Argentina is beginning to remember a once-forgotten striker .Having scored eight goals in seven matches for French league giants Bordeaux ,Fernando may just find himself getting a call-up to the national squad.The video shows his 8 latest goals in his 7 latest matches.
February 2008 Archives
Argentina is beginning to remember a once-forgotten striker .Having scored eight goals in seven matches for French league giants Bordeaux ,Fernando may just find himself getting a call-up to the national squad.The video shows his 8 latest goals in his 7 latest matches.
Ariel Ortega has always been a pesky fellow and he raises hackles wherever he goes or whomever he plays. Just ask Van Der Saar or the coaches for the number of clubs he has interred in. But he is one of the smartest dribblers of the ball and his short tireless frame keeps going. As long as he does that he can keep River going even as the club struggles with its self confidence. They have had a disappointing Clausura so far and their Copa Libertadores outings started shockingly with a loss to newbies Universidad San Martín in Lima.
Today's match against America was huge. Ortega's last gasp goal gave River a 2-1 win after the America defenders made a sloppy mess of a run of the mill clearance. The attacking midfielder says he is coming back to form. River's Fernando Belluschi has left for Olympiakos and in his absence Ortega and ex- Udinese striker Alexis Sanchez have a monumental task ahead of them.
Getafe are on a roll .After that cheeky win over Real Madrid the other day here they are beating Racing Santander 3 -1 in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final.
Don Garber announced a new MLS franchise in Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love. The ownership group is headed by iStar's CEO, Jay Sugarman,one of the best compensated CEO's in the US. One of his partners is Nick Sakiewicz, a two-time winner of the MLS Executive of the Year award, and former GM of the Tampa Bay Mutiny and Metrostars (now NY Red Bulls). Its new home will be a 20,000 seater stadium in Chester, minutes away from Phila. The stadium is also part of a $500m downtown revitalization project.
The new name, logo, and colours are to be unveiled. Any ideas as to what its name could be?
Lets hope it is not the Philadelphia iStars or Quakers or Liberty or something as trite as that. Maybe Jay Sugarman can take some inspiration from Daniel Day Lewis and call it Philadelphia Ripe Foot.
Thaksin Shinawatra returned to Thailand today and was taken into custody, released on bail, and will stand trial before the country's Supreme Court on March 8th on corruption charges which include tax evasion and nepotism. He returned because the country's political environment changed in his favour.
Some immediate questions. If Thaksin is found guilty, does this mean that Man City will lose out on the some £800m frozen by the military junta? Even if his assets are released, would it benefit the club in time?
An encouraging sign is the agency responsible for freezing his millions is coming under increased scrutiny and it appears that the present government will close it down. That could lead to his assets being released.
Precious money that could keep a club afloat. Thaksin has been a low profile but unmistakable presence at Eastlands since he took up ownership; instrumental in hiring Sven Goran Erickson and getting the players that make a difference. City's chances of achieving an UEFA spot have never been better. In February they beat rivals Man Utd twice for the first time since 1968.
I think the answer becomes more clearcut if he decides to stay on and re-enter politics. He has denied an interest but he and his party, the PPP represent the interests of the millions of working class Thais, in opposition to the military junta and conservative forces which have been in a battle for ascendancy since Shinawatra came to power in 2001. They took advantage of his absence at a UN General Assembly meeting in 2006 to stage a coup.
The PPP came back as the majority partner in the coalition government last December but their fortunes could evaporate because of increasing disarray. The Prime Minister, Samak Sundaravej faces charges for a cover up in the assault of pro-democracy activists in 1976 that led to a number of deaths. Another leader faces charges of electoral fraud which has been upheld by the Election Commission and the election result could hinge on a Supreme Court verdict.
Most importantly, the populist agenda that Thaksin built around his party appears to have come unglued since his absence. His re-entry on the ground should rally his party under his leadership and keep the public pressure focused on dismantling the roadblocks that the military junta installed.
His presence is important because the media which has never been kind to him on his human rights violations will try and sway public opinion currently siding with him. There are a number of court cases including the Supreme Court's corruption and conflict of interest charges against a land deal involving him and his wife. The Attorney General's office has filed another charge of concealment of shares in a real estate holding company. Most previous charges filed by the military junta have proven unfounded.
Thaksin's millions of supporters and his acolytes in the present government are asking him to take up the political reins once more. His comeback will put pressure on the Supreme Court to acquit him, since in the court of public opinion, he has already been exonerated. If successful, it should put the nail in the agency's coffin. The money could be released quickly enough to reassure anxious Man City fans. Their owner will be now free to come and go as he pleases. Which is more than I can say about Tom Hicks who probably requires a security detail to come to Anfield.
The statistics of the game showed that Barça took shots at goal 29 times compared to Valencia’s twice and that Barça held possession for 70% of the play.Yet it took a goal from Xavi in the dying seconds of injury time to keep Barca in the hunt for a record 25th title.
Afghanistan is one of the heaviest mined countries in the world
Landmines have been planted indiscriminately over most of the country.See images. Agricultural farms, grazing areas, irrigation canals, residential areas, roads and footpaths, both in urban and rural areas, are contaminated. Mines are a major obstacle to repatriation, relief, rehabilitation and development activities.
This excerpt from an article tells how Steve Kosier, a DynCorp International advisor to an Afghan explosive ordnance disposal team hit upon a novel way of getting local cooperation to deal with the problem.
"After 35 years of war, there have been a couple of generations raised around these items that have been laying around. (The children) know where they are, and the best we can do is to educate them and get them to participate to help make their country safe again," said Steve, who is from Aurora, Colorado.
The problem was immediate but communication was hard. Colorful informational fliers weren't doing the job of locating the weapons, so he came up with an idea that children might relate to: information for soccer balls.
After a regular presentation to villagers about explosive ordnance disposal , Steve asked the children in attendance to raise their hands if they knew the location of any unexploded ordnance. Not one hand was raised.
Steve then produced two soccer balls. He asked the children if they wanted to learn how to earn a ball, and was answered with a resounding yes. It was simple, he said. Lead his team to unexploded ordnance and earn a soccer ball. Four hands immediately went up.
This led the team to recover or destroy more than 150 explosive remnants of war weighing more than two tons. In one month, they distributed 50 soccer balls and trained more than 2,200 children not to tamper with any of the dangerous devices they find. "
Read the rest here..
Jesse Fink argues why Vukovic's case be treated differently. The referee Mark Shields made a hash of the penalty that Coastal clearly had.
Personally, anything more than a 3 game suspension would stink. Referees need to be protected but a blanket ban without any regard to the extenuating circumstances or to a player's career is unjustifiable. The soccer referee is a god compared to the rugby league or NFL officiating crew who regularly consult and do TV reviews to get a decision right.
Its taken little time but the media seems to be internalizing Martin Taylor's tackle as 'clumsy'. We can debate that. Its better than stupid or dirty. Blame it on a disobedient limb, on a transient mind-body disconnection. Be that as it may, the media circus that followed was clumsy. Richard Scudamore could not even take a break from defending his plan to voice regret.
Usually injuries of such a nature which threaten to end a player's career call for some introspection; to make the game safer, which really should be the issue. The Premiership is a huge draw for the world's best players. But there are other leagues that compete for them too and a player's decision to join hinges around a myriad of factors. One of them is surprise, surprise, the ability to remain healthy. Are we doing enough to protect them? But the singular lack of such debate which instead focuses on Wenger's reaction, Gallas's flare up, or Taylor's character is glaring. I used to think American talking heads were brain dead. Their counterparts across the pond are proving to be equally lobotomized.
There are international repercussions too. The Croatian media has been all over this story. They have pursued Taylor, fans have issued death threats, and to top it all, Slaven Bilic is one unhappy man. His star striker made the English defense look like penguins with two left feet, scored the most goals for their team, and led them to a top spot, after his team administered England's Euro coup de grace is now gone. Less than a year ago, Eduardo's Premiership departure was being hailed in his club as a breakthrough. A recognition of his skills with the possibility of becoming even better.
He is coming back with a crippling career ending injury. Yet, English fans are squabbling over Wenger's hyperbole, Scudamore is busy touting his 39 steps to more greed, and the media is closing ranks around Taylor. Where is the humanity?
There is enough hint of a conspiracy to make one suspect that some Croatian players might be tempted to test the 'clumsy tackle' theory themselves when they meet England next which will be soon. They might hold back for a less consequential meeting but there is every potential that it could happen. There are different types of payback.
The Premiership is on its way to becoming a giant echo chamber. This was an instance for the powers to be to acknowledge that there are countries who define themselves through their national team. But once Scudamore got the memo that Taylor's tackle was just 'clumsy', there was nothing left to say or do. Move on. Greed is indeed clarifying.
Real Madrid's players made asses of themselves by gifting a goal to Getafe at the Bernabeu .
