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Monday, December 23, 2013


The small Dutch town of Baarlo, nestled in the heart of north Limburg and situated just a few miles to the west of Venlo, home of erstwhile Eredivisie contenders VVV, played host to Tuvalu's national side on 5/10/13 when they came to take on local team VV Baarlo at their very picturesque Sportpark de Meeren, set as it is in woodland.

Baarlo were founded on 1/4/27 as RKVV (Rooms-Katholieke Voetbalvereniging) Baarlo, and merged with local rivals Excelsior later that year. The club's fortunes have waxed and waned down the years, ranging from finding themselves in the depths of the 6e klasse - in other words, the basement division of Dutch football - at the end of the 2002-03 season to a season in the 2e klasse in 2010.

Not only is Baarlo's ground set in an attractive location, but the club's custodians and supporters are a very welcoming bunch and a thoroughly good advert for their club, which plays in the eighth level (4e klasse) of Dutch football and whose first-team had only won one of their first four games of the season prior to the game against their visitors from afar. 

The boys and girls who play in the club's various junior teams are, by the look of things, more than enthusiastic as well, and formed a formidable red tide against the Tuvalu team in the now traditional kickabout before the match proper; with three balls on the pitch, it was a veritable free-for-all, which the youngsters won by 10 goals to 2.

The match itself, watched by a crowd of some 350 spectators, began just after 19:00 and was played (in the first half, at least) in overcast, but warm, conditions, and began with the referee wearing of all things, a camera on his head. It is fair to say that money's a little tight these days for most of us, even for the KNVB, but equipping a referee with a head-camera and not bothering to send along an assessor is surely stretching things a little too far.. 

CALM BEFORE THE STORM: Baarlo captain Leon Peeters and his Tuvaluan counterpart Sepe Willie Nokisi lead the teams out before the game at the hosts' Sportpark de Meeren (PHOTO: Author's own)

The weather may have been benign, but Baarlo's team were up for creating a storm, and, after an uneventful first five minutes or so, the home team took the lead, and the man in the middle may have been wishing for a monitor at the side of the pitch as the ball in from Matthijs Hanssen on the right wing to Wouter Peeters was clearly offside, but the Baarlo number 7 finished with aplomb from just behind the penalty spot.

Moments later, just after Panapa Mafoa had Tuvalu's first shot on target, Peeters almost added a second, finding himself on the end of a through ball, and, after beating two Tuvalu defenders, curled his shot agonisingly wide.

An interesting battle was developing out on the wing between Tuvaluan defender Vaiaho Napoe and the speedy Joost Roeven, and it was Roeven's pass which set team-mate Roel Bouten free for a one-on-one with Tuvalu 'keeper Mauga Tonise, though Bouten's shot was well saved and put behind for a corner.

Baarlo were dominating proceedings, though Taufaiva Ionatana and Sepe Willie were combining well for the visitors. Bouten, Wouter Peeters, Leon Peeters and Jeroen van Wijlick all had efforts well saved by Mauga Tonise before the Tuvalu 'keeper was beaten again in the 21st minute, Matthijs Hanssen - who had an effort ruled out on the quarter-hour for offside - stroking home a cross from Wouter Peeters.

Baarlo were missing chance after chance now, with Hanssen firing just over in the 24th minute after some nice combination play from his team-mates, and, a minute later, Joost Roeven was put clear after another neat build-up, but slid the ball wide with the goal at his mercy.

Ionatana was put through in the 27th minute, and was bearing down on goal only for Stan Wijhers to slide in and put the ball behind just as the Tuvalu forward was about to pull the trigger. Moments later, team-mate Vaiaho Napoe, who was being terrorised down the Baarlo left by Wouter Peeters, Hanssen and Roeven, but had still played well, was substituted by Fatu Alefaio. 

After Tonise had kept Wouter Peeters out once more after he had been put clear by Leon Peeters, again down the left-hand side, Peeters nabbed his second and Baarlo's third after 33 minutes by beating two defenders on the edge of the Tuvalu penalty-area and slotting the ball to Tonise's right. 

A minute later, Frank Peeters almost made it four, his long-range effort clipping the top of the Tuvalu crossbar, before Roeven, again rampaging down the left, saw his shot well saved by Tonise.

There was a rare chance for the visitors in the 40th minute, with Amatusi Peni almost profiting from a sloppy ball in Baarlo's midfield; he skipped past a Baarlo defender, only to shoot just wide of host 'keeper Jeffrey Schouwenberg's right-hand post.

At the other end, Sepuli Loaha put the ball behind for a Baarlo corner, from which Peeters had a chance to complete his hat-trick, only to completely miss the ball with the goal at his mercy. Shortly afterwards, Stan Wijhers fired just over, again from the left-hand side. Another Tuvaluan substitution followed in the 44th minute, with Mac Tuia making way for Eric Tealofi. The first half ended with a short period of pressure from the Tuvalu team without anything to show for it.

After a cagey start to the second-half from both teams, Baarlo got their fourth three minutes after the restart courtesy of Wouter Peeters, who might not score an easier goal this season: yet another cross from the left-hand side was completely missed by Tonise, and the ball was literally walked into the net by the Baarlo man.

Frank Peeters tested Tonise in the 54th minute with a low shot, but scored anyway within seconds, firing in a low shot past the Tuvalu 'keeper. Noud Schotman scored the hosts' sixth on the hour mark after Leon Peeters burst through with only Tonise to beat; Peeters side-footed pass found Schotman, who ticked the ball into an empty net.

Ionatana was then put through for Tuvalu after a nifty piece of play from Willie and Telava Folitau, only to be foiled by a last-ditch tackle.

Baarlo's seventh goal came in the 70th minute, and the prolific Peeters nabbed his fourth of the night in delightful fashion, controlling the ball some 20 yards out, flicking the ball over an opposing defender's head and then finishing off with a crashing half-volley from 15 yards.

Tuvalu finally got off the mark just a minute later; some good football in midfield by the visitors eventually saw Folitau's shot saved by substitute goalkeeper Guido Wijnhoven, but Teake Filialofa was there to tap the rebound into an empty net.

