#Ita v. #Aut: my hot take

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Okkkkaaayyyy…. What a match it was. It took  some time yesterday after the match to bring myself down to a calm state.
Some felt italy had not been tested during the group stage. Was that test yesterday? It certainly looked like it.

It was a game of halves…or I guess quarters… Italy was the better team in the first half and the first extra time.. Austria rattled Italy in the 2nd half and were the better team and I will say had the edge in the 2nd extra time.

The lack of physical size in some of the key players reared its ugly head yesterday. Play makers like Verratti seemed to be sprawled all over the pitch far too often. I understand he’s a playmaker but he hung on to the ball far too long. The ball movement had to be a lot quicker and it wasn’t. Italy needs to get back to that type of game.
Except for the woodwork he hit, Immobile was a non factor, ineffective all game long. Was this due to good defending?I don’t know. Maybe. But on many occasions he seemed hesitant as to what to do next.
Spinazzola continues to shine in this tournament on that left side. The two goals were nice but he is the reason the goals even happened. Brilliant. In the 2nd half, Austria seemed to have neutralized that side.
The substitutions couldn’t have come at a better time. They offered a bigger presence on the pitch and are the big reason Italy has moved on.
I gave the edge to Austria in the 2nd extra time but overall, Italy could have put the game to bed with all the squandered chances they had in the extra time.

Yesterdays match certainly put a scare into Italy. Some pundits are already changing their tune about the team. Some are making silly comments like the screen grab below.
I didn’t watch the video because my time is precious but it’s a really dumb comment but to each his own. It certainly wasn’t their best match but to say Italy gave very little? come on.

Nowadays when you put out something to the internet you risk the ‘that didn’t age well’ reply… and it almost happened for one of the tweets I put out…Neville thinks Italy doesn’t have enough to go all the way and he was almost proven right yesterday and can still be proven right.

I say that sometimes when a team has it too easy that they need a good slap to the back of the head and a wake up call. I think and hope that came yesterday in the form of Austria. Italy will regroup and will be better for it moving forward. Like Mancini, I still believe overall they were the better team and deserved advancing to the next stage. But a high five to Austria for their performance. Grit and determination.

Our Vacation In Italy: Over 10 Years in the Making…

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Our trip to Italy this summer hit home very hard for me. It made me realize that for over ten years I had my priorities all screwed up. I have this character flaw… I am loyal AF and when I am committed to something I stick to it like velcro. For over 10 years I have volunteered at a youth soccer club as coach and also IT person for their office. The coaching gig started innocently enough. Our son, at a very young age, was keen with a soccer ball. We knew we wanted him in soccer but being he was terribly shy I volunteered to help coach so I would be there for him. My son started soccer at the age of four. That was thirteen years ago. As the years went by and we went from recreational soccer to competitive and I from casual assistant to coach, things changed. That sense of obligation was too strong and in the end it clouded my judgment. Family vacation time became non existent. We would take a few days here and there and always around the soccer schedule. During this time the furthest we went was probably New Hampshire. The last few years have been difficult for me at this club for various reasons I won’t get into in this post but mostly because the technical director in charge has no clue what a volunteer means to youth clubs like this one. Without volunteers, youth clubs won’t exist!! Plain and simple. He fails to ‘get that’. Add the fact the he and the President of the club are close friends and you have a recipe for disaster.

This club has gone downhill since the appointment of this technical director. The hypocrisy that exists is beyond words and it opened my eyes. Unfortunately it took a personal incident to get me to smarten up but I guess better late than never. It was like a huge slap to the back of the head. The kind like DiNozzo got on NCIS! Unfortunately I can’t turn back time and I wish I could just for the sake of my son. My daughter, who is a few years younger, has had it actually easier in general but as well it helps that I will never make this mistake again.

Italy: #Android is King

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Obviously it’s not a news flash.. we all know that #Android is king pretty much everywhere. Given I am into gadgets and tech I decided to pay close attention to what people are using while in italy. Android it is… and mostly #Samsung. Even the tablets used by the police force are Samsung. Waiters used android phones to take your order. My family members as well are mostly android users with the exception of a few that had #apple. To my sadness and dismay they had no clue what a @BlackBerry is. Not good.

Italy: 12 days of awesome!

