Friday, July 16, 2010
A Catholic priest who made headlines around the world by holding an orange mass to pray for the Dutch team before its World Cup final against Spain has been suspended by his bishop, a parish official said on Friday.
Bishop Jozef Punt of Haarlem said in a statement issued late Thursday that Rev. Paul Vlaar’s packed service in the village of Obdam north of Amsterdam “did not do justice to the sacred nature of the Eucharist.”
All good things must come to an end, and thus 32-year-old Thierry Henry drew the curtain on what has been an illustrious international career on Thursday afternoon. The circumstances surrounding the forward’s decision to quit the France set-up were as disappointing as his decision was unsurprising, but in time ‘Titi’ will look back on a spell with les Bleus spanning 13 record breaking years and including two major competition victories.
The World Cup is over but soccer is not dead.
As the world's biggest sporting event ended this week, the hangover is just in its first stages but relief has come to the United States in the form of the planet's most valuable (estimated to be worth $1.8 billion) sports club, Manchester United of the English Premier League.
To kick-off the new term, we have David Beckham on why he used his substantial down time at AC Milan to build the Taj Mahal out of Lego, former Heavy Weight Champion of the World Mike Tyson eking out a living at Peterborough and the A-Team riding to the rescue of Manchester City.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Four minutes after the re-start USA international, Eddie Johnson, back from his loan with Greek side Aris, made it four when broke the offside trap, rounded Lee and slotted home.
Henry should hit the field running. Unlike other Europe-based stars who laboured through long club seasons after the World Cup, Henry starts next week with fresh legs and a burning desire to prove himself once again. He's come to New York to score goals - sooner rather than later.
And the 44-year-old former undisputed heavyweight champion, looking trim in a blue strip with ‘Tyson 1’ embossed on the back of the shirt, failed to inspire the Peterborough, who went down 2-1 to West Ham.
Fifa's arrogant treatment of Nelson Mandela is the latest example of the power it exerts over World Cup host nations.
I think he's literally twisting Nelson's arm...
However, the former Arsenal and Real Madrid forward was not so complimentary about former France full-back Bixente Lizarazu.
Lizarazu, a World Cup winner in 1998, has criticised what he saw as Anelka's casual attitude in South Africa, accusing the forward of "strolling" and playing "in a selfish manner".
"When he speaks and we listen, we seem to hear a living legend. He's just a former player in lack of recognition, frustrated by the success of his mates Zinedine Zidane and Christophe Dugarry.
The 32-year-old was part of England manager Fabio Capello's much-criticised squad at the recent World Cup as they performed poorly in South Africa.
Now he'll have more time for this activity...
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
MLS forgives you if your soccer attention has been elsewhere for the last month. In case you didn't notice -- and who could blame you, with the games in Africa taking up all the column space? -- the league shut down for the group stages this year. The strategy this time around, rather than going head-to-head with the world's biggest sporting event, is to take the momentum built by the World Cup and run with it.
There are plenty of storylines on tap for the second half of the season to hold attention, enough to keep longtime fans entertained while captivating some new ones. Here are a few to follow as MLS heats back up post-World Cup:
A European team has finally won the World Cup outside its home continent.
More than that, for the first time since 1954, Europe is now ahead of South America in the number of World Cup wins - with a strong advantage. Europe has staged the tournament 10 times and South America just four - but in 2014 the World Cup will return to the continent of its birth for the first time in 36 years.
In Brazil the South Americans will be favourites to level up the all time score at 10 wins each - especially after the form they displayed in South Africa.
On Tuesday Ronaldo again found himself confronting journalists, this time outside his property in the Algarve, Portugal. With hacks swarming his mansion, Ronaldo chose to walk up to the gaggle of reporters to give them a piece of his mind on what he believed to be their intrusion into his private life.
"None of these projects have taken off because all of the money is coming from the public sector; a very, very good indication that they are not financially viable," says Christopher Gaffney, a geography professor at the Universidade Federal Fluminense in Rio, who describes the stadiums as a "disaster foretold".
England flops Ashley Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips blew £8,000 in a few hours boozing at a Los Angeles nightclub while gutted fans mourned missing out on World Cup success.
A fellow Brit who partied with the pair estimated that Cole, 29, had polished off around 40 cigarettes during his bender.
