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I don’t know about you all but this Thursday ended four long years of waiting for the 2018 edition of the FIFA World Cup. Football/soccer fans are a forgiving bunch … at least mostly. I remember when Russia and Qatar were selected as 2018 and 2022 world cup hosts. I and the rest of the world called bullshit on the blatant corruption and at the time vowed a boycott. Well, here I am watching every minute of every match and eating, sleeping, and drinking (lots) the beautiful game.

With three days and 8 matches down (and 56 to go), it’s time for some reflections:



A day before the World Cup kicked off, the FIFA Congress voted on who would host the 2026 World Cup. Well it might be old news by now, but the combined US/Mexico/Canada bid, better known as United 2026,  beat Morocco and will be the first to host a field of 48 teams with 80 total games across three countries in 2026. In fact, in a World Cup first, the opening match will consist of three matches held in each host country. I also heard that Atlanta might host a semi-final match at the Benz so time to start prepping. But honestly, this news was the smallest ray of sunshine for all US Supporters, most of whom are still crest fallen for not qualifying for Russia 2018. Let the games begin!


Match technology

goal line tech

Whether you love VAR or hate VAR, love goal line technology or could care less all where put to the test early on in this world cup. History was made in the France vs. Australia World Cup game on Saturday when an intervention by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) led to Les Bleus being awarded a penalty. It was the first time video technology had been used in the World Cup to directly influence a referee to change his decision. Technology intervened again later in the same match when France’s Paul Pogba’s shot was shown to have crossed the line by the goal-line technology system on the referee’s watch. For all the haters of technology in soccer and especially the use of VAR, Luddites your loosing.

Egypt’s biggest distraction

Mo Salah

Mo Salah’s injury has kept us all guessing and wondering when we will see the rising super star. Maybe in match 2 vs. Ru



Love him or leave him, he’s the world’s best and proved this again against Spain this week. A hat trick and late free kick equalizer vs the might Spaniards … insanity

Messi let down

messi pissed  The world looked on as Leo Messi missed a penalty (his 4th out of the last 7 he has taken for club and country) versus Iceland in Argentina’s opening WC match. Judging by his reaction post-game you would assume Argentina just lost another final to Germany. Plus, if you believe reports that Diego Maradona was arrested by Russian police for trying to force his way into the Argentine dressing room to confront Messi about the miss, it’s safe to say things are not shiny in Messi land. All right folks, get a grip, not only is Messi human but he gives his team the best chance to win any and every day of the week. And oh yeah, they rescued a point from this match and have plenty of opportunities to advance to the next round. Take a breadth world.



LUS-Soccer-Centennial-Germany-Football-Friendly-0613 (60)et’s backtrack a year to early June 2013 and the German National Team’s visit to the States and the Centennial Match vs, the U.S. National Team TRF headed out to DC to check out Die Mannschaft and enjoy all the festivities surrounding USMNT 100 year celebrations. The low light was a hapless loss by the Germans to the U.S, boys, the highlight was chanting “Miro wir lieben Dich” and “Kaiserslautern” as he took the practice pitch a day before the match.

Funny Fact: It turns out that our hotel (Hyatt Regency Washington) was the official U.S. Soccer Association HQ for the centennial celebration so we were greeted by literally 100s of local, regional and national U.S. soccer officials in town for the big event. Walking through the hotel decked out in Germany schwag was a blast especially when all of our chats with the officials focused on the bright future of the German NT, not their own. Of course, we toned things back a bit post-game on Sunday.

While on location, we took the chance to catch the Germans’ Saturday pre-match practice. Here’s a short vid edited and produced by the fabulously talented Victoria Hersey

Back to Miro Klose … he had just joined the team after winning the Italian Cup in Rome. While Klose was not able to break Gerd Mueller’s total national team goals record against the Americans, we’ll keep our fingers crossed he stays healthy and in form heading into next summer’s World Cup in Brazil. Update: Miro broke Gerd’s Mueller vs. Armenia almost a year after the US match in DC. After his late clutch goal vs. Ghana on Saturday, he’s also on track to break Ronaldo’s all time world cup goal record. I am hopefully he’ll get and seize his chance tommorrow!
US-Soccer-Centennial-Germany-Football-Friendly-0613 (16)

Roughly 12 months ago, TRF covered the 3rd annual Kicking & Screening (K+S) soccer film festival in New York City. We were and remain fascinated by the idea of a festival dedicated to nothing but football films; full length features, shorts, foreign, home-grown, and many never publicly screened before. At the time, we had a chance to interview Rachel Markus, Kicking & Screening brainchild and co-founder, about the festival’s background, the features and short films being screened, and the detailed festival schedule. So, when Rachel emailed me a few weeks back asking about my participation at this year’s 4th New York festival, I wanted to make sure we included a ‘second act’ interview.

