Friday, November 18, 2011

So just who is Tokyo Sexwale?

Tokyo Sexwale (pronounced seh-wa-le) took the role of Lord Sugar in South Africa’s version of The Apprentice, although he was later criticised for indecision when it came to picking the winning candidate.

Martin Rogers: Beckham reflects on U.S. adventure

For David Beckham, the most surreal moment of his American adventure didn’t come on a soccer field or at a party, but instead involved the Los Angeles Lakers, Jack Nicholson and a Staples Center restroom. “It was pretty strange,” Beckham said in an exclusive interview with Yahoo! Sports. “I was watching the Lakers. I was waiting to go to the restroom and Jack Nicholson comes out and he just says, ‘It’s all yours, David.’ I was like, ‘He really knows my name?’ ”

David Beckham and Carlos Tevez take in the action courtside...

MLS Cup 2011: Previews

With the enforced fortnight gap between the MLS Conference Finals and Sunday's MLS Cup due to the International break, and whilst European soccer's Sunday showcase includes pivotal matches like Chelsea v Liverpool and the Bundesliga table topper between Bayern Munich and current champions Borussia Dortmund the North American game comes of age Sunday evening in Carson, California with MLS Cup XVI.

MLS Forecast:
Expect a tight affair between Los Angeles and Houston

Do The Dynamo Have A Chance Against The Mighty Galaxy?

Defense the real star in Galaxy's season

Five Key Questions

The Joy of Six: Republic of Ireland Football Moments

From a seismic result against England in 1949 to a shock triumph over Holland in 2001, six memorable Irish matches.

England: Premier League Weekend Previews & Predictions

The glamour fixture on Sunday sees Chelsea host Liverpool at Stamford Bridge, but perhaps more significantly at the top of the table, unbeaten Manchester City and Newcastle lock horns at the Etihad Stadium. There will be a full house at Swansea as Manchester United are in town, while Arsenal go to Norwich and there is a fight at the bottom with Blackburn playing Wigan.


Norwich City vs. Arsenal: Preview
Manchester City vs. Newcastle: Preview
Chelsea vs. Liverpool: Preview

Team News

Premier League Spotlight

Paul Merson's Previews

Lawro's Predictions

Italy: Serie A Weekend Preview

Udinese will be looking to extend their unexpected run at the top of Serie A when they visit Parma this weekend, and second-place Lazio face a tough test at Napoli.

Defending champion AC Milan, who trail the leaders by one point, will be aiming for their sixth consecutive victory at Fiorentina, who are now under Delio Rossi's direction after Sinisa Mihajlovic was fired.

Fourth-place Juventus, who are two points behind with a game in hand, host fifth-place Palermo.

Struggling Inter Milan, who are just one point above the relegation zone, host Cagliari, who have also made a coaching change — from Massimo Ficcadenti to Davide Ballardini.


Spain: La Liga Weekend Preview + Eduardo Alvarez's Quiniela

Real Madrid's title credentials will face their sternest examination so far when Jose Mourinho and his players head to third-placed Valencia. Elsewhere, Barcelona host Zaragoza while Sevilla welcome Athletic de Bilbao.


Eduardo Alvarez's Quiniela

Los Guapos de Fútbol en España...

Louise Taylor: Alan Pardew keeps feet on the ground despite Newcastle's altitude

Manager gives Magpies wings, and a place in the top three, after toning down his brashness during his 11 months on Tyneside.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter apologises for comments on racism

"I am sorry and I regret that my statements earlier this week have resulted in an unfortunate situation," he said. "I am committed to the fight against racism, have no doubt about that. And I want to make it very clear: I will not stop until we have stamped racism out of football." The apology was read out by Tokyo Sexwale, a black Fifa official and South African government minister seen with Blatter in a photo that was circulated on Wednesday in what some saw a cynical ploy to burnish Blatter's anti-racism credentials.

Tim Vickery in South America

Argentinian Relief, Venezuelan Euphoria

Manchester City Announce Record Losses

Manchester City have announced annual losses of £194.9 million, which is the highest ever recorded in English football. The colossal sum shows the depth of the investment made by Sheikh Mansour to transform City from a lower-mid table outfit in 2008 to their present status as Premier League leaders.

Something tells me he doesn't really care...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Marina Hyde: Why John Terry has done his 'fronting up' for the last time

It feels as if football is waging a war on our language, but at least the death knell for the phrase 'fronting up' has been sounded.

A tracksuit, a seat in the dug out and an Irishman

Ireland fan Conor Cunningham has been telling the incredible story of how he found himself sitting in the best seat at the A. Le Coq Arena for Ireland’s Euro 2012 play-off match with Estonia.

Having travelled to Tallinn without a ticket for the first-leg of the play-off, which Ireland would win 4-0, Cunningham saw his opportunity to gain access to the stadium: “I just spotted an open door and I thought I will stick my head through there but it was just a closed-in room but I found an Estonian tracksuit and I just threw it on,” he has been quoted as saying.

Cunningham put the tracksuit over his Ireland shirt before picking up a bag of balls which he threw over his shoulder: “I just went for it. I didn’t know what to do, to be honest, so I thought I’d better go into the Estonian dug-out.”