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Today is our first day back to reality. On a very last minute decision we decided to take a trip to Italy… mainly to surprise my mom who has been there since July. I had originally planned to chronicle/post each day in Italy but it didn’t work out that way. I got caught up in the moment and our days were very long so it made it difficult to do so.

We didn’t immediately go visit my mom.. instead we worked our way there by starting our trip in Sorrento… Our trek in Italy was Sorrento-Capri-Positano-Amalfie-Calabria(Malvito)-Rome-Firenze.. We covered alot of territory in what turned out to be not enough days! We certainly did the planes, trains, automobiles, boat, bus, walk thing!

Sorrento, Capri, Positano and Amalfie

We began our trip in Sorrento.. in those 2.5 days we also trekked out to Capri (by boat) and Positano and Amalfie in a private guided tour. It’s alot to cover and we only spent a few hours in Positano and Amalfie..That last day we drove 3.5 hours to southern Italy (Calabria) where my mom is staying with family. The driving in Italy is cray cray.. i did have a rental but used the car minimally. The guide we had for the Positano/Amalfie drive was young and good but even as good a driver as he was, i did see my life flash before my eyes a few times during the drive! lol.

This is the view from our hotel in Sorrento. Spectacular!


A few photos from Capri and Amalfie.. Just incredibly beautiful!!!


… photos from Amalfie…

photos from Capri…

.. some photos from Positano…


Calabria (Malvito)

Our drive down to Calabria was pretty uneventful. Malvito is a small town where my mom and dad grew up.. it’s hillside.. pretty amazing. The hospitality is southern style (translation= awesome). My family is awesome. My cousin, Modestina took us in and was a great hostess. We were treated like dignitaries. Food and company was simply phenomenal! I should mention my mom was completely shocked to see us. Her reaction when we pulled into the driveway was priceless.. At first, she actually didn’t recognize us and then i guess when it started to register who we were her facial reaction was just too funny!

The dog in the last picture says it all.. that’s how i felt like while being in Malvito. I love the country side.. i was in heaven! Yup those cats are true Italians! No, fries didn’t mistakenly fall on that pizza!

I could go on and on about how beautiful Malvito is but i won’t or this post will just be too long. While in Malvito i did make use of the car to get around and let me tell you it was an adventure with my wife.. She is way too nervous. As i mentioned the driving is crazy and when you have very narrow roads that are in fact two way roads it makes for some interesting driving.. especially hillside.. She was a bundle of nerves! The fact we didn’t get into an accident was mainly in part to my prowess as a driver ;). Her reactions made for some really comical moments!

I should mention that the one and only time i was in Italy was back in 1984 when i was 13. Most of it was spent in Malvito. I don’t remember much but it was fun reminiscing with my family.

It would be terrible of me not to show some pictures of the beaches (guardia and cetraro) in Calabria.. so…

Some fruits on my aunt’s land..


We spent 3 days in Rome where we did an insane amount of walking. I dropped off the rental car at the airport in Calabria where we took a plane back to Rome. Rome is big and it’s pretty hectic! It was a good thing not having the car. We did a lot of sight seeing which of course included the Vatican.

We took a guided English tour of the Vatican and surrounding area. The tour guide we had was very knowledgeable with a big personality and kept us entertained. We were handed units with ear buds to wear so we could hear him well. This did help as the group was big and there are alot of tours going on at the same time and so it’s their way of making sure everyone gets to hear what the guide has to say. The fun part of the tour happened because Sylvio our tour guide didn’t know that he had Italians (us) in his group  … so at times he’d break into Italian with the folks working at the Vatican (and other tour guides) and let’s just say his language and commentary was very colorful.. Some of the stuff he said was funny…some derogatory..and some downright cringe worthy! Mena and I had some good laughs and we made sure not to give ourselves up as Italian so we could continue to enjoy his antics! The other eventful moment that happened in Rome was courtesy of my wife.. at the time it was plenty funny but after it sunk in, well… it could have turned out much worse for her. As she did plenty of times during our trip she was mesmerized by everything around her and one evening she crossed the street while looking one way and was almost trampled by a horse/carriage coming from the other way!! Luckily my yell alerted her and thanks to her quick feet she managed to escape using what we have now dubbed “the Mena shuffle”. You had to be there! Priceless.

