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Archive for September, 2007

Women’s World Cup Final Live Blog: Brazil vs. Germany

Posted by Mike on September 30, 2007

Team USA won the undercard today, and now we move on to the final between two teams we’re accustomed to seeing in the men’s final: Brazil and Germany. The Germans are the highest ranked team left in the tournament and the defending champions from 2003. They’ve dominated in almost every game they played, and have not allowed a single goal in this tournament, a WWC record.

Brazil, meanwhile, may have the most talented team in the world. They’re led by Marta, who’s likely the best player in the world. She certainly looked like the best player in the world against the United States:

It will be fun to watch the contrasting styles: The disciplined play of the Germans versus the free-flowing, high octane play of the Brazilians.

8:03, 3rd minute: Early in the game, It appears that Germany is controlling possession. Whenever Brazil tries to get the ball into the offensive zone, Germany has managed to take the ball away.

8:05, 5th minute: The first real opportunities for each team. First, Marta takes a deep shot that’s right on target, but Angerer is there to make the save. Then Garefrekes breaks away and takes a shot on the right side. The keeper is out of position, but the shot is just wide.

8:07, 7th minute: Brazil gets the first free kick of the game. Good defense by Germany, who clear it easily.

8:08, 8th minute: YELLOW CARD, Germany. Garefrekes fouls Cristiane just outside the box. On the ensuing free kick Angerer makes the initial save, but the ball was loose with several Brazilian players in front of goal. But they can’t find goal, and Germany is a bit lucky there.

8:10, 10th minute: Beringer makes a great move to get in position, but she doesn;t take a shot, and her pass is easily cleared.

8:12, 12th minute: Cristiane almost has a breakaway, but Germany manges to delfect it just enough to end the scoring threat.

8:15, 15th minute: Some great passing by the Germans through the gaps of Brazil’s defense, and Birgit Prinz is wide open for a shot in the box. Unfortunately, her kick sails too high. Germany may not get a better opportunity than that.

8:16, 16th minute: Less than a minute later, Brazil tries a deep kick to a streaking Cristiane, but Angerer just manages to get to the ball first and clear it.

8:17, 17th minute: Oooh. I think Prinz was fouled by the Brazilian defenders there. She’s certainly not happy with the no-call.

8:19, 19th minute: Corner kick for Brazil, but again, good defense by Germany on those set pieces.

8:20, 20th minute: We’re nearly midway into the first half, and so far both teams have been playing well at a fast pace.

8:22, 22nd minute: Marta might be hurt,hobbling a bit on the field. Let’s see how it affects the game, both teams’ strategy.

8:24, 24th minute: Daniela fires a great strike past Angereer, but it knocks off the post! Oh, the Brazilians came so close, within inches.

8:25, 25th minute: Garefrekes takes the ball away from a Brazilian defender, and she delivers the cross in the box. Beringer misplays it though, and Brzil has a goal kick.

8:27, 27th minute: Wow. This referee is really making her presence felt by…not making her presence felt. A lot of no-calls in this game.

8:29, 29th minute: It’s worth repeating that Germany’s goalkeeper, Angerer, has not allowed a goal in this entire World Cup. I know that there’s a Jens Lehmann joke in there somewhere.

8:31, 31st minute: This game is over one thirds past us, and while the pace of the game has been exciting, I’m surprised that these two high-powered offenses are still scoreless.

8:38, 38th minute: Neither team has had any real chance in the last five minutes or so. Good defense by the Germans, who have made Marta somewhat of a non-factor.

8:40, 40th minute: Renate Lingor went down hard on that tackle, and she’ll head to the sidelines for a short time. 40minutes in, and still no score. Not that I’m complaining, this has been a well-played game so far.

8:44, 44th minute: Brazil gets a corner kick, and they had three good chances at goal. But Germany blocked every shot before they threatened Angerer in goal.

8:46, 45+ minutes: What a play by Marta. She takes a deep pass surrounded by three defenders, and stil manages to come up with the ball, take a shot, and draw a corner kick.

8:47: Wer’e at halftime, and the game is still tied, 0-0. Both teams have played well so far especially on defense. Neither Birgit Prinz of Germany, nor Matra or Cristiane of Brazil have been given a lot of chances to score. it may be that the first team to score will be the result of the first defense to make a mistake.

9:02, 46th minute: The second half begins, and Germany are the aggressors out of the gate. Brazil makes a near costly mistake on defense, but Germany can’t take advantage.