Torres pulled up in the dying moments of Spain's World Cup final victory over Netherlands and, following a scan at the Centro de Madrid Clinic on Tuesday, the Spanish football federation has now confirmed there is evidence of "a grade one muscle fibre rupture in the left thigh".
Set to miss the beginning of the season...
New York Red Bulls have confirmed the signing of former Barcelona and Arsenal forward Thierry Henry, who will make his debut in a friendly game against Tottenham.
The 32-year-old is France's all-time record goalscorer having scored 51 times for les Bleus and he also broke Ian Wright's record for Arsenal, scoring 226 goals between 1999 and 2007 as he cemented his reputation as one of the finest players in world football.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Perhaps watching at home it won't be considered a vintage tournament, but over in South Africa they've moved a country forward five years in five weeks.
The warmth, the fellowship and the unification of so many disparate strands in their society made this World Cup work. They understand each other so much better now and I hope that continues. It was more than just a sporting event for the South Africans and they showed what they can do. Like may others I was thrilled by the experience.
The votes are in - Argentina are the winners of the inaugural WAGs and Stags World Cup after seeing off the Netherlands in the most absorbing of finals in Johannesburg.
The winning couple...
The return to the World Cup of Diego Maradona. No one knew what to expect as he strode out to the touchline looking like an extra from Goodfellas for the first match against Nigeria, but he actually left South Africa with his reputation enhanced. An authentic sporting legend.
How Wilson can say his reputation was enhanced is beyond me. His squad selection and tactics were terrible. -Sanford
Images of Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas celebrating Spain's World Cup triumph kitted out in a Barcelona shirt - albeit one forced on him - have rekindled memories of similar acts of disloyalty.
After 64 games, the first World Cup on African soil ended as many expected - with favourites Spain lifting the trophy. But we have seen some great football from some great footballers along the way.
Here's my 2010 World Cup finals team of the tournament (4-3-3)
You like this one better, Bob?
"He won't give any more oracle predictions -- either in football, nor in politics, lifestyle or economy," she said. "Paul will get back to his former job, namely making children laugh."
French striker Thierry Henry is going to play for the New York Red Bulls, according to NBA star and friend Steve Nash.
Red Bulls general manager Erik Soler refused to confirm Henry would be signed next week, but the MLS team has said a star player will be introduced on Thursday.
Two fighter jets, one of them orange, escorted the Netherlands soccer team through Dutch airspace Monday, a day after the loss in the World Cup final.
The staff at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport formed an honor guard when the plane touched down.
"Regrettably, sadly, they played very dirty. So much so that they should have been down to nine immediately, then they made two [such] ugly and hard tackles that even I felt the damage," he said.
"This ugly, vulgar, hard, hermetic, hardly eye-catching, hardly football style, yes it served the Dutch to unsettle Spain. If with this they got satisfaction, fine, but they ended up losing. They were playing anti-football."
Viewership for the final on Univision was up 49 percent from 5,903,000 for 2006. Sunday's game was the third most-watched program on U.S. Spanish-language TV, trailing Argentina's win over Mexico on June 27 (9,405,000) and the finale of the novella "Destilando Amor [Essence of Love]" on Dec. 3, 2007 (9,018,000).
Monday, July 12, 2010
Now, that is a postmatch interview. And what a difference a month makes.
At the end of Spain's first match at this World Cup, a 1-0 loss to Switzerland, Sara Carbonero was waiting in the tunnel for Iker Casillas, clutching a microphone. Now, for those who have not been acquainted with her, Carbonero is a journalist and interviewer with the Spanish television channel TeleCinco. She is also Casillas' girlfriend. Not that you would have known it as she held out the microphone and asked bluntly: "How did you manage to lose that?" Casillas barely looked her in the eye, mumbled some cliché and departed.
The supporter, wearing a shirt bearing the slogan 'Jimmy Jump Against Racism' darted out of the a corner of the Soccer City stadium towards the pedestal on which the trophy had been placed for Spain and Holland to parade past
Spain have found an obvious successor for their title of the most reliably disappointing team in world football.
Landon Donovan is on the line from California. It's just after dawn on the West Coast of the United States, which is symbolic in a way, considering a new phase is dawning in Donovan's career after his standout performance at this World Cup. Donovan scored three goals in South Africa, including the one to beat Algeria that many are calling the biggest goal in U.S. Soccer history. Donovan's star power in America took a giant leap over the past month. So what comes next?
With the World Cup now concluded, MLS wants to capture a few of those new soccer fans.