Poems tagged ‘World Cup’

Getting Closer Now

feel it getting closer now
never mind the rain
where they are the sun will shine
as we go again

can we do the business…
can we show the world ?
football is for everyone
ev’ry boy and girl

the past is gone it won’t come back
ev’rything is now
time to take the reins and rise
pride will win somehow

waiting will be over
I can sense us winning
what is it then – I hear you ask ?
it’s The World Cup…for Women

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One step back for England

Now this feels like a throwback
To England’s setbacks
The realisation of an American
Dream. For 1950 World Cup
Read 2010 in South Africa
When Rob Green fumbled and
Steven Gerrard scored but
Then British TV audiences
Were fooled into thinking otherwise
England had won a car
For reaching that point
Advertisers prioritised
Cars over the Beautiful Game
And yet again
Last night England humbled
By the Yankee Doodle Dandy
Of vast, enormous commerce
Burgers the size of houses
Houses the sizes of baps
Candy for breakfast, tea
And supper
Still England faltering
In the face of American
Theme parks, unashamed
Disney childhood,
Where chat shows and
Stars and stripes celebrations
And singing, dancing revels
Send electrical currents
Through yet more vibrant
New York, LA salt beef bars
The lavishness of the night
In Florida and California
But surely not English football
Or soccer. Of course
My and your American friends
A thriving culture from
Both sides of the pond,
Crossing the Atlantic with style
So much so that yesterday
The USA did it again
Surprising but not this time
Leave that baseball and helmet
American football tradition
In its rightful place
England last night almost
Played off the park by
The distant relatives of Uncle Sam
Surrealism it seems but
This is the real thing
A goal-less draw between
Blighty and the USA
Gasp with deep inward
Breaths of amazement
When Pulisic hit the woodwork
An English winter street festival
Almost stopped the music
England silenced again
But surely qualification
For knock outs assured
But Welsh dragons still
Blowing out fire
And yet have they five goals
In them to break English hearts?
We fear not but who knows
England and Wales it’s over to you.

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England demolition job

What a relief
England fly off
The starting blocks
In Saudi heat and
6-2 against Iran
A stunning statement
Of intent,
Documentary proof
Of superior breeding
The noblesse oblige
Tip toeing daintily
Through crimson red
Fields of non existent
Powder puff Iran
Saka firing off Gunners
Double barrels of fire and purpose
The boldest pronouncement of youth
Politics breathing darkly beneath
The surface of conflicted thoughts
Bitterness raging around private
Talk of gay rights, humanity
Questioned for its rampant
Inhumanity, alcohol taboo
Unwelcome, take your custom
But today England redressing
The balance of probabilities
Professional demolition job
Saka of Arsenal, double whammy,
Sterling worth a fortune
Appreciating with every minute
Of the 90. Unstoppable, that
Ubiquitous pain in the neck
Stroking the ball into the net
For flabby, wobbly, weak Iran
Soft underbelly, compliant, accepting their
Place in the football hierarchy
Invisible, weak and lack lustre
Lacking everything,
Simply lying down submissively
And waiting for their comeuppance
Thrashed and pulverised
Within the longest first half
Of any match
Three down before Marcus Rashford
Dances again around and around
Before slotting nonchalant goal
What could be so simple?
Then Saka again before
Jack in the box Grealish
Taps in an almost guilty pleasure
For this had been the recurring theme
Of the whole match
We watched through ambivalent eyes
Never entirely sure whether we should
But we did. Torn between fanatical
Patriotic English support
And then watching with domestic
Lenses, swallowing our pride
Forget the wild tempests of
Global narratives in football’s
Lounges of triumphalism
England hit six
It feels good
For Monday now
Read Friday
And another dream
Of American apple pie
Surely Gareth
Victory again
But let’s take
One game at a time
We’ve been this way before
So familiar but true

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Qatar World Cup

It was the moment we must have
Dreaded in the global game
A World Cup in Qatar
Corruption and immorality
About to reign on Middle East
Grounds amid the disgusted
Voices of football’s debating
Chambers, Dissenting chants
Aghast at the sheer
Grotesque face that
The Beautiful Game
Now finds amid a minefield
Of explosive rhetoric
Wild and righteous indignation
In Saudi lands of appalling
Exploitation and savage
Manipulation, double dealing
And back handers
Sports washing in vile laundries
On filthy fields of dubious money
Despicable human rights record
Well chronicled and more
Newsworthy and topical
Than ever
Evil regimes in shady corners
Where only mutterings of
Discontent fester away
Like rotting bones of
Contention, violent
Where the World
Cup football family
Tell us from the heart
That this is simply disgraceful
Abhorrent, it should be banished to
The peripheries of
Our commentaries.
If we had our way
This would be stopped
Immediately here and now
No World Cups in
Lands of crooked deception
Where everything seems
To be forbidden and nothing
Valued, ethics and morals
Sold down murky Middle East
Rivers where the stench
Of revoltingly ugly oil
Gushes through the senses
With obnoxious odours
It used to be the World Cup
Of admirable qualities
Of fairness and justice
Truth and accuracy
But in a couple of weeks time
We will tolerate and endure
In good faith
The Jules Rimet World Cup
Because poisonous fumes
Have infested the game
We’ve always cherished from the cot
Welcome Germany, France, Spain,
Brazil and Argentina and of course
England and Wales
The doors are open again
For blossoming business
Football though will be foremost
And uppermost in our minds
Not the shifty sheikhs or
The crafty money makers
The materialistic and grubby
Wheelers and dealers
Who lurk in Saudi markets
Ready to lead the
Beautiful Game into the
Darkest hole
Let there though be purity,
The delicate feet of craftsmanship
Football to be treasured
In the right way, the proper way
No strings attached, no rogues,
Cheats and opportunists,
Secretive spivs,
Football that leads us down that
Ultimate road to hope and redemption
Where only artists and the
Outrageously gifted live
And breathe
We fear that the World
Cup will not be in capable
Hands although we can but