9:04, 48th minute: Sandra Smisek is injured for Germany, and they’re temporarily down to ten players. They get a nice free kick, but Brazil does just enough to prevent a shot on goal.

9:06, 49th minute: Smisek is back in the game.

9:07, 50th minute: Angerer makes the save, but Daniela runs into her forehead. She was down for a minute or so, but she’s okay.

9:08, 52nd minute: GOAL! What a turnaround and pass by Smisek, and Birgit Prinz is open in the middle of the box. She takes the shot and gets it past Andreia. Germany leads, 1-0.

9:11, 55th minute: Marta gets the pass and makes a break for the goal, but Germany’s defense catches up to her in the box. She wants a foul, but the ref won;t make the call.

9:15, 59th minute: YELLOW CARD, Brazil. Daniela gets the call for a hard tackle.

9:16, 60th minute: Marta tries to get past 3 defenders, but the Germany stays disciplined, and Angerer makes the stop before Marta can do anything with the ball.

9:17, 61st minute: Germany gets a corner kick, but they can’t do anything with ball right in front of goal.

9:19, 63rd minute: PENAL! Marts takes a great pass, but Bresnik is taken down hard in the box. Obvious penalty kick, and Marta will take it.

9:20, 64th minute: SAVE! What a save by Angerer! She anticipated the ball, and Marta doesn’t get it quite as far left as she wanted it. Germany is still in the lead, and that might be the play that decides the championship.

9:23, 67th minute: One thing Marta has done well in this game is drawn scoring opportunities through set pieces. Still, she must be disappointed in not making that penalty kick.

9:24, 68th minute: A free kick, and another great save by Angerer. She’s saved the game for Germany twice in the last five minutes.

9:28, 71st minute: If Brazil is going to figure out how to crack the German defense, they have only 20 minutes left to do it. They’ve certainly had their fair share of opportunities, but Germany’s defense has denied them all.

9:31, 74th minute: Substitution: Martina Mueller is in for Behringer.

9:34, 77th minute: Time is running out on Brazil, who aren’t dictating the pace of the game right now.

9:36, 79th minute: Smisek comes out of the game for Germany, and is replaced by Fatmire Bajramaj.

9:38, 81st minute: In Need of offense, Brazil replaces defender Tania for Pretinha. They now have only 10 minutes to find the net before time expires.

9:42, 86th minute: GOAL! Laudher gives Germany another goal. Barring a miracle, they’re now less than five minutes away from defending their World Cup title.

9:47, 90th minute: Brazil has 4 minutes of extra time, but Germany is likely to melt away the clock until the end.

9:50, Full Time: The referee blows the whistle and the game is over. Germany wins 2-0, and are the the Women’s World Cup Champions once again. The managed to spend the entire tournament without conceding a single goal.

wwc-trophy.jpg

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Posted in AHHHHH!!! MY EYES!, Brazil, Futbol, Germany, GOOOOOOOLLLLLL!!!, Live Blog, soccer, Women's World Cup | 2 Comments »

USA vs. Norway Live Blog: 2007 Women’s World Cup Third Place Game

Posted by Mike on September 30, 2007

Today team USA plays for 3rd place against Norway after a disappointing loss to Brazil. Brianna Scurry is back in goal for the USA.

5:05, 4th minute: USA seems to be dictating the pace early. They’re the only team to have gotten scoring chances so far, and Norway has yet to truly play in their offensive zone.

5:07, 6th minute: Brianna Scurry gets her first action of the game, and she makes an easy save.

5:08, 7th minute: The American s very nearly on the possession from the corner kick. Kristine Lilly runs to the left side of the box, and she puts her pass directly in front of goal. But two Norwegian defenders are there, and the U.S. can;t do anything with it.

5:11, 10th minute: Ten minutes into the game, Norway has apparently dominated possession (67%/33%). It certainly hasn’t felt like kept the ball that long.

5:14, 13th minute: Greg Ryan apparently stands by his decision to put Scurry in for Solo against Brazil on Thursday. I still disagree vehemently, but you have to give him credit for sticking to his guns. Even if its to his own detriment.

5:16, 15th minute: USA gets another scoring chance, this time from the throw in. But They can’t their headers down to goal level, and eventually Norway clears.

