Friday, July 14, 2006

Arena out as U.S. national coach at end of year

This makes me happy. As I've said before, Bruce has to shoulder a lot of the blame for the lame U.S. showing in Germany. His time has come. That said, he deserves loads of credit for taking us to a higher level and instilling confidence where there was none before. U.S. Soccer is better for Bruce and for that I thank him. I also hope to see him running the show at a non-MLS clubside in the future. -Sanford

You are now entering the transfer zone

Yes, it's that time of year again. The hot summer months when transfer speculation gets tossed around more than the S.S. Minnow on a three-hour tour. But thankfully this year is different. After a World Cup, the situation heats up considerably. All the "new stars" are suddenly the focus of intense scrutiny and the "big clubs" try to throw their weight around and attract the fresh meat. Hopefully this summer things will get resolved quicker than the tedious molassesfest that usually transpires. I have little patience for the "is he going?" talk that can go for weeks.

We've already gotten word that Cesc will certainly stay in North London after some talk of him returning to Spain. And it looks like Ruud is on his way out of Old Trafford since neither Madrid nor ManU are commenting on the issue - a sure sign that things are about to go down.

As for Cristiano Louganis Ronaldo, I think he's headed south. A week ago it looked like he was a goner for sure, but Fergie's pride got in the way and he's circled the wagons around his young prodigy. Still, too much damage has been done and ManU will accept a boatload of Euros and ship him off to Spain.

One transfer that looks imminent is Roberto Carlos to Chelsea. This is fantastic. I can't wait to watch him ride the pine as the leaves change color this autumn. And, if by chance he gets a run in the side (Carling Cup anyone?) it'll be quite a joy to see opposing forwards leave him in the Stamford Bridge dust while John Terry hustles over to try and clean up the mess.

And then there are all the lads in Italy that will jump ship as their clubs get relegated to the nether regions of Serie B. It'll be like a government auction with seized pimped rides going for a fraction of their original cost. Nothing like a scandal to make things interesting. -Sanford

Gazzetta dello Sport: Old Lady to go down,,1820567,00.html

Rafa: I work hard for buys... unlike Jose

Premiership mindgames without Sir Alex? How novel!

Parker replaces Shearer as new Toon skipper

Comment: World Cup 2006 - A Perspective

Sol's footlight fancy takes Harry off beaten track,,1820003,00.html

Premiership refs wired for sound,,1820051,00.html

Scandal threatens Italy bids,,1820300,00.html

French lawyer plans challenge to World Cup result

Pawleez! Are you kidding me? My pal Grant's suggestion to turn the Euro 2008 qualifying matches into the first-ever two-legged World Cup final (read plenty of sarcasm there) is spot on. Here's the article... -Sanford;_ylt=AkrcNVsuZil0EZOf5iU83HImw7YF?slug=reu-zidanecourt&prov=reuters&type=lgns

Friday's rumours,,1820558,00.html

Real heavily tipped for Ruud move

Argentina Were Best Side - Camoranesi

Is it over already?

Man, that was quick. Seems like the thing just started. My Cup memories are divided between Over There and Over Here. Over There is trains, stadiums, bars, and orderly masses. Over Here is Digital Video Recorders, High-Definition, and ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 vs. Univision. Since I was Over Here yesterday for the final, I had to chose a location for viewing. Do I go with The Wife to Mr. Wine's house for selected bottles Italian and French and an adequate yet basic television or do I ditch The Wife and join Mr. Sunday Soccer for a trip to his in-laws and their home theater?

