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Jimmy Higgins

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England have beaten Germany for the first time when it mattered in over 55 years, though no one can recall what that was for. England will face the winner of Ukraine and Sweden, which sets up one of the easier (on paper) fixtures. Belgium v Italy will be an effective Finals in the Quarterfinals.
 

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Oddly enough I haven't found myself that interested in the Euros this year, while I followed the last few Euros and World Cup closely. I think this is largely a product of following Club Football and The Guardian Football Weekly for the past few years; I'm now much more interested in what's happening there. The Champion's League feels like the real Euro and World title to me now.

Where the World and Euro Cup are pretty much just dominated by football cultures. Kind of like Canada and hockey, it gets boring watching us win year after year.
 

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Apparently Germany and Spain have won it three times, and France have won it twice. I do remember watching Spain's titles in 08' and 12', they had a great side for a while.
 

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Apparently football is a thing in South America too as their continental tournament of Covid-19 '21 is into their quarterfinals with all the usual suspects. Brazil faces a Chile team that is struggling on scoring. Peru takes on Paraguay. Paraguay usually gets this deep, but then struggles. The other 'guay Uruguay will face Colombia and Argentina takes on Ecuador. Would expect Brazil, Argentina to get through along with Uruguay and Peru. Chile, Colombia, and Ecuador have 2 wins amongst themselves, and Chile only beat poor ole Bolivia. Paraguay are 2-0-2, which could be a recipe for an upset, as they beat Chile and poor ole Bolivia.
 

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The Three Lions go through to the next round after beating Germany 2-0. Germany not at their best and England take full advantage to set up a quarter final showdown against Ukraine in Rome. You have to fancy England's chances but Ukraine are no mugs. Is football coming home ?
 

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Azzurri go through, 2-1 against Belgium. This Italy team is like no other in recent memory. They are playing some fantastic football at times with more than a touch of the tiki-taka we saw from Spain a few years ago but doing more with it. Their first touch is incredible. This reminded me when in my younger days playing in a seven aside tournament and we played an Italian team. We got crushed. We were chasing shadows and left the field drained and exhausted while the Italians barely broke a sweat. Funnily enough it was one of the best games I played in, it was a privilege to be on he same pitch as these talented athletes. They were a bit cocky mind but they were entitled to be.

Spain v Italy next round. Oh my, I don't fancy Spain's chances of going through based on their stuttering form but you never can tell.
 

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The Three Lions go through to the semi finals after a 4-0 win over what has to be said, a pretty shit Ukraine. Next up for England is a very impressive Denmark. England will find the Danes a far stiffer test than previous teams but England have yet to concede a goal so far so this game will be very interesting.
 

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Copa America - Peru needed penalties to defeat Paraguay. Uruguay didn't score against Colombia and lost in penalties 4-2. Brazil and Argentina managed wins in their quarterfinals.

Brazil defeated Peru in the first semi-final and we await to see whether Argentina will underperform against Colombia.


Euro 2020...1 - England faces Denmark today in the first semi-final to see who faces the winner of Spain v Italy, the second semi-final. There is no third semi-final. England have been executing when it matters and Denmark is somehow ranked 10th in the world, so they must be good too. The winner would be the presumed underdog against Spain or Italy.
 

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Azzurri go through to the final after beating Spain in a penalty shoot out after the game ended 1-1. Spain were a little bit unlucky as they were the better team. They kept Italy on the backfoot for much of the game, preventing the Italians from making those incisive passes to create chances. Spain's equalizing goal was a great goal and well taken. The game was played in front of a packed Wembley Stadium, something like 50k.

We shall see who the Azzurri face in the final tomorrow after England and Denmark play.
 

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The Three Lions face off against Denmark in a few hours. The winner will play Italy in the final. England have yet to concede a goal so they will be very difficult to beat. Denmark are also very good defensively but England have a slightly better threat up front. I predict that this game will be decided on penalties after the game finishes 1-1. This does not bode well for England as their record in penalty shootouts is not good. This Euros tournament has been pretty good from the games I've seen.

In Copa America Argentina went through to the finals after a penalty shootout. Argentina keeper was outstanding.

So the weekend will see Copa America decided between Argentina and Brazil on Saturday.

On Sunday it will be the Euros final. Italy v England/Denmark.
 

