Friday, July 06, 2012

Friday MLS Forecast

The Forecast debates the cries of favoritism over the one-match ban handed to David Beckham for his hijinks against San Jose last weekend, plus a look at the weekend fixtures.

The Mill +

Friday's Rumours


Peace Cup 2009: Del Piero's Awful Penalty

David Conn: Glazers' plans to float Manchester United make the heart sink

The US owners hope to entice investors willing to buy Manchester United shares with reduced voting rights and no dividend, then register the company in the Cayman Islands.

David Conn: Arsenal's self-financing model comes under scrutiny from within

The club's 30% owner Alisher Usmanov has written an open letter to the board criticising a system that sees Arsène Wenger denied team-building funds and top players leaving the club.

Michael Bradley glaring away the obstacles to secure Roma move

Roma will finalize a transfer for Michael Bradley imminently, with the Rome club representing a significant step forward in the American's career.

Euro 2012: Internal strife forces Blanc, Van Marwijk to pay ultimate price

The end of a major tournament often brings a rash of coaching changes. Euro 2012 has been no different. Some, like Franciszek Smuda (Poland), Dick Advocaat (Russia) and Slaven Bilic (Croatia) already were at the end of their contracts -- but Laurent Blanc and Bert van Marwijk, who coached France and Holland, respectively, were two surprise coaching casualties following Euro 2012.

No doubt, both teams did flop spectacularly in the competition: France won one game out of four, eschewing the identity that Blanc was trying to give it in its quarterfinal loss to Spain; while Holland lost all three matches, including its opener to Denmark.

Sam Kelly in South America

The 2012 Copa Libertadores final ended up being fought out between two of South America's biggest clubs. Boca Juniors, one of the competition's most successful sides, who have six titles and are only one behind all-time record holders Independiente, and Corinthians, a club that despite their grand stature were hoping to win their first ever Copa. After a hard-fought couple of legs, it was Corinthians who came out on top, to become the 23rd different club to win the trophy.

Nesta joins Montreal Impact

Former AC Milan defender Alessandro Nesta has opted to continue his career in Major League Soccer with the Montreal Impact.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

The Mill +

Thursday's Rumours


The Homes of Football

This intimate short film will accompany photographer Stuart Roy Clarke's show at the National Football Museum in Manchester in July 2012. The film was made by Northern Stars and features an original score by British Sea Power.


The Big Interview: Xabi Alonso

Spain's midfielder talks about his side's mental attitude, philosophy, and the chances of winning the 2014 World Cup.

Euro 2012: ‘Live’ footage of crying German fan was pre-recorded – and it’s not right

It has emerged that during Germany’s semi-final defeat to Italy at Euro 2012, the television directors at Uefa tricked us. With the favourites trailing by Mario Balotelli’s two goals, the camera panned to a tearful German lady. Oh, the emotion. While we in England had shed our tears in the previous round, now it was the Germany’s turn – and it was hard not to feel some sympathy. But it has since transpired that the lady in question was not shedding tears of sadness, but tears of patriotism. She had been filmed during the playing of the German national anthem, and then the clip was inserted 37 minutes into the match.

Uefa have admitted the manipulation, saying they were trying to show “the human story of the game”.

Norman Hubbard on Liverpool

Whereas some managers have to adapt to suit the players they inherit, the Liverpool squad may find they are required to adjust to Rodgers' preferred system and style of play.

All of which poses the question: which can? Whereas Kenny Dalglish's team, with increasing incoherence, switched tactics, Rodgers played 4-3-3, tweaking it to 4-2-3-1 after Gylfi Sigurdsson's January arrival gave him an attacking central midfielder.

Copa Libertadores Final: Corinthians defeat Boca Juniors

Corinthians won the Copa Libertadores for the first time in their history with a 3-1 aggregate victory over Boca Juniors.

Robin van Persie will not renew with Arsenal

"I've thought long and hard about it, but I have decided not to extend my contract," the Dutchman, at the club since 2004, wrote on his website.

Richard Jolly: Arsenal at Crossroads

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

July 4, 2012

There's not really much going on today anyway. Spurs signed Sigurdsson and that's about it. 

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Sid Lowe in Spain

The players had not left the Olympic Stadium in Kiev before minds were being focused on winning the 2014 World Cup.

Spain's history boys are already looking to the future.