Tuvalu's second came from the penalty-spot, Panapa Mafoa confidently beating Wijnhoven after the home goalie missed a cross from the left-hand side and chased the ball across his penalty area, only to floor Ionatana.

Nelesone Musika came on for the last ten minutes or so for Folitau, and immediately won the hearts of the large contingent of Baarlo mothers standing along the touchline; if Roelen was greased lightning during the first half, then Musika, ably abetted by tigerish fellow substitute Sio Silitone, was at the very least hydromatic, bamboozling the Baarlo defence on occasion.

Normal service was resumed in the 79th minute, when a low pass to Roeven was controlled by the Baarlo forward and his low shot beat Tonise to his left. Roeven had been a torment to the Tuvaluan defence throughout the match, and a goal was a fitting tribute to his endeavours.

Tuvalu had more of the ball in the closing stages, with Amatusi Telogo Peni's cross-shot going just over, and Tuia shooting wide after some good football from substitute Geoffrey Maleko.

Wouter Peeters got on the scoresheet yet again in the 86th minute, when an audacious lob beat Tonise, who scrambled back and got his hands to the ball, only for it to drop under the bar and in for Baarlo's ninth of the evening. The game rather petered out after that, with only Ionatana's volley going just wide of the Baarlo left-hand post, after finding himself in space after a cross from the right, causing any real excitement.

The emphatic scoreline was just the confidence-booster that Baarlo were looking for, although it must be said that Tuvalu were fielding a rather depleted team, whith several first-choice players out through injury. Wouter Peeters was the obvious choice for man of the match with his five goals, although several other players impressed for the hosts, Matthijs Hanssen and Joost Roeven among them.

For the injury-hit visitors, a word of praise should go to Mauga Tonise in the Tuvalu goal, who, despite conceding nine goals, performed heroics at times. Sepe WIllie and the industrious Taufaiva Ionatana deserve a special mention. 

After the match and the presentation of the Carriere Cup to Baarlo captain Leon Peeters, the Tuvalu side encamped en masse to Baarlo's social club, and put on a display of traditional dancing and singing which was much appreciated by the home support; it was an enjoyable end to an enjoyable day for all concerned.

VV BAARLO: 1 Jeffrey SCHOUWENBERG (17 Guido WIJNHOVEN); 2 Mike SPOLDERS, 3 Stan WIJHERS, 4 Sander BONGERS, 5 Leon PEETERS (C); 6 Jeroen VAN WIJLICK, 7 Wouter PEETERS, 8 Roel BOUTEN; 9 Matthijs HANSSEN, 11 Joost ROEVEN (14 Frank VAN OOIJEN), 12 Frank PEETERS


TUVALU: 1 Mauga TONISE; 2 Vaiaho NAPOE (15 Fatu ALEFAIO), 3 Sepuli LOAHA, 5 Uota ALE (18 Lutelu TIUTE), 8 Afelee VALOA; 6 Sepe WILLIE (C), 8B Amatusi PENI (19 Eric TEALOFI), 14 Makatui TUIA; 7 Taufaiva IONATANA, 11 Telava FOLITAU (23 Nelesone MUSIKA); 12 Panapa MAFOA

SUBSTITUTES: 9 Leiatu UOLI (GK), 15 Fatu ALEFAIO, 16 Teake FILIALOFA, 17 Sio SILITONE, 18 Lutelu TIUTE, 19 Eric TEALOFI, 22 Geoffrey MALEKO, 23 Nelesone MUSIKA
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks to one and all at Baarlo, especially to the master of ceremonies and the club photographer, for their assistance and hospitality. Any errors are the author's own.

Saturday, December 21, 2013


The draw for the finals of the twentieth World Cup took place on 6/12/13 in The Brazilian resort of Costa da Sauipe, just under 50 miles north of the north-eastern city of Salvador, and the ceremony was hosted by Jérome Valcke, FIFA General Secretary and Brazilian actress Fernanda Lima. The draw itself, meanwhile, was made by former players representing all eight countries who have won the World Cup: Cafu, Fabio Cannavaro, Alcides Ghiggia, Fernando Hierro, Geoff Hurst, Mario Kempes, Lothar Matthäus and Zinedine Zidane.

Useless Fact no. 1: Belgium and Chile will be the only two countries to play group matches in both Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Useless Fact no. 2: Cuiabá is apparently at the geographical dead-centre of South America. Useless Fact no. 3: Bosnia-Herzegovina are the only country competing in this tournament who have never previously qualified for a World Cup finals.

Never mind all the hoo-hah about the distances that teams, fans and so on will have to travel, the costs involved, the social unrest caused by Brazil hosting the World Cup, ticket prices for supporters travelling from outside Brazil, and the obtaining a hotel room and the resulting reduction in the swelling of the average fan's wallet; said topics, and the fact that Brazil is now one of the most expensive places to visit, have already been more than adequately covered elsewhere.

So, the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals will kick off on 12/6/14, just shy of three years to the day since the qualification rounds began in Couva, Trinidad and Tobago, with a match between Montserrat and Belize (an event documented here on Pat's Football Blog); please find below the fixtures for the tournament.

Kick-off times for several of the matches were rearranged the day after the draw.

One more thought: every World Cup has a Group of Death, though, if you believe everything you read, this one has several. Which one shall turn out to be the real Group of Death? Answers on a postcard, please.



12/06/14 Brazil : Croatia (São Paulo)
13/06/14 Mexico : Cameroon (Natal)
17/06/14 Brazil : Mexico (Fortaleza)
18/06/14 Cameroon : Croatia (Manaus)
23/06/14 Cameroon : Brazil (Brasília)
23/06/14 Croatia : Mexico (Recife)

Brazil will be more than confident of being able to swan through the group stage of the 2014 World Cup; suffice to say that they have been looking rather impressive over the past few months, and (of course) swept aside the opposition during the recent Confederations Cup. Meanwhile, if the Mexican team were a collective cat, it would be anxiously looking over its shoulder right now and enrolling for a basic arithmetic course; El Tricolore had to rely on the USA scoring two injury-time goals to deny Panama a tilt at the Intercontinental Play-Off against New Zealand. Mexico, of course, swamped the All-Whites 9:3 on aggregate over the two-leg play-off after finishing a chastening fifth in the CONCACAF final qualifying group. It would have been nice for us football romantics to have seen a Panama : New Zealand play-off, though. (Just a thought.) Like Mexico, Croatia entered the play-offs after looking distinctly unimpressive in their qualifying group, and eventually defeated a doughty Iceland side 2:0 on aggregate. Cameroon qualified by defeating Tunisia 4:1 on aggregate in the CAF third-round play-off, the perfect antidote to the Lions Indomitables missing out on qualification for the 2014 African Cup of Nations. Nobody seems to rate Cameroon's chances of advancing to the second round of the World Cup; this may just work to their advantage.



