Friday, May 28, 2010
However, thanks to Perez, the gaze of the Spanish media has been partly diverted from La Roja's World Cup preparations at the Spanish federation's training centre in the western suburb of Las Rozas, by all the hysteria just a few miles across the city in the vicinity of the Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
From a disco diva to the 'Divine Ponytail', USA '94 ended in the same way it began - with the horror of a missed penalty. But, while I still laugh at clips of Diana Ross making a hash of her spot-kick in the opening ceremony, I won't ever forget the tears of Italy's Roberto Baggio after he blasted over to lose the shoot-out that saw Brazil become the first country to win the World Cup four times.
That was the final act of a thrilling tournament that, despite a disappointing final, the tragedy of a murdered player and the disgrace of a legend's failed drugs test, succeeded - temporarily, at least - in conquering football's final frontier - the United States.
Eugene Opperman, a police spokesman, said the Colombian players' rooms were cleaned while they were training on Tuesday, and when they returned they discovered an undisclosed amount of cash had been taken. Opperman said two employees appeared in court yesterday on theft charges. A third, who had also been arrested, was later released.
The domestic football season has reached its conclusion and so The Week That Was heads off for a well earned summer break - but be sure to keep an eye out for our cosmopolitan cousin World Cup Daily.
Before signing off, we can exclusively reveal what Arsene Wenger said in his secret meeting with Cesc Fabregas, how moustache power could be key to Portugal's success and also offer up the 101 best goals of the season for your delectation.
France will host its first major finals since the 1998 World Cup, which Les Bleus won when beating Brazil in the final. France also hosted the 1938 World Cup and the 1984 European Championships.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Nike's sublime new advert culminates with Cristiano Ronaldo's destiny being mapped out - a guest spot on The Simpsons, Ronaldo: The Movie starring Gael Garcia Bernal and, appropriately for such a committed narcissist, a huge statue being unveiled in his honour - but after a dismal result on Monday night, being asked to 'Write The Future' is proving particularly difficult for a talented, but flawed Portugal side.
Nostalgia being the yearning for a past that one found perfectly grim at the time, I find myself consumed by wistful longing for the rich literary harvest of summer 2006. It was about this time, four years ago, that the press releases began to arrive, heralding a rash of footballer autobiographies which would be published within days of the Golden Generation bringing home the World Cup.
The phones started ringing at 2 a.m., and players were told to come down to the third floor for a meeting. As Herculez Gomez pressed the elevator button on 17, his mind raced.
Grant Wahl's Take
Martin Rogers' Take
Spain really believe they can do it but do they have to squad to overcome the likes of Brazil and Argentina?
From Lukas Podolski put-downs to Louis van Gaal's medical advice, it's time for the end-of-season German football awards.
It's the Honigsteins 2010! The complete review of the past Bundesliga season.
A double salvo from Robin van Persie was enough to see Netherlands step up their World Cup preparations with a 2-1 victory over Mexico at Badenova-Stadion in Freiburg.
Debutant Mathieu Valbuena lent weight to his World Cup claims with a late winner as France continued their World Cup build-up by battling to a 2-1 victory against Costa Rica.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (2010), Marcus Hahnemann (2006, 2010), Tim Howard (2006, 2010)
DEFENDERS (7): Carlos Bocanegra (2006, 2010), Jonathan Bornstein (2010), Steve Cherundolo (2002, 2006, 2010), Jay DeMerit (2010), Clarence Goodson (2010), Oguchi Onyewu (2006, 2010), Jonathan Spector (2010)
MIDFIELDERS (9): DaMarcus Beasley (2002, 2006, 2010), Michael Bradley (2010), Ricardo Clark (2010), Clint Dempsey (2006, 2010), Landon Donovan (2002, 2006, 2010), Maurice Edu (2010), Benny Feilhaber (2010), Stuart Holden (2010), José Torres (2010)
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (2010), Edson Buddle (2010), Robbie Findley (2010), Herculez Gomez (2010)
I can see it all now as clearly as if it was yesterday. Gazza's tears, Schillachi's bulging eyes, Milla's hips and Rijkaard's phlegm are destined to hold a special place in my heart forever, all played out to the incomparable soundtrack of Nessun Dorma.