5:18, 17th minute: Oh! The Americans get their best chance yet. Abby Wambach gets taken down in the box (but the ref gives no call), and off the cross, Kristine Lilly was six inches away from getting her foot on the ball and getting a goal. Nordby makes the save.

5:21, 20th minute: We’re 20 minutes into the game, and Brianna Surry has yet to be challenged.

Heather O’Relliy gets a decent shot on the right side, but it’s from a bad angle, and Nordby is there for the easy save.

5:27, 26th minute: The Americans get another chance. Kristine Lilly gets deep into the box, but she has to give it up, and Wambach’s cross is a bit off. On the ensuing corner kick, Wambach’s header goes wide. Believe it or not, that’s more significant touches that she’s had in that one minute than in the entire semifinal against Brazil.

5:31, 30th minute: GOAL! A great corner kick deflected to the top of the box, a perfect shot by Chalupny back into the box, and Wambach deflects the ball away from Nordby and into the net. USA leads, 1-0.

5:33, 32nd minute: Goal or no goal, team USA is playing very well in this game compared to the semifinal. Brazil may just be that good, but we’ll find out about that later today.

5:36, 35th minute: Whitehill takes the free kick, but it sails over everything. 35 minutes into the game, and time of possession is even.

5:37, 36th minute: Kristine Lilly finally gets the chance to take a shot on goal, but Nordby is there to make the save.

5:38, 38th minute: Wow. Suddenly America is on the attack, taking three shots in three minute that come very close to getting in. Kristine Lilly has been particularly aggressive.

5:41, 40th minute: Scurry gets her first real challenge, having to go up against a Norwegian forward to the ball. She punches and clears the ball in mid-air. Certainly, she hasn’t been challenged as much as she was against Brazil.

5:43, 42nd minute: Norway puts a ball into the back of the net, but the officials call them offside; replay clearly shows that was the right call. Still 1-0 USA.

5:46, 45th minute: If Norway wants to prevent this game from getting out of hand, they need to shut down the left side of the attack. That’s where almost all of USA’s good scoring chances are coming from.

5:47, 45+ minutes: We’ve reached halftime, and USA leads 1-0 after the first half. Unlike against Brazil, the Americans are dictating the pace of the game with a much more attacking style against an, honestly, less speedy opponent. If they keep attacking in the second half, USA should be able to put this game away.

6:07, 48th minute: GOAL! USA scores to start the second half, as Abby Wambach gets another goal After Whitehill’s shot hits the post. That’s 6 for her in this tournament. The Americans lead 2-0 and are in full command of this game.

6:09, 51st minute: The referee gets tackled by a Norwegian player. Good thing she has a sense of humor.

6:10, 52nd minute: I remember hearing someone say that a 2-0 lead was the most dangerous lead for a soccer team, because it’s a big enough lead for them to feel like they can rest on their laurels, yet close enough that the opposing team can come back fairly quickly. Of course that assumes the the opponent can make plays, and so far the Norwegians have not.

6:13, 56th minute: Chalupny attacks and crosses the ball into the zone, but no one is there to receive it.

6:14, 57th minute: GOAL! This time it’s Chalupny, go gets the goal off of the Wambach cross and the Aly Wagner deflection. USA leads 3-0.

6:16, 59th minute: Tarpley comes in for Wagner. Great NOW Ryan makes an aggressive substitution.

6:17, 59th minute: GOAL! Tarpley makes an immediate impact, directly attacking Nordby at goal. After the initial save, O’Reilly puts it in the back of the net. USA now leads 4-0, and they’ve been playing insanely good soccer for the last 30 minutes.

6:19, 61st minute: Uh-oh, some bad defense by Marian Dalmy, and Huse nearly scores. USA forces a corner kick.

6:20, 62nd minute: GOAL! Norway fires a deep pass from near midfield, and Gulbransen’s header at the top of the box sails over Scurry’s head and into the net. Nothing any goalie could do about that. USA now leads 4-1, but they’re still stand little chance of coming back.

6:25, 68th minute: The crowd in Shanghai has begun to cheer for Norway. Only now, when down big, have we begun to see some aggressive play from the Scandinavians.

6:30, 73rd minute: An interesting fact; USA has outshot Norway 20-5, or a ration of 4-1. Interestingly enough, that’s exactly the score right now.

6:31, 74th minute: Another interesting fact: Chinese women’s soccer fans really like “the wave”.