13/06/14 Spain : Holland (Salvador)
13/06/14 Chile : Australia (Cuiabá)
18/06/14 Australia : Holland (Porto Alegre)
18/06/14 Spain : Chile (Rio de Janeiro)
23/06/14 Australia : Spain (Curitiba)
23/06/14 Holland : Chile (São Paulo)

Oh, look, we have ourselves a Group of Death, well, if one believes what one reads in newspapers from Australia to Nigeria. The Dutch press, meanwhile, have already been licking their lips at the prospect of meeting Spain in the group's opening match and looking at it as a revenge mission for Oranje's defeat in the 2010 World Cup Final. It will be tough for an aging Australia side to get anything from this group; Holland breezed through qualification, as did Spain, and Chile came good at the right time to qualify, and recently defeated England 2:0 at Wembley for good measure. Spain and Holland to qualify, though Chile will be a tough nut to crack, and who knows what may happen if they can manage to keep their form from going off the boil.



14/06/14 Colombia : Greece (Belo Horizonte)
14/06/14 Côte d'Ivoire : Japan (Recife)
19/06/14 Colombia : Côte d'Ivoire (Brasília)
19/06/14 Japan : Greece (Natal)
24/06/14 Japan : Colombia (Cuiabá)
24/06/14 Greece : Côte d'Ivoire (Fortaleza)

A much more interesting - and even - group than it looks on paper; Colombia, who stormed into the World Cup Finals in some style just behind Argentina, Côte d'Ivoire, who steamrollered Senegal in the African play-offs, Greece, who will always prove difficult to beat, playing a style of football which, while not exactly endearing them to the average football purist, is effective, and Japan, the first team to qualify directly for the finals, who have been playing reasonably well recently, deserved far more out the Confederations Cup than what they got and impressed greatly during their short tour of the Low Countries. This is the real Group of Death. Just don't tell the English press.



14/06/14 Uruguay : Costa Rica (Fortaleza)
14/06/14 England : Italy (Manaus)
19/06/14 Uruguay : England (São Paulo)
19/06/14 Italy : Costa Rica (Recife)
24/06/14 Costa Rica : England (Belo Horizonte)
24/06/14 Italy : Uruguay (Natal)

Another Group of Death; the Group of Death, according to the English press. So, if England get knocked out at the group stage, the media can hardly get worked up about it as expectations are not that high anyway. Right? Er, moving swiftly onwards, the four teams will be clocking up some serious air-miles between them, and the English media will no doubt be proclaiming that the FIFA decision to move kick-off times for some matches amounts to little more than a witch-hunt against the FA. Tick that one off as another excuse in the event of early elimination for the Three Lions. Should England get knocked out in the group stages, there is at least one (more) consolation: the "band" that follows them around will also be packing up and heading home. It will be a tight group, with Italy playing well, Uruguay looking good - at long last after a qualifying group fraught with danger, their then swatting Jordan aside in their Intercontinental play-off - with Suárez and Cavani in fine form for club and country, and Costa Rica are improving all the time, having qualified as deserved runners-up behind the USA in the CONCACAF final group.



15/06/14 Switzerland : Ecuador (Brasília)
15/06/14 France : Honduras (Porto Alegre)
20/06/14 Switzerland : France (Salvador)
20/06/14 Honduras : Ecuador (Cuiabá)
25/06/14 Honduras : Switzerland (Manaus)
25/06/14 Ecuador : France (Rio de Janeiro) 

France received assistance from the match officials for the second World Cup play-off in a row to qualify for the 2014 edition; despite having an early Benzema goal incorrectly chalked off for offside, they later scored an equally dubious one, and a Ukrainian player was sent off for a supposed foul on Franck Ribery. Switzerland needed no such assistance; they finished head and shoulders above second-placed Iceland in what was admittedly a weak group. Ecuador, meanwhile, were looking like a shoe-in for qualification at one stage, but one win in their last five games saw them limp over the finishing-line in fourth place, on goal-difference ahead of Uruguay. If they can recover their form from the early rounds of CONMEBOL qualification, they will be a hard team to beat. Honduras, somewhat surprisingly, finished in fourth place in the CONCACAF final group ahead of Mexico, and, whilst considered by most to be Group E's makeweights, are capable of springing a surprise.



15/06/14 Argentina : Bosnia-Herzegovina (Rio de Janeiro)
16/06/14 Iran : Nigeria (Curitiba)
21/06/14 Argentina : Iran (Belo Horizonte)
21/06/14 Nigeria : Bosnia-Herzegovina (Cuiabá)
25/06/14 Nigeria : Argentina (Porto Alegre)
25/06/14 Bosnia-Herzegovina : Iran (Salvador)

This could be one of the most interesting of all the first-round groups at the 2014 World Cup; Argentina will be strong favourites to win the group, having lost just twice in qualifying and scoring 35 goals in the process. Oh, and they have Lionel Messi. Bosnia-Herzegovina, meanwhile, have 10-goal Edin Dzeko and ten others, according to the English press, but Vedad Ibisevic also weighed in with eight during the campaign, while Zvjevdan Misimovic scored five, so they are not short of goalscoring options. Nigeria scored the joint-least amount of goals amongst the CAF group winners in African qualification, but easily disposed of Ethiopia in the play-offs. Iran finished top of Group B in the AFC's fourth round of qualification after defeating South Korea 1:0 in Seoul, and, while not exactly scoring a hatful of goals, conceded only two in the final group stage. Bosnia-Herzegovina will posibly be slight favourites to finish in second place in Group F, but there may not be much in it between them, Nigeria and Iran.