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Qatar ~ Will We Watch Or Not?

oh dear another four years on
and just like Russia and South Africa
the question arises again
Qatar – will we watch or not
and equally will we write poems about it ?
the football that is

yeah it’s that time guys
you know with or without fan zones
will our fans behave (those who can even afford to go that is)
to another ever-questionable location ?
where yet again disgustingly overpriced tickets flights and packages
make this a rich men and women’s tournament full stop
and where through it all
England try once more to not be too embarassed

so welcome to a Winter World Cup
welcome back to FIFA : (‘Failing In Football Always’?)
let’s say another hello
to their ever-big money-making-and corrupt-ego-fest
welcome to Qatar
a place that controls 13% of global oil reserves
where players will still tackle ridiculous heat
where temperatures reach 25C (77F) in November and December
where human rights barely exist
where being LGBTQ means nothing but a life in fear
where same sex relationships are illegal
where long-unheeded dangerous working conditions
for poorly paid and exploited migrants
has brought suffering debt and death
where alcohol is restricted in public places
and where their strict laws on public behaviour (including swearing)
make us ponder if old-chesnuts like:
‘your support is f****** sh** will make the cut ?

so here we are …as ever…confused angry and disappointed
on how-post Blatter and Platini
our once-People’s Game plummets to further depths
and we ask what’s changed…four years on
but just like Russia and South Africa…
the question arises again
Qatar… will we watch or not
and equally will we write poems about it ?
the football that is

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World Cup – a year away now.

Now confusion reigns over World Cup
Jamboree, a celebration of world football
On its highest plinth, the summit of
Genius and greatness
Both former and now latter
But a year hence
They will gather in deserts
Of exotic sands and Saudi
But the World Cup
Near Christmas
Festivities seems
Like snow in July
Roses in November
Just weird incongruity
Not right,
Like some spiritual gathering
At the wrong time and place
But we will happily embrace
The breathtaking perfection
Of Brazil because their
Ancestors and contemporaries
Have kept the flame burning
One touch passing and football
Taken from the honey pot and
Nectar of foot loose
And fancy flamboyance
Always welcome at football’s
Most sacred tables
A force of nature
Shades of the master
Pele running through
The blood cells of their
DNA, gorgeous impulses
Rather like the emeralds,
Rubies and diamonds
We know so well
A natural phenomena
Almost supernatural
At times,
Then the Germans,
Meticulous in their planning
For any World Cup
No stone left unturned
Pedantic in the grammar
Of the game, lethal finishers
Then the show off
Histrionics of Argentina
Part of the South American
Football’s technicolour
Whirl and swirl of fabulous
The Italians unpredictable
Hard as rocks, but a flowing
Exhibition of revolt and
Rebellion, A joy to be
In their company
Then Spain
Also of recent gold dust
Full of the spirit of flamenco
The drama of the matador
Luring the bull into cunning
Traps, cruelty perhaps
But daringly demonstrative
And then England
Always a riddle wrapped in
An enigma, not so much a
Mystery, more a model
Of exasperation, not since
1966, Hurst, Peters and Moore
The holiest of trinities
Won the wretched thing
But only because Pickles
Rummaged through back
Garden bushes and there
It was, the gleaming bauble
Jules Rimet, the indisputable,
Glistening gold trophy
The one the world seeks
With compass and map
In hand,
Desperate to be reunited
When England must have
Felt the reconciliation
Was beyond us.
So Gareth please deliver
This festive package
This time next year
Harry Kane knighted
As Orson Wells
Citizen, freedom of
Then Mason Mount,
Declan Rice, Raheem
Sterling in tandem
With ceremonial gusto
Then Jadon Sancho, and
Harry of Manchester United
Robes of red, but now
Patriotically appointed
Grealish, reminiscent of Gazza
But without the belching
At airports, the comic
Grealish, bandy legged
And beguiling, ball
Control at close quarters
Art at so many levels
So next year the World Cup
Will find us overwhelmed by
Heavenly skills from the Olympian
Heights, the epitome of elegance
From the ballrooms and penthouse
Suites of world football
From football’s most pampered
Feet, where the wealthiest
Ambassadors from FIFA
Will keep the World Cup
And its history in flourishing

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That Photo of Jimmy Greaves

It captures him to a T. Look: eyes locked on the ball,
His face a mask of grim determination, he’s
Opening up like a cheetah chasing a springbok,
Showing the defender a clean pair of heels,
Who, lunging in, shows a studded sole in return.
It will gash his shin and need fourteen stitches.
It’s England v France at Wembley in July 1966.
They’re hosting the eighth World Cup competition.

