Friday, November 11, 2011

Silence Exists: Sweeping Racism Under the Carpet

If you think the John Terry and Anton Ferdinand affair is dragging on a bit, spare a thought for Trevor Benjamin. On 25 September 2010 Benjamin was called “a black fucking cunt” by an opposition player while playing for Morpeth Town against Darlington Railway Athletic and has only found out the outcome of his complaint to the local FA in November 2011.

International Friendly Previews: France vs. United States

Who: France vs. United States
Where: Stade de France, Paris, France
When: 3pm EST
U.S. TV: ESPN2, Univision

Grant Wahl: U.S. faces big test
Ben Lyttleton: Blanc to experiment against U.S.

Five Matchups Worth Watching

The Joy of Six: Football First Touches

Only geniuses need apply as we pay tribute to six men with velvet and velcro in their boots.

Bosnia fans shine lasers in Ronaldo’s eyes, Ronaldo gives the finger

During a Portugal training session, they aimed their lasers at his eyes from perches on surrounding buildings and instead of ignoring it, he responded by giving them the finger.

UEFA 2012 European Championship Qualifying: First Leg Previews

Eight teams will look to edge closer to booking their place at next summer's European Championships on Friday in the first leg of their play-offs.

Bosnia vs. Portugal


Turkey vs. Croatia
Amy Lawrence: Proud Croatia continue to fly the flag

Estonia vs. Ireland
Ireland face Estonia banana skin
Keane desperate to end heartache
Key Battles

Czech Republic vs. Montenegro

Jonathan Wilson's Previews

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Martin Rogers: Soccer career of Gadhafi’s son Al-Saadi over

The remarkable images that emerged from the revolution in Libya last month, as despotic leader Moammar Gadhafi was hunted down and executed, appeared to have nothing whatsoever to do with sports. Yet as Gadhafi’s long and brutal regime came crashing down and his life was brought to a violent end, a former professional soccer player in one of the world’s top leagues suddenly became one of the most wanted men on the planet. The man in question is Gadhafi’s third son, Al-Saadi, who used his father’s political influence to gain contracts at three teams in Italy’s Serie A – Perugia, Udinese and Sampdoria – while also training with Lazio and Juventus.

Romario vows to investigate FIFA irregularities

Former star striker Romario is pledging to step up his efforts in Brazil’s parliament to shed light on alleged irregularities involving FIFA and Brazilian football federation president Ricardo Teixeira.

Romario, now a congressman, said he is teaming up with other Brazilian legislators to investigate football’s governing body ahead of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Jonathan Wilson: Susic's Bosnic squad a unifying force among old divisions

The smell of wood smoke hangs pungent in the early morning mist. As the cafe owners set up for the day, and old men, huddled against the cold, begin another session of backgammon in the courtyard of the mosque, the call of the muezzin echoes through the cobbled streets. On a corner on the square in front of the national library, a stall-holder sets out his wares. He has green Wolfsburg shirts, but today is not a day for club soccer. He slides hangers through the necks of two blue Bosnia shirts and hooks them over the rail that holds up the canopy over his stall. The back of each shirt is to the square so you can see the name and number. The left reads "Dzeko;" the right "Misimovic": Muslim and Serb side by side.

Ibrahimovic says Onyewu broke his rib in brawl

AC Milan forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic says he broke a rib in a brawl with American defender Oguchi Onyewu that could have “ended badly” had they not been separated by teammates. In an autobiography sent to The Associated Press on Wednesday, Ibrahimovic says the two players “wanted to destroy each other” in the fight, which started after the hot-tempered Swede launched a dangerous tackle on Onyewu during a training session with Milan on Nov. 5 last year.

Sid Lowe: Ronaldo wins the Golden Boot, but Messi comparisons raised yet again

They'd make quite a five-a-side team. The only question is which one of them would draw the short straw and be forced to play in goal. A Friday afternoon at the Intercontinental Hotel in Madrid and the ESM group was presenting the Golden Boot to Cristiano Ronaldo as the continent's top scorer in 2010-2011. Alongside him on the stage sat Alfredo di Stéfano, the man many Spaniards consider the greatest player of all time, and Eusebio. In the front row, Zinedine Zidane and a couple of rows back Paulo Futre.

All of them are winners of the Balón d'Or. And, although it was the Golden Boot that was being presented, everyone seemed obsessed with the Golden Ball. In their obsession they once again revealed much of what is wrong with soccer -- the twisted logic and not-so-hidden agendas. Time and again, they went back to the Balón d'Or, which is a roundabout way of saying that time and again they went back to Leo Messi. It was Ronaldo's big day but Messi was there too. He always is.

The Big Interview: Bobby Zamora

At first glance it is an audition, plain and simple. A chance to nudge the management into recognising underlying qualities and earn the right to stand in for a high-profile absentee.

Impress at a heaving Wembley and the prospects of travelling to next summer's European Championship will be enhanced.

The only problem facing Bobby Zamora is the calibre of opposition against which he is about to be tested.

"There aren't any better out there than the Spanish," he says with a rueful smile. "Just getting a touch would be nice."

Competition to find football's worst toilets hit by vote-rigging claim

A competition to establish which English football ground has the worst toilets was temporarily suspended over allegations of vote-rigging.

The Biggest Loosers competition was put on hold after it emerged that some fans had voted up to 30 times in an effort to secure the prize – a £100,000 toilet makeover – for their club.

St James' Park to be rebranded as the Sports Direct Arena

Newcastle's owner, Mike Ashley, faces a potential backlash from supporters after the announcement that St James' Park is to be rebranded as the Sports Direct Arena as part of the club's plan to sell the naming rights to the stadium.

In a move which ends 119 years of history, Ashley has temporarily renamed the ground after his company – at no financial benefit to Newcastle – and invited external backers to purchase the rights.

It's a classy joint...

David Conn: Newcastle stadium name-change lacks class and is unworthy of history

Roberto Gotta in Italy

The butcher did it. The butcher, as yet unnamed.

The friend we all have, the fellow whose uncanny instincts always lead him to the best holiday resort, the best car, the places where you will "eat splendidly and barely spend any money". The guy who tells you over your morning coffee what's wrong with the economy. The know-it-all with the fat wallet who sits in the stands during a soccer match and pretends to spot your side's strengths and weaknesses by glancing at pre-game warm-ups.

Sinisa Mihajlovic, who was sacked by Fiorentina on Monday night following a 1-0 defeat at Chievo at the weekend, knows all about the butcher's sinister, dark power.

Tim Vickery in South America

With the schedule for the 2014 World Cup now announced, hosts Brazil know they will kick off the tournament in Sao Paulo at 17:00 local time on June 12. This much is certain. Of more interest is where they will be at 16:00 on July 13 - contesting the final in Rio's Maracana stadium, or drowning their sorrows elsewhere. At this point there is no lack of punters predicting the latter. Brazil have slipped behind the likes of Spain and Germany, and, some believe, even home advantage will not be enough to help the five times world champions recapture their missing mojo. Earlier this year, British football magazine Four Four Two even proclaimed the 'death of Brazil,' pointing out as part of its argument that the country's outstanding players are now often defenders.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Americans Abroad: Beasley, Gomez enjoy resurgent season in Mexico

Serie A

Michael Bradley, M, Chievo Verona -- Started, played 90 minutes in Chievo's 1-0 victory over Fiorentina on Sunday. SEASON: 9 games, 8 starts

You think Spain are good? Look who can't get a game...

The World champions have an incredible first XI but how strong is their back-up team? Pretty impressive, as England will find out at Wembley.

Carlos Tévez's ongoing controversy with Manchester City: Timeline

As Carlos Tévez defies Manchester City once again by returning to Argentina, Telegraph Sport tracks his ever-souring relationship with the club and Roberto Mancini since he refused to come off the bench in a Champions League fixture.

Surf's up in Argentina, brah...

Jürgen Klinsmann: Five Lessons for Team USA

After five games in charge, what lessons can Jürgen Klinsmann's USMNT take into friendlies against France and Slovenia.

If North Korea go out of the World Cup, will anyone hear them fall?

A trip to Pyongyang offered a rare insight into the highly unusual experience of watching a match in North Korea.

Mexico: De La Torre Explains Marquez Omission

Marquez, 32, was handed the ban and a $2,250 (£1,400) fine after he was sent off for kicking a ball at the Los Angeles Galaxy's Landon Donovan at the end of the two teams' tempestuous MLS play-off clash.

And De La Torre responded by leaving the former Barcelona defender - who has been sent off four times in international action, including against USA in one of his three World Cups in 2002 - out of his squad.

Uli Hesse in Germany

Even the most notorious nitpickers will have to admit that the Bundesliga sent its fans into the international break in style. The past weekend produced no less than 34 goals in the nine games, which is pretty good even for the most goal-hungry of the big European leagues. The last time so many goals graced a weekend, we were only a few days away from Christmas eve.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Sid Lowe in Spain

Pep Guardiola experienced a riotously enjoyable reunion with his mentor Marcelo Bielsa in Barcelona's draw with Athletic Bilbao.

Athletic Bilbao make a splash to peg back Barcelona in thriller.

Raphael Honigstein in Germany

Even Flatliners' Kiefer Sutherland didn't manage to bring his mates back from the dead with such regularity.

Claudio Pizarro provides resuscitation for kamikaze Werder Bremen.

Paolo Bandini in Italy

Udinese and Lazio both manage to cash in, despite their key strikers failing to register for a change.

Udinese and Lazio make hay after Naples floods delay Juve's progress.

Yaya Touré says Manchester City's second team could beat most rivals

Yaya Touré believes that Manchester City's second XI would be good enough to qualify for the Champions League, as he articulated his confidence that the club could win major trophies this season and redefine people's perceptions about them. The Ivory Coast midfielder has started every game so far in the Premier and Champions leagues and he has contributed vital goals in the past week, scoring twice in last Wednesday's 3-0 win at Villarreal and getting the winner at Queens Park Rangers on Saturday. The towering header maintained City's five-point advantage at the top of the Premier League while they are well placed to emerge from a difficult Champions League section.

Euro 2012 in race to get travel infrastructure ready for June kick-off

Fans travelling to Poland and Ukraine for next summer's European Championship could face travel chaos with major roadworks, train links and airport terminals months behind schedule and workers racing to get them completed in time for the tournament, which starts in Warsaw on 8 June.

Grant Wahl: Rise & Shine: Jay DeMerit's Story

One of the classic stories of U.S. soccer is set to appear in movie theaters across the nation on Thursday night. Rise & Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story, which is being shown in more than 125 theaters, retraces the inspiring journey of an MLS reject from Green Bay who goes to London and somehow rises from playing in pub leagues in city parks to competing in the English Premier League and shutting down Wayne Rooney in the 2010 World Cup.

If Jay DeMerit played football or basketball, his fable would be known by millions of Americans already. And now, thanks to the documentary, it still has that chance.

Steve Davis on MLS

Know your Major League Soccer --

Five things we learned from Sunday's conference finals:

Eduardo Alvarez in Spain

Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain started his first La Liga match for Real Madrid on a cold January evening in 2007 against Zaragoza. Back then he was just 19 years old and, despite his young age, huge expectations surrounded his arrival at the Bernabeu as €13 million appeared a big price tag for an unproven, virtually unknown striker.

Liverpool sign USA teen Pelosi

Pelosi, 17, who has played 28 times for the US Under-17s and scored eight goals and captained the side in this summer's youth-level World Cup in Mexico, has joined from De Anza Force in California.

Monday, November 07, 2011

The Fifth Official

Few of us like Monday but The Fifth Official does, for it brings with it a chance for him to point the finger and laugh. Here he pulls out the pretty, the puzzling and the downright pig-ugly from a week brimming with potential victims.

Dominic Matteo Interview

Dominic Matteo lost a seven-figure gambling. He lifts the lid on the financial meltdown at Elland Road... and reveals he struggled to get a club car at Liverpool.

Dominic Matteo: Gambling away millions

EPL News

Both Ferdinand brothers are under threats this morning, one of violence through a sinister letter, the other of being thrown on to the scrapheap by Fergie. Meanwhile Smudger Smith begins to question AVB and Blackburn look set to be miss the important Christopher Samba. In North London however things are much more cheerful...

Are André-Villas Boas' Chelsea team fit for purpose?
Police look into Ferdinand 'death threat'
'Ferdinand not finished at United
Samba sidelined
Arteta at centre of Arsenal revival
I promise to stay at Arsenal forever!
Frantic finale tests Redknapp recovery

Bundesliga Wrap

Five-star Dortmund down Wolfsburg

Budesliga Round 12 Results

Serie A Wrap

Serie A Round 11 Results
Udinese and Lazio make hay after Naples floods delayJuve's progres
Udinese and Lazio go joint top
Montolivo apologises for conduct

Serie A Report Card

La Liga Wrap

Athletic Bilbao make a splash to peg back Barcelona in thriller
Ronaldo: Team is what matters

La Liga Round 11 Results: Betis held by Malaga as Sevilla draws again away from home

MLS Playoff Wrap

Another year, another weird MLS Cup format. This year we saw a 1 game play in then a second round of home and away then single game conference championships before a single championship match. Why is the second round 2 legs but the conference championships aren't? As always with MLS the answer is, "Because". It's no surprise to see Jewel of MLS playing for the title, though they have yet to claim one in the Beckham era- they spend a ton on their squad and generally in a much smarter way than the other mega-money team in MLS (I'm looking at you, New Jersey) and they've put up the results all year. Houston is a bit of a surprise at this stage but it wouldn't be MLS Cup without a representative of the Lightning-in-a-Bottle contingent. Of course due to the ongoing tediousness of the international fixture calendar both teams are faced with the prospect of sending off squad members to play in (mostly) meaningless friendlies and hoping that the players come back safe and sound before the big match in two weeks time.

Dynamo top Sporting Kansas City to reach MLS Cup finals
Galaxy earns spot in MLS title game with 3-1 win

Galaxy Stars off to International Duty

Premier League Wrap

Arsenal 3-0 West Brom
Newcastle 2-1 Everton
Aston Villa 3-2 Norwich
Tottenham 3-1 Fulham
Liverpool 0-0 Swansea
Bolton 5-0 Stoke
Man Utd 1-0 Sunderland
Wolves 3-1 Wigan
Man City 3-2 QPR
Blackburn 0-1 Chelsea

Team of the Week
Five Things We Learned
Chalkboard Analysis