Everyone who cares is already fully aware of what happened last night. And there are more than enough comments and opinions flying around to render anything extra from Grandad superfluous. So just adding our bit to the chorus of thanks for a great effort by everyone involved.
Looking forward there is still that play-off for third place but that can only be an anti-climax after the earlier rounds.
And as the football euphoria dies down we have the prospect of witnessing some dangerous games being played by politicians of all parties on both sides of the Channel. A wrong move here would mean that we will all suffer – and for well beyond the 2022 World Cup …
It’s hard to believe but the situation for England is unchanged one week further on – continued dry, sunny weather and still being in contention at the FIFA World Cup.
With lawns around the nation baked yellow, burning moorlands, political turmoil and bumper exposure for Budweiser we face the final two games for the four teams that remain.
Clearly everyone backing England want the final match to be on Sunday – especially since the alternative is a pointless match to determine a meaningless third place on Saturday.
What more can be said but … Come On England!
England is enjoying that rare situation of having a football team still in the FIFA World Cup and a continuous spell of dry, sunny weather. A combination that is both exceptional and one that puts a strain on the nation’s drinks supplies. Clearly a situation that the beer and soft drinks suppliers did not allow for in their sales projections … even though closures at the carbon dioxide suppliers may have contributed to the threatened shortages.
At the football England’s progress has been made that much sweeter by a degree of schadenfreude at the early departures of Germany, Argentina and Portugal. However tonight’s game against Colombia may be too tough a barrier to England’s hopes of a quarter final place. But a win tonight – along with forecasts of continued warm weather – could clear out the remaining stocks of drinks Chez Grandad well before the weekend.
It’s More Than A Game – Two games into the FIFA World Cup and England have already scored eight, yes eight, goals. Even though this is already old news for millions, Grandads supporting England just had to register it here. It might never happen again in a life time!
Model Solution – After our posting about hydrogen powered trains comes the news that Cadent have speculative plans to build a hydrogen gas plant somewhere on Merseyside. Cadent have floated the £900m HyNet project – with claims it could reduce environmentally-harmful emissions and could create or secure thousands of jobs over 30 years.
However this scheme does not produce hydrogen cleanly from water and electricity but rather through breaking down natural gas into, mainly, carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrogen. Essentially producing much the same quantity of harmful CO2 as would burning gas in the conventional way. It is a scheme totally dependent on a method of safely storing all the CO2 produced. Cadent claim that this can be done by pumping it into the gas fields under the Irish Sea that are due to be decommissioned soon.
Many doubt that this scheme will get tax-payer funding since domestic gas heating is scheduled to be culled by 2030 – and that’s just twelve years away. However Merseyside industry may see this as a way to get around their own restrictions on burning natural gas – especially if funded by the tax-payer.
As the 2018 football world cup competition starts in Russia many Grandads must be experiencing a mixture of hope and resignation. Coming from a generation that saw England’s only victory the intervening twelve competitions seem a long series of anti-climaxes much worse than even the annual Eurovision Song Contest put-downs.
Despite this the World Cup does provide the prospect of a national event that even extreme activists will not be able to link to Brexit or climate change. So let’s hope for a degree of success for the England team since many of us just need a break from a growing frustration with our weak and ineffective politicians. Many other sports have made big strides on the world stage – can this year be the time for British football to get back to the top?
Beers and TV remotes at the ready for 4pm today and then through the other games that build-up to England v Tunisia at 7pm on Monday.
No more mentions of Brexit here as long as England are still in with a chance! And if they win – who will be worried about a EU-free future?
Olympic Build Up – Yesterday the Rio Olympics organisers announced that the delayed track cycling test event had now been canceled entirely due to more delays and problems at the velodrome. However Brazil does not have an alternative venue to fall back on – so the new track just has to be fully functional by August.
You Know It Makes Sense – This week came reports that customers at a Sainsbury’s cafe were being stopped from having black pudding with their full English breakfasts – due to the religious beliefs of the chef … It seems that truth really is stranger than fiction.
A Message From Europe – With Brussels being the latest city to suffer at the hands of suicidal religious fanatics the whole concept of a unified European state with free movement and common values is again called into question.
The differences between the many regional, ethnic and religious groups – even in western Europe – are deep seated and strongly held. But, even with these atrocities on their very doorstep, dedicated eurocrats have already been pushing for more money and more integration as solutions to the latest security breakdown.
Despite so many citizens wanting to stick to their traditions, religions and regional locations the message from the top remains – more power for us. And for you – Stop moaning. Keep paying. There is no way out.
