February 9th, 2011

International Friendly Preparation: The Truth

No Sergio, you haven’t got away with it. Our verdict on your hairdo is coming soon. Image: Getty Images/Daylife.

The controversy surrounding international friendlies during the season has raged on for so long now, we would have got bored of it if we had cared in the first place. We have no space in our lives for debates on whether players are tired, whether the the games are unnecessary and the criticism of team managers for making too many substitutions, not enough substitutions, playing the wrong formation or using an umbrella. Depending on how their team performs, of course.

Instead, we’re going to focus on preparation. Prior to the World Cup, you may recall that our intrepid sisters at the Kickette Scientific ManCandy Research Institute undertook a mission to examine the training techniques of a few of the national teams. They never did return from the pub, but their memory lives on and for this reason we are going to do the exact same thing.

Look. We’re tired, busy and fractious. We make up for our declining standards by offering photos. Okay?

As for the Institute, happy in the haze of a drunken hour (…ahem) somewhere, we salute you.

Drink In Peace, ladies.

Spain (top)

It’s terrifying news for any country hoping to steal Spain’s crown as European champs, World champs and footballing geniuses of the highest order anytime soon. Here we see a few of the Spanish NT taking delivery of the next set of players for the national team, currently in the ‘seedling’ stage. They will be carefully placed in a greenhouse and watered regularly until they burst into maturity and begin terrorising other nations on the pitch. True fax, people!


Image: AP Photo/Daylife.

So far, Germany are the only national team to have embraced the exciting new technology of ‘Faceballs’. They may look foolish now, people, but when the protective measure is brought in by FIFA (a radical rule change we are awaiting with interest) other teams will be laughing on the other side of their faces. The one without a large football glued to it, presumably.


Image via fff.fr.

In the French NT, it seems that a lack of communication is at the heart of their recent failings. Here we see Bacary Sagna looking on with amusement as Gael Clichy is roundly admonished for forgetting to bring the training ball.


Image: AP Photo/Daylife.

Speculation regarding the status of JT and Lampsy’s bromance has been rife in the Kickette office recently. Careful analysis of the above photo does not reassure. Here we see John’s neediness manifesting itself with his insistence on holding Frank Lampard’s hand throughout the training session. Frank, who will be captaining the side for this evening’s game against Denmark, is now sadly above such things. Oh dear.


Pato talking

Image: MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images.

Oh. We appear to have located the Kickette Scientific ManCandy Research Institute, demonstrating the skills they learned on the road. How nice!

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50 Responses to “International Friendly Preparation: The Truth”

  1. amy says:

    btw u spelled colombia wrong.

  2. naylovee says:

    –Brazil NT,If you EVER need help stretching of any sort, LET.US. KNOW.

    –LA ROJA! <3

    –I wish Cesc took place too, he was sick. I also wish I coulda taken care of him :)

  3. Mariah says:

    I swear these teams are all amazing but my favourite is Spain NT. Just look at Fernando. He is puuurrfection!

  4. FloraJane says:

    I was extremely happy for Frank and very proud of him. I especially loved seeing the banner on the screen during his Sky interview: FRANK LAMPARD. ENGLAND CAPTAIN. Lovely. A big moment for him and his football family. And besides, I believe he'll make it up to JT…somehow. ;)

    • FloraJane says:

      Oh, just thought about how sad it is that his mother didn't live to see this. It would probably have been one of the proudest moments of her life. Her boy Frankie, England Captain. Life is just so unfair sometimes.

  5. Nando y Geri 4ever says:

    He kind of reminds me when he had the same type of blonde hairstyle, then cut it. I think he needs to get a trim again!

  6. Crackers says:

    He went back to being a brunette and cut his hair because he wanted to look "more like a dad".

    Fern, my boy (I can call you that on SNT duty), your hair is still just about cute but near-mullets do not make you look like a father of two- go to your barber, NOW!

  7. sarrible says:


    • Crackers says:

      Xabi's Mr Classy so of course his English is so much better than the meme's….but I won't deny it, it does make me sigh.

  8. mochara says:

    I'm loving the Brazilian stretching, why can't all players do this??? It would make our lives sooo much easier!

  9. LAmonkeygirl says:

    I had a little fun with that photo of Xabi. http://zoearcher.tumblr.com/post/3203119287/i-can…

  10. Sophie says:

    Where are the Holland-hotties?

  11. nandosfreckles says:

    just look at my ex-liverpool boys, xabi and nando <3
    yeah i hate that torres moved to chelsea, but that's not gonna stop me wearing the spain jersey with his name on it :)

  12. Anjali says:

    Kickette, just one request, I vote more news and pics on Pepe, the man is one heck of a sexy beast Wowweee, Hair or no-hair I am in love with this bald man ; )

    • D0li says:

      I agree and second that! I think he keeps his private life so private that it's hard to find pictures..

      • Anjali says:

        Tell me about it!!!!

        • D0li says:

          Isn't he supposed to be leaving liverpool though? I think Manchester United is supposed to be bidding for him.. it would be great if he were there I would get more info about him, from my understanding liverpool is a quiet middle class area so there aren't that many paps visiting the area. Not sure how Steven Gerrard's wife manages to get photographed so often though..