6:34, 77th minute: Team USA has dominated this game, but right now, I’m thinking: Where that hell was this kind of play against Brazil?

6:38, 81st minute: The Americans get a sneaky pass onsode, and Wambach is wide open down the field. Only a slide save way outside the box by Nordby stops goal #5.

6:40, 83rd minute: Apparently, USA’s team psychologist didn’t join the team in China; instead, she decided to stay in the states and correspond with players online. The team probably could have used her presence after coach Ryan’s goalkeeping decision ahead of the semifinal.

6:44, 88th minute: Natasha Kai is about to come into the game. Out of the game for team USA is Kristine Lilliy, who will walk off the field in the World Cup for the final time.

6:47, 90th minute: Kai is only the second Hawaiian to play for the U.S. National soccer team, men’s or women’s. The first is Brain Ching, which makes Univision’s Pablo Ramirez wonder of Kai is Hawaiian for the sound the ball makes when it hits the post. CHING!

6:50, 90+ minutes: Aaaaaand we’ve lost the ESPN feed, and we now hear the international commentators. That’s pretty much a microcosm of this tournament for the U.S.; performing well for most of the tournament before things go horribly wrong at the end.

6:52, Full Time: And it’s over. USA wins 4-1, earning third place, Making the Norwegians look bad, and ending their World Cup on a high note. Next is Germany-Brazil in the final. I’ll be live blogging that as well, so stick around.

Posted in Live Blog, Norway, Skit Ocksa!, soccer, USA! USA!, Women's World Cup | Leave a Comment »

Alabama vs. Florida State Live Blog

Posted by Mike on September 29, 2007

Two of the most legendary programs in college football, who have become…not as legendary, face off in Jacksonville this afternoon.

We’ll just start with this picture of Bobby Bowden. No rhyme or reason, it just creeps me out a bit.

bowdensintrouble1.jpg

5:04 pm: The Alabama offense is off to a bad start, going three and out and nearly throwing an interception. The ensuing punt is absolutely shanked, and FSU will start at midfield.

5:06 pm: Preston Parker makes a nice catch, but he runs his way out of a first down. 3rd and short.

5:07 pm: Antoine Smith gets the ball on third and short, and he gets the first.

5:08 pm: D’Vontre Richardson comes in for a down, but his play goes nowhere. Seriously, what has Xavier Lee done to fall to FSU’s #3 option?

5:10 pm: FSU punting from inside the 40? brawwwwwwk-brawk bawk bawk bawk.

UPSET ALERT: Colorado upsets #4 Oklahoma, 27-24.

5:11 pm: CBS needs to get rid of the K-State Power Towel music.

5:14 pm: I don’t care what the state of the Seminole football team is, I still get chills when Florida State plays the tomahawk chop on 3rd down. “WHY COULDN’T YOU JUST THROW IT AWAY RONALD CURRY?!? WHAT WERE YOU THINKING THROWING INTO DOUBLE COVERAGE?!?” Sorry, flashbacks. Bama goes 3-and-out again.

5:26 pm: Right now we have two injuries, one for each team. Florida State’s Marcus Sims has an ankle injury and will likely not return. Meanwhile, Alabama tight end Travis McCall may have suffered a head injury after delivering a block. He fell down during the play, and hasn’t gotten up.

5:30 pm: McCall was able to leave the field under his own power. Very good news.

Meanwhile, Wilson’s pass on third down sails over everyone’s head, and Bama goes 3-and-out again. The Announcers repeatedly mentioned the wind as a big factor, and it;s pretty apparent in Bama’s punts.

5:33 pm: Carr gets the reception, but he’s short of the first down at the 28 yard line.

5:34 pm: Gary Cismesia, who already has the body of Sebastian Janikowski, misses the 45-yard FG despite having 20 mph wind on his side. Still scoreless, and the first quarter is winding down.

5:37 pm: Bama gets the ball again. Guess what happens? If you said 3-and-out, bad punt and good field position for Florida State, then you are correct!

5:39 pm: Drew Weatherford has done a good job of completing the short passes, but he has yet to go deep with the wind to his back.

5:42 pm: Preston Parker takes the snap on 3rd and 1, and he gets the first down. Suddenly, the Noles are back in business.

5:45 pm: The first quarter comes to a close, and the game is still scoreless. Let’s see how their respective offenses change when they switch sides of the field and wind direction.

