The History of Football

Now that the FIFA World cup is well on its way, it might be a good time to have a look at the history of Football.

I will be referring to the sport as Football and not soccer, because the name is Associated Football. It is one of the most if not the most popular sports in the world. More than 240 million people around the world play soccer regularly according to the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).

The first known examples of a team game involving a ball, which was made out of a rock, occurred in old Mesoamerican cultures for over 3,000 years ago. It was by the Aztecs called Tchatali, although various versions of the game were spread over large regions. In some ritual occasions, the ball would symbolize the sun and the captain of the losing team would be sacrificed to the gods. A unique feature of the Mesoamerican ball game versions was a bouncing ball made of rubber – no other early culture had access to rubber.

The first known ball game which also involved kicking took place In China in the third and second century BC under the name Cuju. Cuju was played with a round ball (stitched leather with fur or feathers inside) on an area of a square.

A modified form of this game later spread to Japan and was by the name of kemari practiced under ceremonial forms.

Perhaps even older Cuju was Marn Gook, played by Aboriginal Australians and according to white emigrants in the 1800s a ball game primarily involving kicking. The ball was made by encased leaves or roots. The rules are mostly unknown, but as with many other early versions of the game keeping the ball in the air was probably a chief feature.

There are a number of references to traditional, ancient, or prehistoric ball games, played by indigenous peoples in many different parts of the world. For example, in 1586, men from a ship commanded by an English explorer named John Davis, went ashore to play a form of football with Inuit in Greenland. There are later accounts of an Inuit game played on ice, called Aqsaqtuk. Each match began with two teams facing each other in parallel lines, before attempting to kick the ball through each other team’s line and then at a goal. In 1610, William Strachey, a colonist at Jamestown, Virginia recorded a game played by Native Americans, called Pahsaheman. Pasuckuakohowog, a game similar to modern-day association football played amongst Amerindians, was also reported as early as the 17th century.

In the 16th century, the city of Florence celebrated the period between Epiphany and Lent by playing a game which today is known as “calcio storico” (“historic kickball”) in the Piazza Santa Croce. [45] The young aristocrats of the city would dress up in fine silk costumes and embroil themselves in a violent form of football. For example, calcio players could punch, shoulder charge, and kick opponents. Blows below the belt were allowed. The game is said to have originated as a military training exercise.

But football as we know it today has its roots in 19th century England.

An attempt to create proper rules for the game was done at a meeting in Cambridge in 1848, but a final solution to all questions of rules was not achieved. Another important event in the history of football came about in 1863 in London when the first Football association was formed in England. It was decided that carrying the ball with the hands wasn’t allowed. The meeting also resulted in a standardization of the size and weight of the ball. A consequence of the London meeting was that the game was divided into two codes: association football and rugby.

In Europe, early footballs were made out of animal bladders, more specifically pig’s bladders, which were inflated. Later leather coverings were introduced to allow the balls to keep their shape. However, in 1851, Richard Lindon and William Gilbert, both shoemakers from the town of Rugby (near the school), exhibited both round and oval-shaped balls at the Great Exhibition in London. Richard Lindon’s wife is said to have died of lung disease caused by blowing up pig’s bladders. Lindon also won medals for the invention of the “Rubber inflatable Bladder” and the “Brass Hand Pump”.

In 1855, the U.S. inventor Charles Goodyear, who had patented vulcanised rubber , exhibited a spherical football, with an exterior of vulcanised rubber panels, at the Paris Exhibition Universelle. The ball was to prove popular in early forms of football in the U.S.

The iconic ball with a regular pattern of hexagons and pentagons (see truncated icosahedron) did not become popular until the 1960s, and was first used in the World Cup in 1970.

Clubs in Sheffield played a significant role in the development of the rules of football, leading to how the modern game is played today. The Sheffield Rules were devised by the Sheffield Football Club and played in the city between 1857 and 1877. As a result, corner kicks, throw-ins, and heading the ball were introduced into Sheffield football before Association Football rules.