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The Three Lions win 2-1 after extra time. This was a very entertaining game and both teams can certainly play. The game ebbed and flowed with England finishing the stronger of the two but the winning goal came from a controversial penalty award. I have to say Raheem Sterling is a diving little shit. Anyway, Kane took the penalty, keeper kept it out but Kane blasted the rebound in to the goal to make it 2-1. Denmark started to run out of steam and just couldn't get enough possession to create good chances. McGuire was solid at the back. So England go through to their first tournament final since 1966 I believe. Oh my !

The Three Lions v Azzurri on Sunday. hopefully it will be as good a game as today.
 

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Argentina lifted the Copa America for the first time in 28 years after beating Brazil 1-0 in Brazil. Angel Di Maria scoring the only goal of the game which was a very good goal midway through the first half. The first half was a game of attrition as the tackles and the fouls came thick and fast. Not a lot of football being played. The second half was dominated by Brazil but they were unable to break through. Messi had a decent chance to score in the second half but couldn't convert. Neymar was brutalized throughout the game and he will be sore today. Poor lad was devastated at losing.
 

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More penalty heartache for the Three Lions as Azzurii win the tournament after a penalty shootout when the match finished 1-1 AET. England scored first in the second minute of the game. Did that work against them ? They certainly didn’t press forward very frequently after that and struggled to get possession and pressure Italy. Pretty good game though as England held their own against a good Italian side.
 

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More penalty heartache for the Three Lions as Azzurii win the tournament after a penalty shootout when the match finished 1-1 AET. England scored first in the second minute of the game. Did that work against them ? They certainly didn’t press forward very frequently after that and struggled to get possession and pressure Italy. Pretty good game though as England held their own against a good Italian side.

Good game!
 

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I was at the gym when the Euro final was ending, and was only half watching, until there was this loud, boisterous outburst, which was when Italy's second pk guy missed. There happened to be several England fans there, apparently trying to bring their hooliganism to our placid shores, tsk. I started watching and when the third guy up for England missed, I let out an unintentionally loud laugh, while the gym was all of a sudden quiet again otherwise. I mean, that was such a bad miss, I couldn't help it. The English hooligans were silent from then on. Hard loss, it was.
 

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Lionel Messi, model railroad magnate and global Football superstar of the likes of only the absolute top ten ever to play the game, like Joe Max Moore, Landon Donavon, Alexi Lala's goatee, and probably some Venezuelan.... what was I talking about?

Oh that's right, Lionel Messi, has announced that he won't be resigning with Barcelona, a team he debuted for back in 2004, before forward passing was even legal in the sport.

The repercussions to this are huge, for Jack Grealish, who was about to make with a 100 million pound transfer from Aston Villa to Man City (of which is just silly talk... unless you were in management at Liverpool, and it was considered a great investment that'd sop more debt on the franchise). With a talent like Messi, the powers that be at Man City will probably drop Grealish like a spoiled ham and start the number crunching to see just how much financial trickery they need to do in order to illegally inject enough cash into their franchise from the owner to be able to afford a football player that makes Michael Jordan's final contracts with the Chicago Bulls look much less crazy.

Certainly PSG will be in the running as well for Messi because they have promised their supporters that they'll successfully buy a Champions League title one of these days.

All I can say to Messi is Mercyside has a rich Argentinian heritage that dates back centuries and playing there would be no different than player at home in Argentina.
 

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Who is responsible for Messi's Exit from Barcelona?

The best footballer in history leaves his home club. If there was ever a time to read some sports journalism, this is it. I checked out the above article and a piece in the New York Times today and it made for interesting reading. From what I can tell it boils down to the fact that Barcelona has been mismanaged and can't afford him anymore.

It was also interesting to note the lengths that La Liga went to to keep him in Spain.

It's looking like PSG, but if by some miracle he ends up in the premier league I'll definitely be renewing my DAZN subscription.
 

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Spanish football is a lie. Barcelona and Real Madrid finances are terribly unfair for the rest of the league.

Messi surprises all and signs with PSG instead of Crystal Palace. I mean Crystal Palace signed Shearer for a crazy price one time, so the odds were definitely in their favor. Instead Messi goes to a terribly bloated salary team in France that failed to win their own title last season to a much lesser funded Lille.

EPL season starts this weekend with Arsenal to play EPL first timers Brentford. Last season was plagued by a plague and all sorts of weird stuff happened. Liverpool was the best team in Europe excluding one-third of the season. Manchester City are the heavy favorites because they are outspending the other top teams by like a couple million pounds. With England having officially given up on dealing with Covid and the entire nation apparently contracting it, it'll be interesting to see how the season unfolds. Especially relative to the rest of Europe and the Champions League.
 

