Tag Archives: soccer

FIFA and the Boys My Life 07 JAN 2015

I have to say, I’m thoroughly loved the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Whilst I certainly enjoyed the 2010 edition back in our own backyard, last year’s edition in Brazil seemed to be nothing but continued improvement upon improvement over the 2010 version. Exciting goal line technology, cool little innovations like the referee’s temporary line spray, and of course the SUPER exciting football itself!

fifa world cup 2014 brazil 1 germany 7 Muller celebrates goal

So many big upsets, so many goals, and so, so many spectacular pieces of football mastery on display – plus, a very deserved Germany walking away as the ultimate champs!

Of course, watching the football over this period came with its own unique challenges: If I wasn’t away on a weekend out in Piekenierskloof, then this would happen whilst trying to watch the footie in my lounge…

craig lotter trying to watch a fifa world cup 2014 game with jessica and emily

Needless to say, Chantelle was rather pleased when the month of soccer was FINALLY over!

Somewhat related, 2014 also saw a lot of FIFA on the XBOX 360 take place, with a more or less formalized competition now in place for the likes of Evan, Damen, Ryan and myself. I’ve masterfully converted some old karate trophies into stunning football trophies, and every so often the guys will get together at Ryan’s place (being a bachelor has its perks), throw in some snacks, and battle it out in a two-on-two rotational basis which sees us recording points for every win and every goal scored.

Although I showed some early promise in the year, the damn trophies remained completely out of my grasp for absolute ages, with Ryan, Evan and Damen all taking turns in holding the trophies aloft and basking in the glory and bragging rights that comes with coming out on top after a long evening of digital ball kicking.

However, my luck did eventually turn on the very last FIFA gathering for 2014 before everyone split off on their holidays, when I managed to capture not one, but BOTH trophies on the night! (Moment immortalized below – you can see that I take better photos with my camera than what Evan does…)

IMG_20141209_000300

Anyway, for the longest time we’ve been sticking it out with FIFA 13 on the XBOX 360, but towards the end of last year Ryan picked up the new FIFA 15, prompting me to also pick it up a little while later (on a nice half price Christmas deal that XBOX Live was having). I know the new version of EA’s venerable football franchise totally kicks ass on the new generation XBOX One consoles, but seeing as that isn’t going to happen for quite a while in my household (not unless some money falls out the sky anyway), the updated team rosters, tweaked game play, AI, and animations will suffice on the 360 for now.

Some aspects of the new version do annoy me though – like the all too often messy scrambles initiated by silly ball physics – but overall FIFA 15 is a solid play and I have to say, I’m enjoying my season managing Norwich City in the Championship (top of the table baby!).

Of course, Ryan, Evan and Damen could construe this as practicing and thus call me out for cheating, but hey, I have to do what I have to do in order to retain those trophies! ;)

fifa 15 screenshot

Now the challenge for this year I guess is to expand our group and get a few more faces involved.

Karl-Heinz, Dean, I’m looking at you…

Now Zlatan Ibrahimovic is just Showing Off! Sport & Health 15 NOV 2012

Ouch, seriously don’t want to be a national English football supporter right now. Sweden delivered a big right hook to the English in last night’s international, and chief destroyer of the English defense turned out to be the one and only Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who scored all four of Sweden’s goals on the night!

The best moment of the night? Without a doubt Ibrahimovic’s jaw-dropping fourth goal to seal the win.

Even England captain Steven Gerrard described Ibrahimovic’s stunning fourth goal in Stockholm on Wednesday night as “the best I’ve ever seen.”

And I kind of have to agree. Check it out:

That takes skill (and a hell of a lot of luck).

Only in Japan: Super Great Toilet Keeper! General Nonsense 31 OCT 2012

The man in the picture? Tatsuhiko Kubo, also known as “The Dragon”. A recently retired Japanese soccer star with a penchant for scoring goals.

Except he has just been foiled by the most unlikely of foes – a toilet.

I’m not entirely sure whether this is a hoax or not, but from what we’re told, the Super Great Toilet Keeper is a joint venture from hi-tech toilet manufacturer TOTO and sports-betting lot toto, the result of which is a goal blocking toilet, capable of keeping out shots travelling as fast as 160km/h!

Using two high-speed cameras to determine and calculate the speed and direction of any incoming shot, the toilet then sharply pivots and fires out a smaller ball with the aim of deflecting the soccer ball. Needless to say, this pretty much happens in the blink of an eye.

