Archive | November, 2010

Get excited for World Cup host announcements

30 Nov

Forget Brazil 2014. Well, for now. Right now, it’s all about who will host the World Cup in 2018 and 2022. The U.S. is gunning for the 2022 bid along with Australia, Korea, Qatar and Japan. The 2018 Cup will be decided between Russia, England, Spain/Portugal and Belgium/Netherlands. It’s looking like the U.S. is the favorite for 2022, but take that with a grain of salt.  The U.S. was also thought to be the favorite to land the Olympics in 2016 but ended up being eliminated in the first round of voting (granted a different voting body).

The 1994 World Cup was the most successful ever, in terms of attendance. If anything, the game has grown in this country since then so I would imagine even more interest in the beautiful game.  There’s not a lot of work to do as far as transportation or stadiums since they are already in place in all the possible host cities.  Of course, I would love for the World Cup to come back to the U.S.; I didn’t get to go in 1994, a fact I am still bitter about.

However, I would gladly attend a World Cup in Australia too.  The Aussies ran an extremely successful Olympic games in 2000, so there’s no reason to think they couldn’t pull off a World Cup despite having never hosted.  Korea and Japan combined to host the event in 2002, so it would be only 20 years between Asian World Cups, which doesn’t exactly seem fair to me.  Qatar is somewhat of an enigma. The country has spent a ton of money on celebrity endorsements as well as state of the art technology for stadiums, but is the size and politics of the country ready for the world’s biggest party?

England hasn’t hosted since 1966, but allegations of corruption and other shady dealings have dealt somewhat of a blow to the country’s bid.  Russia  has come on strong, while FIFA is said to be wanting to get away from joint bids. (That might be the worst sentence ever written.)

The annoucement of the hosts for 2018 and 2022 will be on Thursday, Dec. 2. It will be shown live at 10:00 a.m. (EST) on Fox Soccer Channel, ESPN, Univision, ESPN Deportes, CNN International and fifa.com.

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Thoughts and observations on Barcelona’s shellacking of Real

29 Nov

What was billed as a tough battle for first place in La Liga quickly turned into a 5-0 Barcelona rout.

  • Barcelona has so many weapons, it’s unfair. Can they please share one with Liverpool? Thanks.
  • Barca won the possession battle, 67%-33%.  Their  passing was sublime.  Even in crowded areas, they would be able to work it out of danger with a series of short, quick passes. Mesmerizing.  Real looked like they were content to sit back and let Barca pass the ball around and go for the counter attack. Problem is, they didn’t get many looks at that.
  • It didn’t take long for Real to get visibly frustrated.  After Barca’s two early goals, Real showed no spirit in trying to come back.  It’s rather surprising that no one ended up with a red card until the final seconds.
  • Even though Lionel Messi didn’t score, he was still an influential player for Barca. Cristiano Ronaldo? Not so much. Shoving Pep Guardiola was the most interesting thing he did all game.
  • Xavi and Iniesta are one hell of a pair in the midfield. They’ve got to be one of the best tandems of this generation.
  • Barcelona is a lot of fun to watch. They make everything look so effortless. I realize it was only one game, but it was against the other top team in the league and when you can dismantle a team like that, well, you might just be a phenomenal team.
  • It’s nice to see Jose Mourinho brought back down to earth. The man lives on his own planet and clearly thinks quite highly of himself. This was the first time a Mourinho-led team had ever given up five goals (impressive stat, btw).

Happy Thanksgiving!

25 Nov

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I’m thankful for soccer and all you wonderful readers.

Big games in Champions League today

24 Nov

Group A – Tottenham and Inter are tied at the top of the group with seven points. Both will be looking to cement those positions further with wins today.

Group B – Group leader Lyon meets second place Schalke in a crucial game for both squads. Meanwhile, Benfica will look to keep its hopes of advancing alive with a win against Hapoel Tel-Aviv.

Group C – Manchester United only needs a draw against Rangers to advance to the round of 16. However, Rangers will be searching for a win as they look to move into second.