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USA bolts up the FIFA world rankings to #10! I mean, if it is a rankings list, you know it has to be accurate. The US defeated Mexico in the Gold Cup final after dismissing global powerhouses Canada (1-0), Martinque (6-1), and Haiti (1-0) in the Round Robin and then Jamaica and Qatar... again 1-0. This massive shift in momentum for the US in soccer has placed it above Denmark, the Netherlands, and Germany. Yeah... right?

Mexico, who lost twice recently to the US... are ranked 9th. It is nice that the US has won the Gold Cup and the Nation's Cup, but I'm still putting my bets on them making the semi-finals in the next World Cup on hold for a bit longer.
 

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USA bolts up the FIFA world rankings to #10! I mean, if it is a rankings list, you know it has to be accurate. The US defeated Mexico in the Gold Cup final after dismissing global powerhouses Canada (1-0), Martinque (6-1), and Haiti (1-0) in the Round Robin and then Jamaica and Qatar... again 1-0. This massive shift in momentum for the US in soccer has placed it above Denmark, the Netherlands, and Germany. Yeah... right?

Mexico, who lost twice recently to the US... are ranked 9th. It is nice that the US has won the Gold Cup and the Nation's Cup, but I'm still putting my bets on them making the semi-finals in the next World Cup on hold for a bit longer.

If Martinique (pop 375,000) manages to score a goal against your national side, even in the context of a 6-1 defeat, you should automatically go second to bottom of the FIFA rankings, only above Martinique.

Shit, if you ignore women, children, and the over 35s, there's barely enough men left aged 18-35 on Martinique to make up a squad.
 

Jimmy Higgins

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Fans in Nice lose their fucking minds... and almost in a single moment, seem to remember, for a moment, where they are, who they are, and SHIT! we aren't supposed to be here... as if the endorphin hit magically disappeared in a moment and they realize "Oh fuck, I could get banned for life doing this!"

[YOUTUBE]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21Om63zZN6E[/YOUTUBE]

The tale is that fans were tossing plastic water bottles at Marseille players and the Marseille players were done with it after the player to take the corner got hit in the back by one. He aimlessly throws the bottle back into the crowd. That got the home fans angry... and then another Marseille player kicks a ball into the crowd, and a small, but hardly not negligible amount of fans pour onto the pitch.

It is one of those moments when fans forget they are attending a fucking football match not anything important.

Marseille would walk out of the game. Football players should never throw or kick things into the fans... though arguably the one player may have been "trying to give the water bottle back". ;) Kicking the soccer ball was a bad idea. Of course, the refs and stadium staff did nothing regarding the throwing of stuff before the incident, so I imagine Lyon is in trouble for that. In defense of Lyon, some of their players did very well, at their own risk, of trying to keep invaders off the pitch.
 

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Holy cow, Cristiano Ronaldo has signed for Manchester Utd. Even at 36 he is an exceptional athlete and football player. And streets ahead of that donkey Fred.
 

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Ronaldo, the GOAT scored two goals on his return to Manchester Utd. What a player. But will he get Man Utd the premier league title? Too early to say but he’s going to make things interesting.

Lukaku, he’s a mystery to me. A more cumbersome player I have rarely seen and yet he’s a goal scoring machine. He couldn’t trap a bag of cement, his first touch is usually horrible but he’s very successful in front of goal. All the best Lukaku.
 

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The wheels are coming off at Manchester United as they are beaten 0-1 at Old Trafford by Aston Villa.

But the game of the day was between Brentford and Liverpool. These two teams served up a scintillating game of end to end football. It has been a while since I enjoyed an EPL game as much as this 3-3 thriller.
 

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Liverpool and Man City put on a classic today. Salah scored what will be a top ten, maybe five, or best goal of the year to go up 2-1, only to have City drive back. The game was incredible, and definitely vindication that Liverpool is back.
 

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How much longer can OGS hang in at Manchester Utd. Liverpool absolutely destroyed them at the weekend. Liverpool were cruising at 5-0 when Paul Pogba was sent off around the 60th minute for the most stupid of challenges. Pogba really is an albatross. Liverpool were then content to see the game out without inflicting any further humiliation on Utd which was a shame. Ronaldo had a pretty decent goal ruled offside thanks to VAR. TBF to Utd, they did look like contenders for a 15 minute spell in the first half but that was it.

And Barcelona sack Ronald Koeman. The cash strapped club need to come up with 10m euro to end his contract. Former player Xavi will take over and his current club will need about $850k compensation. WTF, where does Barcelona get their money from?
 

