Scolari has a conspiracy theory..
November 2008 Archives
Scolari has a conspiracy theory..
The Mumbai terror attack has put Diego Maradona's two-day trip to Kolkata in doubt.If it doesn't work out there will be no doubt be many bitterly disappointed fans in Kolkata.However the people of Mumbai have weightier things on their minds right now.
The writer Suketu Mehta has captured brilliantly the dogged, resilient compassion of Mumbai in his book “Maximum City: Mumbai Lost and Found.”
He speaks in the book of asking a man named Asad bin Saif, who worked at an institute for secularism, whether the chaos and slums and filth made him pessimistic about human beings. Here is how Mr. Mehta continues the story:
“Not at all,” he responded. “Look at the hands from the trains.”
If you are late for work in the morning in Bombay, and you reach the station just as the train is leaving the platform, you can run up to the packed compartments and you will find many hands stretching out to grab you on board, unfolding outwards from the train like petals. As you run alongside the train, you will be picked up and some tiny space will be made for your feet on the edge of the compartment. The rest is up to you; you will probably have to hang on with your fingertips on
the door frame, being careful not to lean out too far lest you get decapitated by a pole placed too close to the tracks. But consider what has happened: your fellow-passengers, already packed tighter than cattle are legally allowed to be, their shirts already drenched in sweat in the badly ventilated compartment, having stood like this for hours, retain an empathy for you, know that your boss might yell at you or cut your pay if you miss this train, and will make space where none exists to take one more person with them. And at the moment of contact, they do not know if the hand that is reaching for theirs belongs to a Hindu or Muslim or Christian or Brahmin or untouchable, or whether you were born in this city or arrived only this morning, or whether you live in Malabar Hill or Jogeshwari, whether you’re from Bombay or Mumbai or New York. All they know is that you’re trying to get to work in the city of gold, and that’s enough. Come on board, they say. We’ll adjust."
I have lived for few years in Mumbai and I think that sums up the spirit of the city pretty well.The people of the city will pick themselves up after this latest monstrous demonstration of meaningless savagery and their compassion will endure.But when will it end?
"Yoann Gourcuff's silky touches tormented Chelse and thrilled the home support all evening. Cries of 'Ole!' rang out when the 22-year-old lifted the ball over John Mikel Obi and darted past John Terry, prompting a reaction from the Blues' skipper for which he was booked. In a stadium where Zinédine Zidane used to strut his stuff, comparisons between the two mercurial playmakers are inevitable, and Gourcuff's sublime piece of skill on 27 minutes triggered memories of the former France captain. The Brittany-born player was grace itself as he pirouetted between two tackles before seeing his dangerous shot saved."
And some more...
People have almost forgotten that he could score like this.It was scored in the last 7 minutes and brought AC Milan back into the UEFA Cup game against Portsmouth.So near and yet so far for Portsmouth - who were leading 2 - 0 till then.
The Fifa world player of the year 2008 is going to be one of these......
Emmanuel Adebayor (Togo), Sergio Aguero (Argentina), Andrei Arshavin (Russia), Michael Ballack (Germany), Gianluigi Buffon (Italy), Iker Casillas (Spain), Deco (Portugal), Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast), Samuel Eto'o (Cameroon), Cesc Fabregas (Spain), Steven Gerrard (England), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden), Andres Iniesta (Spain), Kaka (Brazil), Frank Lampard (England), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Franck Ribery (France), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), John Terry (England), Fernando Torres (Spain), Ruud van Nistelrooy (Netherlands), David Villa (Spain) and Xavi (Spain).
Cristiano Ronaldo - displaying his usual humility has said “I am the first, the second and the third best player in the world. But there are other good candidates like Kaká, Messi and Fernando Torres. I think I did everything that is necessary to win and I want to continue doing even more. My aim is to win everything that is in front of me.”
Thankfully one of the awards he is most likely not to win is the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year 2008.That will be one of these...
Nadine Angerer (Germany), Shannon Boxx (USA), Cristiane (Brazil), Daniela (Brazil), Marta (Brazil), Birgit Prinz (Germany), Christine Sinclair (Canada), Kelly Smith (England), Hope Solo (USA) and Ingvild Stensland (Norway).
...among other things is that Gerrard does not chuck things back and get suspended for three games.Drogba threw the famous coin back and is now is in a 'woe is me' lament mood.
Gerrard - who was struck by a lighter chucked from the stands - exercised restraint,refrained from chucking the thing back and now the UEFA are investigating the matter.
Remember Dusty Fog ? He was the fastest gun in the west.Refer to a book by J T Edson called ""Gun Wizard" for confirmation of above fact.The point is that he was the fastest gun in the west who used two guns at the same time.He would confuse the bad guys because they wouldn't know which gun he was going to draw first and he usually drew both at the same time.
Well here's a German ref who's carrying on from where Dusty Fog left off by drawing and letting off two yellow cards simultaneously.Bad guys beware.
Winterburn, Dixon, Bould, Adams. Men. They would have stopped Fulham, Stoke, Hull, Villa, and City. The best defense in the League. George Graham turned out to be the incubus and Wenger nurtured that legacy.
When Wenger bought a more post modern touch with Lauren and Toure joining Campell and Cole it proved equally effective. There was always a strong defense at the heart of those successful Arsenal seasons. Even when we jettisoned the predictable for the creative. This article seems like it was written aeons ago.
Now we don't know how to stop goals. And we don't seem to score any either.
Its a legitimate question.
Arsenal is now officially in full blown meltdown mode. They lost to Man City, 0-3. City has not exactly been a tower of strength at home and with their high priced transfers, Hughes is feeling the heat. But Arsenal has become the golden goose that delivers on cue and makes opposing managers say things like "That is only the second time we've been able to beat Arsenal in the Premier League." It has become the feel good team of the Premiership.
Arsenal's season is a Hobbesian nightmare. We are crippled with injuries. And the ones who are healthy are not delivering. Because they are busy bickering. Our fall back options are talented youngsters who for better or worse are tabula rasa. Whereas Chelsea can replace a coin tossing Drogba and an injured Ricardo Carvalho with Nicolas Anelka and Jose Bosingwa without skipping a beat, we now rely on Carlos Vela and Aaron Ramsey to save our season.
The title is a lost cause. Can we cling onto fourth spot? Our greatest challenge will come from the two teams who beat us these last two weeks, Villa and Man City as they match up in goal differential, a key determinant. We face Chelsea next, a team that has given up a mere four goals. Somehow our band of Hobbits must find a way to the Tower.
BBC is reporting that William Gallas has been relieved of his duties. He was also not present on the bus to City.
Gallas days are over at Arsenal as I see it. He burned up precious goodwill with his team mates following his rant and embarrassed Wenger in the process. While Gallas might not have meant it that way, it came close to insubordination.
It is not Gallas place to belittle his team mates in public. It will be tough to continue in such an environment and for Gallas, a bitter pill to swallow. He mentioned that he would like to retire in France singling out PSG. Well, he just found his motivation.
"I replied: 'How are you speaking to me? Who do you think you are? You are only 20 years old. I am not your friend. He said: 'Me neither, I am not your friend'."
OK. What other response do you think "I am not your friend" gets you? Is the 20 year old going to say "I'm sorry, I thought you were my Christmas tree."
Gallas just revealed his thin skin towards the French team.
Gallas would only say it was a player whose name began with "S" and there is buzz in the media that it might be Samir Nasri who is now a team mate at Arsenal. So much for building team confidence.
