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Moving mountains

The Gothia Experience

My colleagues and I are back from Sweden, following our wonderful experience in the 43rd edition of the Gothia Cup! And boy oh boy what an eventful week it was!

Without any further ado, as promised, I will now proceed to tell you all about our week.

Saturday 15th July:

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Aerial shot of Sweden during our descent

 

Arrival at Göteborg Landvetter Airport. Met David (who we later found out is the main organiser’s son), then taken to Västerbergsskolan, which was our residence for that week.

 

Day 1 – Sunday 16th July:

A gloomy, rainy day in Gothenburg. We had a short meeting in the morning with the head organiser of Gothia Cup – Mr. Niklas Nord – and we were also introduced to our colleague Adriana Nadolska, a female referee from Poland who would be working along with us Maltese officials for the week. Despite the bad weather, we still decided to explore the city for a while, and visited the Universeum.

 

Day 2 – Monday 17th July:

Our first day refereeing in Sweden, on a very nice, clear day. Matches were held at the Kortedalavallen pitch (approximately an hour-long journey by public transport from where we were staying), and were the following:

  1. Girls 14 Group Stages – Lillehammer K.F.K. 1 (🇳🇴) vs. Triangelns I.K. (🇸🇪)
  2. Boys 18 Group Stages – Torslanda I.K. 2 (🇸🇪) vs. VfL Westercelle 2 (🇩🇪)
  3. Girls 16 Group Stages – Hipica Campinas (🇧🇷) vs. I.F.K. Kalmar (🇸🇪)
  4. Girls 16 Group Stages – Tölö I.F. (🇸🇪) vs. Club España (🇲🇽)
  5. Boys 18 Group Stages – University of Pretoria 1 (🇿🇦) vs. F.K. Lillehammer (🇳🇴)
  6. Boys 14 Group Stages – Stars ‘n Stripes (🇺🇸) vs. F.K. Karlskrona 1 (🇸🇪)
  7. Boys 18 Group Stages – Samaya F.A. (🇱🇧) vs. Eskilstuna Södra F.F. (🇸🇪)
  8. Boys 15 Group Stages – Backatorp I.F. (🇸🇪) vs. F.C. International Leipzig e.V. (🇩🇪)
  9. Boys 15 Group Stages – Reading Rage (🇺🇸) vs. Enskede I.K. (🇸🇪)

Following our football matches, we made our way to Ullevi Stadium for the magnificent Gothia Cup 2017 opening ceremony, which had a record attendance this year of 50, 800 spectators! I will never forget the sight of thousands of players from all sorts of clubs walking beside us to the stadium, some players even singing and chanting songs along the way. During the ceremony itself, there were several local bands and singers that gave an amazing performance, singing (among other well-known numbers by different artists) popular songs by Swedish DJ duo Icona Pop such as Emergency and I Love It, as the teams from all around the world were being presented. There was also a surprise guest appearance from Swedish football legend himself Kim Källström. At the end, we were treated to the traditional spectacular fireworks show for the grand finale, with everyone at the stadium cheering, waving, and throwing balloons. Ullevi was a sea of yellow and blue.

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Day 3 – Tuesday 18th July:

Our matches for the day were at the Frejaplan pitch, which, thankfully, was much closer to the school we were staying in (around 15 minutes on foot). Refereed one of the toughest games I’ve had to date, the one between Werther and Lidköpings. Games were as follows:

  1. Girls 18 Group Stages – Rödeby A.I.F. (🇸🇪) vs. Arentorp Helås F.K. (🇸🇪)
  2. Girls 18 Group Stages – S.G. Borken e.V. (🇩🇪) vs. Vålerenga Fotboll (🇳🇴)
  3. Boys 13 Group Stages – S.G. Borken e.V. (🇩🇪) vs. Coerver Michigan Performance Academy (🇺🇸)
  4. Girls 15 Group Stages – St. Paul Blackhawks 2 (🇺🇸) vs. K.F.V. Segeberg (🇩🇪)
  5. Boys 14 Group Stages – Hødd I.L. (🇳🇴) vs. Coerver Michigan Performance Academy (🇺🇸)
  6. Boys 14 Group Stages – B.V. Werther (🇩🇪) vs. Lørenskog I.F. (🇳🇴)
  7. Girls 15 Group Stages – Sandvikens I.F. (🇸🇪) vs. St. Paul Blackhawks 1 (🇺🇸)
  8. Boys 15 Group Stages – Furulunds I.K. (🇸🇪) vs. Ljungby I.F. (🇸🇪)
  9. Boys 16 Group Stages – B.V. Werther (🇩🇪) vs. Lidköpings F.K. (🇸🇪)
  10. Boys 14 Group Stages – Ystads I.F. F.F. (🇸🇪) vs. Thai Spirit F.C. (🇹🇭)

 

Day 4 – Wednesday 19th July:

Back at Frejaplan pitch for the day. Twelve matches in all; the most we had in a day.