Although I’m not entirely sure what the point of all this is, two thing definitely do stand out. First, the Japanese really are at a superior level of technological advancement and second, Japan really is the king of WTF.

Seriously though, I can think of more than just a handful of keepers who should be more than a little scared of this! :)

Remembering FIFA World Cup 2010: Paraguay vs. Italy My Life 27 SEP 2011

Now that the Rugby World Cup 2011 is in full swing and our boys are doing well, I can’t help but cast my mind back to the exciting period that was the FIFA World Cup 2010, hosted right here in our very own backyard.

The excitement before and during the tournament was electrifying and everywhere you went, this feeling of unity, hope and joy just couldn’t be suppressed or surpassed. Truly this was one of the finest moments in our country’s history, or at least in my lifetime.

It’s a pity our boys couldn’t have achieved more in the tournament itself, but I remember watching each and every one of their games on the edge of my seat, and I can still savour that overwhelming feeling when Tshabalala scored that magical opening goal!

As it turned out, I only managed to snag tickets for one game, that game being the first round collision between Paraguay and Italy, played here at Cape Town stadium. Dean, Terrance and Damen made up the rest of our little group, and when the match day finally arrived (it felt like forever between getting the tickets and waiting for the actual game day!), it was off to the well-organised train station at Settlers High, and onto the train to Cape Town, before stepping off and heading straight into the bustling stroll through the Cape Town Fan Walk, all the way up to the magnificent, magical stadium itself.

The weather itself was unpleasant, a cold biting wind and rain that constantly threatened to come down, but after a fair (and noisy) wait in the security queues to get in, we were finally given the go ahead to stream into the grounds, marvelling at all the sights, sounds and colours that lay before us!

Our elevated seats were behind one of the goal posts, so perhaps not the best in the house, but just the experience was enough in any event. Sheltered from the miserable wind, we got to enjoy an engrossing game, vuvuzelas trumpeting and all, the result of which I can no longer actually recall! :)

(I think it was a draw to be honest, which would have been much to Terrance’s disgust and my delight!)

Anyway, our evening had been a fantastic success, as was the tournament as a whole, and as my memory of the events begins to fade, at least I have these few photos to mark the fact that I was indeed a part of the FIFA World Cup 2010 extravaganza! :)

Final FIFA Foursome My Life 14 JUL 2011

So Monday night was our last ever XBOX FIFA Foursome including Mr. Brown, who leaves us in under two weeks’ time. Of course, this meant we had to make it a good one, which of course translates into loads of popcorn and some FIFA of course.

After a KFC for supper treat courtesy of Ryan, we arrived back at his pad just in time for the arrival of Mr. Brown and then eventually Dr. Storbeck as we sat down and got to the all important business of discussing Mr. Brown’s upcoming Japanese adventure and setting up the controllers. Oh, and then booting up FIFA as well.

To shake things up a bit, we reversed the team-up order and I started the evening partnered up with Karl, where we did fairly well in grabbing two draws (one of which we made the boys play catch up to us in!). However, we did also suffer a slapper of a loss – let us just say that by half time the boys were SERIOUSLY considering applying the mercy rule to us!

After a break for some Coke and popcorn, it was back to the lounge where Terrance and I took on Ryan and Karl, who for a change promised Karl right up front that this time around he wouldn’t shout at him too much – and bar only once, he did indeed keep that promise! (That said, it didn’t go well for them, with Ryan only being able to secure a single draw combined with his two losses in their three game outing).

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Knocked off My Perch My Life 10 JUN 2011

Sigh, knocked off my perch so quickly.

After my epic championship performance at our four man FIFA battle (chronicled here), and due to another scheduling faux pas of the optometrist visit on my part (I do now actually have an appointment for next week, meaning that we’ll probably have our third FIFA get together in a row!), meant that I was back in Bellville on Tuesday evening, battling with the boys over a gamut of FIFA soccer games using nothing more than our dedicated thumbs and tireless wireless controllers.

This time around though, we did have the foresight to bring with a popcorn maker, popcorn and some Coke Zero, in order to fulfill the dual purpose of satisfying the munchies and acting as a distracting agent in order to beat another man’s defense as he reached for the bowl.

Ryan and I took on Karl-Heinz and Terrance for the first round of three, and surprise surprise, the level of play had increased tenfold since the previous week, meaning three hard fought battles in which KT even managed to draw a game for a change!

