Friday, September 14, 2007

Weekend Thoughts From the Editor

This whole China spying on Denmark prior to their opening match is too much. And then the underdog hosts go out and snatch a victory. The spying episode (I guess there were two) reminds me of when Mrs. Sanford was in Beijing back in April. She was in a bad mood and having trouble dealing with the passive/aggressive nature of some of her hosts. Let’s just say that she sent me an email (I was Stateside) that was none to complimentary of her situation, and punctuated her distaste with plenty of four-letter words. Hours later, her internet was cut off. Oh, she still had access from her apartment to the server in the hospital where she was working, but for some reason she simply could not get online. When she mentioned the problem to her hosts, there were shrugs. Then, exactly 24-hours later, her internet access returned. Let’s just say meddling in the affairs of Johnny Foreigner is considered standard operating procedure over in The Middle Kingdom as far as I can tell.

So now Eddie Johnson wants to go to the EPL. Why not before? Derby not good enough for you, EJ? I tell you, this kid has a lot to prove. In my eyes he’s played well in the MLS and that’s about it. He’s been decent at times for the Nats but his poor showings have outweighed anything positive he’s produced. I find him annoying. Until he actually makes a move and proves himself in England he’ll continue to be a lame-o in my book. He's had too many opportunities to step up for the national team that he has not taken. Speaking of lame-os, Deuce used to be one. The blog, the attitude, the lingo = lame. But now? Deuce can play. He’s not lame. I like him. You score? You play well? You enhance the reputation of American soccer abroad? You’re not lame. I like you, Deuce. You have stepped up. Word. Tite. Foh Shizzle.

OK, on to the weekend action. Everton and Manchester United at Goodison. Mr. Burns twiddles his thumbs (I had to add the photo in order to keep up with Alec’s theme for the day). This should be a cracker. Or at least feature some cracked bones. I wonder if Rooney will play any role. Perhaps a spot on the bench but I doubt he’ll see any action. How will JMcP play after his emotional high in Paris? If I were David Moyes I’d be inclined to start him on the bench in fear of a letdown. It should be a fun one, regardless.

Another match of note is Blackburn’s visit to Stamford Bridge. Teams don’t usually get much when they go to that corner of West London, but with Lampard and Drogba both doubtful, Rovers could steal a point. Worth keeping an eye on, I say.

And of course, the North London Derby. Tomorrow’s edition is at White Hart Lane and features a surging Arsenal side versus a Spurs squad that has failed to live up to high expectations. Berbatov has had a frustrating start to his campaign and he had some gross misses in his qualifying matches this past week. Keano had a tough Wednesday as well. The good news for Spurs is the return of Aaron Lennon and Darren Bent. A new-look side with that much pace could throw the Gunners off.

No real mega-clashes in Italy or Spain, but in Germany Schalke and Bayern Munich square off. If anyone can stop the Bayern march to the title, it’s probably Schalke. Even this early, the match could have some critical repercussions.

Enjoy the weekend.


Martin Rogers Column: Eddie Johnson on Verge of EPL Move

The Wizards and MLS were relieved earlier this year when the Florida native turned down a transfer to Derby County, currently at the bottom of the Premiership standings. However, it now seems as if Johnson feels his time has come and his hunger to prove himself among the best will not be held in check for much longer.

Speaking exclusively to Yahoo! Sports, he said: "The Premiership is my goal; that's my next goal. MLS is great and I am doing well. But the way I have done things in my career I am going to want a change. That is how life is, people change.

U.S. Tops Sweden in China + Brazil vs. China Preview

Abby Wambach scored twice to lead the Yanks to a 2-0 win. They now sit atop their Group of Death.

China Confident of Derailing Talented Brazil
They've got every chance in the world if they've still got their goons spying from behind glass mirrors...-Ed.

2007 Group B Standings

1 United States 2 1 1 0 4 2 2 4
2 Korea 1 0 1 0 2 2 0 1
2 Nigeria 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1
4 Sweden 2 0 1 1 1 3 -2 1

Lawro's Premiership Predictions

Lawro's Predictions

Spain: La Liga

Real's Sneijder fit for Almeria visit
Weekend Preview

Italy: Serie A

Serie A tries to win back supporters but stars flee violence
Indignity for Brazil’s poor little rich kid
Weekend Preview

Germany: Bundesliga

Tardy trains no excuse for Wolves' slow start
Weekend Preview

EPL Injuries + Weekend Previews

Drogba doubtful with knee knock
Lennon return offers timely boost for Jol
Jamie Carragher is expected to be fit for Liverpool
Weekend Previews

Ice Cold Owen Returns

Dispassion play brings the best out of icy Owen

Tough Decisions for Steve

As mentioned yesterday, no one is really convinced that Steve McClaren's tactical genius was behind the improvements in the English national team. The decisions coming up, especially wether or not to bring back Rooney, will tell us more.
Rooney or Heskey? McClaren should play both
Now all McClaren has to do is bench Rooney

China: Woman's World Cup

U.S. awaits crucial test against Sweden
Powell puts end to Kelly celebration as England face Germany
Watching Women's World Cup a challenge

Le Saux Podcast

Greame Le Saux talks to Gabriele and Guillem, and the England game is reviewed
The Times Podcast

Wenger Loves Arsenal

Arsene Wenger spoke yesterday of his love for the North London club. His love of mad Lens seems less obvious, though.
Jens Lehmann continues to get the cold shoulder

Scots upbeat, French downbeat

The Scotland manager reveals how the French were beaten
McLeish: I owe it all to French paper

While the French suffer les Bleus
France gets a touch of the bleus after two big sporting defeats

Germany vs. Chelsea

In good old Deutschland this story is headline news, though in England you get the feeling Ballack could leave and no one would really notice. That said, it's nice to see Chelsea fucking everything up and making even more enemies.
Michael Ballack faces third ankle operation

Stop! Police! Part II

What's the best way to get over a last minute loss to Iceland? What else, but a nice bit of air rage? And what a surprise, Keith Gillespie was at the centre of things.

Irish FA to investigate as players brawl on plane

And the Chimbonda story continues...

Chimbonda leaks anger clubs

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Euro 2008 Qualifying: Current Group Standings

The seven group winners and seven runners-up will proceed to the European Championships next June and join hosts Austria and Switzerland in the 16-team tournament. Teams within the qualifying groups play each other twice.

Group APldPts
Poland POL1121
Finland FIN1119
Portugal POR1017
Serbia SRB1016
Belgium BEL1011
Armenia ARM88
Kazakhstan KAZ107
Azerbaijan AZE85
Group CPldPts
Greece GRE819
Norway NOR917
Turkey TUR817
Bosnia-Herzegovina BIH913
Hungary HUN99
Malta MLT85
Moldova MDA95
Group EPldPts
Croatia CRO923
England ENG920
Russia RUS918
Israel ISR917
FYR Macedonia MKD98
Estonia EST104
Andorra AND90
Group GPldPts
Romania ROU820
Netherlands NED820
Bulgaria BUL918
Slovenia SVN910
Albania ALB89
Belarus BLR97
Luxembourg LUX90
Group BPldPts
Scotland SCO921
Italy ITA920
France FRA919
Ukraine UKR813
Lithuania LTU910
Georgia GEO97
Faroe Islands FRO90
Group DPldPts
Germany GER822
Czech Republic CZE920
Rep. of Ireland IRL914
Slovakia SVK910
Wales WAL810
Cyprus CYP810
San Marino SMR90
Group FPldPts
Sweden SWE819
Spain ESP919
Northern Ireland NIR916
Denmark DEN814
Iceland ISL98
Latvia LVA86
Liechtenstein LIE94