The rant against his Arsenal team mates is even more disturbing. He is obviously trying to deflect criticism from his less than inspirational captaincy. You can question the effort of some of the younger players and motivate them without tattling to the media about specific examples. Now the media circus is jumping all over this story. An educated guess and we come to the conclusion that it must be RVP who gave Gallas the figurative finger. If Gallas has a sense of entitlement that comes with his age, RVP has a sense of entitlement. Period. But RVP has been at Arsenal a lot longer and in that sense should be considered a co-equal of Gallas. Plus, if you are a smart captain you can get prima donnas on board. Massage their egos and talk about their indispensability.
Wenger has made mistakes with his choice of captains in recent seasons. Thierry Henry was too aloof and non-committal while Gallas is a blowhard who acts out quite a bit. He should have been stripped of his captaincy after his meltdown in the Birmingham match in February but Wenger decided to go with him because, well, there are very few choices left after Gallas. Remember Gallas also sought his way out from Chelsea because he could not get on with John Terry and the Chelsea management, so this stuff is par for the course with him.
Does this make Gallas want to stay on at Arsenal and fight after accusing his team mates of having no heart? No. He has already started making noises about wanting out.
If Arsenal rights the ship these will just be distractions but Wenger has to make a choice. He cannot be too happy about Gallas outburst towards the players. A number of former players are also coming out with their disapproval. Does he finally strip Gallas of his captaincy? I think he should.
The shortlist is very short. Does he give it to Fabregas? No, because the Catalan has been struggling with form and he needs to concentrate on getting it back. Without him as a catalyst Arsenal loses its attacking flow. To burden him with this additional responsibility during these trying times might be too much. Then there is Toure. I have always liked him. He is a veteran and well respected at Arsenal. He is low key and uncontroversial who manages to get along with his team mates. And he has an advantage as a defender. As a captain he might find his voice. Now, if he can only resolve his injury problems.
That's just C Ron showing how not to play the beautiful game when your team is losing 5 -2 to a better side.Brazil went on to win 6 -2 and that included a Luis Fabiano hat trick.Ronaldo was more obnoxious than he usually is and did not win more friends and influence more people by trying to break Silva's leg during the game.
On 5 September 2008, Senegal met Algeria at the Mustapha Tchaker Stadium in a World Cup qualifier. In the 81st minute, Cheikh Gueye scored an own goal which leveled the game for Algeria. 7 minutes later, Rafik Saiki stuck a dagger into Senegal by scoring the winner. Algeria won the match.
The own goal proved fateful as Senegal drew Gambia a month later and were eliminated from the World Cup running. If they had drawn Algeria they would have been at the top of the table with 10 points and would have gone to the next round.
Rewind six years ago. The 2002 World Cup was set ablaze as Senegal in its first appearance in the World Cup shocked the reigning World Champions France, 1-0. It then captivated the world with some flowing soccer as it drew Denmark, then withstood a furious onslaught by the Uruguayans to draw again and qualify for the knockout phase. The match against Sweden went into overtime and Henry Camara delivered the golden goal that sent Senegal to the quarterfinals. The first African country after Cameroun in the 1982 World Cup to do so. The momentum built by their great run in the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal finishing runners up to Cameroun seemingly had carried over to the World Cup.
By that time El Hadji Diouf, Henri Camara, Pape Bouba Diop, and Pape Thiaw had captivated the world with their dynamic and exhilarating display. Diouf was named to the All Star team. They had a look of invincibility. Encomiums from all around the world flowed in and Dakar's streets teamed with revelers. When Metsu's team went up against Turkey, all of Africa's prayers were with the Lions of Teranga. Surely, they would get through. But it was not to be. The game was played without the customary verve by the Senegalese and they lost on a golden goal scored by Ilhan Mansiz.
It was anti climactic. Bruno Metsu was criticized by the press and fans for not substituting his tired players even as he stoutly defended his decisions. Some ex-players like Babacar Louis Camara were exceedingly harsh on him "It is horrible to say it, but we were beaten because of bad coaching."
It appears that they have not recovered from that loss. Senegal failed to qualify for the 2006 World Cup. Unlike their West African neighbours who have invested robustly in quality infrastructure for their soccer players and proved to be incubators of world class talent, Senegal has been stuck in an apathetic rut. Despite boasting a stable government which sees very little ethnic strife and enjoying more affluence than its neighbors, the neglect in improving conditions is quite remarkable.
Senegal's youth leagues are very poorly organized and there are no dedicated soccer academies like ASEC Mimosas. The country's largest facility, the Leopold Senghor is little more than a dust bowl with no floodlights and broken down dressing rooms. The football federation was little more than a cash cow for its officials and famous for having a testy relationship with the media charged with exposing its corruption. One of its former presidents is under investigation for embezzlement of 66m francs. The Orwellian sounding Committee for the Normalization of Soccer (CNF), the newer version, set up earlier this year after Senegal's dismal 2008 ACN campaign appears to be little interested in anything but more politics.
The early exit of the Senegalese team resulted in rioting fans attacking the CNF headquarters and torching vehicles. The CNF terminated the services of the Lamine Ndiaye, the coach and promptly launched an investigation into the team's failure. The 2002 World Cup success has resulted in an obsession with recycling players like El Hadji Diouf and Henry Camara even as they approach their fading years.
Senegal's shambolic 2008 Africa Cup venture seems to have left a bitter taste as a number of quality players have rejected national squad duty. The list includes Mamadou Niang, L'OM's sharpshooter and Souleymane Diawara, Bordeaux's right back refusing the call up. Demba Ba, one of the brighter sparks partnering Vedad Ibisevic in 1899 Hoffenheim's blistering run has been virtually overlooked.
Aliou Cisse, the captain of the 2002 World Cup team could not have been more prophetic.
"If we do not sort out the problems of Senegalese football and prepare a generation of talented footballers to follow us, I am very scared for the future," Cisse told BBC Sport Online.
This movie could easily have been titled, Little Zizou: A Gratuitous Reference To or the Incredible Vanishing Zidane. Apart from some TV clips and some newspaper articles of him visiting Bangladesh there was nothing else on Zidane.
I happened to see it in a recent NY festival.
The protagonist is a little boy who misses his dead mother and is supposedly a devout fan of the French superstar. His father is preoccupied with a Hitlerian mission of instilling pure bloodlines in the Parsi community. I thought the springboard would be the boy's reaction to the headbutt that rocked the world. Surely, heroes don't do these things. It could have been a great story of a little boy reconciling with his neglectful father rather than trying to arrange a metaphorical seance with his mother's spirit. It is supposed to be a madcap adventure but only 12 days devoted to writing the script gives you deranged. A waste of fine acting talent in Boman Irani and Shernaz Patel who manfully try and bail out much water from a sinking boat with a thousand leaks.
I think the verdict has been quite positive.
Typically El Diego sucks up all the oxygen where ever he is. Instead we saw no outbursts or wild gesticulations on the sidelines or haranguing of officials which we typically associate Maradona with. He was sober and subdued though his first match as manager, with nary a whisper of emotion at Maxi Rodriguez's goal. Maradona rarely got up preferring to remain huddled against the cold.
He hugged all his players after the match more for their support following his daughter's admission to a Madrid hospital with complications resulting from her pregnancy. It was obvious that her condition weighed heavy on his head.
Maradona had thought about leaving the camp himself but was told by Giannina to stay. “I’ve got a lump in the heart,” Maradona had said in the hours leading up to kick-off.
After the match, and before flying straight to Madrid to see Giannina, he paid tribute to his players for helping him to cope with the anxiety. “I was thinking of my daughter and her baby but the lads have made things easy for me,” he said. “They have given me great support at what’s been a difficult time.”
Only the Terry Butcher sideshow brought the old Maradona back.
So it appears that Argentina played like gangbusters for the first 20 minutes and then faded away letting Scotland have some decent chances, a combination of hustle and and an uneasy Juan Pablo Carrizo in goal. This is what usually happens with Argentina who have been unable to sustain their bright starts and let teams back in as the game progresses.