16/06/14 Germany : Portugal (Salvador)
16/06/14 Ghana : USA (Natal)
21/06/14 Germany : Ghana (Fortaleza)
21/06/14 USA : Portugal (Manaus)
26/06/14 Portugal : Ghana (Brasília)
26/06/14 USA : Germany (Recife) 

The American press quickly dubbed Group G as their Group of Death, and, to be honest, it will be pretty difficult to see past Germany - despite a creaky defence - and Portugal, who have more aces up their sleeves than just Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani, occupying the top two spots in this group. To be fair to Jürgen Klinsmann's team, winners of the CONCACAF final group, they do not give much away in defence, though, as always, the lack of a genuine goalscorer - apart from Clint Dempsey - will surely prove problematic. Ghana only played eight games in qualifying, winning six and losing two - against Zambia in the group stage and Egypt in the second-leg of their play-off. That came only after they had annihilated the Pharaohs 6:1 in Kumasi. The Black Stars looked impressive in qualification, but the free-scoring Nationalmannschaft and Ronaldo and Co are a different proposition.



17/06/14 Belgium : Algeria (Belo Horizonte)
17/06/14 Russia : South Korea (Cuiabá)
22/06/14 South Korea : Algeria (Porto Alegre)
22/06/14 Belgium : Russia (Rio de Janeiro)
26/06/14 Algeria : Russia (Curitiba)
26/06/14 South Korea : Belgium (São Paulo)

Belgium will be entertaining us at a World Cup Finals for the first time since 2002, and a lot of water has flown under the bridge since then. The Diables Rouges slipped into the shadows during the intervening period, veering between the brilliant and the shocking, with brilliant attacking play more than offset by abject defensive displays. Now, they are back, and Kompany, Hazard, Fellaini, Courtois et al have created a media frenzy the length and breadth of Europe, with some pundits even tipping them as dark horses to lift the World Cup. Not yours truly, however; a top-two finish in Group H should not be beyond them, though. Russia should join them; they finished ahead of Portugal by a point in UEFA Group F, but qualification was a lot more comfortable than it looked on paper. South Korea finished as runners-up in their Asian qualifying group, squeaking home ahead of Uzbekistan on goal difference. Uzbekistan, of course, went on to lose to Jordan in the Asian play-offs; Jordan, in turn, lost 5:0 on aggregate to Uruguay. South Korea will find it difficult this time, as will Algeria, who defeated 2013 African Cup of Nations runners-up Burkina Faso on away goals in the play-offs.


28/06/14 R2A Winner Gp A : Runner-up Gp B (Belo Horizonte)
28/06/14 R2B Winner Gp C : Runner-up Gp D (Rio de Janeiro)
29/06/14 R2C Winner Gp B : Runner-up Gp A (Fortaleza)
29/06/14 R2D Winner Gp D : Runner-up Gp C (Recife)
30/06/14 R2E Winner Gp E : Runner-up Gp F (Brasília)
30/06/14 R2F Winner Gp G : Runner-up Gp H (Porto Alegre)
01/07/14 R2G Winner Gp H : Runner-up Gp G (Salvador)
01/07/14 R2H Winner Gp F : Runner-up Gp E (São Paulo)


04/07/14 QF1 Winner R2A : R2B (Rio de Janeiro)
04/07/14 QF2 Winner R2C : R2D (Fortaleza)
05/07/14 QF3 Winner R2E : R2F (Brasília)
05/07/14 QF4 Winner R2G : R2H (Salvador)


08/07/14 SF1 Winner QF1 : Winner QF2 (Belo Horizonte)
09/07/14 SF2 Winner QF3 : Winner QF4 (São Paulo)


12/7/14 Runner-up SF1 : Runner-up SF2 (Brasília)


13/7/14 Winner SF1 : Winner SF2 (Rio de Janeiro)


BELO HORIZONTE: Minerão (56091)
BRASÍLIA: Estádio Nacional do Brasília (65702)
CUIABÁ: Arena Pantanal (39553)
CURITIBA: Arena da Baixada (37634)
FORTALEZA: Arena Castelão (57747)
MANAUS: Arena da Amazônia (39573)
NATAL:Arena das Dunas (39304)
PORTO ALEGRE: Estádio Beira-Rio (42153)
RECIFE :Arena Pernambuco (40604)
RIO DE JANEIRO: Estádio Mario Filho/Maracaña (71159)
SALVADOR: Arena Fonte Nova (49280)
SÃO PAULO: Arena do São Paulo (59955)

Monday, October 21, 2013


The Tuvalu national side have been touring Holland since mid-August, and are due to play their last match on 31/10/13 in Eindhoven. Pat's Football Blog has been following the team's progress from near and far, and now follows the first of a small number of match-reports. This particular match-report features the match between SV Panningen and the Tuvalu side, made up of mainly second-string players, which took place on 27/8/13.

There surely can't be many better things for the average football fan to do than go to a game on a balmy summer's evening, and several hundred people from the small southern Dutch town of Panningen and its hinterland did exactly that on 29/8/13 when local side SV Panningen played host to the Tuvalu national team which is currently on an 11-week training tour of Holland.

The Tuvalu side warmed up with a 20-minute kickabout against the entire young boys' section of SV Panningen (comprising the three youngest divisions of the club's teams) - known for the occasion as 101 Kids - and it was the kids, supported by at least 101 parents, who came out on top by 6 goals to 2 in a game enjoyed by one and all.

The more serious business of SV Panningen's seniors taking on Tuvalu began just after 19:00, and the first few minutes were fairly even, before SV Panningen's Patrick Joosten had his effort turned behind for a corner by Tuvalu goalkeeper Jerry Selau in the fifth minute. Team-mate Remco Litjens headed just wide four minutes later, before Tuvalu central defender Geoffrey Maleko was substituted by guest player and ex-Dutch international Stan Valckx in the eleventh minute. Joosten had the ball in the Tuvalu net seconds later, but his effort was adjuged to have been offside.