I did however score what was to be the top goal of the evening in one of these early bouts, blasting home a rocket from Totti into the top left corner, clipping the side of the goal post as the ball nearly tore through the roof of the net!

For the next round of three, Karl-Heinz and I went on the offensive and despite our best efforts, we too managed to only pull a single draw out of the hat, and yes, Karl failed to score again, much to our delight because it gives us a good target to rib. (You should have seen his major “welly” attempts. I think the ground staff had to send someone outside the stadium in order to retrieve the ball, that’s how far and high he blasted one particular shot over the net! :P)

I did however also manage to claim the most absurd goal of the evening during this round, with a half hearted header/bouncy thing off a Karl corner that trickled past everyone, hit the post and kind of just flopped over the line. Not exactly my finest attempt, but a goal is a goal so I’ll take it! :)

Anyway, for the final three, Ryan and Karl-Heinz took on the might pairing of Terrance and Craig and after the first real wallop for the evening in which Terrance I obliterated the RK pairing, the unbelievable happened and Ryan knocked me off my previous week’s perch, as he not only managed to draw a game with Dr. Storbeck, he even managed to win one!

But when we say win, you won’t believe how it happened. Although they were rightfully two one up in the second half, Terrance and I worked a fantastic goal, dummying the keeper and setting it up for an easy tap-in to score the equalizing goal. We were already celebrating with high fives when we realized that the whistle had blown after the celebratory animations and the referee then proceeded to call us back to take our free kick for a foul committed outside of the box. Outside of the box. And we scored a goal from the resulting advantage! Our jaws simply dropped to the floor.

But as Ryan says, all that matters is the numbers on the scoreboard at the end of the day, meaning Karl and him walked off with a win, making Ryan the undisputed overall champion for the night!

And as for Karl, nope he didn’t manage to score even once in the entire evening. Again. Shame man, at this rate he’s going to develop a complex about it… ;)

Anyway, it was loads of fun as per usual, so thanks to the boys for making this one happen, and hopefully we’ll be doing it all over again, come next week Tuesday!

Controllers and the Boys My Life 06 JUN 2011

Last Tuesday I was meant to take a trip through to Bellville after work in order to see Chantelle’s optometrist for a long overdue eye appointment plus contact lens order. However, seeing as he is currently on leave, this plan kind of fell through – which didn’t bode well considering that I had extended the original schedule by organizing with the gang a classic four man FIFA XBOX football gathering in the evening, something I really didn’t want to fall through considering we now have a very limited time with Mr. Brown before he leaves us for the Land of the Rising Sun.

So in other words, I went ahead with my trip to Bellville anyway.

The good news was that all four men were available on the night, and with the average age of the combatants now over 30 thanks to Karl-Heinz hitting the big number on Monday, you knew this was going to be a serious affair. No snacks, no drinks, just coffee (it was cold) and hands on the controllers.

Terrance’s copy of FIFA 11 was the game of choice, and we ran the full gamut of match-ups, with Ryan and myself pairing up for the first couple of games (and obliterating our opponents), then Karl-Heinz and myself for the next set (in which we were mostly obliterated apart from the one draw we managed to squeeze out) and the finally Terrance and myself where we obliterated the competition.

(And if you are doing the math, then yes, Karl-Heinz was indeed the weak link of the evening! :P)

As it turned out, my draw meant I was able to capture the title of most awesome player of the evening, something I’m sure to goad about when next we meet up (which is tomorrow by the way). It was a well deserved title looking back at it now, considering all those glorious goals I scored from start to finish…

(Oh and to seal my top dog position, I then went on to defeat Ryan post Terrance and Karl calling it a night).

Saturday I again got the opportunity for some competitive gaming when Robert swung by to say hi and also do a few jobs up in the ceiling for us. The work done and Jessica happily playing on her activity mat, we broke out Blur and started racing. Loads of fun as per usual, and I’m happy to say that the unfair advantage I held over Robert held up as I walked away overall champion for the day.

Hmm. Why is it my cap doesn’t want to fit on my head any more? :P

Of Friends and Football My Life 06 JUL 2010

Although I did get a fair bit of home maintenance, furniture shifting and re-packing done this weekend thanks to the new carpet finally getting laid in the second bedroom on Friday afternoon, Saturday was pretty much a minimal work day as come 13:00, Mr. Brown and Dr. Storbeck arrived on my doorstep, followed by a surprise drop-in from Mr. Lotter Jr., completing our fearsome foursome.