Geoff Hurst will take his place and grab his chance.
Alf Ramsey will decide not to change a winning team.
He will score a hat-trick in the final versus West Germany,
Become an English hero and a knight of the realm in 1998.
Jimmy will finally collect an MBE in 2021.
What a player he was! We were watching Match of The Day
On the BBC. It must have been in the late 60s,
Because the picture was still fuzzy black-and-white.

Spurs had a free kick just outside the penalty area.
And twenty-one wild emotions were facing off
Over the defensive wall. “Come on, ref! Spurs players
Are muscling in!” “Their wall isn’t ten yards away!”
Only one man heard the referee’s whistle in the melee.
He stepped up with cerebral serenity from a short run
And placed the ball in the corner of the net,
While the goalkeeper was still shouting the odds.

It was his intellect that set Jimmy Greaves apart.
But in the seventies his decline began.
He started to drink. And the more he drank
The lower he sank. Was a snowball of regret,
Resentment and self-doubt rolling around and
Growing in his mind? Did he wonder why Fate
Stole his chance to be England’s World Cup hero?
Would they even have won with him in the team?

Were the snow clouds already louring as he sat out the final,
Suited in the July heat? Was his face ashen at the end amid
The ecstasy on the bench at the horror of his extinct dream
As the eleven men in red and white achieved immortality?
There was Nobby Stiles’s jig and Bobby Charlton’s tears.
Bobby Moore, chaired by the team, raising the Jules Rimet trophy
In his right hand. While the other squad members would only make
It into the footnotes of football history and the odd pub quiz.

Ten years later I would stand on the terrace at Fulham F.C. for a
Testimonial match. On the team sheet were many players well
Past their prime. One of them was Jimmy Greaves. His hair was
Thinner but longer. He had a droopy moustache and sunken eyes.
But neither time nor alcohol had ravaged that great football brain.
With one touch he scored the greatest goal I have ever seen.
As of old he turned and ran back up the field for the restart.
There may have been a brief smile and a wave. But that was it.

He beat the booze and found fame as the funny half of
Saint and Greavesie On TV. Always deadly serious on the pitch,
His on-screen barrow boy, cheeky chappie charm served him well.
Until football moved up-market. But as much as I enjoyed it,
It still grated on me. His erstwhile skill merited better tokens than
One-liners and a Spitting Image puppet Saying, “It’s a funny old game.”
It deserved to be preserved in joyous aspic in red and white on sweeping
Sward. With The Boys of 1966. At Wembley. But it wasn’t meant to be.



Three Lions: One Thousand not out!

Eighteen Seventy Two it all began
England setting the benchmark
Ballynafeigh, Josy Barthel, Levski
A World Record at Hampden Park

Sir Alf’s Wingless Wonders
World Champions in Sixty Six
They all stood up at the Maracana
When Barnes pulled his box of tricks

I saw Maradona’s hand cause mayhem
I savoured Platt’s Belgian volley
Psycho Pearce bought the house down
Gazza’s tears and Euro stunner at Wembley

Neil Webb the thousandth player
Sir Stanley Matthews was a dream
Lampard, Shearer, Gerrard hard to bench
Time to name my Three Lions team

Banks, Parker, Rio, Cole
Bobby Moore with the long sleeves
Gazza, Robson, the younger Charlton
Rooney, Lineker, Greaves

14 11 19

© emdad rahman

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Football in Bosnia – Jerusalem of the Balkans

All around the fields of Saray
It’s the beautiful game they love to play
So kids, it’s time to step to the fray
And dance with this football attaché

Bosnia bred is the great Safet Susic
It’s first World Cup captain Emir Spahić
Dzeko, Kodro, Besic, Pjanić, Osim, Begović
Coventry City legend Muhamed Konjić

The Jerusalem of Europe’s folklore
Mass horror in Srebrenica and Sarajevo
Not since the Second World War
Such pain, but they fly high and soar

After the Dayton agreement and nine days
These Zmajevi would rise and amaze
Saraybosna have passed that horror phase
They play World Cup football nowadays

© emdad rahman

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Gordon Banks – England’s number one

Pele screamed “Gol”
Alberto and Jairzinho tricky
Banks saves heart and soul
Modestly terming it “lucky”

Brilliance from the World Cup winner
In the heat of Guadalajara
Chesterfield, Leicester, Stoke, FIFA
Named six times keeper of the year

Once the Kop lauded merrily
“Nice work, Gordon,” sang the ranks
Lap of honour with Bill Shankly
You’ll never walk alone Gordon Banks

Gordon Banks 1937-2019

12 02 19

© emdad rahman

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Source: http://footballpoets.org/news/poem-tags/world-cup/