Ward Schatorie's half-volley fizzed across the face of the visitors' goal, but the early pressure from SV Panningen paid off with Roger op het Veld's fine hook-shot from the edge of the area coming off both bar and right-hand post before crossing the line to give the hosts a deserved lead in the 17th minute.

There then followed a period in which Tuvalu dominated proceedings, beginning with a dangerous ball played across the Panningen box by Eric Tealofi, which was put behind for a corner. Good interchange play from Tiute and Nelesone Musika led to Tealofi's shot being blocked by a defender and subsequently cleared after 23 minutes. 

Tuvalu's first real shot on target came after twenty-four minutes, when Musika's shot was saved comfortably by Bart Lenders in the SV Panningen goal. Five minutes elapsed before a surge down the left side by Tiute eventually saw his effort on goal saved by Leenders and go behind for a corner. Tealofi was substituted by Sio Silitone on the half-hour, and scarcely had the switch taken place before Panningen were on the attack, with the Tuvalu goalkeeper spilling an effort from a free-kick by the hosts before saving the follow-up.

With half-time approaching, a cross-shot was missed by Selau and was picked up on the left-hand side of the Tuvalu penalty-area, who delivered a deft pass to Schatorje, who had impressed in the first-half up to that point, but who promptly ballooned the ball over the bar. Litjens then had a shot saved with some comfort by Selau and then, right on half-time, Tuvalu almost sneaked an equaliser when Lepaio's speculative shot bamboozled Bart Leenders in the SV Panningen goal, who, almost prone, fumbled the ball which went over him and just wide of his left-hand post.

Half-time saw SV Panningen go in with a deserved 1:0 lead; Bram Leenders, Joosten and Schatorje were the pick of the bunch for the hosts, whilst Lepaio was steady at the back for the visitors, and Tiute and Musika were a constant source of attacks for Tuvalu.

There were a raft of substitutions by both teams at half-time, and SV Panningen started the second-half the stronger of the two sides, with Nicky Craenmehr shooting just wide in the 48th minute. Three minutes later, substitute Robin van Osch thought he had put Panningen 2:0 up, but, after too much intricate football by his team-mates on the edge of the Tuvalu penalty-area, had moved into an offside position before putting the ball in the net.

A minute later, Filialofa's shot was deflected away to safety, before Panningen substitute Ooms' shot over the bar from 30 yards. Just moments later, Panningen doubled their lead through van Osch, who found himself on the end of a through-ball, and sweetly curled the ball into Selau's lower left-hand corner.

After a short period of pressure from Tuvalu, the 62nd minute saw a mix-up between Willie and Silitone just inside the Panningen half which saw the ball being passed to van Osch, who ran the length of the Tuvalu half and struck a low shot to the left of Selau for the hosts' third.

Another broken-down Tuvalu counter-attack resulted in Joey Bodde rampaging down the visitors' left wing before brushing off Alefaio, who had been having a good game at the back for the visitors, and crossing the ball to van Osch, who rounded off a quick-fire hat-trick by crashing the ball past Selau from around 12 yards out.

Valckx was replaced after the goal by Sepuli Loaha, and, strangely enough, Tuvalu played their best football of the match after his substitution with Loaha at the heart o fmuch of the action. Almost immediately, Tiute finished nicely after a through ball from Loaha, but the goal was ruled out for offside; it was a marginal decision at best, with Tiute appearing to be level with the hosts' defence when the ball was threaded through to him.

Craenmehr then almost made it 5:0 for the hosts, but slipped a split-second before getting his shot in, which Selau gathered without fuss. Tuvalu kept plugging away, and Loaha shot over the bar after a one-two with Tiute, who had been creating havoc down Panningen's left-hand side. 

Moments later, in the 77th minute, with the gloom gathering, Tiute earned Tuvalu a penalty when, having turned Ooms inside-out just inside the penalty-area, the defender could do nothing but give his shirt a tug. James Lepaio took the penalty, but it was a tame effort to the right of substitute goalkeeper Glen Smeets, which was easily smothered by the 'keeper.

may have seen Smeets save his penalty, but he would no doubt have been heartened by the manner in which Tuvalu got on the score-sheet after seventy-nine minutes. Some good play from Tiute on the left resulted in some pinball in the Panningen penalty-area before the ball came back out to Tiute, who put in a low cross, which was then pulled back into the path of Panapa Matoa, who steadied himself before stroking the ball into the lower left-hand corner. Despite missing the penalty, it was no more than the Tuvalu team deserved after a spirited second-half display.

A Panningen breakaway three minutes later saw a pass from the left reach Joosten, who inexplicably sidefooted the ball over Selau's goal. Soon after, a dangerous cross from the right evaded everybody in the Panningen area before the ball ran behind the goal-line; at the other end, Litjens' attempt from distance was put behind by Selau.

The game was petering out by this stage, but not before a second goal was scored by the visitors; a good ball out to the right by Sio Silitone was picked up by Leiato Uoli, who executed a delightful chip over the advancing Smeets from the right-hand side of the Panningen box and into the opposite corner.

That was the last meaningful action of an entertaining, sporting encounter in which SV Panningen just about deserved their victory, but it was also a match in which Tuvalu more than played their part. For the home team, Robin van Osch would be a rightful contender for man of the match thanks to his explosive second-half hat-trick; fellow substitutes Ooms and Bodde were very effective, while Litjens and Craenmehr also played well.

Lepaio played a captain's game for Tuvalu, while Tiute was a constant source of torment for the Panningen defence throughout the game, as was Musika during the first half; Sio Silitone had a commendable second-half while Fatu Alefaio was the proverbial rock at the back. The adventurous Selau, who proved that he was almost as effective at left-back as he was between the sticks, could not be blamed in any way for the four goals conceded.