However much of the game was dreary and there were many empty seats as Argentina did not bring their A team with Leo Messi and Riquelme missing. Sergio Aguera was also absent rushing back to Madrid to tend to his pregnant girlfriend who also happens to be Maradona's daughter.
So Maradona rolled out of Scotland a victor. And parted with a last dig, "Who is Butcher?"
Most Americans now prefer diplomacy towards Iran rather than seek a knee jerk military solution.
After virtually turning off the charm school for eight years and surrendering foreign policy to the unilateral wet dream of Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, Americans have woken to an unfamiliar sense of vulnerability brought on by two draining wars and an unraveling economy. Do they want to go down the sickening path of more obituaries for their young men and women who are manipulated into fighting essentially wars of choice? The mushroom cloud used cynically as the final solution.
It is thus time to dust off those long forgotten practitioners of negotiations and treaties to find a low cost solution to those less inclined to think kindly of us. Let them earn their salaries too. Iran's religious orthodoxy coupled with its nuclear ambition poses a problem but so do half a dozen other countries which the US has willfully chosen to ignore. However, amongst the ME countries, Iran also has the largest group of well educated and youthful progressives who resist the clerics in power. They are well known to many in the world deeply appreciative of their contributions to music, art, and films.
Overarching all this is Iran's passion for soccer. The game virtually died out in the Islamic Revolution until recently revived by Iran's largest demographic, the under 30s, who have shaped the team's recent success. Team Melli was followed by thousands of young flag waving Iranians festooned with face paint flocking to Germany in the last World Cup to watch their heroes Ali Daei, Ali Karimi, and Mehdi Mahdavikia in action. It even moved Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, the West's favourite bogeyman to declare that he would attend the matches knowing that this would spark an outrage.
Iran's participation brought out a surfeit of right wing frothing in the USA and Europe with the customary references to suicide bombers and Neville Chamberlain. John McCain had already moved a resolution in the Senate Foreign Committee to demand that FIFA ban Iran's participation. The Shiite government in Iraq was warming up to Iran at that time and there was a lot of heartburn going around at that time amongst the AEI geniuses in charge of this war who had failed to predict this development.
However in all this chest thumping, the 1998 World Cup provides a prudent reminder of solutions that would not be worth spit in a neo-con's playbook. On July 22, 1998 Iran met the USA in one of the most highly anticipated matches. It came at a salient moment in Iranian history. The president Mohammed Khatami, a moderate had been elected a year ago, signaling the end of the Islamic revolution opening up a potential conduit to societal and cultural reform. Both countries wanted to tone down the rhetoric and no one underestimated the significance of the match.
"Before the match, Iran's starting players handed their U.S. counterparts white flowers-- a symbol of peace. In turn, the Americans gave the Iranian athletes pennants from the U.S. Soccer Federation. The teams then broke tradition and posed for a group picture."
The media came up with a whole spectrum of opnions. Some were understandably dismissive of the significance of a mere match. Amongst the most opimistic:
"As an act of consummate popular diplomacy, President Clinton yesterday used the Iran-America clash on the football field to make a direct appeal for an end to the 20-year diplomatic standoff between the two countries. Mr. Clinton's brief message was the latest, and by far the most public, step in a slow warming of United States policy towards Iran."
No one is naive enough to believe that soccer itself provides the panacea to the profound disagreements between the two countries. Moreover, any sort of leverage is lost when you get classified as the "Axes of Evil." Complicating this is Israel's relationship with the ME which is that of an unloved stepsister. It glows when the US assigns another carrier force to the Persian Gulf and glowers when the UN and the Norwegians get involved (Where are you Terje Rød-Larsen?). The Iranian establishment has turned rightward since the Iraq War with Ahmedinejad's election and it makes negotiations tougher. But in an under the radar move, the Bush administration seems to have thawed out a bit sending their ME point person to negotiate with the Iranians on nuclear transparency.
Barack Obama should build up on this late found pragmatism and follow up on his stated desire to meet with even some of the most vocal anti-American critics. If he can break bread with Joe Lieberman, the most sanctimonious douchebag in US politics, who at every step belittled him in the presidential elections, meeting up with Ahmedinejad and Hugo Chavez should be relatively easy to digest. In 1997, the Islamic Revolution came to an end on the backs of an unprecedented show of youth power. Change was in the air, a break from Iran's decades long theocracy which had suffocated progress and reform. Much like this year's election showed an engaged youth vote ushering in Obama to clean up the cesspool accumulated over the last eight years. The Republicans continued to invoke 9/11 to push war all the while equating diplomacy with palling around with terrorists. Their stridency shutdown even moderate voices within the Republican establishment like Brent Scowcroft and Thomas Kean. The hardline attiude did not pay dividends in the ME with Iran's Islamists returning to power defeating Khatami. Ironically, they used the Iraq War to marginalize the reform movement.
We have to realize that in 1998, the US was in a position of power, flush with economic success and political capital. The US competing with other centers of power like Europe, Russia, China, and India was unthinkable. Its a vastly different equation now. We have to start building new relationships.
Obama should explore confidence building measures which are out of the box between the two countries, like popular and high profile sporting contacts. He does not have to wait for an incidental World Cup match to do so. It could be an exchange of friendly matches between Iran and USA at first. He has a great cache of support within FIFA and USA Soccer to make this happen. He also has a ready audience in the soccer mom demographic who went for him decisively after becoming increasingly disillusioned by the war and John McCain's choice of Palin. But the most powerful moments will come from the players themselves as they realize that they are part of a transformational process of changing the perspective of their countrymen to the other. To show that they go beyond politics, to shake hands, help each other up when fouls occur, and kick the ball out to stop play so that an injured player can get help. To shine their country in the best light. As player diplomats. As James Reston said of the Iranians during the 1998 match.
"I mean, not only did they have to play the game well but they carried the dignity of Iran and also the dignity of Islam onto that field."
Obama is the most plugged in presidential candidate we have had. He's surely seen sports as a powerful tool which not just divided but also in the end built bridges between the races in this country. We can explore elements of that transferability in addressing an even more challenging task.
Pim Verbeek looked like he wanted to pluck every nose hair off Harry Kewell. Why Kewell remains on this team is beyond me. He lacks speed and gives up the ball too easily.
Then again he wasn't the only Socceroo who looked like he was on Mary Jane. The Socceroos somnambulated through the match. Josh Kennedy drifted in deeper and deeper into midfield as the supply lines were cut off by the hustling opposition.
Bahrain should have gone up by at least three or four goals but they were woeful in their finishing. They swarmed the defense keeping Schwarzer on his toes. Salman Isa adroitly exploited the weak right flank. Chris Coyne and Lucas Neill were woeful.
But fate is cruel. After besieging the Socceroos for most part of the match, Bahrain was undone by a last gasp goal by Mark Bresciano, who did what the Bahrainis could not do all match long, finish of the chance.
Terry Butcher has to now live with the fact that Maradona will be the topic du jour of the soccer world and the subject of pundit chatter everywhere.
What can he do to exact revenge for that goal?
He can hire a fat man wearing a Maradona mask to run onto the field after the match, drop him with a sliding tackle, and then administer an enema all the while looking at El Diego. P.S: Terry should first time himself and the fat man on a 5 foot run before hiring him.
He can hire Tonya Harding to whack Maradona on the hand after the match. Rumours are that she is looking for a job.
He can sneak up to Maradona's hotel in the night and after overpowering security proceed to glue Maradona's hand to a ball. No not down there.
He can erect a hundred foot statue of Maradona in Trafalgar Square and pay a thousand people to pull it down. He can then payoff a breathless CNN commentator and a cameraman to record it for posterity.
