Page 1

vol. 7 #11 – 13 May 2014

The Sentinel Amsterdam

Integrity, heart, humour









feature - p.04

perspectives - p.14

culture - p.30

Your EU and You

Dam in 60 minutes! Amsterdamse Bos

Belgium - The future is edible

travel - p.42

fifa world cup 2014 - p.76

sport - p.98

Trinidad – Leaving El Dorado

Fifa World Cup 2014

The Gold Room

‘I have a lot of time to allow for Trinidad & Tobago and the Netherlands’

Sentinel Super Selections

perspectives - p.56

amsterdam city life - p.60

star beer guide - p.62

What nature teaches us

Bring Back

st feuillien gran cru

recommended - p.64

spotted - p.66

film - p.67

Where is this in Amsterdam?


trends - p.68

perspectives - p.70

health & well-being - p.118

It’s getting louder

Mount Alta

Are we there yet?

‘Encourage folk to step away from the voter apathy’

‘The awesomeness and diversity of the city in which I live’

‘Taking food is to also be filled with pleasure’



technology - p.76

User Interface

The Sentinel Amsterdam

E-mail: Website: Contributors: Sam van Dam, E.R. Muntrem, Dirkje Bakker-Pierre, Evelina Kvartunaite and Andrei Barburas

Editor: Denson Pierre Design: Dirkje Bakker-Pierre - Realisation: Andrei Barburas Webmaster: Webhost: Andrei Barburas

The Sentinel Amsterdam does not intentionally include unaccredited photos/illustrations that are subject to copyright. If you consider your copyright to have been infringed, please contact us at


‘Critics and the uninformed treat it as if it is invisible’


U E r u Yo u o Y d an By Denson Pierre

It is a privilege to be able to assume a position from where one can view the entire discussion surrounding the future of the European Union - as a transformative entity - as being similar to that of electricity. The European project itself and its physical, bureaucratic headquarters in Brussels are rather sizeable from every perspective, yet critics and the uninformed treat it as if invisible, and to some extent either defunct of meaning, or corrupted by a particular few countries to the point of being a ‘boys club’ for the European elite, with self-serving, federalist intentions.

‘Arguably the best socio-political game in town’






‘Get a favoured candidate into the European Parliament’


The Sentinel is no place for political discourse on a method to ram home to Europeans that this European Union project is arguably the best socio-political game in town. It actually works quite well for its citizens, if only that message and truth about those aspects was ever told by opportunist nationalists, twisted politicians and bankers. Fast approaching European elections are propagatingan increase in rhetoric aimed at simply winning votes, which through the system of proportional representation means that it is much easier than the general public typically believes, to get a favoured candidate into the European Parliament. I happen to have the personal pleasure of seeing a candidate I voted for in 2009 here in Amsterdam becoming a seasoned and respected member of the parliament. Every vote does count and I always encourage folk to step away from the voter apathy and cynicism, see what people who themselves find the time to be bothered to even try representing us have to say or are setting out to do (at least some of).

Democracy is the only show around that appears likely to carry on most successfully for the next 100 years. So, engage it, as it does work pretty well despite the sensationalised setbacks which bedevil all of human enterprise. Keeping it simple however, one only has to consider the current plight of Ukrainians, some of whom, it seems, wished to become part of the continental family, feeding from the same Euro-currency table, with common agricultural, legal and economic frameworks. I have not yet mentioned ‘the military’ as it is from the horror of war and militarism that European Union forming would have received its start. World War II, which so tragically devastated so much life and infrastructure across Europe, was a lesson in awfulness any sane survivor would not wish a repeat of even onto their own worst enemy. Sometimes a more basic interpretation should be repeated more often. Even at the pinnacle of western civilisation seated in Europe, we found that groups of humans remained competitive for each other’s resources and tokens of national or tribal pride. To look at the history of Europe is to spend all too much time picking bones up off battlefields to recreate testaments of inhuman follies that seemed to ravage the continent with unerring frequency over the centuries. Since the process of creating a supracollective of nations as cooperative ‘friends’ in the late








‘Democracy is the only show around that appears likely to carry on most successfully for the next 100 years’


1940s, it can be said that Europe has been spectacularly peaceful. This statement, of course, also takes into consideration and in context the glare of episodes such as the recent atrocities in the Balkan states, and today, the posturing of Russia, the great extra-European power. In order to develop a proper feel for all of what the administrators and educators in Brussels are trying to foster as a coherent message, I took up the invitation of the Belgian tourism office to visit the European Union Parliament complex and more particularly the Parlamentarium. This is the information and public interface centre there that sets out, through immersive exercises and interactive teaching aids, to elaborate upon and better explain the history and ultimate objectives of the European Union.

and helped me realise that the project is in fact still in its infancy and that it is the educated generation only coming along now who are more likely to receive the fullness of the positive message. In the meanwhile, we still have to sift through an avalanche of misdirection and sensation-mongering from anything as different as nationalists, racists, propagandists and quite unfairly, the English islanders and their City of London. They seem to be most dead-set on maintaining differences and especially those to do with monetary union, so that they can no doubt continue to be allowed to gamble off the differences derived from those artificial exchangerate products.

The European Union and her so far more than 500 million citizens will be fine, and as the young thinkers intimated, it has all to do with education. When I looked at some of the architecture around the European Union Once I had spent necessary time studying a good share complex, I had to wonder if those doing the shaping were also admirers of the ideas of Gene Rodenberry. of the well-presented information and audio-visual storytelling, I felt even more part of something tangible You could replace the United Nations with the European Union in his vision [The United Federation of Planets] and that much more real. It all justified itself to me and that way have a more workable set of united when the first couple of fellow visitors I spoke to gave me the only answer I now consider relevant to the entire sovereignties. discussion around the European project. The subjects were two young women in their first year of university over in Italy. When asked about their impression of the Parlamentarium, they pretty much admitted that visiting it and allowing the two to three hours it can take to do so properly, was like doing revision for their current course work. This made them extremely happy




‘The European Union and her so far more than 500 million citizens will be fine’



Dam in 60 minutes! 14

Amsterdamse Bos

By Sam van Dam


‘Spring has sprung in my favourite city’

