I've seen plenty of examples over the years when sports and politics mix, when the world's most popular pastime and the pursuit of power combine to turn fútbol into anything but the simplest game. But I haven't ever been in the middle of such a palpably tense situation like this one in Cabinda, a complex landscape mixing soccer and politics, fear and violence, nationalism and rebellion.
Friday, January 22, 2010
Outside of the fact that Dempsey will not be going under the knife -- which no doubt is a positive development -- Fulham's release is so vague as to offer little in the way of additional comfort.
U.S. Men's International Friendly:
Saturday U.S. vs. Honduras Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif. 9 p.m. ET
TV: Fox Soccer Channel
With his jinking runs and mesmeric turns, Juninho consistently gave Premier League defenders nightmares during three spells at Middlesbrough, adding a touch of Brazilian samba style to one of English football's traditionally unglamorous outfits.
The 20-year-old could make his full debut against Panathanaikos this weekend and Adu can hardly wait.
Meanwhile, it's primarily an FA Cup weekend with Villa switching Cup duties to face Brighton, Chelsea traveling to Preston North End, Arsenal going to Stoke, Tottenham facing Leeds and Everton hosting Birmingham among other fixtures. Full weekend preview is here.
Reigning champions Barca will be in buoyant mood for their trip to fourth-bottom Real Valladolid following yesterday's news that sextuple-winning coach Pep Guardiola has committed himself to the club for next season. Madrid are in action on Sunday, along with Sporting Gijon-Racing Santander, Tenerife-Valencia, Villarreal-Real Zaragoza and Espanyol-Real Mallorca.
Bremen host Bayern, Hoffenheim visit Leverkusen, and Dortmund face off against Hamburg in this weekend’s action.
Freiburg – Stuttgart
Hertha Berlin – Borussia M’gladbach
Mainz – Hannover
Bochum – Schalke
Borussia Dortmund – Hamburg
Wolfsburg – Koeln
AC Milan coach Leonardo believes Sunday night's Milan derby could not have come at a better time for his side.
Roma and Juventus will both be rooting for Milan. They clash 24 hours earlier in Turin with third place up for grabs.
The Turin outfit are two points behind Roma and desperate to return to winning ways having lost four of their last five games.
The pairings have already set up some truly interesting match-ups
with Egypt against Cameroon the most interesting of all, a replay of the final at Ghana 2008. World Cup-bound Ivory Coast and Algeria will take on each other, while hosts Angola will entertain last time's hosts Ghana. Nigeria will play surprise Group D winners Zambia for the first time in the tournament since their 1994 final which Nigeria won 2-1.
In another interview, broadcast on ESPN Radio in Argentina, Carlos Tevez has again lashed out at Gary Neville, calling him a ''sock-sucker'' and branding him a ''moron'' for his lack of respect in his pre-match comments about the striker ahead of the Carling Cup semi-final.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Bradley Edwin Guzan – that’s Brad Guzan to the rest of us – is making his mark for Aston Villa this season and last night helped his team book a trip to Wembley in a thrilling League Cup semi-final second-leg encounter.
Cameroon vs. Tunisia:
Indomitable Lions must win the game to guarantee progress
Gabon vs. Zambia:
Zambia eye last eight berth
Egypt 2-0 Benin:
The Pharaohs Finish Group Stage With Perfect Record
Nigeria 3-0 Mozambique:
Super Eagles Tame Mambas For A Comfortable Win
Arsenal 4 - 2 Bolton Wanderers
Arshavin takes Arsenal top after fightback
Rosicky inspires amazing comeback
16 games for Arsenal's nerve to hold
Liverpool 2 - 0 Tottenham
Determined Liverpool show signs of revival
Kuyt scores twice to sink Spurs
Anfield remains epicentre of surprises
Have Spurs got nerve for top four?
Aston Villa 6 - 4 Blackburn Rovers
Kevin McCarra: Ashley Young fires Aston Villa past Blackburn Rovers to Wembley
Allardyce cries foul after defeat
Oh, why do I loath this man so...?
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
do well and you move on or you don't and you're moved on."
