Tag Archives: Kaka

Final thoughts on the 2010 World Cup

13 Jul

I am still slightly saddened by the fact that the most glorious month of football is over for another four years.  It all went by so fast.  I’m resigned to watching MLS and waiting on transfer rumours until the Premier League starts August 14.  Lame.  Anyways, I got the idea for this post from Sports Illustrated’s 50 observations story and figured it was a good way to do things since I have too many jumbled up thoughts in my head to actually write a coherent post.

My 27 thoughts on South Africa 2010 (in no particular order and which I’m sure to add to)

1. There was no better way to start the tournament than Siphiwe Tshabalala’s rocket shot.  An awesome start for the host nation.

2. I still can’t believe what a disaster the French team was.  Those players are going to be embarassed when they look back on this.

3. I lost track of the number of times I wished that Charlie Davies was healthy and able to play for the U.S. Robbie Findley’s inability to get a decent shot off was so damn frustrating.

4. The more replays I see of Nigel De Jong’s karate kick to Xabi Alonso’s chest, the more I’m amazed that he only ended up with a yellow card.

5. The emotion in this sport is phenomenal.  You can go from tears to cheers to outrage, all over the course of 90 minutes.  What a fantastic sport.

6. How awesome would it have been to be in Spain for the final on Sunday? 

7. Spain’s win emphasized the team over individual.  That team is full of all-stars, but they put their egos aside for their country.  Take note of that, England.

8. While entertaining, Diego Maradona is not fit for coaching.  Like I’ve said before, being a great player does not make you a good coach.

9. Germany was the most fun to watch (well, except against Spain).  The way they could move the ball up the pitch so quickly and finish so well was awesome. 

10. I still think refs needs to be held accountable for their decisions during a game.  There’s no real punishment if they screw up.

11. Landon Donovan’s stoppage time goal against Algeria was one of the highlights of my U.S. soccer watching career.  Absolutely amazing.  It made me cry.

12. Who would have thought Uruguay would make it to the semifinals?  Diego Forlan was a complete stud throughout the tournament and rightly won the Golden Ball as the tournament’s best player.

13. Italy’s failure to advance out of the group stage was all about cockiness. They thought they could cakewalk through the group and that wasn’t the case.

14. I think the vuvuzela will stay a South African tradition.  I’m sure a few will pop up in other places, but there’s no way it’s going to replace a good old-fashioned yell.

15. Tim Howard was disappointing for team USA.  Yeah, he had a couple of good saves against England, but he was otherwise pedestrian.  I expected more from a top-class keeper.

16. Fernando Torres was clearly not 100% fit.  His touch was off and he couldn’t find the back of the net to save his life.  An apparent hamstring? groin? injury was just the crappy end he needed.  Well, at least he ended up with a winner’s medal as consolation.

17. I think there should be retroactive punishments for horrible diving.  Example: Ivory Coast’s Kader Keita’s dramatic “facial injury” after running into Kaka, which earned the Brazilian his second yellow of the game.  The game does not need that shizz.

18. How did Lionel Messi not score a goal?  He had some pretty wicked shots on goal and had some goalies make some terrific saves.

19. I have absolutely no problem with what Luis Suarez did in the Uruguay-Ghana game.  Was it illegal? Yes.  Did he get punished appropriately? Yes. It was such a big deal because Ghana was the last African team left, but I’m glad FIFA wasn’t jaded by that fact.  If things had gone the other way around, I’m sure the Ghana fans would’ve said it was worth it.

20. I would not want to be a national team manager, especially for a team like England.  Too many egos involved.  Props to those managers that put up with that crap on a regular basis.

21. My call for biggest upset: tie between Slovakia 3, Italy 2 and New Zealand 1, Italy 1.  I hate the Italian national team so these results were amazing.

22. The World Cup brought out some really good journalism.  It also brought out some total crap.  After Rick Reilly’s horrible WC column, I refuse to read anything he writes.

23. For the love of all that is holy, Bob Bradley, what the hell were you thinking with the lineup against Ghana?

24. The whole Paul the Octopus phenomenon really amused me.  It was crazy to see how seriously people were taking his predictions.  It’s an octopus, people!

25. Game of the tournament: Uruguay-Ghana, hands down.

26. I don’t think Robert Green will ever live down his howler against the United States.  He’s just lucky that draw didn’t cost England a spot in the knockout round or it could’ve gotten a lot uglier.