He can photoshop Maradona's head on Titus Bramble's body and send those doctored video clips onto the internets. Then he photoshops Bramble's head onto Maradona's body (don't forget to photoshop the jersey too, Terry) and make it like own goals in the 1986 match which should make everyone feel better. After it generates 95 million hits on You Tube, the official match report will be consigned to cyberspace.
Anyone else got any more suggestions to make Terry feel warm and cuddly inside?
Add another blow to Arsenal's nightmarish season.
Theo Walcott is out for six weeks with a shoulder dislocation and further depletes the roster missing several key personnel through suspensions and injuries: Fabregas is out against City; RVP serving his three game suspension; Eduardo not due back till the middle of December; Rosicky's rehabilitation remains shrouded in mystery; Sagna and Toure at also out with injuries.
Walcott had his moments and when on, caused all sorts of problems with his pace and his improved ability to find the back of the net.
We are not even a third into the season and the squad already looks thin and makeshift.
England's friendly against Germany has already led to an testy exchange between Capello with Benitez regarding Gerrard and now Wenger is not going to give out any warm fuzzies either.
The true believers all 120,000 will be praying for their prophet today as he takes on Scotland. Jonathan Franklin gives us a vivid insight into the Church of Maradona. They are a cult joined in their passion for El Diego. They even have their 10 Commandments.
1. The ball is never soiled.
2. Love football above all else.
3. Declare unconditional love for Diego and the beauty of football.
4. Defend the Argentina shirt.
5. Spread the news of Diego's miracles throughout the universe.
6. Honour the temples where he played and his sacred shirts.
7. Don't proclaim Diego as a member of any single team.
8. Preach and spread the principles of the Church of Maradona.
9. Make Diego your middle name.
10. Name your first son Diego.
This time Capello does not have to worry if Steven Gerrard will be able to combine with Frank Lampard for the friendly against Germany.They are both on the injured list.But he has several other worries.On the missing action list are Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, Wes Brown, Joe Cole, Ashley Cole, Emile Heskey and Joe Hart.The latest english player to be carted off to hospital is Theo Walcott - who dislocated his shoulder in a training session.
I had no idea that Argentina was playing England.
A proxy war has broken out between the two rivals with England a bit sniffy at the Scottish adoration of the one that broke their hearts with the most infamous goal in the game's history.
Terry Butcher will not shake hands and now Maradona says that England should not have won the 1966 World Cup because the ball did not cross the goal line. The goal continued to spark debate until recently when HD replays clearly showed that the ball did not cross the line. The picture above tells us that Maradona came prepared to attack questions on his Hand of God goal.
England have their game own game tomorrow against Germany and maybe a few fans there are also nodding approvingly at Maradona's remarks. Michael Mancienne's inclusion should be generating a lot of buzz but all the focus has shifted to the north where Maradona holds court.
The overwhelming response to Bayern's visit in May this year when 120,000 fans came to see Oliver Kahn play his last match obviously did not go unnoticed. And so Karl Heize Rummenigge, one of soccer's legends and Bayern's executive director paid a visit to Kolkata to sign a MOU for a soccer academy to be set up in Burdwan on 25 acres of land.
"Our philosophy is different from other clubs of Europe who go into Asia for making money. Our slogan is to create friends and have long-lasting commitments. The way we saw Oliver Kahn being felicitated here when he played in farewell match in Kolkata also showed us how people of West Bengal loved football," he said.
This is so much more a worthwhile project than bottling up already congested Indian roads with millions more cars.
The good thing about this project apart from the technical help with building the academy infrastructure, is that coaches and players get trained by the Bayern staff. To transfer this into actual improvement in performances, Bayern also proposes exchange programs and participation in age group tournaments which would expose the players to the best in Europe. We need dedicated youth academies which commit students so that they can sleep and breathe soccer as well as get their education.
German involvement in another nations sport has had its success stories.
Turkish soccer saw its renaissance when Jupp Derwall, the coach of the 1982 German World Cup squad turned down the chance to coach in the Bundesliga and came to Galatasaray instead. He introduced the club and the rest of Turkey to his training and tactical methods. Even more importantly he passed this knowledge to the present generation of coaches amongs them Fatih Terim, the present coach of the Turkish squad who had such a brilliant Euro. Derwall is widely credited for turning around Turkey and making them a respectable soccer playing nation.
I look forward to the day when an Indian player can play all 90 minutes and perform a sliding tackle.
Finally, it would appear that the Kolkata clubs, East Bengal and Mohun Bagan are showing signs of life. East Bengal ran out winners against league leaders Sporting Clube de Goa, 3-1 while their city rivals Mohun Bagan beat JCT, 2-0.
They are now bunched in the middle of the table along with minnows Mumbai FC who have not been able to sustain their fantastic start and have lost some momentum in recent weeks losing to Air India and drawing with Churchill Brothers.
Remember Barcelona's sneaky free kick ?Even the chaps who think up their sneaky free kicks might not be able to come up anything to match this Italian job.
The players of the Catania team lined up in a wall and then as the kick was about to be taken they dropped their shorts. This sneaky trick resulted in the the goalkeeper not being able to see the ball as it was kicked.The sudden appearance of uncovered posteriors where there normally should have been none also added to the delay in the goalkeeper's reaction time.
The Torino goalie Matteo Sereni couldn't see the kick by Giuseppe Mascara( because of the distraction caused by the above manouvere) and Giuseppe scored.
For the price he is asking for. Not at this time.
Zabeel Investments backed out of spending money on the Addicks which was going for a far cheaper price than Newcastle. They are a big moneyed player in the ME which is in far better shape than the English economy now projected to be in a deeper recession than previously forecast. How this affects club ownerships is a guessing game right now. But prospective owners are probably in wait and watch mode looking for bargain basement deals.
As for Philip Anschutz, the owner of the LA Galaxy who was supposed to be one of the interested parties obviously had a bad phone connection with Ashley because the price they are quoting is $225 million which is what Ashley paid for Newcastle when he bought it in 2007. He is probably best known in the UK as the developer of the newly opened O2, the previous version: The Dome, proved to be a symbol of neo-liberal excess for the Blair government.
Anschutz would be a good owner but there are reasons he is not interested in buying Newcastle at the price that Ashley wants.
His commitment to sporting ventures is commendable even as they have lost him money. He at one time owned a number of money losing clubs in the MLS before selling them off to concentrate on the LA Galaxy, which has enjoyed a boom with David Beckham pushing attendances to record levels. However the Galaxy have not been successful in reaching the playoffs and there is concern that this could adversely impact viewership. Financial woes in this country are also taking its toll on Anschutz's business empire that keep afloat his movie production business and soccer clubs.
Anschutz lost billions of dollars in the 2002 collapse of Qwest Communications in an accounting scandal and it continues to bleed money in these recessionary times. His entertainment company, Regal Entertainment Group, the USA's biggest owner of chain movie theaters, stock is sharply down. He also faces an unpaid IRS bill of over $143 million in capital gains tax from previous business deals.
Given the grim outlook of the present financial markets and pundits saying that this take a year or more before things start to look up, Ashley will be faced with a few choices. The easier and most desirable choice, he heeds Dave Whelan's advice and sells at the price he bought Newcastle. The tougher one which might cost him a fortune in security fees, sees him riding out these troubled times faced with the prospect of never entering his club without protection, a virtual prisoner, to sell at a later date for the price he thinks he could get. It could mean endless vitriol from fans, the prospect that managers who otherwise could be enticed to coach would keep away, and little money for transfers. Of course there is a third option, a sort of reverse Stockholm Syndrome, by that time fans will have forgiven him enough for him to keep ownership of the club.
Bayern was poised to take three points as they were coasting to a 2-0 victory over lowly Borussia Moenchengladbach before Rob Friend got one back from a header in the 79th minute. Two minutes later Bradley made it level when he placed a header perfectly off a cross by Roberto Colautti.