On 28 October 1858, Sheffield Football Club’s first rules of football were ratified at a general meeting at the Adelphi Hotel. As well as creating Sheffield FC, Nathaniel Creswick and William Prest was instrumental in setting up the rules that they adhered to. Sheffield FC’s first set of rules featured the following features:

A player cannot touch the ball with his hands, except when pushing or hitting it, and when a fair catch is made. Kicking, tripping, and holding opponents (foul play) were forbidden, but charging and pushing were permitted. A fair catch resulted in a free kick, but the free kick could not lead to a goal. In 1858, a goal could only be scored by kicking it. Throw-ins are awarded to teams that touch the ball after it has left play. In order to throw the ball in, it must be thrown at a right angle to the touchline.
There was a “kick-out” (goal kick) from 25 yards when the ball went out of play over the goal-line. Offside laws did not exist. The numbers on each side were not dictated by the Sheffield rules. Over the 20 years, these Sheffield rules were updated after each season until the Sheffield Association and the London-based FA came to a head in 1877.

The world’s first competitive inter-club match between Hallam FC and Sheffield FC in 1860 and the world’s first football tournament, the Youdan Cup, were played according to the Sheffield Rules. Following the 1860 Boxing Day derby between Hallam and Sheffield, players and committee members retired to The Plough pub for much-needed refreshments.

As the sport developed, more rules were implemented and more historical landmarks were set. For example, the penalty kick was introduced in 1891. FIFA became a member of the International Football Association Board of Great Britain in 1913. Red and yellow cards were introduced during the 1970 World Cup finals. More recent major changes include goalkeepers being banned from handling deliberate back passes in 1992 and tackles from behind becoming red-card penalties in 1998.

Some of the top players throughout history include Pele (Edson Arantes Do Nascimento) from Brazil, who scored six goals in the 1958 World Cup and helped Brazil claim its first title; Lev Yashin from Russia, who claimed to have saved more than 150 penalty shots during his outstanding goal-tending career; and Marco Van Basten from the Netherlands who won several very prestigious soccer awards during one year alone.

I know the current world cup is highly politicized and I do believe awarding the world cup to Qatar was probably the biggest mistake in the history of FiFa However setting the politics aside, it is still enjoyable to watch the matches, and surprises like Saudi Arabia beating Argentina and Japan beating Germany only add to the charm of the game

Despite all the controversy it is great to see some fans displaying the best of behaviour, like the Japanese supporters cleaning up after the match.

sources

https://www.footballhistory.org/

https://www.britannica.com/story/is-it-really-dangerous-to-swim-after-eating

https://www.bundesliga.com/en/faq/all-you-need-to-know-about-soccer/the-history-of-soccer-10560

https://historyofsoccer.info/rules-of-football

https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/63735823

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Dutch Football During World War II

We are less than a month away from the Fifa Worldcup. The selection of Qatar as the host nation is, to use an understatement, controversial. But I hope it will do some good.

I was wondering though about the history of Dutch football and especially the World War II years, the national competition didn’t halt. Would that have been seen as controversial at the time?

The Second World War was not the death blow for it Dutch football. The numbers show just the opposite: as the occupation continued, both the active and passive interest in sports in general and especially football grew
For example, the number of members of the NVB (The name of the Dutch football association is KNVB-K standing for Koninklijke as in Royal. the occupying forces forbade the royal honorific) clearly saw the growth during the war years.

Below are just some impressions of Dutch football between 1940 and 1945.

The Heracles team won a 6-1 victory against PSV and thus conquered the championship of the Netherlands. Netherlands, Almelo, July 1941 .

Competition match, season 1941-1942, ADO-Feyenoord (result 3-0), The Hague, Netherlands 1942. Photo: ADO goalkeeper Willem Koek, the arbitral trio, and Feyenoord captain Bas Paauwe during the pre-match toss.

First-class division 2, 1940/1941 season, Ajax – Blauw Wit (result 2-1). A game moment in front of Ajax’s goal, the goalkeeper [Gerrit Keizer] punches the ball away. Stadium de Meer Amsterdam, Netherlands, March 23, 1941.