This is the MLS goal of the year (plus the one that surprisingly isn’t)

With 42 percent of the fan vote, Portland's No. 2 pick in this year's MLS draft, Darlington Nagbe, won the league's goal of the year award for his beautiful juggle and volley into the top of the net against Kansas City in July. KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen set him up for what would be Portland's only goal in the 2-1 loss by punching the ball out to him, so he definitely deserves a thank you from Darlington. A month before Nagbe pulled that off, the Vancouver Whitecaps' Eric Hassli seemed to have the award all locked up with his exquisite volley against his club's rivals in Seattle.

Have a look...

U.S. Opens World Cup Qualifying June 8 vs. Antigua

The United States will open qualifying for the 2014 World Cup at home against Antigua and Barbuda on June 8.

Sepp Blatter: Idiot

The Fifa president, Sepp Blatter, has hit back on Twitter against the Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand as the row over his suggestion that racist abuse could be settled with a handshake intensified and led to renewed calls for him to resign.

Henry Winter: Sepp Blatter continues to take the lead role in Fifa’s remake of Walking with Dinosaurs.

Paul Doyle:
Sepp Blatter's dereliction of duty over racism is scandalous

Blatter's Misguided Moments


Focus on Argentina: Awayday eases managerial pressure

At 18:45 on Tuesday in Buenos Aires, and at the same time among the Argentine press contingent in the stadium in Barranquilla where Argentina were playing Colombia, the knives were being sharpened for Alejandro Sabella. The manager - whose appointment mere months ago was seen as a welcome return to sanity after the 'leadership' of Diego Maradona and Sergio Batista - had packed a team with players he knew from his time at Estudiantes de La Plata, and after an even start to the match, his side had conceded a goal to a deflected free kick on the stroke of half time.

The Mavericks: Charlie George: Highbury Hero

Tall, strong, powerful in the air and a good passer, Arsenal legend Charlie George was an entertainer on and off the pitch who became an instant hero and the darling of Highbury in the early 1970s. Described as ''A bona fide Cockney rebel'' by journalist Jon Wilde, George, like many footballers of the 1970s, was a rough diamond and someone who courted controversy wherever he went. His many bust-ups with managers, players and fans saw him loved and hated in equal measure, but ultimately his combative personality would see him only ever play one game for England.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Uli Hesse in Germany

It's a long story, like these things always are, but the German term "Klungel" comes from the same stem as the English "cling". Thus it has to do with sticking together, which is why it originally meant a knot or a bundle. Until the inhabitants of Cologne got hold of the word, that is, because they changed the meaning to denote kith and kin, family.

Euro 2012: The Pots

Seedings for Euro 2012

Pot 1: Spain, Netherlands, Poland*, Ukraine*.
Pot 2: Germany, Italy, England, Russia.
Pot 3: Croatia, Greece, Portugal, Sweden.
Pot 4: Denmark, France, Czech Republic, Republic of Ireland.

* Poland already allocated to Group A, Ukraine already allocated to Group D.

The Big Interview: Samuel Eto'o

When you earn €423,000 a week and are the highest-paid player in football history, the downside is that people are going to want to talk about it and, more often than not, jump to unfavourable conclusions. Samuel Eto'o has heard the questions and the assumptions many times.

Tottenham owners make club private in a bid to boost financial backing for new stadium

Tottenham's owners are to take the club off the stock-market to help their prospects of borrowing money for the proposed new stadium development, they said today.

Portugal vs. Bosnia: Nani's Goal

International Friendly Reports & Analyses: Slovenia 2 - 3 United States

It took nearly four months in real time and more than nine hours of action, but finally the Jurgen Klinsmann that United States fans have been waiting for stood up to be counted. The coach’s first six games in charge of Team USA were a far cry from the adventurous, aggressive approach he favored with the national team of his German homeland, and concerns began to grow as a barren spell of scoring turned into a full-fledged drought. However, a 3-2 friendly victory over Slovenia on Tuesday could represent a significant turning point for Klinsmann and his new era, coming, as it did, courtesy of a far more positive game plan.

Grant Wahl: Three Thoughts

U.S. Offense Awakens

Player Ratings

Euro 2012: The Qualifying Teams - In Pictures

The Guardian
analyses the 16 teams who will be heading to Poland and Ukraine next summer to compete in Euro 2012.

UEFA 2012 European Championship Qualifying: Second Leg Review, Reports & Analyses

Ireland eased to the European Championships for the first time since 1988 by beating Estonia 5-1 on aggregate, after a 1-1 draw in Dublin. Cristiano Ronaldo and Helder Postiga both scored twice as Portugal reached the finals with a 6-2 win over Bosnia but the scoreline did little justice to the drama at Lisbon's Stadium Of Light. Croatia also cruised into next year's finals after playing out a 0-0 draw against Turkey in Zagreb four days after their decisive 3-0 first-leg win in Istanbul. Czech Republic ensured their place after a narrow 1-0 win proved to be enough against Montenegro.


Ireland 1 - 1 Estonia (5-1 agg.)
Kevin Palmer: Joyous Ireland earn craic at Euros
Michael Cox: Defensive, and no reason to change

Croatia 0 - 0 Turkey (3-0 agg.)

Montenegro 0 - 1 Czech Republic (0-3 agg.)

Portugal 6 - 2 Bosnia-Herzegovina (6-2 agg.)

Strongest Possible Lineup for Euro 2012 Finals

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

An Owl Eats a Rat on the Crossbar in the Metropolitan Stadium in Barranquilla, Colombia

UEFA 2012 European Championship Qualifying: Second Leg Previews

Portugal vs. Bosnia
Jonathan Wilson: Bosnia aim to get it pitch perfect against Portugal
Andy Brassell: Duo ready for grand finale

Croatia vs. Turkey
Jon Carter: Turkey facing colossal task

Ireland vs. Estonia

Montenegro vs. Czech Republic

International Friendly Previews: Slovenia vs. United States

Slovenia vs. United States

12pm EST


Petrol Arena,
Celje, Slovenia

U.S. TV:
ESPN2,, Galavisión

Grant Wahl's Take

Yup. That's their national stadium...

Poland and Ukraine lose momentum with issues over shirts and injuries

A nation's preparations for a major tournament can be derailed by many things: player unrest, poor results, political upheaval, to name the most likely. But as Poland moves ever closer to its defining moment of modern times – co-hosting Euro 2012 with Ukraine – its people appear to have stumbled on a new way to throw plans off-track.

With seven months to go before their homeland becomes the centre of Europe's sporting universe Poland supporters are raging at the decision of their football association, the PZPN, to remove the white eagle – the country's oldest national symbol – from the team's kit in favour of its own logo, a less than inspiring red and yellow squiggle.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Trawler: Fleetwood whack, Cracking Barnett

Welcome to an FA Cup first round special edition of The Trawler, your weekly submersion through the teeming waters of life in the Championship, League One and League Two. You might be surprised what you find down there.

Five things we learned from International Football this weekend

Luis Suárez responds well to criticism, the future's bright for Wales and Carl Cort has escaped the curse of the quiz question.

FA delayed by language confusion in Evra-Suárez racism case

Patrice Evra has been informed that he may have difficulty proving he was the victim of racial abuse from Luis Suárez, because of a counter-argument that certain variations of the N-word are not deemed offensive where the Liverpool player grew up, in Uruguay. "Negrito", for example, could have shocking connotations for someone without full knowledge of the nuances of the language. But the counter-argument is that this is one of several derivations that are used in many countries, with no derogatory meaning – often in the same way someone could be called "pal" or "mate".

Zlatan Ibrahimovic blasts Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola in new autobiography

Sweden and Inter Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic reveals depth of hostility between him and Barcelona coach pep Guardiola in controversial autobiography 'I am Zlatan Ibrahimovic'.

UEFA 2012 European Championship Qualifying: First Leg Review

Croatia all but guaranteed themselves a place at Euro 2012 after hammering hosts Turkey 3-0 in the first leg of their play-off at the Ataturk Stadium.

A late header from Tomas Sivok saw the Czech Republic put one foot in the finals with a 2-0 victory over Montenegro.

Captain Robbie Keane claimed a double as the Republic of Ireland took a stranglehold on their play-off with a 4-0 win against nine-man Estonia.

Bosnia-Herzegovina failed to make the most of home advantage as they played out a dire goalless draw with Portugal in Zenica.


International Friendly Reports & Analyses: France 1 - 0 United States

The United States remains at a loss for offense under Jurgen Klinsmann. Loic Remy outmuscled defender Clarence Goodson to score in the 72nd minute, giving France a 1-0 exhibition victory Friday night that dropped the Americans to 1-4-1 since Klinsmann replaced Bob Bradley as coach in late July. “It could have been a draw,” said goalkeeper Tim Howard, the best American player on the field. “They played really well, and they probably had better chances then we did.” Under Klinsmann, the former German national team star and coach, the Americans have been outscored 5-2 and shut out four times.

Grant Wahl: Three Thoughts

Jurgen Klinsmann's USA is capable of being hard to beat, but is the talent there to build a winner?

Player Ratings

International Friendly Reports & Analyses: England 1 - 0 Spain

Phil Ball: Wembley Sunset
If England woke up happy on Sunday, then fine. After 20 years over here, I'm past caring about English hubris. The strains of Match of the Day still move me, but if the absence of Wayne Rooney and Jack Wilshere means that England cannot, at the very least, have a go, then I don't see the point. Maybe Capello is preparing for a catenaccio approach to this summer's Euro tournament, and if so, then it has to be admitted that England's defence played well.

Richard Williams:
Scott Parker's shield protects England against Spain's infiltrators
Yes, it was only a friendly. No, Spain are not unbeatable in such circumstances, as Argentina, Portugal and Italy have proved since the World Cup (and they are not bad company for England to be among). Certainly, Vicente del Bosque would have left Xavi Hernández and Iker Casillas on the pitch for the second half had there been something significant at stake, and the visitors' overall intensity might have been a few percentage points higher. But thanks to a display of pragmatism and wholehearted effort, England at least took the opportunity to raise their morale by a notch or two.