Jurgen Klinsmann was livid."It's very, very annoying that we let in two goals and are going home with just a point." Bayern had just picked up steam after a terrible start and were on track to make it a three way horse race with Bayer Leverkusen and 1899 Hoffenheim also on top of the table.
Meanwhile Landon Donovan appears to be auditioning for a spot in Bayern as a potential replacement to Lukas Podolksi who is unhappy with his limited appearances and has asked for a transfer.
Anytime you talk about Arsenal, you have to qualify it with the paeans that Arsene Wenger so richly deserves. We did not see this sort of soccer in England as a system till he came on the scene. But Jason Burt clearly lays out the head in the sand mentality that seems to have taken hold of Wenger.
"Not really, we had no player we really wanted and for now we have no regrets," he said. "You cannot explain the own goal of [Gaël] Clichy by the fact we haven't an experienced player in midfield."
That Clichy's goal was not crucial to the scoreline seems to have eluded Wenger.
All these issues have been around for some time – the need for an experienced centre-half, for more power in midfield, for greater strength in attack – and they all came back to haunt Wenger on Saturday. Quite why he feels so strongly that recruiting would inhibit the development of his young players is only something he can explain. Buying one or two surely wouldn't stop the cream from rising?
My sentiments exactly. In fact, having a mix of experienced players can be beneficial in maturing young players more quickly. What we have right now at Arsenal is a stochastic process.
Al Ahly scored first as Ahmad Hassan cleverly flicked a Mohamed Aboutreika cross into goal. Abdoul Karim Lassina equalized and then Ousmaila Baba put Coton Sport ahead. Al Ahly evened the score once more after Mohamed Barakat was brought down in the box and the resultant PK was converted by captain Shady Mohamed.
Congratulations to Al Ahly for their record achievement.
Real is ruled by a cabal of madmen and amoral shysters straight out of Herzog's Aguirre, The Wrath of God. They have no allegiance to anything or anyone, not even to a title it would appear.
Real's vote of confidence in Bernd Schuster should be taken with a huge grain of salt. Vincente Del Bosque, Real's most successful coach in recent history was fired the day after he won them the Liga. Then Real went on their Los Galacticos irrational exuberance which failed to win a title, changing seven coaches in four years till Fabio Capello came and whipped the players into getting them one and was then promptly let go.
The ungracious Calderon had this to say after Capello's departure.
"We sacked Capello because it wasn't him that won the league but the players," Calderon said of England's new manager. "Schuster's team play better football."
Schuster is now under tremendous pressure as Real have slipped to fourth after losing to Real Valadollid. One has to ask Calderon whether he still believes they are playing better football because they are not. But then one has to ask this question to a sane person, not a psychotic.
One of Schuster's biggest fans is Maradona who got to know him well through his days at Barca. "They tried to pass the German as mad to kick him out of football. He was crazy, just like me: he was my partner in the struggle against Nunez and an extraordinary player all over the pitch." (Excerpted from Maradona: The Autobiography of Soccer's Greatest and Most Controversial Star').
Schuster should leave Real because he is running up against an establishment that makes Josip Nunez look reasonable.
Lots of Terry Butcher who would like nothing better than giving Maradona a black eye and jail Scottish blaggards who give Maradona their unconditional love.
Diego Maradona landed in Scotland just before Wednesday's game and with a curt "I don't speak English" blew by TV crews, hundreds of reporters, and throngs of adoring fans hoping to catch a glimpse of the most famous name in soccer. (Video here)
He was protected by a dozen police officers and private security guards who escorted him to a waiting bus. A few lucky fans got jerseys and posters signed sending them into raptures.
All this Scottish adoration is thanks due to the "Hand of God" goal that shattered England's 1986 World Cup hopes. Maradona had made an earlier stop in England to Liverpool and Man Utd's training facilities which had players lining up to pay unabashed homage. His trip included tapping Mascherano for the captaincy and some career counseling for Tevez who appears to be anxious about his place on the Man U squad.
But there were others not so forgiving including Terry Butcher, the Tartans assistant manager. "I'll never forgive him. It's not nice to lose a World Cup quarter-final under those circumstances, but that was 22 years ago and this isn't about that game." Butcher has not resolved the trauma of his flailing legs fruitlessly chasing Maradona on his way to his second goal. You Tube preserves Butcher's agony.
In the midst of all this Maradona has filed a court case against Google to stop links to pornographic websites that appear to contain images of him.
The match is of secondary importance. Scotland might lose which would make Butcher very unhappy but for many fans it will be a small price to pay to catch a first glimpse of the man who provided them fond memories of England eating humble pie.
Sinisa Ubiparipovic should now be worth more than his $33,000 annual salary.
One of the standouts in NY's historic playoff march has been Ubiparipovic. And he is a flesh and blood person, although his name suggests a character out of a Dostoyevsky novel.
Ubiparipovic was an in and out presence on both attack and defense during the regular season stepping in for the fading Jorge Rojas and provided two invaluable game winning assists, including the one that scored the fastest goal in club history in the season opener against Crew in April. He then scored his first goal against DC United in the Red Bulls largest win this season.
During the playoffs he assisted Dane Richards in his first goal against defending champs Houston Dynamo in the deciding second leg. Ubiparipovic proved to be such an admirable replacement for Rojas, Osorio decided to link him with Luke Sassano, the holding midfielder and the duo combined well in dumping out the Dynamo.
Osorio seems to have taken the midfielder under his wings guiding him during his less than stellar moments. This summer was hard on Ubiparipovic with a 47% cut in salary and a place on the bench once Osorio's highly touted summer signings came in at no small cost to the club.
"This is not luck with Sinisa, this is all pure hard work," Osorio said. "We've been working a lot in trying to convince him that when he plays effective football – meaning no back heels, no outside flicks and giving simple inside passes – he can compete and play at this level."
The emphasis on simplicity seems to have paid off as the South American talent at Osorio's disposal did not pan out as planned. Especially Jorge Rojas, who could not sustain his fast start. Seth Stammler, the veteran midfielder was also lost to the season with knee surgery. It was left to the efforts of players like Ubiparipovic, Luke Sassano, Dane Richards, and Danny Cepero to pull out the wins that got the Red Bulls to their first ever finals. Ubiparipovic's compelling history also adds to the Red Bulls fairy tale run.
The man best known for ending Brandon Pollard's career shows no love for his former coach, Juan Carlos Osorio. After RSL's loss to the Red Bulls there will be should be even less love.
For the record there were three players in the RSL squad with connections to the Red Bulls/ Metrostars who took the field in the Western Conference finals.
Player Injury Expected return
F Lampard Rib Injury 22nd Nov 08
P Cech Thigh Muscle Strain 22nd Nov 08
F Di Santo Hamstring Injury 14th Dec 08
Alex Thigh Muscle Strain 6th Dec 08
J Belletti Ankle/Foot Injury 22nd Nov 08
A Cole Calf Muscle Strain 22nd Nov 08
R Carvalho Thigh Muscle Strain 22nd Nov 08
J Cole Ankle/Foot Injury 22nd Nov 08
M Essien ACL Knee Injury Mar 09
Nine players out through injuries. 7 starters including their top goalie and defenders. Chelsea sits at the top of the table with 10 wins with just one loss having scored 32 goals and conceding only four. A goal differential of + 28. Compare this to Liverpool's +13, Man U's +15, and Arsenal +10 and you begin to appreciate the depth of their squad. Nicholas Anelka has rendered Drogba's injuries and expected suspension moot.
Arsenal vs Villa was supposed to showcase the best and brightest talent. But only one team showed up to play and it was not Arsenal. Yet again.