Having conquered that navigation I whiz by the (old) Olympic Stadium and take a look at the sporty youths playing football and tennis in the sunshine while cyclists pass me by on both sides; it’s obviously a perfect day for enjoying the outdoors. The small path that takes me beneath a series of highway bridges, covered in graffiti as they tend to be, also allows for a glimpse at the ING building. This structure looks very much like an alien spaceship that has landed in the middle of the surrounding greenery and is very much out of place here even if it does add a nice touch of futuristic urbanism to the overall scene. Other corporate buildings make a last stand of concrete, glass and steel before the countryside finally takes over and pushes all man-made structures aside to make way for trees, ponds and bushes to dominate. Large, wild geese are everywhere, more so since they seemingly are more used to the Dutch climate these days and are becoming a ubiquitous feature across the

city as global warming increases. It could maybe be said that, for once, we have a welcome side-effect of this disastrous development. I must say though that those huge birds can be rather intimidating once they start hissing at you in what seems like anger, as they did when I ventured just a bit too close for their ‘comfort’, causing me to have a Nils Holgersson moment (The Wonderful Adventures of Nils Holgersson). To overcome my little dash with nature I sit on a bench next to the Nieuwe Meer, the coolest and largest lake area in Amsterdam, and take in the silence, the breeze gently moving the reeds, the sun softly stroking me with soothing rays and the ducks quacking tales of life to each other. Seagulls float above this beautiful scene and people in all kinds of boats enjoy this lovely day together with the animals that populate this relaxing and calming place. After a refreshing while I get back onto my bike and pedal towards Bosbaan, the 2.2 kilometre-long rowing course used by the Dutch Olympic rowing team to prepare for competition. Just like the rest of the Amsterdamse Bos, this lake was part of an employment project of the 1930s to the 1940s, and is the oldest artificial rowing course in the world. This is just one of the many claims to fame of this lovely forest that happens to be three times the size of Central Park in New York. During the 1970s the park was the location of a Woodstock-style free concert featuring among others Pink Floyd, but the then typically dank Dutch weather prevented it and other noteworthy manifestations from gaining deserved notoriety. I therefore spend some more time biking around and enjoying the fresh air before I hesitantly make my way back toward the city. I manage another stop to the rear of the Olympic Stadium and visit the large flock of geese living on Parkeiland, a lovely little island that offers a magnificent view of one of Amsterdam’s largest houseboat settlements from its summit. A group of kids are feeding the geese, a boat carrying a group of friends floats by, the sun is shining merrily above and I realise once again the awesomeness and diversity of the city in which I live. Amsterdam FTW!


Today we are going to a very special place, the Amsterdamse Bos, the largest kept forest of our beautiful city. We start our little trip at the Leidseplein and after dwelling in the bustle of the square for a moment I bike towards the Vondelpark while carefully weaving my way through groups of unsuspecting visitors crowding the paved paths and grassy sidewalks. I observe the mass of people and realise that spring has sprung in my favourite city. I slowly cruise around for a while, enjoying the happy faces all around before heading for the southern exit and follow the flow of the traffic towards the recently closed prison on the Havenstraat, right next to the big trailer park that houses many different types of businesses yet seems a bit like a spot where time has stood still for the past 30 years.




‘Nieuwe Meer, the coolest and largest lake area in Amsterdam’

















‘People in all kinds of boats enjoy this lovely day together with the animals that populate this relaxing and calming place’








‘The park was the location of a Woodstock-style free concert featuring among others Pink Floyd’






By Denson Pierre

From the first moments of my European life and habits moving on to reflect a future-conscious respect for the environment and ecology, Belgium and Belgians seemed already prominent as leaders in the market of organic products and food. This was at the very beginning of the 1990s and based on my surveying since, they seem to have maintained and extended this visionary leadership. This is best represented in the way in which the cuisine to be found here promotes only the best of food. To be busy with the best means that as other countries wrestle with the dramatic and indulged awfulness around unhealthy food and nutrition practices now festering as the greatest threat to public health in the history of humankind, the Belgians are to be found ahead of the wave in terms of encouraging its citizens and visitors to educate themselves and eat better, tastier, vegetarian, and save their own lives.

‘They seem to have maintained and extended this visionary leadership’


Belgium: the future is edible




‘Belgians are to be found ahead of the wave’


Of course, taking food is to also be filled with pleasure and the solid tradition of great skill in preparation and presentation practiced here means that criss-crossing Belgium can be an utter joy for vegetarians. The entire receipt of conscious dietary preferences is just so relaxed. I cannot equate the flexibility and range of the Belgian kitchen with that of Asia or other cultures to have evolved in regions of the planet where a wider diversity of edible commodities have been available from within lengthier traditions of healthy feasting, but I can say that they are right at the top, and just ahead of the United Kingdom - of the non-Mediterranean European lands- in having an outstanding vegetarian offer. Here, unlike in the UK however, it just seems much less shouted down by the promoters of 19th century-styled meat terrorism. The terror is the effect of eating animal flesh, and especially the readily available, anti-biotic filled, industrially created muscle, sinew and blood products from those creatures, on the health of modern, much lesser active humans. On my last tour through Belgium I was able to dine like a beer-drinking top athlete in Ghent and Brussels. Both these cities have such spectacular selections of vegetarian -themed and -friendly, or purely vegetarian restaurants that I think it will take me another couple of years to sample them all. Of course, the trend of vegetarian restaurants is no longer best described as such given that the ‘mainstream’ and those from within the responsible medical fraternity have come around to the notion that it may be actually better to advise

people to eat their way to their health goals rather than have bad food make populations more diseased. Such paradoxes are not encouraged to manifest beyond philosophical thought. The two restaurants I visited were Avalon in Ghent and Soul in Brussels. They both left me extremely impressed by their commitment to the entire better food movement. On the experience of the food I feel I wish not to rate here but simply invite you to check them both out. I am however, not sure I have had a two-night sequence of dinners that made me happier. It is now for you to enjoy the lovely people running these places and their exceptional and inspirational food. Restaurants (booking in advance strongly advised with both):





‘The entire receipt of conscious dietary preferences is just so relaxed’



‘I was able to dine like a beer-drinking top athlete’







‘It may be actually better to advise people to eat their way to their health goals’



The Mediterranean as it once was.




feature travel

feature travel

‘Both countries feature in the top-30 of the world’s most densely populated places’






‘Tourism is sometimes the first thing that comes to mind once the Caribbean or Amsterdam is mentioned’ By Denson Pierre

Imagination is not something to be wasted on that which is not beautiful or productive. As such, I have a lot of time to allow for Trinidad & Tobago and the Netherlands. Not for the first time earlier this year, I thought that there were a couple remarkable similarities to these two small countries. Now, oddly enough, size is another dimension issue that busies thinking when people consider the value of things.