  1. Boys 15 Group Stages – Sandvikens I.F. Röd (🇸🇪) vs. I.F. Skarp (🇳🇴)
  2. Boys 16 Group Stages – Ljungby I.F. (🇸🇪) vs. Coerver Michigan Performance Academy (🇺🇸)
  3. Boys 14 Group Stages – Thai Spirit F.C. (🇹🇭) vs. 1. F.C. Schöneiche e.V. (🇩🇪)
  4. Boys 15 Group Stages – Emmaboda I.S. (🇸🇪) vs. Figgjo I.L. (🇳🇴)
  5. Girls 14 Group Stages – K.F.V. Segeberg (🇩🇪) vs. T.S.V. Weyhe-Lahausen (🇩🇪)
  6. Boys 13 Group Stages – Segeltorps I.F. (🇸🇪) vs. Coerver Michigan Performance Academy (🇺🇸)
  7. Girls 18 Group Stages – Bergnäsets A.I.K. (🇸🇪) vs. S.G. Borken e.V. (🇩🇪)
  8. Girls 15 Group Stages – Piteå I.F. D.F.F. (🇸🇪) vs. Remsle U.I.F. (🇸🇪)
  9. Boys 16 Play-Off B – Reine I.L./Ballstad U.I.L. (🇳🇴) vs. Maryland United F.C. (🇺🇸)
  10. Boys 15 Play-Off B – Figgjo I.L. (🇳🇴) vs. Lørenskog I.F. (🇳🇴)
  11. Boys 15 Play-Off B – Segeltorps I.F. (🇸🇪) vs. Högsby I.K. (🇸🇪)
  12. Boys 15 Play-Off B – Bodens B.K. F.F. (🇸🇪) vs. I.B.F.F. (🇸🇪)

 

Day 5 – Thursday 20th July:

Quite a hot day in Gothenburg. Games were held at the Överåsvallen pitch, and this is where stuff started to get serious. Each match from Thursday onwards was being streamed live on the Gothia Cup website. All matches were play-offs.

  1. Boys 14 Play-Off A – Cajamar Esporte (🇧🇷) vs. Pequeninos do Jockey (🇧🇷)
  2. Girls 18 Play-Off A – Landvetter I.F. 1 (🇸🇪) vs. Bossekop U.L. (🇳🇴)
  3. Girls 16 Play-Off B – Storfors A.I.K. (🇸🇪) vs. Malmslätts A.I.K. (🇸🇪)
  4. Boys 15 Play-Off A – Högbo A.I.K. (🇸🇪) vs. Florø S.K. (🇳🇴)
  5. Boys 13 Play-Off A – J.S.C. Pitray-Olier Paris (🇫🇷) vs. C.A. Intercups Mexico (🇲🇽)
  6. Boys 15 Play-Off B – Sollefteå G.I.F. F.F. (🇸🇪) vs. Gimonäs Umeå I.F. (🇸🇪)
  7. Girls 15 Play-Off B – S.K.K. (🇳🇴) vs. J.K. Tabasalu (🇪🇪)
  8. Boys 14 Play-Off B – European Football Academy (🇬🇧) vs. Bollstanäs S.K. 2 (🇸🇪)
  9. Girls 13 Play-Off B – Åsa I.F. (🇸🇪) vs. Mossens B.K. (🇸🇪)
  10. Girls 14 Play-Off A – B.K. Höllviken (🇸🇪) vs. S.K. Haugar (🇳🇴)
  11. Girls 16 Play-Off A 1/4 Final – F.C. Staffanstorp (🇸🇪) vs. S.K. Haugar (🇳🇴)

That same evening, when we were finished, we received our next slate of matches for Friday and Saturday. Much to our surprise, we were so happy and excited after having been chosen to officiate in the Girls 18 Play-Off B Final on Saturday.

 

Day 6 – Friday 21st July:

Four play-off matches today, at Kviberg pitch 13. Why pitch 13, you ask? Well, this place is truly incredible. There’s such a huge space of greenery that during the Gothia Cup, they transform the area into over 20 separate football grounds!