Arsene Wenger deservedly receives many plaudits for encouraging youthful talent but on Saturday we were reminded that Martin O' Neill has been no slouch in that department either. In fact, Arsenal seemed dissipated and overcome with ennui. This after an energetic display against Man Utd the previous weekend which saw the squad beating the champions and raised our hopes.
Villa should have won by more. Ashley Young and Gabby Agbanlahor put on a clinic in speed and high desire. Apart from Gallas racing in to save a putback from Almunia's PK stop, he and Silvestre were left backpedaling all day. Even that PK miss did not dampen the Villa attack as they continued to push and probe the embattled defense.
Bakary Sagna impaired by a bad ankle drifted by the sidelines seemingly a spectator. Clichy's highlight moment was the own goal. And in a perfect summation of the match, Agbanlahor latched onto a Laursen long ball from the Villa end then blew by Gallas in a show of muscle for the second goal. On attack we were equally pathetic with no real chances except for a Fabregas shot which Friedel spilled but there were no opportunists to take advantage of it. Lots of lateral passing but no real forward progress.
Our defensive woes continue to mount. Sagna did not recover enough putting more pressure on Gallas and Silvestre to defend. Wenger's choice of Silvestre continues to boggle. The man has no foot speed and was caught out of position time and time again. Toure has been subpar but he is better than Silvestre. And even Djourou deserves a chance. In addition, he brings some height into the mix. With Sagna out for three weeks, Djourou will be pressed into service.
Fabregas has been having a less than stellar season. He appears lost. Flamini's departure seems to have taken the drive out of the midfield. Denilson has been inadequate as a replacement. Up front, Bendtner provides a physical presence but lacks the timing to finish. Walcott disappointed with another enigmatic absence of contribution.
We are presently rudderless, vulnerable, and bleeding respect. Wenger can do little more than exhort his players from the sidelines but we need an on field presence to provide leadership. Gallas is reactive and with Fabregas struggling with form, it will be premature to put this burden on him. Arsenal was at their best when they had a mix of creativity and workman like players. We lack the roll up the sleeves sort like Tony Adams or Martin Keown who kept other teams honest.
Running this past everyone again.It seems that Eleanor Rigby may have been found at long last.She may have been a scullery maid working for the City Hospital in Parkhill, who signed her name "E. Rigby"What's that got to do with soccer?" you may well ask.Well -in the summer of 1966, after the England team beat West Germany to win the World Cup, the Beatles scored yet another No 1 with the Eleanor Rigby song.
So there's your connection.
(And besides that the real Eleanor Rigby may well have been in the stands and maybe she knows if that famous goal really went over the line or not..............! )
Step 1: You get Messi to lurk behind the wall and pretend he's not really going to do anything.
Step 2: Pretend to send the free kick over the wall. [ This is the sneaky bit]
Step 3: Pass the ball to Messi when he runs out from behind the wall [ This is the tough bit ]
Step 4 : Messi scores goal.
Step 5 : Appropriate celebrations as Recreativo Huelva go one goal down.
Aston Villa silenced the gunners by two goals to nothing.Wasn't it really just a week earlier that the same Gunners had blazed past United? More agonising for Arsenal.
Here he is scoring his 100th goal for Manchester United- which naturally means that he thinks he's worth another £50,000-a-week pay rise.That would be a mere £2.6 million a year on top of his existing £6.2m-a-year, five-year contract.The recession is for ordinary folks.
He's hitting the headlines with monotonous regularity.Alan Hansen here saying that Pele needs to move over a bit and give Maradona some place beside him as one of the greatest geniuses ever.
And then there's this comparision between Maradona and music star Manu Chao and a documentary that's in the pipeline.
Former Manchester United and England striker Andy Cole has called it a day at last.Some highlights of his 19 year career that started at Arsenal and ended at Nottingham Forest...
Only Alan Shearer has scored more goals than him (260) in the Premier League - Cole has 187 to his credit. His medal collection includes five Premier League titles, two FA Cup trophies, the Champions League and the League Cup.
In all, Cole scored 93 times for the Red Devils, and went on to record 289 career goals.
He did not replicate the success in the international games and only scored once while playing for England.
A collection of highs and lows from his career here..
The Sparkling Spurs gave Liverpool a 4 -2 beating - their second victory over them in the last so many days.Ho hum.The other more interesting news out of Liverpool is that Eleanor Rigby may have been found at long last - and may have been a scullery maid working for the City Hospital in Parkhill, who signed her name "E. Rigby"What's that got to do with soccer?" you may well ask.Well -in the summer of 1966, after the England team beat West Germany to win the World Cup, the Beatles scored yet another No 1 with the Eleanor Rigby song.
So there's your connection.
(And besides that the real Eleanor Rigby may well have been in the stands and maybe she knows if that famous goal really went over the line or not..............! )
Man City is in the midst of collective player angst and Elano adds to the chorus who have abandonment issues with Mark Hughes.
The problem is that City lacks gritty players who so populated Hughes' Blackburn squads. These squads were always bit discomfited with the finer aspects of the game. Hughes is a meat and potatoes kind of manager whose only concession to creativity was Morton Gamst Pedersen, a player linked to Arsenal quite a few times. City's defense have been a huge concern giving up 20 goals which is unlike a Hughes coached team.
Previously we had said that Hughes would look out of place in this high priced squad and its sleek players and so far it appears that the co-existence is not working too well. Man City's owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan has agreed to support Hughes in the January transfer window.
On Hughes radar, Roque Santa Cruz, whose robust presence upfront and aerial prowess is well known to him from his Blackburn days. Also on the wish list a bunch of hard men, including Stephen Warnock and Torsten Frings. Looks like a version of Blackburn is on its way to the Eastlands.
Luciano "Lucky" Moggi could be sentenced to six years in jail according to the recommendations of the special prosecutor investigating Calciopoli.
And for all of Moggi's crocodile tears, Juve is doing quite well having beaten Real, 2-0 in the Champions League at the Bernabeu. They are also just three points away from front runners Inter, the biggest benefactor of Calciopoli with a shot at redemption in less than two weeks at the San Siro.
Inter has had to pull out last minute winners in the last couple of weeks and are riding their luck pretty hard. The Special One is none too happy.
If Juve were to beat out Inter for the Scudetto, the pall created by Moggi lifts and the whispering campaign would finally end.
Now it is Oscar Ruggeri.
Maradona wants the former Boca defender and 1986 team mate as his assistant. Ruggeri, an outstanding defender for his country has a poor record in managerial positions. It has led to a standoff between Julio Grondona and Maradona, with threats that he will resign if Ruggeri is not included. Grondona does not like Ruggeri's face and says its a personal thing.
I have a feeling that the Albiceleste themselves have suspended match practice and are watching these episodes slack jawed. How could you not? Maradona's selection is the next biggest idiotic thing since John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate but it does not make it any less fascinating.
The UK is probably going to get shafted if this is true.
Obama's election as president has so boosted the US in the eyes of FIFA honchos that if it turns out infrastructure and organization are similar between the leading contenders, the deciding factor could be Obama in awarding the 2018 World Cup.
"How can it not make a difference?" the source told Yahoo!'s Martin Rogers. "Now when you think of America, you don’t think George W. Bush or war. You think of this man, Obama, who has made history and given hope to millions."
This is in tune with soccer's ideals to the world. In fact Obama's presidency could help re-affirm those ideals.
Obama's grassroots campaign relied on millions donating small amounts of money which built an unprecedented and unparalleled fund of cash allowing him to outspend John McCain in most of the battleground states. He took his message to the people and they came out in record numbers. Which fan does not dream of influencing his club the same way. Ask Liverpool.
Obama has stressed the primacy of diplomatic negotiations to resolve conflicts rather than relying on military power. Soccer has created its fare share of imbroglios but it also presents the world with its biggest opportunity every four years for countries with contentious histories to shake hands on the field. No other sport comes close to claiming that distinction. We must not forget soccer's transformational nature as we were so reminded of Obama's in these elections.