From left: Rachel Markus, K+S co-founder, film/production crew of Rise and Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story, Greg Lalas (second from right), K+S co-founder, and Alexi Lalas, former USMNT player and K+S film panel participant

K+S New York 2012 Highlight Reel

  • World Premiere of “1:1: Thierry Henry” (June 28), “Gringos at the Gate” (June 27) and Rivals: Celtic vs. Rangers
  • US premiere of ‘The Four Year Plan and ‘The Last Proletarians of Football’
  • Festival Runs June 27-30 at World-Famous Tribeca Cinemas
  • June 27 & 28 screenings sold out but tickets still available for June 29 & 30th
  • Marquee sponsor KICKTV will stream some of the K+S NYC films in the near future as part of its new YouTube soccer documentary channel
  • 10 soccer films including 6 features and 4 shorts from 9 countries. See the complete K+S NYC 2012 schedule here.
  • 4 nights, 4 themes: June 27 ‘Enemies Forever: Great Rivalries’; June 28 ‘Yes, I Can: The Individual Spirit’; June 29 ‘Secrets of Success’; June 30 ‘Soccer & Politics’
  • Each film night includes post-screening panel discussions with producers & directors as well as an after party at the Varick room
  • K+S’s chosen charitable partner for 2012 is the international soccer nonprofit Coaches Across Continents, which uses football to improve the health and well-being of disadvantaged children in developing countries.
TRF’s Q&A with Rachel Markus about the Kicking + Screening Soccer Film Festival New York City, June 27-30

TRF: It’s been nearly a year since TRF attended the 2011 K+S Soccer Film Fest in New York City and you guys are now back with the 4th, 2012 edition. What has happened at K+S within the last year?

RM (Rachel Markus): K+S has been extremely busy and closely involved in various national and international football film festivals. After a very successful K+S NYC last July, we hosted our inaugural ‘Rewind: K+S London’ football film fest (with a tremendous amount of guidance from UK football media legends Grant Best and Tom Watt) an 8 day fall event spanning dozens of films and uniting football heroes of past and present. In addition, we were asked to help curate football films for the Kerala (India) International Film Fest and ended up adding 7 renowned indie football selections to the sports film program.  While NYC and London will remain our two annual staple festivals we are always looking to work with cities with a strong soccer culture to host smaller, satellite festivals. For example, we previously did this in DC, were involved in a similar event in Liverpool, England and are planning a K+S Portland later this fall.

TRF: What are the main film fest highlights this year?

RM: This year we decided to theme each film night (5 total) and screen multiple features at one time due to an increase in fantastic film submissions we received. The first two nights include the highest profile films with ‘Gringos at the Gate‘, a feature on why US vs. Mexico has become the most fiery and socially significant clash in international soccer, and ‘1:1 Thierry Henry‘, a behind the scenes documentary into the French football legend’s move to the MLS’ New York Red Bulls. The Henry film in particular is sure to attract a drove of local Arsenal supporters and Red Bull players and staff.  Other incredible features include  ‘The Four Year Plan’, Queen Park Rangers’ future with new billionaire owners, and ‘The Last Proletarians of Football’, Sven-Göran Eriksson’s socialist-leaning revolution that led IFK Göteborg’s semi-pro squad to the 1982 UEFA Cup

TRF: Last year, we thought the post-screening panel discussions were riveting and very well attended. Are any panels planned for this year?

RM: The panels are definitely the most popular aspect of our screenings since film goers have a chance to meet the producer and directors behind the films as well as football personalities who show up. Several of the films’ directors including 1:1 Thierry Henry director, Austrian Verena Soltiz, will be there.

K+S founder Greg Lalas chats with Simon Laub and Sam Potter, producers of Soka Afrika, during a K+S NY Film Fest panel discussion

TRF: How many film submissions did you have for the 2012 New York edition?

RM: We had a record 50 submission including numerous short films. We ended up choosing 10 selections including six feature-length films and four shorts.

TRF: I know that Wednesday and Thursday are already sold out but if I can only make it to one other night of the screenings which one do you recommend?

RM: Friday or Saturday nights are good options, not only for soccer fans, but film lovers and any one interested in idea exchange and panel discussions.

TRF: We see that KICKTV is a new sponsor this year. Tell us more about this partnership.

