Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Jolly Hockey Sticks or Ice Creamed!

As the clock ticks by the England National Football team is preparing to tip-toe into a volatile Zagreb tonight knowing defeat to Croatia in this 2010 World Cup qualifier could demote us to also-rans on the World football stage. If Croatia,(not Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil or Agentina) beat England tonight then there will be carnage in the tabloids tomorrow, burning effigees on the streets, messageboards dining out on four letter expletives from now until kingdom come, along with a comprehensive meltdown on radio phone-ins, as enraged fans holler in despair at our demise........once again!

After sneaking away from a ski resort on Saturday by 2 black runs to none, pride may have been dented but the points were won. However there can be no slip up tonight as the former love child of the cockney East End wide boys from the London Borough of Newham will tell you, Slaven Bilic is no mug & he will take almighty pleasure from outsmarting his opposite number as he prepares a modus operandi of his own - it's just which English Football Club he endorses, not when!

Never in the history of International football have England ever been beaten on three successive occasions by the same nation until........hopefully never!

English sport is not all doom & gloom...........spare a thought for the Bulgarian National Hockey Federation.

With more goals than minutes in a game, Slovakia's women's ice hockey team claimed an amazing 82-0 victory last Saturday over Bulgaria in a European Olympic pre-qualifying tournament for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, in the Latvian town of Liepaja.

Bulgaria conceded a goal on average every 44 seconds!

Slovakia outshot the Bulgarians 139-0 during the 60-minute game, scoring on 58.9 per cent of their shots on goal.

The margin of victory is a record for a women's International Ice Hockey Federation-sanctioned event.

Janka Culikova led Slovakia with 10 goals, while Martina Velickova scored nine, Slovakia had 12 players record hat tricks, & fourteen different players scored at least one goal.

Bulgaria was eliminated after scoring one goal and conceding 192 in the tournament. Bulgaria lost to Italy (41-0) and Latvia (39-0), and it followed its 82-0 loss with a 30-1 defeat to Croatia.
In total, Bulgaria's women's ice hockey team surrendered more goals in four games(192) than the Detroit Red Wings did in 82 games last season (184).

The game was 7-0 after five minutes, 19-0 after 10, and an incredible 31-0 after only one period.

So at what point during an 82-0 loss in a women's ice hockey game do you turn to your mate and say, 'Come on pal, finish your drink we're outta here, & we may even beat the traffic.'
Well apparently there were fewer than 40 fans in the crowd for this rather one-sided contest.

After two periods, Slovakia led 55-0. If you're Bulgarian and still in the arena during the third period, chances are you're either one of the players or someone who also refuses to leave the worst movie ever made because you paid 'good money' for your ticket.

Down 77-0 with three minutes to go, Bulgaria put in its back-up goaltender, who promptly let in another five goals in just 85 seconds of playing time.

The 82-0 defeat capped what may have been 'the most pathetic tournament appearance in international hockey history.'

Slovakia, which also beat Croatia, Latvia and Italy, advanced to another qualifying group with Germany, Kazakhstan and France. The winner will secure a spot at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

To add insult to injury Slovakian coach Miroslav Karafiat said after Saturday's game, 'we took it as training.'

Ironically The Slovakian men's team clinched its biggest ever victory against none other than Bulgaria 14 years ago, when they won 20-0.

According to sources a Bulgarian media outlet that actually stands up for the women's team has taken the Bulgarian Government to task rather than hitting out at the players.

With a population of 7.4 million, Bulgaria have just 299 registered hockey players of which only 37 are registered female players, (Canada has about 74,000 female players) & only three indoor ice rings in the whole country.
On that basis Bulgaria could have hardly hoped for a successful run in the competition, although this ruthless and systematic destruction was nothing short of a national embarrassment.

The International Ice Hockey Federation said the result, set a record score for a women's IIHF-sanctioned event. It was not the all-time record for futility, however, that is still held by Thailand, who lost 92-0 to South Korea in the 1998 Asia-Oceania U18 Championship. Well that's a relief then!

The chair of the Bulgarian Hockey Federation is calling Slovakia's 82-goal win 'a kind of insulting mockery, & not at all sportsmanlike.'
We're counting down the moments until he lashes out at the glib reaction of the international sports media, which refuses to acknowledge goalie Liubomira Shosheva's amazing 57-save performance,(she faced 134 shots in 57 minutes).

A few Bulgarian news sources are picking up the story today, and they're calling it 'one of the biggest defeats in sporting history' & 'nothing short of a national embarrassment.'

.......Go on England, make us proud & bring home three precious points from Zagreb!

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