These statements should be treated as a conspiracy against Arsenal to lull them to sleep. How many opposing managers have said similar things in order to fatten the heads of William Gallas & Co. only to see them fall in the next match. Its become psychology 101.
A preamble to present day Arsenal games now means cradle snatching Wenger trotting out ever younger squads with every season. We marvel at their wins. In this edition, Carlos Vela, Jack Wilshire, and Jay Simpson walloped hapless Wigan prompting Steve Bruce to say what he said. What else could any one say.
We are flying high again. Wins over Man U and Wigan. Lets enjoy these moments. But to continue this streak means that Wenger has to instill a sense of iron discipline in his squad to tune out these elegies and play a match at a time.
The Liberi Nantes Football Club is Italy’s first professional soccer team made up entirely of refugees.
The team’s name, Liberi Nantes, comes from a verse in Book I of the “Aeneid” by Virgil. The exiled Trojans, fleeing their burning city, had shipwrecked and only a few of them (rari nantes) immersed in the vast sea (in gurgite vasto) reached shore. The Trojans were refugees, too, forced to flee a war, and, like the players of the Liberi Nantes, they crossed the Mediterranean in search of a place to start life anew.
They will be competing for the championship in the Italian soccer league’s third division. The 25-man squad is made up of players from the world’s trouble spots: Afghanistan, Eritrea, Guinea, Iraq, Nigeria, Sudan, Togo, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The players will never have their real names and pictures on trading cards because the authorities in their home countries believe they are dead – and if they knew the truth, their families would be in grave danger.Because their asylum claims are in doubt, they cannot be registered and get a contract. Most of them are recent arrivals, live in welcoming centres for refugees and are dependent on the welfare services that Rome provides.More here and here..
Another four goal show.Vagner Love joined Higuain and Eto'o to become the third player this week to score four goals in a game.CSKA Mocow's 4-0 triumph over FC Moscow was entirely a Vágner Love love fest with him scoring all the goals.
A flurry of articles examining Obama's relationship with soccer.
David James believes Obama's transformational presidency will be good for the game.
Obama's club of choice, West Ham sends this "We are delighted that Barack Obama has an association with West Ham and are sending him our congratulations and an invitation to attend a match whenever he is in Britain."
Jonathan Spector from Illinois added "From a personal perspective it certainly would be something special to welcome him to West Ham."
From what I have gathered they would also love to be part of the $700 billion bailout.
Remember Alexi Lalas and his grandiose pronouncements on how Becks would single handed turn the MLS into a world beater. It seems like eons ago. Well, he isn't too happy at the way his man has inveigled his way to Milan (Sports Business Daily, Nov 7, subscription needed).
“Hello, a courtesy telephone call, a little bit of respect to call the coach so that head coach Bruce Arena knows what’s going on, knows that you’re being shopped around.”
Look, its not as if we did not tell you so. For Becks it was always going to be the national squad that was the priority. If it meant walking all over the MLS to do so. Arena can be easily mollified considering you have lived through a manager reportedly kicking a shoe into your face in anger for showing loyalty to country and not club.
Here is the rub. Beckham can walk out of the Galaxy a full two years before his 5 year multi million dollar contract with the club is up. Bet you did not know that. A clause in the contract says that the man can walk out without any penalties. I would have never ever thought I would feel sympathetically towards Alex Rodriguez and his ball and chain gig at the Yankees but I do. The worst is when people talk about Becks staying as contingent on the club finding its winning ways. Isn't that what he was hired for?
Whether he states that he want to come back for the 2009 season and ends up looking munificent for doing so is immaterial. He has this clause in the contract which so loads it against the MLS it makes your head spin. That should be the story. Informing Bruce Arena about your plans to move to Milan. Pshhhhttttt. Fuggedaboutit.
New England Revs drew 5,221 fans for their first leg game against Chicago. Just woeful. The other games were somewhat better but it is an overall problem with MLS playoffs. Don Garber pathetically defers to better TV ratings and media coverage compensating for the no shows in the stadium amongst the spectators.
Just a trifle better than Sarah Palin. The guy is so not looking forward to this journey. The VW road to the MLS Cup. I would not be too sure of soccer's popularity or Routan sales after this.
The NY Red Bulls came through for the greatest win in their 13 year history. Leading the charge was Dane Richards who had the game of his life and a hand in all three goals. He scored the first goal, was responsible for the PK that Juan Pablo Angel converted for the Red Bulls second goal, and then sealed the deal when his pass was converted by John Wolyniec for the third and final goal. The Dynamo were done for blistered by Dane's pace.
The Red Bulls move to the Western Conference finals where they meet RSL who neutralized Chivas, 2-2 to win on aggregate, 3-2.
What do you call four goals? Two is a brace.Three is a hat trick.What's four ? A quartet ? A quadruplet ? Well Higuain scored a quartet [or quadruplet if you prefer] of goals in Real Madrid's 4 -3 win over Malaga.(video)
To make that perfectly clear - he scored all four goals.
Barcelona however were not to be outdone.Samuel Eto'o matched Higuain goal for goal and also scored a quartet [or quadruplet] of goals - against Valladolid.Actually Barcelona did even better - they scored two more making that a sextuplet of goals
"Whoops" - shouldn't have used that word -now this post will get a PG rating ..............!
Video of sextuplet of goals below.....
Tottenham continue their resurgance under Harry Houdini..
34 year old Del Piero just keeps on coming up with the goods.At the age by which most professional footballers have called it a day and have hung up the old boots and settled down to a sedentary retired life in the company of the their grandchildren Del Peiro is still scoring fabulous goals.Both the goals of the Juventus' shock 2 - 0 victory over Real Madrid the other day came from him.The superb display at the Bernabeu won him a standing ovation from the crowd as well as huge praise from around Europe.
Talk about taking matters into your own hands.Botafogo defender Andre Luis was sent off for grabbing the referee's yellow card as the Brazilian side were knocked out of the Copa Sudamericana by Argentina's Estudiantes yesterday.He got a red card and marching orders in return.
I was under the impression that it was just the hand that had divine properties.Apparently the rest of him is also worship worthy and there is a church dedicated to him that has been around for the last 10 years........!
The Church of Maradona call him D10S – Spanish for "God" and the title incorporates the player's jersey number "10." - which come to think of it - is pretty neat.
It is in Rosario, a port city to the north of Buenos Aires and has swelled to more than 120,000 members. Maradona's 48th birthday - D.D. 48 ("Despues," or "After" Diego) - was celebrated in the church by about 300 fans carrying relics including a football crowned with thorns and a "goalary," an oversized rosary, with 34 beads – the number of goals Maradona scored for Argentina.
"Baptism" for new members involves slamming a football with their hand, in homage to the original divine goal scored with the original divine hand.
"It's in each and over one of us to believe in Maradona," said member David Orlando, 28. "I would have to live 20,000 years to do everything he did."
Well the latest things the great man is doing have started a round of rumours that he is ready to quit the coach's job - almost before he has got started.
A vote of no confidence.
George Gillett, the less Dick Chenysque partner of the Gillett and Hicks duo says now that they were not committed (Sports Business Daily, subscription required) to the club and the financial crisis continues to muddy their future.
Gillett said that he "has been embarrassed by the way he and [co-Owner] Tom Hicks have coped with the club's financial difficulties."
"You feel a responsibility and an embarrassment on occasions when you haven't provided all you might have. There's a level of embarrassment and you want to correct it quickly."
Though Gillett has refused to say how long he will remain at Liverpool, he admitted that the financial crisis "had affected his sporting interests."