27. The supposed “stars” of this World Cup didn’t shine, but I’m ok with that.  It allowed players that are equally as awesome like Diego Forlan, Xavi, Asamoah Gyan and more to get their deserved chance in the spotlight.


World Cup results – June 20

20 Jun

New Zealand notched the biggest “upset” of the tournament so far, earning a 1-1 draw with defending chanpion Italy.  The All-Whites struck early after Shane Smeltz poked home a free kick.  Later in the half, Daniele De Rossi further etched his name in my hate book.  He got his shirt tugged in the box before falling forward like he’d be shot and earning Italy a penalty. Sigh. Vincenzo Iaquinta converted the spot kick, but the Kiwis defense held fast to claim a famous 1-1 draw.  

Paraguay put itself in a good position to advance to the next round with a 2-0 win over Slovakia.  Enrique Vera notched a first half goal, while Cristian Riveros put the game away late in the second half.

In the day’s finale, Brazil put a 3-1 whooping on Ivory Coast.  Luis Fabiano struck twice and Elano scored once to give the favorites a 3-0 lead.  Didier Drogba pulled one back for Ivory Coast, but it was too little too late.  The game was not without controversy though as the chippiness escalated.  Kaka of all people ended up getting sent off after “elbowing Keita in the face” and by elbowing in the face, I mean Keita’s chest ran into Kaka’s elbow.  Horrid call to yellow card Kaka on the play, which ended up being his second of the day.  He’ll miss the final group game against Portugal, but it’s not a huge deal as Brazil has already advanced to the second round.

Group F results
Slovakia 0
Paraguay 2 (Vera 27, Riveros 86)

Italy 1 (Iaquinta 29 – pen)
New Zealand 1 (Smeltz 7)

Group G results
Brazil 3 (Fabiano 25, 50, Elano 62)
Ivory Coast 1 (Drogba 79)

Group F standings
Paraguay 4 (+2)
Italy 2 (0)
New Zealand 2 (0)
Slovakia 1 (-2)

Group G preview

10 Jun

Group G
Ivory Coast
North Korea

Brazil is one of the favorites to lift the trophy July 11. Under head coach Dunga, the team’s style has changed from jaw-dropping attack to more defensive-minded. Not that it’s been a problem as Brazil topped South American qualification. Clearly the entire team is extremely talented, thus why they are one of the favorites. A lot of Brazil’s midfield play runs through Kaka, who has been battling injuries for what feels like forever. If he’s healthy enough to play, he’ll make Brazil even more dangerous. Three members of the defense play together at Inter (GK Julio Cesar, D Maicon and D Lucio) and that chemistry will only serve to make the defense harder to crack.

The fortunes of Ivory Coast lie heavily on Didier Drogba and his busted arm.  It’s still up in the air whether he will be able to compete after breaking his arm in a friendly against Japan.  Even if Drogba doesn’t play, Ivory Coast is still a talented squad, although the task gets much tougher in an already challenging group.  Salomon Kalou is a teammate of Drogba’s at Chelsea  and the burden of scoring could fall on his shoulders.  Kolo and Yaya Toure will bring speed to the lineup.  This tournament is Ivory Coast’s chance to prove it is one of the top teams in Africa, but will they be able to get out of the group?

North Korea is quite the enigma.  No one really seems to know a lot about the team or the coaches.  However, we do know that this will be the team’s first World Cup since 1966.  We also know that Jong Tae-Se is referred to as the “Asian Wayne Rooney” and promised a victory over Brazil.  (He doesn’t have the nickname for nothing though as he has scored 46 goals in 111 games for club team Kawasaki Frontale.)  North Korea also made headlines after trying to sneak in an extra striker by putting him on the roster as the third goalie, but FIFA’s no fool (well, occasionally) and said that Kim Myong-Won can only play as a keeper (Hopefully they won’t have to resort to that because that could get ugly against the likes of Brazil).

Portugal is led by the perma-tan Cristiano Ronaldo.  The team struggled through qualifying, but seems to have pulled things together.  At least until midfielder Nani was ruled out with a bruised collar bone.  Even without Nani, Ronaldo is still the lynch pin for Portugal.  He’s one of those players that has failed to lift Portugal on his shoulders despite excelling on the club level.  He’ll be looking to put those ideas to rest by leading the team out of a tough group.  Players like Pepe and Deco have also suffered their fair share of injuries and Portugal will need them healthy in order to advance.