Tourism is sometimes the first thing that comes to mind once the Caribbean or Amsterdam is mentioned. This is unfortunate, as even though tourism provides a nice top-up to the coffers of a city like Amsterdam, where we are swamped by their numbers almost all year round, it actually is not the sensational contributor to GDP that many who do not think these things through properly would have you believe. Economists and administrators count in a very different manner and their advice easily sways governments. The Dutch economy turns over more than US $800 billion. Now, that sort of money, which can help build some truly impressive infrastructure and social and cultural funds would take the entire country being filled with tourists every day to ensure such a turnover. This does not

The final similarity I would like to touch upon is the suitability for habitation in the first place. As is often told, the Netherlands was pretty much hand-formed through an unprecedented amount of swamp drainage by some committed Germans, banished from their solid rock territory next door, a very long time ago. This group would evolve arguably the world’s most finely engineered country in a civil sense. Trinidad (not so much Tobago) was itself what European privateers and royal missions called “the jungle island” in the 17th century. It is actually the broken-off end of the Andes and as such carried what was in fact Amazonian jungle of great density that resisted the cutlasses of the European expeditions. This stubbornness of the nature probably explains why horror practices such as Amerindian desolation, and African slavery on the island were maybe the mildest in form (if that is even possible) throughout the region, as it was not even easy for the European slave owners to try farming the land through industrial-level, forced labour. Trinidad, like the Netherlands has always had to entice and import others to fill in gaps toward exploiting what was to be found in her and developing it all toward this modern context. To celebrate all of this before heading back to the Netherlands, I swept through Trinidad & Tobago; from partying in a reserve forest and oilfield venue, to the ceiling of the capital city (Port of Spain), to the fringe of some of its many great beaches. When I returned to Amsterdam, I dared to face the rush hour of bicycles and had my final epiphany – both these little places are pretty dynamic, with so much coming out of them, so much to do in them, and are of course rather different - as they are both really quite beautiful.


The Netherlands is about five times the size of Trinidad & Tobago and both countries feature in the top-30 of the world’s most densely populated places. Both also happen to punch way above their weight in terms of relative, expected amounts of industry and commerce. The Netherlands is easily part of the elite, rich countries list and Trinidad & Tobago keeps climbing the list since they entered the space reserved for the countries to have gone past the status of mediumdeveloped economies (top-50). For T&T it means that ‘easy aid’ is no longer available and a greater share of GDP is therefore apportioned to the international funds set-up to help lesser performing economies. For T&T it can mean disproportionate but understandable levels of contributions to Caribbean and South American neighbours (Caricom), which actually comes naturally despite the bickering of islands of the region, who despite having nothing to trade on the international markets of ‘real’ value, can choose to sometimes prejudice their energy-rich neighbour on her fortune of location and resources.

occur and as with Trinidad & Tobago, where more than 80% of hard cash business still comes from under the ground (also off-shore) in the form of natural gas, crude oil and refined petroleum products, tourism at times seems an almost esoteric concern more linked to notions of sustainability and new job creation in a post-fossil fuel world. Tourism gains however, simply do not build hospitals, roads and other civic amenities which cost so much on the open market to procure, build, stock and maintain.







‘Tourism at times seems an almost esoteric concern more linked to notions of sustainability and new job creation in a post-fossil fuel world’















‘I dared to face the rush hour of bicycles and had my final epiphany’




What nature teaches by The Observer

The varying speed of the wind teaches about the rhythm to life, which is sometimes slow and sometimes fast. The trees teaches us times and seasons construct our lives, as they yield their fruits and changes colour of their leaves at various intervals. The sky reflecting in the vast ocean teaches us nothing lasts forever and change is truly constant as moment by moment it changes it hue, that tells us all we are assured of is the present.

their unique size and shapes. The rock teaches us to be steadfast, as no matter if the water is calm or vigorous, or the waves are gently stroking it, or violently crashing against it, it remains rooted and grounded. The moon-stars-sun teaches us we won’t always shine, but each one is assured of a time in the spotlight at an appointed time. The rain teaches us about balance, for life won’t always be sunny but lachrymose as well. The abrupt flash of lighting teaches us blessings and that disasters lurk around every bend on the road of life and can strike us any minute without prior notice. The raucous sound of the thunder reminds us of supreme heavens. The soothing sounds of the chirping birds, the whimsical sight of the fluttering butterflies, the sublime scenery of the blossoming trees, the flamboyant colours of the rainbow reminds us to stop and take some time to admire and praise...


The clouds teach us about variety, as daily they scud across the sky flaunting





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: K C A B G N I BR amsterdam city life



By Denson Pierre

An Amsterdammer is unable to be properly aware of the fact that they are living through an inspired generation. My first World Cup experienced in Amsterdam was USA 1994 and to this day I do not fully understand how and why Oranje did not do better or even win it with ease. How could a team comprising of the legends: Frank de Boer, Ronald Koeman, Frank Rijkaard, Aaron Winter, Marc Overmars and Dennis Bergkamp [the best of the lot, Ruud Gullitt, had walked out on the team before the tournament] not bring the trophy back to the Netherlands? The answer was and could still be Brazil. In 2014 we at least do not have to face those Branco free-kicks. That first Dutch tournament was enjoyed at home and I remember the rush and pleasant shock felt when my then particularly quiet neighbourhood, to the west of the city, erupted with noise and celebration when even the first tournament goal was scored by Oranje versus Saudi Arabia. I knew then that I was living in a city moved by football and particularly football played by the national team. By France 1998, I had moved on to going out to the larger bars to catch the full international party atmosphere the city assumed during this spectacular international sporting event. It was a great party and a magical Dennis Bergkamp moment against Argentina was its highlight moment. Japan & South Korea 2002, and those matches coming to us live during the European early mornings meant the partying was somewhat subdued as even the most stoic Amsterdammer had to work out why they should get

going with ‘football viewing fuel’ – beer – before the time they would normally not yet have even had breakfast. Oranje had also failed to qualify for this Asian adventure. We then had the ease of having our next door cousins host Germany 2006 in perfect time-zone synchronisation. The football by the national team was not the best then however, and in a game of shame against Portugal, Oranje were knocked-out in the second round, so dramatically and instantly dampening orange enthusiasm for the entire tournament. Recovery would take four years as Oranje found itself in the South Africa 2010 World Cup Final. Losing in a final was enough to trigger a huge national celebration centred along the canals and on the Museumplein in Amsterdam to honour the team and technical staff who kept the orange standard flying in the face of the hundreds of millions of football fans around the world to the very end. The Sentinel Amsterdam has joined forces with Amsterdam West City Council and our client, Du Cap Restaurant & Bar, to see if we can, on a few select days during the Brazil 2014 World Cup, create a combination of all the best atmospheres that make the World Cup so special. We are doing a mini-festival around culture and football by which we hope to showcase some fine international fun, professional music, dancing, eats and of course football viewing enjoyment. The plan is to enjoy it all regardless of who eventually prevails. West Amsterdam is peopled by nationals from all over the football-crazy world and all of the countries taking part in this upcoming tournament will also feel the warmth of orange even if their team has to face us in competition. On Kwakersplein, Amsterdam, we will just do international football parties. Bring back the fun around the World Cup, although it never actually left!


amsterdam city life


star beer guide


Star Beer

star beer guide

The Sentinel Star beer guide By Denson Pierre


(A.B.V. 9,5%)

‘It transcends the definition of beer and is simply a smooth elixir’

St Feullien Gran Cru is brewed by Brassierie St Feullien,Le Rouelx, Belgium.


With an approaching football world championship it could mean it is time to reveal another absolutely magical top brew. St Feullien Gran Cru is of such refined and special quality that it is recommended that you do your sampling of at least two other [any previously recommended in this series] star beers before slowly approaching the majesty of this master brew. Gran Cru is so good that it transcends the definition of beer and is simply a smooth elixir of intoxicating beauty.