His sporting interests have moved to India which obviously factors the newly rich middle class which numbers in the millions and likes their sports and more importantly can pay for it. Clubs are cheap and overheads are relatively low. Gillett must have been swayed by the overwhelming success of the Twenty20 format, i.e., cricket on crack, that has catapulted India's domestic league, a hot sports commodity, with business houses vying with each other for ownership.
The AP's Rob Harris as part of a profile of Gillett noted Indian sports are on Gillett's "radar after several trips to the subcontinent".
Here's poor old Mourinho's Inter Milan huffing and puffing to a 3 -3 draw against Anorthosis Famagusta.
Then Swedish referee Martin Hansson awarded Steven Gerrard a late penalty that he was almost too embarrassed to appeal for.
And so Liverpool huffed and puffed to their 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid.
Well here's a video to look at as you wait for the election results.Chelsea getting hammered 3-1 by Roma - a far cry from their 5 - 0 win over Sunderland just the other day.
Overzealous ref Luis Medina Cantalejo gave Deco his marching orders for taking a free kick too quickly.
........against San Francisco-based video- streaming portal Justin.tv
Reason:Live streaming video of PL matches - free.
Anyone with legal live access of a game can, via a webcam pointed at their TV screen, upload their feed to Justin.tv for the world to watch.Perhaps someone with a camera might be able to get the live feed of FA and Sky TV chiefs turning blue in the face as they shout "Piracy.....!"
Xavi scored twice to lead them to the top of the Primera Liga on Saturday with a 4-1 win at Malaga .It was their seventh league win in a row.The rain turned the field into a bit of a swamp.Shrek would have felt quite at home playing on it.Barca slip slid their way to a great win.
I suspect we are in for many morning afters. It was Stoke this time. We are getting to the point where it is hard to say who showed up to play or who should have done what or what the next excuse will be. There is a giant feeling of unsettled in the squad.
Arsenal has already proven susceptible to open field shots and this time it was Rory Delap's throw ins that were their undoing. What is inescapable is that teams are finding ways to beat us or being allowed back into the game.
The promoted teams are all teeing off on Arsenal and the Baggies are licking their lips at their chance. Next Saturday comes the Man Utd showdown which should have signaled the tough stretch of the season but the way we are performing this started at the very outset.
Maybe the Gunners did not quite recover from the Spurs shocker but it is Wenger's responsibility to get them prepared. The midfield looks unsettled with Song, Diaby, and Denilson providing company to Cesc, the only quality player that we have. Wenger's experimentation with Song is not paying off. Cesc is not getting the support he got from Flamini last season which is unfortunate on so many levels. Cesc is superb but Flamini's unflagging commitment just behind and across him meant that he was free to deploy upfield. This season, Cesc is having to take care of the blind spots on his own. It has shown in his distracted performances. We still have enough possession to command attention but it all unravels at both ends of the field.
RVP's sending off is a reflection of his season. He has problems remaining upright and stealing the ball from him has become easier than taking candy from a baby. It was a terrible way to react and he deserves his three game suspension. I also realize that Wenger does not have too many options up front at present but Bendtner should be a sub, not a starter. He seems to do enough to find opportunities in the box but he is not a finisher.
We also have a defense that allows opposing players too much room. I have seen Arsenal backing off when they should be attacking the ball which has allowed a number of open field goals against them. 12 goals conceded is not going to get you any title. Wenger's signing of a Man Utd cast off as central back was a band aid. The central back pairing has been slipshod. Clichy has been error prone and Sagna has struggled with injuries.
Arsenal is playing in a very narrow bandwidth. They have way too many loose pieces and injuries right now to gel effectively. The squad is also rudderless lacking any meaningful captaincy. It is too early for a blanket statement but so far our new signings have not impressed like Sagna or even Eduardo did last season. Nasri has had limited opportunities under Wenger.
It is over. I hate to say it, it makes me sick to the stomach to say it, but I don't see Wenger's way out from this season. If it were a temporary loss of confidence because of a few uncharacteristic performances, I would still be optimistic. We have a crisis of confidence because of deep personnel issues. I agree with Arseblog, Wenger has to think beyond his vanity project. It would be flattering to have a headline like "Wenger's boys clobber giants on their way to the title" but we have to look beyond the wonderment at their talent and see the downside in their inconsistency. It is no knock on them, that is the way we are at that age. More experienced players leaven that inconsistency and provide an exemplar. We need some proven players and if you have to splash the cash and get into a bidding war with some of the fancier clubs, so be it. Arsenal has to prove that they are hungry enough to win another title.
The Wizards went ahead with a 53rd minute goal by Arnaud and then played the last 15 minutes a man down when Hercules Gomes was sent off with a red card. They stemmed the tide of chances till the very last minute when Steven Lenhart scored of a Moreno pass in the 92nd minute.
KC travels to Columbus for the second leg to play the team with the best home record. Gomes will be missing for this match through suspension.
It was a good result for KC considering the Crew have the best attack in the MLS amongst the playoff teams, although they might rightly feel that they were robbed of a win. The match stats were all in favour of Crew but KC created the closer chances. Arnaud's goal was the end result of great hustle after a nice give and go between the midfielder and striker, Claudio Lopez.
The conclusion of a new survey is that blokes from Britain have one greatest fear that is greater than the sum of all other fears.This most fearsome of all fears is the fear that their their football team would be relegated.Here is the definitive list of fears in decreasing order of fearfulness...
1 Football team being relegated
2 Proposing to girlfriend
3 Losing looks/hair/ageing
4 Being made to look stupid in front of mates
5 Being rejected when asking a girl on a date
6 Small children and babies
7 Amy Winehouse
8 Meeting girlfriend's parents
9 Free falling
10 Large insects (ANI)
It was the Rory Delap factor.Ricardo Fuller and Seyi Olofinjana both scored from the missile like throw-ins by Rory Delap
Delap sent a throw to the far post and Fuller glanced in for the opener. Delap, himself, then looped in a header that Gael Clichy cleared off the line before Olofinjana chested in Stoke's second from another Delap throw-in.
The hottest team in the MLS is without Josh Wolff but Claudio Lopez is peaking at the right time. Lopez is vying for newcomer of the year with Darren Huckerby and Andre Rocha. He has scored six goals and assisted in seven more. They meet Columbus Crew and Guillermo Barros Schelotto in one of the marquee playoff matches.
Schelotto was singled out for praise by Diego Maradona, Argentina's new manager.
"Guille is a real footballer. He has the cunning so characteristic of Argentinian football. When everone else gets nervous, he remains unfazed."
KC will have to keep Schelotto quiet while pushing forward with Davy Arnaud and Claudio Lopez. Jack Jewsbury has been very effective in his new attacking role just behind Arnaud, having provided some valuable goals and even more valuable assists.
The defense led by captain Jimmy Conrad, nominee for Visa defender of the year has bottled up explosive attacks like LA and the Crew. Conrad also adds an attacking flair which has led to six goals, the most by a central defender since Lubos Kubik in 1998. Conrad will have to be prepared for some blistering counter-attacks from Robbie Rogers and Eddie Gaven. Kevin Hartmann will have to be sharp under the bar against Alejandro Moreno, who is deadly accurate.
KC have come away with two losses and drawn one while conceding 8 goals and scoring 4 of their own in the matches they have played with Crew this year. But that was the old KC before Kurt Onalfo made all those midfield changes with his squad and Claudio Lopez really heated up. This will be a great match and a win for KC is within the realm of possibilities.
....In the 13th minute of their Copa del Rey match with Real Unión,De la Red was running back to towards the halfway line when, without anyone in close proximity, he suddenly fell face first on to the pitch and lay motionless....
Many will remember Sevilla player Antonio Puerte who collapsed on the pitch last year and died shortly after. This one does not seem to be so serious...