I went with the home theater. And I should have brought my camera. The thing was totally Stallone: Over the Top. Not only do the Bells have a home theater, they have a home lobby complete with ticket booth, popcorn maker and refrigerator. Once you exit the lobby and enter the theater, you face a 10-foot screen and eight recliners in two tiered levels of four. It was pretty tite. High-def on a 10-foot screen is pretty unbelievable and made for a fantastic way to close out the tournament. Over There I got my fill of boisterous crowds and screaming Italians and French. Over Here I just wanted a place to focus and enjoy. So big thanks to the Bells and Scott for the kind hospitality. -Sanford

Some thoughts on Germany 2006

So congratulations to Italy. Fine defending and timely goals were the keys to their success. Cannavaro barely put a foot wrong the entire tournament. I cannot recall seeing a player play so well over the course of so many crucial matches. He should get the Golden Ball, not Zizou. At least he came close in the voting. Another impressive aspect of the Italian squad is their depth. No, they are not the strongest Italian team in recent years, but their depth is remarkable. Unlike Pekerman and his use of Argentina's extensive list of talent, Lippi knew how to manage his guys and make the proper line-ups and substitutions. And thankfully Italy quit their acting and whining antics after the group stage; that factor made them much more tolerable to watch.

Speaking of tactics, line-ups and substitutions, England has to be the biggest flop of the tourny. We all kept waiting for them to break out and they never did. Sven was an absolute disaster and I can only hope that McClaren opts for some different angles in the future. For me, Frank Lampard embodied the English experience in Germany. Always out of sorts, often confused and never playing up to his usual standard. Rooney isolated up front was foolish and not taking another striker was a serious lapse in judgement. And just what was the deal with Theo Walcott??

I'm sad that Lionel Messi did not see more action for Argentina. I think that if he could have gotten some substantial minutes, he would have been the revelation that the tournament ended up lacking. One can only assume that he'll be around on 2010 but you never know - I hope he gets some time on the world stage with Argentina at some point. If not, we can at least be comfortable knowing that Frank Rikjard is wise enough to make sure he's in the Barca starting 11 whenever he's healthy. -Sanford

Thursday, July 13, 2006

'Materazzi is the guilty party', insists Zidane

Am I the only one who doesn't think this is a big deal? According to too many people, Zidane lost the game for France. Bologna. France had the better of play after he was sent off and look no further than Trezegol's no-goal for somewhere to place the blame. It's not like Zizou punched Marco or kicked him in the balls. His intent obviously was not to injure otherwise he would have pulled a Van Bommel or a Boulahrouz. Marco pushed the right button and Zidane reacted. I certainly won't remember Zidane for this. I'll remember how amazing he was at Juve, the volley in the 2002 Champions League Final, 1998/2000, and yes, his play during the latter stages of 2006.

No excuses from Strach after DC United spank Bhoys

Twilight of the gods alarms marketing men

Who are the next marketing stars?,,1818938,00.html

Thursday's Rumours,,1819622,00.html

For Scotland, soon read England

Will the English national team go the way of the Scots?,,1819094,00.html

Fábregas to shun Real with new Arsenal contract,,1818943,00.html

Van Nistelrooy Agrees Real Madrid Deal – Report

Gabriele Marcotti on Zidane and all that stuff;_ylt=Ar1QKyTWl.2rINhBiZcJNPkmw7YF?slug=cnnsi-partingwords&prov=cnnsi&type=lgns

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Klinsmann steps down, Loew steps in

Wenger: Cesc not for sale

This'll play out just like Vieira's situation: Every summer we'll get speculation as to whether he'll be going to Madrid.

United won't listen to Ronaldo offers

This will be fun to watch as it plays out. I can't see Ronaldo returning to ManU after everything that's happened. Not only what he said about Sir Alex and playing with Rooney, but the reception he'd receive in every ground in the country. I think this is just ManU trying to save face. They'll accept some massive amount for him over the next few weeks and he'll be gone. To Spain where he can dive and whine in peace...