Cafe Walvis 01/05/14



We find the best, most fun, most typical, exciting, or local favourite restaurants etcetera in Amsterdam and bring them to you; an easy way to feel like a local.

Connoisseurs Delight

CafĂŠ Westerdok Some of the very finest and rarest of beers available anywhere in the world. The warmest Amsterdam welcome. CafĂŠ Westerdok Westerdoksdijk 715A Amsterdam


To be seen and tasted

Fun, Drinking & Music

Cafe de Toog 1890’s grandeur fashioned into Amsterdam-West, grand, brown cafe-restaurant-cool. Classy drinks and meals. Nicolaas Beetsstraat 142 hs Amsterdam

Parck Great fun, beautiful people and simply the best bar food in town! Overtoom 428 Amsterdam

Mulligans Irish Music Bar Amsterdam’s best address for live Irish music: Five (5) nights a week! Check our agenda for upcoming sessions. Amstel 100 1017 AC Amsterdam

To Be Seen and Tasted

Connoisseurs Delight

To Be Seen and Tasted

Cafe restaurant Edel Cafe restaurant Edel is the perfect place for lunch, dinner or to simply enjoy a drink. Edel is a unique place in Amsterdam. Postjesweg 1 1057 DT Amsterdam

Incanto A restaurant with a classic Italian kitchen. Venetian chef Simone Ambrosin is known for his pure and simple style of cooking with great feeling for nuance. Amstel 2 Amsterdam

Café Kostverloren Café Kostverloren is a contemporary cafe offering the cosiness of a saloon, an open kitchen and the intimacy of a living room. The large terras is great for sunny days. 2e Kostverlorenkade 70 Amsterdam

Fun, Drinking & Music

To be seen and tasted

To be seen and tasted

Cafe-Restaurant Du Cap A spacious and tasty helping to the Mediterranean vibe within Amsterdam’s new ‘West End’ entertainment district. Kwakersplein 2 Amsterdam

Molly Malone’s An Irish pub as it should be and a home away from home! Cosy, friendly, and with its very own character! Oudezijds Kolk 9 1012 AL Amsterdam Molly-Malones-Amsterdam/ 293030997411277

Fun, Drinking & Music

Connoisseurs Delight

Fun, drinking and music

Bax A cosy and friendly local café with a focus on special or interesting beers and good quality food. Open 7 days a week with a professional kitchen offering a lunch and dinner service. Ten Katestraat 119 Amsterdam

Café Rose Red You will not see and sample a better selection of the very best of European beer elsewhere. Cordoeaniersstraat 16 Brugge

Gollem Gollem’s Proeflokaal, Gollem and Gollem II represent the best addresses serving the fullest range of top Belgian, Dutch and international beers in Amsterdam. Overtoom 160-161 Amsterdam


To be seen and tasted

Café Oporto Café Oporto is a traditional Amsterdam ‘brown cafe’. Welcoming tourists and regular customers alike, they offer televised sports, wifi and a wide range of reasonably priced beers and spirits. Zoutsteeg 1 1012 LX Amsterdam


Where is this in Amsterdam?


Answer to:


Room 2c film Escape to Victory (1981)

By dpmotions


“I want a decent team; I want the lads...” One of the more unlikely settings for an ‘All-star’ football team, made up of famous personalities, to be taking to a football pitch to do battle on a wager against the Nazis, for their freedom from a prisoner of war camp. Pele, Sylvester Stallone, Bobby Moore, Osvaldo Ardiles and Michael Caine all have prominent roles in what is not the greatest sport movie ever, but fine entertainment nonetheless.

By dpmotions

Dr Strangelove: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) History and film tell intertwining stories with repetitive themes. We see Ukraine ruing having given up their nuclear arsenal today as Russia has started behaving in a Soviet manner again. In this film, made at the height of the Cold War, we find that Stanley Kubrick could direct Peter Sellers toward making one of the more memorable movies of the 20th century.




It’s getting louder ‘‘The mind goes back to the Vuvuzela and that Bavaria orange dress of 2010’’


By Dirkje Bakker-Pierre

Every four years, when the football World Cup is approaching, all the buzz is around who made the biggest, most star-footballerfilled video campaigns (with Nike leading by far, featuring ‘just about everyone’ besides Lionel Messi, who has to make a lot of appearances, practically solo for Adidas, to make up the difference), who invented the newest supporter gadgets, the outfits for fans and the kits for the teams themselves. We have had a year filled with doom scenarios splashed across our front pages with talk of unfinished stadiums, hotels without plumbing, abuse of workers, ill-treatment of civilians and the probable inability of the said host country to host an event of this scale in the first place. This has had to be combined with a constant murmur about the undercurrents of corruption and bribery which seem to rule FIFA, making it so that every decision made is completely unreliable; the tournament probably ended up taking place in Brazil for the wrong reasons anyway.

But, now that the show is moving on and the start of the tournament is so close by, all negative talk is dying down and a whole new sound is developing, getting louder and louder in fact, as we near the event. We have universally forgotten all about the ‘background noise’ and focus on the important stuff like which team is wearing the most fashionable outfit. According to some fashion blogs, France has already won this contest though. Which brand has the most original and most popular supporter gadget is also trending. The mind goes back to the Vuvuzela and that Bavaria orange dress of 2010. We wonder whose fans will sing the most original songs, shout the loudest and dress most outrageously? Which groups of fans will drink too much and embarrass themselves, cause trouble, fight or misbehave? The whole world is looking forward to this monumental, sporting-war-event when countries meet and fight for their lives over old feuds. Centuries-old battles are relived on some small patches of green grass that slowly turn brown as the tournament develops. The questions are also about which players will party too much, which teams are quarrelling amongst themselves, how many kings, queens, presidents and celebrities will attend given games and what will they wear and, oh yeah… who will win? Let the games begin!


‘“How will this ever change?”’