Arjen Robben thought he had scored for Real midway through the second half.None of them noticed that the linesman's flag was up and the referee had not awarded a goal.In the middle of the celebrations David Belenguer took a quick free kick and launched a swift counter-attack against a depleted defence that was mostly upfield celebrating.Ikechukwu Uche beat Iker Casillas. Then it was the turn of the Getafe players to turn somersaults and break into celebrations.And this time it was the genuine article.It was Real's first home defeat in the league this season."They have scored a goal against us like in a match for four-year-olds," Real midfielder Guti told reporters afterwards. "We can't afford to lose games in this way." Barcelona is now breathing down their necks and the title race is wide open.
Eduardo's injury was thankfully limited to a fractured fibula and not a compound fracture of both bones. But it was touch and go and only prompt medical treatment saved him from a far worse fate. A huge relief because the injury was as gruesome as it looked. He was operated on yesterday at a Birmingham hospital without any complications and is now wearing a leg cast.
He returned to London and is due to start his rehabbing. In a very encouraging sign he said he is determined to overcome his injury. He was also touched by the many messages of support that he received. Today is his 25th birthday and I am sure he would have loved to have celebrated it any other way but the good news is that his prognosis looks favourable for an eventual return to the pitch in year or so. It involves a hard road to recovery. Eduardo will have to hop on crutches with months of non-weight bearing with regular X-rays taken post surgically to determine the nail or metal plate integrity and new bone formation. With satisfactory union, once his cast comes off, he can move to graded weight bearing and more intensive physical therapy. But it will require months of rehab to get to the match fitness standards that international soccer demands. There is talk of moving Eduardo to Zagreb for his rehab needs once Arsenal works out the details.
Martin Taylor is reported to have visited Eduardo in hospital which is an act of good faith. And today Nicholas Bendtner came to his defence having played alongside him at Birmingham. Taylor may not be a malicious character but lets not put a halo around his head. We have to accept that it was a dirty tackle. It may not have been his intention to hurt Eduardo but he was not going for the ball either.
I agree again with Arseblog. There should be a sliding scale of punishments based on the players history, degree of provocation, and resultant injury. One size does not fit all. Taylor may not have a track record of being a dirty tackler, but in that match he clearly intended to go for Eduardo, and it resulted in a terrible injury. On the other hand, Aladiere's slap gets the same sentence. Where is the justice? In sum, Taylor's 3 match suspension is too soft. Over the weekend we saw Danny Vukovic strike a referee's arm. FIFA rules state that such misconduct could result in a ban for a year at the minimum, at worst, Vukovic, may never play again. Now that is harsh. We have two extremes in standards protecting referees and players.
Ramos succeeded in taking a club that had not been to a final in six years and had not won one in nine to a dream victory.Robbie Keane won his first major honour in club football.Report here
It started about a week or so ago in the UEFA cup with two german teams - Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen both demolishing the opposition 5 -1.Then Man U gave Newcastle the same treatment a couple of days or so ago.Barcelona is the latest on the list of teams scoring the same score.Here they give Levante a 5 -1 bashing - with Eto'o scoring 3 of the five.See his unique goal celebration at the end of the video and also here if you are in a hurry.
The key issue is as Michael Gleeson explains the AFL and Rugby League working around the World Cup schedule to free up the stadiums. The question is why would they. Soccer poses a serious and credible threat to their popularity.
Its been a climb since Johnny Warren wrote his memoir documenting the biases of the rabid fan base of Aussie rules. Some of it still persists but Australia is not the isolated outpost of yore. The hinterland might occasionally simmer but there is no escaping a thriving country very much part of the global economy, a huge driver of quality education, with a relatively transparent immigration process that attracts thousands.
From a soccer standpoint, Australia is now part of the Asia zone where millions follow soccer. It is a much tougher group of countries to play against. Most of the nancy boy derision that soccer faced was because of the weak competition in the Oceanic zone where they would run up scores against Western Samoa. Politically too, there is a change. John Howard's us and them fear mongering was fiercely rejected by a majority. The new PM, Kevin Rudd has ushered in a new era of reconciliation with a long due apology for the inequities suffered by the indigenous people of Australia. A mere band aid with much more to do. But it is a start. Soccer is part of Australia's re-evaluation of the past and its ability to move forward.
For what it is worth, Aussies are sports lovers. If a sport has a chance to flourish, introduce it in Australia first. There is nothing that they do not play and they become incredibly good at it. Every sport has a well supported niche and soccer has after a rough start, established itself. There is also no drop off in rugby's popularity in countries that also play soccer. Both sports enjoy separate audiences.
In the end, the AFL and Rugby League stand to look pretty small minded and insecure if they do not work with the World Cup bid committee to sort out this scheduling issue. Their fears are unfounded.
Beckham looks to be in good nick. Galaxy won 2-1 over Sydney FC coming third in the inaugural Pan Pacific championships. You can keep the commentary down if you don't want the usual jingoistic chest beating.
Today's A- League final ended in a controversial win for the Newcastle Jets over Central Coast
Goalie Danny Vukovic was sent off for striking referee Mark Shields after he failed to award a penalty to Central Coast following a handball by Newcastle's James Holland in the goalbox. He was charged with violent misconduct (Video here)
Under the FFA's national disciplinary regulations, such a charge carries a recommended sanction of a one-year ban to life suspension.
Makes you wonder about the slap on the wrist maximum 3 match suspension that Martin Taylor faces while referees seem to get a sliding scale benefit depending on the provocation.
William Gallas should comport himself as Arsenal's leader. He was understandably frustrated with the penalty decision and Eduardo's injury that saw a game slip away. But the occasion demanded that Gallas not take that armband lightly. Instead, he acted out in an unseemly fashion. What sort of example are you setting for players like Eboue and his impulse control problems?
At this stage, more than anything else, Arsenal's young team needs a rallying point in their quest for the league title. I agree with Arseblog that do this for Eduardo would be powerful motivation. The pundits wrote off Arsenal at the beginning of the season and here we are end of Feb at the top of the table. There would be nothing sweeter than seeing Eduardo hoisting that silverware with the rest of his mates in May. We can do this.
The reports are that Sir Alex is drooling over Karem Benzema and has made signing him a priority this summer. He saw an electrifying Benzema stick it to Man U before Tevez bailed them out again.
Jean Michel Aulas, Lyons owner and one of the shrewdest deal makers, says bring it on. He is used to smelling desperation in the morning. After all he made Roman Abramovich sweat bullets over the Michael Essien deal. Expect the same for Benzema.
But Aulas is being himself. What really gets your goat is Sir Alex prostrating himself to get Benzema. It was not so long ago when Gallas' equalizer got his lips flapping over the demise of the English game, blaming it on Wenger and his damn foreigners. He led a chorus of managers who said the same. A nice photo op with Sepp Blatter establishing quotas followed. It made you think the saviour of the English game was going to go to Shropshire to sign the first person with boots on. Yeah, right.
Can we kill this meme. Sir Alex is as interested in saving English soccer as Dylan Thomas was in keeping a story straight.
I did not see the match but those who did must have the same sickened reaction to Eduardo's shattered leg. From what I gather, Eduardo aka Dudu is out for about half a year at best, at the very worst, he may not play again. On Monday he turns 25. For a young team, to play on after the nature of Dudu's injury, was a stern test of their mettle. Cesc was visibly shaken up. And yet they could have won if it had not been for that horrible call by Mike Dean on Clichy as time expired. This has been a tough, tough week for Arsenal.
A compound fracture of the tibia- fibula requires open reduction and internal fixation followed by a slow, painful rehabilitation process that takes months. Complications like nerve and arterial damage could slow down recovery. Dudu's youth, his fitness, and his motivational levels are in his favour but this will be a real challenge.
Dudu's injury has shocked not just Arsenal fans but Croatia as well which now has to play the Euro without their best striker. He was second only to David Healey in Euro qualifier scoring. Coach Slaven Bilic is putting a brave face on all of this as he now has to reassess his depth chart. He and Robert Prosenecki are due to visit Dudu next week.
Dudu came into Arsenal with big shoes to fill, namely Thierry Henry. It was a huge moment for him and his club, Dinamo Zagreb who had won the title after he set the season record for the number of goals scored in the Croatian league. He was the biggest transfer in club history and they were understandably proud that one of their own had hit the big leagues.
Dudu had a slow start in the Premiership, his tiny frame overshadowed by the more robust defenders. For a while he struggled to score. But he came into his own with that beautiful goal against Everton, where he turned Jagielka outside in. He was on a roll after that with six goals in four game and a growing reputation as a fox in the box with his speed and quick thinking. It was a good time to score as Fabregas after his promising output, failed to score. He was also getting into the game with his crisp passing. Senderos and Rosicky were beneficiaries of his assists. Ade's more measured game and aerial ability, went perfectly in tandem with his quickness, and they made a good strike pair.
