Martin Palermo's longshot can be added to the collection below
February 2007 Archives
Martin Palermo's longshot can be added to the collection below
Gabriel Heinze, Louis Saha and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored a 3 goal blitz in the first six minutes to take Manchester United into the quarter finals of the FA Cup. Reading came back strongly in reply and goals from Dave Kitson and Leroy Lita gave Man U quite a bit of a scare later on.
Martin Palermo holds the dubious record of being the one to miss the maximum number of penalties in an international game.He missed 3 in the same game.Incredible !
But now maybe that's because he was standing too close to the goal.Maybe he would have scored if he had taken those penalties from a little further back .He scored the goal below from beyond the half line - in the 94th minute ( 3rd minute of injury time) reducing the goalkeeper Oscar Ustari to tears in the process.Boca won the game 3-1
Dimitar Berbatov is the tour de force in the Spurs attack. As Robbie Keane and Mido play now you see me, now you don't, it has been left to Berbatov to shoulder the Spurs attack and the former Bayer Leverkusen man has delivered admirably. It has been a straight line from the field to the hearts of the Spurs faithful. And he has done this in less than a season, in a team studded with firepower boasting the likes of Mido, Keane, Defoe, Jenas, and Lennon.
The stoop shouldered languid striker's multi dimensional play was on display as the Spurs took Bolton by the scruff of the neck and left them dangling on a peg, legs flailing uselessly. He was not amongst the goals but a little cameo captures Berbatov and his intelligent versatility. On the left flank, he scooped the ball over a defender, ran around and then held back just a bit to see whether he could take a crack at the goal, deferred, went in for the better option, laying a perfect pass to a streaming Jenas, whose cracking shot was just parried out by Jaaskelainen. Moments later, Berbatov's lay on the ground tackled down by two defenders, and in the tangle of legs, he connected with Malbranque whose blast was serendipitiously deflected out by Hunt.
Berbatov hogged so much of Bolton's time and effort that it freed up other Spurs players to motor down and lay siege with Chimbonda and Tainio indulged in some fancy footwork of their own against beleaguered Bolton.
Shootout at the Fantasy Factory was a 1973 Traffic album but it could well describe the Premiership this weekend as winning teams pasted the competition. Goals scored 21. Goals against 2.
The teams included a shell shocked West Ham, crumbling to Charlton, 4-0. Then a well oiled softly purring Spurs attack methodically dismantled Bolton, 4-1 as they played Keane-less for about for an hour. Liverpool lambasted Sheffield United, 4-0 and Everton took apart Watford, 3-0. On Sunday, Blackburn on the strength of two Shibani Nonda strikes (including what must be the fastest Premiership goal this season) felled Portsmouth, 3-0. It was left to Newcastle (0-1) and Fulham (1-2) losses to Wigan and Man Utd, respectively for the more usual scoreline.
Is this part of a general letdown by certain teams? West Ham has been extremely fragile and at this point relegation bound Leeds Utd could take them out. So it was not a major surprise that Charlton snuffed out their dim hopes of crawling out of the cellar. But the Trotters? Wasn't Big Sam the one coach that got his boys ready weekend in and weekend out to play ball? Truth be told, they came upon an inspired Spurs team that lived up to expectation for the first time. Blackburn's attack cannot be described as high powered plus they were missing Benni McCarthy. Portsmouth was done in by a demoralizing Nonda goal scored within the first minute and never really recovered. Some atrocious goal keeping by David James helped Blackburn too.
Graham Poll - who was lying low for while - emerged from the shadows yesterday and made a fresh attempt to scale the heights of unpopularity.Robbie Keane got sent off the field for the first time in his career in the Spurs vs Bolton match yesterday.He was given a red card for what Poll thought was a deliberate handball.Spurs meanwhile demolished Bolton 4 - 1 in the game.
Another bizarre game, but this time it's for the silverware.
Drogba shows why he's class by saving Chelsea's behind.
Arsenal looked good, but the youth squad lose their cool.
Three red cards.
What a shame... All I can say is thank goodness Terry's all right.
Coming soon: the videos.
Sheffield United didn't exactly cover themselves with glory after managing to score no goals in comparision to Liverpool's four .Robbie Fowler scored 2 penalties and Hyypia and Gerrard scored a goal each.
Elsewhere Manchester United came from a goal down to win 2 -1 against Fulham.Great winner from Ronaldo. Goals here
Sepp Blatter is a political animal. His FIFA career has been an orchestration of lining up votes, doling out favours to powerful associates who help him to keep power. The ISL scandal shows the extent of corruption in the FIFA higher echelons. In Blatter's tenure as FIFA president, there has been no appetite for real reform.
In fact, FIFA is now a version of the IMF, an autocratic authority whose primary preoccupation appears to be imposing arbitrary disciplinary measures against the soccer have nots, while largely ignoring the problems that face European and South American countries where soccer hooliganism and corruption continue to run rampant. FIFA's hypocrisy is clearly seen in banning Kenya from international soccer while turning a blind eye to the match fixing crisis that confronted Italian soccer in the summer, racism in the German lower leagues, and hooligan violence in the Argentine league.
Surely, Kenya's running of two parallel league is their internal problem. The Kenyan government stepping in to resolve their differences was a good faith gesture and not a case of interference, as FIFA claims. In many countries, politics and sports are so intertwined it is hard to separate out the two. Be that as it may, is this enough reason to punish a country by banning them from soccer? Iran and Greece were similarly suspended.
Blatter's presidency is up for renewal this fall. His fairweather approach to reforms should be enough reason to convince anyone that he is undeserving of re-election. In fact, there is speculation that his public proclamations of support for South Africa hosting the World Cup is a front for securing the African vote. Once he is re-elected he will throw SA under the bus if it does not show enough progress, and award the World Cup to Australia. Cynical speculations you might add but Blatter has made a career out of being self serving. The suspension of Kenya exposes the real Blatter.
Freedom for football writes in about FIFA's intrusive policies:
A less prominent but equally chilling case is playing out in the US now over FIFA's power play to take control of futsal globally. The US futsal organization has existed for decades independently and owns the trademark to futsal in the US. FIFA has threatened to sanction USSF unless it brings US Futsal to heel, but FIFA and USSF haven't got a leg to stand on in terms of US (or Kenyan) law
I might add that Blatter was not being disingenuous when he expressed his concern at the number of foreign owners in the Premiership in clubs.
"We need to be careful football doesn't end up in the hands of people who want football to serve them, instead of them serving football," said Blatter. "It is a very delicate matter and we need the help of the judicial authorities."
Et tu, Blatter?
Update: Andrew Jennings points out that Sepp Blatter is up for re-electionin May 2007. Thanks Andrew.
Alan Curbishley vs Alan Pardew in the clash of the 500 lbs gorillas and it is Curbs left with a massive hangover.
Two coaches going at each other against their former clubs as Charlton took on West Ham in Alan Curbishley's return to the Valley for The Match of the Relegation Zone Clubs. As it turned out he need not have bothered as Alan Pardew and Charlton took apart the bedraggled and bedfuddled Hammers now in free fall, 4-0. None of West Ham's big name signings were there to contribute as Luis Boa Morte was down with fever, Lucas Neill and Matthew Upson were out with ankle injuries. Darren Bent again proving he is the best thing that has happened to Charlton. Again, his absence from the English squad continues to bewilder. What does this man have to do to get a call up for even a friendly? His record of two caps is an insult to this fine soccer player. He again leads the scoring for Charlton, a team that has scored just 24 goals.
West Ham has now scored a paltry 18 goals and let in 46 for a league leading -28 differential. Anemic attack. Porous defence. Surely, all those Hammers who were congratulating themselves on Pardew's dismissal have egg (or is it Eggert?) on their face.
Football legends Ronaldo and Zinédine Zidane will be among the world’s top players in an all-star line-up for the fourth annual match against poverty next month as part of an awareness raising and fund raising campaign for the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
Ronaldo and Zidane - both goodwill ambassadors to the UN Development Program - are the captains for the two teams .
And in the meantime Zidane is going to be in Chiang Mai, Thailand,some time today - part a program to help aspiring young players.
He will train 40 players chosen from eight schools in the province and donate 1,000 footballs to provincial authorities.
That's what I think when I see this:
Is it time to think past Dunga yet?
And now Ronaldinho joins Ronaldo in the "too fat to play well" camp...
With virtually no soccer being played in their country because of the FIFA suspension, Kenyan players have left to play for neighbouring countries like Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania. The next match up for Kenya is their Africa Cup qualifier with Swaziland. The Kenya Football Federation has been ordered to sort out their problems in a Special General Meeting by February 28 after which they have been threatened by a lengthy, indefinite ban. At issue is two warring factions that run parallel football leagues. A CAF commitee is in Nairobi meeting with the officials of the two factions.
Hearts majority shareholder Vladimir Romanov issued a convoluted kind of statement on their official website which indicated that refereeing was open to corruption.This is the sequel to the first round which took place earlier this month.
On February 15, the Russian magazine Futbol had carried an interview with Romanov in which he had alleged that the Old Firm of Celtic and Rangers "have turned football into a type of showbusiness with their underhand games" ..... "They buy off players and referees."
There are some interesting references to "monkeys" and " Mowgli" from jungle book in the sequel.More here
You'll soon see Gazza in movie halls in a sci-fi horror movie called Final Run. And no, its title is misleading because it is not about Gazza's return to White Hart Lane to fight the aliens who have taken over Robbie Keane and Mido and rescue the Spurs bizarro season.
Troubled ex-soccer player Paul Gascoigne is attached to star in "Final Run," a $2.5 million budgeted horror actioner being set up by London-based production company SjB Imperial Film. SjB topper Stephen James Bland helms the pic in which Gascoigne — or Gazza as he is affectionately known by the Brit public — will play a survivor of an alien invasion.
Bland describes the project "as something akin to 'Aliens' meets 'Black Hawk Down'," stressing that it is "character-driven and no mindless shoot-'em-up."
