Friday, October 16, 2009

Club Football Returns!!

Praise the Lord. Praise Jesus. I am blessed (uncomfortably ubiquitous North Carolina saying...)

After what seemed like an interminable amount of time, the latest slate of internationals is finally over and we can now get back to business. Don't get me wrong -- international soccer is fine. I enjoy seeing nations clash on the pitch. I love seeing Maradona loose his shit as much as the next guy. But I hate it when it interrupts the flow of the club soccer season like this past break. And frankly, international football does not hold a candle to the club game. I'm looking forward to the weekend... -Sanford

Vive le Foot!

The World Cup qualifiers handed two wins to France and a ticket to the playoffs in November. The feat was celebrated like a resounding success despite the overall weakness ofGroup 7. France will find out on Monday if they play Ukraine, Ireland, Slovakia or Bosnia Herzegovina…it could be 1993 all over again…

Lots of surprises in Ligue 1 last week, sometimes due to the heavy Champions League schedule for Bordeaux and Marseille.

The other devilishly red Park...

Bordeaux suffered their first defeat while resting their starters and they are facing a rejuvenated Auxerre team that won away at Rennes. Chamakh (MOR) picked up an injury during International week but French international Yohann Gourcuff is back

Auxerre - Bordeaux 1 - 1

Only one point separate Le Mans and Boulogne in the basement of the table and the home team will fight for the 3 pts but Boulogne’s resilience never cease to impress.

Le Mans - Boulogne 1 - 1

US International Charlie Davies suffered a tragic car accident and will not be seen on the pitch for months. This is a very sad blow to US soccer considering Charlie’s admirable performances on French soil. Lyon is the only undefeated team in Ligue 1 and with the current form of Sydney Govou and Bafetimbi Gomis they should easily beat an average Sochaux side that reaped 3 points from troubled Le Mans a couple of weekends ago.

Lyon - Sochaux 3 - 0

St Etienne put a halt to Bordeaux’s invincibility but they will have a harder time at 2009’s high scoring Cinderella Montpellier, in a surprising 3rd place in the league.

Montpellier - St Etienne 2 - 1

After it home defeat against Monaco, OM is full of doubts and Didier Deschamps is unable to build the team that was destined to Ligue 1 greatness. Of course there are injuries, a busy schedule, many new players and Lucho Gonzalez hasn’t quite adapted to Ligue 1 yet. Leading scorer Niang (SEN) is uncertain. OM has to win at Nancy to avoid an impending “crisis”.

Nancy - Marseille 1 - 1

Grenoble, France’s prime weekend away vacation spot for Ligue 1 teams will receive Valenciennes this week. It barely matters how VA is doing this year as Grenoble has scored zero points in 10 games

Valenciennes - Grenoble 3 - 1

Lille and striker Pierre-Alain Frau seem unstoppable these days and it would be good to see the Dogues back fighting for a European spot. They receive a Rennes team on a unlucky losing streak. This is an important game for both teams but Lille will get the upper hand.

Lille - Rennes 2 - 1

Lorient is occupying a 6th spot where you’d expect Nice this year . The Aiglons won from a two goal deficit 2 weekends ago so there is hope. But not away at Lorient, especially when Christian Gourcuff feels this team could get a taste of Europe this year.

Lorient - Nice 1 - 0

Monaco had a terrific win at Marseille thanks to Korean wonder Chu Young Park and Brazilian striker Nene. They will easily defeat a mediocre Lens side and position themselves to challenge. Disappointing Gudjohnsen is out for 3 weeks.

Monaco - Lens 3 - 1

This match will see last year’s best strikers face each other and although Gignac scored three times in his two recent world cup qualifiers he’s been struggling at club level. PSG had yet another draw two weeks ago and seems to lack the firepower of Turkish striker Erding despite the current form of Ludovic Giuly. Things could get complicated for the Parisians.

Toulouse - PSG 2 - 1

1 - Lyon 20 pts
2 - Bordeaux 19 pts
3 - Montpellier
4 - Monaco
5 - Marseille

18 - Nice 8 pts
19 - Le Mans 7 pts
20 - Grenoble 0 pts

The Frenchman!

Look Alikes of the Week: Raul Tamudo and Adam Yauch

Espanyol de Barcelona Veteran

Beastie Boy Veteran

Argentina live to fight another day

Sam Kelly wonders if Diego Maradona was the mastermind behind Argentina's escape.

Spurs boss Harry Redknapp shuns bodyguards and insists he'll return to Portsmouth with his head held high

Asked whether he would be taking extra security with him on Saturday, Redknapp told talkSPORT: 'Absolute rubbish. Am I bothered about some nutter running up to me? No.

'If I'd have been at Portsmouth and been the worst manager that they'd ever seen, got them relegated and turned out c**p football teams then they should have the hump. But I didn't.

England: Premier League Previews & Predictions

Ol 'Arry Redknapp returns to Portsmouth with Tottenham, Aston Villa host Chelsea, Liverpool will be without Gerrard and Torres for their trip to Sunderland, Manchester United won't have Rooney when Bolton go to Old Trafford, Manchester City are at Wigan, Burnley are at Blackburn, Birmingham are at Arsenal, Stoke host West Ham and Everton welcome Wolves to Goodison Park. Monday Night Football is Fulham vs. Hull.