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OGS survives another week as Manchester Utd brush aside Tottenham 3-0. Spurs manager Santo was sacked on Sunday after a run of terrible results and performances. Spurs look to have lined up Antonio Conte to replace Santo but what can be done with the Spurs squad? The club have been struggling ever since their Champions League final in 2019.
 

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How on earth is OGS still hanging on at Manchester Utd. They were torn apart again, this time by Manchester City and I can only think that Pep must have felt sorry for OGS and eased off Utd during their 0-2 win.

A bit of an upset (?) as West Ham beat Liverpool 3-2 but to be fair, there were a couple of questionable decisions from the referee. Chelsea unable to take maximum points from lowly Burnley means the London club could not put some distance between the Man City and Liverpool.

I'm not a huge fan of the EPL but this is shaping up as a pretty interesting season in the EPL thus far. Brighton and Hove Albion have impressed me the few times I have seen them. A very entertaining team to watch.
 

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West Ham pulled one out against Liverpool. Klopp proved his lack of class with his postgame whines. Now people are talking about WHU breaking into the top 4. That would require that a rather unlikely period of injury-free games from their important players Antonio (who always has leg problems), Rice and Ogbona (who may be out with an ACL injury).
 

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Canada upset Mexico in Edmonton yesterday in probably their biggest win since taking the Gold Cup back in 2000. This puts Canada atop the table for World Cup qualification in CONCACAF. 6 games remaining, they are 7 points clear of 5th. Top three qualify for the World Cup Finals, while a 4th place finish puts the team in a qualifier.

Atop the table, it is pretty tight. Canada stands at 16 points, US at 15, Mexico and Panama at 14. So it won't take much of a slip to fall into a qualifier. With the win against Mexico, that means their toughest game is done, and they took three points from it. They play the US two games from now after a fixture against Honduras.

It is difficult to tell if Canada is doing awesome or if the CONCACAF is falling apart.
 

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Canada upset Mexico in Edmonton yesterday in probably their biggest win since taking the Gold Cup back in 2000. This puts Canada atop the table for World Cup qualification in CONCACAF. 6 games remaining, they are 7 points clear of 5th. Top three qualify for the World Cup Finals, while a 4th place finish puts the team in a qualifier.

Atop the table, it is pretty tight. Canada stands at 16 points, US at 15, Mexico and Panama at 14. So it won't take much of a slip to fall into a qualifier. With the win against Mexico, that means their toughest game is done, and they took three points from it. They play the US two games from now after a fixture against Honduras.

It is difficult to tell if Canada is doing awesome or if the CONCACAF is falling apart.
I thought CONCACAF was an ersatz coffee made from horse chestnuts during wartime rationing.
 

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Well the axe has inevitably fallen on OSG at Man Utd. After a 4-1 mauling at the hands of Watford (WATFORD FFS) the board has sacked him.
 

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Manchester United isn't too far down on the table, but point wise, there is a growing chasm. I'm not certain OSG is to blame, seeing Managers don't score goals.

Liverpool dismantled Arsenal. A little part of me always glows at the frustration of the Fire Wenger idiots with results like this.
 

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Manchester City have all but sealed their fourth title in five years after a 1-0 win against Chelski.

Manchester Utd continue to struggle after squandering a 2-0 lead against Aston Villa. Coutinho scored on his debut.
 

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Everton sack Benetiz after loss to Norwich City. Everton sit only 6 points clear of relegation... well eights points clear of Burnley who have two games in hand, and then 7 points clear of Newcastle of whom Everton have one game in hand. So, Everton, on 19 points, are looking safe-ish to the 40 mark which is usually enough to save oneself from relegation.

Everton have been trashed by poor managers and now need someone else to clean up. This sounds like a job for a Roberto Martinez type, who managed to keep Wigan up in the EPL longer than they should have.
 

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Liverpool had a number of pieces in place, but it wasn't until the signing of van Dijk and Allison that Liverpool became top class. And Allison today showed that he is either the best or one of the best keepers in the world, in saving Liverpool's 3 points today. Otherwise, Liverpool might lose, forget about a draw.

It might seem bad to lose to Palace, but Liverpool are without their top two strikers. L'pool looked great in the first half, not so good in the second half (or maybe Palace looked much better in the second half). It took a 50/50 PK VAR call to put the game out of reach.
 

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CONCACAF World Cup qualifying is restarting. 6 matches are left, and as expected, Canada is in first place.

