Friday, June 24, 2011

Gasperini named new Inter boss

Inter Milan have confirmed Gian Piero Gasperini will take charge of the side next season. Gasperini, 53, has been out of work since being sacked as Genoa boss in November last year. He had secured promotion from Serie B in 2007 and led the side into the Europa League in 2009.

Things already looking tight for the ugly Villas-Boas

Not her.

Abramovic's getting impatient....

CONCACAF Gold Cup: Final Previews

United States vs. Mexico
When: Saturday, June 24, 9pm EDT
Where: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California
U.S. TV: Fox Soccer Channel & Univision
Preview I
Preview II
Preview III

Gabriele Marcotti: Inter Going Retro in a Bad Way

Maybe there's a new dimension to Jose Mourinho's specialness, one we've so far overlooked. In fact, perhaps it's the single biggest feat of his managerial career. In the two seasons he was at Inter, the club was, well, "normal."

No senseless infighting. No ripping up blueprints from one day to the next. Everybody pulling in the same direction and a clear medium-term plan. Arguably, except for the early part of Roberto Mancini's five-year regime (before the vicious row with the club's medical staff, the allegations of wiretapping and the resignation on live television), it's something Inter haven't enjoyed since Giovanni Trapattoni's tenure more than 20 years ago.

Friday MLS Forecast

The Forecast pinpoints one factor that could undermine New York's MLS Cup push if it is not addressed and surveys the weekend slate.

Jack Warner and Mohamed Bin Hammam involved in bribery after Fifa finds 'comprehensive evidence'

Fifa’s ethics committee has ruled that there is “comprehensive, convincing and overwhelming evidence” that Mohamed Bin Hammam and Jack Warner colluded in the payment of bribes to Caribbean football officials, according to a secret report seen by Telegraph Sport.

The Mill +

Friday's Rumours


Who You Should Buy: Tottenham

Obviously Tottenham's transfer policy is a touch difficult to judge with so much depending on Modric. Year in, year out, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy employs the same tactics when it comes to selling a top player: he's not for sale, he's certainly not for sale, oh look it's 5 minutes to the transfer deadline, you can have him for 20% more than the market value, sold! And it works really well, as long as your definition of success is how much profit is made. Unfortunately it gives the manager no time to find a replacement. And finding one for Modric would not be easy. Spurs have been strongly linked to Scott Parker and Charlie Adam, both good players, but both are more similar to players Spurs already have, rather than to Modric. Were he to leave, Redknapp could review his formation, perhaps bringing van der Vaart into a more central position, but any such change would likewise take time to bed in. Another factor is Sandro, who looks a real find. Levy seems to need to make a sale every summer one way or another. Perhaps Harry will have to sacrifice Sandro in order to keep Modric. Under other circumstances, as a successful and popular manager at Spurs, Harry might have some say in matters. But the fact he's likely to take over from Capello in the near future, means he's unlikely to hold much sway with his chairman.
Redknapps's other major area of concern is his misfiring forward line. What his options offer in variety they lack in reliability. A a result he has been linked to more strikers than Arthur Scargill: Damiao, Wickham, Adebayor, Negrado, Osvaldo, Rossi, among them. One piece of good news is the return of on-loan right back Kyle Walker. He impressed on loan for Villa and on U21 duty for England, so should help with Spurs' problems at right back, where Corluka lacks pace and Hutton intelligence.

Signing No 1. is a reliable striker. You obviously can't guarantee consistency but Forlan and Eto'o promise it more than many of the forwards mentioned,
Signing No. 2 is a central defender. Woodgate has gone, as have King's knees, almost. Any of the usual suspects [Cahill, Samba, Dann, Shawcross, etc] would be a solid addition.
Signing No. 3 is a goalkeeper to back up or replace fumble-fingers Gomes. Done: Brad Friedel from Villa.

Russia: Banana thrown at Roberto Carlos

Norman Hubbard: Deadwood may hamper Reds revolution

Liverpool's owners may imagine a younger, hungrier and sleeker squad but, unless up to 10 players leave, the danger is that theirs will be a bloated group containing several with little prospect of first-team football, especially in a season that won't involve European football. There are men such as Milan Jovanovic (reported earnings: £120,000 a week) and Joe Cole (£90,000), who prove that free transfers can be a false economy. There are players who were loaned out, forgotten but not gone, but now returned, such as Emiliano Insua, who at least has shown promise, and Philipp Degen and Nabil El Zhar, who have revealed none.