Winning coach Lippi resigns from post

Zidane set to comment on red card

The mother of all insults,,1818324,00.html

Sour English stereotypes linger amid the flag-waving,,1818174,00.html

Huth deal stalls as Hamann dumps Bolton for City,,1818251,00.html

Wednesday's rumours,,1818664,00.html

James Richardson on the future for Italy's stars,,1818680,00.html

A Glass Half Full

Abhishek Thakur looks at the best of the World Cup:

Gabriele Marcotti column

Marcotti looks into the future...2010 to be exact:;_ylt=AkRUvtRFdRlAInAavXbSU.0mw7YF?slug=cnnsi-2010anafricanod&prov=cnnsi&type=lgns

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Roberto Gotta on Italy's victory

Our favorite man in Italy give his take...

Materazzi admits to insulting Zidane

For Marco the mother is sacred...

Charlton swoop for free agent Hasselbaink

Deschamps Takes Over At Juventus

Resident Paisan: It Was a Team Effort

World Cup final is last game in more ways than one for some;_ylt=Ao6eZXw6vLOjAYhD9BkniHMmw7YF?slug=ap-wcupfarewells&prov=ap&type=lgns

TV or not TV is question for FIFA

World Cup 2006 report card

Richard Williams on Italy and Lippi,,1817520,00.html

Guardian Unlimited's Picks of the World Cup,,1817262,00.html

Real's £26m to trump Arsenal's pursuit of winger Ribéry,,1817549,00.html

Materazzi called Zidane a 'son of terrorist whore': British lip reader

Ahh yes...the English tabloids will get to the bottom of this once and for all!!

France angered by Italy senator's racist soccer slur

Liverpool striker Cisse joins Marseille on season's loan

Later, losers.

I've always hated Cristiano Ronaldo. Anyone who plays for Manchester United falls into that category but Ronaldo carved out his own private niche in my world of least-favorite athletes. As my friend Grant described him, "he's all sizzle and no steak." That was certainly the case during his first couple of years at Old Trafford when his multiple step-overs followed by crosses to nobody were easy to ridicule. But lately he's started to score goals, look up and find teammates, and become a vastly improved player. Too bad he's become the heir to Felipo Inzaghi's Diving Twat throne.

Ronaldo's exhibition of theatrics yesterday was an absolute disgrace. I am flabbergasted that he has the nerve to claim that he should have received a penalty when he simply threw himself to the ground. Ronaldo, his comrade Helder Postiga, and various other Ports were dropping like flies in attempts to con the ref. Why no yellow cards for the diving? Should FIFA not simply review the tape of the match and discipline players found to be at fault? That seems like a relatively easy solution to cutting down the acting.

I liked Carvalho's admission that he made contact with Henry but that the ref "could have played advantage." How can you play advantage if you've just taken out the offensive player and kept him from a clear goal-scoring opportunity!?

This is sad because I like Portugal. I have good pals in Lisbon. I've gone to see Sporting play. I went there on my honeymoon! But no way could I get behind these clowns. Seeing Scolari and his whole bench infuriated after every single call was too much. Good riddance.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Zidane blames Materazzi insults

Doesn't Marco look like he's smiling? I knew he said something about Zizou's mom...

Italy 1-1 France: Italy triumph as Zizou explodes

Richard Williams on Zidane,,1816900,00.html

France: Losing the plot

Rob Smyth says Domenech (not Zidane) cost France the match...

Zidane wins Golden Ball,,1817034,00.html

Team of the tournament

Champions Of The World; and What Did Materazzi Say?,,1817177,00.html

BBC pundits on World Cup final

Germany 3 - 1 Portugal

England defender Campbell quits Arsenal

Juventus sell Romanian striker Mutu to Fiorentina

Ronaldo outburst leaves Ferguson with work to do

Henry: TV replay should be used for everyone

World Cup worst XI

Norman Hubbard chooses his worst of the tournament...

Defenders shine as stars fail to dazzle

After the glory Italians return home to learn their fate,,1816847,00.html

Blue Goals

Hamburg had these blue goals set up all over town. Pretty cool. I believe the other cities were doing it too but I only saw them in Hamburg.