Friday, September 07, 2007

Euro 2008 Qualifying: France visit Italy for revenge, England in peril

A preview of all the top action is here.

England are fourth in Group E and their hopes of reaching next year's finals in Austria and Switzerland hang on Saturday's match with Israel at Wembley and Wednesday's visit of Russia.

Portugal vs. Poland
Italy vs. France
England vs. Israel

Scandal precedes latest Italy versus France match in Euro 2008 qualifying

"The hype surrounding this game doesn't surprise me. The memory of July 9 is still within all of us," Italy forward Alessandro Del Piero said, recalling the date last year when Italy beat France on penalties in the World Cup final.

Banned for accusing evil Italians of once bribing the referee in a match against his French Under-21 team, Raymond Domenech will watch Saturday's vital Italy-France Euro 2008 qualifier from the San Siro stands. A Uefa snoop will sit with him to make sure he doesn't take a feather out of Jose Mourinho's woolly hat and devise some surreptitious way of sending messages to his staff - but his absence may make no difference to France.

Euro Group F Preview: Spain Creeping Back Into Contention

By the end of next week, the top positions in Group F could well have all changed again as the four countries in with a shout of qualification all have difficult tasks ahead of them.

Group F

Sweden 7 6 0 1 17 4 13 18
Northern Ireland 7 5 1 1 13 8 5 16
Spain 7 5 0 2 13 6 7 15
Denmark 6 3 1 2 9 5 4 10
Liechtenstein 8 1 1 6 5 21 -16 4
Iceland 7 1 1 5 5 15 -10 4
Latvia 6 1 0 5 4 7 -3 3

Gudjohnsen An Outcast After West Ham Refusal

Eidur Gudjohnsen has become a virtual outcast at FC Barcelona after refusing to join West Ham United in the final week of the summer transfer window.

USA vs. Brazil: Bradley bides his time on selecting Altidore

When U.S. men's national team head coach Bob Bradley announced his roster for this weekend's friendly against Brazil (Sunday 4 p.m. ET, ESPN2), the focus was on who didn't make the team as opposed to who did. Such a reaction is typical, but the player in question wasn't. I'm referring to the man-child himself, New York Red Bulls' forward Jozy Altidore.

England: A nation's hopes rest with Owen, again

It's a good job Michael Owen is used to the weight of an entire nation's expectations on his shoulders as this next week sees him complete back-to-back qualifying games for the first time in two years.

Bielsa bub: why Chilean football is set for a revolution

Marcela Mora y Araujo reports that the former Argentina manager takes charge of Chile for the first time tonight, and it could be the start of a beautiful friendship.

Martin Keown on Wenger

"Arsene Wenger's decision to sign a new deal is great news with everyone associated with Arsenal."

Lawro's Euro 2008 Predictions

BBC Expert Lawro weighs in on some of Saturday's matches.

Slovakia v Republic of Ireland

(1930 BST)

Slovakia v Republic of Ireland

The Republic of Ireland have been on a good run of late.

They have not lost in their last eight games and, even though that has included San Marino twice, it is still a good stat.

This is part of a double-header and it may seem funny to say this but it would be better if they beat their next opponents the Czech Republic.

Germany are clear in the group while the Czechs are in danger of going away from the Republic.

Unless Steve Staunton's side can avoid defeat against the Czechs then they are unlikely to qualify.

I don't think it will be possible for them to win both as there is no great depth to the current squad.

Prediction: 1-1

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Azzurri Ready To Rock?

Roberto Donadoni has recently declared that he does not feel the heat ahead of Saturday's must-win clash with France in the Euro 2008 qualifiers. However, should things go badly, it may cross his mind that two of his predecessors left the post after a match against France...

The 3-5-2: Argentine Love USA's Greg Lalas gives some love to the Argentine players in Major League Soccer, while also celebrating Clint Dempsey's play in England and questioning the importance of the U.S. Open Cup.

1. Brazil, of course, will thrash the U.S. in the so-called “Clash of Champions.” Dunga has Kaka, Ronaldinho, and Robinho at his disposal, while Bob Bradley might actually give Josh Wolff a jersey. But what if the Red, White, and Blue pull off an upset of the Selecao? Will it mean anything, such as, the U.S. being considered the best team in the hemisphere? Obviously not. But it might go pretty far to solidifying the shape of Bob’s side over the next few years.