Competition match season 1941-1942, ADO-DWS (result 1-0), The Hague, Netherlands 1941-1942. Photo: ADO goalkeeper Willem Koek punches the ball next to the goal.

The Be-Quick team was being honored in connection with promotion to the first division. Netherlands, Zutphen, 25 May 1944.

The champion team of ADO among the enthusiastic supporters after their victory over Feyenoord (3-0) in the Netherlands, The Hague, 1942.

sources

https://www.nieuws030.nl/achtergrond-1940-1945/sport-in-de-oorlog/

Happy Birthday Eddy Hamel—American Soccer Player Murdered in Auschwitz

I have done a piece on Eddy Hamel before, but for two reasons I wanted to do a post again about him. Firstly it is his 120th birthday today, secondly, we are only a few weeks away from the FIFA World Cup, the biggest tournament of the sport he loved so much.

He was born in New York City. He was Jewish, as were his parents who were immigrants from the Netherlands. He moved to Amsterdam in his teenage years. In 1928 he married Johanna Wijnberg, and in 1938 they had twin boys, Paul and Robert.

Eddy Hamel was the first Jewish player, and also the first American, to play for Ajax in Amsterdam. Prior to Ajax he played for Amsterdamsche FC (AFC). His first acquaintance with Ajax was a special one. The training fields of AFC and Ajax were next to each other and Hamel had broken a window of an Ajax changing room while in a rowdy mood. The groundskeeper did not take it kindly and gave the boy an earful. In 1922 Hamel became the first Jewish player at Ajax and the first American at one of Europe’s most famous football clubs. The Ajax supporters—at the time also largely with a Jewish background—quickly embraced him.

Ajax’s players in 1926 pose for a team photo. Eddy Hamel is kneeling, front left.

Hamel became a first-team regular for Ajax. To date, only four other Jewish soccer players have followed in his footsteps – Johnny Roeg, Bennie Muller, Sjaak Swart, and Daniël de Ridder. Hamel was a fan favourite and was cited by pre-World War II club legend Wim Anderiesen as part of the strongest line-up he ever played with. He had his fan club in the 1920s, which would line up on his side of the field at the beginning of every game, and then switch sides to be on his side of the field in the second half. After his retirement as a player, Hamel managed Alcmaria Victrix for three years and continued to play in an Ajax veteran squad.

Hamel, his wife and their sons lived across town at the time, in a second-floor flat at 145 Rijnstraat, not far from where 13-year-old Anne Frank and her family lived. In apparent defiance of the Nazis’ rules, Hamel continued to play for his old club’s alumni team, Lucky Ajax, during the German occupation.

On Oct. 27, 1942, Hamel was stopped by two officers from the Jewish Affairs division of the Amsterdam Police Department, which had turned compliant with the Nazis. The arrest report, written in German, states that Hamel told his captors he was born in New York. He gave “coach” as his profession. As for the reason for his arrest: He’d been caught in public sich ohne judenstern—without his Jewish star. Despite his American citizenship, Hamel was detained by the Nazis because he was a Jew.

Eddy and his family had to report to Westerbork. They ended up in the so-called ‘English Barrack’. Here were British and American citizens who were eligible for exchange. But that status turned out to offer no protection either. Leon Greenman, who was in the same barracks, spent the last few months with Eddy. Both their families were deported to Auschwitz in January 1943, where the women and children were immediately murdered. Both men were to work.

Eddy spent four months doing hard labour at Birkenau. After he was found to have a swollen mouth abscess during a Nazi inspection, the Nazis sent him to the gas chambers in Auschwitz concentration camp on April 30, 1943, where they murdered him.

I don’t know if this was the case but I think it is safe to assume that Eddy would have watched matches of the young talent at Ajax. I have no doubt that he would have enjoyed the talent of Rinus Michels, who played for the youth team in Ajax in 1940/1941. Rinus Michels went on to become the most successful manager of the Dutch national team, with whom he won the European title in 1988.