Then there are Roy Hodgson's recruits. Raul Meireles apart, the summer of 2010 was a nadir for Liverpool in the transfer market. Hodgson may not bear sole responsibility for the signings of Cole and, in particular, Jovanovic, but his reunions with Paul Konchesky and Christian Poulsen were all his own work.

Costa Rica Defender in Car Crash

Dennis Marshall, a Costa Rican defender, has been killed in a car accident.

Marshall, 25, died along with his wife when his car collided head-on with a truck close to Costa Rican capital San Jose while they were travelling from his grandfather's funeral.

Just five days ago, the AaB defender scored his side's equalising goal en route to a penalty shootout loss against Honduras in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. It was his only international goal in 19 appearances.

Leeds United ban great-grandmother for Elland Road pitch invasion

Leeds United have defended their decision to ban a great-grandmother for a year for running on to the pitch at Elland Road. Margaret Musgrove, 63, was given an automatic ban by Leeds after she went on to the grass during the last game of the season in May. Mrs Musgrove, who says she has 13 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, was caught by TV cameras walking across the penalty area with her arms in the air at the end of the match against Burnley. She was grabbed by stewards and taken to holding cells but was not charged with any offence.

Mrs Musgrove said she just got carried away, adding: "I just wanted to shout 'Lads, I love you'."

Canada Goalkeeper Scores Historic Goal From Beyond Midfield

Canada stunned England in Wednesday's FIFA Under 17 World Cup match when goalkeeper Quillan Roberts scored an improbable equalizer in the final minutes from beyond midfield.

Dominic Raynor: Off The Ball

Off The Ball never rests in its mission to scratch around the underbelly of professional football to find the most bizarre, humorous and inexplicable stories.

This week, Women's World Cup hosts Germany launch an Octopus Idol-style hunt for a psychic successor to Paul, Diego Maradona takes a pop at Pele and Neymar, Zenit striker Danko Lazovic is Tasered while giving his shirt to a fan and Barcelona president Sandro Rosell bans colour photocopies in a bid to raise transfer funds.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tr-Ashley Cole: Los Angeles can't wait to say goodbye to bad rubbish as footballer leaves rented home like a 'pig sty'

The footballer has ordered so much takeaway food for him and his friends that the bins outside his £18,500 a week rented mansion are overflowing.

Of course, it doesn't say much for the rubbish collectors in the district, who haven't been keeping on top of collecting the trash.

But it could also be that Cole and his friends have just ordered so much food that there are just not enough bins for all their rubbish.

The Mill +

Thursday's Rumours


Copa Libertadores: Neymar Justifies the Hype

At the final whistle, as Peñarol's players fought a brawl - apparently sparked by a Santos fan - against a handful of Santos players, backroom staff, a few fans and some bowl-helmeted riot police, Neymar sank to his knees and wept. This was the farewell of which he had dreamed, bringing Santos their first Libertadores since 1963, when Pelé - who was also weeping in celebration as he looked down from his box at the Pacaembu - was in his pomp. But there must also have been a sense of vindication, of relief at having been the decisive figure in the second leg after having been so innocuous in the first.

Looks like he did a bit more than just kneel and cry...

Beasley Makes Mexican Move

So this is what it comes down to.

This is where the illustrious athletic career of DaMarcus Beasley has brought the Fort Wayne native – to Mexico.

Once dubbed a “young American star” on the cover of Sports Illustrated, Beasley finds himself having been spurned by the soccer leadership of Germany (“a horrible experience”) and even in his home country (“I went to the MLS and said that I wanted to come back. It just didn’t work out.”)

So Beasley will catch a flight this week to Mexico, where he will sign a two-year contract to play for Puebla F.C. of the Primera Division.

Argentina: River Plate defeat by Belgrano sparks violence

Fans invaded the pitch and confronted players as Belgrano defeated River Plate 2-0 in Wednesday's first leg of their relegation playoff - a result that put Argentina's most successful club on the brink of a humiliating relegation.