The Trevi Fountain in Rome.



Although we flew out of Rome we ended our trip in Firenze..basically we trained it to and from Rome… Firenze is a beautiful and much smaller experience then Rome. Still very touristy but yet felt more manageable/relaxed. In my opinion, we did too much shopping and not enough sight seeing. But hey that’s just me.. the girls may not agree with me.


I opted not to buy a prepaid simcard for the trip.. instead i decided to WIFI it along the way.. The first few days had me regretting that decision but in the end it was a good thing as it got me to be disconnected for a while. I only caught up on my social media at the end of each day. In general the WIFI at hotels and airport was good. Any “free” public WIFI not so much as it worked very poorly (or not at all) OR you had to take too many steps or give a local phone # to get going.

All in all the trip was unbelievable. The food was great everywhere.. We ate ALOT!!! so i am thankful we did alot of walking as well. Gelato is a big deal in Italy and prior leaving for Italy we were told that we had to have our share and i will say that the best i had was in Firenze. I took advantage and also had my share of panna cotta as well (everywhere i could).. i love that dessert!

If i had to choose one word to describe Italy it’s “personality”. Italy itself has personality but so do the people. They’re out there. They’re larger than life. They make sure they are noticed. They are very personable and polite.


Heat ranking: Firenze was the hottest followed by Calabria, Sorrento and last Rome.

Levelling Up On Anxiety

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I am not much of a gamer but since Pokémon Go is all the rage now I figured use a gamer terminology… a few weeks ago I was happy about my modest progress in my weight loss goal… now not…

Source: Levelling Up On Anxiety

My Take On The #Zaza Dance #EURO2016

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Disclaimer: i have yet to watch the Italy v. Germany match. i am still in a dark place over it but i will eventually watch it. Possibly this weekend. I have only seen the highlights of the shoot out.

Now back to business… so Zaza is being meme crucified on the internet.. my god the amount of memes that have popped up since Saturday is staggering.  Staggering!!! Truth be told, some are hilarious…What i find ridiculous is the claim that “it’s the worse PK ever”. No, it isn’t.

I am by no means an expert but i am trying to understand what Zaza’s mindset was.. to me, clearly he was trying to throw off Neuer.. How? simple…

By definition: Once the striker (player) starts his/her approach toward the ball, he/she may not interrupt his/her movement.


  • You have those players that place the ball on the spot.. back up a few steps and in a running motion move toward the ball and strike it.
  • You have those players that place the ball on the spot.. back up a few steps and start their approach toward the ball then “stutter step” and follow through..
  • i am sure there are other approaches but …then you have the Zaza…


His movement, with small steps and ever so carefully, is always forward and toward the ball. As a goalie i think i would have a hard time reading when the player will attack and strike that ball.. The fact is that at any time during his,show horse style trot, Zaza could have just charged the ball and struck it. This was all a ploy to keep Neuer guessing. It was a tactic..In the end, it did not go Zaza’s way. It’s unfortunate.

Pelle’s kick as you can see below took the more “traditional” route with a little of that stutter step in it .. … yet he too missed..

The issue i have with Pelle’s is that he taunts Neuer that he will panenka it.. then he misses the net completely..when i first saw Pelle’s shot i felt that as he was approaching the ball that somehow he changed his mind, something happened because it looked like he really flubbed the kick completely. I am not so sure anymore.. what i do see though now is that he seems to give it away with a quick look to the side he eventually went with the ball.

a better video showing Pelle’s taunt…


Anyway, now i await with great anticipation the World Cup.. with, fingers crossed, Gigi Buffon between the pipes.


Italy run deserves to be remembered – UEFA EURO – News –

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Our Italian-language reporter Paolo Menicucci was sceptical about the Azzurri’s chances until a day at Coverciano in May changed his mind – and argues their run in France should be celebrated.

Source: Italy run deserves to be remembered – UEFA EURO – News –

great piece and totally agree.


Impressive Italy leave Belgium floored – UEFA EURO – News –

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Very interesting perception from the Belgium reporter that Belgium dominated… Maybe in ball possession but nothing else… Very  few threatening moments.  🙂

via Impressive Italy leave Belgium floored – UEFA EURO – News –