Ajax 4 with Rinus Michels kneeling in front with ball. Netherlands, Amsterdam, 1940-1941 season.

sources

https://english.ajax.nl/articles/stolpersteins-for-eddy-hamel-a-reminder-of-the-tragic-fate-of-an-ajax-player/

https://footballmakeshistory.eu/eddy-hamel-new-york-amsterdam-auschwitz/

The football tragedy of November 19,1944.

The history of Sittard-Geleen is a bit of a complicating one. The city used to be 2 towns, but in 2001 the towns of Sittard and Geleen merged and is now known as Sittard-Geleen.

On September 18,1944 both towns were liberated.

With the liberation of Sittard on 18 and 19 September 1944, the war did not end for this town. On the contrary, in the following five months hundreds more were killed because it was close to the front.

Nevertheless, an emergency football competition started in November 1944 with five clubs from Sittard and Geleen. “The proceeds go to the needy Netherlands,” says Limburgsch Dagblad. On 19 November, the Sittardse Boys and Maurits played on the then Baandert stadium, in the presence of several thousand spectators. After about half an hour Harry Ehlen of the Sittardse Boys dropped to the ground, because he heard a whooshing sound. Seconds later, shells hit around the field for nearly ten minutes. There were also impacts elsewhere in the city center.

Eleven people were killed throughout Sittard, most of the victims were on the Baandert, the exact number is unknown. In any case Karel Ermans died there, ten years old. His brother Sjeng and his father found him. The body of Peter Houben lay next to it, also ten years old.

This grenade attack is the only fatal wartime incident at a sports match in the Netherlands. In fact, it is the biggest disaster in Dutch sports history. There have never been more deaths during a match. And yet it is completely unknown, barring those directly involved in Sittard.

This is mainly due to the press censorship of the time. The newspapers only said that the match was ‘untimely halted’ and that the emergency competition had been stopped. In the obituary of Francisca Frissen, ‘a fatal accident’ was her cause of death. Her prayer card, still in the possession of brother Toine, escaped this censorship: ‘Born in Sittard on June 28, 1929 and there, hit by a shrapnel, died on November 19, 1944.’

After the national liberation in 1945, this football disaster was quickly forgotten. For example, a huge misunderstanding could arise about a memorial stone in the Bernadettekerk on the Baandert, which was always thought to contain the names of the victims of 19 November 1944. That is not correct: on this war memorial from 1952, the fifteen members of Sittardse Boys and Sittard, who died in the Second World War. Only Karel Ermans, Francisca Frissen and Bertha Simon are victims of 19 November 1944, the other twelve died on another day. The wrong people have been commemorated at this monument for decades, symbolizing the chaos of November 19, 1944.

At the end of 2019, it became clear to the Bernadette Church that a misunderstanding had arisen, after which the church placed a call for more information. Here is a summary of what we have found so far.

Eight names found so far of the victims of November 19, 1944:

Karel Hubertus Ermans (10 years)
Francisca Agnes Frissen (15)
Pieter Jouzef Houben (13)
Bertha John. Hubert Simon (16)
John Peter Ant. Simons (40)
André Carolus Maria Tummers (1)
Maria Neer-Vaessen (56)
Diena Zoer (16)
So there are still three names missing

And these are the fifteen names of Sittardia on the monument from 1952:

Paul Collard
Paul Crauwels
Tonny Hunnekens
De Heus
Piet Letschert
Karel Ermans
Harry Janssen
Charles Soesman
Jack. Hertz
Frans Schadron
Frans Eijck
Frits Clemens
Bertha Simon
Fransien Frissen
Mia Sprenger
I was never aware of this tragedy. I only came across it by chance because I was doing research on the liberation of Geleen. It is strange that this is such a forgotten event in both Sittard and Geleen, because Geleen is the cradle of professional football in the Netherlands.

sources

https://www.trouw.nl/sport/de-vergeten-voetbalramp-van-sittard~b40e12f4/?referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.ie%2F

Han Hollander-Sports Journalist, murdered in Sobibor.