SUBSTITUTES: 12 Glen SMEETS (GK), 2 Rob BAKKER, 5 Nick VAN DEN BEUCKEN; 9 Matijs HEESEN; 11 Robin VAN DEN OSCH; 14 Maikel OOMS; 19 Joey BODDE; 20 Mathijs BRUMMANS

TUVALU: 1 Tiele SELAU; 15 Fatu ALEFAIO, 3 James LEFAIO, 24 Geoffrey MALEKO, 4 Uota ALE; 8 Taufaiva IONATANA, 5 Eric TEALOFI, 2 Sepe WILLIE; 6 Teake FILIALOFA, 18 Nelesone MUSIKA, 7 Lutelu TIUTE

SUBSTITUTES: Bill TONISE (GK), Stan VALCKX, 11 Sepuli LOAHA, 12 Panapa MAFOA, 14 Leiatu UOLI, 17 Sio SILITONE

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Many thanks to a member of the Panningen board for kindly providing the home team's line-up; with regards to Tuvalu, a lot of guesswork was involved. Apologies to those involved with the Tuvalu squad for any errors contained in the article - there may well be a few; they shall be rectified as soon as they are pointed out. Finally, thanks to Joost (the mini-bus drver) for the lift!

Friday, October 4, 2013


Nuuk's B-67 won the recent men's national championship in Greenland courtesy of a 3:2 win against G-44 from Qeqertarsuaq, but the club's triumph was marred somewhat by the arrest of two of its squad the day before the final on 21/8/13 on suspicion of possession of and intent to sell marijuana.

Binge drinking and drug use apparently occurred during the competition, but, over a month down the line, the true extent of both remains unclear. State TV and radio station KNR stated that the country was in "uproar" following the revelations of alcohol and drug abuse during the competition, while newspaper Sermitsiaq referred to the drugs find as a "scandal." The two B-67 players arrested have been suspended by the club, and also from all GBU (Grønlands Boldspil Union) competition - and, indeed, all sporting within the remit of the GIF (Grønlands Idrætsforbund) - until 1/9/13. B-67, meanwhile, released a statement to the press in which the following (with apologies for any errors in translation) was included:

"It should be made clear that the club takes a strong stance regarding marijuana and other drugs..B-67 Football Club has worked hard on the development of football, in particular focusing on children and young adults, and we are very proud of how far we have come.

"The club has, in addition to a serious approach to training, a number of basic values that we propagate and demand that club members must comply with, such as leading a healthy lifestyle, plus respect for themselves and for others.

"Now the club is allegedly faced with a case that goes against all of its core values, which has left everyone connected with the club very disappointed. 

"B -67 is now considering how we can actively engage in the fight against alcohol and cannabis, which is obviously a big problem in this country."

The two players involved, whose identities were not revealed, were released after questioning by local police in the men's GM play-off competition venue, Qaqortoq. The Deputy Chief Officer of Greenland's police force, Morten Nielsen, was also quoted on the KNR website as saying that no other players or staff were currently helping police with their enquiries. He added that it was "unfortunate that two persons trading in cannabis would lead to unfounded suspicion being placed on the whole team."

Meanwhile, east Greenland's representatives in this year's competition, K-64 from the small town of Kuummiut, also found themselves at the centre of attention after it was reported that a number of the squad had indulged in bouts of binge drinking during the competition, according to an article published in Sermitsiaq on the same day that the two B-67 players were arrested. 

It was even reported as being proposed at one stage by the GBU that there would be no automatic qualification for the final tournament for any club winning the regional tournament in eastern Greenland, but that they would instead have to travel to western Greenland to take part in that region's tournament first, and then come through that. 

It would appear that this proposal has since faltered; should it ever come to pass, it would be prohibitively expensive for any team from the east of the country to travel twice to western Greenland to take part in a football tournament, especially for a village the size of Kuummiut, which has fewer than 350 inhabitants, and would unfairly punish those players from K-64 who did not take part in any of the alleged festivities, not to mention other teams from that side of the country who might win their regional championship in the future.

A pity that both controversies should overshadow what was otherwise quite an historic tournament; it was the first time in the history of the tournament that KNR broadcasted every single game live on television. It was a bold move, given the logistical difficulties of moving an entire outside broadcast unit plus staff down to southern Greenland, and despite one or two glitches with their coverage, it was one which paid off handsomely.

As was perhaps expected, perennial front-runners G-44, who hail from Qeqertarsuaq and who were the northernmost team taking part in the tournament, came top of Group A, drawing 1:1 against group runners-up NÛK, thrashing K-64 8:0 and defeating a spirited Eqaluk 54 by 4 goals to 1.

I-69 were unable to come anywhere near adding the men's title to that of their women's team, who triumphed in their competition in July, losing all three of their games in Group B. B-67, who put six past I-69 in their encounter, won all three of their games to top the group, though they were made to work hard by FC Malamuk before winning 1:0. The Ummannaq side, winners of the national championship in 2004, had to make do with the runners-up spot; K-33 finished third in the group, but did not disappoint.

G-44 and B-67, not unexpectedly, cruised through their semi-finals, defeating FC Malamuk and NÛK respectively, the second match being a Nuuk derby, to set up a much-anticipated - not to mention expected - final.

Four matches took place on finals day, and first up was the seventh-place match between K-64 and Eqaluk 54 from the tiny settlement of Tasiusaq, and K-64's woes continued in the play-off for seventh place as they found themselves on the end of a 6:1 thrashing. 

Inuuteq Petersen opened the scoring in the 25th minute with a free-kick that deceived everyone in red and white before Eli Simonsen added a second on the half-hour. In the second half, Petersen's second and a brace (including a penalty) from Nuqaaraq Knudsen added to Eqaluk 54's total before Frederik Uitsatikitseq pulled one back for K-64 with four minutes left. Piuaattoq Kristiansen rounded off the scoring for Eqaluk 54 in the last minute with a delightful lofted shot into the top left-hand corner of the K-64 net. 

Next on the agenda was the fifth-place play-off between local side K-33 and I-69. As it turned out, three unanswered second-half goals for K-33 against the team from Illulisat saw them take fifth place in the tournament, Nuka Hedtoft Lorentzen's terrific 55th minute half-volley from some 25 yards opening the scoring. Hans Rasmussen coolly added a second ten minutes later, and scored his second and K-33's third in the 91st minute.

In the third-place match, meanwhile, FC Malamuk took the lead against NÛK in the 33rd minute thanks to Morten Fleischer's curling effort from more than 20 yards out, though Minik Petersen levelled for NÛK in the 50th minute following a counter-attack. Jens Peter Dahl scored the winner for NÛK 15 seconds into second-half injury-time.

