courtios

His celebration with the team in the locker room – notably with Mendy and Pogba who got him to dab – made headlines.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JULY 15: French President Emmanuel Macron dabs with Paul Pogba during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Final between France and Croatia at Luzhniki Stadium on July 15, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Michael Regan - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

Monsieur Président so chill, eh?

What’s the purpose of the dab anyway and didn’t that fad fade away? Anyway, I loved watching Macron and the Croatian president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović embracing the players in the pouring rain. One can see the genuine warmth and affection they had for the players.

French President Emmanuel Macron awards Kylian Mbappe of France with the FIFA Young Player Award as President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic look on following the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final between France and Croatia at Luzhniki Stadium on July 15, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

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Putin is smugly standing under his umbrella watching the other two presidents get wet. What poor protocol! They are guests in Moscow and one of them is a woman. Macron took time to visit the Croatian players and the madam did the same for the French players.

However, people can’t get over that the Monsieur and the Madam were too close during the game. Someone even asked if she was his wife. 

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No, this is his wife:

Patriotic: Macron donned a navy suit and tie as well as a red, white, and blue rubber bracelet that matches France's tricolor flag

 Lloris looks at the pair with such fondness! 

I’m thankful for the French memories.

TO RUSSIA WITH LOVE

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Kudos to you, Russia, for organizing an unforgettable tournament! It’s the best World Cup I’ve had the pleasure of viewing since 1998 and I can only say, merci beaucoup.

VIVE LA FRANCE!

***Photos and GIFs via Google Search save the last GIF which was my attempt at creating my first GIF. 😄 It didn’t work out how I planned it, but that’s what practice is for. 

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:

Image result for N'Golo Kanté with world cup trophy

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 ⚽

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!

  

Entertainment

And then there were two

Croatia beat England 2-1 last evening to claim a spot in the final to face the French. Was there ever any doubt about the Croatians? They’ve been consistent throughout the tournament. What also motivated them, according to Luka Modric, was the English arrogance. English pundits and journalists were showing their disrespect to Croatia and they weren’t having any of that. 

 

So, the Croatians will meet the French on Sunday for a thrilling – and hopefully, epic – final. The French camp refuses to get ahead of themselves and captain Hugo Lloris said it best:

Sometime during my semi-final write up, I said that Croatia knows that they have what it takes to win it all, and although I am satisfied with how far they’ve come, I’ll be supporting Les Bleus all the way be it victory or defeat. 

ALLEZ LES BLEUS!

*** Photos and GIF via Google Search

Entertainment

C’est Magnifique! 🇫🇷

Umtiti scored the only goal – a great header in the 51′ – to beat Belgium and put France in the final since 2006 last evening. This is their second final in two years (2016, they reached the Euro final only to lose to Portugal) and this is their now or never moment. France did not reach the final because of one man, it was a team effort.

Belgium vs. France: Semi Final - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

Belgium was lucky that France had poor finishing in this match for they could’ve had 3 goals more at the final whistle. We were effective on the offense as well in defense. They dominated the match with less possession in the second half and did not allow Belgium to create any chances. But Belgium should hold their heads up and be happy for they played a great game so hats off to them.

Les Bleus, it’s been quite a journey and you’ve proved many doubters wrong over and over again. The final is the last stop so let’s make it count.

Allez les bleus!

     

Tous ensemble vers la finale!

Entertainment

Les Bleus sends La Celeste home

France beat Uruguay 2-0 to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 2006. 

Les Bleus outplayed Uruguay in the opening 30 minutes and had nothing to show for it until the 40′ when Varane scored a scintillating header! It was his 3rd goal for France. 

Uruguay vs. France: Quarter Final - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

No more goals would come until the 60′ when Griezmann fires from the edge of the box. The ball heads straight for Muslera who make a regulation save, but ends up palming the ball at the back of the net.  Yes, it was a howler for a keeper like Muslera, but it’s not like Uruguay were drawing the French 1-1, so don’t be hard on him.