Today sees the start of the World Track Cycling Championships at the site of the 2012 Olympics in London. Many competitors there will be hoping to show selectors that they are on track for winning medals at the next Olympics in Rio. Certainly Team GB will have their best opportunity yet to shine in front of a home crowd before August comes around. Many other sports will have the same objectives in mind during the build up . And even the media will start to pick up its coverage of less popular sports as the Games draw nearer.
Historically Britain’s medal winning improvements in cycling have their roots in the move of sport’s administration and potential team members to new facilities in Manchester. However the results in Rio are unlikely to be so full of gold as they were up to 2012. Other countries have followed the British example, developed new sports science facilities and lifted their game to the same level – and beyond. Other sports are at different points in their cycle of relative performances. And this time swimming and athletics could be on the up but team sports could be down. The sheer scale of the global sports industry in 2016 means that vast sums can be made and spent winning the biggest prizes – with the Olympics being right there at the top.
Meanwhile on the ground in Rio the actual construction of the new Olympic velodrome is running late – to the extent that the test event planned for late March has now been moved out to 30 April. That will leave just three months before the Games opening – not much time to correct any snags or design faults. But even without any venue problems – and nasty mosquitoes – winning gold in Rio is going to be that bit harder than ever before …
Today has been presented as the beginning of a new era at FIFA -the top level controllers of football and one of the wordls’ largest sporting federations. The Congress in Switzerland, where so many federations are based, was called to adopt a wide range of reforms and elect a new president to replace the suspended Sepp Blatter.
The reforms went through with a large majority but the credibility of the vote for the president took a blow before it even started with the last-minute suspension of Kuwait and Indonesia. Then the South African candidate, Tokyo Sexwale, withdrew his nomination straight after completing his presentation. The four remaining candidates failed to reach the necessary target to win – so a second round of voting was required. A vote that still included Jérôme Champagne despite the fact he only manged seven votes (out of 200+) in the first round. However the next vote did produce a clear winner – the Swiss / Italian Gianni Infantino. So that’s another FIFA issue resolved.
But will the new president really lead FIFA into a open and honest future? Certainly the fact that 41 people and entities connected with FIFA were indicted by the US justice department on corruption charges last year must have reduced the numbers that remain. And if the Swiss authorities are equally committed then some more will also go.
However the organisation has a central and fundamental weakness – each member association gets one vote, as well as an equal slice of the FIFA revenue pie regardless of its size and footballing might. This provides a veneer of democracy but in practice it gives smaller countries disproportionate influence. A vote from San Marino or the Faroe Islands carries as much weight as a vote from Germany, Italy, Russia or Brazil. This makes it easy for significant numbers of votes to be promised in support of individuals and schemes that the countries with the biggest memberships would not even consider.
So unless and until FIFA adopts a voting system that has some form of proportional representation the opportunities for corruption will still be there. And the amounts of cash involved will be too great to resist …
The official BBC entry for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest has been notable by its lack of impact so far. But yesterday saw the launch of another song aimed at a Europe-wide event. The gathering in Ripon to mark 100 days to go for the 2014 Tour de France featured a surprise – an official song for Yorkshire’s Grand Départ was announced. Not just as an idea but with a full performance on the BBC regional news programme.
With no feedback from any music business Grandads we could be wrong but Alistair Griffin’s The Road seemed to hit all the right notes. Quite how well the track will be promoted beyond the Tour’s two days in Yorkshire is unclear but it certainly deserves to be a successful sporting anthem well beyond July. Bravo …
While the BBC keeps piling on the stories about hard times in the UK – food banks, public service cuts, pay rises below inflation, etc – in reality the economic conditions are far better than those in many other countries. And even with the UK’s ever increasing debts, there are still the funds available to back some major, and unique, sporting events this coming summer.
First the world of cycling will be focused on Belfast for a unique start to the Tour of Italy – in just 45 days time. The Giro will spend a total of three days in Ireland having to make an exception to its long tradition by starting one day earlier to allow for traveling back to Italy and stage 4. Since this annual event is ranked second only to the Tour de France big crowds are expected.
Speaking of which – Yorkshire’s successful bid to host the 2014 Tour de France means that there are now only 100 days to the race’s start in Leeds. With an estimated cost of £27 million there are plenty of locals hoping that spendin’ all that brass achieves its promised returns. But it’s not just Yorkshire involved with Cambridge and London also hosting stage 3 on the Monday after (7-July).
And Scotland is not being left out with the Commonwealth Games due to start in Glasgow just 16 days after the Tour de France leaves – on 23-July. With 17 sports at 14 venues spread over 12 days the Games can claim to be the biggest sporting event in the UK since the Olympics.
So all these countdown clocks are running and their organizers are just hoping that the British weather cooperates. But that should not be a problem if you believe today’s newspaper story – Summer heatwaves here to stay as seasons become more extreme thanks to climate change, say experts. [Link]