Gabriel Batistuta’s Goals for Fiorentina: 1991-2000

In demand Ezequiel Lavezzi joins Paris St Germain from Napoli

Argentine forward Ezequiel Lavezzi has joined Paris St Germain from Napoli on a four-year deal, the Ligue 1 club said today. Lavezzi, 27, is PSG's first recruit this summer as they look to build a competitive team for next season's Champions League after finishing second in Ligue 1.

Henry Winter: Spain’s magical team show just how far behind England have fallen in the international game

England’s anticipated quarter-final exit from Euro 2012 has prompted much debate about the state of the national game. Unfortunately, too many people within club football and the media remain resistant to the pressing need for a winter break.

Euro 2012: Spain's Iker Casillas asked an assistant referee to blow for time early out of 'respect' for Italy in final

Spain's captain Iker Casillas is not just a great goalkeeper and multiple champion, he is also a man with a heart and a sense of sportsmanship, it seems. He saw Italy were suffering at the end of the Euro 2012 final, and was moved to ask the referee to spare them.

The Mill +

Tuesday's Rumours


André Villas-Boas confirmed as new Tottenham manager

Yay! Excuses to use photos of the wrong Villas-Boas...

André Villas-Boas has been confirmed as the new manager of Tottenham and is understood to have signed a three-year contract at White Hart Lane.

MLS Week 17 Power Rankings: Emotion get best of Beckham

David Beckham's tumultuous week, the summer transfer window opens and more from MLS Week 17:

Roberto Gotta in Italy

Italy’s best tactical move since last Thursday, when their football team beat Germany to qualify for the Euro2012 final, was made by President Giorgio Napolitano, who invited the Azzurri to visit him at his presidential palace on Monday, win or lose. Lose, they did. Sunday’s 4-0 defeat became Italy’s worst ever result in the final stages of European Championship or World Cup finals.

Their second worst was in the 1970 World Cup final, when an Azzurri team which had not been expected to go that far (have we heard this before?) were beaten 4-1 by Brazil. Angry fans pelted the returning party with tomatoes and rotten eggs, their ire directed more at coach Ferruccio Valcareggi, for his selection policy, than at the players, in what remains a shameful moment in a long list of indecent behaviour by calcio supporters.

Seldom has defeat been accepted in a country with a poor culture of sportsmanship (during Sunday’s final the main megascreen in Rome’s Circo Massimo had to be turned off after flares, bottles and flagpoles were thrown at it late in the second half), but Napolitano’s gesture sent a message of goodwill and decency which is, sadly, not likely to be taken by as many as it should, despite the fact the whole thing will be broadcast live.

Phil Ball in Spain

Spain keep coming up with novel ideas. The latest one was to save their best performance for the final. In so doing they set a couple of records, and delivered an exemplary response to those who have accused them of being boring. Well - they can be, occasionally, but that’s all a part of the mix. They don’t need to be. There’s a difference.

Euro 2012: More Fun With Super Mario

Monday, July 02, 2012

Henry Winter: Michel Platini will sour a winning formula with ill-conceived Euro 2020 plans

For a former midfielder fabled for the intelligence of his movement, particularly during European Championship finals, Michel Platini could really have timed his run better.

Monday MLS Breakdown

San Jose and Los Angeles offer up a potential match of the season: The I-5 rivals shared seven goals in the Earthquakes' 4-3 victory at a sold-out Stanford Stadium on Saturday night, plus a look at the other action from an entertaining week.


The Joy of Six: How we'll remember Euro 2012

From Andrea Pirlo's cheeky penalty to Mario Balotelli's coming of age, here are half a dozen things we will not forget.

The Mill

Monday's Rumours

Euro 2012: Best Of, Best Ever?, Highs and Lows, Verdicts

Buffon; Arbeloa, Ramos, Mellberg, Jordi Alba; Xabi Alonso; Ronaldo, Pirlo, Iniesta; Fábregas, Balotelli (??)

Jeff Carlisle: Spain Best Ever

Euro 2012: Spain Win

Just like clockwork, Spain's "tiki taka" passing game tore Italy apart. The World Cup champions controlled the play Sunday in the European Championship final, as they usually do. They moved the ball up the field with short pass after short pass, as they usually do. But, incredibly, they also managed to score a whopping four goals, something they don't usually do. It all added up to a 4-0 win over Italy and a third straight major soccer title for Spain.

Grant Wahl: Three Thoughts