And Vinnie Jones who knows Gazza up close and personal continues his successful movie career with Rush Hour 3 alongside Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, due summer 2007.
Vinnie has also agreed to play Arkan, the notorious Serbian warlord and onetime soccer hooligan whose fascist ideology was honed in the terraces of Red Star Belgrade. Watch out for him in the Filthy War.
Craig Bellamy has impulse control issues, Lee Bowyer is a racist thug, Vinnie Jones enforces by squeezing sensitive body parts of the opposition, and Pedro Mendes is a favourite target of career dolts like Ben Thatcher and Joey Barton. And in England, even a petulant Cesc Fabregas can be termed as a goon.
Bellamy's recent behavior was boneheaded, in fact it was downright comical, caused by a wee bit too much to drink. There is a difference between Bellamy's prankish conduct and the premeditated violence of Thatcher's inexcusable foul on Mendes. In fact, it should remind us that there are more Ben Thatchers' and practitioners of his type of cynical violence in other countries and other leagues. Remember Brazilian midfielder Leonardo's vicious elbow to the head of US player Tab Ramos that fractured his skull in the 1994 World Cup. In the same World Cup, Italian Mauro Tassotti was suspended for 8 games by FIFA for bloodying Spain's Luis Enrique. Maradona's fight against Atletico Bilboa that led to a melee ended with Schuster's infamous flying kick to the head of an unsuspecting Bilbao player recorded for posterity. Roberto Carlos was suspended for hitting a referee in a match against Portugal that Brazil lost, 2-1. And how can one forget Marco Materazzi who always manages to hit new lows.
The British can berate and bemoan their so called thuggish players but none of their actions have led to tragic consequences of the type that befell Colombian player Andres Escobar or the controversial death of Cristiano Junior, a Brazilian player playing for Indian soccer club, Dempo who died on the field following a tackle by the Mohun Bagan goalkeeper, Subrata Paul.
There is far more accountability and transparency in Britain than other countries. The irritating intrusiveness that British tabloid journalism brings to bear on its media figures, including soccer players, targeting their foibles, has the unintended consequence of raising the awareness of breakdowns in decorum; before they can get out of hand and lead to loss of a career, property, limb, or even life seen more commonly in other countries and leagues. British hardmen can be lampooned for their prankishness and some even go onto lucrative movie careers.
The two top religions of Italy – Catholicism and football are coming together in a first time international championship for student priests called the Clericus Cup.It has been organised by the Vatican and an Italian sports body and is set for kick off on saturday.Clergy from 50 states attending Rome's many seminaries will be among those participating.There are 16 teams in the tournament, fielding 311 athletes from countries including the United States, Brazil, Papua New Guinea and Rwanda.And in case things get out of hand during the games the Ref will have a "blue card"to get things back in order.
The blue card will be used to send off players who foul. They will be allowed to return to the field after a five minutes cooling off period during which they are supposed reflect on what they have done. ( or maybe take a quick trip to the nearest confessional ......!)
Italian soccer has been mired in riots and scandals and killings of late.There is a desperate need to make the point that " good football that is played according to the rules can make parishes a place where the young can meet again." The hope is that the clergymen from 50 nations can bring back faith to soccer ..and amen to that.
Esteban Cambiasso scored the first with a header.David Villa took the fantastic free-kick shown below to level the score against the run of play.Brazilian defender Maicon restored Inter's lead in the 75th minute and David Silva got the second equaliser of the day off a poor headed clearance .All the goals here.
Elsewhere English referee Mike Riley gave out eleven yellow cards equalling a Champions League record in the Lyon vs Roma game..... which then ended in a goalless draw after all that ..!
Victor Valdes backs up into his own goal inexplicably. Bad boys Bellamy and John Arne Riise who were in a dustup less than a week ago turn out to be the heroes as Liverpool wins against Barcelona, 2-1. Check out Bellamy's golf swing celebration.
Some really poor defending from Barca led to their first home defeat in Europe since April 2003.Liverpool beat them by two goals to one (video)
Deco gave Barca a 14th minute lead but Bellamy equalised two minutes before half time and Riise scored the winner 16 minutes from the end.
Elsewhere Chelsea and Porto held each other off to a one all draw. (video) Raul Meireles gave Porto the lead and Shevchenko did the equalising for Chelsea.
The goal was Shev-chenko's 58th goal in 104 European appearances and he is now second to Gerd Müller,who had 62 goals.
On Sunday, the Melbourne victory crushed Adelaide United, 6-0 at Telstra stadium to win the A-League behind Archie Thompson's record setting five goals. The man who engineered it all was Fred, the Brazilian midfielder signed on by the Victory at the start of the 2006 season.
Fred's destination from the Brazilian state of Belo Horizonte to the A-League and the Melbourne Victory illustrates the importance of having a local point man in a country whose endless soccer talent have been cornered for years by the big European leagues but other fledgling leagues have found difficult to find a toehold, partly because of their smaller drawing power and suspicion at the level of corruption in the South American leagues. In the Victory's case, ex-South Melbourne player, Steve Panopoulos decision to settle down in Brazil after a trip to the World Club Cup championship in 2000 proved to be serendipitious to the Victory's fortunes. While he was there he fell in love with a local lass, married her and made Brazil his new home.
Panopolous kept up his ties with Ernie Merrick, the Victory's manager, who knew him from his days at the Victorian Institute of Sports. At Panopolous urging, Merrick made a scouting trip to Brazil in 2006. Merrick with Panopoulos as his interpreter, saw hundreds of hours of soccer footage, went to matches, met with agents. In particular, Merrick liked Fred, a lithe, skilled, and eager 28 year old striker playing for his state side, Belo Horizonte. He was the second highest scorer in the state championships attracting the attention of big clubs, Atletico Miniero and Cruzeiro. Fred played ten years at America MG, a highly regarded club that was also home to Arsenal's star midfielder, Giberto Silva. Merrick's dinner with Lothar Matthaus, the German legend who was on a coaching trip to Brazil led to a meeting a Brazilian international who had played with Fred and recommended him enthusiastically. The wheels were set in motion. Fred was given DVDs that familiarized him with Australia and the Victory and learned more on the web. Australia's standard of living, his insight that he would never make it to the Brazilian national team, his sense of adventure, and probably more importantly, having a local contact like Panopoulos, whose familiarity with Australia would lead to a smoother transition helped in making his decision to sign up with the Victory.
After getting his Bachelor of Science, Panopoulos joined the Stellar Group, the global sports management company in April 2006, becoming part of Stellar's Brazil group headed by Marcio Bittencourt. Stellar also represented Fred and Claudinho, ex-Atletico Paranaense striker. On May 22, 2006, both Bittencourt and Panopoulos, accompanied Fred and Claudinho to Melbourne where they were met by enthusiastic Victory supporters at the airport. On July 13, 2006 they were joined by Internacional left back Alessandro, also represented by the Stellar Group. The Melbourne Victory's success story
has done a lot to bridge the gap between South America and Australia and it all began with local connections. This maybe the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship between the Hyundai League and the South American leagues.
You can get a good look here at the controversial free kick that helped Man U to a 1- 0 win over Lille yesterday.Ryan Giggs took the shot while the french team were still getting their wall ready and the goalkeeper was taken completely by surprise.Lille players threatened to walk off the field in protest.... leading Fergusun to say things like"I have never seen that before in all my years in football," and "That is a disgrace and UEFA have to do something as that was pure intimidation of the referee.." etc.
What made it a bit worse for Lille was this goal from Odemwingie which had been disallowed earlier.
In other action Real Madrid defeated Bayern Munich 3 -2 . Beckham was instrumental in creating two of the three goals - one came off a corner and the other off a free kick taken by him. (video)
Lille v Man Utd
Celtic v AC Milan
PSV Eindhoven v Arsenal
Real Madrid v Bayern Munich
Barcelona v Liverpool
FC Porto v Chelsea
Inter Milan v Valencia
Roma v Lyon
... go to Livefooty.com
Archie Thompson's previous claim to fame was that he set the world record for goals scored in an international match . Australia played American Samoa in Coffs Harbour in a qualifier for the 2002 World Cup and won that game by 31 goals to zero.(the score was originally reported as 32-0 as the scorekeepers lost count). Thompson scored 13 of the Australian goals.
The qualifying system was subsequently changed for the 2006 qualification campaign so that such a mismatch did not occur again.
Thompson has got his name into the record books again by scoring 5 goals out of 6 in a very one sided Australian A league final between Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United.Three of the goals can be seen here.
Needless to say Archie's european prospects are looking up...
It seems under the new US owners, some players have taken up golf, except that they are not whacking balls but going after their team mates. Craig Bellamy decided he was par for the course >>
Liverpool got outplayed by Newcastle, 2-1 and drew with Everton, 0-0. And now Bellamy maybe exiting Liverpool. Not what you would call an auspicious start by the new owners.
It happened once. Then it happened again. And when it happened a half dozen times it appeared to be a pattern. I am referring to what I saw a few months ago in the game against Liverpool that Arsenal won. Tomas Rosicky, Arsenal's gadfly midfielder who very few would call unproductive, misses a goal as the ball skips just wide to the right of Pepe Reina and the goalpost. It was close. Now in numerous iterations, Rosicky takes shots from the top of the box and it misses, always hooking a bit to the goal's right. There maybe a biomechanical explanation, kicking the ball with his instep or he has a directional bias (constant error), that becomes evident in the absence of visual information (Rosicky loses sight of the goal).
Marx addressed the issue of worker productivity and set into motion modern day labour laws. The ILO now records worker productivity of different countries and it is unsurprising that the US worker works more hours than anyone else in the world, certainly more than the European layabout. It is a statistic that is frequently quoted by conservative talking heads like the historian, Niall Ferguson, to bolster the argument that Europe is well on its way to demise. Of course, there is the little issue that the number of hours worked does not necessarily translate into more efficiency, which is where the Europeans score better. The productivity issue is a trenchant and relevant debate in the global economy.
