Tuesday, February 05, 2013

The Hex, Match Fixing, Scribes, Aston Villa, MLS to Europe, Ivory Coast

Right. Sorry, we had to attend this yesterday and with party obligations Sunday night, we were unable to get a post out yesterday. Excuses, excuses...

So this match fixing shit. It's not really new news. If you've been paying attention, all of this has come out already. Europol simply finally finished their investigation and issued a report. So that's that. Well, almost. Henry Winter has written something about it and Henry Winter is a damn fine writer so let's read what he wrote.

Phil Ball is in Spain and he went somewhere he's never been. He hit the Coliseum Alfonso Perez at Getafe for their match against Deportivo de La Coruña. As always, it's a great read. Sid Lowe is over there, too. El Sid decided to focus on Atlético Madrid and the excellent season they are enjoying. Atlético are now seven points clear of Real and nine behind Barcelona.

World Cup Qualifying! The Hexagonal gets underway tomorrow as the United States head to San Pedro Sula to face Honduras. The Washington Post's Steve Goff is already there and he sent this postcard. Grant Wahl is probably there as well. He's got this preview of the entire Hex.

Brek Shea is the latest MLS product to jump across the pond. Additionally, Sporting Kansas City attacker Kei Kamara will be joining up with Norwich City on loan, and D.C. United’s Andy Najar has been sold to Belgian side Anderlecht. Jeff Carlisle takes a look at the domestic league and the strides being made.

Mega crisis, indeed!
Ivory Coast's golden generation falls short at Cup of Nations again. That's the headline from Jonathan Wilson down in South Africa. The Elephants lost to Nigeria in the quarterfinals. Didier Drogba. Yaya Toure. Gervinho. Salomon Kalou. Emmanuel Eboué. Cheik Tioté. Didier Zokora. All of these guys are experienced in top-level football. And yet they've fallen short yet again.

Aston Villa. It's a massive club with loads of supporters. It's also in big trouble because the Villains currently sit in the relegation zone and have been leaking goals for fun. Georgina Turner takes a look at what ails the storied club and if it can be saved from a trip down to The Championship.

We should probably give Paolo and Raphael some airtime. We've got to know what's going on in Serie A and the Bundesliga, after all. Paolo was actually Stateside for the Super Bowl but he knows that Balotelli scored twice for Milan on his debut. Meanwhile, Rafa reports that Schalke are in a "mega crisis." Yaahoo! We get to use the photo!

There's also The Podcast to contend with. Here's your intro: On today's Football Weekly, James Richardson is joined by Gregg Bakowski, Simon Burnton and the one and only Fernando Duarte, and it's a doozy - at 57 (fifty-seven)-and-a-bit minutes long. Woof. We start with all the fun and frolics of the Premier League, where Manchester City had to conjure up some Sergio Agüero-shaped magic to rescue a point against a very impressive Liverpool, Newcastle's French connection inflicted another defeat on Chelsea, and Aston Villa finally showed some fight. Next, we catch up on all the Brazilian football news that you could possibly want to hear. They're playing England in a friendly this week, since you asked. Finally, there's Sid Lowe on the doping scandal engulfing Spain, Jonathan Wilson on the Africa Cup of Nations, where Ivory Coast have failed again, and some much-needed love for Watford, who - would you believe it - didn't always play in yellow ...

Let's finish today by watching someone do something really stupid:



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