  1. Boys 13 Play-Off B – Enebybergs I.F. 1 (🇸🇪) vs. Sävedalens I.F. 2 (🇸🇪)
  2. Girls 13 Play-Off B 1/4 Final – Ylämyllyn Yllätys (🇫🇮) vs. Ploërmel F.C. (🇫🇷)
  3. Girls 16 Play-Off B 1/4 Final – Greve Fodbold (🇩🇰) vs. Mankato United (🇺🇸)
  4. Boys 15 Play-Off B 1/4 Final – Onsala B.K. (🇸🇪) vs. Gerdskens B.K. (🇸🇪)

Later in the day, we had the referees’ party at Strike & Co. We had a taco buffet there, then after headed down to the bowling alley and played two rounds of bowling, where I earned bragging rights for finishing with the highest amount of points.

 

Day 7 – Saturday 22nd July:

D-Day. Assistant referee in the women’s play-off final match between German team Alemannia Aachen, and Swedish side Enskede I.K. Played at the SKF Arena, in Heden Centre. The match ended 1 – 3 in favour of the Swedes.
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Flags of all participating countries, in Heden Centre
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The refereeing team, and players from both teams
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Medals for officiating in the final

 

Since the game was in the morning, we had the rest of the day off where we could finally enjoy some time together and do some more sightseeing. We first went to Liseberg Amusement Park and tried out some of the rides and games there.

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Liseberg entrance

 

Last but not least, we went for a late lunch at the nearby Hard Rock Cafe, located on Kungsportsavenyen street. Great food, and good company. A perfect way to spend our last evening in Sweden!

– Preston Carbonaro

Book Review – “Blood on Snow” by Jo Nesbø

OLAV LIVES THE LONELY LIFE OF A FIXER.

WHEN YOU ‘FIX’ PEOPLE FOR A LIVING – TERMINALLY – IT’S HARD TO GET CLOSE TO ANYONE.

NOW HE’S FINALLY MET THE WOMAN OF HIS DREAMS.

BUT THERE ARE TWO PROBLEMS.

SHE’S HIS BOSS’S WIFE.

AND OLAV’S JUST BEEN HIRED TO KILL HER.

———-

About the protagonist…

Blood on Snow tells the story of Olav; a hitman with a heart, a “fixer” for a heroin dealer in Oslo. The book is told through his eyes, which I found to be an interesting perspective, given that most books by Jo Nesbø are third person narratives.

Olav isn’t your typical, cold-blooded killer, though. He’s dyslexic and, despite being a fixer, admits among other things that he’s got a “weak, sensitive nature”, and falls in love far too easily. Pretty ironic, right? Also, at one point during the book, Olav speaks about his troubled childhood, and the bad relationship he had with his abusive father. In fact, he says that he gets the dark side of his personality from his dad, and describes it as being “like a virus, an illness in my blood”.

On to the story…

The book starts off on a typical snowy winter day in Oslo, with Olav having just shot his latest victim. The day after, when he is asked to go to his boss’ office for the next job briefing, he is instructed to kill Corina Hoffman, his boss’ wife.

Olav rents a room in a hotel just opposite the Hoffman residence, in order to observe Mrs. Hoffman’s daily routines, her coming and goings, following her wherever she goes. He is immediately taken by her beauty. Everything seemed normal in the apartment, with Corina, until one day he notices something shocking taking place. What’s more absurd is the fact that the same thing happens every day, at exactly the same time. Olav subsequently decides to take drastic action, which causes his original plan to kill Corina Hoffman to go haywire.

The second half of this pacy thriller then races by in an extended climax, which is where Nesbø really shines. The cinematic-like showdown in a church crypt is one of the best action scenes he’s written yet, I believe. And I certainly wasn’t expecting the plot twist towards the final pages of the book.

My rating:

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Words of the Day

apposite” (adjective) – Appropriate, suitable, or fitting

Example: Jake drinks red wine with each meal and does not worry about what wine connoisseurs say is apposite for each dish.

languid” (adjective) – Very slow and relaxed

Example: After sleeping for hours, the cat moved leisurely in a languid motion.

Words of the Day

anathema (noun) – Something or someone that one really hates

Example: After the world learned of his heinous crimes, the dictator was considered an anathema.

amorphous (adjective) – Having no clear shape or form

Example: Under the microscope, the unknown virus appeared to be amorphous.