Less examined is the issue of athlete productivity which crops up in a recent NYT article that examines Allen Iverson's record. Iverson was the shooting guard for the 76ers, before transferring to the Denver Nuggets. Iverson is a perennial All Star and is one of the NBA leaders in scoring. However, in the decade that Allen Iverson played with them, the 76ers only won more than 50 games once. Mathematical models show that Iverson for all his shooting prowess only accounted for 5 wins in a season, turnovers and wasteful field goal attempts accounting for that low number. In comparison Dwyane Wade, Dirk Nowitzki, and Tim Duncan average 15 wins because of their better productivity. Iverson's profligacy seems to have followed him to Denver, where the Nuggets are at the bottom of the table despite again being in the leader board in scoring.
Such statistics can prove to be useful in assessing actual player worth and providing commensurate salaries in order to level the playing field with nuts and bolts players like Ben Wallace who can prove that they are more useful than a slash and burn player like Iverson.
Which leads us to the question, soccer has its unquestioned stars that command huge salaries. Some we are quite sure are less productive than others. Is there statistically a way to find out and put it out beyond mere reckoning? Soccer's issue is that it is a sport that does not lend itself easily to statistics. Or to be unduly obsessed with statistics. Are there players who generate more corners? Take away the ball? Give up the ball? Are less accurate? Soccer's statistics are quite perfunctory. In the absence of such data, it is hard to even come up with an operational definition of productivity in soccer. A reason cited in soccer's relative failure in the US is that it lacks a list of impressive stats that are part of American sports. These stats may also explain the more meritocratic structure of US sports compensation as compared to the subjective standards set in European soccer. Certainly, Alex Rodriguez, another of sports 'unproductive' stars is an aberration with his 10 year $252 million paycheck but in Europe, it is common to pay out $60-$70 million for soccer stars like Zidane, Beckham or Shevchenko who may or may not play upto expectations. Rodriguez's egregious compensation seems to have served as a cautionary tale for the MLB which has tamped down on player spending but no such brakes are evident in European soccer where the sky is the limit. Mathematical models of soccer that assess true player worth might be useful if it results in more diligent spending.
Of course, for the fan, the unitary event of scoring a goal might be the only statistic that matters since it could mean the difference between a win or a defeat in soccer. Beckham's fans would agree while his detractors would point to the other 89 minutes of his no show.
Ronaldinho got his 16th goal of the season two minutes into injury time.It wasn't enough because Miguel Angel Angulo and David Silva had scored earlier to give Valencia a 2-1 win over Barcelona.(video)Both sides were reduced to 10 men just after the hour when Barcelona's Deco and Valencia captain David Albelda were both sent off for dangerous play.Samuel Eto'o was missing from the Barca squad despite all the public displays of affection between him and Ronaldinho to show that all was forgotten and forgiven.Sevilla and Barcelona now share the top spot in the spanish league.Valencia lie third followed by Real Madrid - who seem to have forgotten how to score - having scored only 30 goals this season - their worst record in recent memory.
A brace of goals from Ronaldo (video)moved A C Milan upto 5th place in the Serie A.
Inter Milan remain way out in front with 63 points from their 23 matches played. Roma on 49 are in second place and Palermo on 42 lie third.Empoli are 4th and are just just two points ahead of A C Milan.
Beckham lost his temper and got himself a red card in the dying seconds of the 0 - 0 draw against Real Betis.
Brad Friedel made sure that Blackburn will live to fight another day in the FA Cup.Arsenal were held to a 0-0 draw in the fifth round.The American goalkeeper produced an extraordinary double save in the dying seconds at the Emirates stadium on Saturday.More highlights here.
It was the worst possible result for the Gunners who must now negotiate a gruelling fixture schedule.They are scheduled to play seven matches in the next four weeks, including a crucial Champions League tie with PSV Eindhoven and the League Cup final against Chelsea.
Here's an interesting site dedicated to fighting cheating in the Premiership.
Midnightjester (not his real name, or is it?) wants you to:
(1) sign a petition against cheating,
(2) send emails to the FIFA, the FA and Barclays, sponsors of the Premiership, and
(3) boycott products that sponsor cheats
SoccerBlog.com support this grass roots effort. Visit the site and get involved!
America's soccer news network "Matchnight in America" has announced that they will be closing shop and shutting down after being on the job for eight years.This comes to effect from the 31st of March.
MatchNight in America whose mission was " to make it easier and more enjoyable to be a fan of professional soccer in the United States by being the ultimate Internet resource focusing solely on America's teams, leagues and competitions."...will surely be sorely missed by many.
When we look at players who have exploded on the Premiership in their first season and single handedly changed the fortunes of their team, Obafemi Martins has to rank up on the top. The Nigerian striker in his first game for the Magpies against Aston Villa had to be stretchered off with a dead leg and internal bleeding. His next few games were unremarkable and at £10.1 million paid in transfer fees to Inter, Roeder's might have been forgiven for second guessing himself.
Newcastle struggled in the early part of the season and in the first 13 games of the season, they lost 8, drew 4, and won two. On the way Newcastle have at one point of time had 14 players out with injuries to Shay Given, Shola Ameobi, Emre, N'Zogbia, Damien Duff, Kieron Dyer, Peter Ramage, and of course, Michael Owen. Newcastle was in 15th position flirting very close with relegation.
In the last 14 games, Newcastle have won 8, lost 4, and drawn two. They have pulled themselves to the 9th spot and qualified for the UEFA cup from a group that included Celta Vigo, Palermo, Fenerbache and Eintracht Frankfurt. Since the new year, they have won 3, drawn 2, and lost one.
Uncoincidentally, this upsurge has come on the strength of Martins performance who after his uncertain start has gone onto score 10 goals in the Premiership. Equally important, he has endeared himself to the Magpies with his upbeat personality, typified by his trademark goal celebration, a series of gravity defying somersaults. All his goals have resulted in a win for Newcastle, except for a goal in a loss to Fulham. His most recent goal came in a pulsating win against Liverpool on 10th February. So dominating has Martins been in goalscoring that the next best scorer is Kieron Dyer with four (in 13 games, since Dyer has also spent time injured).
Obafemi Martins stats >>
Platini's bold new move to take the total number of referees refereeing a football match upto five is " aimed either at reducing the number of refereeing mistakes or slashing the continent's unemployment rate."......!
More on that here
Take a bow Arsenal. You make every other team in the Premiership look pedestrian. Man Utd, Chelsea, Liverpool may rank above you in the table but that says very little about the quality of this Arsenal side. They make mistakes and sometimes believe in one pass too many but when they are on, they are breathtaking to watch.
Arsenal is a right brained team. Intuitive and anticipatory. Spatially creative. Artistic and articulate. Illogical and emotional. Frustrating and exhilarating.
Watching Arsenal makes you a symptomatic manic depressive for 90 minutes and in the Bolton match much longer. I lost count the number of times I alternated between delight and despair, punching the air and rocking back with my head between my hands. Adebayor goal: Punch. Gilberto PK miss: Head between hands. Meite equalizer: Head between hands. Ljungberg goal: Punch. Baptista PK miss: Head betwen hands. Adebayor goal: Punch. And these are the broad strokes. Sometimes you wished for those stolid, salt of the earth George Graham teams.
As bizarre as the FA win over Bolton was, it showed that Arsenal's future is bright. Denilson was the pick and this young lad skipped around the tough no nonsense Bolton defense to set up Adebayor's first goal via Rosicky. Wenger rested most of his first team big boys including Henry, Lehmann, and Fabregas and went in with an even younger lineup as Denilson took over Fabregas role. This win was more important than just keeping their FA Cup hopes alive, this was a test for beating a bogey, Big Sam and the Boltons. And this young Arsenal side (Lehmann could well be Denilson's father), barring some nerve wracking hiccups, came through.
Arsenal overcame a bit of a scare to reach the 5th round of the FA Cup with a 3-1 extra-time win over Bolton.Emmanuel Adebayor's opening goal (video) should have been enough to take them through but Abdoulaye Meite threw a spanner in the works with a last gasp equaliser. (video)
However Ljunberg's superbly-taken strike at the start of the second period of extra-time gave the gunners the lead again (video).Adebayor then wrapped things up nicely with another goal in the dying seconds of the match.(video)
Julio Baptista and Gilberto Silva missed a penalty each.
Paul Jewell's accusations of biased refereeing by Phil Dowd following Wigan's loss to Arsenal and Henry's pointed reminder to goalie Chris Kirkland, to stop wasting time was used by Sam Allardyce today to make the case that Arsene Wenger uses these tactics to pressurize the referees into giving favourable decisions to Arsenal.
"It's a very, very clever manager who uses the time-wasting scenario as a tool to get the fans going, who in turn then get the referee going, by making them aware of what the opposition might be doing," Allardyce said. "Arsène Wenger has used or tried to use psychological things like that often over the last few years.
This is an ongoing case of ballyhoo between Sam Allardyce and Arsene Wenger. Methinks that Sam Allardyce protests a bit too loudly of intimidation.
A great account of the history of Indian soccer. From the moment in 1877 that an Indian boy kicked a ball back to British soldiers at the Calcutta maidan, to Mohun Bagan's historic IFA win in 1911, to the legendary rivalry between the big three Calcutta clubs, to the ups and downs of the management of the Santosh trophy, and soccer as played in more contemporaneous times amidst violence in the Kashmir valley, and much more. The authors offer their thesis on the malaise that affects Indian soccer.
Buy it >>
Dunga explained recently that his controversial choice of touchline attire was partly an attempt to help his daughter, who is a fashion student and who designed the shirt.
"If parents don't help their children or give them incentives in their work, then it's more likely that they will get involved in drugs and that sort of thing,"
India's overheating economy along with China's is the topic du jour nowadays in the global economy. Overnight, the IT revolution and outsourcing has created the world's biggest nouveau riche group, India's middle class of more than 300 million people. To many investors, this represents potentially millions of new customers clamouring for everything, from cell phones to cheap air tickets. India's FDI now tops more than $70 billion a year, an increase of 116% over last year. Factories in India are finding it hard to keep up with demand. There is now a waiting period for cars and motorcycles. The Indian economy has seen an impressive almost double digit rate of growth in the last decade or so. Deregulation in the early 90's has led to the global market immersing itself in the Indian economy.