*spit take*

Canada is in first place... in soccer...?!?!?! They are also the only undefeated team. They did benefit a bit with playing Mexico at home, so that likely won't be repeated on Mexico's turf.

The top 3 teams are definitely in, the fourth plays in a qualifier. The top four teams are separated by 2 points. Costa Rica needs to turn it up for the final six games in order to make up their 5 point deficit to fourth place.

Mexico take on mid-table squads, while the US and Canada manage against a bottom table team and then each other, in Hamilton, Ontario at the relatively new Tim Horton's Field (or if memory serves, No Parking Stadium).
 

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Former West Ham United star, Frank Lampard to be thrown to wolves in Everton manager appointment.

I'm not certain what they are expecting Lampard to achieve here. I suppose it is better than Gerrard (due to former allegiance), but Everton are a broken organization with little money, no cohesion, and while not staring down relegation, it is uncomfortably closer than they'd want. They need a manager that can settle things where they are now.

Sounds like Rooney was given the opportunity first, as he had his start in the EPL there, but I don't think he wanted to risk his managerial career trying to fix the shambles that is Everton FC. Kind of a shit thing for the ownership to do as well, as selecting Rooney would provide them cover and risk Rooney. Best of luck to Lampard to right this ship.

Meanwhile, Canada took away 3 away points as the other top three teams also won their matchups to keep things where they stood one game ago. Panama lost and Costa Rica is 2 pts from the qualifying spot. US v Canada in Southern Ontario on Sunday. A win for Canada would start sizing them up for their first World Cup qualification since the 80's. Meanwhile, Americans are still trying to figure out where in the heck American soccer stands.
 

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Canada defeated the US who seemed not too interested in winning the game, providing virtually no chances on net. Mexico would also draw in their game, which means Canada is 4 pts clear up top. I don't think anyone would feel the CPL would provide results like this so quickly! Canada currently needs 8 points to clinch a World Cup berth, 4 pts to guarantee at least qualifier.
 

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So, I understand that you need to play qualification games in the host nations. So if you play Canada, you are going to play somewhere cold in the winter.

The United States, has quite the few warmer locations, in fact, a decent number of them. So makes one wonder why in the hell the US is playing Honduras in the beginning of February in an outdoor stadium in St. Paul, Minnesota?!

For geography buffs, you'll notice St. Paul, Minnesota is well north of Hamilton, Ontario (one of the most southern Canadian cities, 2nd most?). Who in the heck schedule that location?

Canada plays El Salvador in El Salvador. Mexico is at home to Panama, a critical game for both. If Panama won, they'd put Mexico in the qualification spot while taking third for themselves.
 

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So, I understand that you need to play qualification games in the host nations. So if you play Canada, you are going to play somewhere cold in the winter.

The United States, has quite the few warmer locations, in fact, a decent number of them. So makes one wonder why in the hell the US is playing Honduras in the beginning of February in an outdoor stadium in St. Paul, Minnesota?!

For geography buffs, you'll notice St. Paul, Minnesota is well north of Hamilton, Ontario (one of the most southern Canadian cities, 2nd most?). Who in the heck schedule that location?

Canada plays El Salvador in El Salvador. Mexico is at home to Panama, a critical game for both. If Panama won, they'd put Mexico in the qualification spot while taking third for themselves.
St Paul, MN is at about the same latitude as the wine growing region of Bordeaux, in the South of France. It's forecast to reach a moderately chilly 10°C in Bordeaux today (that's 50°F for those watching in black and white).

The Hondurans should be fine. In fact, let me just google... yes, it's forecast to reach a maximum of 8° in St Paul today. Chilly by Honduran standards but not a prob...

Oh, wait.

That's 8°F. Or, as we say in the civilised world, -13°C. WTFuck???
 

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And just to make things worse, the game is a night game! It'll be around 2 to 3 degrees Fahrenheit for the game, so it'll stay well above zero. A whole degree or two of mercury.

I read an article that says the field has a buried heating system that keeps the turf at 50 degrees, F (or roughly (actually I think it is exactly) 10 degrees C if my math is right). I have no idea what that makes the players feel standing above it, but if you see players rolling on the ground, that'll be why.

France does have the benefits of the Atlantic Conveyor Belt which is what makes like in Europe not like life in Northern Canada. Minnesota is one of the coldest places in the Continental US that isn't atop a mountain.
 

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Location
West Hollywood
Gender
Male
Basic Beliefs
Atheist
Chevron, 76, Esso, your boys took one hell of a doing today!! Citeh 1-3 Spurs What a dramatic finish.
 
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