Friday, November 20, 2009
Shockingly there's a full weekend of soccer action about to start. I know, how can that be?!?! Have the authorities lost their minds? With Thierry Henry roaming the streets, handling a ball, destroying a nation's economy, causing cancer and eating children, it's hard to believe European governments are allowing people out of their houses. Madness. It'll end in tears, especially as he's now got Roy Keane on his side.
The Times EPL preview
Sky Sport's EPL preview
Goal's Bundesliga preview
ESPN's Serie A preview
ESPN's La Liga preview
Blame it on my Liverpool supporting Uncle who is in from his retirement compound in Thailand. Hopefully I'll get some previews up later today. Thankfully countries playing countries is behind us for a spell and we can focus on the true beautiful game: club football. -Sanford
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Hosts South Africa
Europe England, Spain, Italy, Germany, Holland, Serbia, Slovakia, Switzerland, Denmark, Greece, Portugal, Slovenia, France
Africa Ghana, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Nigeria, Algeria
Asia Japan, Australia, South Korea, North Korea
Oceania New Zealand
Concacaf United States, Mexico, Honduras
South America Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, Uruguay
Take one look at the scoreline from the United States' 3-1 defeat by Denmark, and it's tempting to assume that the more inexperienced elements of manager Bob Bradley's lineup were to blame. But closer inspection reveals that some veteran performers should bear most of the responsibility.
Winners and Losers
Lessons learned from Denmark and Slovakia
Trap's dreams denied by missed chances and underhand tricks
Cascarino: Henry is an insincere cheat
Richard Williams: How Henry could have handled it all so differently
Maher: Ireland hard done by
Barclay: Lucky Domenech spared trial by video
Lee Dixon: Henry has tainted his reputation
Amy Lawrence: Trap finds no luck
Bitter Keane blasts FIFA, UEFA & Platini
Fifa rejects calls for replay after Henry handball
Slovenia reached the 2010 World Cup finals at the expense of nine-man Russia thanks to Zlatko Dedic's 44th-minute goal on a dramatic night in Maribor. Russia, who had Aleksandr Kerzhakov and Yuri Zhirkov sent off in the second half, were left to rue some poor defending and an overall disjointed performance.
Hiddink tight-lipped about future after Russia fail to qualify
Portugal belatedly secured their place at next summer's World Cup with an impressive performance in Zenica. After scraping a 1-0 win in Lisbon at the weekend with a laboured showing on home turf, Carlos Queiroz's side upped their game to close out the qualifying play-off and book a ticket to South Africa.
Uruguay struggled to tame Costa Rica before booking their place in the World Cup finals with a 1-1 draw at home in the second leg of their South America/CONCACAF play-off on Wednesday. The match was held up for nearly five minutes near the end because of fighting between a Uruguay camera crew near the touchline and the Costa Rica bench amid a nervous denouement.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Egypt vs. Algeria
Khartoum Stadium, Khartoum, Sudan
Battle for final African spot at fever pitch
France vs. Ireland (1-0 agg.)
U.S. TV: Setanta
Stade de France, Paris, France
Ireland ready to turn belief into historic result
Last chance for Trap's plan to pay off
Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. Portugal (0-1 agg.)
U.S. TV: Setanta
Bilino Polje, Zenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina
Ukraine vs. Greece (0-0 agg.)
Donbass Arena, Donetsk, Ukraine
U.S. TV: ESPN2, ESPN360
Slovenia vs. Russia (1-2 agg.)
Stadion Ljudski, Maribor, Slovenia
U.S. TV: Setanta
Uruguay vs. Costa Rica (1-0 agg.)
Estadio Centenario, Montevideo, Uruguay
Carlo Garganese runs down the Top 10 list of players who should never been allowed to wear the sacred No.10 shirt…
Liverpool have risked a furore over a film starring Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher that portrays Sir Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, as a whisky-guzzling drunk and Gary Neville, the club’s captain, as a rat who “hates Scousers”.
Gerrard and Carragher were joined by Rafael Benítez, the Merseyside club’s manager, at the premiere of Fifteen Minutes That Shook The World in Liverpool on Monday evening.
The Internazionale striker Samuel Eto'o has celebrated Cameroon's qualification for next summer's World Cup in South Africa by buying every member of the squad a £29,000 watch.