In this context it is not surprising that India's new rich has turned to golf as their choice of sport. Literally, thousands of school going children are taking lessons in New Delhi's dozen golf courses. Indians golfers Arjan Atwal, Daniel Chopra, Jyoti Randhawa, and Jeev Milkha Singh, have found success in the PGA and Asian tourneys inspiring many budding golfers to emulate them. And beyond them, we have a bonafide star in Vijay Singh, whose Indian roots are a
source of pride. Golf is a sport with bountiful prize monies, attracts hundreds of sponsors and endorsements, can be played well past retirement age, and at the end of the day requires less physical fitness than most sports. Moreover, golf is increasingly an essential part of a business profile, an attractive add on that enhances your marketability. In short, golf embodies the new individualistic and corporatist India.
Soccer's origins smack of Nehruvian socialism in this new India. The ascendant days of Indian soccer in the '50s and '60s were partly due, in fact, to the large PSUs (Public Sector Undertakings), the industrial behemoths like SAIL, BHEL, Indian Railways, who were in position to invest in soccer infrastructure, had teams as did the defense forces. In those days, soccer was primarily played to keep unruly states, newly integrated, in the Indian union. The quaint anachronism that is the Santosh trophy reflects those past vicissitudes. In today's context the Santosh trophy assumes that there is a visceral attachment to an abstraction such as statehood, when clearly we have moved on, as evinced in the empty stadiums that bear witness to matches between W.Bengal and Punjab, or more recently Manipur. In England a player is beholden to his club and country, not county. Fans gravitate to a more local affiliation, the club, which in many cases was started by a group of them, reflecting a historical and societal dynamic. We see it in the Bengal and Goa clubs (a wonderful history of Indian soccer can be read in Goalless, the Story of a Unique Footballing Nation). Unfortunately, this part of Indian soccer has woefully languished beyond the usual power centers of W.Bengal, Goa, Punjab, and Kerala, which is where most of these clubs are located. The Santosh trophy reflects Nehru's policy of the primacy of the state and its enterprises, creating an elitism, that has done little to enhance the development of soccer but preserves the bragging rights of exactly four states.
This is not to say that the advent of globalization has not touched Indian soccer. On the contrary, it has led to the formation of the National Football League (NFL), provided the players enough money, sponsored kits and equipment, and made the NFL rich many times over with lucrative TV and merchandising rights. Indian soccer is rolling in the money. But globalization cuts both ways. The airing of Premiership, La Liga, UEFA cup, the Euro and the World Cup, means the average Indian soccer fan can watch his favourite player, Ronaldinho in action and follow his favourite proxy team which unsurprisingly happens to be Brazil. The long dry spell in Indian soccer has left no soccer heroes that this generation of fans can look upto. Gone are the days of Sailen Manna, Chuni Goswami, Shyam Thapa, Prasanto Bannerjee, Neville D'Souza, and Peter Thangaraj, their exploits etched in history while being supplanted by European and Latin American soccer stars in the new global India. Even a bonafide star such as Baichung Bhutia enters the twilight of his career, his considerable talent inadequate to carry India on his back, without the tangible support of the rest of the players. The NFL has been unsuccessful in creating any indigenous heroes while it has become a magnet for third tier Nigerian and fourth tier Brazilian players. It has also failed to carve out an existence beyond the big Indian metros and its average attendances artificially inflated by the Kolkata club derbies, in actuality show a decline. The NFL is simultaneously, a beneficiary and a victim of globalization. Enriched by it but abandoned by an audience that has many choices, including golf.
What we need is a Gandhian approach to developing soccer and this means getting soccer out from the urban centers to the smaller cities in the hinterland. We can derive inspiration and ideas from how Japan managed to make soccer the number one sport in their country. The J-League after a fast promising start in 1992 also faced the same dilemma, with dwindling audiences after the first few upbeat years. But the J-League was blessed with visionaries who saw that circumscribing soccer in the confines of the big metros was surely its death knell, and they took to developing the secondary and tertiary centers of soccer in smaller cities and towns who built these clubs successfully from the grass-root level, leading to the formation of the J2 League. The J. League designated the core activity areas of each club as that club's home town. What this means is that the J. League expects each club to develop as an integral part of its community and engage in the promotion of football and other sporting activity within it (J. League Regulations, Article 21).Clubs from towns like Oita, Kofu, Sendai, Omiya, and Niigata formed the initial nucleus of J2 clubs, which has now grown to 13 clubs. The development of the J2 league is the prime reason why soccer has flourished in Japan.
India does have a NFL second division of six clubs. The premier cup competition in India, the Federation cup is open to 16 teams, ten in the first division and six in the second division of the NFL. Out of the 16 teams, four come from Kolkata, five from Goa, 2 from Kerala, 2 from Maharashtra, and one each from the Army, Karnataka, and Punjab. Sixteen clubs represent the soccer aspirations of a country over a billion strong. Even more shocking, these six second division clubs again represent that tiny group of states that have a traditional lock on Indian soccer. The NFL has introduced a fledgling 3rd division and if this succeeds then more clubs in other regions of India will get a chance to compete. However it appears that these teams are mostly from the para-military and other state organizations, whereas, the NFL 3rd division should be concentrating on developing coomunity based clubs. Compare this to the English FA Cup which invites not only the Premiership clubs and other Football League division clubs but also non-league clubs. The 2006-2007 season saw a record 687 entries. Lower clubs go through preliminary qualifying rounds to get to the next level. This egalitarian exercise involves the whole nation and its clubs, both professional and amateur, through the football season, and in the past had produced some of the most thrilling upsets of the more storied clubs. Amongst the more memorable ones, in 1991, 4th division Wrexham beat 1st division Arsenal, 2-1 and more recently in 2003, 3rd division Shrewsbury Town beat Premier League Everton, 2-1.
The AIFF can introduce a limited version of the FA Cup by increasing the number of clubs playing the Federation Cup, outside of the NFL and from other states, develop multiple regional venues that can host these games, get sponsors to provide kits, transport, and equipment, and get extensive media and TV coverage, market the event extensively, and truly make soccer a sport that touches millions of Indians. Imagine for a moment, the folklore history created by an unheralded club from Rajasthan, the Khetri Copper Mine Soccer Club that beats Mohun Bagan, the giant Kolkata club, and how powerful this giant killing feat could be in developing soccer outside the metros, in small cities and towns, perhaps creating an audience that is still unspoiled by the vagaries of globalization. In the Dominican Republic, lies the small town of San Pedro de Macoris, a sleepy sun soaked paradise known for its beaches and sugarcane. It is also legendary in the world of baseball for producing some of its finest players, including Sammy Sosa, Alfonso Soriano, and Robinson Cano, to name but a few. Who knows which small town will turn out to be India's San Pedro De Macoris in producing soccer stars?
We have always known that the Serie has provided the best defenders in the world. But their defense also carries a major load of goals scored in the league. Players like Materazzi and Massimo Oddo don't just provide heft at the back but they lead the charge in scoring goals too.
In contrast, the Premiership defenders don't get out much. It seems they relish their defined role of tackling and taking away, unless it is a Matthew Taylor who does not mind the occasional successful blast from yards away. However it is the Bundesliga that gives us the top scoring defender with Naldo, whose goal scoring opportunism has bagged him a half dozen for Werder Bremen.
Here are the stats that put the Serie on top. I took the number of goals scored by the top ten defenders and compared them to the goals scored by the top ten in the big four leagues.
1) Serie A: 32/105 - 30%
2) La Liga: 27/97- 28%
3) Bundesliga: 25/95 - 26%
4) Premiership: 24/114 - 21%
With 2/3rds of the season gone in these leagues, these percentages should hold true. You can interpret these numbers thus, for every three goals a Serie striker/midfielder scores, a defender chips in with one. In the EPL, this ratio is approximately 5:1.
Otto Hitzfeld's boys are feeling some real pain and there is a sense of doom and gloom choking the Reds camp. The title eating juggernauts are rocking back on their heels. Bayern has been shooting blanks in the goalscoring department with just 33 goals in 21 matches. Podolksi just limped back after 6 weeks of an ankle injury and "will he, won't he transfer to Man U, Owen Hargreaves" is still on plyometrics to get him to match fitness.
In their absence, Roy Makaay has scored exactly a third of their goals. And Marco Van Basten did not think it fit to include Makaay in the Oranje squad for the World Cup! Hitzfeld managed to pull off a win against soccer lowlifes, Armenia Bleifeld, for a rare moment of jubilation.
Schalke is on top of the Bundesliga over Bremen and Bayern. Yeah, you heard right. They have been pouring it in with Kevin Kuranyi and Peter Lovenkrands.
However, this is Werder Bremen's Bundesliga title to lose. They have been playing lights out soccer and have scored 53 goals, fifteen more than Schalke. These goals have come from Klose (who else!) and Diego, combined they account for 20. But Bremen has also seen scoring from other players like Naldo, Hunt, and Almeida. Lately, they have lost a bit of momentum losing their last two matches and are now being challenged by Stuttgart for the second spot. Mario Gomez has been rocking for VfB.
The Bundesliga has traditionally lost out to the Premiership, La Liga, and the Serie in getting the really big names but their strength is the stealth value of their lesser known players. These players carry a big stick for their national teams. Seeing Deigo play in the Brazil vs Portugal match showed why he has made the difference in this Bremen team.
Remember the controversial film that French midfielder Vikash Dhorasoo made that landed him in hot water with Raymond Domenech for its rather candid moments. Dhorasoo filmed the World Cup with a hand held Super 8 cam and caught his team making some very unguarded comments.
Well, the Substitute is now playing at the Berlin film festival and those soccer film buffs will get a perspective of the World Cup through the eyes of a soccer player who like Godot gets disillusioned waiting for his place under the sun.