Mount Alta ‘Costly water that is stored in what amounts to oversized dustbins’

‘Bottled water, here provided, like everywhere else in Lima, by Coca-Cola and Pepsi’

By E.R. Muntrem

The girl you know. She’s the one with diamonds on the soles of her shoes. Fourteen or fifteen, styled hair, nails just painted; she slaps her iPhone under the front waistband of her too-short-shorts, snatching it out again to send a text or to play music and dance whenever there is a break in the action. The action is the building of houses in a place called Pamplonia Alta, a shantytown in Lima, Peru. Go ahead, Google it. To dance will not be your first instinct.   Shacks, set into the hill, stack up as broken Lego pieces might. Except that Lego does not break. And here the sense of impermanence is one part of what Google cannot convey. The smell is another. Impermanent, yet the place goes on forever. It is impossible not to think, “how will this ever change?”  Not because the I-Phone girl is getting a few hours of community service credit for her school. Not because I am doing something similar.   Lima has doubled in population over the past twenty years; millions from the country ending up in ‘new towns’ like this. Twenty percent of this city lives on just

a US dollar a day, despite a burgeoning economy and a developing middle-class. Trucks deliver costly water that is stored in what amounts to oversized dustbins - one of the reasons people here are often sick. As all is dirt and you walk up and down between houses on paths of sand, faeces, and debris, thirst comes quickly. We stop at one of the few small stores to buy bottled water, here provided, like everywhere else in Lima, by Coca-Cola and Pepsi. That water is a commodity, not a right, is one of those things only business people and politicians can explain or try to justify.                                                            Dogs, infected and not to be touched, are everywhere while cats are kept to help control the rat population. In one typical house, a dirt path wide enough for one person runs between two beds. On one of these a boy of five jumps in oddly isolated play.  He seems not to see us.  On the wall is a single shelf with stacks and stacks of pirated DVDs. These look to be the only possessions other than the TV someone else must have thrown out. How do you measure living without plumbing fifteenhundred years after the Romans invented it while watching Bad Boys II or Fast and Furious IV?   In other parts of town, billboards with some star holding a bottle of water tell the old story of marketeers


‘Without plumbing fifteen-hundred ‘Were it clean, safe and sanitary, years after the Romans invented it’ you’d rather live here’ 71

vying for your allegiance to their product. You will love them somehow. Someday soon your favourite celebrity will appear in a must see movie sponsored by providers of fresh air. How awesome for us that will be.    To get here, after leaving the paved street of the city proper, we drove for ten-minutes up a central dirt road of garbage and glass to the small community centre and kindergarten for which we volunteer today. Another twenty minutes walk farther up and we are at the peak of what is a foothill to the Andes Mountains. Here, in addition to seeing the tremendous expanse of the area, you see a fence that snakes along the ridge like the Great Wall of China in miniature.   The fence demarcates Pamplonia Alta from Surco, one of the wealthiest areas in Lima.  No less steep, the green valley on that side is dotted with ‘Hollywood’ homes, multi-tiered gardens, and swimming pools. It all sparkles with the wide birth of wealth. There, rather than cats and dogs, they have private guards make sure no one from up here goes down there.   A weird, perhaps inappropriate, thought crosses my mind. If, somehow, you could make all these houses earthquake proof (when the predicted big one hits this

quake prone region everyone here just dies, I guess) and make some things green and shady and, more than anything else, provide clean running water, this might be a wonderful place. The poverty is overwhelming, but the scale is that of a joyous summer camp. Were it clean, safe and sanitary, you’d rather live here than on the other side of the hill, where everyone lives behind walls.    Where do we get the army of the sponsored to take on that project?   I am imagining the powers that be marched to the top of that hill with something more compelling than my bleeding heart.  Look at both sides of that fence. “Dance, motherfucker,” I hear myself saying. “Dance.”





health & well-being

Are we there yet?


By Evelina Kvartunaite

Lately I have been wondering about how much of anxiety is actually created by our daily rushed routines? How much time do we spend planning, re-scheduling and re-doing things, or, in other words, living in the future without actually living now? The lesser amount of time we need to worry about basic survival, the less joy we seem to actually extract from life.

Epictetus once said, “People are disturbed not by a thing, but by their perception of a thing.” And yet we consistently allow stress to take over our lives more than we probably should. Austrian-Canadian endocrinologist, Hans Selye, defined stress as the body’s nonspecific response to any demand, whether it is caused by or results in pleasant or unpleasant stimuli. It has been argued that stress could be one of the factors influencing the development of cancer, heart disease, chronic pain and a plethora of other serious conditions. So, seeing as for some reason or other we are not nominating stress as the number one disease of western civilisation, I would like to take one of my moments to remind you that it is sometimes more important to actually enjoy what you do, do it, and not just plan it.

It is said that we are what we repeatedly do, so are we our plans, agendas and time keeping habits? Do you actually have time today to think about what things make you happy, makes you smile and bubble-up inside? Or do we just hide behind “busy” and “swamped with work” because it’s made difficult for people to just be; relax, enjoy the moment and have at least another moment in a day when you can lift your head up and enjoy the sight of the sky, the smell of a flower or manage to say hello to a neighbour.

– ‘How much of anxiety is actually created by our daily rushed routines?’ –

health & well-being

– ‘We are what we repeatedly do’ –


– ‘It is sometimes more important to actually enjoy what you do’ –


‘The worst thing that can happen is to have the device ‘die’ on you’

User Interface 76

And suddenly it went blank…

‘Be sure that your data sticks to you is by having external storage’

‘What are you doing in terms of backup or keeping your data safe in case of a ‘personal disaster’?’

By Andrei Barburas

If you rely mainly on your laptop or tablet for your daily business, the worst thing that can happen is to have the device ‘die’ on you. Different factors and reasons come in to play, but the question is, are you prepared for the death of your device? Hardware crashes are nothing new. Not only that, but a bunch of other things can happen too; lose your phone, drop it, sit on your laptop by mistake (yes, this happens) and many other instances when your device is rendered unusable. Of course, the greatest concern is not necessarily about the device itself but the data stored on it; so how do you avoid those disasters? Storage and backup solutions have come a long way in terms of reliability, price and versatility. In order to keep your data safe and always up to date, there are several options available. In this piece I will talk about two of them, the latter being my favourite and the one that I am actually using on a constant basis. The easiest way to be sure that your data sticks to you

is by having external storage for your notebook. Depending on the external storage you buy, both Windows and Apple notebooks can communicate with it, hence you can schedule regular backups or you can actually store your data on the drive. Only problem with this solution is that you will have to plug the drive in to the notebook and let it do its ritual. This process can take anything from a few minutes to a few hours depending on the amount of data you need to backup or update. This solution can cost you anything from tens of euros to hundreds, of course depending on the amount of redundancies and quality of the drive. The second solution, which is my absolute favourite in terms of backup, is using a cloud solution. Cloud solutions have become extremely affordable. For example, Google Drive offers 1TB for about US $10 a month. 1TB translates into roughly 200,000 photos or about 250,000 songs. Dropbox offers 500GB for US $49.99 a month. Another big contender, Box, offers 100GB for €4 per month. Apple offers its own cloud solution, iCloud, and you’ll have to drop €80 for 50GB. You also have the option of using OneDrive by



Microsoft which offers a somewhat nifty integration with Office Apps. All of these services provide a desktop app for syncing your files, mobile and tablet apps to sync files from your device and in some cases you can even connect your TV to stream that content straight from your device. So here’s what I do; I use a Windows notebook in combination with Google Drive. I went as far as moving my Desktop folder from the local Windows storage to the Google Drive folder, meaning that even if I do not have my notebook with me, I can actually access the desktop from the Google Drive web interface and from my cellphone and/or tablet (more info here: http://r. In case I have to replace my laptop, due to any of the different reasons, I simply install Google Drive, tweak the settings for the Desktop folder and Voila! Everything is back to the way it was. Fortunately, Windows 8 has a nice feature that allows you to back

up your Windows 8 settings to the cloud, making it easier to get all your stuff back when you get a new device. Now the question is, what are you doing in terms of backup or keeping your data safe in case of a ‘personal disaster’?