RM: Sure. KICKTV, our marquee sponsor, is a digital network dedicated to soccer. Like the site says, it’s YouTube’s global headquarters to the beautiful game.  Ideologically, it’s a great fit for both entities and will help broaden the viewership and interest level of soccer films. We know they will soon launch a documentary-type channel on their network so many of the films we feature at K+S festivals will be available there as well. While we continue to value the New York Red Bull’s support and community partnership, we are really excited about what KICKTV will bring to the festival and the global soccer film enthusiast.

While TRF will not be able to attend the 2012 K+S NYC soccer film fest, we will continue to support this worthy initiative from afar and look forward to seeing some of this year’s content on KICKTV in the future.

Spring has sprung and April Fool’s has just past. Besides much warmer weather, cleaning obsessions and trying yet another weight loss program to get you trim for summer, spring and specifically April means football (soccer) viewing at its finest. Considering we have a European Championship this summer, and very tight domestic league competitions in England, Germany and Italy, there are numerous barn burners (aka hot matches)  on tap within the next 10 weeks. We selected 44 ‘must see’ matches, for a total of 3,960 minutes ( or 65 hours) of viewing pleasure spanning European leagues (20) as well as Euro 2012, Champions League, Europe League, and domestic league cups (24 matches). This post focuses on the match-heavy and tres important month of April.

Bayern Munich celebrated it's last Bundesliga title in 2010 under Dutchman Louis van Gaal

The Bundesliga serves up 4 killer matches, all critical in determining who will be the king of the hill in German football come May 5th:

[APRIL 11] FC Bayern vs. Borussia Dortmund: Dortmund carries a 3 game winning streak into this game including a sweep of the series during their championship year in 2010/11. This game is obviously crucial to both clubs and kicks-off a brutal 3 game stretch for Dortmund that has them playing the top 3 Bundesliga teams in Bayern, Schalke and Gladbach.

[April 13] SpVgg Greuther Fuerth vs. FC St.Pauli: Fuerth and Pauli will battle for who gets promoted to top flight German football. St. Pauli has the most rabid, die-hard fans in German soccer so a lack of talent might be made up by pure passion.

[April 14] Schalke 04 vs. Borussia Dortmund: This ‘Revierderby’ matchup is unrivaled for pure hatred and disdain between the two sides who are a mere 25 miles apart but leagues a part (at least recently) in terms of match form and success.

[April 21] Dortmund vs. Gladbach: Another local affair between the two Borussia’s. Dortmund is aiming to repeat as Bundesliga champion and Gladbach is hoping to snag a Champions League spot for next year. Incidentally, Gladbach forward star and national team member Stefan Reuss is switching to Dortmund this summer.

[April 28] FC Bayern vs. VFB Stuttgart: It’s the Bayern vs. the Schwaben in a long-time rivalry. Mario Gomez, a one time rising star at Stuttgart will look to impress Bayern fans on his way to a goal-getter title (currently tied for 1st with Schalke’s Klaas Jan, ‘the hunter’, Huntelaar.

Will St. Pauli climb back into 1st division German football? The fans say 'Ja'.

Serie A is the best that Italian top division soccer has to offer. While AC Milan and Juventus Turin will surely battle into May to determine who ends up with the league trophy, surprise team Lazio hopes to hold on to a lucrative Champions League spot.

Can Miro work his magic once again vs. Napoli and Juventus down the stretch?

[April 7] Napoli vs. Lazio Roma: It’s the battle of Miro Klose’s 3rd place Romans vs. their 4th place Sicilian rivals. Will Rome’s Olympic Stadium be witness to yet another epic finish?

[April 11] Juventus vs. Lazio Roma: Only 5 days after the Napoli challenge, Lazio travel to Juventus to take on a squad determined to raise the league trophy for the first time since 2002/3.

The English Premier League has enjoyed a wild suspenseful year so here are 4 must see matches to add to your DVR lineup.

[April 8] Arsenal vs. Manchester City: Arsenal had a 8 game winning streak broken last weekend and City has struggled lately. If City does not fetch 3 points in this one, I see their title hopes rapidly vanishing.

[April 11] Queens Park Rangers vs. Swansea City: Both QPR and Swansea were promoted to the EPL last year and both are fighting hard to stay on top. Ironically, QPR has performed best this season vs. much better opponents so that might indicate Swansea will win.

[April 15] Chelsea vs. Tottenham Hotspur, FA Cup Semi-final: Chelsea faces Barca on the 18th in the CL semi so it will be interesting to see who lines up for this ‘not as important’ match.

[April 21] Arsenal vs. Chelsea: Depending on how Chelsea performs in its home leg of the Champions League semi-final vs. Barcelona, some of the top players might be rested for the ensuing CL battle.

Can Manchester City wrestle the EPL title away from 19 time winner Manchester United?

[April 30] Manchester City vs. Manchester United: Hopefully, City does its part to remain competitive and we’ll have ourselves a blood match. I suspect Man U will look to avenge it’s 1:6 thumping back in October.

La Liga (Spanish Primera Division) is the most uncompetitive top European league … even the race of 1 and 2 is not as close this year with Real Madrid holding onto a 6 point lead with el Clasico part 2 yet to be played.

[April 8] Real Madrid vs. Valencia CF: Valencia is in 3rd place, albeit almost 30 points behind Real, so at least on paper this could be a close affair.

[April 11] Atletico Madrid vs. Real Madrid: It’s the battle of the top teams in Madrid and bragging rights … enough said!

[April 21] FC Barcelona vs. Real Madrid: El Clasico (part 2 in 2011/12) will still be the most viewed domestic football match in the world, despite the fact that Real Madrid has not won since May 2008. Who knows, the two Spanish giants might meet again in the Champion League final in May.

Atletico Madrid celebrate their 2010/11 Europa League title

As of this afternoon, the UEFA Champions League semi-finals are set and feature 4 breathtaking match ups …

[April 17] FC Bayern vs. Real Madrid: Can Robbin avenge bad times at his old Spanish club and can Oezil and Khedira show their fellow German national teammates on the Bayern squad how it’s done? Return-leg in Madrid, April 25.

[April 18] Chelsea FC vs. FC Barcelona: Can an aging Chelsea squad continue their fairy tale CL run and upset a heavy favored Barca? Return leg in Barcelona, April 24.

Stay tuned for must-see matches in May (domestic cup finals) and June (Euro 2012 battles).

The Free Beer Movement is nothing short of amazing … FBM’s mission states …”it’s a modest idea to create new and future fans of the game through the power of free beer.” We love this message for several reasons; we love beer, period, we equally dig the idea of spreading the football/soccer gospel to non-believers via a universal (beer flavored) language, and, we thoroughly enjoy sharing ‘success stories’ and the real reason behind what we do … With that said, we teamed up with Chief FBMer Danny Beerseed to properly usher in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup with a guided drinking tour of all nine German host cities and match venues. Dan has the beer-savvy audience at and I, as the resident German and long time connoisseur of Deutsches Bier, have the 411 on the +49 and its liquid, world cup worthy treasures.

We knew there would be a lot of ground to cover in a country as old and beer thirsty as Germany so we opted to provide three related features. First, a primer of sorts on the 2011 women’s tournament pairing intriguing football ‘did you knows’ with tasty beer facts. See the complete FBM post here. Second, we started the guided tour of WWC cities and beer recommendations for each. Check out Part I (Berlin-Dresden-Augsburg-Sinsheim) and stay tuned for Part II within the next week which will conclude with the last 5 cities of the tour.

Introducing TheRealFutbol

Posted: June 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

Welcome fellow football/soccer/fussball fans to blog and football resource site.

The site will be a fun place to visit for all football fans, whether they prefer the American version or the ‘real’ one. We’ll include features for readers new to the beautiful game and heavier stuff for true connoisseurs. We’ll analyse specific leagues and teams as well as  interview interesting personalities and football people you’d wanna know. And, we’ll always remember to keep it moving since the football world is frantically fast paced.

Here’s a bit more on our mission …

I have spent a good amount of time recently reading loads of football blogs, chat rooms, tweets, and articles as well as listening to more podcasts than I knew existed, and the wealth of info and knowledge when it comes to the sport is truly overwhelming. I have noticed three main ‘themes’ when it comes to this proliferation of football content; live game/play-by-play reporting  and analysis of league play (on a local, national and especially international league level); ‘footy’ analysis and commentary for the hardcore fan and closet manager not specifically tied to specific games or results; and, special interest sites focused on football … and beer, music, ‘fandom’, film, clothing/gear, etc. With that said, I have not come across many content sources dedicated to the occasional fan, soccer/football newbie or god forbid American football lover, who might be open to checking out the real futbol (but doesn’t know where to start). Based on money, egos and bad lawyers, the latter will have a lot of extra time this Fall to focus on the other foot/ball sport.

With that said … I have been a football fan for 30+years and cannot wait to share my passion and fanaticism with you. Let the game begin. Jobst, the TheRealFutboler.

Follow therealfutboler on Twitter