Alex McLeish and Steve Bruce have come to the defense of Martin Taylor. The usual he would not hurt a fly crap. But Taylor also played for Blackburn for a number of years where brute strength is cherished. This tackle was pre-meditated. Eduardo's speed proved too much for Taylor and he came flying in with his studs up. It would have been just another dirty tackle but the combination of the orientation of the tackle, its force, and Eduardo's planted foot, contributed to his leg snapping like a twig. A red card is the least Taylor deserved. He should be suspended.
Dudu's departure really puts a crimp on Arsenal's plans and now the gaffer has to deal pairing Ade with Nicholas Bendtner. This is a problem. We have already seen a number of occasions where both have been loath giving off the ball to the other in goal scoring opportunities. Hleb as a withdrawn striker with Ade up front has also proven less effective. Van Persie maybe back in a couple of weeks but his minutes are questionable and it will be a while before he can play a whole game. On a more positive note Theo Walcott scored his first Premiership goals. But Walcott has proven inconsistent and whether this inspires him remains to be seen.
No one would have given Arsenal a shot with Henry's transfer and Van Persie's frequent injuries but Dudu's emergence gave us some invaluable goals and made Ade's load a lot lighter. I am gutted with this loss. My prayers for a speedy recovery and a return to the playing field.
He scored his first ever Premier League goal against Birmingham and followed it up with a second.Videos here and here.Arsenal had to be content with a 2 -2 draw at the end.Theo Walcott's goals were overshadowed by a horrific injury to Eduardo da Silva.His leg was broken after a brutal challenge from Martin Taylor.Sky TV revealed that the leg-break incident was so sickening that they would not show a replay in the interests of good taste, to avoid upsetting people.There is a youtube video here....It's really a terrible injury.
Corpulent shareholder Alisher Usmanov has become Arsenal's largest shareholder, moving past Danny Fizsman, positioning himself for a club takeover. His takeover will pave the way for David Dein.
Remember how Dein had used the Henry transfer to justify that the wheels were falling off, surreptitiously maneuvering a takeover, first with Kroenke and now with Usmanov.
Usmanov's potential buyout benefits no one, least of all the club, as it has gained financial strength (Arsenal climbed to 5th in the world's richest clubs) without a takeover. Furthermore, Arsenal is in a good position to win silverware this year without adding any costly transfers to the squad. The financial future of the club remains strong.
We should remember that Arsenal has managed very well without these so called well wishers. The club should not be used by those who want to whitewash their baggage.
Here's Bayern Munich beating the lard out of Aberdeen.Score 5 -1
And then heres' what makes the whole thing uncanny. Bayer Leverkusen also demolished Galatasaray by a similar margin.That's right - 5 goals to 1.
4 German teams have made it to the last 16.It would have been more totally wierd if the other 2 had also scored 5 -1 but they did not oblige.So that's how things stand now.4 German teams cluttering up the place and getting in each other's way.More details on that situation here
The picture shows Drogba being lasered sometime in December ' 07 during a Chelsea WestHam game.Ronaldo is the one being subjected to the laser treatment this time.He got a bit of it in the Man U vs Lyon game.Fergie is understandably furious.The UEFA is thinking about investigating the claim.Tevez meanwhile saved the day for Man U scoring a late equaliser to ensure that the game ended at 1 -1 laser or no laser.
Twice in the game Celtic were in the lead.But Barcelona (and Lionel Messi in particular) were not to be denied.He scored two and Henry chipped in with one more.
CL first leg. Arsenal vs AC Milan at the Emirates. 7:15 GMT.
Arsenal should take full advantage of the goalkeeping situation in Milan. Dida, the first choice is out with a back injury. Zeljko Kalac, Milan's back up has a dislocated finger and is questionable. Valerio Fiori, the third stringer has not played a competitive game in five years.
Kalac is a bit like Lehmann. He makes great saves but gives away the occasional goal through boneheaded moves. He will start if Ancelotti decides he is match fit but Arsenal should test that theory.
So if I were Arsenal some unexpected hefty swipes at goal amidst all that fine passing would be in order. Arsenal has also successfully surprised opponents by mixing up the long ball using Eduardo's speed up to threaten the goalkeeper. They should do the same through Clichy and Sagna to catch the slower, older Milan defense out of position. Marek Jankulovski has been vulnerable in the past as he has been slower to track back and an adventurous Sagna should be able to exploit that. Oddo does a lot of running up the right flank but fades away as the game goes on. The center of the defense with Nesta and Kaladzhe is Milan's strength and that might prove harder to breakdown especially if Arsenal go down the center. Ancelotti has rotated a lot of his peripheral defenders with Bonera and Favalli also receiving substantial minutes.
Milan's goalstrike might have been more dire if it was not for the late surge by Alexandre Pato scoring 4 goals in his last five apperances and Alberto Paloschi's stunning Serie debut against Siena. Ancelotti's attack has been quite conventional and Milan's 34 goals have forced a number of draws and low scoring wins.
For history buffs, Goal.com has a fascinating account of the last time these two played each other. Actually, the only time they faced each other was in the 1995 European Super Cup final which Arsenal lost 0-2 on aggregate. Milan's coach was Fabio Capello. It was Beauty vs Beast (Sorry, no You Tube highlights available, I'm afraid).
Arsenal had little regard outside of England. Its strength was its tough workman like defence coached by George Graham and led by Tony Adams, Nigel Winterburn, Lee Dixon, and goalie David Seaman. Dull but effective soccer. AC Milan, European powerhouses, one of the most decorated names in the world, boasted artists like Donadoni, Desailly, Savicevic, Baresi, Maldini, Costacurta, Massaro, and Boban. A different time, different coaches, and different approaches.
Today, we have two teams reknowned throughout the world for their artistry. This should be a great game.
As usual you can pretend to work while enjoying all the action at
The team that was beaten by Barnsley beat Inter Milan - a team that has been beaten only once before this season .That was quite a comeback.Inter was playing with 10 men for about an hour.Marco Materazzi's practice of the dark arts earned him 2 yellow cards and he had to depart.Gerrard's goal at the end of the game was pretty good.Take a look.
Did Nani showboat or showoff? Video here
Soccer players are entertainers. Brazil used to do that regularly before Dunga came along and our avenues to see this sort of stuff remains pretty limited. More power to Nani that he chose to do what he did. It looked good and it was effective. Sir Alex and Wenger need to lay off the sauce. Let me also say that Arsenal played like a bunch of hacks. Gallas should have gone and Eboue should seriously seek counseling.
THe NYT has an article highlighting the flood of kids with ACL injuries requiring surgery or bracing to restore knee stability. Conventional wisdom is that children break bones more easily than incur ligament damage. At stake is the mythic strength of children's ligaments. The article opens up many more questions.
An obvious question is how far have imaging studies contributed to a correct diagnosis? What used to be called a 'trick' knee is now correctly an ACL injury, which means that this increase in incidence could potentially be a false positive.
Is the popularity of soccer taking its toll on children's health? In other words, the rise of soccer could have a less salubrious effect too. The article does not breakdown the sports which cause these injuries. It would be helpful to establish a comprehensive database.
Interestingly, the majority of these injuries is non-contact, i.e., they occur off the field and involve twisting of the knees. Have potholes become more numerous or attention spans decreased?
Actually, one could argue that these ligament tears are possibly an accumulation of a series of microtears incurred on the field which compromise ligament integrity. Twisting your knee falling into a pothole is the last straw. One should try and correlate these non-contact injuries with the frequency and intensity of sports played to get a clearer understanding of whether and if ligament injuries are really on the rise.
This much is clear, ligament transplant surgery involving children's growth plates can potentially throw the leg out of alignment leading to shortening. Alternative methods are more cumbersome and the long term efficacy of these procedures are not known. Bracing runs into compliance issues and children are notoriously brace aversive. So methods of restoring knee stability in children have systemic problems.
However, this highlights the prevention is better approach. Most children are sent to the field without proper muscle conditioning. Muscles serve a protective function when it comes to prevention of injuries in unguarded moments. A half hour of plyometrics, e.g., jumping on a trampoline, on and off wooden blocks of different heights, with and without weights, with different knee and body angles, in a fun and festive atmosphere would be better than just lifting weights. Lower muscle tone might be one of the reasons girls seem to be more prone to knee injuries than boys.
And parents. Living life out vicariously or padding a child's resume becomes a bit less palatable when confronted with these injuries and their long term damage. So stop pushing them onto the field when the child complains of knee pain or swelling. It might be serious.
Ismael Blanco scored this backheel in the dying seconds of the game to help AEK Athens FC draw the game against Getafe CF at the OACA Spyro Louis Stadium a few days back.
He was once a lean mean goal machine .Now he barely gets off the bench.He came in as a substitute and helped Barcelona close the gap with Real Madrid by scoring a penalty in their 2-1 win against Real Zaragoza ( Video here )Opinions vary.Andreas Hinkel is telling his Celtic teammates not to be taken in by the weighty reputation of Barcelona, if they want to progress in the Champions League. He picked out the decline of Ronaldinho as an example of how " the pursuit of excess, rather than success, has made the Spanish side vulnerable."