5:48 pm: FSU can’t convert on 3rd and short, but the Seminoles decide to go for it on 4th and 1.

5:49 pm: Uh-oh. FSU calls a second timeout on their 4th down play. Either Bobby Bowden must be going insane on the bench, or he’s defying the logic of timeout use. They had a long, long time between quarters to decide what to do.

5:51 pm: Antoine Smith gets the first down, but not by much.

Both offensive have been uber-conservative so far.

5:53 pm: Weatherford throws a floter up for grabs, and Antoine Smith gets sent flying by Rashad Johnson, breaking up a potential catch.

5:55 pm: Now that the wind is against him, it looks like Weatherford can’t hit anything. FSU has to punt.

5:59 pm: Terry Grant gets a huge game on the swing pass, but he drives his head into the ground. He looks like he’s hurting badly.

6:02 pm: Grant, like McCall, was able to walk off under his own power.

6:04 pm: Wilson can’t do anything after the big gain by Grant, and Bama is forced to punt yet again. Even with the wind, their punter still can’t get decent yardage on his kicks.

This game is looking to be pretty ugly.

6:07 pm: Xavier Lee finally comes in at quarterback for the Seminoles.

6:09 pm: Aside from the QB draws (which Lee is good at), FSU’s offense doesn’t look much different with the quarterback change.

6:13 pm: Xavier Lee passes to De’Cody Fagg, who takes the ball for a huge gain…but it’s called back for only 6 men on the line. After a broken play on third down the Nokes are forced to punt again.

6:17 pm: Finally, the Tide get a first down beyond the 20 yard line. Wilson zips a pass right up the middle.

6:19 pm: Alabama manages to fumble twice (first a bad snap, then a fumble by Grant). They recover, but face yet another 4th down.

6:22 pm: Florida State nearly gets Bama’s punt blocked, but Fitzgerald manages to boot it 60 yards to the FSU 6.

6:24 pm: Another drive, another 3-and-out. This game has been really, really ugly. Someone, anyone, please score.

6:26 pm: After a delay of game and an average punt, Bama now has great field position and all 3 timeouts with about 3 minutes left. Not that they’ll do anything with it.

6:28 pm: Once again, Bama can’t do anything with the ball, and they to punt inside the 40.

6:34 pm: The first mercifully comes to an end. Alabama and Florida State are still scoreless, 0-0. Neither team has played aggressive at all. If I had to pick for one of these teams to score first, I would say Alabama, simply because they’re stable at the QB position. But it’s really frustrating to watch this kind of game; I can hardly imagine how hard it is on the coaches. About the most exciting part of this game so far has been the picture at the top of this post.

6:59 pm: Finally, a real offensive play from the Seminoles. After Lee throws for a first down, he hits Greg Carr on a comeback route on the ourside, and Carr makes a one guy miss, turning it upfield and eventually getting 28 yards. FSU is now in business.

7:01 pm: For this first time this entire game, a team finds itself in the red zone.

7:03 pm: STOP THE PRESSES! IT’S A MIRACLE! SOMEONE FINALLY SCORES A TOUCHDOWN! Xavier Lee throws the ball in the endzone to a wide open De’Cody Fagg for a touchdown. Florida State leads 7-0, and the offense is finally starting to look good with Lee at the helm.

7:08 pm: Alabama gets the ball at the 20. Terry Grant finds a big gap up the middle and gets the first down.

7:10 pm: Bama can;t do anything with the ball, and they have to punt again. No drive for the Tide has been longer than 6 plays.

7:13 pm: What a pass by Xavier Lee, He gets hit as he throws, but he still makes a pass forty yards downfield to a streaking Greg Carr, who takes the ball 58 yards to the 30 yard line.

7:15 pm: INTERCEPTION! Just when it looked like Lee was getting in a rhythm, he throws the ball to late to a wide open tight end, and a Bammer manages to run into the line of fire and get the pick.

7:21 pm: John Parker-Wilson runs a draw on 3rd and short. It looks like he got the first down, but Bowden is challenging the ruling. The call stands, and it costs Bobby a timeout.

7:25 pm: Wilson fires the pass, DJ Hall with the catch and spin move, and he gets big yardage after the catch. Finally, Alabama seems to be clicking on offense.

7:28 pm: Ouch. Just when it looked like Bama was in field goal range, Preston Dial moves before the snap and takes his team outside the 30 on 3rd down, and then Wilson gets sacked at the 39. Now the Tide will have to punt. I would hate to be Dial on the sidelines right now.