fifa world cup 2014

d l r o W A F FI : 4 1 0 2 p Cu uper Selections S l e n i t n Se


By Denson Pierre

It is but a statement of truth to say that my life and the things that occur around it since 1978 has been mentally recorded in relation to the passage of football World Cup tournaments. It might have started because of Ardiles, Kempes and Passarella but all of that added blue and white Argentinean confetti just meant a festival of the most beautiful and accessible team sport leading to a life of following world football closely. Now that we are all Internetites, the tracking of the more interesting football talent and teams has become easier, in as much as we can now view clips of spectacular or controversial moments in matches played anywhere at almost any time. This, as with anything else, is not the only interesting thing around the World Cup as I see it more as the United Nations fun and sport month out. Football is simple and able to be played by almost anyone, so, the ‘world’ can really be interested in the exploits of athletic, skilful entertainment professionals (and some

amateurs) who can claim particular nationalities and represent them in competition. Here contributors and correspondents have set out to introduce teams to have made it to the finals of this properly global sporting fiesta in a land known for doing well at football and not too badly at fiestas. It should be fun and, as always, the best team will eventually prevail - it is the law of football.

fifa world cup 2014

Group A By Denson Pierre

Provided socio-political combat does not spill into areas secured for this huge staging of sporting theatre we should be in for a treat. This group, containing as it does, the hosts, should not be short of colour given the fruity mix of nations drawn to face-off in first round competition. Brazil are drawn together with Cameroon, Croatia and Mexico. Somehow you want to expect that sparks will fly when teams meet in this group, as aside from pure football history, all four of these nations can be said to have a fair bit of spice associated with their national brand as exported via football.



My overriding hope is that the pressure of the nation upon their shoulders does not stifle the undoubted explosive talent within this current Brazilian team. These are young, typically not especially educated, super-athletic men to be burdened with the sporting aspirations of the most football-crazed nation on the planet. It is almost an unfair burden to have to bear but they are also not living the lives of impoverishment and inequality that they may indeed empathise with. They should be able to clear their minds, focus on the winning of seven matches over a month-long period, and in so doing trigger the most filmed eruption of samba-dance-mania ever.

The World Cup does another thing wonderfully well and that is to liberate special players from the totally jaundiced sniping which can usually blight the open appreciation of just how good they actually are when operating in league competitions. Croatia are currently a bit of an enigmatic team but one that has a player in Luka Modric, who can get teammates playing and smoothly rotating toward getting out of this group and maybe with some ease too. Modric has proven that he is one of the best all-round midfielders, with attacking intent, of the past fifteen years. To see how he keeps Real Madrid modulating is a pleasure in itself, and there are few reasons why the support of the likes of Dejan Lovren, Vedran Corluka, Ivan Rakitic, Ivica Olic, Nikita Jelevic and Eduardo cannot see them together getting to the knock-out stages of this competition.


Sport, politics and social strife appear to have been much more sharply brought into focus in Brazil than the sensationalists would have had us believe should have been the case in relation to South Africa during the previous tournament. It somehow seems that this group will be played out in front of not just millions of adoring fans, the vast majority of these being Brazilian supporters, but also a simmering tension seeking international attention resonating and crackling in the background and on typical streets of this vast and beautiful nation.

In my own formulation I see Brazil having little difficulty in progressing, playing much expansive and showy football, right through to the final. In putting together a shadow likely starting-XI what is clearly shown is class, experience and sheer brilliance within this team: GK Julio Cesar, DEF Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Marcelo, Daniel Alves MID Oscar, Hernanes, Paulinho FWD Neymar, Hulk, Jo.

fifa world cup 2014



With such a huge population to choose from and a long and proper football tradition you just keep expecting Mexico to come really good at a tournament and find themselves in amongst the last eight teams. This is unlikely to occur in 2014 however. Mexico are in the peculiar, but not necessarily disadvantaged position of having the vast majority of their players operating in their domestic competition, and that only at a handful of their top clubs. The only top-league player who will undoubtedly get in to the team will be Javier Hernandez. Even his bright movement and exuberant style of attacking may have been blunted by the draining of energy that took place at David Moyes’ Manchester United this season however.

I am probably one of the harshest critics of football teams and footballers from West Africa. Cameroon, during the 1990 World Cup, emphatically and with a lot of skill and not too little foul-play, showed the world that powerful athleticism could negate aspects of football more to do with finesse and clever tactics in the modern context. Since then and pickled by some statement or other by Pele, before or afterward, that an African team were likely to win some World Cup past, based on qualities I really never understood to be those which would see a team prevailing at such a tournament. Such a statement has to be sweeping and has nothing to do with ignorance of the absolutely brilliant footballers to have emerged from this huge region of Africa. This is about tournament football for teams.

The solidity of a world-class Rafael Marquez, the trickery and guile of Cuauhtémoc Blanco are of the past and it would be a joy to Mexican hearts if only they could bring back Hugo Sanchez, the past master of attack and goal-scoring genius. Otherwise, there is something to be said for team cohesiveness and common understanding. They can surprise but it seems more likely that Mexico will play three matches at this World Cup.

Brazil Croatia Mexico Cameroon



What teams like Cameroon have are individually fine footballers but these same players tend to bring nonesensical attitudes and behaviours with them and into the dressing rooms and onto the pitch. Maybe it is something to do with either their lack of ‘education’, or a more general misunderstanding of what it takes to manage winning a tournament and having and enjoying a professional career at the same time? Discipline is almost always seriously lacking and no one seems to have been able to get the instructions through to these professionals about having to sometimes play ‘percentage football’. Huge efforts to score TV-highlight and 30-metre screamers and tetchy aggression toward fellow players just puts me off even watching the likes of Cameroon. That sort of whining is offset by the fact that these exceptional, powerhouse players can excite somewhat. It is the case that the best player they have ever had, Samuel Eto’o, himself has created numerous upsets throughout in terms of his dealings with the national team set-up. I however, fear that even if he was now ten years younger he would still not be able to help this team beyond the first round. Cameroon ought to be going home early but they and their fans will enjoy engaging the African diaspora in Brazil.


fifa world cup 2014

fifa world cup 2014


fifa world cup 2014

Group B By Gijs Smeets

Another major tournament; another tricky group for the Dutch.


Group B are hosts to the World Champions Spain, runners-up the Netherlands, Chile and Australia.