An opposite opinion from Eidur Gudjohnsen.He insists that Ronaldinho ( still) is the best player he has ever worked with.
After a week of intense training with 35 players at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Pia Sundhage has released 11 players, re-assigned one to the U-23 Women’s National Team, and called up three additional players, making for a group of 26 players that will train from Feb. 9-17 at The HDC. Following the completion of training camp, Sundhage will choose a 20-player roster for the 2008 Algarve Cup, which will be held March 5-12 in southern Portugal. The four matches at Algarve Cup are the next international games for the USA and the final official matches before the USA enters the CONCACAF Final Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament being held April 2-13 in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
Here's a videomercial w/ some of the new faces:
PRISTINA, Kosovo, Feb. 17
Kosovo declared its independence today from Serbia.
And that my friends should be another welcome addition to the soccer world.
Kosovo follows in the footsteps of Montenegro which broke off from Serbia weeks before the 2006 World Cup although the soccer team played under the unified banner of Serbia- Montenegro.
Kosovo will be FIFA's 209th member. They have a long standing team as yet unrecognized by FIFA and UEFA because Kosovo was occupied initially by Yugoslavia before NATO forces intervened in the Balkan crisis in 1999 and handed its administration to the UN. The most visible way to announce to the world that Kosovo is a independent entity is to get ratification from UEFA and FIFA and become eligible for the Euro and the World Cup.
Thus begins a dilemma for many Albania squad players born in Kosovo who might be eligible for the new Kosovo national team. This includes Lorik Cana, the captain of Olympique Marseille and Besart Berisha who recently transfered to Burnley FC from Hamburger SV, and Samir Ujkani, the U-21 goalie who plays for Palermo.
There are also a number of Kosovar Albanian players scattered throughout Europe in Switzerland, Sweden, Norway and Germany who may be tempted to become part of the Kosovo national team. Players such as Valon Behrami of Lazio who has already played for the Switzerland national squad, Liverpool's hottest youth prospect, Astrit Ajdarevic, a Swedish U21 international, and Faton Toski, of Eintracht Frankfurt, a member of Germany's U-19 squad.
For those history buffs the provisional Kosovo national team played its first game against Albania losing, 0-3 on Feb 14, 1993.
Finnish international and human bulldozer, Shefki Kuqi at present on loan to Fulham is Kosovar Albanian in origin. But he may not switch his allegiance from the land of Koskenkorva and Sillanpaa.
Option C:Hang up your boots and enjoy your millions.
Option D:Maybe Ronaldo can call up Adriano and see if there is a spot available in the rehab clinic.
If I was Ronaldo, Option C would be a no-brainer. But there is always the MLS. They love over the hill stars and their injured knees and ankles. So don't give up hope yet, Ronaldo! Let your people call up Alexi Lalas.
Corinthians, relegated to Division B, play their 5000th game against Braga at the Morumbi today. The club was founded in 1910.
In a special celebration the club will honour its stars. Biro-Biro, Neto, Sócrates, Zé Maria, Tião, Marcelinho Carioca, Geraldão, Basílio, Mauro, Vaguinho, Wilson Mano, Ronaldo, Zenon and Wladimir. Corinthians has the largest following of supporters in Brazil with an estimated 35m fanbase.
Soccerblog writes how Corinthians, the people's club, was the revolutionary vanguard leading the charge against the corruptive influence of the cartelos in Brazilian soccer finally succumbing to the very culture that it previously fought against.
Give me your Hoddled masses.
Glenn Hoddle, midfield general, phlegmatic former England manager, born again Christian; talks to Simon Kuper about creating a youth academy for teenage players, club rejects, who desire a second chance.
Seems like a 180 turn from his insensitive comments on disabled people for which he was sacked as England manager.
The FT highlights the rise of Keta Sandlanders, a small Ghanian club which has seen its fortunes rise thanks to the worldwide reach of the internet and offers a model of success for small clubs who are part of the local community but are struggling to survive.
The club shut down a decade ago as coastal erosion ate up the town of Keta but is up and running thanks to an online initiative which is attracting a membership base around the world.
Barcelona's co-operative system has been the inspiration behind such ventures. The spate of foreign owned soccer owners in the English league and elsewhere had created a backlash as fans desire a greater degree of control in their hands and to invest in a club that is part of the local community.
The internet has given a renewed impetus to such initiatives. We now have the Share Liverpool FC plan modeled after Barca which is utilizing Liverpool's global reach to end foreign ownership. Their goal is to raise £500m. Ebbsfleet United, the largest such online venture, is supported by more than 50,000 members who pay £35 for the right to vote on any matter related to the club, including transfers and team selection. Hapoel Kiryat Shalom, an Israeli sixth division club goes one better. The coach is advised tactical changes as the games are streamed live, by an online viewership of 10,000 members.
Alisher Usmanov sighting. He has become Arsenal's second biggest stakeholder behind Danny Fiszman. A difference of a few shares. Usmanov is positioning himself as the biggest stakeholder before the lockdown agreement expires in April 2009. He will be in pole position to increase his exposure to 30% triggering an automatic takeover bid. He can buyout Stan Kroenke's stake or team up with him to get to that level.
We can then look forward to Arsenal playing friendlies with the Karimov XI in Uzbekistan.
The aftermath of the bitter and divisive 2000 US presidential elections spawned a myriad of political blogs disillusioned with the bias of the mainstream media (MSM) narrative. On either side of the divide, blogs became agents of change challenging the MSM and supporting candidates who hew more closely to their vision. Blogs have become a potent counterpoint to the Washington echo chamber, a tight knit cabal of talking heads who push narratives like McCain is a maverick and tensions between Hispanic and African Americans voters will determine Barack Obama's candidacy. An establishment that now appears to be on the defensive as millions turn to blogs who espouse a more unfiltered point of view, frequently are quicker on their feet, and do the legwork to expose fallacies and inconsistencies. Blogs have become so influential that candidates solicit their financial support, post up their opinions, and participate in their yearly conventions. The 2006 mid term elections that saw Democrats capture the House and Senate was engineered by the election of many candidates supported by progressive blogs. Many MSM outlets now have their own talking heads who write blogs or invite prominent bloggers to guest column. Blogs are now an accepted part of the political environment with a proven track record of influencing election outcomes.
By the same token, we do not have a similar seminal point in sports blogging. Deadspin, an anti-corporatist website that rails against ESPN, Fox Sports, and other mainstream sports media (MSSM) outlets has been chiefly set up to knock down sports as nothing more than providing entertainment. It is thus irreverent and tongue in cheek, mocking self important talking heads. Deadspin would be required reading for those sickened by Bob Costas and his saccharine sweet jingoism which grates every Olympics, ane event coming up soon. However for all its popularity, Deadspin has not forced a change in the narrative of the MSSM which is driven by above said Bob Costas and Bryant Gumbel who eulogize athletes with crushed ribs and bad parenting.
Deadspin is a US based blog and as such it is targeted primarily towards American sports. Fortunately, the winds are changing, more specifically towards a soccer based activism. Blogs that follow EPL clubs lead the way which makes sense as it is the most widely followed league in the world with more than 200m followers. The enormous bile towards the Premiership proposal of expanding its matches to overseas markets is forcing Richard Scudamore to rethink his proposal. Managers, sports pundits, and administrators have come out against the proposal. The FA hardly an activist organization is dead against the soccer expansion. But it is blogs who have coalesced fan anger, accusing the EPL of being anti-player in its mercenary pursuit of exploiting new markets for merchandising.
The process of forcing change has long been hampered by the fact that fans rarely have a say in the economic matters of the club or its club ownership. But last summer proved to be a milestone as blogs exposed the shady past of Alisher Usmanov as he tried engineering an Arsenal takeover. These Arsenal friendly blogs helped disseminate an unflattering article written by a Craig Murray, a former British ambassador to Uzbekistan even as Usmanov's lawyers sought to muzzle them in a cease and desist motion. The club's governing board was forced to action and installed a lock down agreement that would prevent a hostile takeover. In contrast, Liverpool's takeover proceeded with little opposition. However, later on, the US co-owners dubious solvency and irresolute behavior gave anxious Liverpool fans enough reason to believe that their club would once again be on the market. Blogs channeled this widespread discontent which led to a proposal by a group of committed Liverpool fans to buy out the club and run it as a co-operative. The proposal was passed onto blogs and their readers who crashed the group's website.
Wenger defends his use of cardboard cutouts to play Man U in the FA Cup fifth round. Arsenal lost 0-4.
"Its the economy, stupid. "
"Newcastle looks good except for the scoreline."
"They can't do sliding tackles but otherwise they are alright."
"Cardboard cutouts are a natural progression from underage players."
"Not all of them are cut out for the big matches but you would never know until you try them."
"Rio called me up and said he had wood."
"The cardboard cutout who was in Dances with Wolves, he was nominated for the Oscar."
"I was preparing them for the 39th game."
"Yeah, it would be easier knocking down a strawman."