7:32 pm: Xavier Lee trips and falls during a run that would have surely been a first down. But Lee fires a nice pass on third down up the middle of the field to continue the drive.

7:34 pm: That was fast. The third quarter is already over, and Florida State has a 7-0 lead. The Seminoles certainly have the momentum right now, but Bama is one big play away from tying this game.

7:37 pm: Great. More power towel.

7:39 pm: FSU can;t do anything with the ball, and they punt to start the fourth quarter.

7:42 pm: John Parker-Wilson and DJ Hall are very lucky that the Noles didn’t pick that off.

7:43 pm: Keith Brown drops the pass to bring up fourth down, but D. J. Hall didn’t even try to run a route on that play. Alabama will punt yet again, and Tide fans cannot be happy with what they’ve seen tonight.

7:48 pm: Lee takes another QB draw, and this time he fights his way to a big gain and a first down.

7:49 pm: Lee runs out of the pocket and gives FSU another first down. the Seminoles have gotten over 200 yards of offense since Lee entered the game.

7:52 pm: The Crimson Tide brings the blitz right up the middle on 3rd down, sending Lee backpedaling before tossing a float pass up for grabs. Fagg catches it, but it;s short of the first down and Florida State has to punt.

7:57 pm: FUMBLE! John Parker Wilson tries to find someone on the left side, but Florida State sacks him, strips the ball, the the Seminoles have the ball at the Alabama 4.

7:58 pm: TOUCHDOWN! On the very next play, Antoine Smith runs to the right side, and he easily gets into the endzone. Florida State leads 14-0, and they’ve all but sealed up this game.

8:05 pm: Alabama is actually driving the ball right now. Four consecutive first downs for the Tide.

8:06 pm: Make that five! D. J. Hall makes a great catch, and suddenly Alabama is inside the FSU 25.

8:08 pm: Alabama is now down to the 15 yard line. 6:45 left in the fourth quarter.

8:10 pm: Wow…Alabama had 1st a goal, and suddenly the offense was unable to do anything. They face fourth down, and they have to score to stay in this game.

8:11 pm: TOUCHDOWN! What a play by D. J. Hall! Parker seem to overthrow, but Hall makes a huge leap to get the ball, and he manages to get both of his feet in bounds. Alabama now only trails 14-7 with 5 minutes left and all of their timeouts.

8:16 pm: TOUCHDOWN! A huge play for Florida State. Lee throws to De’Cody Fagg in single coverage, but them the ‘Bama cornerback misses the tackle, and Fagg outruns the entire defense 70 yards for the score. Florida State leads 21-7, and now they’ve officially put this game away.

8:24 pm: How does Tony Carter not catch that interception? It’s now fourth down, and Bama is down to their last chance.

8:25 pm: Wow…Brown nearly catches that ball for a touchdown, but Wilson throws it too high, the play is broken up by the FSU secondary, and the Seminoles take over on downs.

8:37 pm: TOUCHDOWN! Alabama drive down the field, and they cap it off with a pass down the middle to Keith Brown for the touchdown. But he gets lit up at the goalline, and he was out cold for about 10-20 seconds before finally coming to. He manages to walk to the sidelines, and Alabama trails 21-14 with 1:06 left. They have to go for the onside kick.

8:39 pm: ALABAMA RECOVERS THE ONSIDE KICK! …oR at least they appear to. But the referees say it was touched before the 10-yard mark. Looking at the replay, it hit a Bammer…on the helmet. A bad strike of luck for the Tide, but Florida State will win it.

8:43 pm: That’s your ballgame. Florida State wins, 21-14. Xavier Lee has earned the starting QB spot, and Nick Saban may suddenly be in hot water after this game.