Sport is very important in the Netherlands, the Dutch are passionate about many sporting events. For a small country it does quite well in many of the sporting disciplines. Equally important are the people reporting or covering sports, especially on radio.

Hartog “Han” Hollander was the first Dutch radio sports journalist. He was Jewish, but he changed his name to Han to make it sound more Dutch.

On March 11, 1928, a football match was broadcast live on the radio for the first time. The match between the Netherlands and Belgium is defeated by Han Hollander. Who is this man who can speak so compellingly about sports?

Sports reporting on the radio is a Dutch invention. For the first time in history, a football game was broadcast live on the radio on March 11, 1928. The match was played between the Netherlands and Belgium, broadcast by the AVRO. Han Hollander reported. The match ended in a 1-1 draw.

In 1936 he was allowed to report and cover the Olympic Games in Berlin, which he did again with great enthusiasm. Because of his positive contribution to the Olympic spectacle, he received a certificate signed by Hitler personally.

When the war broke out on May 10, 1940, his career was suddenly over. The German occupier did not take the first steps in anti-Jewish legislation until January 1941, but Willem Vogt, the co founder and director of AVRO, fired Hollander because of his Jewish origin on May 16,1940. His once good friend broke off contact with him. Years later, Vogt lamented that he was only taking these measures so as not to offend the Germans.

Unfortunately, during the war, Hollander did not see the need to go into hiding. He said he was relying on the certificate of the 1936 Olympic Games signed by Hitler. Hollander was deported to Westerbork, from where, after a careless remark from his wife, he was sent with his wife were sent to Sobibor , where they were murdered on July 9,1943.

Their daughter was murdered in Auschwitz on February 28,1943.

Sources

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/nl/page/76033/hartog-hollander

Han Hollander: sportverslaggever

http://resources.huygens.knaw.nl/bwn1880-2000/lemmata/bwn2/hollanderh

https://voetbalstats.nl/opstelnedxi.php?wid=92

Donation

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Westerbork-Distraction from fate.

I have done several blogs on Westerbork before. The reasons why I highlight Westerbork so much are.

  1. It was the place where most Dutch Jewish and Jewish Refugees passed through before being sent to extermination camps
  2. It had initially set up as a refugee center for Jews prior to the war.
  3. Although the death toll was much lower in Westerbork then in other camps ,it was also one of the most sinister camps.

It is the sinister aspect I want to explore here. The biggest crime committed in Westerbork was that it gave those who were imprisoned there, hope or rather false hope. It was a distraction to the real fate that awaited them.

The Dutch government established a camp at Westerbork in 1939 to intern Jewish refugees, mostly from Germany. The first refugees arrived in Westerbork in October of that year. In April 1940, there were approximately 750 Jewish refugees housed in the camp. Some of them were German Jews who had been passengers on the St. Louis ship.

As you can see the picture above is of a football team. Amidst all the killing, torture, deportations and other horrors in Camp Westerbork, they actually found time to set up a football competition.

Some of the prisoners were well know European players, or players who played for major European teams.

Westerbork had facilities like a hospital, an orphanage with a playground, and a football competition fall into that category. The prisoners got hope and a sense of normality out of this.

How did the idea of a football competition come from ? In 1943 a small group of prisdoners went from Westerbork to Amsterdam where they had to work in a factory. Whilst on the train from Assen to Amsterdam, they read a paper, De Telegraaf, a widespread Dutch Newspaper. In this newspaper, it said that the national football competition was still going on. When reading this news, one of the group members got angry; they were playing without him! How could this be?

Within that group that traveled to Amsterdam were multiple footballers, such as Ignatz Feldmann, a famous professional footballer from Austria in the 1920s and the 1930s.

Feldman was one of the best defenders at that time. He was quite famous , not only in Austria but also in The Netherlands. So he had a certain status within Camp Westerbork and the Jewish community. During that train journey from Assen to Amsterdam, he came up with the idea of starting a football competition in the camp. The camp commandant allowed it.