          • Crackers says:

            Well, Manchester United have themselves a new goalkeeper already so I don't know if they'll still bid on Pepe. Which I most definitely do not want them to do! (Arsenal are also in need of a decent goalkeeper but I doubt Arsene will hand over the money for Pepe)

            Re: WAG papping, I'm sure there's a contingent of paps stationed in Liverpool just to catch the players+WAGs- if they've managed to pap even the relatively media-shy girls like Yolanda and Olalla, it's no surprise that WAGs who want their picture taken would be in the papers/mags a lot more…

            • D0li says:

              I don't live in liverpool so i dont know, i'm just basing it on what i've read/been told. i would like pepe to go to manchester united i think he will fit in well but i'm worried rooney would ruin him and turn him into one of those players who goes out with hookers and clubs.

  13. JulieFromParis says:


  14. xbabyshakesx says:

    I'm excited for Spain but GO ARGENTINA!!!

  15. ManUMadrid23 says:

    Omg I am so excited for friendlies! Im going to record the Brazil vs France, and Spain vs Colombia. I am going to watch Portugal vs Argentina. It was such a hard choice! but c'mon, CR7 vs Messi?! I have GOT to watch it live! lol Mexico vs Bosnia is in the afternoon, so I am excited to watch that too :)

  16. Summer says:

    I'm really proud that tonight England's captain will be my sweetest Frankie, but I can't not thinking about the poor Rio Ferdinand, he's very unlucky, because since he has been nominated captain of England he haven't played so much with the arm brand, he's very unlucky.
    I'm also really happy to see a sweet smile on Fernando's lips, I'm happy for him, but I'm also so confused because recently he has been speaking too much about his recent past at Liverpool and his new desires at Chelsea, and I think that his speeches hasn't always be right and full of respect for LFC and also for his new club Chelsea. I can't agree with him in some ways.

    • Jen says:

      Nando has been quite disrespectful towards LFC, and it's a shame. But tonight I get to cheer for him again so I am happy. His defection and disgrace can be put aside for tonight at least.

  17. beebe says:

    How do football-people think when they put together a schedule?
    8.15 Denmark – England
    9.00 Argentina – Portugal
    9.30 Spain – Colombia
    (swedish time)

    Am I supposed to watch a half game? Or more than one at the same time?
    And am I crazy if I put my own country's match aside so I can cheer on other countries instead?

  18. Crackers says:

    Xabi+Nando back together, YESSSSS….and so adorable, those two kiddies in front of Marchena looking up at them! (lucky kids)

    Schweini doesn't look like he's wearing a Faceball so much as a Crownball.

    • Nando y Geri 4ever says:

      I wish they would do this for girls that will never play like those little boys, but really love their spainards

      • Crackers says:

        There were girls in the crowd who came to watch the team practice with three U-17 players, too- I believe they were all from the football academy?

  19. simone says:

    Love the photo of brazil

  20. Alexandria Samuel says:

    Ahhh I've missed the German national football team! I actually love every single player.

    • Crackers says:

      I know, they're a great team, and they're young so I think they'll get a lot better in the years to come. (I still remember the Euro 2008 final with much fondness even though I supported Spain)

      • Alexandria Samuel says:

        They all just seem so nice! :) The kinda guys you'd love to have a just guy friends

    • xbabyshakesx says:

      Me too! they are such a great team!
      GO LAHM!

      if he's called up that is ^^

    • balicious says:

      they're always doing funny stuff! They're look so happy ;)

  21. SoccerrLoverrr says:

    i wish i cud train with these footballerrs! Especially do wat they're doin in the last pic ;)

  22. hereforthenando says:

    True story: I don't know if I will be able to stop cheering for Fernando at the international level. Is anyone else in the same boat?

    • SoccerrLoverrr says:

      As much as i hate the fact that he's with chelsea.. he has one heart-melting smile..dammit!

    • Crackers says:

      I never even thought of not cheering for The Freckled One when he's playing for Spain- you're not alone:). It's his new club I object to, not him.

      And international duty means he stays in red (home colours) AND has bromancing time with Sergio (Sernando!!!!)- what's not to like?

    • Victoria says:

      Absolutely !
      I'm not able to turn love into hatred as so many handled the situation. So I decided to forgive him and give Rafa Benitez the fault for my pain. When Nando said his heart would always be red-white, Rafa told him he might have to convince Liverpool fans that there was enough space for two clubs in his heart. While he became excellent in the convincing part of this challenge, his heart turned out to be ….not big enough!
      At least he learned from his mistakes and told Chelsea fans right away that it's just a job for him.

      • Crackers says:

        I feel sad for him that it became that way, you know? It's such a change to see Nando go from the idealistic boy he was who kept refusing to leave Atlético when the clubs first came calling, to the "it's-all-business" attitude he has now.

        Back when he first moved to Liverpool, Atléti fans did not like the idea of him being sold either- if they could learn to let him go when he was the next thing the club had to a son, we can do it too. My heart hurts to think of him in the blue jersey, but he did good for us while he was here, so I wish him luck.

    • Jen says:

      I am so excited to able to cheer for him again. I was so happy that there was a friendly so soon after his defection!

    • @Lyandra says:

      Well, I don't really think I'll have a problem. On the national team, there are plenty of players I like much more than Fernando. So it shouldn't really pose a problem.

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