Some of Scotland's players are "too thick" to understand George Burley's coaching methods, according to the sacked manager's nephew, Craig.
The American singer appeared at the ceremony in a West Ham basque, complete with the team's badges on her chest, prompting the club to commission a special limited-edition range of underwear for sale to fans. West Ham say they were "responding to huge demand".
Gibbs becomes the 12th player on Arsenal's ever lengthening injury list – he had been the club's first-choice left-back due to a stress fracture of the back suffered by Gaël Clichy.
Gibbs was forced out after only 21 minutes of the game against Lithunia, with initial reports suggesting he may have broken a metatarsal.
When the United States originally set up this Wednesday's friendly against Denmark, it was thought that the encounter would provide a fair assessment of where the Americans stood in comparison to another World Cup contestant. The chance to look at some fringe members of the team was also a benefit. Yet with both sides missing considerable chunks of their squad due to a combination of injury and club considerations, the match now appears to be veering toward experimental overload.
U.S. vs. Denmark
NRGi Park; Aarhus, Denmark
2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN Classic, ESPN2, ESPN360.com
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
You had to feel sorry for those fringe England players pushing their claims for a World Cup squad place against Brazil. There were few chances to shine and they were outgunned individually and collectively.
Unsurprisingly England's under-strength line-up looked like a collection of players. Brazil, meanwhile, looked like a team - and for this, plenty of credit has to go to Dunga.
Derby County's Robbie Savage after turning up at the airport with his wife's passport for a friendly in the Netherlands.
"I was joking on the sidelines saying 'You Americans have been dying to get it to four quarters and you finally got it!'"
David Beckham after LA Galaxy's Western Conference play-off final with Houston was plagued by power cuts.
"Apart from the goal I don't think it was a bad performance."
Jermaine Jenas was obviously playing in a different game to the one everyone else was watching, following his comments on England-Brazil.
"I will fly to the Balkans to meet with a female doctor who helped (PSV Eindhoven midfielder) Danko Lazovic.She is vague about her methods, but I know she massages you using fluid from a placenta."
Robin van Persie is hoping his career will be reborn after damaging ankle ligaments while playing for the Netherlands against Italy.
"If you hide behind cliches, we'll be dead and buried by January."
Falkirk defender Darren Barr brilliantly launches a ban on cliches. With a cliche.
"When we go to work and perform invariably it is in front of thousands. If we don't do our jobs, it gives the opportunity for people to criticise when they have not put their heads over the parapet and tried it themselves."
Mark Hughes addresses criticism of Wayne Bridge by Match of the Day's Alan Hansen - who won three European Cups, eight league titles, and was capped by Scotland 26 times.
Jon Champion on ESPN: "Who do you think will replace the injured Riera?"
Chris Waddle: "Well, it`s not gonna be Gerrard. It definitely wont be Gerrard. I can`t see him coming on."
Champion: "...so Liverpool send on Steven Gerrard for the injured Riera."
Radio commentary in the midweek game at Anfield.
"We hate England more than you!"
Scottish fans to their Welsh counterparts during the friendly in Cardiff.
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is on course for a return to action against Manchester City in the Premier League this weekend after recovering from a groin injury.
If it was drama you wanted, African World Cup qualifying was the place to be this weekend. Nigeria and Cameroon became the latest teams through to the finals - joining Ghana, Ivory Coast and hosts South Africa - but in very different circumstances.
The scene in Cairo. Wednesday's match will be in "nuetral" Sudan...
I'll be frank. The main reason you're reading this column is that it's due. And yes, I did think about taking this week off and not sending anything. Obviously, nearly everybody who makes a living covering German football has talked or written about Robert Enke's death these past days. I intend to remain an exception, and you'll know why.
5. The stick-it-right-up-'em Scottish crowd
When I was a kid watching games at Ibrox, Parkhead or Hampden I sensed even then "the angry Scottish football crowd". To this day the Scots aren't too keen on the type of football which tends to succeed, ie, methodical, studied and careful in the build-up. Scots like the ball to be bashed forward fairly quickly and tend to give a player what-for if, in the glorious vernacular, he starts "fannying around". Martin O'Neill commented on it at Celtic when he said the vast Parkhead crowds were "impatient to say the least".