Spain has won the last three (3) major tournaments and are rightly considered to be one of the best national teams of all time. However, the first cracks have started to appear as we near what could be a record-shattering fourth success. Brazil humiliated them in the final of the 2013 Confederations Cup and during World Cup qualification this time round they dropped points against not just France but also Finland. A qualification run including two draws from eight matches might not at first seem like a big deal until one considers that in the previous two campaigns they had a perfect record. Not unlike the current Barcelona side (and of course a high percentage of players during the unprecedented run played their club football at FC Barcelona) they remain a top team but clearly not quite as good as before.

Widely considered to be the whipping boys of Group B; but are they really? In 2006 Australia made it to the World Cup Quarter Finals, but that was a team consisting of players from the big European teams. This time around their key player is the Crystal Palace captain, Mile Jedinak.

Xavi Hernandez, the creative fulcrum, is getting on, Carlos Puyol is over-the-hill and Sergio Ramos is more regularly exposed as a defensive liability. In Diego Costa they have a Brazilian drafted into their forward line, which, in my opinion, shows weakness. It will nonetheless be interesting to see how he fits in and is accepted by a group of players who have already won so much together. Spain is without doubt and again one of the favourites to win the tournament, but if they were to win it this time, they would have had to really fight for it.

In their qualifying group they finished second behind Japan and ahead of Oman, Jordan and Iraq. This cannot really be said to have been a test for what awaits them in Brazil. Australia to their credit however, is a country with a brilliant sporting mentality and I would be surprised if they did not put up a commendable fight. Either of the teams from Group B to drop points against Australia face a high risk of joining them in being knocked-out at the first round. Teams are surely alive to this consideration. If the Socceroos do manage to get out of this group, they should then erect a statue of their manager Ange Postecoglou, in front of Parliament House, Canberra.

fifa world cup 2014



Chile is the dark horse of Group B and maybe even the World Cup. This is a team I see being able to beat any of the other top teams involved in the tournament. After a false start in the huge South American qualifying group, they eventually qualified with relative ease. Their current class was exhibited at Wembley where they totally outplayed and embarrassed England during a friendly in November. Chile also drew matches against Spain and Brazil, but they then allowed Germany to escape with a narrow 1-0 in Stuttgart. This is a team that will create many chances but are also likely to be slightly exposed when defending.

A side in transition and maybe not yet quite ready for a World Cup test. Four years ago Oranje somehow managed to reach a World Cup Final.

They lack a real top-scorer in their squad, which doesn’t have to be a problem as long as Arturo Vidal, Eduardo Vargas and Alexis Sanchez all chip in. But, with Neymar getting the nod over Sanchez at Barcelona and Vargas not being certain of a starting position at Valencia, there will be worries about their form by the time of the World Cup. This leaves Arturo Vidal - now, this guy is truly something special. A world-class box-to-box midfielder who would improve any side in which he plays. How an ageing Xavi Hernandez was picked ahead of him in the FIFA team of 2013 remains a mystery to me.

This time there seems to be a serious lack of quality in both the midfield and defence. Injury to Kevin Strootman has been a massive blow as there simply isn’t another dynamic midfielder in the squad who can fill that sort of gap. Wesley Sneijder is no longer able to cover the ground and Daley Blind lacks experience and maybe the class. This leaves us with what? Schaars? Clasie? Klaassen? You do not tend to beat top teams with a midfield of Eredivisie-level players, as proven during our recent game against France in Paris. On our defensive issues, we also lack quality cover, but with Vlaar, Heitinga, van der Wiel and possibly Pieters we at least have players with top-football and tournament experience. However, with a suspect midfield it will mean our defence being exposed a bit more often and these guys, although experienced, are some way off being world-class. Now for the good news: Up front we ooze real class. If Robin Van Persie can manage to clear his head of a terrible season at David Moyes’ Manchester United and Arjen Robben manages to stay fit, there will be goals! Realistically, we should at least hope for three entertaining games and if we manage to get out of the group then there should be cause for celebration. Manager Louis Van Gaal has a serious image (and attitude) problem, but during the qualification series he did not fail us. Both Spain and Chile are however, massive steps up in class from the likes of Turkey, Hungary and Romania. If Oranje can improve as the tournament progresses there are then some exciting possibilities. Based on recent form however, they will struggle.

PREDICTION: Our chances to get out of the group may depend on our result against Chile, who have proven to be a bit of a hit-and-miss side. If Chile are at their best they are likely to beat us, but chances are they won’t be. Spain should be too good for us in our opening game and even though we have a poor record against Australia, we ought to really be winning that game.

Spain Chile Holland Australia


Chile is a side that I really look forward to seeing play this summer. I expect them to be one of the most entertaining teams at this World Cup and if they start believing in themselves they could go a long way.

The fact that they were literally centimetres away from winning the World Cup was a remarkable achievement in itself, especially when one considers that they only played at their best for a period of just one-half of the match versus Brazil, during the entire tournament.


fifa world cup 2014

fifa world cup 2014


fifa world cup 2014

Group C By Denson Pierre


Despite the now recurring need to designate some group or other as that of ‘death’ there should be an additional handle of ‘properly matched’. Group C has as its members Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast and Japan. These are teams which, from a distance, all appear on par with each other. Each seem to have no more than two recognisably outstanding individual players, patchy records at international tournaments and must all clearly fancy themselves to get beyond the group stage.



During the media build-up to this World Cup throughout 2013, a lot of attention and speculation came to surround this new generation Colombian team spearheaded by goal scoring sensation Radamel Falcao. Falcao suffered serious injury in January and the hype-storm collapsed. Now we learn that Falcao will go to the World Cup even when clearly unable to be 100% fit once there. What this decision demonstrated was that he is not just a spearhead but their talisman.

The European Championships miracle of 2004 is now a fast-fading memory. The style and effectiveness of the football played by Greece then may never again be allowed to manifest at a major tournament. Back then it was possible to do everything at a highly efficient level-7 consistently, defend stoically and score the absolute minimum number of goals to secure a win and roll on to an overall victory.

What this suggests is that Colombia at full tilt and with a fit and firing Falcao could have been an outside bet to create a major stir in Brazil, but now with all of the disturbance around his fitness it means that the team, who have struggled to impress in warm-up matches otherwise, may have had its mettle softened and allowed the other group members a sighting of their softer underbelly. Even Mario Yepes might not be much use at the age of 38 at steadying ship if things go awry but they might have enough about them to out-skill at least two other teams in the group.

Today there is no super-Germanic team cohesion and just a couple players from Greece are regularly featuring in the challenging leagues. Giorgios Samaras, Kostas Mitroglou and Giorgos Karagounis are not going to be able to intimidate the other teams but they retain the right to propagate the impression that they can outlast and surprise anyone on their day. Greece may offer no more than what people expect of them at the tournament.

fifa world cup 2014



Another of the West African teams that make it difficult for me to impartially assess. It is though simple to say that all and if not more of the destructive characteristics apportioned to Cameroon can apply to Ivory Coast.

Should the heat affect the tempo teams settle into playing at in Brazil then Japan might build up a right to weave interesting patterns and threaten to score a few goals. They have now become regular qualifiers and in Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa - should they be allowed to play with freedom - might just have a couple attackers approaching world-class status.