Preview I

Preview II

Lawro's Predictions

Soccernet Analysis: Aston Villa vs. Chelsea

Spain: La Liga Weekend Preview

Barcelona will look to create a new club record when they attempt to keep their 100% start against Valencia at the Mestalla.

League Preview

Amy Lawrence: Get ready for an American dream showing in South Africa

After reaching a sixth straight World Cup, the USA feel they are not as far behind the best as the stereotype would have it.

The Joy of Six: Great teams that missed out on the World Cup

From England's crop of 1934 to Zambia's talented but tragic USA hopefuls: half a dozen teams who didn't make it to the big party.

Friday MLS Forecast

The Forecast notices how David Beckham's fortunes have changed recently before tackling the Week 31 slate.

Germany: Bundesliga Weekend Preview

Hamburg and Bayer Leverkusen meet in Autumn's penultimate match. Clark Whitney previews all the weekend action...

Eintracht Frankfurt - Hannover
Koeln - Mainz
Nuernberg - Hertha
Freiburg – Bayern Munich
Stuttgart - Schalke
Bremen - Hoffenheim
Hamburg – Bayer Leverkusen

Wolfsburg – Borussia M’gladbach
Borussia Dortmund – Bochum

Italy: Awesome Threesome - It's Serie A Super Weekend!'s Subhankar Mondal gives his take on the three huge matches in the Italian top flight this weekend.....

Juventus vs. Fiorentina
Saturday at Noon (Live on FSC)

Genoa vs. Inter

Saturday at 2:45pm EDT
(Tape-Delay at 11:30pm on FSC)

Milan vs. Roma

Sunday at 2:45 EDT (Live on FSC)

AC Milan hoping for compensation from U.S. Soccer

"I'm very angry because once again the national teams take players and we lose out due to injuries," AC Milan chief executive officer Adriano Galliani told Italian media Thursday.

Hey Galliani! Join the club, pal. That's the way it works...

Premier League Heroes: Dwight Yorke: Smiling Assassin

In a Premier League full of seriously high stakes and grave financial ramifications for failure, it is easy to forget that football is just a game. And no player better embraced that philosophy - enjoying making a living playing the sport you love - than Dwight Yorke. For 15 Premier League seasons, the striker charmed English fans with his smiling demeanour and impressed them with his finishing prowess.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Italy: Who Will Go to South Africa?

With the World Cup qualification programme completed following last night’s dramatic 3-2 comeback win over Cyprus in Parma, all the talk in Italy now is over who will make the Azzurri squad for South Africa.

Si o no...?

El Hadji Diouf Parking Ticket Escape

Why am I not surprised that he drives a car like this...?

England: Peter Crouch shines but Capello's forward thinking remains imperfect

Peter Crouch showed Emile Heskey the way to goal but Gabriel Agbonlahor will struggle to make the World Cup squad.

Ultimate XI: World Class, but No World Cup

Edward Fischman is an occasional commenter on the Goal blog under the handle fischy. He was in the stands in Florence, Italy, on June 10, 1990 when the United States returned to World Cup play after a 40-year absence. As the 2010 World Cup qualifiers wind down, he provides his selections for an Ultimate XI of players who have never competed in a World Cup tournament game.

Marcela Mora y Araujo in Argentina

Argentina's much-maligned manager may have qualified for next year's World Cup, but his mood was anything but mellow.

Just because Maradona's paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get him.

FIFA 2010 UEFA World Cup Qualfying Wrap: Switzerland and Slovakia Make It

Switzerland and Slovakia clinched Europe's last two automatic spots at next year's World Cup on Wednesday, while Portugal got the win it needed to keep alive its hopes of reaching the competition in South Africa.

The playoffs start Nov. 14, with the return matches four days later.

He's not going to South Africa...

Republic of Ireland
Greece Bosnia-Herzegovina

FIFA 2010 World Cup Qualifying: Uruguay 0 - 1 Argentina

Late Goal From Supersub Bolatti Puts Argies Into World Cup.

Diego lashes out at journalists:
"They can suck it and carry on sucking it," he fumed in the press conference after the dramatic win. "This is for all Argentines, minus the journalists.

FIFA 2010 World Cup: How It Looks

The World Cup of 2010 is already taking shape, with twenty-three of the 32 teams on offer having already staked a claim towards a tournament berth.

Already Qualified:

South Africa (CAF - as hosts)
Japan (AFC)
Australia (AFC)
South Korea (AFC)
Netherlands (UEFA)
North Korea (AFC)
Ghana (CAF)
England (UEFA)
Spain (UEFA)
Paraguay (CONMEBOL)
Cote d'Ivoire (CAF)
Germany (UEFA)
Denmark (UEFA)
Serbia (UEFA)
Italy (UEFA)
Switzerland (UEFA)
Slovakia (UEFA)
Argentina (CONMEBOL)
Honduras (CONCACAF)