Friday, August 10, 2012

Men's Olympic Soccer: Gold Medal Match Preview

Who: Brazil vs. Mexico
When: 10am EDT
Where: Wembley Stadium, London, UK

England: Championship 2012-13 Season Preview: The bloggers' view

The people who really know their clubs give us the lowdown on what to expect in the Championship next season.

Promotion or relegation
1Barnsley00000000Promotion to the 2013–14 Premier League
2Birmingham City00000000
3Blackburn Rovers00000000Qualification to the Championship Playoffs
5Bolton Wanderers00000000
6Brighton & Hove Albion00000000
7Bristol City00000000
9Cardiff City00000000
10Charlton Athletic00000000
11Crystal Palace00000000
12Derby County00000000
13Huddersfield Town00000000
14Hull City00000000
15Ipswich Town00000000
16Leeds United00000000
17Leicester City00000000
20Nottingham Forest00000000
21Peterborough United00000000
22Sheffield Wednesday00000000Relegation to the 2013–14 Football League One
24Wolverhampton Wanderers00000000

EPL Season Previews: Newcastle & Norwich City


Norwich City

Juventus manager Antonio Conte gets 10-month match-fixing ban

Juventus coach Antonio Conte has been banned for 10 months after an investigation into match-fixing. Last year Conte, 43, led the club to the Serie A title in his first season in charge without losing a single game. He was accused of failing to report alleged match-fixing involving former club Siena in the 2010-11 season.

The Mill +

Friday's Rumours


MLS Week 23: Fan Previews

• US Open Cup winners Sporting Kansas City host DC United
• Seattle Sounders try to regroup at San Jose Earthquakes
• New York Red Bulls face Houston Dynamo - again
• Chivas USA host LA Galaxy in season's second SuperClasico
• Columbus Crew to honor Kirk Urso at Toronto FC game

Friday MLS Forecast

The Forecast contemplates the impact of Sporting Kansas City's Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup victory over Seattle in midweek and flips through the rest of the weekend fixtures.

Mexico announces roster for U.S. Friendly

Javier Hernandez and Andres Guardado highlight Mexico's roster for a friendly against the United States on Wednesday night.

Goalkeepers: Guillermo Ochoa (Ajaccio, France), Alefredo Talavera (Toluca);

Defenders: Francisco Javier Rodriguez (Stuttgart, Germany), Hector Moreno (Espanyol), Severo Meza (Monterrey), Hugo Ayala (UANL Tigres), Jorge Torres Nilo (UANL Tigres), Enrique Perez (Morelia), Adrian Aldrete (Club America);

Midfielders: Jesus Zavala (Monterrey), Manuel Viniegra (UANL Tigres), Edgar Gerardo Lugo (Santos Laguna), Pablo Barrera (Cruz Azul), Andres Guardado (Valencia, Spain), Angel Reyna (Monterrey);

Forwards: Elias Hernandez (UANL Tigres), Aldo de Nigris (Monterrey), Javier Hernandez (Manchester United, England).

Women's Olympic Soccer: Gold Medal Match Reports & Analyses

Abby Wambach didn't put on her "Greatness Has Been Found" T-shirt right away. She instead strayed from her teammates and knelt alone at midfield -- and cried into a U.S. flag. Yes, greatness has been found. And payback has been achieved. The Americans are again on top of the women's soccer world. The United States won its third straight Olympic gold medal Thursday, beating Japan 2-1 in a rematch of last year's World Cup final and avenging the most painful loss in its history.

Grant Wahl: Four Thoughts
Jeff Carlisle: Closure for U.S.
Ann Killion: Solo saves the day

Copa Libertadores 2012: Team of the Tournament

Corinthians capped off a fantastic footballing year with their first ever Copa Libertadores title, adding to their fifth Brasileirão triumph six months ago.  They defeated Boca Juniors 2-0 in the Estadio Pacaembu with a brace from Emerson Sheik, winning the tie 3-1 on aggregate having drawn the first leg 1-1 in Buenos Aires the week before.  A fantastic achievement considering that back in 2008 they were plying their trade in the Serie B!