The Dutchman will have placenta rubbed into the damaged area by a Serbian housewife who successfully healed a former Feyenoord team-mate Danzo Lazovic.
The Arsenal manager will need to change his strategy now that his gifted forward has joined the casualty list.
After the Brazil v England game in Doha on Saturday night, Fabio Capello remarked, amongst other things, that Brazil were a better side than Spain and were more likely favourites for the crown in South Africa. In justifying this view, he said that Brazil were physically stronger, and that they defended better.
'Respetable', as the Spanish are wont to say when they disagree diplomatically.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Roy Hodgson on managing levels of expectation at Fulham and his position as a potential successor to Fabio Capello.
'It's always been a crowning glory to be asked to coach your national team'.
Alex Villaplane said captaining France was 'the happiest day of his life'. Fourteen years later he was shot dead for being a traitor.
Giovanni Trapattoni, the Ireland manager, said Lassana Diarra's verbal attack on Keith Andrews, which precipitated a confrontation of a more physical nature with players from both teams forming a melee, was an "insult to the Irish people". "I cannot say the sentence," the Italian added. "It's very bad. You cannot insult all the people."
The World Cup of 2010 is already taking shape, with twenty-six of the 32 teams on offer having already staked a claim towards a tournament berth.
The striker suffered an ankle injury 10 minutes into Holland's goalless draw with Italy on Saturday and had to be stretchered from the field.
Costa Rica 0-1 Uruguay
Crucial Lugano Goal Brings South Americans Closer To World Cup 2010
Ireland 0-1 France
Anelka Gives France Away-Goal Boost
Greece 0-0 Ukraine
Stalemate In Athens As Visitors Leave Happier
New Zealand players celebrate after booking trip to South Africa...
Russia 2-1 Slovenia
Bilyaletdinov Brace Enough As Home Side Hold Off Late Rally
Portugal 1-0 Bosnia
Wasteful Hosts Take Narrow Advantage To Zenica
New Zealand 1-0 Bahrain (Agg 1-0)
Kiwis Qualify For World Cup
The Argentina coach is banned from all football related activity for two months and has been fined 25 thousand Swiss francs for his post-match rant following the World Cup qualifier against Uruguay last month...
Sunday, November 15, 2009
The Fire didn't get nearly the same level of performance from Blanco and all of the Fire's possessions seemed to end the same: long balls to McBride that were often knocked down to no one. Kyle Beckerman turned in a commanding performance in central midfield and the quartet of Rolfe, Pappa, Pause and Thorrington had trouble putting together a coherent performance. The make-shift back line had a few nail-biters but all-in-all turned in an excellent showing. Extra time was fairly cautious and the Fire came up short from the penalty spot, with a strong start and a whimpering finish. Nick Rimando is a short mongoloid but he's an undeniably talented penalty defender and in the end he was able to produce the stops he needed to seal the win.
RSL were yet another example of how MLS playoffs tend to favor teams who get hot at the right time rather than those who perform over the course of a season, but RLS took their opportunity by the throat and fully deserve their shot at the final. Lord knows I'll be rooting for them to beat the Jewel of MLS, especially after seeing Dave Beckham's insane roadkill haircut on Friday night. This is the end of the line for a talented team that never seemed to quite figure out how to play together. The Fire will face serious challenges keeping the fans that Blanco has brought in over the last three seasons and they'll miss Chris Rolfe's guile and opportunism; I can't help but think that if Coach Hamlett had found a way to play him closer to the goal on Saturday that the game never would have been decided from the penalty spot. The longest off-season in world soccer started today for the Fire and it seems likely that when we see them again they'll have a significantly different look and possibly new leadership.
Fire Rocked as Real Salt Lake Advance
RSL: Who's Laughing Now?
Our day started in a different sea of red.
Stellar atmosphere from another sellout crowd.
Blanco takes a free kick.
Marco Pappa turns the corner.
Flares in the official support section.
They caused a ton of smoke...
... which obscured views on the field...
... and got the Norwegians excited.
Jon Busch spent much of the time during Fire penalties pacing in front of us and yelling curses at himself. To say that guy is tightly wound would be an understatement.
Happy Salt Lakers celebrate
See you next year!