"I am the decider."
Anyways, all this does not take away from a superior Man U display. But Arsenal were abject and deserving of all scorn.
FA Cup: Man U up 2-0 within 20 minutes as the Arsenal defence seems like its waiting to be airlifted to another time zone. Another one of those classic Arsenal meltdowns. Hoyte and Gallas have been awful. Its been Rooney, Nani and Fletcher. Yes, Fletcher. Its that kind of a day for Arsenal.
Huddersfield just scored against Chelsea. Its 1-1 all and this could turn out to be another historic match a la Barnsley.
Update: Man U, 3-0 up as Nani scores. Arsenal's defence does a re-enactment of the Keystone Kops.
Liverpool's season just took another body blow as Barnsley created history ousting the Reds in the FA Cup fifth round. The heroes for Barnsley were many.
Martin Devaney's spectacular cross set up Steven Foster's equalizer, Robert Kozluk's scrambling legs kept a sure Dirk Kuyt goal out after the Barnsley defense was caught out of position, Luke Steele's heroics in goal stopped Yossi Benayoun and Harry Kewell, and Brian Howard nailed the door shut with 30 seconds left as his 25 yard left footer beat Charles Itandje The match ended with Anfield engulfed by boos from LFC supporters.
Rafa Benitez's comfort zone just got a lot smaller. For FA Cup junkies, another reminder that the tournament keeps throwing up some of the most memorable and entertaining matches.
FA Cup fixtures usually fall victim to CL and Premiership aspirations. However, today's encounter with Man U may not be as insignificant as guano in the Galapagos because of its Premiership and CL implications. In the Premiership we have witnessed a very tight race between the teams before a suddenly vulnerable Man U team ceded five points to create some daylight. The psychological boost provided by an Arsenal win today would be tremendous ahead of its April return to Old Trafford.
This match is important too for Arsenal's overseas challenge. They meet Milan midweek for the start of the CL knockout phase. Milan, the present CL champion beat out Man U last year in a memorable semi-final, after falling back in the first leg. Milan has revived its Serie season with Ancelotti's new signings providing a shot in the arm. And of course the triple threat posed by Kaka, Seedorf, and Pirlo remain intact. Last season Arsenal's chances ended prematurely against PSV. A win over Man U would be a nice confidence booster in its CL match up with Europe's best.
Deloitte's 2008 Football Money League report puts three Premiership clubs in the top five richest spots for the first time. Real continues its most moneyed status followed by Man U, Barca, Chelsea, and Arsenal. The Gunners made a huge move from ninth to fifth. The catalyst was the tremendous growth in gate receipts due to the increased Emirates capacity.
There are six Premiership clubs in the list which also includes Liverpool, Tottenham, and Newcastle. It is estimated that the Premiership will provide half the top twenty clubs in the next couple of years.
The Serie continues it slow slide. Milan fell out of the top five as the San Siro suffered a significant decline in attendance. It was partially offset by its strength in broadcasting revenues. Inter's story is similar following a drop off in season and match day ticketholders. Last year's third position holder Juventus fell out of the top ten following Calciopoli. AS Roma was the only only club that improved but that was because of its strong CL performance. The Serie's strength comes from its broadcasting revenues.
But the big story is that the Bundesliga continues to benefit from the World Cup as Werder Bremen joins SV Hamburger, Schalke, and Bayern in the top twenty. The World Cup expanded Europe's largest economy with new and improved sponsorships fueling the clubs growth as commercial revenue increased. This despite the Bundesliga having the smallest broadcasting market. Bayern benefits from Adidas stake in the club and a huge sponsorship deal with Deutsche Telekom.
More on the Deloitte football money league with club highlights >>
Ronaldo goes down with a ruptured tendon in his knee...and will be out of action for at least 9 months.
This is the third time serious injury has brought him down.Some footage of the 1999 and 2000 injuries here..
How much more can that knee of his take ? They are saying that surgical techniques have improved since 2000 and that what's broken can be repaired.But most importantly Ronaldo has to believe that he can come back one more time.More on that story here..
How do you tackle the problem of childhood obesity- kids eating far too much junk food and not getting enough excercise?
About one-third of children and teens in the USA - about 25 million children — are overweight or on the brink of becoming so, government data show.
The answer: Become a soccer parent.Here are some of the benefits of soccer.
* Children who play soccer learn valuable life skills, like how to get along with others, how to work as a team, and how to deal with disappointment and adversity.
* Children who play team sports like soccer have an easier time making friends and are more social and outgoing.
* Playing soccer and training to be good soccer players helps kids learn healthy habits like exercising and eating healthy.
Other details in the book.
18 year old AC Milan star Alberto Paloschi caused a bit of sensation by scoring this winner 18 seconds into his debut game against Siena when he came on as a substitute.He joins the list of young players with great potential.
The Newcastle fans had their say. Owner Mike Ashley brought in the man and his inspirational leadership. But has it paid off?
Keegan's first four matches: 2 losses, 2 draws.
Allardyce's first four matches: 2 wins, 2 draws.
Under Keegan, the Magpies have given up 8 goals and scored two. Under Allardyce, they scored 6 goals and gave up three. Since taking over from Allardyce, Newcastle has trended downwards slipping from 11th to the 13th spot and are just six points from relegation. Out of the remaining 12 matches left, only four are to lower placed teams. Less than a month ago, Keegan was aspiring for a UEFA spot. Unreal, no?
On the other hand, Roy Keane realized that it was not just inspirational leadership that was going to get Sunderland out of the woods, it was going to be his players. Kieran Richardson's January return has kickstarted their climb up from relegation and they are trending up from 18th to the 14th position, just below Newcastle. They too have some tough matches ahead and it will be interesting to see where these clubs end up at the end of the season.
Richard Scudamore's plan has a caveat. Asia's millions know Man U, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, and possibly Man City. The EPL is a global brand because of these clubs. If you really want to humiliate clubs like Reading or Wigan, send them out to these countries and watch them disprove the popularity of the EPL brand. No offense meant to either club but they have problems attracting an audience at home. How about we start here?
Arsenal polished off Blackburn with goals from Senderos and Adebayor.
It increases the gap between Man U and Chelsea as the season heads to its fatiguing climax of FA, CL, and league fixtures. Great win!
Egypt's sixth ACN title cementing its position as the dominant African soccer power underscores the success of its vibrant and fiercely competitive domestic league. While successful Western African talent is leaving flooding the higher profile and more lucrative European leagues, diluting the domestic game. In comparison, the Egyptian players stand out for their seeming reluctance to abandon their domestic league, even as many are offered attractive deals to do exactly that by well to do foreign clubs.
Mohammad Aboutreika might be the most courted African player not to leave his club, Al Ahly, as he continues to set an example with his commitment to his club and country. On the strength of his incandescent play, the Cairo club came third in the Club World Championships two years ago, the first African club to progress so deep. He also led Al Ahly to its fifth CAF title, another record. Soon after that he was nominated for the African player of the year award competing with six others including Samuel Eto'o, Barca's talisman and Didier Drogba, Chelsea's standout who led their scoring in their successful title repeat. He was rejected in the final balloting setting off a firestorm in Egypt. Eto'o who had not played any meaningful minutes with his frequent injuries sailed through to the final stage before Drogba was eventually declared the winner.
Critics saw this as a sellout undermining a true hero whose accomplishments shone a light on a successful and relatively unknown African league as opposed to candidates playing for European brands which already enjoy global recognition. In essence, Aboutreika was the sort of player the CAF should be championing, given its African pan nationalist origins and its founding mission of unifying African soccer.
The fierce reaction to Aboutreika's rejection echoes Egypt's unique place in Africa and its abbreviated colonial history as compared to generations of rule in other African countries by Western European powers. These colonial associations are being turned to an advantage by clubs like ASEC Mimosas which feeds the exodus of Eboue, Toure, Zokora, Kalou and other players from its from youth academy to the European leagues.
Egypt has not benefited from these colonial associations, in fact, actively spurning them through a mix of nationalistic ambition and suspicion of Western motives. Britian's brief interlude in Egypt collapsed as its army met a series of sustained and fierce resistance from the citizenry. In 1952, Farouk I, a pro- British monarch was removed in a coup led by Gamel Abdel Nasser who went onto become Egypt's Prime Minister. And Britain's bluff was called when Nasser sought to successfully nationalize the Suez Canal. Nasser's forceful articulation of pan-Arabism drew them inexorably closer to the political and ideological center of the Arab world after years of uneasy co-existence. His feat wresting the Suez from the hands of Britain, England, and Israel made him a hero from Amman to Baghdad.
While most African countries were still struggling with the effects of colonialism, Egypt was sharpening its nationalistic credentials, becoming the leader of the Arab League, seeking common ground with countries like India and Yugoslavia during the Cold War, creating an independence from NATO and the Warsaw Pact countries, even at it moved towards Soviet style heavy industrialization, educational, and agrarian reforms. Egypt has benefited from relative stability, a largely self sufficient economy, and making peace with Israel. West Africa has seen its share of countries torn apart by harsh ethnic strife, warring neighbours, and burdened by crippling debt.