Group D – Second place Copenhagen currently trails Rubin 1-0. A win for Rubin would keep them in contention for advancement. Barcelona should have no problems with last place Panathinaikos.

Rubin vs. Copenhagen
Inter vs. Twente
Schalke vs. Lyon
Valencia vs. Bursaspor
Hapoel Tel-Aviv vs. Benfica
Panathinaikos vs. Barcelona – 5 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Delayed)
Tottenham vs. Werder Bremen – 7 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer Plus (Live)
Rangers vs. Manchester United – 2:30 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)

Spots in round of 16 still on the line

23 Nov

Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Real Madrid have all booked spots in the next round of the UEFA Champions League. The five other spots from the four groups are still up in the air and today’s clashes could go a long way in determining who goes through. A win for Roma over Bayern would send the Italian side through, while the winner of the Spartak-Marseille match will have a big leg up going into the competition’s final day. The second spot behind Madrid is still up for grabs and Ajax, Auxerre and Milan are all capable of getting out of the group. In group H, Arsenal will look to lock up top spot with a win over Braga, while Shakhtar could also advance with a win over Partizan.

Spartak Moskva vs. Marseille
Roma vs. Bayern
Basel vs. CFR Cluj
Ajax vs. Real Madrid – 5 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Delayed)
Auxerre vs. AC Milan – 2:30 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer Plus (Live)
Partizan vs. Shakhtar Donetsk
Chelsea vs. Zilina – 7 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Delayed)
Braga vs. Arsenal – 2:30  p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)

LFC wins without Gerrard

22 Nov

Liverpool fell back to earth with a resounding thud after their win over Chelsea, the top team in the league, going winless against Wigna and Stoke.  They got back on the winning track Saturday, notching a 3-0 victory over hapless West Ham.  Glen Johnson, Dirk Kuyt and Maxi Rodriguez all netted goals in the win.  It was exactly the kind of game Liverpool needed after a rough previous couple outings.  They also won without skipper Steven Gerrard, who was ruled out for a month after picking up a hamstring injury on international duty (damn it, Capello!).

The win put the Reds into ninth place and only six points out of the top four.  With the way this season is going, there is no reason to count Liverpool out of the running for a top four spot.  Granted, they will have to find some more consistency, but it’s by no means an impossibility.  As of right now, there’s no team that is head and shoulders above everyone else.  At the beginning of the year, Chelsea looked like that team, but they have struggled as of late and as a result, Manchester United is now equal with the holders on points.  It’s a wide open race at this point and will make for some excellent clashes coming up.

Liverpool will face their next test at Tottenham on Sunday.  The Spurs are currently sixth and are coming off an impressive come-from-behind 3-2 win over Arsenal.  The home side will be full of confidence going into Sunday’s match and Liverpool will have to be on top of their game if they want to claim a win.

US heads back to South Africa

17 Nov

The U.S. soccer team travels back to Africa for a friendly against South Africa today. The roster is dramatically different from the team that played in the World Cup; only five players remain from that squad.  Not that the decision is surprising. Bob Bradley’s got his work cut out for him looking ahead to 2014 and it’s good to get some new, young faces in the squad to see how they stack up and fit in.

Now, with a whole new group of guys out there, it’s important to be looking at the potential and not necessarily the result (I have to keep telling myself that).  It’s important to start building to a strong squad for 2014 and finding who can add a dynamic presence to the team.  Six players are looking for their first cap. 

GOALKEEPERS: Dominic Cervi (Celtic), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa)
DEFENDERS: Gale Agbossoumonde (Estoril Praia), Nat Borchers (Real Salt Lake), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Eric Lichaj (Aston Villa), Tim Ream (New York Red Bulls), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United)
MIDFIELDERS: Alejandro Bedoya (Örebro), Brian Carroll (Columbus Crew), Mikkel Diskerud (Stabaek), Eddie Gaven (Columbus Crew), Logan Pause (Chicago Fire), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew)
FORWARDS: Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls), Teal Bunbury (Kansas City Wizards), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake)