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Posts Tagged ‘ Denmark ’

Sligo Sign Danish Striker Nielsen

nielsen

Sligo Rovers have announced the signing of Danish striker Morten Nielsen from German club FC Rot-Weiss Erfurt.

The 24 year old began his career at FC Copenhagen before being signed by Chelsea at the age of 16.

Nielsen spent three years at Stamford Bridge in their youth academy. While there Nielsen played in the Chelsea team which made it to the final of the FA Youth Cup in 2008 against Man City.  Continue reading

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The Most Laid Back School in The World

sudbury

You’re about to meet the most laid back school in the United States. Meet Sudbury Valley School – the school that allows you to do anything you want.

The school itself was founded in 1968 in Framingham, Massachusetts. The school is firmly based on the Sudbury model utilised throughout the United States, Denmark, Israel, Japan, Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.

The model firmly runs of the system off;
– Educational Freedom
– Democratic Governance
– Personal Responsibility

Continue reading

Ten Crucial Moments In European World Cup Qualifiers

BOS

With the nine automatic 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil qualification spots sealed in Europe, plus the eight contenders in the upcoming play-offs known, for many it is hard not to think how different it all could have been.

The final matchday of the European qualifying campaign for the 2014 FIFA World Cup saw group winners Bosnia-Herzegovina,England,Russia and Spain join already qualified Belgium,Italy,Germany,Netherlands and Switzerland on the plane to Brazil. Continue reading

Bright Future Ahead For Irish Basketball

Basketball-Ireland-314

Finally after years of having little or no international basketball the underage teams seem to be back up and running with Basketball Ireland hopeful that they will have a senior team back competing in the not too distant future.

As things stand there is currently an Irish U15,U16 and U17 team with an U20 team due to be set up later this year. This will be the most teams that Basketball Ireland have had since they were forced to dismantle the Senior International Teams four years ago. This was especially controversial on the girls side as they operated on a budget of just €40,000 a year and were extremely hopeful of gaining promotion to Division A. Continue reading

The Innocent Muslims?

The latest furore to shock and ignite the Muslim world into filling our streets with their complaints comes with the release or rise to prominence on Youtube of a film called ‘The Innocence of Muslims.’ In it, Islam and Muslims are portrayed quite negatively while it attempts to highlight the ‘hypocrisies of Islam.’ To be sure it isn’t a great work of art, and considering the allegations from the actors who maintain that Sam Bacile (a pseudonym for Nakoula Basseley Nakoula) mislead them concerning the real plot and real character names while they were filming, the content is surely rather dodgy. But in the end this was simply some US man born in Egypt with a criminal record, a pet hatred of Islam and a love of Youtube. He was arrested by US police over attempts to lie about his role in making the film. And that was it. Done and dusted. Except, of course, for the massive overreaction from Muslims around the world who feel that because a non-Muslim doesn’t agree with their religion, he should pay.

There’s something very irritating about this reaction. Of course they have the right to express themselves publicly, as part of having a right to free speech, but the way it is so often done beggars belief. Masses of often violent protests in cities and countries around the world leading to quite a number of injuries and deaths. The familiar and now old catchphrase of ‘Death to America’ was tossed about in Kabul as peaceful protestors threw rocks at an army base there. Muslim leaders across the globe decried a ‘devilish act’ of blasphemy, though failing to really mention the free speech on which they themselves depend on to make their voices heard. On the 18th of September, a female suicide bomber drove a car filled with explosives into a mini bus containing foreign aviation workers, for the crime of being foreign and therefore linked to this video, not to mention several Afghan natives, responsibility for which was later claimed by Islamic militant group, Hizb-i-Islami. Evidently murder in the name of Allah is a reasonable reaction. Ireland, too, has seen a reaction from our Islamic community. Interestingly former editor of Irish Muslim magazine Abdul Hazeeb, speaking to the Irish Times, told of his reluctance to join the march, which he feels only serves to alienate wider society, and that he attended only to ensure it didn’t digress into violence, a statement quite telling in and of itself. To be sure, many Muslims will feel outraged without the need to kill somebody, involved or not. But should they feel so angered?

I’ve already mentioned the Catholic Church and the negative role religion has played in the formation of our world and society. Islam isn’t the only drain; certain forms of Christianity have had their part to play. And yet murder only seems to be a response from the Islamic world. Westboro Baptist Church represents extreme Christian fundamentalism, they too like their signs and extreme reactions yet murder isn’t a step they have taken yet to express a point. Not to tar all Muslims with the same brush – murder is a response from the fanatical few, but even the protests and marches are over the top. If this video, or those cartoons are so offensive, why are they looking at them? If you don’t like or agree with something, the best thing to do is ignore it. Is it just me or do these millions of protestors not realise that by reacting so angrily and so widespread they have and pumped up that which they hate with life, and simply making millions more people around the globe aware of it. Speaking personally, the first time I heard and watched the video came after I heard about the Muslim protests over its content. It’s been on the web since the 1st of July. Poorly shot with terrible acting and rarely making any form of sense, this should have simply slipped under the radar and into obscurity.

It’s quite easy to be blasphemous under Muslim law; the list of blasphemous items is as long as it is outdated. Evidently freedom of speech isn’t a major concern for those who prosecute their brethren or those unfortunate enough to have provoked their ire – individuals have been accused and prosecuted for naming a teddy bear after their prophet, speaking about what Muhammad might have done were he still alive (apparently ‘WWMD?’ bracelets aren’t a thing in Islam), finding fault with Islam (just as well these rules don’t apply to Catholicism or else our entire country might find themselves in the dock), being alone with persons of the opposite sex barring relatives or daring to wear makeup on television (presumably for women only).

Should we give in, and hold up our hands and say ‘yes, Muslim world. You are right. Free speech shouldn’t really be free.’ Should that be applied to freedom of religion, the two of which are so often entwined? What if we look at things from a different angle? Perhaps shouting and roaring bearing signs and placards which proclaim ‘The only God is Allah,’ is offensive to those who believe with similar fervour in different gods and different prophets? Will Islam champion their right to be offended? Or is it simply one rule for Islam, and another for everyone else? Islam doesn’t hold Jesus in the same regard as Christianity, refusing to acknowledge him as anything other than a prophet. Does Christianity shout and wail and riot and, at the most extreme end, suicide bomb?  And why does the right to religion triumph the right to free speech? Is one more important than the other? One of these has resulted in the deaths of millions of people over the centuries, the promulgation of hatred and killing in the name of God, despite what he might say on the matter. I’ll give you a hint. I’m not talking about freedom of speech. If we go down this road of picking and choosing what one is free to say and what one isn’t, we are taking a very dangerous path. If one thing can be censored then suddenly everything is up for review. Why is Islam so special that the world must bow down before them in fear every time they get their knickers in a twist over a laughably simple cartoon or Youtube video? If you believe that other religions are wrong then fine. If you believe that this video or those cartoons are wrong or insensitive or downright hateful then lovely. You’re not alone. Just react in the same way as the rest of civilised society and rant on the internet in the privacy of your own home. Save your time and effort for your faith and leave the rest of us alone.

Many will say that they can’t simply do that. According to blasphemy laws in Islam, the Muslim community is obliged to seek retribution owing to the fact that Muhammad is long dead and can’t exactly take revenge himself. But in reality, the overreaction to this perceived blasphemy doesn’t really have a basis in their scriptures. Neither the Quran nor Hadith makes any solid mention of blasphemy. What does make mention is Sharia law, man-made and which you might recognise from certain groups attempting to bring it into the west in place of our own, fair, laws. Ironically, the only mention made in their holy book says that blasphemers will be dealt with in the afterlife, so those living here on earth needn’t worry about it. Something evidently lost on those who throw stones and rocks, roar abuse and protest violently and shoot and kill in the name of retribution for a prophet who didn’t ask for any of this. Ironically (perhaps) while this is being written, Ireland still clutches on to the remnants of a past time with our own blasphemy law, which prohibits the ‘publication or utterance of blasphemous matter,’ blasphemous matter being that which insults anything held sacred by a religion and the result is mass outrage.

Believe in your God, live your life as best you can, follow the teachings of your religion if it makes you happy, live your life as an example to others because if you want to convert someone oftentimes what you do is as important as what you say. Somehow any such arguments will be lost on the masses who refuse to understand why the everyone in the West doesn’t love Islam as much as they do, and things are unlikely to change. If there’s anything we can take from this, it is this – let us all pray that the next figure to insult Islam is Justin Bieber. Nicky Minaj will do either.

Euro 2012-The Favourites

Euro 2012 is almost upon us. Over 24 days, 16 teams will play 31 games in eight stadiums to earn the right to lift the European Championship Trophy. Over the duration of the tournament, upsets will occur, incidents will happen, controversy is expected, the top attacking players in European Football will go against the top defenders, but only one team will win. Here Irish News Review assesses our top three contenders for the Henri Delaunay trophy.

Spain: 

The first to be looked at and heavy favourites, as expected are Spain. The reigning European and World champions go into this tournament with heavy expectations on their shoulders. Despite missing the injured Barcelona duo Carles Puyol and David Villa, the Spanish squad still contain an exceptional number of talent such as Iker Casillas, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Xabi Alonso, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, David Silva, Juan Mata, Fernando Llorente and Fernando Torres at their disposal. To say they have the most talented squad would be an understatement.

They have a difficult group on paper, Italy, Croatia and the Republic of Ireland should prove difficult opposition, but Spain having been in this position and come out on top twice, should have more than enough to win the group. The players will expect to be playing teams who keep ten men behind the ball and Euro 2012 should be no different. Both Italy and the Republic of Ireland have defensive mentalities and will attempt to stifle Spain in those games. Even Croatia, normally at team of an attacking nature will surely adopt a more defensive approach when going up against the number one team in the world.

The Spanish nation as well as the players and staff will be expecting a third international trophy in a row; it would take an exceptional team on top of their game to beat the Spanish. Bet against them at your Peril.

Holland: 

The Dutch had their hearts broken two years ago in South Africa, when a late Andres Iniesta goal handed Spain the world Cup at the expense of Holland, leaving the Dutch without an International trophy since 1988. Like Spain they have a number of extremely talented players including Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben, Rafael Van der Vaart, Klass-Jan Huntelaar, Dirk Kuyt and Robin Van Persie. Where Holland struggle and where coach Bert Van Marwijk will need to be at his best is turning what is normally a group of individuals into a team. He succeeded at the World Cup, but not without a price, sacrificing their normal attacking football style for a more defensive approach and despite it getting them to the final, they were criticised.

Holland are faced with the most difficult group in the competition, the “group of death” along with Germany, Portugal and Denmark. Despite the obvious difficulties of the group Holland should overcome Denmark and Portugal and then tussle with Germany for position of group winner. It will of course depend on the form of their attacking players and whether they can duplicate their performances of two years previously, but if Van Marwijk can combine their toughness of 2010 with a little more attacking freedom this time around then Holland more than capable of going all the way.

Holland have a lot to prove in international tournaments. With the exception of 1988, the country that gave us total football have usually been the bridesmaid rather than the bride. This squad will be determined to erase the World Cup Final, but can they?

Germany: 

Germany were the surprise package in South Africa in 2010, Joachim Loew had selected a very young side full of potential, who combined and very attack minded philosophy with German efficiency to great effect. Two years later the surprise factor may be gone, but the players in that young German side have evolved into very good players in their own right. Players such as Mezut Ozil, Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer and Sami Khedira excelled at the World Cup and have established themselves in the first 11 because of it. Those four combined with Lukas Podolski, Bastien Schweinsteiger, Phillip Lahm, Mario Gomez, veteran striker Miroslav Klose and new additions such as Mats Hummels and Mario Gotze make Germany one of the clear favourites for Euro 2012.

Germany joins Holland, Portugal and Denmark in the Euro 2012 “group of death”. Given the quality the Germans posses and their penchant for tournament football, it is fully expected that they will get out of the group.  The only question is in what position. The key fixture in Group B takes place on June 13th when Germany face Holland in the game that more then likely decide the outcome of the group as a whole and will more then likely avoid Spain until the final. Once out of the group, it will be fully expected that Germany will get to at least the semi-finals if not the final itself.

If history has showed anything, it’s you never right off the Germans. The longest they have gone without a trophy is 20 years; it has been 16 years since they last won in 1996. It is doubtful they will have to wait much longer.

Euro 2012 Group Preview

Euro 2012 kicks off on Friday when hosts Poland play Greece in Warsaw. The final will take place 22 days later on 1 July on the Olympic Stadium in Kiev.

Sixteen teams will take part in the tournament, and John Hislop takes a look at four groups and some of the players to watch out for.

Group A

This could be seen as the most open of the four groups, with Dick Advocaat’s Russia favourites to progress. They reached the semi-finals four year ago and most of that team remain, and star player Andrey Arshavin is back on top form after his loan spell with former club Zenit St Petersburg. Second place is anybody’s guess, with hosts Poland determined to reward their long suffering fans who are desperate to see a return to the glory days of the seventies. This squad includes a trio from the Bundesliga double winners, Borussia Dortmund, Robert Lewandowski, Jakub Blaszczykowski and Lukasz Piszczek. Much is expected of Lewandowski in particular who is attracting the attention of Manchester United amongst others. Euro 2004 champions Greece will have something to say about that though, having qualified without losing a game.Panathinaikos midfielder Sotiris Ninis who is also linked with United carries a goal threat, and no-one should underestimate the Czech Republic who saw off the Scots in the qualifying campaign. Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky hopes to continue his end of season form.

Group B

Although the Irish might disagree, this group has been assigned the ‘Group of Death’ tag. Germany start favourites despite a 16 year drought, and the experience gained in South Africa will have done their young stars no harm. Real Madrid star Mesut Ozil hopes to continue where he left off two years ago. The Dutch will be waiting for any slip up after ditching their total football philosophy, and scoring 37 goals in ten qualifying games cannot be ignored. Great things are expected from England’s Player of the Year Robin van Persie who couldn’t stop scoring last term. Portugal, who only qualified via a playoff victory, will need Real Madrid favourite Cristiano Ronaldo to be in top form to stand any chance while Denmark with Arsenal’s Nicklas Bendtner will be determined to show what he can do with his contract at the Emirates up this summer.

Group C

World Cup winners and Euro 2008 champions Spain are hot favourites to carry on where they left off two years ago, and manager Vincente Del Bosque is determined to become only the second manager in history to win both tournaments, whilst Barcelona superstar Andres Iniesta will be a handful for any opponents. Italy, who went out of the World Cup in the group stages two years ago, have dismantled their squad and  replaced many of the old hands with younger players although Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo’s experience could prove vital. Liam Brady believes that Croatia could be the dark horses for the actual championship and Spurs star Luka Modric who has hinted that he may leave White Hart Lane will be keen to put himself in the shop window. Never write off the Irish however who always enjoy the big occasion and normally punch well above their weight. Manager Giovanni Trapattoni has a wealth of experience with 10 league championships in four countries, whilst the main goal threat comes from Robbie Keane.

Group D

France are slight favourites in this group with manager Laurent Blanc having united the squad which left South Africa divided under previous boss Raymond Domench. Real Madrid star Karim Benzema is one to watch. For a change, the English media have not already claimed the championship, and the reaction to new manager Roy Hodgson has been underwhelming to say the least. Injuries to key players and star man Wayne Rooney’s suspension have not helped, and his failure to bring back Rio Ferdinand following the injury to Gary Cahill could come back to bite him if results do not go their way. Ukraine are a shadow of the side which did so well in the World Cup in 2006, and the expectancy of the home support could either inspire or otherwise. Andre Shevchenko remains the main goal threat. Not much is expected of Sweden although their 3-2 victory over Holland in the qualifiers demonstrates that they will be no pushovers. AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has proved himself at the highest level, and the Swede’s hopes rest with him.

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