"Melancholy instead of euphoria, loneliness instead of "one-for-all-and-all-for-one"rhetoric, a tragic hero instead of a glorious athlete - Substitute is the other documentary football film. What begins as a World Cup adventure, full of hope, turns into the diary of a bitter disappointment. The father (trainer Domenech) rejects the son (Dhorasoo) who is worn down by the waiting, the boredom, and the self-doubt. Sixteen minutes on the field are too little to give him a sense of belonging."
Thanks to reader singe >>
Goal! 2 is the second part of the Football movie trilogy Goal! and is scheduled to be released on March 9th, 2007 in the UK. Trailer below and synopsis here
Jankulovski scored a stunning winner and Ronaldo took a few good shots at goal in his debut for AC Milan
Long lines formed outside the San Siro, as security frisked tifosi and checked their IDs and their bags. In the Stadia Olympico, some fans turned their back and whistled during the one minute silence observed for fallen policeman Filippo Raciti but most were pleased that the Serie A had started. This was the big story. For the Rossonera, the other welcome news was the return of Ronaldo to the city of Milan where he played for 5 years for arch rivals Inter. A few stones heavier and missing a step or two. Ronaldo received a standing ovation when he replaced fellow Brazilian Ricardo Oliveira
Carlo Ancelotti's assessment is that Ronaldo lacks match fitness. At this point Ronaldo will not last but 30-40 minutes of a game. However, he acquitted himself well against Livorno almost scoring a goal.
Inter is running away with the Serie A and is now 11 points clear of second place Roma.
Ronaldinho in sublime form again.Two goals from him took Barcelona to a 2 -0 win at home to Racing Santander and three points clear at the top of the Primera Liga.(Video).Other highlights of the game include the return of Lionel Messi and Victor Valdes brilliantly saving a Ezequiel Garay penalty.
Forbes reports that Arsenal made a bit of a reverse investment across the pond forming a business partnership with Kroenke Sports Enterprises, owner of Major League Soccer's Colorado Rapids since 2004, to promote the English Premier League club's brand in the U.S. and to push the sporting development of the MLS team.
Two parts of the Arsenal deal are to set up a player development center and a club cup tournament open to teams from across America, Both will be based at another Kroenke development Dick's Sporting Goods (nyse: DKS - news - people ) Park in suburban Denver, which bills itself as "the world's largest soccer complex". That also happens to be the home of the Rapids new stadium due to open in April.
Arsenal operates similar setups with Celta Vigo in La Liga and Beveren in the Belgian League. Arsenal has invested in Mexican prodigy Carlos Vela who presently plays for Celta Vigo. Emmanuel Eboue and Kolo Toure are part of the Arsenal-Beveren feeder program which seems to have been shutdown after Jean Marc Gillou, Beveren's sporting director and a good friend of Arsene Wenger, resigned.
This appears to be Wenger's response to developing good US talent first off the blocks for his club. If this is indeed the case then this is a more promising development for US soccer than the arrival of 24 hour newscycle Beckham.
Arsenal's coach Arsene Wenger says he does not see the deal as a prelude to a takeover. "There are enough Americans in the [English Premier] league now," he says . Instead, he sees what he calls a "technical co-operation" agreement as a way to tap into the pool of young American playing talent.
Arsenal moves across the Atlantic with a new partnership with Major League Soccer club Colorado Rapids announced on Friday.
"The deal with Kroenke Sports Enterprises (KSE), owners of Colorado, was made with the main aim of building Arsenal's brand in the U.S., helping to improve the quality of football at the Rapids and supporting grassroots football in North America"
Meanwhile the goals that were scored by them and against them in the game against Wigan can be seen here - Landzaart's opener followed by Hall's self goal and finally Rosicky's winner.
West Ham's problem is not the lack of skill and talent. It has plenty of that, after all who can quarrel with a squad that has the likes of Carlos Tevez, Bobby Zamora, Nigel Reo-Coker, and Calum Davenport. When the season got underway there were few who predicted that the Hammers would be fighting for their relegation life, given the fantastic performance less than a year ago. Eggert Magnusson's buyout has also given some much needed money in the coffers to acquire some pricey players.
But the problems that West Ham have are more abstract. Like Hunk, the scarecrow and Hickory, the tinman in the Wizard of Oz, the Hammers are in search of a brain and heart. Their quest proved unsuccesful against bottom dwellers, Watford. Anton Ferdinand's boneheaded foul led to Watford's successful PK, the poor finishing of Zamora, and Marlon Harewood's harebrained missed PK showed what West Ham have to deal with the rest of the season. Either that or they should never hire a manager whose name begins with Alan.
If a football IQ could be assigned and the overriding criteria is the intelligent harnessing of resources to produce the best results, the best club would be Reading. Steve Coppell's team gets a 100.
Another edition of the scrappy vs finesse teams in the Premiership. Paul Jewell's ploy of holding a high line almost worked as Arsenal got caught offside on numerous occasions by a well disciplined Wigan team. Adebayor's goal was ruled offside although it should have been allowed when seeing the replay.
The excruciating and yet exhilarating way Arsenal wins nowadays is becoming a trademark. Play pleasing one touch soccer, last touch deserts them, fall back early, Wenger gets this pinched look, makes a substitute late in the second half, Arsenal rallies under the substitute, keeps coming back, the equalizer and the winner come in the last 10 minutes. The Emirates sigh in relief as the unbeaten record (now 18 games) in their new home is kept intact. After an emotionally draining win, the young Gunners produce a series of comeback draws, followed by another emotionally draining win, and..... the cycle repeats itself.
It is great to have Walcott's pace, he can chase down balls wide with gusto but the lad needs to get a clue on how to provide meaningful service into the goal area that his team mates can latch onto. To be fair, Henry spooned an easy chance. Arsenal's attack turned into a garden variety up and down the middle type as Wigan happily cut off the supply lines. Fabregas usually deft touch deserted him.
Landzaat's blast from 25 meters left Arsenal in a hole. We have seen this scenario before. Heskey should have made it a couple before halftime but Lehmann's fingertip deflection saw the ball rebound off the posts before he fell on it. But Arsenal came back in the second half. Again by playing wide, two sizzling crosses into the box, first by Flamini which resulted in the equalizer through a reflexive own goal by Hall, and then Rosicky punching a header off Baptista for his first Premiership goal. Both goals came after some superb through passes by Adebayor who substituted Djorou. Adebayor is the most improved player on this Arsenal squad.
Gael Clichy is becoming my favourite left back with his pace and fine ball skills. Plus he is a pretty strong tackler. He was a thorn in Wigan's starboard side just like in the win against Man Utd, three weeks ago. Arsenal's left back position has been unsettled for a long time and Clichy is coming on strong.
The dreaded Drogba scored two more goals to take his tally to 25 .
Chelsea won 3 - 0 against Middlesbrough. Abel Xavier added a self goal to Chelsea's Tally
Manchester United maintained their lead with their 2 - 0 win over Charlton. (Video).A brilliant pass from Rooney led to the second goal.His own shot had been saved by Carson, but instead of firing the rebound goalwards, he lofted the ball sideways for Scotland international Fletcher to head into the goal.
Move over Arnie. It is David Beckham who has been totally recalled and who will be riding back into action for Real Madrid soon .Fabio Capello has had a change of heart and Becks has been named in a 20 man squad for Saturday's Primera Liga match at Real Sociedad.He will have to park the horse somewhere though........
Officer Filippo Raciti's killing was the second in a week in Italian soccer after an amateur team coach was kicked to death while trying to stop a fight.Italian football fans now face a Sunday in front of the television set as officials enforce tough rules aimed at curbing hooliganism .Stadiums would be empty Sunday for first-division matches in Bergamo, Verona, Florence, Messina and Milan.......news report.
Livorno striker Cristiano Lucarelli said fellow Serie A players were considering going on strike to protest the fact that ..." certain teams play without a crowd and others with full stands."
The vigil is over.Here they are then.... the goals from the USA - Mexico game.
Landon Donovan's goalscoring move started off as a pass from a Mexican player that bounced off the referee.(video)
Did Dunga come out for a day at the Carnival or for an international played at Arsenal's chilly Emirates stadium? His beach shirt has come in for as much criticism as his coaching in the Brazil loss to Portugal. To make matters worse, arch rivals Argentina have lampooned Dunga in their recent cover as a clueless fashionista. It shows Dunga in his now famous picture of a short sleeved shirt surrounded with the Brazil bench bundled up in their jackets shivering in the cold, some wearing caps and headgear for additional protection.
Jon Stewart, the host of the popular The Daily Show, where many Americans sick of the kowtowing mainstream media go for well deserved snark at the expert foreign policy pronouncements of Dick Cheney and our bunch of lily livered senators, played for the College of William and Mary mens soccer team from 1981 to 1983
By all accounts he was not a terrible player, as a member of The Tribe’s team from 1981 to 1983, he scored 10 goals and was credited with 12 assists for a total of 32 career points. As a senior, he scored William and Mary’s lone goal in a 1-0 victory over Connecticut which helped propel The Tribe to the ECAC title and the school’s second appearance in the NCAA tournament. An award titled the "Leibo" is now given out annually in honor of Stewart; it is given to the member of the men's soccer team who experiences the most personal growth and provides the most laughs for his teammates. For his contribution to soccer he was made an honorary All American by NSCAA in 2005.
Soccer America has an interview with Jon Stewart where he describes meeting up with ex-USMNT coach Bruce Arena's UVA squad and getting the crap kicked out of them.
Do you have any memories of Bruce Arena?
JS: The only memories I have of Bruce Arena is UVA kicking our ass every year in the NCAA tournament or during the season. I think it's fair to say William & Mary and UVA were two of the top programs and every year we'd get to UVA and somehow they were the fly in the ointment of our season.
Jon Stewart recently returned to Williamsburg to reunite with coach Al Albert at CWM and his Tribe buddies Mike Flood and John Rasnic. He considered briefly pursuing a career in soccer but even in those days coach Albert recognized that his wit was a special talent and would likely influence his career trajectory.
