June 21, 2008

How to replace a football pitch

Filed under: Sports by Branko Collin @ 4:02 pm

Algemeen Dagblad has a detailed infographic (Dutch) that explains exactly how the football pitch at the St. Jakob Park stadium was replaced just in time for the match Portugal – Germany of last Thursday.

According to the graphic, on Wednesday, June 11 heavy rainfall combined with the match Switzerland – Turkey damaged the pitch that was there to the point that it could no longer be used. Two days later, new grass was ordered. Monday June 16, 25 trucks and 1 bus left the lot of Hendriks Graszoden in Heythuisen Limburg. 23 of the trucks carried the rolls of grass, 2 contained equipment. The bus was for the 11 workers.

After the original grass was removed (revealing the artificial pitch that FC Basel normally plays on), three layers were added: a thin plastic film, followed by a mixture of sand and clay (3.5 cm), followed by the grass (2 cm). A mix of two types of grass was used, one that had to provide cohesion and a second that’s good to play on.

Tuesday morning 4 a.m. the pitch was finished, and on Wednesday afternoon Portugal held its first practice session there. Before the match there were some doubts about the quality of the pitch, as it was coloured unevenly and the seams of the rolls of grass could clearly be seen. The match was played without a hitch though—except of course for Portugal, who lost—and afterwards UEFA declared it was entirely satisfied with the results of the operation which had cost them 200,000 euro. According to the International Herald Tribune, this was the first time a pitch was replaced during an international tournament.

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June 6, 2008

Play “Oranje”‘s manager with my online football fridge magnets

Filed under: Sports by Branko Collin @ 8:10 am

The European Football Championship 2008 kicks off on Saturday, 7 June. If you want to discuss tactics with your mates or if you just want to show coach Van Basten that you know better than he does, and if you lack a fridge and the right player magnets to play coach, I’ve created a web page that will let you come up with your own formations for Oranje to your heart’s content. Just drag around the ‘magnetic’ players onto the virtual, pitch shaped ‘fridge door’ until you’re satisfied.

Once you’ve created your formation, a link will be created by background magic, which if you click it will recreate that specific formation. Bookmark it, e-mail it to your friends (just click Uitleg(‘Explanation’) and copy the link that starts with Kopieer(‘Copy’)), or post it here in the comments to discuss with other readers.

The play dates for Oranje this year are: Monday, June 9, Friday, June 13, and Tuesday, June 19.

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