Just after Belgrano went ahead 2-0 early in the second half, dozens of hooligan fans - at least one wearing a mask - ripped through a fence, raced across the pitch and taunted and shoved River Plate players.

CONCACAF Gold Cup: Semifinal Reports & Analyses

USA 1 - 0 Panama

Grant Wahl: Three Thoughts
Steve Davis: Player Ratings
John Godfrey: Player Ratings

Mexico 2 - 0 Honduras


Adieu Jack Warner, but beware the next generation of Fifa supervillains

Rather like tyrannical dictators, who don't expect to die quietly in their beds, one somehow never expected Jack Warner's professional death to happen offstage in press releases and leaked reports. After all, only a few weeks ago the Fifa vice-president was threatening to unleash "a football tsunami", so at the very least one expected him to open fire like Tony Montana at the top of the staircase at Fifa's Zurich HQ, or even advance out of the building in his pyjamas and dressing gown, unloading endless submachine gun rounds, in the manner of Albert Finney in Miller's Crossing. Instead, a spot of bother with the ethics committee appears to have persuaded Warner to pension himself off, presumably because he wants to spend less time with what Sepp Blatter calls "the Fifa family". Lovely as it is to see the back of him, I do feel cheated, just as I would if Ernst Stavro Blofeld resigned from S.P.E.C.T.R.E. to devote more time to the cat show circuit.

Screamo Master, Tim Howard

The image endures: U.S. national team and Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard charging at his own defenders, gesticulating wildly and screaming corrections at them after a play, veins surging to the surface of his buffed dome.

In his fifth year as starting netminder for the U.S., it's a sight that's become expected. Never were his outbursts so frequent as in the friendly against Spain on June 4, when La Furia Roja effortlessly cut the Americans' defense to shreds to slip four goals past Howard.

Ashley Young joins Manchester United from Aston Villa

England international Young, 25, passed his medical with the league champions on Thursday morning.

Who You Should Buy: Newcastle

Nothing ever seems simple at Newcastle FC. You often hear it said 'just three decent players and we'd have a good team'. Well this really was the case with Newcastle. Very talented Ben Arfa returns from long-term injury, you manage to keep hold of the coveted Tiote, add the three players and you've got a good team. What's more, thanks to very generous Liverpool, and the money they overpaid for Andy Carroll, they have the funds to buy these three. In fact they bought two of them over the past few days: another rated French winger, Sylvain Marveaux from Rennes and forward Demba Ba. Unfortunately they fucked the whole plan up, in typical Newcastle style it has to be said, by selling their captain Kevin Nolan to Championship West Ham. Nolan was the heartbeat of the team: fans favourite, he brought people into play and scored plenty of goals from midfield. Why they would sell him is anyone's guess. The club does seem to have a coherent plan of buying young talented players but they may well need time to gel; Nolan would have helped with this. It may transpire that he asked to leave, but it can only cause manager Alan Pardew plenty of problems. For a start, who will become they team's new captain, Joey Barton?

Signing No.1 must obviously be a replacement for Kevin Nolan. No easy task. They have brought in Cabaye, again from France, but it's unrealistic to hope he can fill such a role so soon. Seb Larsson would have been an option, but it looks like he's off to rivals Sunderland. Scott Brown from Celtic is said to be a possibility. I'd be tempted to take a punt on Stephen Ireland.
Signing No. 2 ought to be a strong central defender. One of the Birmingham duo, Dann or Johnson, would fit the bill. They may have competition from other clubs but must have the cash to tempt.
Singing No. 3 could be a left back. Interest in Jose Enrique from top teams seems strong , so Newcastle's efforts to bring in Swansea's Neil Taylor make sense.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Dempsey’s family commitment lends perspective

Clint Dempsey has revealed how paying an emotional tribute to his late sister last weekend gave him extra motivation to lead the United States to victory in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

The USA forward was given special dispensation from coach Bob Bradley to jet to Texas for the wedding of his younger sister Crystal on Saturday, then joining up with his teammates hours before the team’s 2-0 quarterfinal win over Jamaica in Washington, D.C.

The wedding ceremony included a moving scene where Crystal laid her bouquet at the grave of her and Clint’s eldest sister, Jennifer, a promising tennis player, who died of a brain aneurysm at age 16. Throughout his professional career, Dempsey has pointed to the sky every time he has scored a goal, in remembrance of Jennifer.

Why Andre Villas-Boas is right for Chelsea

In the boardroom, he will have to please the club's hire 'em and fire 'em billionaire owner Roman Abramovich. In the dressing room, a number of players - notably John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba - are entering the twilight of their careers and will need replacing before too long.

Abramovich and many of the Chelsea players will know the 33-year-old Portuguese coach from his earlier stint at Stamford Bridge, when he worked under former boss Jose Mourinho. Villas-Boas provided, among other things, in-depth scouting reports on opposing teams that took as long as four days to prepare.

2011 Copa Libertadores Final Preview: Santos vs. Penarol

Brazilian club Santos and Uruguay's Penarol square off on Wednesday June 22nd in Sao Paulo in the final of the Copa Libertadores, one of the most important club competitions in South American football. Penarol have won the prestigious tournament in 1960, 1961, 1966, 1982 and 1987. Santos, meanwhile, won the Copa Libertadores in 1962 and 1963, when their team featured the young Pele.

In the first leg of the finals on June 15, Penarol and Santos drew 0-0 in Montivedeo. Wednesday's match will be played on Santos's home turf at the Estádio Municipal Paulo Machado de Carvalho, São Paulo, giving Santos the slim advantage of playing the final leg at home.


CONCACAF Gold Cup: Semifinal Previews

USA vs. Panama, Mexico vs. Honduras
When: 7pm EDT, 10 pm EDT
Where: Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX
U.S. TV: FSC & Univision
Preview I
Preview II

Steve Davis: U.S. seeks revenge

Huge stage for Dempsey's homecoming

El Tri look to avoid slow start

Secret Agent

The shadowy world of the football agent is one that is cloaked in secrecy amid accusations of greed. Thankfully, we've got one of the good guys on board to lift the lid on what life really is like at the sharp end of a notoriously cut throat business.

The Mill +

Wednesday's Rumours


Chelsea appoint former Porto coach André Villas-Boas on three-year deal

The most important weapon in Chelsea's assault on next season's Premier League and Champions League was finally put in place today as the club confirmed André Villas-Boas as its new manager, one month after sacking Carlo Ancelotti.

The 33-year-old has signed a three-year contract at Stamford Bridge 24 hours after Chelsea paid a £13.3m compensation fee to release him from Porto, the club where, in the space of just one season, he became the most sought-after young manager in Europe.

Oops! Wrong Villas-Boas...

Michael Bradley leaves Villa to rejoin 'Gladbach

Ahead of Wednesday's Gold Cup semi-final against Panama, Bradley's agent told ESPN The Magazine that the midfielder was no longer in the club's plans and it appears that Bradley will be heading back to the parent club, Borussia Moenchengladbach, next season.

Who You Should Buy: Manchester City

What is it with clubs that get a ridiculously wealthy benefactor and therefore the chance to start something special, instead choosing to create a functional, soulless machine of a team? City are finding that money doesn't buy you everything, that the world's best players just aren't interested in going there. City may offer top dollar, but other clubs still pay well, and if anyone is going to persuade a player to move to northern, grey Manchester, its going to be United. Has it not crossed anyone's mind at City that if they played a more attractive brand of soccer they might attract a better type of player? If City don't want to become more expansive it's hard to see why they should bother entering the transfer market in search of new players. They will surely be hoping to offload a lot of deadwood though. Considering wages this could prove problematic. I'm surprised they are letting Boateng go to Bayern.

Signing No. 1 should be a proven left back. Spending millions has brought little reward in their search for a top player in this position. Gael Clichy is an option, but Leighton Baines is the obvious solution.

Signing No. 2 must be someone creative, preferably in midfield. City are allegedly interested in Modric, who would do a fine job, but Kaka would really drive them forward and bring their wingers into play. Real seem intent on buying more and more players, so Kaka, who doesn't seem to have settled in Madrid, might find a bucket load of cash persuades him that a change is a good idea. For City it could prove be the marquee signing who opens the door for others.

Signing No. 3 is a winger. City fans would love Mancini to show more faith in Adam Johnson, but that looks unlikely. James Milner's running isn't going to win a team the CL so City need to look for a player who matches the creativity of David Silva. Trying to buy everyone's top target Alexis Sanchez from Udinese makes sense. But will offering bags more money than anyone else be enough?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lecture: Brasil 2014 The Ugly Face of the Beautiful Game

SSN friend and Brazil expert Chris Gaffney will speak tomorrow at noon on the preparations for World Cup 2014 in Brazil. If you are in the area, please consider attending. Chris is well-versed in the nuances of Brazilian football, life and politics, and the talk should be fascinating. Details for the lecture are below and a link to Dr. Gaffney's blog is located in our Blogs and Links section on the right side of the page. -Editor


Christopher Gaffney

Visiting Professor

School of Architecture and Urbanism

Universidade Federal Fluminense

Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil



(A light lunch will be served)





Dr. Gaffney’s work on the World Cup has recently been quoted in Al Jazeera, The New York Times, the Guardian, Reuters, the Associated Press, ESPN, and multiple Brazilian media outlets. His first book, Temples of the Earthbound Gods (University of Texas Press 2006), examined the history and culture of soccer stadiums in Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires. Gaffney was a lecturer in the Departments of Geography and International Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill from 2006-2008, covered the Carolina RailHawks for the Independent Weekly and frequented the Triangle’s pick up soccer games. His website,, analyzes the shifting political, economic, urban, and social dimensions of Brazil’s current mega-event cycle. He lives and works in Rio de Janeiro.

All are welcome. Parking is available next to the Smith Warehouse, along Buchanan Blvd.

Martin Jol Unveiled As Fulham Manager

New Fulham manager Martin Jol says he always harboured ambitions to return to English football after his spell in charge of Tottenham.

Jol was today unveiled as Mark Hughes' successor at Craven Cottage, having come close to joining the London club last summer.

Charting the Decline of Joe Cole

“When you’re older, you’ll be able to tell your grandchildren you were at Upton Park the day Joe Cole signed his first professional contract.” West Ham PA announcer, 1998

“Lionel Messi can do some amazing things but, anything he can do, Joe can do as well, if not better.”
Steven Gerrard, August 2010

Still regarded by many as the most gifted player England has produced since Paul Gascoigne, hype is something Joe Cole has had to live with for a very long time.

This is the man parts of England’s World Cup squad almost went to war with Fabio Capello over last summer, and someone who can look in his trophy cabinet and see at least three Premier League and two FA Cup winners medals gleaming back at him, along with more than 50 England caps.

But while this time last year, Cole was seen as the saviour of England’s dismal World Cup campaign, this summer he is contemplating a backward step. A move away from one of England’s biggest clubs and into the second, or maybe even third, tier of Premier League sides.

So how has it come to this and what does it say about the development of English football that a player so gifted, and not yet even 30, is now being ignored and marginalised by some of the game’s top managers?

The Mill +

Tuesday's Rumours


Tim Vickery in South America

The playing days of lumbering Argentine striker Martin Palermo were one prolonged battle of a man to overcome his own limitations. Sensing and identifying with the essential nobility of the struggle, the fans of Boca Juniors took him to their hearts. Palermo's career ended on Saturday on a note of appropriate drama. His last touch as a professional, deep into stoppage time, was a nod down which set up team-mate Christian Cellay to score Boca's equaliser against Gimnasia of La Plata.

To add spice to the occasion, it was an important goal - and not just because Palermo is from La Plata, a fan and an ex-player of Estudiantes, Gimnasia's local rivals. In a frantic last day of the league season, a win for Gimnasia would mean they would not be one of the two teams to be automatically relegated. Instead they would go into a play-off against the team finishing third in the Second Division - but that late Boca goal worsened their position. Now they must meet fellow strugglers Huracan, with the losers going down, and the winners earning a chance to save themselves in a play-off against San Martin of San Juan.

However, it is the other play-off tie which will attract much more attention, because it features River Plate, one of the giants of Argentine football and the team with most league titles to their credit. This is not supposed to happen. The way that relegation works in Argentina is designed to save the big clubs from a temporary slump. Two short, separate championships are played per year. Relegation is worked out on an average of points accumulated over three years, or six championships.

For a massive club like River Plate, flirting with relegation requires a prolonged period of incompetence - and that is what has happened.

Steve Davis on MLS

Davies draws another penalty via simulation; Beckham absent again

Know your Major League Soccer -- Five things you should know about Week 14:

Ten Asian Players to Watch

With the success of Asian players such as Park Ji-sung (Man United), Shinji Kagawa (Dortmund) and Lee Chung-yong (Bolton), many clubs in the world are constantly on the lookout for the next big thing in the region. Even more so when one considers that Lee ($3.5M) and Kagawa ($500,000) were obtained at bargain basement prices.

Here are 10 possibilities.

Chelsea Close On Andre Villas-Boas

There is certain inevitability to Andre Villas-Boas's arrival at Chelsea. Portuguese football has been taken aback by the London club's willingness to pay to the full €15 million (£13.25 million) release clause stipulated in the head coach's contract, an unforeseen twist which has forced the move a year earlier than even Villas-Boas himself had envisaged. Yet while some will point to the 33-year-old's post-Europa League final pledge that he would remain at the Estadio do Dragao into next season, England has always been on his agenda.

Andre Villas-Boas has quit as manager of FC Porto, the club have confirmed.

Oops! Wrong Villas-Boas...

Who You Should Buy: Aston Villa

This is the third piece of a short series in which I tell teams which players they should buy. Today I look at troubled Aston Villa.

Considering the initial reaction to the new manager, it seemed only by bringing in Messi, Xavi and Ronaldo would things calm down at Villa. But the past week has seen stress levels ease a touch. That said, Randy Lerner will certainly have to get the cheque book out [again] and the signings will have to please the fans. The trouble is he may have spent so much on the hiring and firing of managers and their back up staff that he has nothing left. Much will depend on fan expectations, which often tend to be too great: it's hard to see the squad being good enough to get the top 6 position Villa once typically held, but a few wise purchases and top 8 isn't impossible. I do think the media reaction to McLeish has slightly missed the point. Obviously supporters dislike the fact he's come from Birmingham, but it's his style that really worries them. Villa's signings may want to take this into consideration. Bringing in Lee Bowyer isn't going to help the situation.

Signing No.1 needs to be a replacement for Ashley Young. Charles N'Zogbia would be a perfect fit. This would quiet fans' fear about McLeish's managerial style as N'Zogbia brings a degree of creativity, while being a proven EPL player. Not too expensive, either.

Signing No.2 is a new goalkeeper. I don't understand why they let Brad Friedel leave, but nobody understands the madness that's hit Villa in the past few weeks. Ben Foster would do a good job. He's a solid keeper and has a strong relationship with McLeish. Being a Brum player might annoy fans, but the anger it would incite in the either half of town would delight them.

Signing No.3 would be a good fit for both sides: Charlie Adam. I'm not convinced Adam has the speed or physique for a top team like ManU or Liverpool, but he'd surely do really well at a club like Villa. He seem like a player who needs to be a starter, playing week in week out, which he'd do under McLeish.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Leonardo's Departure: A Blessing in Disguise for Inter Milan?

For many Inter fans, the recent departure of Leonardo has come as a shock. The Interesti faithful were expecting the club to sign players instead of a coaching team. A team without a coach in the middle of the transfer window is never ideal, but it is certainly better than having to change coach midseason.

Monday MLS Breakdown

Chicago interim coach Frank Klopas and his players forged a bond well before he took over for Carlos de los Cobos on May 30.

Most of the players under his stewardship arrived because he brought them into the club as technical director. His future with the Fire is invested in them. Their future remains in his hands.


Warner Resigns From All FIFA Posts

Jack Warner, the man at the centre of the Fifa bribery scandal, has resigned from all his positions in international football.

South Americans most sought-after talent in summer transfer market

As ever, South America is providing some of the most sought-after signings in the transfer window and Alexis Sanchez will not be the only player making a high-profile move for a large fee this summer.

Grant Wahl: Choosing the world's best starting lineup

It sounds like a simple assignment: acting as general manager, assemble a soccer team featuring the best player in the world at each of the 11 positions. But as anyone who follows the sport knows, choosing that team is a complicated exercise. You want to reward the most talented individuals, of course, but you also want a coherent team. What's more, the result represents a sort of personal mission statement. How do I want to see soccer played? Is it possible in the 21st century to combine great aesthetics with winning fútbol?

The world's best XI:

GK, Iker Casillas
RB, Dani Alves
CB: Gerard Piqué
CB, Nemanja Vidic
LB, Patrice Evra
M, Bastien Schweinsteiger
M, Xavi
M, Andrés Iniesta
F, David Villa
F, Lionel Messi
F, Cristiano Ronaldo

The Mill +

Monday's Rumours


CONCACAF Gold Cup: Quarterfinal Reports

Panama beats El Salvador on penalties in wild affair, to face USA in semis.
Mexico squeaks by, Honduras wins on penalties in quarterfinals


CONCACAF Gold Cup: Jamaica vs. U.S. Reports & Analyses

Jermaine Jones broke a scoreless tie early in the second half, leading the United States to a 2-0 victory over Jamaica in the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinals Sunday.

The United States will face Panama -- which eliminated El Salvador 5-3 in a shootout -- in Wednesday's semifinals in Houston.

Steve Davis: Much Improved
Grant Wahl: Three Thoughts
Martin Rogers: Pressure Alleviated
Ives: Player Ratings

Donovan, Dempsey reflect on their whirlwind weekend

Copa America 2011 Tactical Preview: Argentina

It's been 18 years since Argentina has last won a major trophy and with the world’s best player in its ranks the time is ripe to set the record straight. On home soil and when all of its attacking players are fit and at the peak of their careers, this is the best chance for Argentina to end their drought at el Monumental. The Argentinian football association has taken an interesting decision to award cities like Mendoza, Jujuy, San Juan, etc(some of which are home to clubs from the second tier of Argentinian club football) hosting rights for some of the games in this edition of the Copa America. As most of the National team is based in Europe, the fans from these cities will be relishing the prospect of watching the likes of Messi, Kun Aguero, Di Maria in action and will be certainly turning out in huge numbers to support their team.

The only team which can match Spain for its attacking prowess is the Selección de fútbol de Argentina.

Who You Should Buy: Chelsea

In fairness most of the players connected to Chelsea in the transfer rumour columns do make sense. They do so because the club has two major problems: the squad has been allowed to get too old and they overpaid for Fernando Torres, meaning they must now build around him. Doing this will require lots of cash. Fortunately Roman Abramovich has plenty. I'm also sure Chelsea fans will be desperate for the club to once and for all move away from their functional style. When I look at Chelsea I think of someone who's won the lottery but instead of using the money to buy an Aston Martin or a classic sports car, they've chosen to buy a Range Rover. It may be the most expensive Range Rover out there, but it's still a fucking Range Rover. Bludgeoning the opposition to death hasn't brought Chelsea the CL, so why not try a different approach and win some admirers on the way?

Signing No.1: A creative midfielder like Fabregas/Sneijder/Kaka [but Modric will have to do]. If you've Torres in your team you need someone to give him the ball. Any of these three would fill this role perfectly. What makes them stand out is the way they always look for a forward pass. Chelsea's chances of getting any of them look slim, though. Modric would be an adequate alternative, Eden Hazard a younger option.

Signing No 2: A young forward. Chelsea have two in their sights: Lukaka, as the new Drogba and Neymaar, as, er, the new Torres.

Signing No. 3. A right back. Boswinga was good at attacking, Inanovich at defending, Zhirkov at neither. If you want to win the CL your full backs need to do both. Reports that Holland's Van der Wiel is being targeted make sense.

Signing No. 4. Needs just needs to be young, anyone young who's half decent. Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne, Alexandre Pato. Alexis Sanchez at 22 would be great, but maybe too expensive even for Chelsea

Police accused of tasering Zenit St Petersburg's Danko Lazovic

Zenit, the defending champions, said Lazovic was given an electric shock that left a burn mark under his right shoulder blade. Police deny the accusation.

UEFA European U-21 Championship: Droughts Cost Denmark and England

Denmark and England have been left to rue a lack of goals as they exit the UEFA European U21 Championships. The hosts' main issue was converting chances, while for the Young Lions a dearth of creativity was to blame. Two goals in the last three minutes for Czech Republic dumped England out of the tournament. The Young Lions thought they had made the semi-finals when Danny Welbeck scored in the 76th minute but the Czechs had the final say. Substitutes Jan Chramosta and Tomas Pekhart both scored to clinch a 2-1 win for the Czechs.