Jimmy Conrad and Landon Donovan scored to take USA to a 2 -0 win over Mexico.Bob Bradley's score is 2 - 0 as well.No sign of any video links to those goals yet so here are goals scored in other recent friendlies to look at while waiting .......
India's FIFA rankings have plunged to 157, its lowest ever. The AIFF secretary general Alberto Colaco, has woken up to the fact. "The repeated defeats in the Asian Cup qualifiers with margins such as 7-1, 6-0 and 3-0 have hurt our rankings considerably," Colaco said.
He said with the kind of ranking India has at present, it was very difficult to even think about qualification for tournaments like the Asia Cup.
It seems Colaco is going through a reality check because his boss, Priya Ranjan Das Munshi, still lives in cloud cuckoo land.
It is the stated objective of the President of the All India Football Federation, Mr Priyaranjan Das Munshi, that India will be represented in the 2010 World Cup finals.
Maybe we should not take this literally to mean India's qualification to the World Cup, after all if Das Munshi swings another junket to South Africa, he will "represent" India in the World Cup.
Iraq with a civil war is 82, Sudan and its Darfur problem ranks 112, Palestine with its factional infighting is 131, St. Kitts and Nevis which have precious little real estate for football fields are 143, Bangladesh with a declared emergency is 151. Go figure.
Little noticed in the US mainstream media but Ryzsard Kapuściński, who wrote The Soccer War passed away on January 23.
The Soccer War is Kapuściński's narrative of a war that he witnessed stationed in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa and provides an visceral account of the 100 hour war that engulfed El Salvador and Honduras in the run up to qualifying for the 1970 World Cup in Mexico by. Outwardly, the war took on the mythical status of the power of soccer to sway countries and incite passions but more fundamentally, it was the culmination of long simmering tensions between the two countries on their lack of land reform and trade imbalance. The Soccer War also details other wars and disputes throughout the developing world from the assassination of Patrice Lumumba to the border wars between Ethiopia and Somalia.
Ryzsard Kapuściński described his style as literary reportage and he lived in the developing countries that he wrote his books and articles. "Without trying to enter other ways of looking, perceiving, describing, we won't understand anything of the world."
How very true. Ryzsard Kapuściński, RIP.
Spain and Sergio Aragones put the kibosh on the Three Lions, 1-0 and Steve McLaren had to hear it from the crowd.
Meanwhile Deloitte's Football Money League shows that Man Utd has slipped to fourth place in the world's richest clubs. Real Madrid still ranks first, with Barca behind, and Juventus rounding up the top three. There are eight English clubs in the top 20 but only Arsenal moves ahead in the current rankings. Hamburg, West Ham, Celtics, and Benfica make it to the list this year.
* The Deloitte Football Money League shows the total revenue of the world’s Top 20 clubs is now over €3.3 billion
* Real Madrid stays ahead of the competition with total revenue of £202m (€ 292m),
* Barcelona are this year’s biggest movers, up four places to second place completing a top two for Spanish clubs.
* Manchester United, who had headed the first eight editions of the Deloitte Football Money League, is the highest of eight Premiership clubs in the top 20.
The reasons why La Liga has taken the lead:
In the case of Barcelona and Real Madrid, it’s the big TV deals particularly help. They’re able to sell their TV rights individually, they don’t sell collectively with the league. But those clubs have also done very well on other areas of their business, so Real Madrid and Barcelona both had new presidencies in the last few years. Real Madrid have taken a Galactica strategy, recruiting high-profile players, developing their commercial revenues. Barcelona have taken a more rounded approach, developing income across the business.
The rich list
1 (1) Real Madrid €292.2m €275.7m
2 (6) Barcelona 259.1 207.9
3 (4) Juventus 251.2 229.4
4 (2) Man United 242.6 246.4
5 (3) Milan 238.7 234.0
6 (5) Chelsea 221.0 220.8
7 (9) Inter 206.6 177.2
8 (7) Bayern M 204.7 189.5
9 (10) Arsenal 192.4 171.3
10 (8) Liverpool 176 181.2
11 (15) Lyon 127.7 92.9
12 (11) Roma 127 131.8
13 (12) Newcastle 124.3 128.9
14 (14) Schalke 04 122.9 97.4
15 (13) Tottenham 107.2 104.5
16 (n/a) Hamburg 101.8 n/a
17 (17) Man City 89.4 90.1m
18 (n/a) Rangers 88.5 n/a
19 (n/a) West Ham 60.1 n/a
20 (n/a) Benfica 58.8 n/a
Previous place in parentheses
A moment of magic from Javier Saviola led to the only goal of the friendly between Argentina and Spain.
Elsewhere Spain inflicted more pain on England as they won their friendly by a similar margin.(Video)Barcelona's Andres Iniesta did the scoring and Aragones will be happy with himself and his team for a change.Steve McClaren on the other hand will be feeling vice versa.
Not really.He broke someone else's leg actually.Paris Saint Germain's Colombian defender Mario Yepes season came to an end after this challenge from Cisse which gave him a broken ankle.
Italy opened itself upto soccer business and Luca Pancalli, the FIGC special commissioner stated that games would get underway this weekend. But there is a caveat.
Spectators will only be allowed to see games in Pisanu decree compliant clubs, otherwise they will be banned. The Pisanu decree is a set of anti-terrorism laws that came into effect after the London bombings, in nature and scope the laws are very similar to the US PATRIOT act in that suspects can be subjected to surveillance and expulsion without any legal representation.
The interior minister under Berlusconi's government, Giuseppe Pisanu also ordered that these laws be implemented to curb violence in soccer stadiums. The new measures, to come into effect at the start of the 2005- 2006 season, involve ticket sales, video surveillance inside grounds and other administrative aspects of stadium management.
So far it appears that there are five Serie A clubs which are compliant and the number is expected to increase to seven and possibly ten after the ban on block ticket sales to away fans is enforced.
The Corriere Dell Sera has more >>
Today's match between France and Argentina marks Roberto Ayala's 107th international for Argentina. He passes Diego Simeone's record. Ayala started his international career against Chile on 16 November, 1994 under the present manager Alfio Basile. Ayala is one of Argentina's greatest center backs and was selected in the 2006 World Cup All Star squad.
Strangely enough, given that these two teams are amongst the elite, they rarely meet.Their last encounter was 20 years ago in a friendly in Paris that France won, 2-0. Argentina are without their playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme, who retired from international soccer. In his place is 20 year old Fernando Gago. Basile has also kept out Messi and Tevez. Les Bleus are without injured defenders William Gallas and Lilian Thuram. In their place, Raymonde Domenech is the new pair of Julien Escude and Sebastien Squillaci.
Connections: David Trezeguet is of Argentinian descent, born in Rouen to Argentine immigrants. Gabriel Heinze played for PSG before moving to Man Utd and Javier Saviola did duty at Monaco before moving back to Barca.
Portugal beat Brazil 2-0 in a friendly on Tuesday, ending Dunga's unbeaten streak as manager.Simao Sabrosa, one of five second-half substitutes for Portugal, and Ricardo Carvalho scored in the last eight minutes to give Dunga his first loss in six games.The crowd apparently gave Cristiano Ronaldo a hard time .
This Nike Ad showing the same two teams is also worth taking a look at.
Italian authorities in search of answers to curb the soccer violence in the Palermo and Catania match that resulted in the death of a policeman and injuries to hundreds of fans, have cast envious eyes at English soccer and its relative placidity.
As Richard Williams points out that this too was an endemic problem two decades ago culminating in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster when 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death as thousands of fans pressed up in narrow pens hemmed in by high steel fences, a barrier erected to keep hooligans from invading the pitch, a common occurrence back then. The Hillsborough tragedy sparked off widespread reforms in English soccer.
One of these maneuvers involves the classist tactic of raising ticket prices to unaffordable levels which stopped hooligans from coming to see matches at top tier clubs. They were forced to ply their trade in the lower division clubs. Out of sight and out of mind. Over the years, Premiership clubs have raised the stakes in their relationship with the fans and with it the responsibility of the fans to their clubs image. Neo-liberal economic policies have added rich foreign owners, shiny new stadiums, expensive players, luxury boxes, credit cards, and housing loans, to the club brand. The new breed of English fan does not have to invade the pitch. With his buying power, he reposes in hundreds of internet registries, easily traceable through them and video cameras. One mistake and he is on the police blotter banned not just from attending matches but even to credit cards and loans. But why should he? He now has blogs and You Tube to start virtual wars with his rivals. There is a process of enlightened self interest at play here, one that keeps moving English soccer ahead, making it an attractive destination for players and coaches alike.
In Italy, you can see Serie A matches paying just ten pounds. It pays for a municipal stadium, low paid referees, and ineffective and inadequate policing. Clubs are family run businesses and handed down from generation to generation. They subsidize the cost of all those fantastic players playing in the Serie A.
Which leads us to an interesting debate, has the demise of the English soccer thug led to the failing fortunes of the English in international soccer since 1966, the last time they won the World Cup? Whereas, the countries that still experience rampant hooliganism, continue to win World Cups and regional titles regularly. Maybe England's smug satisfaction parroting their league as the best artificially inflates opinion of their own players.
US businessmen have spent 2.5 billion dollars buying out Premiership clubs like there is no tomorrow. It has become an epidemic with Malcolm Glazer, Randy Lerner, and now George Gillett and Tom Hicks the owners of Man Utd, Aston Villa, and Liverpool. Forget the other countless failed bids.
Meanwhile across the pond, our domestic league struggles to reinvent itself, pinning its hopes on an aging Brit soccer star and his wife (don't kid yourself, Posh is part of the deal) to transform the MLS to a sports behemoth. We have blown a wad on Beckham sparking of a debate whether this will prove to be one of history's biggest sporting busts. This when MLS players earn on an average, a measly $100,000.
Tell me if there is something not quite right with this picture?