Uruguay vs. France: Quarter Final - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

Luis Suárez looked lost without Cavani who did not make the starting XI but made the bench nevertheless. But even with El Matador on the pitch, I don’t think Uruguay would’ve won. They did not bring much to this match and the French didn’t give the South Americans much space to work with. I have to commend the French for their excellent defending in this match. 👍

Uruguay vs. France: Quarter Final - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

#hairgoals

I have to say that I am extremely disappointed in Mbappé showing off his acting chops. In December he said,

“I am learning every day from Neymar. I try to watch all the things he is doing in order to learn as quick as possible.” 

So, I guess he’s learning well from the master. Imagine if the two of them meet in the semis! But it won’t happen for my gut feeling is going with Belgium. It’s going to be a French showdown!

 

There is one man who goes about his work effectively and quietly, that his masterclass is almost dismissed and that is my boy, N’Golo Kanté. I notice all the hard work that he puts in even though he shuns the limelight and I am delighted with it. He is our engine at only 5’5. He is consistent, a joy to watch, has a great partnership with Paul Pogba, and a masterclass midfielder. He is a precious gem. 

And today was no different. He had an excellent game today! There is no better holding midfielder in the world currently than him and France should be grateful for him. 

     

I also want to commend Olivier Giroud for occupying the Uruguayan defense. He was a force to be reckoned with proving that he doesn’t have to score to make a name for himself.

Uruguay vs. France: Quarter Final - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia 

And Hugo Lloris just claimed the save of the tournament! Just before the break, he denied Martín Cáceres by using his right foot to stretch his upper body thus saving what was a potential goal. Many shocked people said that he had no right to save that, which is true, but we Les Bleus fans know that Hugo Boss is a cat. 😎

Uruguay vs. France: Quarter Final - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

And last but never least, Didier Deschamps. When the tournament kicked off, I was not pleased with the way Les Bleus began. When they played Argentina, I witnessed the growth I was looking for and it was the same today against Uruguay. Yes, there is still room for improvement, but Deschamps is working through it, and I am happy to see that. 

One of my favorite moment during the match was when he took Pogba aside and talked some sense into his head when some Uruguayans clashed with the French. He is often criticized, but he is a very good leader. For example, when Argentina went 2-1 up early in the 2nd half, Didier Deschamps ushered players to the touchline and asked them not to be scared. 9 minutes later, Benjamin Pavard equalized. (L’Équipe)

 

 

And when he joked with Griezmann after his substitution.

 

Thank you, Uruguay for gracing us with your presence in this year’s tournament. As for France…

ALLEZ LES BLEUS!

     

#amwriting ✍

The Substitute ⚽

Short Story #22
A very short football short

The stadium lights blinded for a little bit, but that was all right. This was the moment he dreamed of for so long. This was what he had put in the extra training for long after his teammates left the training ground. The fans have just given the star of the team a standing ovation after he went down from a nasty uncalled for challenge from the defending opponent. The coach already used two substitutions and was not counting on the star, Ricky Davis, to be injured as there were only ten minutes left in the normal ninety minutes of game time. It was a frustrating night. His side was down one nil and just when Ricky was through on goal, he was taken down and off. The opponent was shown a red card and a penalty was taken but saved because the goalie had quick reflexes like Hugo Lloris.

Image result for gif hugo lloris penalty save

The coach was piling pressure on the substitute because it was now down to him to prove that he earned his call-up. To make the ball speak with his feet like he usually does on the training ground. To dazzle the spectators with his twisting and dribbling trickery as he bobbed and weaved pass defenders. He was like a bullet and once he took off, you couldn’t stop him unless you tug on his shirt, trip him or simply foul him. The coach was impressed with him in training but felt like he was not ready for a first-team place.

Until now.

The time has come for him to deliver and to show not only the team and coach but also the fans he was about to play in front of, that he was more than just the substitute and after tonight, his name will be on every lip.

 :

I’m not writing a lot lately, but I wanted to write something for football, so I came up with this short short. 😄And kudos to all the subs who come off the bench to change the game up! I think I enjoyed making the cover more than writing the story, though! Also, excuse my grammar; it’s not my forte, but I take responsibility for grammatical errors.

Thanks for reading. 💙