Such strong national ideals which informed Egypt's place in the post colonial world were also at work in the formation of Al Ahly in 1907, a student soccer club, whose membership led an active resistance to the occupation. It was the first club for Egyptians under British rule. Zamalek's original character as a club for expatriates changed under the tide of nationalism. By 1930 it had expelled its European membership.
The success of the Egyptian league clubs in the CAF competitions winning 11 titles with Al Ahly and Zamalek leading with five each underscores its strength compared to other African leagues as it continues to retain its talent. This despite the fact that its players are not well paid and the Egyptian league continues to be plagued with old stadiums and indifferent organizations. Its viability depends on a combination of government subsidies and private entrepreneurship.
In the end Hassan Shehata did not need EPL stars like Mido or Ghaly to win the ACN. Mohammad Zidan, the Hamburger SV striker was an exception but got no favours for returning as a star. He had to prove that he was part of the national team just like the rest of the players.
Brazil emerged victorious after an exhibition that marked the beginning of the South Americans’ preparation for the Beijing Olympics. Robinho scored the deciding goal in the 66th minute when he sidefooted a ball through the legs of Lee Carsley and past diving Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given. No signs of Pato anywhere...
International Herald Tribune Brazil beats Ireland 1-0 in exhibition game
SI.com Dunga calls Pato, nine other U23s for Brazil-Ireland friendly in Dublin
Sporting Life UK Republic of Ireland 0 Brazil 1
Egypt beats Cameroon 1-0 (about 8 minutes into the video)
Defending champions Egypt won a record sixth Africa Cup of Nations with a fully-deserved victory over Cameroon.
Read the article on BBC >>
Congratulations to Hassan Shehata and the Pharoahs as they overcame the Lions and Samuel Eto'o.
Zidan came on the 60th minute for Emad Moteab and the move paid off twenty minutes later as he dispossessed Rigobert Song, squaring the ball to Mohammad Aboutrieka, the hero of Egypt and Al Ahly who made no mistake.
The goal was just enough to snuff out the battling Lions.
The match has started and it promises to be a fitting finale to one of the freest flowing and attacking expositions of soccer of all times. Egypt met Cameroun in its Group C encounter and won, 4-2. Samuel Eto'o scored both goals but he was overshadowed by the sensational Mohamad Zidan and Hosni Abd Rabou.
Egypt and Cameroun have defied all odds and expectations to reach the finals as Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Nigeria have fallen. Two coaches with very different trajectories, Hassan Shehata, the long time Zamalek player, for the last three years coaching the only national team in his career goes head to head with the most itinerant coach on the planet, Germany's Otto Pfister, last seen as Togo's national coach in he 2006 World Cup. Cameroun is Pfister's 17th coaching job. He was also Zamalek's coach from 1999- 2002 and led them to the CAF title as well as a league championship. So there is a bit of history interconnecting the two teams.
Arsenal's Alexander Song who has had a fantastic competition will hold the back four as Cameroun look to absorb Egypt's potent attack led by in form Mohammad Aboutreika, Ahmed Fatih, Amr Zaky, and Hosni Abd Rabou. Their best chance lie in counterattacks with Samuel Eto'o, their talismanic sharpshooter providing the exclamation point.
Cameroun: 1-Idriss Carlos Kameni; 3-Bill Tchato, 8-Geremi, 4-Rigobert Song, 5-Timothee Atouba; 10-Achille Emana, 15-Alexandre Song, 19-Stephane Mbia, 14-Joel Epalle; 12-Alain Nkong, 9-Samuel Eto'o
Egypt: 1-Essam Al Hadari; 5-Shady Mohamed, 6-Hani Said, 20-Wael Gomaa, 14-Sayed Moawad; 8-Hosni Abd Rabou, 7-Ahmed Fathi, 17-Ahmed Hassan, 22-Mohamed Aboutrika; 10-Emad Moteab, 19-Amr Zaki
A minute silence was observed by 76,000 fans at Old Trafford before the start of the Manchester derby to honour those killed on Flight 609. It went of without incident, as traveling City fans once feared as spoilers, paid their respects without fuss. They had come to pay homage to one of their own heroes.
Frank Swift, a News of the World reporter was also Man City's goalkeeper from 1933 to 1949 making 376 appearances, winning a FA Cup title in 1934 and a league championship in 1937. He is considered as one of England's finest goalkeepers alongside legends Gordon Banks, Peter Shilton, and David Seaman. He made 19 appearances for England, twice as captain and was the sentinel in a great pre-war team that boasted luminaries like Stanley Matthews, Joe Mercer, Tommy Lawton, Raich Carter, and Jimmy Hagan. His exploits in goal earned him a spot in the 100 League Legends list along with fellow City players Bert Trautmann, Billy Meredith, and Colin Bell.
James Mossop in his tribute to Frank Swift writes:
"Frank Swift was a huge, athletic goalkeeper with a dry, clown's outlook on life, gloveless hands that spread as wide as a tennis racket and who, history tells us, was the best in the world at his job. The huge mitts became custodians of a deft pen as he turned to journalism before dying with seven other writers who had become friends and rivals."
The gentle giant stood 6' tall, weighing 200 lbs, and with a 12'' handspan he easily enveloped the ball with one hand. His looming presence and quick reflexes made life difficult for opposing strikers to score goals.
It was Swift who became the innovator of the long throw out to start an attack rather than the more conventional hoof up the pitch that most keepers of the day used. A technique that dramatically improved possession and jump started quick counter attacks. We now see goalies use it all the time but it was first put to use more than 60 years ago by a Man City legend.
Update: Man Utd lost to City, 1-2.
Well done City fans! They did the right thing by holding their peace and honouring the twenty three, including one of their legends. Maybe Joe Hart imbibed Swift's spirit because he made some great saves. City walked off deserving victors as an enervated and dispirited Utd team left their charge a bit too late, 1-2.
Ghana came from behind to win the third-place at the Africa Cup of Nations in a six-goal thriller.Boubacar Sanogo scored the 94th goal of the 2008 tournament - one more than the previous best set in Burkina Faso 10 years ago.4 more goals were scored in the game taking the record even further away from the previous best with the finals yet to come.Jonathan Wilson writing in the Telegraph calls it a tournament "drenched in goals" - 3.07 goals per game.He has a great article on Cameroon's miracle working coach Otto Pfister here..
"It's a strange and comical idea," Platini said. "I laughed because it will never be received by Fifa, by the fans and the national associations. It's a nonsense idea. It's like if I am the president of Uefa and I put the house of Uefa in China. It's ironic. Soon you will have in England no English presidents, you already have no English coach and maybe now you will have no clubs playing in England. It's a joke."
Platini reacts to the EPL overseas expansion plan.
Personally, I think he was being a bit of an ass with that hyperbolic comment. It is a limited number of games and the idea of playing EPL matches abroad reflects its status as the most watched league and its huge fan base around the world. It is not an indictment of the English game.
Most of the criticism comes from managers left in the dark over the EPL scheme. Naturally, they are cut up about it. The league has to address manager concerns over a spectrum of logistical and player problems, from fatigue brought on by too much overseas travel to potentially racist fans. The plan can only survive if the managers sign onto it. The first step would be to bring the managers on board. But the EPL has to pay closer attention to some of the more substantive objections coming from the domestic leagues in the countries that they plan matches in.
Many countries including the USA have national leagues that have climbed a hard road to establish themselves as viable sporting entities. They are just beginning to come into their own.
So what does it say when an EPL match could potentially attract upto 120,000 at Salt Lake Stadium while the Indian Premier League struggles to attract a percentage of that audience? A failure of branding of course and questions of survivability for the domestic game. But it does not necessarily have to be that way.
If handled well, it could be a different message. I liken it to the Indian economy opening up incrementally after decades of anemic growth crippled by governmental regulation and under performing public sector underakings. Multinational firms initially gained access to the buying power of India's huge middle class by developing associations with the local economy, leading to public sector reforms and the rise of the private sector causing a much improved economic environment. The result is that there is now a flood of foreign investors in India's economy as the government continues its process of cautious deregulation.
Having players of the caliber of Ronaldo, Torres, Drogba, and Cesc playing in Asia will bring out their enormous fan base which so far relies on TV broadcasts without ever seeing their heroes live.
The EPL first mission would be to plan matches which don't intrude with international and domestic fixtures. In addition, it would be useful to work towards a more equitable revenue sharing plan with the domestic leagues. But these measures by themselves do not guarantee the sustainability of the plan.
The idea that the Indian fan will keep buying Fernando Torres merchandise blindly on the strength of a yearly Torres sighting is a fallacy. I can confidently say that Asians in general are discriminating buyers and to become a viable plan with a sustainable future, the EPL needs to part with something more intrinsic in value than just a temporary presence marketing games and merchandise.
