Friday, July 27, 2007

Iraq have provided plenty of shock and awe; now can they lift the Asian Cup?

Saudi Arabia will be favourites for Sunday's final, but most neutrals want to see Iraq secure an unlikely triumph, says John Duerden.

Premiership Preview No. 1: Arsenal

Can Arsenal's youngsters really toughen up in time to mount a serious title challenge in the wake of a certain Frenchman's departure?

Guardian Unlimited writers' prediction: 4th Odds: 12-1

Fulham's McBride refusing to set goals target

'But sometimes there's better options and when you focus too hard on yourself and scoring goals for yourself, you miss those options. 'The most important thing I can do is focus on this season with Fulham.'

Class...pure class. Too bad he's nearing the end of his great career. McBride will be missed.

Reyes Given 48 Hours To Decide His Future

Jose Antonio Reyes has been given an ultimatum. According to newspaper reports, he must decide on a £10million move to Lyon in the next 48 hours, or face the prospect of returning to Arsenal.

The Mill + ++

Friday's Rumours



So let's return to Kluivert, whose footballing exile Billy Davies is keen to end by offering him a trial at Pride Park. Kluivert has yet to confirm he supported the Rams as a boy and used to dream of being offered a trial there when he was winning the European Cup and several league titles with Ajax, Milan and Barcelona, but it's surely only a matter of time. He'll certainly be tempted to go for the trial when he hears who else has been invited: only Slovakia's Dusan Svento, that's who.

Hooliganism ruins Partizan's European ambitions

Fan violence has put paid to Partizan Belgrade's hopes of making an impact in this season's UEFA Cup after they were thrown out of European competition for a year and fined 50,000 Swiss francs ($41,600) on Thursday. UEFA took the most drastic action against a Serbian club yet after serious crowd trouble during their first qualifying round first-leg match at Bosnian rivals Zrinjski Mostar last week.

Walsh: Super(Liga) for MLS USA's Pat Walsh believes that SuperLiga is a definite hit already, even after only four games have been played.


David Beckham is still a major injury doubt for the Los Angeles Galaxy's SuperLiga clash with Mexican giants Chivas Guadalajara on Saturday.

The former Real Madrid midfielder has continued to struggle with a swollen left ankle following ligament damage sustained at the end of Spanish La Liga season.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Derby? Hell no!!

Okay, so I know nothing about Kansas. But I love BBQ, and of course a bit of ballet is always nice, and I see the sun shines there during the summer, which sure isn't the case in Derby. Today's weather - Derby: rainy 59, Kansas: Sunny 89.

Let's just run thru the Editor's three reasons why Johnson should have gone to Derby:
1. Darley Park - well the park may be great for the annual concert, but for the rest of the year it's great for muggings and buying drugs.
2. Derby, city of Jazz. I must admit this is news to me, but sitting in smoke-filled dark rooms listening to music makes sense when the alternative is being outside, in the city.
3. Ponce in the Park - I'll let this BBC article 'What Went Wrong? Ponce in the Park' do the talking.

Football wise, I see what you're saying, Mr Ed. I think if Johnson had made a trip to the ground, seen the facilities, which are some of the best in the UK, he may have thought about it a bit harder. My guess is he doesn't fancy playing in the Championship next season. If he had some balls he'd have seen it as a chance to put himself in the shop window. A dirty, urine-stained shop window with Jazz being played behind it maybe, but a shop window nonetheless.

Derby vs. Kansas City -- E.J. has chosen, but where would you rather be?

The annual open-air concert at Darley Park is one of the biggest free concerts of its kind. It is one of many performances given throughout the year by Sinfonia Viva, a professional chamber orchestra based in Derby. The Derby Jazz group caters for the jazz interest in the city and is regarded as one of the UK's leading live jazz organizations. There is also a summer rock music festival 'Ponce in the Park' which takes place in late July every year.

Kansas City
The Kansas City Ballet, founded in 1957 by Tatiana Dokoudovska, is a ballet troupe comprising 25 professional dancers and apprentices. Between 1986 and 2000, it was combined with Dance St. Louis to form the State Ballet of Missouri, although it remained located in Kansas City. From 1980 to 1995, the Ballet was run by renowned dancer and choreographer Todd Bolender. Today, the Ballet offers an annual repertory split into three seasons which ranges from classical to contemporary ballets. The Ballet also is located at the Lyric Theatre, and also will move with the Symphony and Opera to the Kauffman Center in 2009.

E.J. went with K.C. Perhaps because of BBQ. If I lived in K.C., I'd eat a whole lot of it. But BBQ or no BBQ, I think he's a fool for passing up this opportunity. How does he know that he'll have any sort of chance like this down the line? Does he think he should be at a larger club? Considering how he plays in games that count (read: Gold Cup) I'd say he's made a big mistake. Another case of an American not willing to pull the trigger and make the tough decision.

Manchester United 2 - 3 Derby County -- April 5, 1997

Since Paolo Wanchope is back in the news and Derby native Alec (a.k.a. Tracksuit Bottoms) brought up his wondergoal versus Manchester United, I thought I should see if a clip was available. Indeed, here are highlights from what was a stellar match. Wanchope's goal oozes class, and Cantona is also in top form. Enjoy!

Iraq, Saudi Arabia advance to Asian Cup final; at least 50 killed in Baghdad celebration

Iraq moved into its first Asian Cup final, beating South Korea 4-3 on penalty kicks Wednesday night after a 0-0 tie. At least 50 fans were killed by car bombs during postgame celebrations in Baghdad.

And coverage in The NY Times.

Casillas In Dig At Barcelona's Transfer Policy

Not to toot my own horn, but didn't I bring this up in a post yesterday? Thanks for backing my theory, Señor Casillas...

"Barcelona remind me of our Real Madrid of four years ago; it is inevitable," said Casillas.

U20 player Zizzo signs three-year deal with Hannover

Zizzo looked solid during the recent World Cup. It's good to see he's got the marbles to give it a go in Germany. Hopefully the presence of fellow Yank Steve Cherundolo will help him settle.

50 Most Important Goals (According to The Times)

25 - 1

13 Michael Thomas - Liverpool 0 ARSENAL 2, First Division championship decider, 1989. "It's up for grabs now!" gasped Brian Moore in the commentary box as Thomas strode through in the last minute at Anfield to score the goal that gave Arsenal the title in the most dramatic climax to a season in memory.

The Mill + ++

Thursday's Rumours



MLS scoring leader nixes Derby County deal

"I did what my heart felt," Johnson said. "The money wasn't a problem. The money was great. But I'm a big believer that when my confidence is high and I'm confident in what I'm doing. Good things are yet to happen for me."

What more do you want? This was an excellent opportunity to play in a team that has just been promoted to one of the top leagues in the world. The chance to get quality minutes and fight for a starting place is not enough for you, Eddie? You want to stay and win an MLS Cup? Whatever.

Lyon kick-off new season seeking seventh straight title

With the new French Ligue 1 season opening on on August 4, it seems few, if any of their rivals, actually have the capacity to prevent Lyon winning the title for the seventh successive season.

Chisnall recalls happier times among rivals

The last player to be transferred directly between Man Utd and Liverpool tells Louise Taylor about crossing the great divide.

Jose leaves Arsène without a Clouseau

Jose Mourinho's declaration that he is calming down shouldn't fool anyone, the new approach won't last, says Marina Hyde

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Fire to Sign Paulo Wanchope

The Costa Rican forward is in talks to sign with the Fire. Wanchope made his name as a Derby County Ram in the late 90's and has spent time at West Ham and Manchester City. Much like Red Bull's signing of Juan Pablo Angel, this is exactly the sort of signing that MLS should be aiming for- he's affordable, he's got a good record at the highest level (yes, Derby County), he's a physically gifted player (6'4") and he's still relatively young at 30 years old. Hopefully his arrival combined with Chris Rolfe's return from injury, Blanco's integration into Osorio's new system and Chad "Diesel" Barrett's relegation to the bench will improve our scoring.

Barcelona Begin Training in Scotland

As saddened as I am by his departure from Arsenal, I must say that I cannot help but be excited at the prospect of Henry and the Geri-Curled One combining on the pitch. I just wonder if Barcelona will become similar to their enemies Real Madrid in years past where all the Galaticos are up front running around doing pretty things but there is nobody to keep an eye on the defense. Puyol is getting older and we saw last season how Barca’s defense let them down far too often. Perhaps some more cash for guys in the back would have been wise.

Liverpool unveil new stadium plans

Get to Anfield while you still can...

SuperLiga Roundup: Donovan Leads Galaxy

U.S. international Landon Donovan scored a goal and registered an assist to lead the L.A. Galaxy to a 2-1 victory over Pachuca to highlight the first night of action in the 2007 SuperLiga.

Youngsters keen to impress

Jon Carter takes a look at some of the kids in the EPL who are looking to bust a move this campaign...

Roberto Gotta in Italy

Seniore Gotta writes of Francisco Totti: Instead of being humble and keeping a low profile about the fact he was leaving behind what most footballers would kill for, he turned on the offensive and transformed the press conference into a tirade against those who in his opinion have always opposed him and were never going to give him a break because - wait for it - he's from Rome and all the important media are from a different, ugly, dark place,'The North', which assumes an almost mythologically evil aura if you believe the Roma captain.

50 Most Important Goals (According to The Times)

50 - 26

These aren't the best goals ever scored. Far from it. Our list contains a good sprinkling of toe-pokes, deflections and clownish mis-kicks. One of them was scored by a third division goalkeeper.

But despite their respective artistic merits, they all command a place in the annals of the game. They might have decided World Cup finals, settled championships or saved sides from relegation. Some of the goals stand out as statistical milestones. Others have entered the game's mythology to become shared treasures, revered by fans of every club. Others set records that will never be broken.

Whether they are sitters or scorchers, the fifty selections share one quality in common: each made a big impact on the history of football.

The Mill ++ +++

Wednesday's Rumours

Eddie Johnson, the leading scorer in the MLS with Kansas City Wizards this season has revealed he rejected a move to join Premiership newcomers Derby County. The US international striker has hit 12 goals in 11 games so far this season, but wants to remain in America.

West Ham United Review & Outlook: Fortune Stopped Hiding

Graham Lister takes a gander at what's going on over in East London...

Yugoslavia in the 90s: the greatest team there never was?

Jonathan Wilson says that the Yugoslavian war possibly denied the world the greatest team in football history.

Newcastle fans will not mourn Shepherd’s loss

The change may have been more symbolic than substantive, given the whirlwind events of the past two months, but Freddy Shepherd’s low-key departure from Newcastle United yesterday ushered a shop-soiled era into the past. After a decade as chairman, Shepherd was replaced by Chris Mort, Mike Ashley’s lieutenant, a development that will be broadly welcomed by supporters.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

USA and Mexico prepare for SuperLiga launch

Record prize money of $1million is on offer at the inaugural SuperLiga, a competition Major League Soccer (MLS) commissioner Don Garber hopes will lift the game in the U.S. and Mexico to unprecedented heights. The SuperLiga, which starts on Tuesday, is an eight-team tournament featuring four MLS sides from the U.S. and four clubs from the Mexican first division.

Jeff Carlisle's take:

Sanchez's less-than-magnificent seven

Norman Hubbard looks at Fulham's new signings.

Tim Vickery in South America

Argentina's 3-0 defeat to Brazil in the Copa America final means that it is 14 years since they won a senior title.

But at Under-20 level the picture could not be more different. Sunday's 2-1 win over the Czech Republic brought the blue and whites their sixth World Youth Cup, and their fifth in the last seven tournaments.

Joy of Six: Symbolic Reducers

From Roy Keane's humbling of Holland to Robert Pires' fiercest, indeed first, tackle.

1. Roy Keane on Marc Overmars, Republic of Ireland 1-0 Holland, World Cup qualifier,
September 1 2001

Curbishley lauds arrival of Ljungberg

'He is versatile and can play in different positions and then there is his hunger. 'Whenever he played against us for Arsenal, he used to frighten the life out of me. But he's liked a lot of what we have done so far this summer.

The Mill ++

Tuesday's Rumours


Time brings on the mellowing of Mourinho

The Guardian's Interview with The Special One.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Support Your Team

Excellent example of a team tattoo. Female fan, no less.

Argentina crowned U20 World Cup kings

Mauro Zarate grabbed an 86th-minute winner as Argentina triumphed in the world Under-20 championship for the sixth time, coming from behind to beat the Czech Republic 2-1 on Sunday.

Hammers set to unveil new signing Freddie

Oh, Freddie! Say it ain't so...

West Ham have announced a 2pm press conference, with reports claiming they will unveil Freddie Ljungberg as their fifth summer signing.

And this after Arsene Wenger said he was "90% certain" that Freddie would remain a Gunner...

Done Deal. Sniff, sniff. We'll miss you Freddie! Why didn't you go to Florence?

Blanco Makes His Debut

Cuauhtemoc Blanco made backward passes without looking, controlled the ball with a stutter-step dribble, used hand signals to communicate and scored a beauty of a goal Sunday in his debut with the Chicago Fire.

Premiership Transfer Update: Ins, Outs & Rumours

New transfers are being discussed or concluded every day, so for each Premiership club here is an updated summary of who's come, who's gone and who's rumoured to be on the move - as of Monday 23rd July...

Beckham debut a surreal night for MLS

What a mad scene at the Home Depot Center, all at once an exercise in patience (due to that uncooperative left ankle) and a three-ring circus of traps, passes and paparazzi. Major League Soccer officially began cashing in on the nationally televised Beckham ballyhoo Saturday. Even if his 12 minutes on the field were mostly uneventful, the night was certainly unforgettable.

The Mill +

Monday's Rumours

+ Profile: Steven Pienaar

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, on March 17th, 1982, Steven Pienaar is considered one of South Africa’s most promising stars. While he undoubtedly created an impression when he moved to Europ, joining Dutch club Ajax, many believe the 25-year-old is still to reach his full potential.

Liverpool lawyers work on Heinze chase

Rafael Benitez, the Liverpool coach, has set a collision course with Sir Alex Ferguson after confirming the club's lawyers are working on ways to sign Gabriel Heinze from Manchester United.