There is no indication in a thaw in the relationship between Fabio Capello and David Beckham.He continues to remain in cold storage as far as playing for Real Madrid is concerned.But here now is a sign of the new special relationship which is blossoming between English football and American sport. David Beckham appears in one of the highly sought-after half-time advert slots during Sunday's live TV coverage of the Super Bowl - at a party with one of American football's most flamboyant figures - Chad Johnson, of the Cincinnati Bengals.
Elsewhere Becks has also swapped his football boots for a red cape and sword in a new Disney advertising campaign.
He plays the part of Prince Philip and he has to battle a fire breathing dragon - which now may or may not have reminded him of Fabio Capello ....!
Interim coach Bob Bradley led the US team to a victory in his debut game against Denmark some time ago.Landon Donovan had ended a 1½-year scoreless streak in international play, and Jonathan Bornstein and Kenny Cooper had scored in their national team debuts to lead the Americans to a 3-1 victory .There's a 10:49 minute video clip showing highlights of that match here.The US team is off to Mexico for a friendly scheduled to be played sometime tomorrow.
For the statistically minded here is a compilation of how USA and Mexico have fared against each other in the past....and for those who just want to see the US team on their way here's a video showing exactly that.
George Gillett and Tom Hicks £470m takeover of Liverpool saved the Merseyside club from sure embarrassment when Dubai International Capital (DIC) pulled out after Liverpool management dragged their feet over their takeover bid. Gillett and Hicks offer was sweeter by £20m and it put £8m more into Liverpool chairman David Moores pocket.
Gillett's previous buyout bid collapsed when Rick Parry, Liverpool's CEO and David Moores all but sealed the deal with DIC in December last year. He was bolstered by teaming up with Tom Hicks in their new offer. Gillett and Hicks experience with sports teams was a big factor in convincing Liverpool. Gillett owns the Montreal Canadiens, NHL's premier franchise and Tom Hicks is the owner of rival ice hockey team, Dallas Stars and the MLB's Texas Rangers. Gillett and Hicks will split the £470m takeover on a 50-50 basis with £215m of that earmarked for a new stadium.
From all accounts Gillett is a low key businessman who has not imposed himself on the Montreal Canadiens, a hallowed team much beloved by the Canadian fans. He respects the traditions of his club whose success is synonymous with Canada's status as an ice hockey power. In his ownership tenure he has brought in new management and acquired new talent that has made the Canadiens a better team. Gillett's unobtrusive style will probably sit well with Liverpool and its fans who are equally passionate about their club's quintessential English character. Like that of Randy Lerner, owner of Aston Villa and the chairman of the US investment company MBNA, whose buyout of Villa was met by universal apporoval.
His partner, Tom Hicks is a totally different kettle of fish. Hicks is a master of leveraged buyouts and a founding partner at the legendary firm of Hicks, Muse, Tate, and Furst. One his biggest leveraged acquisitions resulted in the 1995 $2.5 billion sale of Dr Pepper/Seven Up. In 1985, he and then partner Robert Haas bought a bottling plant for $88 million and then parlayed that into subsequent successful investments in Dr Pepper/ Seven Up eventually buying out the entire company. Hicks continues to make news with his frenetic high powered acquisitions in the US and more recently in developing markets.
This is where it gets murky. Hicks is also an old buddy of President George W. Bush while he was governor of Texas and contributed thousands of dollars to Bush's gubernatorial campaign. In 1998 he bought the Texas Rangers for $250 million from a group headed by Bush, the principal owner of the Rangers and the then governor of Texas. His buyout of the Rangers made Bush a millionaire many times over. He also contributed $200,000 to the 2000 and 2004 Bush presidential campaign making him a Bush Pioneer (a rarified group of Bush campaign contributors who raise $100,000 or more).
Hicks has benefited from being a Bush loyalist and campaign contributor. He was appointed to head the University of Texas Investment Management Company (UTIMCO) in 1996 following Bush election as governor and promptly diverted public funds of the university into private equity. UTIMCO's board consisted of Bush Pioneers and Yale University connections. UTIMCO operated without any disclosure and public scrutiny until the Texas Legistlature intervened. By then it was too late, UTIMCO had lost almost $1 billion in failed investments in Enron and WorldCom stock. Investigations revealed a pattern of cronyism with substantial investments going to a clubby group of companies run by GOP donors and patrons with close ties to Bush and Hicks, including the Carlyle Group. In 1999, Hicks was forced to resign after the Houston Chronicle exposed these insider dealings. Hicks and brother Steven also founded AMFM, a communication company that ran radio stations before being bought out in 1999 by Clear Channel which now virtually monopolizes radio with 1200 radio stations all over the USA. Hicks was made the vice-chairman of Clear Channel. In an all too familiar pattern of cronyism, Lowry Mays, Clear Channel's chairman was also on the board of UTIMCO. Clear Channel was the Bush administration's biggest shillers of the war on Iraq organizing pro-war rallies under the aegis of Rally for America and banning songs sungs by dissenting artists including the Dixie Chicks who criticized Bush in a London concert.
For Liverpool supporters who could care less where Tom Hicks gets his money from and who care even less about his politics, more relevantly his track record as a sports team owner is abysmal. Under Hicks stewardship, the good news is that the Texas Rangers went to the playoffs twice and lost both times in a clean sweep. Since then they have been scraping the bottom of the barrel. Hicks has a reputation for being beholden to Scott Boras, one of baseball's superagents and a super nice guy who foists expensive players first on Tom Hicks and facetiously calls the Rangers owner the best recruiter in baseball. This after a Scott Boras deal, in which Hicks earned the dubious distinction of making the most expensive blunder in sporting history, the obscene 10 year $252 million signing of Alex Rodriguez from the Seattle Mariners in 2001 in lieu of good pitching which was what the Rangers actually needed. Despite Rodriguez's outstanding contribution, the Rangers finished last for the fourth year in a row. Rodriguez was traded to the NY Yankees before his contract was up which forces Hicks to pay him $9 million not to play for them. But it seems that Hicks has not learned from this fiasco and continues to fritter money away.
So here it is good folks at the Kop: Tom Hicks with all his warts. Now Pini Zahavi can cuddle upto Hicks and dangle some really expensive soccer player. He might find a willing sucker.
Real Madrid lost 1- 0 to lowly Levante .(Video)
Capella had a few harsh words for Beckham again - even though he had no part to play in the match.Having sold Brazilian striker Ronaldo to AC Milan during the week all eyes were on the side to see how they would respond, but they never recovered from falling behind to Salva Ballesta's 11th-minute penalty.
And what of Ronaldo? - he was once a flaming torch but now he resembles a burnt out lightbulb in more ways than one....!
It remains to be seen if the move to A C Milan will rekindle the spark.
A soccer story called "A tale of two Ronaldo's" can be read here.
Cristiano Ronaldo got a controversial penalty for this bit of falling down .One of these days he will get nominated to get an Oscar for best supporting actor.Anyway Manchester United climbed 6 points away from the rest of the pack with what eventually ended up to be a 4 - 0 mauling of the Spurs.Goal video here.
Goals by Ronaldo ,Nemanja Vidic, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs .
When Robbie Gould takes the field for the Chicago Bears in today's Superbowl, the 24 year old place kicker will bring a proud heritage of ex-soccer players who have found fame and fortune in the NFL. Gould was a soccer standout for Mills High School in Pennsylvania and his original intent was to join the MLS before he joined Joe Paterno and the PSU football program.
The now universal 'soccer style' of place kicking, approaching the football at an angled run and then kicking with the instep, was first employed by Peter and Charlie Gogolak, brothers who emigrated from Hungary during the Revolution in 1956. Both brothers were excellent soccer players who played in the elite school soccer teams. This must have been quite an achievement because Hungary in those days were the dominant power in world soccer having players like Ferenc Puskas, Sandor Koscis, and Lazlo Kubala. Peter joined Cornell and Charlie went to Princeton where he broke all NCAA kicking records and still holds the Ivy League record for the longest field goal of 54 yards. He was drafted first by the Washington Redskins in 1966, the first ever place kicker to be accorded that honour.
Pete Gogolak was taken by the Buffalo Bills in 1964, then part of the newly formed AFL and became the first soccer style kicker in gridiron history. In 1965, he became the first AFL player to cross over to the NFL joining the NY Giants. By doing so Golgolak set in motion the eventual AFL-NFL merger. He retired from the NY Giants after 9 seasons where he set records for the most points scored (646) and holds every franchise kicking record including most field goals made (126), PATs scored in a game (8), and consecutive PATs (133). Pete and Charlie Gogolak also had the distinction of facing each other in the highest scoring game in NFL history when the Redskins beat the Giants, 72-41in 1966.
Pete Gogolak describes the day that he attempted the soccer style at a mass kicking tryout at Ogdensburg High School which had a football but no soccer team. No one had quite seen anything quite like it. Back then, kickers stood directly behind the holder and kicked straight on a show that had a squared toe. Gogolak, however, stood at a 45-degree angle, confusing his holder and everyone else watching him.
“Everyone looked at me and said, ‘Jeez, what’s going on here,’” Gogolak said. “I’ll never forget the expression on my holder’s face. He said, ‘Hey, Gogolak, in this country you line up straight. If you line up that way, you’ll either hit it into the stands or hit me in the butt."
The success that Pete Gogolak with his sidewinder style was remarkable considering that in the previous season, the four place kickers using the conventional style had missed 21 out of 25 attempts. In fourteen games, they had managed to kick four field goals. Their regular kicker Bob Timberlake, missed 14 out of 15 attempts. In Gogolak's first season, he converted 16 out of 28 attempts and finished with 77 points.
Pete and Charlie Gogolak revolutionary way of kicking the ball and success on the field spurred other soccer players from Europe to try their luck in the NFL. It paved the way for Jan Stenerud, the legendary Norwegian place kicker for the Kansas City Chiefs and the first kicker to be inducted to the Hall of Fame. Toni Fritsch, who played for Rapid Wien and the Austrian national team before coming to play for Tom Landry's Dallas Cowboys. Fritsch was famously called "Wembley-Toni" when he scored two goals as Austria defeated England 3-2 in London's Wembley Stadium on October 20, 1965. He was recently in the news when his NFL record of kicking a field goal in 13 consecutive playoff games was beaten by Adam Vinatieri on January 12, 2007. Then there was Garo Yepremian, a Cypriot and a professional soccer player who moved to the USA in the hopes of getting a college scholarship playing football. He was denied because of his professional career playing soccer in Cyprus and England. Neverthless, he persisted and was signed by the the Detroit Lions before moving to the Miami Dolphins as their place kicker. In a strange twist of fate Stenerud and Yepremian, both soccer style kickers went head to head when the Chiefs met the Dolphins in a divisional playoff game in 1971 that turned out to be the longest game in NFL history before Yepremian kicked the winning field goal in double overtime. Before that Stenerud had missed two attempts and had a third one blocked. The game lasted 82 minutes and 40 seconds as the Dolphins won 27-24.
Yepremian also became notorious for one of the most celebrated bloopers in NFL history when the Dolphins met the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII (1973). Yepremian's immortal words "I keek a touchdown" has become part of NFL folklore.
The torch is now carried forward through with Morten Andersen, the Atlanta Falcons place kicker and the present leader in NFL scoring with 2445 points selected to eight Pro Bowls who at the age of 46, showsno sign of slowing down. Andersen was good enough to almost make the Danish soccer U-17 national team. His exploits have remarkably found little press in his native Denmark. On 16 December, 2006 Andersen overtook his namesake Gary Anderson, the Tennessee Titans place kicker as the all time NFL scoring leader. Anderson who retired in 2004 was the previous record holder with 2434 points. Gary Anderson, born in South Africa, also played high school soccer and entertained hopes that he would make it to professional soccer in Europe following in the footsteps of his father. He moved to the USA with his family to protest SA's policy of apartheid. In 1998, Anderson became the first place kicker with a perfect season when he made all his field goal attempts (35) and scored all PATs (59) in a regular season.
The now taken for granted soccer kicking style that revolutionized the NFL and made the exploits of Adam Vinatieri and Mike Vanderjagt commonplace, earning the respect of fans, players, and coaches do not quite cover the fact that not long ago, place kickers from Europe were the target for derision from football purists. Alex Karras, Detroit Lions tackle, ABC commentator, and one of Porky's sophomore icon when asked how to cut down on field goals, famously replied: "Tighten immigration laws."
Duncan Castles writing in The Times is suggesting that Ronaldinho is seriously considering not playing for Brazil anymore.The strained relationship between coach Dunga and Ronaldinho being the main reason apart from other things .
He mentions a public embarrassment that Ronaldinho inflicted on Dunga in his final season as a professional. In a 1999 derby game between Dunga’s Internacional and Gremio, Ronaldinho performed a lencol on Dunga — lobbing the ball over his head and running past him to re-gather possession.
Well apparently Dunga hasn't forgiven Ronaldinho for that yet.
Video of the famous lencol incident may be here...?
The unending drama that is Italian life. Where people and institutions fight and make up in extraordinary public displays. Today, the newspapers are reporting that Italian ex-PM, Silvio Berlusconi made a public apology to his wife after she conveyed her unhappiness at his flirtatious behaviour with a Monica Bellucci lookalike (An impostor. For there can only be one Monica Bellucci) by writing an extra-ordinary letter to the Republicca, a newspaper that has been critical of Berlusconi in the past.
Meantime, the soccer violence that consumed the Catania and Palermo game that resulted in the death of Filippo Raciti, a 38 year old police officee and 150 fans injured has resulted in the highest echelons of power promising drastic action. Romano Prodi, the Italian PM issued a statement "We cannot continuously put the lives of police officers at risk and need a remedy that makes soccer clubs feel responsible (for fans' actions) and radically changes the situation," Prodi told reporters in Bologna. All matches have been indefinitely suspended and Italy's friendly against Romania this Wednesday has been cancelled. How this affects Italian clubs in the Champions League with AC Milan playing Celtic on the 20th and then Inter playing Valencia on the 21st of this month is as yet to be decided.
Whether this is another Calciopoli, where Italian soccer promised to clean up house by relegating all the offending clubs as a first step to stamping out match fixing only to recant in the face of overwhelming political pressure and impose the much lighter sentence of point deductions remains to be seen. Romano Prodi is the ex-chairman of the EU and one of Europe's most powerful voices. His direct involvement reflects not just an concern with spiraling soccer violence in his country but a larger phenomenon occurring in Germany, Netherlands, France, and many Eastern European countries. Some of the EU nations question admitting new members (read Turkey) into the fold on the grounds of how "civilized" some of these countries are. Soccer violence should remind these countries that they too adhere to certain standards of behaviour before they pass judgement.
Frank Lampard's 17th goal of the season takes Chelsea to within 3 points of Manchester United.This was also Lampard's 86th goal in Chelsea blue and he has now almost caught up with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's record goal tally.
Henry's equaliser against Middlesbrough .Arsenal were playing with 10 men at the time after Philippe Senderos got a red card for a foul against Yakubu inside the area (video).Lehmann too was among the cards - receiving a yellow one for protesting too much .Yakubu subsequently scored the first goal from the penalty that was given along with the cards .
There was also a bit of a controversy about this goal because Lehmann can be seen with one foot outside the box as he initiates the move that led to the goal.
The bad news from Italy is that violence got a bit out of hand yesterday.All football matches have been suspended indefinitely after a 38 year old policeman Filippo Raciti was killed in violence after a game between Sicilian teams Catania and Palermo.
Earlier these goals from Mancini,Simone Perrotta and David Pizarro had given Roma a 3 -1 win over A C Milan in a semi final of the Italian Cup.Alberto Gilardino scored for A C Milan...and Ronaldo got there too late to make any difference - not that he is going to be playing for them for a while yet.The two-legged Cup final was scheduled to be played on April 18 and May 9 between Roma and Inter Milan.
However it has been announced that all matches, professional and amateur, scheduled for this weekend would be cancelled and that the suspension was likely to be indefinite.
Next week's friendly international between Italy and Romania in Siena was also called off by Football federation (FIGC) chief Luca Pancalli
"One day is not sufficient," said Pancalli. "Without drastic measures, we can't play again.We will immediately set up a commission to discuss the situation between sport and politics. Its not possible to carry on like this. If this is football, then I'm stopping everything.I cannot find the words to describe a 38-year-old man who lost his life in such a way. All the football authorities I spoke to agreed that we had to stop everything. This is completely unacceptable."
Ashley Cole was chasing a ball towards the left touchline when he suffered this knee injury which may keep him out of action for awhile.The three goals scored by Drogba, Lampard and Kalou for Chelsea can be seen here.
ITV hosts a competition for UK residents .They have to choose a winner from the goals listed below.
Plenty of Beckham stories in the news but here's an unusual one- about how he rang up Rebecca Johnstone - a fan of his - only nineteen years old - and suffering from cancer.
Tiger Woods regularly kids Roger Federer that he will break Jack Nicklaus record of 18 PGA titles before Federer breaks Pete Sampras record of 14 Grand Slam tennis champions. That well maybe and when it happens it will not raise an eyebrow because Woods is arguably the best golf player in history and its most internationally recognized exponent. He has in doing so, broken a racial barrier and notched many firsts in his game.
However even Tiger with all his accolades and achievements realizes that he does not have the onerous task of transforming a sport out of its moribund state and making it as visible and viable as American football and basketball. That distinction befalls David Beckham when he arrives at the LA Galaxy this summer and carries with him the hopes of many thousands soccer fans who have waited this long for the second coming of the global game in this country. Will he succeed where Pele and the NASL failed?
Surprisingly, it is Tiger Woods who gives the answer. In the wake of the LA Rams and LA Raiders abandoning So Cal, a void has been created with people looking for something else and they will turn to Beckham and soccer. Only problem with Woods' analysis is that the Raiders left for Oakland in 1995. Those Raiders fans, amongst the most fanatically loyal in the NFL simply followed their team there. Soccer did not see a rejuvenation in So Cal following their departure. Which leads us to the axiomatic" American football fans do not watch soccer." And they will not watch it if you imported all the Beckhams, Tottis, Van Nistelrooys, and Thierry Henrys into your team. Beckham is not going to generate interest in the demographic that came out to see the Rams and the Raiders.
So it was no surprise that Woods when he was asked whether he would follow MLS now that Beckham was moving to LA punted by saying,"I'm more of a basketball-baseball-football kind of guy." He might watch it on ESPN in between his games but don't expect him to become a fullthroated follower. What Woods harkens to is the likelihood that Beckham and the LA Galaxy might be reduced to a novelty act much like the Harlem Globetrotters. Unlike Mia Hamm and the 1999 World Cup winning squad, there is no indigenous role model that mens soccer can look upto, no story like that of the Texas Western Miners who broke the racial ceiling in basketball in winning the NCAA title in 1966 and paved the way for black athletes. Soccer is not yet part of that sports folklore that creates myths and heroes. To expect a player from another country, who has made his fame and fortune elsewhere, to usurp that story is a bit fallacious. We don't need Beckham, the great white hope. We need our own heroes.
Arsenal are through to next month's League Cup final against Chelsea as Jeremy Aliadere came through for the Gunners in extra time. Tomas Rosicky finished of the Spurs with his shot deflecting of Chimbonda. The Gunners won on aggregate 5-3 after drawing their first leg 2-2 last week.
Both teams were level at the end of regulation time with Mido equalizing for the Spurs in the 85th minute coming of the bench after Adebayor had put Arsenal ahead.
More on the match >>
Gareth Bale rejected a 10 million pound offer from Spurs deferring to Saints manager George Burley's advise that he had a bit more growing to do before moving from Southampton and warming the bench at White Hart Lane.
Matthew Upson is now a Hammer. Sebastian Larsson, Arsenal wunderkid is now at Birmingham.
More transfer news >>