The task for the day was of course to break out the XBOX 360 and squeeze in as many FIFA World Cup 2010 simulation games in as possible, trying our best to predict or equal what has been and what is still to come in the real World Cup.


As it turned out, lack of game time on Karl’s part actually meant he was performing ten times better than normal (:P), and opened the afternoon’s scoring account with a fantastic, cracking half-volley shot from a cross-in from yours truly, that simply rocketed past a despairing Ryan and Terrance keeper!

The afternoon progressed and we slotted in a lot of games, with Mr. Brown seeming to have the worst luck of the day, considering the fact that by the end of it all he was pretty much the overall loser, having lost the biggest number of games!

But in fairness we had some cracker games and for the most part they were all a very tight affair, usually ending up with only a single goal difference and on more than one occasion we found ourselves trading blows through extra time and then taking it all the way through to penalties, where some of us (Ryan for the most part), simply couldn’t get to grips with EA’s new penalty taking system!

But hats off to them for providing us with some absolutely tense moments, some brilliant goals (that Ronaldo shot from Ryan was an absolute beauty!) as well as the usual array of howlers, like Karl’s missing of various open goal tap-in opportunities! :)

But the simulated soccer couldn’t go on forever because the main drive for Saturday’s get together was of course the big 16:00 quarterfinal clash that saw an in form Argentina take on a just as in form Germany (who I am behind to take this whole damn thing!) and what a match for the Germans it proved to be! My bountiful snacks that I had stocked up on for the extravaganza kept flowing from hand to mouth and the disbelief of how easy Germany was making it look in dismantling Diego Maradona’s team just kept on growing!

Around half time I set about getting out of my cosy couch and started up the fire, which then happily burned itself down to some fine coals as the game reached it’s rather unexpected conclusion, marking the moment where we switched gears by bidding farewell to Ryan who had another engagement to get to, leaving Mr. Brown, Dr. Storbeck and I to put together a lekker braai and enjoy some more hanging out time.

Despite my attempts to ensnare them into watching the second match for the evening at my place, they resisted my charms and instead opted to hit the long ride home and catch the first bit on the radio, thereby saving them a much later return to Bellville. In fairness, I can’t really argue with that logic, but they did miss out on some great snacks I tell you! ;)

So thanks guys, it was an absolute blast having you around for the footy. Maybe next time we’ll be lucky and Mr. Dean and Mr. Oosthuizen will also be able to join us for an even bigger clash of the Titans!

(But the footy visits didn’t quite stop there believe it or not, because Sunday was still on its way and we had a last visit before their trek to Potchefstroom from Wayne and Candice to enjoy, and little did I know that Wayne had literally just laid his grubby paws on FIFA 10 – and you just know we HAD to test it out on our return from supper…)

Finding Lenny My Reviews 05 JUL 2010

I caught quite an enjoyable little movie on DSTV this evening, a locally produced 2009 film by director Neal Sundstrom going under the title “Finding Lenny”.

Starring Barry Hilton in the main role of Lenny Vincent, we get introduced to a man who starts his day on what should be a very auspicious morning – after all, it is his 50th birthday! However, things couldn’t possibly get worse on this particular day as Lenny is about to find out – in one foul swoop he will lose his job, lose his wife, get robbed, hijacked and then dumped in the middle of nowhere!

But this could all have happened for a reason. Lenny is about to embark on an adventure of a lifetime in which he will help coach a village football team, reunite warring brothers and attempt to save a tribe’s land – oh and perhaps even learn a little more about himself as well what is really important in this thing called life.

As a film, Finding Lenny isn’t anything you haven’t seen before, it is about an underdog taking on a giant through the medium of sport (in this case soccer) and in that respect the movie doesn’t hold anything new about it. However, the sheer local feel to the story, the fantastic South African scenery, and the great acting from guys like comic legend Barry Hilton, Russel Savadier, Yule Masiteng, and Ron Smerczak for example, bring this fun feel good drama, with a heavy splash of comedic elements, to life and will leave you smiling to yourself as it slowly wraps itself neatly up and spits out the ending credits.

It is well shot, features a great soundtrack and is really one of those “local is lekker” productions, meaning that there really isn’t a reason to skip it if you are a South African and looking for some good South African on-screen talent. Catch it on DSTV this month if you can – it really is well worth it! :)

Related Link: http://www.findinglenny.co.za/