Friday, June 11, 2010
Sides rarely want for motivation at a World Cup finals but, for Germany, there is an extra incentive to succeed in South Africa. Back in mid-November last year, the national squad had watched from the sidelines at Hannover's Niedersachsen Stadium as a wooden coffin covered in white roses was rested some 50 paces from the goalmouth. This team are still united in grief for their team-mate, Robert Enke.
Although the World Cup can pound preconceptions to dust, not all the major powers will falter.
USA star DaMarcus Beasley knows an expectant public back home thinks a repeat of 1950s World Cup heroics will be easy, but the former Manchester City and Rangers man is much more cautious about their chances.
Six teams who are desperate to turn the form book on its head at this year's World Cup in South Africa.
Slovakia's Marek Hamšík...
South Africa vs. Mexico (10am EDT)
Soccer City Stadium, Johannesburg
Paul Wilson: Mexico add spice to opener
Uruguay vs. France (2:30pm EDT)
Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
France has fallen out of love with Les Bleus
All of the World Cup matches are on either ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPN3 (computer) so I will not be listing U.S. TV...-Ed.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Algeria, England, and Slovenia—
add us to that trio: unlikely quartet
yet likely because that’s the way
it happens: near-chance, like unlikely borders
drawn by geo-human hands,
or naturally following a mountain’s edge
or river bed, and in bright colors, too,
crayons that melt and fill the cloths
that become the flags, flappings that fray,
ropes that clang, meaninglessness
that means so much, reds that run into blues,
greens into reds, and white, background noise
of peace and purity that few will ever hear in the greed
for position, gold, and the diamonds of a mine.
Of the four flags, only St. George is without stars,
and we will meet at altitude, at Rustenburg.
Perhaps the English know just how to breathe
at any height. Well, we shall see.
And we shall dare from where we sit,
dare to watch for who on earth and in this light
of Africa has inner voice that pulls him
in the run toward heaven’s scarcest air.
1994 - 2006 World Cup Eve Poems
The USA forward may sense an upset in Saturday's World Cup 2010 game against England – but he's not letting on.
England midfielder Joe Cole has signed a contract to join Arsenal, Goal.com UK can reveal.
The midfielder put pen to paper on an £80,000-a-week, three-year deal before flying out to South Africa with England’s World Cup squad.
No reunion wit 'Arry, then...?
Their ostentatious antics became more than a mere sideshow in Germany in 2006. They also proved to be a distraction and an embarrassment to both their partners and to English soccer.
The past had personality. Too much, at times. Before England’s first game at Italia ‘90, Bobby Robson held a crisis meeting after several players sneaked out of the hotel for a drinking session, returned at 1.30am and Bryan Robson — the captain — injured his big toe trying, for reasons best known to himself, to overturn a bed.
Soon after the squad arrived at their base, Gascoigne ordered pina coladas and hoodwinked Bobby Robson, the manager, into thinking that they were banana milkshakes. At training he stuffed Robson’s boots with paper and before a tennis match he decided to see how many pieces of chewing gum he could fit in his mouth. An impressive 26.
Brazil are five-time winners and the world's top-ranked side; most of their players are superstars on a global level.
The majority of North Korea's squad are unknowns, insulated from the intense glare of the world's biggest tournament in their secretive homeland. At 105th, they are also the lowest-ranked team at the competition.
"Chelsea was always my first choice as I had four great years at the club and enjoyed every minute, but it was not to be. It's still my first choice, even now, but it was not up to me. The decision was down to Roman," Ballack said.
David Beckham's torn Achilles tendon, Michael Ballack's injured ankle and Michael Essien's and Rio Ferdinand's busted knees all will not be fixed until after the 2010 World Cup, but that's not the injury that South African administrators want to see healed when the final whistle blows. It's the cracks in South African society that they hope will be filled with feelings of nation-building and unity when the tournament ends.
The Brazilian referee and his assistants who will work the England-United States match at the World Cup have been studying English-language obscenities the players might use.
This is the only photo I could find of the English class in Stripes. Son of bitch! Shit!...
Wednesday, June 09, 2010
Two journalists from Portugal and one from Spain were last night victims to armed robbery in South Africa.
The three reporters, from Expresso, Global Noticias and Marca, were sleeping in their hotel located 15 km away from Magaliesburg when the robbers broke into their rooms at around 0400 BST.
One of the rooms...
They were reviled as the prawn sandwich brigade but, for this World Cup at least, they will have to stay at home and make their own sandwiches and buy their own champagne. Corporate hospitality has slumped at the World Cup in South Africa.
One estimate claims that bookings are down by 46 per cent on the 2006 World Cup in Germany and Fifa has admitted defeat by putting 38,000 corporate tickets on the open market.
The outburst, which lasted no more than a minute, is out of character for the normally controlled Italian.
Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti has confirmed that Rafael Benitez will be appointed as the new head coach of the Italian champions on Wednesday.
This one's for you, Virginia...
With practices open to the media only for the first 15 minutes, and news conferences usually restricted to manager Bob Bradley and a select player or two, gauging the mood of the U.S. team is often akin to reading tea leaves. Amid the usual platitudes, words are parsed and body language is interpreted for any hint of what the players are really thinking.
