Friday, June 22, 2012

Snipper Matt Robinson on Euro Cup 2012 and the Best Goals of All Time

Welcome to Snipper of the Week. Each week, we chat up a Snipper with particularly cool collections. To commemorate the excitement of Euro Cup 2012, we caught up with football fanatic Matt Robinson to get his thoughts on the best goals of all time, Messi v. Ronaldo, and goal line technology. You can subscribe to Matt’s awesome Footie collection here.

Name: Matt Robinson

Occupation: Product Manager at

City: Brooklyn, NY

Other Cred: Speaks fluent French

Snipping Since: Sept 2011

Daily Reads:  Who ate all the pies, Fitbathatba, The Football Ramble.

Favorite collection: Buggrit Phooey’s Photography collectionIt’s great for novices like me to get some tips as well as just for the pretty pictures.

First things first: Do you call it Football or Soccer?

I grew up in the UK so I’ve always called it Football. After a while living in the US you get used to switching back and forth depending on who you’re talking to. I’ve never understood why it’s such a big deal to some people: Same sport, many names. I guess that’s part of the beauty of the sport - even the name itself is a point for debate.

Who’s your team?

I’ve supported Aberdeen FC my whole life (Scottish Premier League strugglers since 1903!). They’re my hometown team and I’m ‘stuck’ with them. I have soft spots for a lot of teams but I’ll only ever get that full-on emotional experience when Aberdeen plays. Some of my earliest football memories involve waiting outside Pittodrie Stadium for the chance to get autographs from my favorite players. Looking back, these guys were all shockingly mediocre but at the time I thought they were the best footballers on the planet.

I love your Footie collection. What’s your favorite goal all time? 

Picking out a favorite goal of all time is always tricky. It’s all about the balance between technique and context. You could score the most technically wonderful backheel from 40 yards but if it goes in when your team is already 4-0 up in a meaningless friendly, it slightly takes the sheen off. Whereas a relative tap-in in stoppage time of a World Cup final can be considered a great goal because of the pressure of the situation.

One goal that sticks out in my mind is James McFadden’s in Scotland against France in the Euro 2008 qualifiers. I was watching it in a bar in Glasgow and remember this weird silence for a split second after the goal, as if everyone was thinking ‘did that just happen?!’ then a huge eruption of cheering. We didn’t qualify, but beating France was a great accomplishment. All of a sudden Scottish people were optimistic about the national team, because of that one goal.

Notable mentions for pure technique go to Henry’s flick, turn and smash against Barthez/ManUtd, Ronaldo’s free-kick vs Portsmouth (perfect execution) and Ronaldo (the Brazilain one) vs Compostela

What’s the best league in the world? 

For me, the English league can’t be beaten at the moment. I watch my fair share of Serie A, La Liga and Ligue 1 games, and each league has its merits. But with the EPL, I find myself enjoying even the mid-table games, whereas the other leagues are more reliant on top teams for that real spectacle. As a neutral, the EPL is where it’s at. 

Who’s playing the most exciting football in the Euro Cup?

It’s all a bit tentative at the moment. No team has gone full-tilt yet I feel. I’m finding the unpredictability of England fascinating. New manager, countless injuries, Rooney suspension, all these young kids — they are never short for drama. Gomez for Germany looks like a boss — he’s a total out-and-out finisher. If he gets it on a plate in range, you know it’s gonna either going to end up in Row Z or the back of the net. Either way he’s gonna shoot.

What’s your prediction for the final?

I’d find it hard to bet against a Germany vs Spain final. The strong teams always seem to find a way through. But Spain is far from the team they were two years ago and don’t look unbeatable. I can’t see them winning. Unless Del Bosque realizes that it’s ok to play a big striker up front and Lloriente starts smashing them in.

Who would you rather have on your team: Messi or Ronaldo? 

It’d be interesting to see them both in the same team. I really want to witness Messi play at another club. I mean, he’d obviously be awesome wherever he played but I’d like to put that to the test. Ronaldo has proved himself in England and Spain, and has had to live with the eternal ‘not as good as Messi’ tag, so he has that in his favor. In answer to the question: Either, I’m not picky.

Will anyone ever be as great as Pele and Maradona? 

I think Messi is the best player ever to touch a ball. But to reach that same “timeless icon” status he’s gonna have to win a World Cup or two.

What are your thoughts on the politically and racially charged matches so far? 

These things are always bubbling under the surface, it’s just that when there’s a major tournament, the spotlight goes on. This year has been terrible for racial issues in the game, but at least it’s being addressed now rather than swept under the carpet. It’s a problem in almost every league in Europe, not just in Poland/Ukraine. I think some of the press is unfairly painting the wrong picture of football fans in that part of the world. There are idiots in every country.

What are your thoughts on goal line technology?

I just wish FIFA would make their mind up either way so commentators would stop mentioning it every time the ball goes within 5 yards the line. It’s gonna happen sooner or later, I hope they do it in the right way with minimal interference. You need that element of human error, it’s part of what makes the sport so interesting.

Where do you think US football will be at in 10 years?

The popularity of the EPL over here really took me by surprise. MLS is still seen as a niche and rightly so - the standard isn’t quite there yet. There is definitely a huge market for the game here. The national team’s success at the World Cup will be key though. One thing I would love to see is EPL games over here, like the NFL games in London. Get real matches in the US then the sport might just explode.

You can subscribe to Matt’s Footie collection here


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