It has to develop a more permanent relationship with the local game to lift its levels. For e.g., India already has a long term plan to improve soccer under the auspices of the Asian Football Federation. Individual EPL clubs could supplement that mission by offering their deep and excellent resources. Training camps to improve coaching, fitness and techniques would be a good way to begin. Another way would be to send promising local youngsters on scholarships to train at English youth academies. Just imagine what it would do to India's game if even a few were trained at Liverpool's or Man Utd's excellent youth facility.
This long term relationship will bring dividends to the EPL beyond the projected games even as Asian audiences get a short term fix of seeing their favourite stars in action. The league can quell the uneasy reception to its overseas expansion by articulating its symbiotic aspects.
....plays for the Portuguese U 21 side and is nicknamed "Pele".He scored a stunning goal in Portugal's under 21 game against a Scottish team under the same age.A goal worthy of the original bearer of the nickname.
Cameroon defender Andre Bikey will miss the African Nations Cup final after getting a red card for pushing a medical assistant down in the final seconds of his side's semi-final victory over Ghana on Thursday.It seems he was upset by the amount of time the medical team was taking to get his injured team mate onto a stretcher.
It is often said that you can never count out Man U till the final whistle is blown. As if on cue, last Saturday, Carlos Tevez stuck a dagger into the heart of Spurs in the final seconds of the match as Man U walked away with a face saving draw after their opponents put on a magnificent display.
The indestructibility of Man Utd soccer has its genesis in the horrific events of the Munich air crash that took the lives of 23 players, staff, reporters, and crew on February 6th, 1958.
Yesterday, on the 50th anniversary of that great tragedy, a sombre audience observed a minute's silence in their honour before the Switzerland game. At Old Trafford, Sir Bobby Charlton, a crash survivor and record goal scorer for his club and country, attended services of his fallen team mates. Alongside him were fellow survivors and mates Albert Scanlon, Bill Foulkes, Kenny Morgans, and Harry Gregg.
Eight players, the Busby Babes, representing the future of the club were killed. Players like Duncan Edwards, barely 18, in his short lived career already touted as England's best player. We laud Arsene Wenger with his eye for youthful and cheap talent but it is useful to remember that fifty years before Matt Busby was doing the same with English players from gritty working class neighborhoods. Only days before Man Utd's teen squad had played Arsenal and won their league game, 5-4.
John F Burns quoting the Telegraph reports of the match:
“The Babes played like infants in paradise. The ball, it seemed, had been placed in the arena for their own amusement. With the utmost abandon and cherubic cheerfulness, the Manchester United marvels kicked, headed and dribbled among themselves. When, on rare occasions, an Arsenal player knocked them sliding into the mud, or momentarily took the ball away, it was all part of the fun.”
In addition to Edwards; Man Utd lost Liam Whelan, David Pegg, Roger Byrne, Tommy Taylor, Geoff Bent, Eddie Colman, and Mark Jones. Two other players Jackie Blanchflower and Johnny Berry had their careers cut short because of the severity of their injuries. Their manager, Matt Busby lay in the hospital near death with multiple injuries. In one shattering moment, the club had lost its core.
Out of that great tragedy, great tenacity of purpose was born.
Man Utd soldiered on. The team was able to complete their season and in its first match after the disaster beat Sheffield Wednesday, 3-0 playing with their reserves and youth squad. They lost their league matches but were still able to reach the FA Cup final against Bolton, losing 0-2.
It took a generation but the second version of Busby's Babes which included Denis Law and George Best took them to the 1968 European title, the first English club to do so. From the smoldering embers of Flight 609, the team rose to its pinnacle. Fittingly under a manager who had been administered his last rites, not once but twice. Charlton was the captain of that team, scoring two goals as Man Utd beat Benfica, 4-1. As the first survivor to walk out of the hospital and his reputation as a talented striker, there was an immediate expectation that he help re-build Man Utd. There was no time to grieve for his fellow team mates, for David Pegg who he had exchanged seats with before takeoff.
But the price that the surviving players paid was enormous. Kenny Morgans, 68, recalls the almost brutal dressing-room mood in the months afterward.
The victims, he said, became nonpersons: “It was as if they had never played for United. There was nothing like grief counselors or anything like that. We didn’t talk about it among ourselves. Nobody did. We wanted to blank it out. You always wondered why you were alive and others were dead.”
At the risk of sounding Tolkien-ish, it was a simpler time. The tragedy took place a decade after the end of World War II amidst a generation limping to normalcy from the Battle of Britain and its fear inducing air raid sirens heralding death and destruction. Grief counselors for working class players when an already stretched country needed collective therapy? It was a time to hide grief behind closed doors. Stoicism was a celebrated value. A far cry from the locker rooms of now, the richest and most widely watched league where every sulk and tantrum is seemingly encouraged and deconstructed by an avid media. Publishing houses have become proxy grief counselors and PTSD is a fashionable byword which Wayne Rooney suffers from endlessly at the hands of Mark Clattenberg and Rob Styles.
I am not sure given these present times, a club undergoing Man Utd's magnitude of tragedy suffered fifty years ago would survive, let alone go on to nirvana like accomplishments. The system of checks and balances has long gone. We live in an age of Bosman transfers and financial fluidity. Player fealty is harder and a team is measured by its titles. Clubs have collapsed living beyond their means.
It is a good time to remember even in the moment of this great tragedy, that the game was carried on the backs of players like the eight who died and those who survived. On February 6th, for a day, we became Man Utd fans.
Jonny Magallon scored two goals for Mexico but his team was nevertheless held to a 2-2 draw by the United States at Reliant Stadium on Wednesday.
And in a totally unrelated development here is a video of Thierry Henry missing a sitter of a header in the last minute of a France Spain friendly which they lost 1- 0.( They meaning France here)
Shaun Wright-Phillips gave Capello a win to start off things with.Eren Dediyok's goal equalised the first-half opener from Jermaine Jenas but then Wright scored to ensure that Capello did not start off wrong.
Drogba was victim of some dastardly deviation from the straight and narrow when he was denied the chance to win the CAF's African Player of the Year Award.It went instead to the former Tottenham Hotspur forward Frederic Kanoute.
This not because Frederic was better but because Drogba did not agree to travel to Togo to be present at the awards ceremony.
Drogba was told that if he didn't appear at the ceremony the rules would be changed and that he would no longer be first and that the prize would go to the runner-up, Frederic Kanoute.
Ghana's Michael Essien also took permission from his team to attend the function, and came in second.
Drogba has slammed CAF's decision to organise the function in Togo when the top African players are currently in Ghana, and focusing on their national teams.
Drogba said "If I refused to go to Lome it was first for my teammates as you don't organise such an event just two days before a quarter-final (Sunday's game against Guinea).I didn't go as well because of the son of Ulrich Stilieke has died."
There seems to have been more than a little bit of politics involved and Drogba has withdrawn his name from all future African awards.
Former United States international Lorrie Fair, the youngest member of the U.S. World Cup-winning team in 1999, arrived in London last month to start her Chelsea career.
Lorrie Fair has been a standout on the soccer field since she was a child growing up in Los Altos, California. While at Los Altos High School in California, Fair led her team to a state championship earning NSCAA all-American and Parade magazine all-American along the way. After a successful high school career, Fair, regarded as the top recruit in the country, received a scholarship to the University of North Carolina. At UNC, she helped her team win the NCAA championship in 1996, 1997 and 1999.
At the age of 15, she played on the U.S. U-20 National Team where she participated in the Nordic Cup in Germany. At 17, Fair earned a spot as an alternate on the 1996 gold medal winning Olympic team and secured a full-time spot on the U.S. National Team. Fair had a breakthrough year in 1999 helping the U.S. women's team win their first ever World Cup-the victory over China. Along with being the youngest member of the World Cup Championship team she was selected as U.S. Soccer's Chevrolet Youth Female Athlete of the Year in 1999. Fair went back to UNC after the World Cup to play her senior season and she led the team to another NCAA Championship. Fair played every minute of the 2000 Olympics, anchoring the midfield to help the U.S. earn Silver.
Now, with 123 caps and a variety of awards and championships, Fair is considered among the all-time greatest women soccer players. Fair has a twin sister, Veronica (Ronnie) Fair who played soccer at Stanford University and shared the field with Lorrie in 1997 during an international appearance against England, marking the first time sisters played together for any National Team.
The 29-year-old from Northern California made 123 appearances for the U.S. during a star-studded career as a versatile midfielder or defender, the high point being victory over China in the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup Final-an accomplishment to be proud of for Fair. Most recently, she continued her soccer career playing on a U.S. semi-professional men's team.
Fair, who will become Chelsea's first U.S. player, said: "I had the opportunity to come to England and play for Chelsea, which was too good to turn down. It is an honor to play for such a great club.
"I am here first and foremost to hopefully help the team which has so many good players, and at the same time the challenge of trying to raise the profile of the women's game in England is also a big motivating factor. Those are the two key things that Chelsea and I focused on when we talked about me coming to play. It was about what I could contribute on the pitch."