Plenty of reasons to watch the World Cup, of course, here’s a list of thirty guys I’m excited to watch, for different reasons. Note: this is not a top 30, I don’t believe that Karim Ziani is the best player in the world (or in the World Cup, or even on the Algerian team). I’ve limited myself to players outside the Premier League (so no England players, I think we’ve seen enough of them already) and I haven’t selected any Italy players (I’ve seen enough of them, too). Instead, I’ve picked one from each of the other 30 teams.
Watch out -- the Aussies have Jesus...
Coach Bob Bradley called up legendary military man Commander Dan Jollota, and the veteran Top Gun gave the footballers a lecture in bravery and team work, passing on the US soldier's motto of "no man gets left behind."
Eleven times NBA champion coach Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics has also spoken to the USA team.
Tuesday, June 08, 2010
Once the World Cup hosts have got the action under way in South Africa on Friday afternoon the drone of the vuvuzelas might die down and the sound of drums should come through as the second game kicks off in Cape Town. They might sound straight out of Africa but the drums will be pounding for Uruguay, telling a tale that stretches across oceans, religions and races.
It is entirely fitting that Uruguay grabbed the last place in the 2010 tournament - and not only because they were the first champions. Africa's World Cup is surely strengthened by the presence of the country that did most to pioneer the selection of people of African descent.
Pele may have been one of the greatest players in the history of the game, having been part of three victorious World Cup teams in 1958, 1962 and 1970, but, since retiring, he has become less respected as a pundit off-the-pitch.
The Brazilian is infamous for his numerous wrong predictions over the years. Romario once declared that "Pele is a poet when he keeps his mouth shut", while coach Luiz Felipe Scolari delivered the legendary line, "I believe Pele knows nothing about football. His analysis always turns out to be wrong. If you want to win a title, you have to listen to Pele and then do the opposite."
In light-hearted celebration of 'The King', Goal.com have put together the Top 10 Wrong Pele Predictions.
Now he has gone, and set to take take on a new trabajo (that's job in Spanish, don't ever say Goal.com isn't cultured) at current Champions League holders Inter. For better or worse, Liverpool fans will always have the memories…
Portugal winger Nani has been ruled out of the World Cup after suffering a shoulder injury.
"After tests we conclude he is unfit to participate in the World Cup," said a team statement.
Persistent rumors continue to link Sacha Kljestan with Anderlecht. The latest, from Het Laatste Nieuws, claim that Chivas USA's captain will sign with the Belgian club within the week.
A statement on the club's official website read: "Martin Petrov, Sylvinho and Benjani are senior players who will leave City this summer. All three are out of contract and free to negotiate deals at new clubs.
Doing this every time he scored obviously wasn't enough...
"It is the first time that a contract has been signed with an anti-racism clause included as introduced by the European Club Association," said Barcelona president Joan Laporta.
Monday, June 07, 2010
When the United States clinched qualification for the 2010 World Cup last October, it marked the country's sixth consecutive appearance in the finals of soccer's biggest party, and in every respect it wasn't a surprise. Given the resources the sport enjoys in the U.S. these days, qualifying for the World Cup is the bare minimum that is expected. Any other outcome is borderline unthinkable. Yet there was a time when such expectations were the stuff of fantasy.
Between 1950 and 1990, not only did the U.S. fail to qualify, on only one of those occasions could it claim to have gotten as close as the final hurdle. That came in 1954, when the qualifying journey consisted of a single round of games.
It could have been worse. That was the only consoling thought on a day when Africa’s World Cup euphoria evaporated.
For 20 people, including a policeman, to be injured in a stampede at the friendly match between Nigeria and North Korea in the Johannesburg suburb of Makhulong was nonetheless bad enough. This, after all, was one of those low-key fixtures designed to tune national teams for tournaments at which passion is usually hard to summon.
The Brazilian referee appointed for England's opening Group C game against the USA was suspended last season by his national federation amid accusations of bribery and incompetence.
Carlos Eugênio Simon, who has officiated at the last two World Cup finals, was stood down by the Brazilian football confederation for the final six weeks of the domestic campaign after a build-up of perceived errors culminated in the president of Palmeiras denouncing him as "a crook, a scoundrel and a shameless bastard".
United States 3 - 1 Australia
As dress rehearsals go, the U.S. men's national team had plenty to be happy about following its 3-1 victory over Australia. Yet while the scoreline implies a resounding victory, it was a result that flattered the Americans to an extent, giving them plenty to ponder as they prepare for their long-awaited matchup with England next week.
Kevin McCarra's Report
Winners and Losers
Forward Marko Pantelic scored in first-half injury time as Serbia twice came from a goal down on Saturday to win 4-3 over a Cameroon side playing without its captain Samuel Eto'o.
In other World Cup tuneups, Switzerland and slumping world champion Italy drew 1-1 and Honduras lost in Austria to non-qualifier Romania 3-0.
In Belgrade, Serbia, CSKA midfielder Milos Krasic scored first for Serbia in the 16th minute, kicking in a ball that bounced off Cameroon goalie Souleymanou Hamidou.