Europa League: Reds revisit past to look forward

Liverpool 3-0 FC Gomel
Richard Jolly at Anfield

Rewind to 1984: Brazil's first Olympic hurdle

Brazil have made it into their third Olympic football final and have a burning desire to win the only major competition to have eluded them. In 1984, the Brazilian national team reached their first Olympic final only to lose out to France and be left with consolation of a silver medal. After the successes of the Selecao in the World Cup and the years of dominance under Pele, Zico and the golden generation of the 1960s and 1970s, Olympic gold is still something that is highly coveted in South America.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Women's Olympic Soccer: Gold Medal Match Previews

Who: USA vs. Japan
When: 2:45pm EDT
Where: Wembley Stadium, London, UK

John Duerden: Japan chases history

EPL Season Previews: Manchester City & Manchester United

Manchester City

Manchester United

The Mill +

Thursday's Rumours


Americans Abroad

Arguably the greatest American to ever play in Europe, Clint Dempsey is still searching for a new home as the Premier League season rapidly approaches.

Geoff Cameron granted visa to complete transfer to Stoke City

U.S. Open Cup: Sporting KC Wins on Penalty Kicks

Sporting Kansas City's path to the U.S. Open Cup title required penalty kicks. After converting one spot kick in regulation in Wednesday night's final, Sporting outlasted Seattle in a penalty shootout to derail the Sounders' bid to become the first team to win four straight titles. "I went out there before the first kick and I told the guys, `Look, different things are going to happen through these five - maybe up to nine - shots," manager Peter Vermes said after Kansas City won its first Cup since 2004. "Whatever happens, the next guy up needs to clear his mind and get on with his business."

Everton's Tony Hibbert's first goal in over 11 years sparks pitch invasion

Having waited over 11 years to see Tony Hibbert hit the back of the net you could forgive Everton fans for going delirious.

Sir Alex Ferguson disgruntled Arsenal are playing hardball after Man United make Robin van Persie bid

Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed Manchester United remain eager to sign Robin van Persie but have hit a break in the wall in their attempts from Arsenal.

The Mavericks: Rodney Marsh: Forward Thinking

"I basically didn't give a f**k what anyone said. Everyone should be a non-conformist because, if you listen to all those pricks telling you how to eat your breakfast or how to park your car, you end up with Big Brother. I played for the crowd. I wanted them to enjoy it as much as I did"

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Paul Marshall in France: Ligue 1 2012-13 Preview

It is surely a loss to headline writers everywhere that Christoffer Rambo excels at handball. The Norwegian has moved to Dunkerque this summer meaning the obvious puns will be enjoyed only by the locals in northern France. Those of us who prefer our sport played with the feet had to make do with another Scandinavian import into l'Hexagone, though Zlatan Ibrahimovic has not disappointed.
"I don't know much about Ligue 1," Paris Saint-Germain's €21 million talent candidly remarked when presented to the press, before adding: "But I bet they know everything about me." If they didn't, they will now after the wall-to-wall coverage the arrival of a genuine world star provoked - even the former AC Milan forward's myriad tattoos have been given thorough analysis. However, Ibrahimovic's swapping of one fashion capital for another - for what French politicians have been quick to point out is an "indecent" annual salary of €14 million after tax - should not come as too much of a shock. It is merely the next, logical step on the upward trajectory the club's über-ambitious Qatari owners set it on when they took over a year ago. "I see here the club of the future that I didn't see in Italy," said Ibrahimovic. "Honestly, who wouldn't want to be part of this team?"

'Very few' is the answer. Though ridiculously over-priced at €42 million plus another €7 million in bonuses, Thiago Silva should form a formidable central-defensive tandem with Alex, still comfortably good enough for Ligue 1, while Ezequiel Lavezzi, picked up from Napoli for €26 million, will team up with Javier Pastore and 'Ibra' up front to give Carlo Ancelotti sufficient talent to canter to the Ligue 1 title and compete - if not win - the Champions League.

The Mill +

Wednesday's Rumours


EPL Season Previews: Liverpool & Fulham



Women's Olympic Soccer: Canada's Melissa Tancredi stomps on USA's Carli Lloyd's head

Men's Olympic Soccer: Tuesday's Reports & Analyses

Brazil 3 - 0 South Korea
Andy Hunter at Old Trafford
Jonathan Wilson: Brazil's path to gold medal game hides a set of growing problems

Mexico 3 - 1 Japan
Grant Wahl: Three Thoughts

Georgina Turner: Carroll's only shot at a fair chance will be with a move to West Ham

The $54.8 million paid by Liverpool to purchase Carroll from Newcastle United has left an indelible mark. A move produced by an exceptional set of circumstances -- Kenny Dalglish and Damien Comolli let loose with the company credit card in their first transfer window, knowing a British-record $78.2 million was on its way from Chelsea for Fernando Torres -- has, to an extent, set a course for Carroll's career. At 22, and with a decent season in the second tier and half a season in the Premier League under his belt, Carroll became the most expensive British player ever. He admitted to struggling with the expectations that invited. Yet it is what happens this summer -- how Carroll plays the options that he now has -- that will perhaps tell us the most about him.

