Friday, July 30, 2010
North Korea's football team has been shamed in a six-hour public inquisition and the team's coach has been accused of "betraying" the reclusive leader's heir apparent following their failure at the World Cup, according to reports.
Have a good one.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Outgoing Argentina coach Diego Maradona has launched a sensational attack on AFA president Julio Grondona and director of national teams Carlos Bilardo, claiming he was "lied to" and "betrayed" and effectively sacked from the role.
Joel Richards: Exit as chaotic as tenure
Tim Vickery: Maradona loses battle of wills
Top-15 Crazy Moments
The Premier League is effectively a series of mini-leagues, and for many sides, seeking promotion or avoiding relegation is the main goal of the season. There is a clutch of sides for whom relegation should be no more than a distant threat, but for whom European qualification is an impossibly distant prospect. Here Jonathan Wilson looks at three of the mid-table sides that may be moving up or down a notch this season:
Federico Macheda had two early goals, Mexican star Javier Hernandez scored in his Manchester United debut, and the Red Devils routed the MLS All-Stars 5-2 on Wednesday night in the final U.S. stop on their North American tour.
Carlisle: Should have seen it coming
Wahl: Three Thoughts
The forward, who also spent time on loan with German club Bayern Munich, told Reuters after playing in the MLS All-Stars' 5-2 defeat at Manchester United: "We have had transfer interest and we will have some time to think about it and see where it goes. There is interest from a number of teams."
Mark Hughes has accepted an offer from Fulham to become the club's new manager. The Welshman will succeed Roy Hodgson, who left in the summer to join Liverpool, and his appointment has disappointed Sven-Goran Eriksson, who had been under consideration.
Taylor: Hughes and Fulham a perfect fit
On the 26th July, workers from all walks of life took to the streets of Buenos Aires for a political march to mark the 58th anniversary of the death of María Eva Duarte de Perón, better known outside Argentina as Evita. It was fitting, in a way, that the same date was ultimately the day that sealed the fate of one of the few Argentines who can match (or exceed) Evita for popular mass appeal. Diego Maradona's reign as Argentina manager officially ended on Tuesday the 27th, but the damage was done the day before.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Icelandic football team Stjarnan FC have found fame outside their homeland due to an elaborate goal celebration in which players mimic the catching of a fish in a choreographed display that has proved a hit on YouTube.
18 clubs issued a new home shirt last season and all 20 Premier League clubs are doing the same this term.
The former England international, who only 12 months ago was on the books of the then League Two side Notts County, said he was delighted to be a part of the club's quest to re-establish themselves in the top tier. "At this stage of my career I couldn't have wished for a better move," Campbell, who will wear the No5 shirt, told the club's website. "To join a club such as Newcastle United, with its proud tradition, heritage and magnificent support is absolutely tremendous for me.
The club says on its website that coach Mirko Slomka gave Cherundolo the captain's armband during the Bundesliga team's training camp this week in Bad Radkersburg. Former captain Hanno Ballitsch left the team for Bayer Leverkusen in the offseason.
It is the dastardly new regulation that could leave big-name footballers out in the cold. It is the cause of panic across the Premier League. Or, more prosaically, it really shouldn't be. The Premier League's new 25-man squad rule comes into effect this season. On September 1, each of the 20 clubs will have to designate 25 players who are eligible for matches before the January transfer window.
There have been times when MLS All-Star Games have held about as much intrigue as a grass-growing contest. No disrespect to past opponents Fulham, Everton and Celtic, but those sides didn't exactly raise the collective pulse of the American soccer public. Not so this year, as none other than English Premier League powerhouse Manchester United will provide the opposition for the cream of this year's MLS crop.
Maradona had been offered a new four-year contract but said he would only continue on condition that his backroom staff remained. He met with AFA president Julio Grondona on Monday, but the differences between the parties could not be resolved.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
There was a time when it would have been a badge of shame for Italian football to let their best young striker be sent to a finishing school in England. But then the Italian game never has known quite how to cope with the explosive cultural, political and sporting phenomenon that is Mario Balotelli.
Paul Scholes has admitted he regrets turning down the chance to play for England in the World Cup. He claims he might have agreed to go to South Africa if he had been asked by Fabio Capello, rather than his No 2, and given more than two hours to decide.
Wenger has again raised eyebrows with his latest center-back signing, Laurent Koscielny, a former left back who was playing in France's third division four years ago. Koscielny was outstanding for Lorient last season, his first in the top flight, but was as surprised as anyone when Wenger made his move.
Victory over Rubin Kazan on Saturday would give Luciano Spalletti's side a near unassailable lead in the Russian league.
Zenit St Petersburg reach pivotal stage in their relentless title march.
The 35-year-old defender has been out of contract since his deal with Arsenal expired this summer and had been linked with United's north-east rivals Sunderland as well as Celtic.
It seems, though, that Newcastle have won the race for his services as they look to strengthen their defence ahead of their return to the top flight.
When Brazil shine, the players get the credit for their flair and brilliance. When they fall short of expectations, the coach gets the blame.
Being in charge of Brazilian team is like sitting in a coconut shy - plenty of things are thrown in your direction. And the bombardment could be especially fierce in the case of new boss Mano Menezes, who is taking over with everyone knowing that he was not the first choice for the job.
The Kansas City Wizards say they sold 700 season tickets after their exhibition win over Manchester United.
"Arsenal don't want to sit down and negotiate with us. It's not a problem with the wishes of Cesc or of Barça – they simply don't want to negotiate," he said.
The U.S. central defender and captain has become the first American to capitalize on his World Cup performance by wrapping up his move from Stade Rennes to fellow French league club AS Saint-Etienne. While the deal had been announced on July 16, paperwork hadn't been finalized until last week.
Never mind Mesut Ozil. Forget Thomas Mueller. And as for Keisuke Honda ... pah! The discovery of the World Cup was Danny Shittu.
Maybe not in South Africa, but certainly in Spain. He might not have made much of an impact on the football field but, boy, has he made an impact off it. Even if he doesn't realize it himself. Nothing can match the joy of laying your eyes on the Nigeria defender. Danny Shittu / Lagos, 2-9-1980 / 1,88m / 81 kg / Bolton Wanderers (ENG) ... No. 133 in the Panini sticker album for the 2010 World Cup.
Life works out in funny ways sometimes. The Red Bulls opened their new arena this year. The early reviews were positive. I'm not a Red Bulls fan, but was interested in checking them out in the new digs. As one of my birthday gifts, my wife says "Pick a game and I'll get you tickets." Several weeks go by and my usual procrastination is starting to bother her. "Why won't you just pick a game?!"
For once the procrastination pays off. I hadn't kept close tabs on Spurs over the summer so when I saw the online ad for Red Bulls vs. Spurs at Red Bull Arena the sequence of events was pretty straightforward:
1. Calm down a bit.
2. Call wife, tell her I've found the game and I don't care what's happening on July 22.
3. Purchase tickets.
Great. I'm going. Can't be more excited. What's that? Thierry Henry is signing with Red Bulls? That's kind of interesting. Should be fun to see how he does. Oh, wait, what did you say? He's going to debut against Spurs?! On July 22? And I'll be there? Holy crap!! That's amazing.
OK. Prelude over, on to the stadium and the game.
First impressions were that Red Bulls must have gotten the land real cheap in Harrison, N.J., because there is nothing around the stadium. Nothing. Literally empty lots. And the PATH station was not build anticipating there would ever be a stadium within 500 yards. One stair case in, one stair case out for thousands of people. Fantastic. Could have done without the cattle call getting in and out. Hopefully they will add another exit or two. The building itself, however, was rather impressive. New, fresh, compact. Plenty of facilities. Everything close to the field. If it wasn't such a pain in the ass to get to, I might consider becoming a Red Bulls fan.
Everyone there was talking about the wanker. Henry jerseys (Arsenal, Barca, Red Bulls) were everywhere. The Spurs section was equally wound up. Giving anyone who walked through in an Henry shirt a good ribbing. Cue huge roars anytime his name is mentioned over the PA or image shows on the big screens. Whatever. He's still a wanker.
The first ten minutes are all Spurs. Ball spends the whole time at the far end in Red Bull territory. TH does show his pedigree with a couple nifty touch passes but is generally quiet. After ten minutes things begin to turn and the Spurs D looks shaky. Sure, its a preseason tune up but improvement is needed if they're gonna do anything in Champions League, let alone the Premiership. Then, in the 25th minute, the villain scores the opener on a weak little goal. Our corner is silent while the rest of the stadium erupts. What a wanker.
The next 20 minutes are uneventful. Happily Henry and Modric trade shirts at the half. Clearly their nights are done. I'll have to catch a couple more Red Bull games on TV to see how the team adapts to TH. Clearly a step above his teammates.
The second half goes quickly and to plan. Keane scores a goal as weak as Henry's to tie things up. And ten minutes later [my current favorite Spur] Gareth Bale scored on a nice little shot from just inside the box. Fantasy managers should pick up Bale now. Look for him to continue the great second half he had last year. He was all over the field.
Overall, a great evening out. Even though it initially sucked, Henry's opener did make the night a little sweeter to come back and get the win. The torturous slog home made me really wish they'd put the stadium in Long Island City as the original rumors years back had it. Red Bull Arena in LIC would see me a lot more. Harrison, N.J., not so much.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Owen Hargreaves has been urged to consider what he risks losing and banish any thoughts of giving up on his battle to win a two-year fight against injury.
Mano Menezes became the new coach of Brazil’s national soccer team Saturday, one day after first choice Muricy Ramalho turned down the job because of his contract with Fluminense.
Menezes has been coaching Corinthians but will now replace Dunga, who was fired days after Brazil lost to the Netherlands in the World Cup quarterfinals in South Africa.
Donovan is believed to be valued around $12 million. His stock rose greatly during a successful EPL loan spell with Everton at the start of this year. Interest grew even further thanks to his clutch performances for the U.S. in South Africa. Despite three failed stints in Germany during his career, Donovan has generated a fresh surge of European interest.
If Portsmouth thought that things could hardly get any worse for them after going into administration, being relegated from the Premier League and having a transfer embargo imposed upon them, they were sorely mistaken.
City finish bottom of the Challenge group after suffering defeat to Sporting Lisbon earlier in the tournament, which also included Premier League rivals Tottenham.
Sir Alex Ferguson felt inexperience was to blame for Manchester United's surprise defeat by 10-man Kansas City Wizards. Kei Kamara scored the Wizards' winner in the 42nd minute as the Major League Soccer side excelled in front of 52,424 fans at the Arrowhead Stadium.
Forget about the common notion of an all-star break when pondering Wednesday's MLS All-Star Game. The clash between the MLS All-Stars and Manchester United creates an all-star burden.
Besiktas look set to complete the signing of Guti, who has officially left Real Madrid after 15 years and 542 matches. Guti made his debut for Real in December 1995, having joined the club as a nine-year-old. He was most instrumental in the side which won La Liga in 2001, as he scored 14 goals for the capital club. He scored 77 goals and won 15 trophies including five league titles and three Champions League medals.
A tearful Raul admitted that it was an emotional day for him, before paying tribute to the club, staff and fans. He leaves as Real's all-time leading goalscorer and the all-time leading scorer in the Champions League.