Felipão’s Changing Portugal And A Complicated Classification

Portugal’s Brazilian Coach is facing two keynote matches on Saturday and Wednesday as the Selecção das Quinas plays host to two difficult adversaries: Poland and Serbia. The tactician’s mathematical calculations mean that the only acceptable outcome is six points, but Felipão is still in the process of confecting a side that meets his demanding tastes. As the moments of truth loom, investigates why the Coach is a past master at getting past problematic classifications, the team he’s sorting out and what’s the latest fusion cooking in Portugal with the Brazilian influence thrown into the pot…

Euro 2008 Group A Preview: One Cancelled But Top Four Duel It Out

The first set of Group A matches is a limited affair as Belgium and Kazakhstan sit Saturday’s action out while the Azerbaijan - Armenia fixture has been called off due to political tension. Nevertheless the two remaining matches condense the four main candidates for the two classification slots that give access to next year’s Euro 2008 Finals as leaders Poland travel to Portugal and second placed Finland drop in on Serbia…

Euro 2008 Qualifiers – Group A Standings

Nation / Played / Won / Drawn / Lost / Goals For / Goals Against / Points

1. Poland 9 6 1 2 15 7 19
2. Finland 9 5 2 2 11 6 17

3. Portugal 8 4 3 1 16 6 15
4. Serbia 8 4 2 2 12 7 14
5. Belgium 9 3 1 5 8 12 10
6. Armenia 8 2 2 4 4 8 8
7. Kazakhstan 9 1 3 5 6 13 6
8. Azerbaijan 8 1 2 5 4 17 5

Euro 2008 Group C Preview: Greece Still On Top

As part of's continuing coverage of all the big tournaments, we now take a look at Group C in the UEFA Euro 2008 qualifiers. There's still everything to play for, but the holders could all but wrap it up by Wednesday night...

Euro 2008 Group D Preview: Czechs And Irish Battle For Second Spot

With Germany running away with Group D, attention has turned to the battle for the second automatic qualifying spot with both the Czech Republic and the Republic of Ireland vying for that all important berth.

Micah Richards Column

Looks like the BBC has signed up the City defender to talk about his life for a while. Here's the first posting...

No regrets for lineswoman who posed nude

Brazilian lineswoman Ana Paula Oliveira has no regrets about posing nude for Playboy magazine even though she has not been selected to officiate at a professional game since.

All the pictures are here.

The time is now for Liverpool

At last, it seems that Liverpool, after so many years of talking the talk – on the basis of their tradition and huge fan base – will actually be able to walk the walk, too. The mighty Reds are sitting proudly at the top of the EPL for the first time in five years. Yes, five years. That is far too long for a club of their immense stature.

Adriano: The Fall Of The Emperor

Once upon a time there was a Brazilian starlet who lived in Milan and was called L’Imperatore by his legion of adoring fans.

He was a powerfully built man-child who was more physically and technically gifted than almost all of his peers, his dynamic goals and Herculean strength being the envy of opposing players and fans alike.

Wenger agrees three-year Arsenal deal

It remains to be seen just what will develop with regards to the supposed interest of American billionaire Stan Kroenke and whether Dein, a close personal friend of Wenger, returns to the club down the line having recently linked up with Alisher Usmanov at the head of 'Red and White Holdings'.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


David Seaman is a 6’4” goalkeeper born September 19, 1963 in Rotherham, England. Nicknamed “Safe Hands”, Seaman made his mark on the English club game with Arsenal, and starred for the English national side over the course of his successful career. His career began at Leeds before he headed to Peterborough United; he then moved to Birmingham City, next to Queens Park Rangers, over to Arsenal, and finally to Manchester City, where he played for one year before hanging up his gloves. He is England’s second-most capped goalkeeper (Peter Shilton is tops), having appeared in Euro 96, World Cup 98, Euro 2000 and World Cup 2002. He was the final wall of defense for an Arsenal squad that saw great success throughout the 1990s and into the new century. In an FA Cup match against Sheffield United, one of his saves was dubbed, “the greatest save I have ever seen” by BBC Pundit and Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel. After his retirement Safe Hands spent some time doing celebrity TV shows and cut off his ponytail for charity. Anyway, there is no doubt that David Seaman deserves a spot on Sanford Soccer Net’s All-Name Team, and he’ll be our second-choice keeper.

Alan Hansen's Column

The BBC Expert says that Paul Robinson has made too many mistakes to play against Israel...

McFadden comes of age as Scotland grow into a force

If one player was chosen as a symbol of Scotland's development since the troubled days of Berti Vogts, it would surely be James McFadden.

The Everton man was dubbed a "cheeky boy" by Vogts, after missing a flight home from a tournament in Hong Kong in 2002 having indulged in an old-fashioned bender. Scotland and McFadden have flirted with international oblivion since then, but both are now flourishing and appear integral to each other's future.

Young George was just trying to find his way in life

In the final exclusive extracts, Sir Bobby Charlton talks about Denis Law’s Scottishness and a different side to George Best.

"We went about our football in contrasting ways, Denis sending sparks and flames up around him, George going on his amazing runs with trickery and courage that just welled out of him, me with my liking for the bold pass and the big, swirling shot. We had one abiding thing in common – we loved to score goals."

The Soccer Stock Report

With Major League Soccer heating up as teams jockey for playoff position and the new season getting underway in Europe, there is no better time to choose what's hot and what's not in the world game.

As David Beckham will testify, fortunes in soccer can change in an instant and yesterday's hero can quickly become tomorrow's zero.

So here is Yahoo! Sports' stock report on what to look out for in the coming months on the gigantic fluctuating ladder that is the world of soccer.

Mystery thickens over Ballack’s surprise omission from Europe

The controversy surrounding Michael Ballack’s absence from Chelsea’s Champions League squad took a twist last night as conspiracy theories emerged from Germany that he may have been left out owing to an administrative oversight.

And the Guardian's Raphael Honigstein says, "Chelsea's failure to name a full squad for the Champions League is a sad indictment of the club's incompetence and the Premier League."

Club vs. Country: McClaren ready to face wrath of Benítez with Gerrard gamble while Inter and France fight over Vieira

Steve McClaren is prepared to defy the wishes of Rafael Benítez, the Liverpool manager, and play Steven Gerrard with a painkilling injection against Israel on Saturday.

France captain Patrick Vieira looks likely to play in the Euro 2008 qualifier with Italy on Saturday but his club Inter Milan are less sure of his fitness.

The midfielder has missed the start of the Serie A season because of a hamstring strain but is desperate to play on his home ground in the Group B match, which is a repeat of the World Cup final.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

C. Ronaldo in 5 Hooker Orgy

Apparently Manchester United and Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo has taken after his older/fatter/better/Brazilian namesake in more than just his penchant for scoring big goals in big matches. It seems that he's been making sure that he doesn't lose match fitness by organizing after-hours 5 aside matches for himself and his Portuguese speaking teammates Anderson and Nani.

Ronaldo Orgy With 5 Hookers
"I Turned Ronaldo on with my Tesco Knickers"

2 Podcasts

James Richardson and chums, including Sid and Raphael, from Jason Bourne's favourite newspaper.

Podcast 1

Guillem and Gabriele, getting quite Bolschy at times, from the Times. Pool's Carra makes a guest appearance.

Podcast 2

Sid Lowe in Spain

What's the difference between Sneijder and Beckham? One wears the No23 shirt, scores free-kicks, delivers 45-yard assists, is adored by fans and speaks perfect English. The other is David Beckham.

Livewire Lavezzi sparks Napoli into life, before the inevitable

Napoli's Argentinian star Ezequiel Iván Lavezzi is drawing tenuous comparisons with you-know-who after a stunning display at Udinese.

"You're better than Diego," bellowed one delirious fan from the stands after seeing Lavezzi thread a perfectly weighted through-ball into the path of sub Roberto Sosa for Napoli's fifth.

Henry's Wife Granted A Divorce

They met when they starred together in TV adverts for Renault Clio cars.

U.S. brings in full-strength roster to face Brazil

Brazil, a five-time World Cup champion and the world's top-ranked team, has announced a roster that includes Ronaldinho, FIFA player of the year in 2004 and 2005, and Kaka, a strong contender for this year's award.

Goalkeepers: Tim Howard (Everton, England), Chris Seitz (Real Salt Lake)

Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra (Fulham, England), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover, Germany), Jay DeMerit (Watford, England), Oguchi Onyewu (Standard Liege, Belgium), Heath Pearce (Hansa Rostock, Germany), Frank Simek (Sheffield Wednesday, England), Jonathan Spector (West Ham, England)

Midfielders: DaMarcus Beasley (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland), Michael Bradley (Heerenveen, Netherlands), Bobby Convey (Reading, England), Clint Dempsey (Fulham, England), Benny Feilhaber (Derby, England), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado)

Forwards: Davy Arnaud (Kansas City), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles), Eddie Johnson (Kansas City), Josh Wolff (1860 Munich, Germany)

Phil Ball in Spain

In a difficult week for Spanish football, one in which the death of Sevilla's Antonio Puerta has overshadowed everything, it's comforting to report the various spontaneous gestures of solidarity towards the club and the player and the way in which his death has finally put paid to so much of the nonsense that passes for rivalry between the city's two top-flight clubs.

Serie A Report: Milan And Fiorentina Share Spoils

Milan 1 – 1 Fiorentina

Plus, the Team of the Week and Reflections

Raphael Honigstein in Germany

In blaming Wolfsburg's latest defeat on the opposition sponsors, Felix Magath has laid the foundation for a whole new genre of cop-outs.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Americans in the EPL: The Dempsey Show USA's Matthew Braine takes a look at how the bevy of Americans playing in the English Premier League fared this past weekend.

Fulham boss, Lawrie Sanchez compared the team's win to a last-minute effort by an action hero saying, "It's like a James Bond film where you think, why doesn't the villain kill him and then eventually he comes back to bite them."

La Liga: Majestic Madrid hit five against hapless Villareal

Real are clear at the top with six points after two games, two points ahead of archrivals Barcelona, who were set on their way to a 3-1 home win over Athletic Bilbao by a double strike from Ronaldinho.

Major League Soccer: An Update on What's Going On

Project David Beckham will take at least a six-week break thanks to a right knee sprain suffered in last Wednesday's SuperLiga final loss to Pachuca. News of Beckham's latest injury bombshell is horrible for the Galaxy of course -- the entire organization is being ground up by the weight of it all. But Major League Soccer looks like a Bad Luck Schleprock in this whole fiasco, too.

The Beckham Rule has been working out well for everyone but David Beckham and the Los Angeles Galaxy. So, while the Galaxy have been sinking to new lows on the field and meeting with Juergen Klinsmann off the field, most other MLS teams have been doing quite well recently. Beckham has spiked the Galaxy's road attendance, leading teams such as the New York Red Bulls to factor potentially massive crowds into their new stadium construction. Here are some compelling MLS story lines away from the Beckham sideshow.

Szetela agrees deal with La Liga's Racing Santander

After nearly two months of transfer speculation and negotiations, Danny Szetela has passed up offers from Roma and Newcastle (among others) to play for Spanish First Division side Racing de Santander.

Italy: Serie A Reports

I think these are R. Mehdi's reports. Or at least they are written in his style...

NAPOLI 5 (Zalayeta 16, Domizzi 41, Lavezzi 65, Zalayeta 71, Sosa 81)

Lavezzi defied his chubby physique by showing great pace to chase down a long ball, powered through Mesto's challenge and centred for Zalayeta to tap-in. Zalayeta rescued an overhit corner, Blasi hooked the ball over his head and Domizzi volleyed in from six yards. Lavezzi scored a brilliant third, after receiving a pass on the left of the box he checked inside a defender onto his right foot before lashing past Chimenti. Chimenti gifted Napoli a fourth when he failed to hold a Lavezzi centre leaving Zalayeta with a tap-in. The outstanding Lavezzi made the fifth for substitute Sosa although Chimenti was again at fault.

Unbelievable. This is the first time since, yes you guessed it, the days of Maradona that Napoli have scored five goals. 22 year old Lavezzi looks a real talent.

Attendance : 15,000
Assists : Lavezzi, Blasi, Gargano, n/a, Lavezzi

English Premier League Reports + Table

Villa take down Chelsea, Liverpool fire six past Derby, City lose to Rovers, Fulham somehow manage a draw with Spurs as Deuce has a solid match, Michael Owen scores a goal and more!!


English Premier League Table
September 2, 2007 Games Played Points
Man City59
Man Utd58
Aston Villa47
West Ham47