After all, the 1990 World Cup in Italy is my World Cup. Every kid gets one, and Italia '90 will always belong to me.
Jose Mourinho is the self-styled Special One, a Champions League winner with Inter Milan and a leader of men. Marco Materazzi is a Zinedine Zidane-butting hard man. But when the two said their goodbyes there were more tears than a Gwyneth Paltrow Oscar speech.
UEFA has won its battle to make clubs indebted to wealthy owners prove they can live within their means.
With just over a fortnight until the World Cup in South Africa, England's coach still has some big calls to make.
So who's on the 23?
That's what you want to know, and we'll learn the U.S.'s final 23-man World Cup roster soon enough: at approximately 1:20 p.m. ET on Wednesday, when coach Bob Bradley announces his 23 Golden Tickets on ESPN.
In the wake of the U.S.'s 4-2 loss to the Czech Republic -- an almost meaningless result, considering the Americans were missing Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey and other stars -- Bradley left Rentschler Field knowing that a long night lay ahead.Carlisle: No reason to panic
As one of the most skilful players of his generation, Romania's Gheorghe Hagi earned the nickname 'Maradona of the Carpathians' with worthy comparisons to the great Argentinean to be found both in playing style and temperament. Undoubtedly the finest player to have emerged from his country, Hagi's remarkable 16-year international career consisted of appearances at three World Cups, while his domestic exploits took in the sights of top European clubs Barcelona, Real Madrid and Galatasaray.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
When: 8 p.m. EDT
Where: Rentschler Field; East Hartford, CT
U.S. TV: ESPN
Jeff Carlisle: Bradley has many questions to answer
Players on the bubble getting nervous
Portugal and Cape Verde played out a frustrating 0-0 stalemate, which brings a wave of red flags ahead of the World Cup.
The Portuguese entered the game showing their attacking intent, but every time they got close to Cape Verde's goal, it was only with modest danger.
From Cristiano Ronaldo's deification to Almería fans' 'pulsations', it's time for the annual end-of-season Spanish football awards.
It's the Sids 2010! The complete review of the past La Liga season.
England's World Cup rivals Algeria have one of Africa's most fascinating footballing histories, packed full, as it is, with passion, pedigree and political intrigue. But it is also irrevocably bound up with France.
This complex relationship has, at times, defined Algeria's independence, while also showing its lack of it. Plenty of Algerian talent has risen through French academies before going on to play for Les Bleus, as best exemplified by the great Zinedine Zidane.
But now a new generation of French-born Algerians has opted for the Desert Foxes.
"If we had not qualified for the World Cup the differences in Honduras would have become enhanced and probably we would have had high levels of violence," added Callejas.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Diego Maradona has demanded two state-of-the-art bidet toilets be installed for him at Argentina's World Cup base camp in South Africa.
They feature a heated seat, a warm air blow-dryer and front and rear bidet wands.
The toilet is available on www.sandman.com, which describes it as 'the best toilet seat in the world.'
Football authorities offer cut-price tickets to fill stadiums as forecasts for the number of international visitors fall by half a million.
No, seriously, it’s true. Blackpool. In the Barclays Premier League. I know, me neither. But that was definitely Ian Holloway, the manager, wandering the Wembley pitch on Saturday afternoon with the Coca-Cola Championship play-off final trophy, looking dazed, as if someone had run up and smacked him in the face with a cheque for £90 million.
Matt Hughes: Abramovic thinks what if?
Roberto Gotta: Tactical triumph for Mourinho
Richard Jolly: No Hollywood ending for Bayern
Richard Williams: Mourinho shows serene side
Inter: Player By Player Look
Few gave Real Salt Lake much of a shot to defeat Los Angeles and win its first MLS Cup. Kyle McCarthy explains how RSL positioned itself for glory and grasped the opportunity in the Monday MLS Breakdown.
Exhaustion because the players have been pushed to the limit, with 90-minute practices, running and sprinting drills and daily weight lifting sessions. And happiness because the hard-core, boot camp training sessions are over and it's finally time for games -- be them friendlies or not -- to begin.
France defender William Gallas suffered an injury scare after crashing a dune buggy during Les Bleus' bizarre preparations for the World Cup.