On to the final itself, then, and it was a match between last year's champions (B-67) and the team which won the championship in 2011 (G-44), and this year's encounter was played before several hundred people. 

Despite B-67 seting up camp in the G-44 half for most of the opening period of the match, it was G-44 who took the lead in the 15th minute, Maasinnguaq Brandt taking advantage of casual B-67 defending before running on, exchanging a one-two with Juannsinnguaq Therkelsen before flicking the ball with the outside of his foot past John Kreutzmann at the near left-hand post.

B-67 kept up the pressure, and equalised in the 32nd minute courtesy of - to use a hackneyed expression - an absolute howler by G-44 goalkeeper Knud Brandt, who completely misread a cross-shot from Maasi Maqe and, instead of catching the ball, dropped it behind his head and fumbled it over the line. The goal was, from a B-67 point of view, thoroughly deserved, but it would have been hard not to sympathise with Brandt, who had performed well up to that point.

Brandt could do nothing about Norsaq Lund Mathæssen's effort which gave B-67 the lead four minutes later; he could only stand and watch after Matthæaessen's fine swivel and subsequent shot from the edge of the area hit the underside of the G-44 crossbar before landing over the line.

It was fairly even until well into the second half, when Frederik Funch scored B-67's third in the 66th minute; some scrappy play in midfield led to the ball being played into the G-44 penalty-area by Hans Karl Berthelsen, where Matthæussen rounded Brandt and attempted a cross-shot, which was fired across the face of goal, and which resulted in Funch clipping the ball from the angle of the six-yard box past G-44 captain Nukannguaq Zeeb's despairing lunge.

G-44, enjoying much more possession since B-67's third goal, got themselves back into the the game eight minutes later, when Zeeb's free-kick found Malik Jeremiassen, whose looping header across Kreutzmann's goal left the B-67 'keeper in no-mans-land and bounced gently into the back of the net.

B-67 could have made the game safe moments later, but Frederik Funch's header from close range was well saved by Brandt. Funch's subsequent attempt to bundle both Brandt and the ball into the net earned him a yellow card; Brandt also ended up in the referee's note-book, but redeemed himself in the 80th minute, coming out on top in a one-to-one against Mathæussen.

The remainder of the match saw a collection of shots from both sides which whistled high or wide, though G-44 almost levelled in the last minute or so of normal time, first through Gedion Kleist, and then Jeremiassen's volley went just wide of Kreutzmann's right-hand post. 

The game ended on a farcical note with Zeeb, who had been booked in the fourth minute of injury-time, earning himself a straight red card for dissent immediately after the final whistle. Referee Daniel Jakobsen kept a rather tight line on things throughout the match, with the only criticism one could level at him being that he was somewhat too liberal with the issuing of yellow cards.

So, in spite of everything, B-67 finished top of the pile and deservedly so, having looked comfortable throughout the competition, and the proof of the pudding was six of their players being included in the Team of the Tournament. 

They will surely be among the favourites to lift the title again next year, when the national championship's final tournament will be held in Nuuk. However, NÛK have been given the right to host the competition in recognition of the 80th anniversary of the club's foundation, and so city rivals B-67 will have to take part in the qualifying stages.

Please find below the results for the final tournament of the 2013 Greenland men's national championship, and also details of the Team of the Tournament.


15/08/13 13:00 G-44 1:1 NÛK
15/08/13 15:00 K-64 2:5 Eqaluk 54
16/08/13 13:00 G-44 8:0 K-64
16/08/13 15:00 NÛK 1:0 Eqaluk 54
17/08/13 13:00 G-44 4:1 Eqaluk 54
17/08/13 15:00 NÛK 3:0 K-64


15/08/13 17:00 I-69 0:1 K-33
15/08/13 19:00 B-67 1:0 FC Malamuk
16/08/13 17:00 I-69 1:6 B-67 
16/08/13 19:00 K-33 1:1 FC Malamuk
17/08/13 17:00 I-69 1:2 FC Malamuk
17/08/13 19:00 K-33 0:3 B-67


19/08/13 14:00 G-44 3:1 FC Malamuk
19/08/13 16:00 B-67 4:0 NÛK


21/8/13 10:00 Eqaluk 54 6:1 K-64


21/8/13 12:00 I-69 0:3 K-33


21/08/13 14:00 FC Malamuk 1:2 NÛK


21/08/13 16:00 G-44 2:3 B-67

G-44: 12 Knud BRANDT; 4 Nukannguaq ZEEB (C), 19 Jan LYBERTH (14 Ilasiannguaq MARTINSEN), 20 Malik JEREMIASSEN, 23 Gedion KLEIST; 7 Steve BROBERG (28 Ulloriaq GRØNVOLD), 9 Juaansinnguaq THERKELSEN, 22 Inooraq SVENDSEN, 26 Inooraq OLRIK (15 Hans Jørgen ZEEB); 8 Maasinnguaq BRANDT, 10 Aputsiaq OLSEN


B-67: 1 John KREUTZMANN; 5 Peter KNUDSEN, 13 Aputsiaq BIRCH, 14 Lars Peter BROBERG (2 Miki PETERSEN), 21 Jakob MØLLER; 6 Anders HEILMANN PETERSEN (C), 9 Johan Ludvig BROBERG, 10 Maasi MAQE; 7 Frederik FUNCH, 11 Malik BERTHELSEN (17 Hans Karl BERTHELSEN), 18 Norsaq Lund MATHÆUSSEN




DEFENDERS: Jakob MØLLER (B-67), Nukannguaq ZEEB (G-44), Aputsiaq BIRCH (B-67), Lars Peter BROBERG (B-67)

MIDFIELDERS: Hans KNUDSEN (K-33), Maasi MAQI (B-67), Kaassannguaq ZEEB (FC Malamuk), Maasinnguaq BRANDT (G-44)


Dahl also won the Fair Play trophy, while Lund Mathæussen won the "Fighter" (most combative player) award.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Much of the information contained in the article above was taken from articles on both the KNR ( and Sermitsiaq ( websites.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Pat's Football Blog has covered the great game of football on every continent to some degree during the first thirty-four months or so of its existence..except one - Antarctica. However, that shall now be rectified, thanks to a series of articles, to be published at irregular intervals in the near future, forming part of a mini-series on the game on the continent and in the sub-Antarctic. 