The Soccer Wall’s picks to advance: Brazil, Portugal

Messi wins Ballon D’Or

1 Dec

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi captured the 2009 Ballon D’Or by the largest margin ever on Tuesday.  The award is given to the European Footballer of the Year and Messi is the first Argentine to win.  Messi received 473 of a possible 480 points to take top honors.  Last year’s winner Cristiano Ronaldo finished second, while Messi’s Barca teammate Xavi came in third.

It is a deserved award for Messi, who led Barcelona to the treble last season.  The talented forward led the Champions League in goals with nine, including one in the final.  He also scored 23 goals in La Liga competition.  An incredibly dynamic player, Messi has the ability to change any game he plays with his sublime touch and deceptive quickness. He’s already off to a great start this year with nine goals.

2009 Ballon D’Or Results
1. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
2. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United/Real Madrid)
3. Xavi (Barcelona)
4. Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)
5. Samuel Eto’o (Barcelona/Inter)
6. Kaka (AC Milan/Real Madrid)
7. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Inter/Barcelona)
8. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
9. Didier Drogba (Chelsea)
10. Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)

Check out the awesomeness of Lionel Messi here:

FIFA Player of the Year Short List Revealed

30 Oct

The 23 nominees for FIFA World Player of the Year and 10 nominees for Women’s World Player of the Year have been announced by FIFA.

The five finalists for each award will be announced at the beginning of December with the winner being revealed on Dec. 21.

Cristiano Ronaldo won the honor last year and makes the list again.  All five finalists from 2008 are on the short list again this year (Ronaldo, Fernando Torres, Kaka, Xavi and Lionel Messi).

I’d have to give the edge to Messi this year as he played such a pivotal role in Barcelona’s treble last season.  Despite Argentina’s struggles in World Cup qualification, he’s always an incredibly dangerous threat.

On the women’s side, Brazil’s Marta has won the award three years running and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if she won it again.

From FIFA.com:

The following 23 men (in alphabetical order) are in contention for the title of FIFA World Player 2009;

Michael Ballack (Germany), Gianluigi Buffon (Italy), Iker Casillas (Spain), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Diego (Brazil), Didier Drogba (Côte d’Ivoire), Michael Essien (Ghana), Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon), Steven Gerrard (England), Thierry Henry (France), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden), Andrés Iniesta (Spain), Kaká (Brazil), Frank Lampard (England), Luis Fabiano (Brazil), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Carles Puyol (Spain), Franck Ribéry (France), Wayne Rooney (England), John Terry (England), Fernando Torres (Spain), David Villa (Spain) and Xavi (Spain).

The following ten women (in alphabetical order) are in contention for the title of FIFA Women’s World Player 2009;

Nadine Angerer (Germany), Sonia Bompastor (France), Cristiane (Brazil), Inka Grings (Germany), Mana Iwabuchi (Japan), Simone Laudehr (Germany), Marta (Brazil), Birgit Prinz (Germany), Kelly Smith (England) and Abby Wambach (USA).

Ronaldo looks set to join Kaka at Real Madrid

11 Jun

real_madrid_logoWord on the street is that Manchester United has accepted a $132 millon bid for Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid. My understanding is that it’s not official yet, but that talks have begun between the player and Real Madrid. MU’s website states that the matter would be concluded by June 30.

So, that world record bid for Kaka? Peanuts compared to the amount Real is paying for Ronaldo. If indeed this deal does go through, which I suspect that it will, given Ronaldo’s dream of playing for Real, it puts a dragged out transfer saga to bed early. Yay! After the whole will he leave-will he stay drama of last summer, I really couldn’t take another summer of that crap.

It’s obviously quite a loss for MU (not that the rest of the league is heartbroken), who are rumoured to be targeting Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery as replacement.

I have one question though – where in the world is Real Madrid getting all this money from?

Kaka inks huge deal with Real Madrid

10 Jun

Brazilian midfielder Kaka has signed a rather large deal with Spanish giant Real Madrid, large meaning in the neighborhood of $92 million. Kaka leaves Italian club AC Milan, citing the club’s finances as one reason he left. Real Madrid hopes that Kaka can help restore the team to glory after Barcelona completed the treble this season, leaving Real trophiless. Milan has now lost its coach and star player in the course of a week as Carlo Ancelotti left to take over as Chelsea manager.

Kaka’s $92 million deal is the largest transfer ever – breaking the record fee Zinedine Zidane set when he moved from Juventus to Real Madrid. Real president Florentino Perez wants to revive the Galactico policy that brought in Zidane, David Beckham and Ronaldo earlier this decade. The club is rumored to have their sights on Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery, so be prepared for another long summer of transfer rumours involving all of the above parties (yay).