It is hard to work out the likelihood of top performance in Brazil by this team. You have to ask yourself if an Ivory Coast team can do better at a tournament with an aged and less intimidating play and skill levels of Didier Drogba than they did on occasions throughout his actual prime? Yaya Toure has the potential to perform heroics but questions about how well this team can do will just have to be answered in the heat of Brazil.

Japan appear to me as having an even chance of coming through this group. Whether they would have the power in their squad to negotiate much farther than the second round is a good question. I think not.



Japan Colombia Ivory Coast Greece


fifa world cup 2014

fifa world cup 2014


fifa world cup 2014

Group D By Graham Maywood



Despite Serie A not being the most competitive league in Europe for many years now, Italy has a remarkable record in the World Cup and European Championships. The Azzurri are renowned for their defensive approach and with the majority of their team playing their club football in Italy they are extremely familiar with each other. Italy unexpectedly reached the final of Euro 2012 with the ageless and peerless Andrea Pirlo central to their achievement.  Whilst that final was a step too far for their ageing squad, Italy are likely to start with some younger blood and their coach, Cesare Prandelli, may even make some changes to their usual cautious approach. Hopefully the stage is set for striker Mario Balotelli to finally come of age.  Torino’s Ciro Immobile and Roma’s Mattia Destro should also make names for themselves if they take their opportunities well. Ultimately though experience will be needed and much will depend on whether Giuseppe Rossi makes it back to full-fitness and is able to lead their attack from the start. Prandelli’s team has the experience of playing Uruguay in last season’s Confederations Cup, winning on penalties in the process. Italy are favourites to progress from Group D but it has to be remembered that after winning the World Cup in 2006 they failed to win a single game in South Africa.  They will still arrive in Manaus in confident mood ahead of the group’s opening game with England on June 14th where 3 points will see their odds on reaching another final certainly shorten.


It is difficult to consider England as having genuine credentials to lift the World Cup on July 13th. Brazil is likely to be another ‘Groundhog Day’ for many England fans after South Africa, Germany and South Korea / Japan.  Four years ago they huffed and puffed their way through a group that included USA, Algeria and Slovenia.  In the first knock-out round they were thumped once again by their nemesis, Germany. England are habitual slow-starters in football finals so it may actually be a blessing in disguise that they face a heavyweight nation for their opening ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ game versus Italy in the Amazon. Roy Hodgson has made a couple of bold choices with his 24-man squad, which has a nod towards youth at the expense of experienced (over-paid, ego-inflated) players. Everton’s Ross Barkley and Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling are two of the seven Merseyside club footballers to make the squad. Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana both deserve their places after impressive domestic seasons with Southampton. Captain Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney both need to produce World Cup performances to ensure they don’t have any longer lasting regrets wearing the England jersey. If England avoids losing to Italy they should progress, otherwise, they could be one of the first teams heading back to Europe.

fifa world cup 2014


‘Los Charruas’ surprised many people when they advanced to the semi-finals in South Africa four years ago.  After finishing as the best placed South American team in 2010 they then went on to win the Copa America the following year for a record 15th time. However, if you look back 64 years you will find that they surprised many more with one of the greatest World Cup upsets of all time when they beat Brazil in the final in Rio. Could it be written in the stars again? Uruguay have a settled and compact team with two defensive midfielders, usually Egido Arevalo and Diego Perez, in front of their back four.  Their centre back partnership of captain Diego Lugano and Diego Godin may lack pace but certainly not experience.  Up front Uruguay need little introduction with Liverpool’s free-scoring striker Luis Suarez usually partnering PSG’s Edison Cavani.  A recent injury means the seasoned Diego Forlan could be starting some of the group games instead.

COSTA RICA ‘Pura Vida’ (Pure Life) is a phrase that you’ll hear and see every day in Costa Rica. It reflects the positive feeling and attitude of their country, especially when things are going well.  In their final qualifying group for the World Cup, ‘Los Ticos’ had a perfect home record at their recently built Estadio Nacional in San Jose. However, when the draw was made last December and Costa Rica were drawn in the group of death ‘Pura Vida’ wasn’t heard as much amongst their fans.  Costa Rica’s 3 group opponents have won the World Cup 7 times between them so you would think that much of their tactics and preparation will focus on damage limitation. Their Colombian coach, Jorge Luis Pinto, is unfazed though by what lays ahead, “The bigger and braver the bull is, the better the bullfight gets”.

They may not win a game but there is a very good chance that one of their opponents will regret not paying enough respect and ultimately missing out on qualification. Let’s hope we see some ‘Pura Vida’ in Brazil this summer.     


Uruguay Italy England Costa Rica


Strong words like this will be drummed into the player’s minds, many of which play in the European and US leagues. Their attacking midfielder, Byan Ruiz, is a key player and often appears in an unorthodox 6-man midfield system with 1 striker and 3 defenders. This Despite a population of 3.5 million Uruguay revel in their backfired in a recent friendly however, when they were underdog status, their physical and mental toughness humbled 4-0 at home by Chile. is likely to upset teams in this World Cup but their opponents in Group D certainly won’t be taking Oscar Despite having little chance of qualifying for the Tabarez’s team lightly this time around. knock-out stages there will be a great atmosphere at the Costa Rican games with much support likely to come from local Brazilians and neutral fans.


fifa world cup 2014

fifa world cup 2014



The Gold Room 98

By Denson Pierre


For only the second time in the history of the FFG-CL we can be considered to be vindicating our claim that our managers can produce tactical perfection. We are always setting out to make clear that this is truly a game for expert fantasy football managers and sometimes we can prove it, especially when the advanced tactics work to this level of precision. One of the hallmarks of the FFG-CL is that we have cool-headed persons in charge of teams competing for the golden envelope. A very cool head is needed when the rotation of heavy scoring throughout the course of the season, provides only particular managers with extra-ordinary spikes in scoring, with some sort of controlled, yet random frequency, which is beyond the influence of anyone. It causes extreme frustration.

We now have a new leader in the game, Graham Maywood. His move was made at an ideal point, when we have just one full weekend’s worth of matches within which further scoring can be achieved before the final match of the season, the FA Cup Final. Is there still a possible twist to be played out in this game given that there are another two managers, even at this point, within easy mathematical reach of snatching it at the very end? No one could have foreseen that the likely couple of points needed to edge this entire game would have to come from either Aaron Ramsey, Tom Huddlestone, Curtis Davies, Olivier Giroud or Bacary Sagna. Go to site>



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The Sentinel Amsterdam vol.7 #11  

The Sentinel, Amsterdam tri-weekly e-zine with all that is good and informative on lifestyles with travel, culture, perspectives, opinion an...

The Sentinel Amsterdam vol.7 #11  

The Sentinel, Amsterdam tri-weekly e-zine with all that is good and informative on lifestyles with travel, culture, perspectives, opinion an...