Norman Hubbard: Owen's lack of hunger means end near

A former teenage sensation named Michael took his final bow last week - a precocious, electric world-beater bowing out to a rapturous reception and still near the peak of his powers. Enough about the record-breaking swimmer Michael Phelps, however. Michael Owen has also had a busy Olympics.

He has watched the rowing, the gymnastics, the dressage, the athletics and even the football. Judging from his updates on social networking sites, Owen has become something of an authority on televised sport.

The former European Footballer of the Year may be Britain's most famous couch potato. Indeed, he may now be an ex-footballer, even if the joke is that he has been one for the last three years. We don't know.

And, such is Owen's descent from ubiquity to irrelevance, many don't care.

Abby Wambach's brains provided crucial assist to U.S. women's soccer's comeback against Canada

It was no secret Canada's strategy against the deeper, more talented Americans was to slow the game down. That included, Wambach said, having goalkeeper Erin McLeod hold the ball as long as possible, even over 15 seconds at times during the first half. Soccer rules say the goalkeeper must get rid of the ball within six seconds. During the second half, with the U.S. frantically trying to speed up the game while attempting multiple comebacks, Wambach began running near referee Christiana Pedersen and counting off the seconds that McLeod held the ball. She said she often got to 10 and into even the teens.

"I wasn't yelling. I was just counting," Wambach revealed Tuesday during an interview at the team hotel. "Probably did it five to seven times."

The last time came in the 78th minute, with Canada trying to milk a 3-2 lead. McLeod made a save, and Wambach began counting again.

"I got to 10 seconds right next to the referee, and at 10 seconds she blew the whistle," Wambach said.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Men's Olympic Soccer: Previews and Predictions for Semifinal Games

The soccer tournament at the 2012 London Olympics is now heading into the semifinal round, with both games being played on Tuesday, August 7. Mexico and Japan meet in the first match at 5 p.m. local time. Both teams finished group play with a pair of wins and one tie to move on to the quarterfinals. Mexico won a hard-fought contest over Senegal with a pair of extra time goals to come away with a 4-2 win. Japan had an easier time in the quarterfinals, notching an easy 3-0 win over hapless Egypt.

Brazil was the only team in the tournament to win every group play match, and followed up its opening dominance with a comeback 3-2 win against Honduras. Korea moved on from group play despite winning just one game and drawing the other two. The Koreans narrowly advanced past hometown Great Britain by winning a penalty shootout 5-4.

Columbus Crew midfielder Kirk Urso dies after night out, autopsy points to ‘natural death’

In a 911 call released to the local news outlet The Columbia Dispatch, an unidentified female describes "a very drunk person" who fell down and became unconscious. The 22 year old — who did not travel with the Crew for its 1-0 loss at DC United the previous day — was rushed to Grant Medical Center, but was pronounced dead just after 1:50am.

The Mill

Tuesday's Rumours

The Trawler: Seagulls scalp, Muamba could be back

Welcome to 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.

MLS: Five things we learned in week 22

• No excuses as Seattle Sounders put four past LA Galaxy
• Advantage Houston Dynamo in New York Red Bulls series
• Colorado Rapids' eight game Real Salt Lake losing streak ends
• Veteran Italians have instant impact for Montreal Impact
• Chicago Fire add key new signings to winning team

Jonathan Wilson: Will London 2012 be the moment that Asian football overhauls Africa?

While several different African nations have had occasional success since Nigeria's Olympic triumph in 1996, the rise of Japan and South Korea has an inexorable feel to it.

EPL Season Previews: Chelsea & Everton



Women's Olympic Soccer: USA 4 - 3 Canada (aet)

The U.S. women's soccer team is back in the Olympic gold medal match after a wild come-from-behind 4-3 win over Canada with a goal in the final minute of extra time. Now the Americans will be out to avenge one of the most gut-wrenching losses in the program's history. Alex Morgan gave the U.S. its first lead of the night in the third minute of injury time Monday, completing the win over Canada in the Olympic semifinals at Old Trafford.

Grant Wahl: Morgan's game-winner caps off thrilling U.S. victory over Canada

Jeff Carlisle: Fearless attitude key to epic win

Fresh take: Alex Morgan's last-second goal gives U.S. the win over a bitter Canada

Alyssa Roenigk: Canada cries foul over GK call

Tim Vickery (not) in South America

When I fly back to Rio - the host of the 2016 Olympics - my enduring memory of London 2012 will be that of Great Britain's women's football team beating Brazil.

Included in a Wembley crowd of 70,584, sitting directly behind me, was a young girl of around seven or eight who had gone along with her father.

She sat - or mostly stood - enraptured as he patiently explained what was going on. After a minute and a half they had a GB goal to celebrate.

Towards the end, dad was cheering hard for a second, mainly because it would give him an excuse to leave early and beat the rush.

Gabriele Marcotti: Modric in middle of game of chicken

Over the weekend, Harry Redknapp reportedly announced that Luka Modric was promised that he could leave Tottenham this summer. "The chairman [Daniel Levy] said to him last year 'Give us one more season and if Real come in I won't stand in your way,'" he said. Redknapp, of course, was Tottenham manager until June, when he was let go. And last summer he was the one dealing with a protracted Modric saga. Chelsea had made several bids, reportedly as high as $30 million, all of which Tottenham turned down, and Modric was unhappy at not being allowed to leave. So much so, in fact, that he sat out Spurs' first game of the season, against Manchester United, with Redknapp saying at the time that "his head's not in the right place." His head may or may not have been "in the right place" nine days later, but by that stage it was a moot point: The transfer window had closed and Modric was going nowhere.

Arsenal confirm signing of Spain international Santi Cazorla

Spain midfielder Santi Cazorla has signed for Arsenal and joined up with the pre-season training camp in Germany after completing a £15 million move from Malaga.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Putin linked with Milan investment

Speculation is increasing in Italy that Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to invest in AC Milan via the partially state-owned utility company Gazprom. Berlusconi is a close friend of Putin and La Gazzetta dello Sport has reported that he travelled to Russia for four days on "non-political" business. Talks over Gazprom buying a stake in the seven-time European champions are believed to be the reason.

EPL Season Previews: Arsenal & Aston Villa

               Arsenal                                                    Aston Villa

Manchester City's Gael Clichy claims banana was thrown on pitch against Limerick as investigation begins

An investigation is underway into claims by Manchester City defender Gael Clichy that a banana was thrown on to the pitch during his side's friendly win over Limerick.

The Mill +

Monday's Rumours


Monday MLS Breakdown

Sounders FC prepared for a potentially historic Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final date at Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday by brushing aside Los Angeles, 4-0, at CenturyLink Field.


Women's Olympic Soccer: USA vs. Canada Previews

What: Women's Olympic Soccer Semi-Final
Who: United States vs. Canada
Where: Old Trafford, Manchester, England
When: 2:45pm EDT

Men's Olympic Soccer: Weekend Review

South Korea will meet Brazil in the semi-finals of the Olympic Games after beating Great Britain 5-4 on penalties, after a 1-1 draw at the Millennium Stadium. Brazil are through to the semi-finals of the Olympic Games football tournament after twice coming from behind to beat Honduras 3-2 at St James' Park. Japan booked their place in the semi-finals of the 2012 Olympics with a comfortable 3-0 win over Egypt at Old Trafford. Yoshida doubled Japan's lead after the break and Otsu's header sealed a 3-0 triumph for Japan, who will play Mexico in the last four after their match with Senegal went to extra-time before they wrapped up a 4-2 victory at Wembley.

Blackburn's game against NEC Nijmegen off after 'riots'

Blackburn's pre-season friendly with Dutch club NEC Nijmegen on Sunday afternoon has been cancelled because of the threat of fan violence. The decision came after claims that Rovers fans had been involved in disturbances with rival supporters.

Adam Digby in Italy: Aquilani out to revive ailing career

It wasn't meant to be this way. From the moment he became part of Roma's youth system Alberto Aquilani was identified as one of the brightest prospects to emerge in years and yet now, just over a decade later, he moves to Fiorentina looking to rediscover that early promise. Having finally ended a Liverpool career that was always ill-fitting and never truly began in earnest, the 28-year-old moves to a club now synonymous with rebuilding the reputation of fallen stars. He will be hoping the famous Viola shirt can do the same for him.

Off the Ball

Off the Ball never rests in its mission to scratch around the underbelly of professional football to find the most bizarre, humorous and inexplicable stories. This week, Zlatan Ibrahimovic beats up new PSG team-mates, Ever Banega's new Ferrari bursts into flames, a Spanish bakery flogs 'fingers of Mou' ahead of the Supercopa, Manchester City coach David Platt rolls back the years with stunning bicycle kick and Sergio Ramos thrashes Kaka in an Olympic swim-off.