During the U.S. summer tour in July, Fair began working for Chelsea as a U.S. ambassador on the club’s community and marketing initiatives in her own country. She also has been an athlete ambassador for Right to Play, Chelsea’s Global Charity Partner since 2006.
When not on team duty, she will be helping Chelsea's Football in the Community program particularly encouraging more girls and women to take up the game to improve health, fitness and to tackle childhood obesity, a problem that can result in serious medical problems.
Fair said: "I enjoyed meeting the team out in California last summer and I am a huge supporter of what the club is trying to do by encouraging grass roots development in the UK and throughout the world, and I will be working hard to get more women and girls playing."
Chelsea Ladies’ manager Shaun Gore said: "Lorrie is a great player and an icon in the U.S. No doubt she will generate a huge amount of exposure for the women's game in this country. Someone of her stature can become a role model for many young aspiring female players in the UK and to help more women and girls participate in sport generally."
A pity the US Women don't have have a league of their own...
Ghana and Ivory Coast are through to the semi-finals. Those videos will be here soon. Meanwhile, enjoy the rest of the action:
Tunisia vs. Angola
Senegal vs. South Africa
Egypt vs. Zambia
Cameroon vs. Sudan
Nigeria vs. Benin
Ivory Coast vs. Mali
Guinea vs. Namibia
Ghana vs. Morocco
Tunisia vs. South Africa
Senegal vs. Angola
Fela 'Anikulapo' Kuti, the pioneer of Afrobeat music. Musician, political activist, human rights campaigner, and mesmerizing performer. Here he sings Army Arrangement. To my great regret I never got to see him but his music lives on through his sons Femi and Seun. I have heard Antibalas, a NY based Afrobeat group, at Columbia. Just great music. Fela Kuti's music inspired Ginger Baker, Roy Ayers, and Branford Marsalis. Here is a 1971 clip from Ginger Baker's documentary on Kuti and Afrika 70.
Update: Ghana just beat Nigeria, 2-1 in the first ACN quarterfinal.
The ageless Baaba Maal revels us with Hamady Boiro, part of the griot musical tradition of Western Africa. I had the pleasure of watching Baaba Maal at Prospect Park years ago where he set the stage alight with his kinetic dancing and soulful voice. Senegal disappointingly did not get through the next stage of this year's ACN but they still hold the distinction as just the second African country to progress to the quarterfinals in the 2002 World Cup.
Sick and tired of how clubs give themselves away to ownerships who look on them as mere cash cows, caring little for the fans or club history?
Amidst fears that the Tom Hicks and George Gillett re-financing deal is being loaded onto LFC's books comes an ambitious new plan by LFC supporters who want to take matters into their hands. They want to takeover the club, pooling in their money.
Rogan Taylor, a football academic and prime mover of the Share Liverpool plan, said: “The time is right to offer a different solution to the rising concerns that football fans have about the patterns of ownership developing at our major football clubs.
The Share Liverpool FC plan involves a £500m buyout through the contributions of 100,000 fans who sign up. The plan mirrors Barcelona's ownership by fans. This is the first ever co-operative takeover proposed in English soccer history and it could change the future of club ownership structures.
"It’s one member, one vote. It’s democratic, it’s fair, and it protects Liverpool FC from becoming the target of corporate buyers ever again."
The idea is supported by Supporters Direct, a trust set up Andy Burnham, the culture, media and sport secretary in the Gordon Brown government. The trust encourages fans to become share holders in their respective clubs. Burnham is watching the developments at Anfield very closely.
“The Barcelona model, to me, is how a football club should be run. They are one of the most pre-eminent names in world football, yet the club is owned by its supporters on a one-member, one-vote basis and they control it. That strengthens it because it’s never subject to the whim of one person; it’s a collective endeavour. English football should see that as a big strength. I’d love to see if we could grow the Barcelona model here.”
Kevin Jaquiss of Cobbetts law firm, a lawyer intimately involved in the formation of Supporters Direct, and a specialist in co-operative law is advising Share Liverpool FC in the formation of a constitution.
If this works, it would mean that long suffering Man Utd fans priced out of watching matches could also potentially buy out their club from the Glazers who have also saddled the club with millions of pounds in debt.
Jermain Defoe made an instant impact at Pompey as the ex-Spurs scored a goal on his debut from a Baros flick. It was Pompey's first goal against Chelsea in ten EPL games. The game was played end to end at breathless pace with scores of chances and near misses. Lassana Diarra, the disgruntled ex-Gunner who complained of his playing minutes at the Emirates also turned in a fine performance, orchestrating the midfield.
Wigan got a win over the Hammers through a Kevin Kilbane goal but it was tireless midfielder Wilson Palacios, a Deportivo Olimpia import who caught the eye. He was everywhere chasing balls down, tackling, starting an attack, keeping the Latics cohesive and dangerous on the counterattacks.
Spurs played magnificently for 93 minutes before being cruelly done in by a Tevez goal which nullified Berbatov's 21st minute strike. Alan Hutton, the ex-Rangers right back and Jonathan Woodgate, the ex-Boro center back effectively bottled up the Man U attack with Hutton in particular having an outstanding match.
Scotland will be watching Super Bowl Sunday as one of their own tries making history.
Lawrence Tynes of Greenock takes the field for the NY Giants. It was Tynes 47 yard field goal, the longest in the frozen tundra of Lambeau field that led the Giants to Super Bowl XLII.
The New England Patriots are on the cusp of making history by becoming the first unbeaten team since the Miami Dolphins in 1972. A dominating performance by any standards. The Pats are favoured by a spread of 13 points.
Despite their superiority, the Pats Super Bowl performances have been close affairs, winning each of their three titles by the difference of just a field goal.
The NY Giants have been the story of the playoffs with solid performances from Eli Manning, Ahmed Bradshaw, and Plaxico Burress on offense and the defensive exploits of Michael Strahan and a highly under rated secondary who have risen to the occasion. RW McQuarters has led the charge with 3 interceptions.
I expect this game to be tight with the Giants pulling off a memorable upset on a Tynes field goal as the clock expires.
No wardrobe malfunctions are expected as Tom "Runnin' Down a Dream" Petty and the Heartbreakers perform the half time show.
A NY Times article on the unsettled nature of the Giants kicking game before Tynes walked in.
Tynes is an interesting story. Here is Soccerblog's profile >>
Adebayor is catching up with Ronaldo.His two goals in this game bring his tally up to 21.Ronaldo is 6 goals ahead on 27.He did not manage to add to his total in Man U's 1 -1 last gasp draw against Totteham yesterday. And yes Sven Goran Eriksson was angry with his team at the end. "I was angry and I made sure the players knew it," he said. "We are all angry because we didn't start to challenge them, press them or make it difficult until it was2-0. If you do that against Arsenal you are in trouble."
The big story doing the rounds was Wenger's admission that Arsenal was inches close to signing Cristiano Ronaldo before the Portugese midfielder decided to move to Old Trafford as his club Sporting Lisbon broke off Arsenal's offer for a bigger bag of donuts from Sir Alex.
Wenger mentions that there is no better person than Ronaldo himself to give us the lowdown on what actually transpired. These tidbits are the stuff of biographical revelations. But there is a suggestion that Ronaldo would shockingly reveal himself a closet admirer of Arsenal soccer but stopped short from coming out with the threatened loss of his private parts at the hands of Sir Alex.
Anyways, the timing is really interesting. Ronaldo, the player instrumental for leading Man Utd's charge this time as well as winning last season, is revealed to have considered Arsenal as his first choice before the Carlos Queiroz cabal moved in. Many know the story but Wenger makes it a point of highlighting it at a sensitive time. In a tight race that is as much played on the sidelines as it is on the pitch, these sort of stories feed the trope that Man Utd might attract the big players but it is Arsenal that plays the better soccer. Score one for a moral victory.
Man City lost its first EPL home game continuing its downward trajectory as it took on a re-configured Arsenal which still had enough in its tank to put one over Sven and his men. Arsenal was missing Almunia in goal with Lehmann getting a rare look in. Apart from missing Toure and Eboue at the ACN, Arsenal were without Rosicky and RVP. But Adebayor is almost automatic now and his two goals with a little beauty from Eduardo ensured the Gunners victory.
Vienna's glitziest event of the year, the Opera Ball, kicked off on Thursday evening with some soccer legends taking to a dance floor instead of a soccer field.
Dancers and students of the Vienna Opera ballet opened the show with a "footballet" simulating goals, penalties, yellow cards and even an injury on a fake pitch, while footballs made from fragrant pink roses decorated the balconies in the sumptuous Opera house.
Tickets were a mere 230 euros and the private boxes cost a paltry 17,000 euros only.
And you could have rubbed shoulders with the likes of the Kaiser himself - Franz Beckenbauer and the manager of reigning European champions Greece - Otto Rehhagel etc .More here..