(Granted, the more pedantic readers will correctly point out that one or two of the locations featured during the series are not part of the Antarctic continent proper, but as they are home to a number of Antarctic research stations run by countries such as the UK and Australia, they surely qualify for inclusion.)

First up is a short article on one man's experiences of playing football in the region; Robby van Tongeren, an Australian national who spent his formative years in the Dutch city of Eindhoven, and was previously billeted on Macquarie Island at the Macquarie Island Station, Wireless Hill, between 2010-11, kindly submitted his thoughts on football sub-Antarctic-style earlier this year, and what follows is an interesting compilation of the best of them.

"Macca," as the island is colloquially known, is politically administered by the Australian state of Tasmania, and lies approximately half-way between the southern tip of Tasmania and the Antarctic continent. The island has a year-round population of between 20 and 40 people. Robby van Tongeren is one of them, now back on this island on his second stint there and his fifth in the Antarctic region in all, and here's his take on life and football in the Antarctic region:

"I first arrived in Antarctica back in 2002/3 on my initial stint south at Australia’s Casey station. I was to spend a year there as a Dieso (diesel mechanic) for the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD). Over the summer at Casey I soon learnt that a high percentage of people followed Australian Rules Football (AFL). Although I am not sure why they call it football; I can’t figure that out as they use their hands for most of the game and the ball is.. mmmm.. not round. 

"Anyway, amongst the crew at Casey there was a familiar face in the crowd with a bald head and big beard and I thought, that’s Mick, from a rival team, Leichardt, back in the Cairns football competition I used to play against (I was in Edge Hill United and there was fierce dislike between the 2 teams). After all the pleasantries of slagging each other off on who had the better team from our playing days, we talked about football in general.  There was some indoor football played over my year at Casey station, but volleyball was mainly preferred as [there] was less contact and [everybody] could get involved in the game.

"Moving along to 2010 when I spent a year at Macquarie Island (Macca), again as a Dieso with the AAD. There were quite a few football fans with a variety of allegiances to teams around the world.  Of course, all of them supported the Socceroos when they were playing, and [also] various European teams such as Liverpool, Man United, Arsenal, Barcelona, etc. 

"This was also the year of the World Cup in South Africa and both Australia and my home team the Oranje were involved. I was lucky that one of the IT Communications people here (thank you Trozza) was a keen supporter of football and we were able to stream and watch the games early in the morning.  Because of the bandwidth streaming consumed, we needed everyone on station to refrain from using the internet while games were downloaded, otherwise it was impossible to watch [anything] as the screen would freeze up while trying to stream the games.  

"There were a few diehards who watched the games “live,” but because it was on early in the morning, most people opted to stay in bed.  This made it interesting as it would be known by some who won that morning and it was hard not to be told at breakfast before watching the game. So I avoided the newspapers and people until I actually watched the downloaded game that night. 

"Enough about the world game, and back to the local one on Macquarie Island. The games were mainly played in the storage warehouse {known as the "Green Store"] for fun and exercise. The concrete floor was swept and cleaned before-hand. Machinery and equipment was moved outside to make room for the match. Plywood boards was placed around areas like computers, lights and breakable items that were not easily moved out of harm’s way.  Cage pallets with one removable side were placed upside down to serve as goals. 

"Depending on the number of players the teams were divided up evenly for the game. Players with several different jerseys of their favourite teams were also on display. There were some discussions on rules but in the end there were none and the game started with no referee. Being a concrete floor and lots of other hazards like steel posts on the sides it made for an interesting game. 

"Players also wore various footwear from joggers to steel cap boots to Wellington boots. Many players wished they had shin-pads for protection. Most of those involved in the game followed other football codes, so there was a lot of pushing and shoving and chopping at the legs thinking they were playing the squashed ball game. 

"After pointing out to some of them about what can be done, the game settled down and a good work out was had. Some fancy footwork and shots on goal were seen during the game. The match lasted around an hour or so, until everyone decided they had enough. Needless to say, there were a few sore legs, bodies and faces from wayward shots tackling and the concrete floor.

"Macquarie Island expeditioners celebrated Australia and Waitangi Day on the 1st of February. It was delayed from the usual 26th January as the New Zealand contingent would be back on station from being in the field for a month.  

"A few hardy souls had an obligatory swim in the freezing ocean. Then there was food, drink and general merriment for everyone.  We played a range of sporting games including football. This was played outside the “Green Store”, which is the island’s main warehouse, as the weather gods were on our side with a warm sunny day of, oh, about 10 degrees. 

"I set up some cage pallets (these are steel-mesh cargo containers) as goals at each end. These were placed upside down, creating goals similar to indoor football games, but not as high. Teams were a mix of both male and female Aussie and Kiwi players. As I mentioned [previously], footwear varied from bare feet to joggers, and steel capped to wellington boots. There were some jostling, shoving and Rugby tactics employed at times by the Kiwi fraternity, but overall the game was played in great spirits.

"Football down south, well, on Macca, is mostly enjoyed indoors in the Green Store, due to often inclement weather. But, I guess the most talked about game is either AFL, Rugby or Cricket as most people here are from the southern Australian states."
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Many thanks go to Robby van Tongeren for taking the time to supply the above article, and also to Nisha Harris from the Australian Antarctic Division for her assistance with organising the article. A pity, however, that the photographs supplied with Robby's story seem to have disappeared!  

Please note that the above article was submitted under strict conditions from the Australian Antarctic Division; should you wish to use any of the information contained in the above article, well, no pilfering, please, but kindly submit your request to use the information above to Nisha at:
FOOTBALL BLOGGING AWARDS: Pat's Football Blog has decided to throw hats into two different rings this year with regard to the 2013 Football Blogging Awards: Best Male blog and Best Established blog. Your vote, dear reader, would be immeasurably valued, but regardless which blog tickles your fancy the most, kindly click on/copy the following link to find out more: