Friday, October 07, 2011
The fight for the six remaining automatic berths and eight playoff places for Euro 2012 intensifies on Friday when the penultimate round of qualifying matches kicks off. Several teams are still in the chase for a guaranteed spot in Poland and Ukraine alongside the joint hosts and already-qualified world and European champions Spain, Italy, Netherlands and Germany.
A last chance to qualify
Montenegro vs. England: Preview
England to face weakened Montenegro
The Rise of Montenegro
Rooney relaxed and ready despite father's arrest
Kevin McCarra: Capello faces dilemma
Jonathan Wilson: Montenegro inspired by proud past
Group A: Preview
Turkey vs. Germany: Preview
Serbia vs. Italy: Preview
Fan violence a worry
Liechtenstein vs. Scotland: Preview
The writer Ronald Reng, who was a friend of Enke's and took on the task of accounting his story in the exceptional book A Life Too Short – The Tragedy of Robert Enke, has been taken aback by the reaction to this deeply personal memoir. The book became a bestseller in Germany straight away, and he cannot even begin to count how many people with depression wrote to him, and how many players and agents called him up to talk about issues so easily kept hidden that he had brought to the surface.
The message was clear: the two biggest names in Major League Soccer still care, and judging by their performances this year Beckham and Henry are hardly treating MLS like a retirement home. Henry's 14 goals, tied for tops in the league, are the main reason New York still has a playoff pulse. As for Beckham, it's fair to say that he's somewhat quietly having his finest MLS season since joining the Galaxy in 2007.
On October 9, 1996, one of the most bizarre matches in football history was 'played' at the Kadriorg stadium in Estonian capital Tallinn. Scotland had travelled to the country for an important 1998 World Cup qualifier, but a row over the poor standard of the floodlights at the stadium resulted in FIFA changing the kick-off from 6.45pm to 3pm local time. The Estonians refused to change their plans so, at 3pm, Scotland kicked off against nobody and the referee ended the game after just three seconds.
Thursday, October 06, 2011
Americans Abroad: Clint Dempey helps Fulham to crucial wins and Jozy Altidore has quiet weekend after weekday goal
Dempsey was instrumental as Fulham scored victories in Europa and league play, while Altidore scored in AZ's Europa League victory.
Big day for Tim Chandler in Germany
The Full List
Holland, Germany, Spain and Italy look in supreme shape ahead of next summer's finals.
Ferguson has become personally involved after United learned that their usual 3,000 allocation for the game at Liverpool on 15 October has been reduced to 1,960 because of problems involving their supporters at recent matches.
Sir Alex's Letter
However, a look at the current squad shows that for the first time in 20 years there is talent to spare: Vincent Kompany, Marouane Fellaini, Eden Hazard, Steven Defour, Axel Witsel, Jan Vertonghen, Thomas Vermaelen, Moussa Démbéle; the list is endless. This sudden blossoming of talent though is more by accident than design.
The eight group winners qualify automatically along with the best runner-up. As three groups only have five teams, the groups with six teams will have the record of the team finishing bottom of the group ignored to calculate the best runner-up.
We take a group-by-group look at who can still qualify, and how they can get to the finals. Head to head record comes before goal difference in this qualifying campaign.
Wednesday, October 05, 2011
For the third year running the Seattle Sounders hosted the US Open Cup final at home and destroyed the Chicago Fire, winning their third consecutive US Open Cup. Seattle played well and more importantly are comfortable moving the ball on their awful plastic pitch. The Fire spent the entire game falling over, failing to trap the ball and watching as all of their passes were either hit too hard to too lightly on the field turf. Sean Johnson played out of his head in goal to keep the Fire in the game and at one point after the Sounders hit maybe their third post of the game it looked like fate was conspiring against them, but Freddy Montero finished a rebound in the 78th minute and they added a second on the break in injury time just to kick the Fire in the nuts.
Frankly I see this trend continuing. Seattle's financial clout allows them to outbid anyone else in the cup to host matches and they are extremely difficult to beat playing the pinball game that their football stadium demands. Perhaps one of the other northwest teams that also play on plastic may be able to compete but until those teams are competitive from a quality standpoint it's not going to happen.
Therefore I congratulate you Sounders fans on winning the 2012, 2013 and 2014 Cups as well as wrapping up this year's trophy. You are the best fans in the league by far, we know because we hear you tell yourselves that every day. Good luck playing on grass in the playoffs, I know it doesn't really work so well for your team.
Tuesday, October 04, 2011
Huub Stevens's comeback proves to be a quiet triumph
The Hamburg fans' reaction to the return of their former manager said much about the Bundesliga, and Germany as a whole
Juventus start to look their old selves in new home against Milan
Antonio Conte's Juve are evolving into a team with a swagger, as the champions found out on their first visit to the Old Lady's new stadium
Marcelo Bielsa finally begins to get a tune out of Athletic Bilbao
After their worst start in 32 years, the former Chile manager steers Athletic to a 2-1 win at Real Sociedad as his methods begin to work
Why it might be wise for five Premier League strugglers to dispense with their managers – and why it might not be.
I've just got back from Peru, as you do, a few hours ago - so if I manage to stay awake over the keyboard, something will come out. Things are doubly hard for me, because on arriving at Barajas airport in Madrid this afternoon (Peruvian morning), I learned the terrible news on my mobile phone - that Real Sociedad had lost to Athletic in the Basque derbi.
Monday, October 03, 2011
Team of the Week
Team of the Week
Everton 0 - 2 Liverpool
Duncan White at Goodison Park
Andy Hunter at Goodison Park
Joe Lovejoy at Goodison Park
Tottenham 2 - 1 Arsenal
Kevin McCarra at White Hart Lane
Henry Winter at White Hart Lane
Phil McNulty at White Hart Lane I
Phil McNulty at White Hart Lane II
Dominic Fifield: Five Things We Learned
Bolton 1 - 5 Chelsea
Richard Jolly at the Reebok Stadium
Manchester United 2 - 0 Norwich City
Richard Jolly at Old Trafford
Blackburn 0 - 4 Manchester City
Paul Ogden at Ewood Park
Fulham 6 - 0 Queens Park Rangers
Declan Taylor at Craven Cottage
Team of the Week
Garth Crook's Team of the Week
Five Things We Learned