It was a quiet professional-looking competition. With matches being played every week.

Eddy Hamel was an American Jew who played for AFC Ajax, Amsterdam. Ernst Alexander was a Jewish player for FC Schalke 04 and Árpád Weisz a Hungarian Olympic football player and manager, he was managing FC Dordrecht in the Netherlands when the war broke out. They all were murdered in Auschwitz.

But football was not the only thing that distracted the prisoners from their fate. There were factories, music, playgrounds, it was nearly like an ordinary town.

Camp Westerbork also had a school, orchestra, hairdresser, and even restaurants designed by SS officials to give inmates a false sense of hope for survival and to aid in avoiding problems during transportation.

The camp administration was headed by a German commandant. Westerbork had three commandants, all of whom were SS officers: Erich Deppner (July 1942–September 1942); Josef Hugo Dischner (September–October 1942); and Albert Konrad Gemmeker (October 1942–April 1945). German SS men and a rotating group of Dutch civilian and military police guarded the camp. In addition to the German and Dutch personnel, a Jewish police force ,called the Ordedienst or the OD, kept order in the camp.

Below is a film that shows life in Westerbork-It was recently discovered and restored. It is a long film but it is well worth the wwatch.

sources

https://schalke04.de/verein/schalke-hilft/handlungsfelder/stehtauf/ernst-alexander-auszeichnung/

https://footballmakeshistory.eu/football-at-the-concentration-camp/

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I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2, however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thank you. To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the PayPal link. Many thanks.

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Why Cristiano Ronaldo should never play football again.

In general I don’t do blogs pointing out individuals, but sometimes I feel I have to.

Regardless what you think of Ronaldo as a person, if you really love football and especially international football, you have to agree with me that Ronaldo should never ever play again.

Of course most of the players have done things that don’t belong on a football pitch, but with Ronaldo there is something every match.

I once timed him to see how quick he would go down, as in diving, in a match. It was 73 seconds. He manipulates referees. In the 2014 world cup qualifier against Sweden, he faked an injury, just before Zlatan Ibrahimović was about to score a goal for Sweden, which more then likely would have been the goal to decide the match in Sweden’s favour, Ronaldo went down even though there wasn’t actually a player near him. He called out to the referee, who stopped the match. Miraculously Ronaldo fully recovered, he picked up the ball and eventually scored the winning goal for Portugal. Rather then being able to score the goal he should have gotten a red card.

In the 2006 world cup finals Ronaldo got his Man Utd teammate Wayne Rooney send off during the England Portugal game. Rooney did foul a player, but not enough for a red card. However Ronaldo insisted Rooney should get one, and the referee obliged. It was clear that Ronaldo had set out at the start of the match to get Rooney send off. After Rooney’s red card, Ronaldo winked to his manager.

Ronaldo dives numerous times every match he plays, often near or in the penalty area just to force a free kick or penalty.

I know he is a record goal scoring player, but if you reduce his tally by all the ill gotten penalties or free kicks, you probably would come to the conclusion that he is only a mediocre striker.

What bothers me is that FIFA have this thing called “Fair Play” but time and time again they award players who do everything but play fair, Ronaldo is the top on that list. This is not because he is such a great player, but because of marketing. Ronaldo is a great marketing tool and brings in money for FIFA.

You only have to look at last night’s game Portugal vs Ireland. Ronaldo got away with slapping O’Shea which was a clear red card, but yet again he got away with it.

You can call me cynical but to me it is too much of a coincidence that Ronaldo who was about to break the record of international goals .was not send off. He missed a penalty and Ireland was ahead by one goal until the very end of the match. Ronaldo scored in the 89th and 96th minutes, yes you read that right 96th minute. Coincidentally he rejoined Man Utd a few days ago making him the best paid player in the Premiership.

By FIFA’s own rules Ronaldo should not have been able to break the record last night, he should have been sent off ,also missing the next match, But hey FIFA is not about football anymore it is all about money.