Owen Coyle after joining Bolton from Burnley.
"These stories have as much relation to the truth as an egg to a chestnut."
Racing Santander president Francisco Pernia finds an interesting way to scotch rumours that teenage star Sergio Canales is leaving.
"I had Micah Richards as a 16-year-old and he was a man then. I don't know what he is now, probably a bigger man."
Kevin Keegan at half-time during the Blackburn-Man City match on ESPN.
"Why is it that everyone who takes their shirt off during a football match is fat?"
5 live commentator during the Blackburn-Villa match.
"Fergie, Fergie sign him up!"
Manchester City fans to United rivals after Carlos Tevez scored twice in the League Cup semi-final.
"There's only one Gary Megson."
Arsenal fans to Bolton.
The Black Stars made it to the last eight after racing ahead of the Stallions in a 1-0 nervy game.
Houston Dynamo and U.S. international midfielder Ricardo Clark has signed a contract with Bundlesliga team Eintracht Frankfurt until the end of the season with an option for three more years.
There were fears that Dempsey had suffered cruciate ligament damage after picking up an injury during Fulham's 2-0 defeat at Blackburn Rovers on Sunday, but a scan has revealed that he does not require surgery to fix the problem.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
With Oguchi Onyewu and Charlie Davies both having suffered serious injuries, Bradley can barely afford any kind of fitness setback. The loss of Dempsey, though, would be felt more severely than that of virtually any other player in the squad.
In more than two decades at Old Trafford, Sir Alex Ferguson has been accustomed to looking upon Manchester City with varying degrees of bemusement, derision and pity.
Distaste has been a recent addition, since those “noisy neighbours” gained the hauteur of lottery winners. So it must have been through gritted teeth yesterday that he found himself acknowledging the threat that they suddenly pose to Manchester United.
If Athletic Bilbao beat Madrid partly thanks to Fernando Llorente, they mainly won thanks to the goalkeeper in the midfielder's kit.
Real Madrid repelled as Gorka Iraizoz emulates the Squid.
Each tournament has its own dynamics, so it would be unwise to draw definitive conclusions for the World Cup from a competition taking place six months earlier.But if the Africa Cup of Nations is a good opportunity for five World Cup-bound teams to get some competitive match practice, it is also a great chance for their future opponents to do some reconnaissance.
By achieving results much better than the quality of his squad warrants, Michael Skibbe's ambitious outlook has been validated.
Eintracht Frankfurt enter 'taboo zone' and keep punching above their weight.
Working out how best to combine his forwards may prove a headache for Claudio Ranieri, but he's unlikely to be complaining.
Luca Toni begins to repay Totti's faith as Roma eye Champions League berth.
David Sullivan admits West Ham are in an 'incredibly bad situation'
• Purchase 'makes no sense commercially', admits Sullivan
• Club had needed to raise £20m by summer without takeover
How wonderful it is when a player suddenly arrives on the scene and lights up a league in such an unexpected way, in such an unexpected place. Which is not to say that Santander or the Cantabrian region has never produced players of quality - far from it - but there was an air of decline about the Sardinero this season that has suddenly been replaced by the sort of smiles of renewal that a new-born baby can bring to the household. Let's not over-emote, but all you have to do is to watch a few minutes of Sergio Canales on YouTube to realise that this is no false prophesy.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Inter Milan came from two goals down to rescue a point against Bari, while Cagliari thrashed Livorno 3-0.
AC Milan closed the gap on Serie A leaders Inter Milan as the pressure increased on Juventus coach Ciro Ferrara following another defeat
In this season of swift conclusions by the media, one must be wary of predicting any side's fate for often fortunes can be flipped on their head in the next round of matches. That said, it does appear England's top-flight crown will head to either Chelsea, Manchester United or Arsenal after a seven-point gap between third and fourth opened up.
Everton 2 - 0 Manchester City
Richard Jolly: Robinho not working out at City
Chelsea 7 - 2 Sunderland
Kevin Palmer: Sorry Sunderland collapse at the Bridge
Bolton 0 - 2 Arsenal
Harry Harris: Fabregas fires Arsenal title bid