Words of the Day

ameliorate (verb) – To make (something bad or unsatisfactory) better

Example: Ameliorate your singing by taking a few vocal lessons.

amanuensis (noun) – A person employed to write or type what someone else is saying

Example: As the court’s amanuensis, the woman’s job was to type all of the meeting’s minutes.

Words of the Day

Welcome to Words of the Day: Gone Raunchy!

A double ‘d’ edition!

…  Double ‘d’, as in double the definitions, of course.

What did you think I was referring to? ;P

Yes, ladies and gents. Today, we’ll be looking at words, phrases and euphemisms that all have to do with… sex!

  • how’s your father” – A euphemism to refer to sexual intercourse
  • the old in-out” – A phrase referring to sex
  • slap and tickle” – Playful sexual activity
  • The Birds and the Bees” – An idiomatic expression/euphemism that refers to courtship and sexual intercourse

 

The fact that there are sometimes several words – which mean the same thing – that can be used instead of another, is amazing. That, I think, is one of the beauties of the English language.

– Preston Carbonaro

 

T Minus 1 Day

The wait is almost over! Less than 24 hours to go until I am in Sweden refereeing in this year’s edition of the Gothia Cup. And I’ve really been looking forward for this day to come.

This week has been quite busy, as I’ve been preparing myself both physically and mentally for this big event. Training, and going over the changes in this season’s Law of the Game, mainly. Just to recap, this is a huge tournament, with 1,762 teams from 82 nations taking part, and a total of 4,372 games to be played!

Now, seeing as this will be a rather eventful week – with approximately 20 matches in a week – I will not have the time to post anything on my blog, here. With that said, however, don’t think that I’ve totally forgotten about you, dear readers. For I spent last week writing posts which I’ve scheduled for the week that I’ll be away. And keep your eyes out for a “special” edition of Words of the Day, and a book review. So stay tuned 😉

Also, I will be taking notes during my stay in Sweden, so that when I come back, I’ll let you in on all that happened.

Till next week, my friends! Or as they in Swedish; vi ses!

– Preston Carbonaro

 

Book Quote

I told her I loved her. Just to see how it felt to say it to someone. Like shooting at targets in the shape of human torsos; it’s obviously not the same, but it still feels different from shooting at plain round targets. Obviously I didn’t mean it, just as little as I meant to kill the torso-people on the targets. It was practice. Familiarisation.

– Excerpt from Blood on Snow by Jo Nesbø

Fancy Some Fries With That?

An advertising billboard for local restaurant chain New York Best sparked controversy, over the weekend, due to it depicting Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” with a satirical twist – Christ and his disciples feasting on burgers, pizza, and hot dogs, and drinking milkshakes.

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I honestly do not see what’s so wrong about this. If anything, I think it was a clever, original, and funny idea to come up with.

The real funny thing, though? It’s the hypocrites that this damn country is full of.

First, the people who were so “offended” by this advert for “insulting” and “ridiculing” their religion, are probably the same so-called “devout Catholics” who blaspheme at least once or twice in every sentence.

Secondly, and probably the most ridiculous of all, is that the day after this billboard was put up, a certain Henry Battistino vandalised the poster by peeling off the part where Jesus appears. Not only that, but he shared pictures of the act on Facebook, claiming that “I saw our Lord, who died to save us, ridiculed to sell some pizza and chips” and “I tried to speak with the owners but was coldly and arrogantly told to send him an e-mail. My faith is stronger than any man-made law and I can never agree with the removal of vilification of religion [as a criminal act]”. Here comes the hilarious part (not in a good way). Henry Battistino, my dear friends, is the leader of the “Moviment Patrijotti Maltin” (“Maltese Patriots Movement”), the same guy who came up with the bright idea of selling pork sandwiches as a “protest against Muslims”. Remember that? Yep, the same friggin’ racist low-life.

To close this post off, I just wanted to say how much I admire the New York Best owner – Tommy Diacono – for the way he handled the whole situation. When speaking to the Times of Malta, Mr. Diacono said he had received lots of threats and abuse in anonymous calls and messages since the controversy began but he did not intend to press for prosecution. “I have the right to do so but I’m going to rise above it,” he said. “First of all, because they’re not worth my time and also because I want to give an example and turn the other cheek.” Ultra cool, if you ask me. Although, knowing me and my wanting to make a point, I probably would’ve pressed for prosecution.

– Preston Carbonaro

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