As for FIFA ,your play maybe Fair Play, but is it also Play Fair?

On a different note. This is for the Norwegian FA and the Norwegian Football team

If you want to protest against the world cup being hosted in Qatar, don’t do it by showing a banner at the start of qualifying matches. If you really want to stand your ground and be principled about it, then withdraw from the competition. I would actually respect that and start a campaign to award the world cup to you be default, But doing it by holding up flags and banners at the stadiums is a very hollow protest.

Denmark at the UEFA Euro championships

Regardless if you are a fan of the man or not, anyone who watched that match last night must have had an awful shock.

Shortly before half time during the UEFA Euro 2020, group stage match between Denmark and Finland, the Danish midfielder and star player, Christian Eriksen collapsed. He was taken of the pitch and rushed to the Hospital after he received treatment on the pitch, He is awake and stable again, after a reportedly cardiac arrest. We all wish him a speedy recovery but it appears he may not play professional football again.

Not only was this an awful shock but it was also a surprise that the match resumed after some delay. Apparently Christian Eriksen said he wanted the match to be played. The match ended up in a 0-1 win to Finland.

This was not the first time that Denmark surprised sporting fans by playing matches during an UEFA Euro championship.

In 1992, most of the Danish team had been on a beach holiday because they failed to qualify for the tournament.

They had been in group 4 of the qualifying rounds together with Austria, the Faroe Islands, Northern Ireland and Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia won the group. Denmark ended up as the runner up and failed to qualify.

However just before the tournament started, Yugoslavia was disqualified as a result of the breakup of the country and the ensuing warfare there. As the runner up of group Denmark was called up to take Yugoslavia’s place.

To make the surprise even bigger ,Denmark reached a place in the semi finals after beating France and drawing with England. In the semis the met the Dutch team, who were the reigning champion and also the favourites to win it again, the match ended up in a draw and had to be decided by a penalty shoot out. To everyone’s surprise it was won by Denmark, securing them a spot in the final against Germany.

The finals were set to be played in the Ullevi stadium in Gothenburg Sweden, on June 26.

After having beaten the other giants in European football, the Danes also managed to beat the Germans by two goals.

So Denmark went from not qualifying in the first place ,to be crowned UEFU Euro champions 1992, defying all the odds. Hopefully Christian Eriksen will also defy all the odds and make a full recovery.

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I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2, however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thank you. To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the PayPal link. Many thanks.

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A moment of compassion in hell.

One of the most cruelest crimes committed by the Japanese Imperial Army during WWII, was the Bataan Death March.

It was a march in the Philippines of some 66 miles (106 km) that 76,000 prisoners of war (66,000 Filipinos, 10,000 Americans) were forced by the Japanese military to endure in April 1942, during the early stages of World War II.

After the April 9, 1942 U.S. surrender of the Bataan Peninsula on the main Philippine island of Luzon to the Japanese during World War II (1939-45), the approximately 76,000 Filipino and American troops on Bataan were forced to make the march to prison camps. Thousands were killed during the march. During the march, prisoners received little food or water, and many died. They were subjected to severe physical abuse, including beatings and torture. On the march, the “sun treatment” was a common form of torture. Prisoners were forced to sit in sweltering direct sunlight without helmets or other head coverings.

It was like hell. But among all the evil and torture there was at least one moment of compassion.

Mario George Tonelli was born the son of Italian immigrants in the Chicago suburbs. He was a professional American football player who played running back for one season for the Chicago Cardinals.

He joined the Chicago Cardinals in 1940. However, feeling a sense of duty to serve his country, he decided to enlist in the Army at the end of the season. Reporting for duty at Camp Wallace, Texas, in March 1941, Tonelli remarked to a reporter that he would be able to use his Army training exercises as a football coach after he finished his service. In 1937 Tonelli played college football .

Tonelli spent three years with the Fighting Irish varsity, leading Notre Dame to the brink of a national championship in 1938. Following the College All-Star Game in 1939, he received his gold class ring, on the underside of which he had his initials and graduation date M.G.T. ’39engraved. He wore the ring proudly during a stint as an assistant coach at Providence College in 1939 and one season of pro football with the Chicago Cardinals in 1940..

On 7 December, 1941, the now SGT Tonelli was stationed at Clark Field on Luzon, the main island of the Philippines. The next day, as he exited the mess hall, a swarm of Japanese planes commenced bombardment of Clark Field. Unable to reach his anti-aircraft gun, he grabbed a nearby Springfield rifle and fired fruitlessly into the horde of enemy aircraft until the Japanese planes departed. Soon after the initial assault, Tonelli joined the rest of the American and Filipino forces in their withdrawal into the Bataan Peninsula.

For five months, Tonelli and his fellow soldiers fought valiantly against the Japanese juggernaut while their supply of food, medicine, and ammunition dwindled. On 9 April, 1942, the weak, starving, and exhausted American forces surrendered to the Japanese. On this day, Tonelli began his 1,236 day ordeal as a prisoner of the Japanese.

The following day, he found himself in what would become known as the Bataan Death March.

Fatigued by the months of fighting and his recent capture, Tonelli neglected to hide his gold Notre Dame ring, which he still wore proudly on his finger. A Japanese guard came by and pointed to the ring. Tonelli refused to hand his precious football memento over to the guard. Annoyed with his insolence, the Japanese soldier threatened to strike him. Tonelli finally decided to turn the ring over as a friend quietly warned him that no ring is worth dying for. As the guard left him, he knew he would never see his class ring again.

A few moments later a Japanese officer stepped up to Tonelli and asked in perfect English, “Did any of my men take anything from you?” Dazed and confused, he responded, “Yes, he took my Notre Dame ring.” The officer handed him his ring back and cautioned him to hide the ring so it would not be taken again. After a word of thanks from the grateful prisoner, the officer explained, “I was educated in America at the University of Southern California.” The officer stated that he knew about Tonelli’s game winning play against the Trojans in the final game of the 1937 season. “I know how much this ring means to you, so I wanted to get it back to you”

That little incident gave Tonelli the hope he needed to survive the rest of the war

Tonelli later buried the ring in a metal soap dish beneath his prison barracks to safekeep it from would be thieves.

sources

https://news.nd.edu/news/notre-dames-tonelli-faced-horrors-of-bataan-refused-to-die/

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How many survived?

When you look at the picture above you can see a few boys having fun. You could ask yourself” Who are these boys?” or “What game are they playing?!

I don’t know who these boys are. I do know though that they were cared for by the BjZ or Buitenschoolse Jeugdzorg, which was a part of the Jewish council in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The Buitenschoolse Jeugdzorg cared for Jewish children after school, The activities would include arts and crafts, music,dancing and sports and a few other activities.

The Jewish council was set up after some fights provoked by Dutch nazis broke out beween the Nazis and Jewish men in late January 1941. Hans Böhmcker who was an assistant to the Reich Commissioner for the Netherlands Arthur Seyß-Inquart. ordered the Jewish council to be set up and he made the council responsible to maintain peace and order in the Jewish quarter, which really was a ghetto, which had been established shortly after the skirmishes.

The BjZ gave the children some reprieve of their daily life during the German occupation.

It appears to me that the boys are playing football(soccer). There is another question which needs to be asked which is “How many survived?” Given the fact that about 75% of all Jews in the Netherlands were murdered by the Nazi regime there is a good chance that only 2 boys would have survived, if any.

Aside from the obvious horrors of the Holocaust, in ths case who knows what the world was deprived off. Who knows , maybe one or mor of these boys could have become footballing geniusese like Pele. Johan Cruijff or Maradona.

The more I write about the Holocaust the more I realize the ripple effect it had on the world’s history and future.

For all we know the scientist who potentially could have foreseen the Covid 19 virus was amongst the victims of the Holocaust. So much future damage was caused by the Holocaust which of course is impossible to quantify, but yet it is something we should never dismiss.

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I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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