 

Posted in ACC, AHHHHH!!! MY EYES!, Alabama, College Football, Florida State, Live Blog, Nick Saban, SEC | 1 Comment »

Games To Watch: College Football Week 5

Posted by Mike on September 29, 2007

  • UNC at #17 Virginia Tech (12:00 ET, R/LF Sports): As with all UNC games, I’ll be live blogging this on Tar Heel Mania. UNC has to play well on defense from the beginning (so as not to play from behind), and not turn the ball over if they want any real chance in their ACC road opener.
  • #6 Cal at #11 Oregon (3:30 ET, ABC): Both of these teams average over 40 points per game. It’ll be an exciting game to watch, and the winner of this game will likely be the team to challenge USC for the Pac-10 title.
  • #13 Clemson at Georgia Tech (3:30 ET, ABC): Georgia Tech has two tough conference losses facing the undefeated Tigers. But this is exactly the kind of situation where Tommy Bowden teams begin to lose winnable games.
  • #22 Alabama at Florida State (5:00 ET, CBS): Wow that was fast. Deity Nick Saban loses one overtime game, and already the Bammer faithful want him fired.
  • #1 USC at Washington (8:00 ET, ABC): Both of USC’s losses last year were on the road against Pac-10 opponents. But unless freshman QB Jake Locker has the game of his life, Washington has little chance.
  • Auburn at #4 Florida (8:00 ET, ESPN): Florida is likely looking for revenge after Auburn handed them their only loss of 2006 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. With Auburn’s offense struggling, the Gators will likely blowout the Tigers.

Posted in ACC, AHHHHH!!! MY EYES!, College Football, football, Live Blog, NCAA, North Carolina, Pac 10, SEC | Leave a Comment »

Women’s World Cup Semifinals Live Blog: USA vs. Brazil

Posted by Mike on September 27, 2007

Today Team USA faces Brazil in the Semifinals of the Women’s World Cup. The winner will face Germany in the final for all the marbles.

The big news is that veteran Brianna Scurry is playing goalie today instead of Hope Solo for team USA. I am personally perplexed by the decision; Solo might be the best goalie in this tournament, and she hasn’t allowed a goal in 300 minutes.

Although Brazil has yet to beat the USA Women’s team in major competition, any soccer team wearing those yellow jerseys has a chance to win.

8:04 am, 5th minute: The game got off to a fast start; Chalupny fired a long shot on goal 16 seconds into the game, but Brazil’s goalie makes the save.

Later in the 4th minute, A Brazilian player may have been fouled in the box. USA is very lucky not to draw a penalty kick.

8:06 am, 8th minute: Each team has gotten an excellent chance to score on a free kick. Shannon Boxx’s header is on target, but Andreia (Brazil’s goalie) makes the nice save again. One minute later, Marta takes the free kick on the other end; Brianna Scurry goes for the ball, but it slips through her hands. Fortunately for her the ball is kicked out of bounds.

8:12 am, 13th minute: Cat Whitehill is very good at these long free kick. from almost midfield, she forces Andreia to make a play on the ball.

Neither team has dominated possession so far. Brazil may have a slight edge.

8:14 am, 15th minute: Yellow card, Shannon Boxx. That was a fairly clear call; Boxx was late to the tackle. On the ensuing free kick, Scurry is there to make the save.

8:16 am, 17th minute: Elaine is down for team Brazil after landing awkwardly on the turf. She may be cramped up, It’s very hot and very humid tonight in Hangzhou.

8:18 am, 19th minute: If there’s one thing that tea USA has done wrong so far, is that they’ve given up too many set pieces in their own end with fouls. That may be an indication that midfielders are getting beat certain points in the game.

8:20 am, 21st minute: GOAL Brazil! The Brazilians get three consecutive set pieces, which is inexcusable. On the third corner kick, Leslie Osborne tries to head the ball out of bounds a bit too late, and instead heads it into her own goal. Brzil leads 1-0, and USA trails for the first time in over 300 minutes of WC play.

8:23 am, 24th minute: For the #1 team in the world, you’d think that team USA’s fans would travel well. This seems to be a definite pro-Brazilian crowd in Hangzhou.

8:26 am, 27th minute: Yellow card, Chalupny. Again, a bit too aggressive there.

Where is Abby Wambach in this game?

8:27 am, 28th minute: GOAL BRAZIL! Marts gets the ball in the box, and she takes a hard shot with her left foot. The strike gets just past Scurry, and Brazil leads 2-0. An unbelievable play by Marta, one of the best players in the world. But right now, Greg Ryan is looking pretty dumb for playing Scurry instead of Solo.

8:29 am, 30th minute: USA gets a decent free kick chance, but Wamabch can’t make enough contact to take a shot.

30 minutes into the game, and the Samba girls have all the momentum.

8:31 am, 32nd minute: Lilly draws another free kick, and almost score, but the good cross is just a few inches too high. It may not look like it, but USA has a very good chance to come back.

8:37 am, 38th minute: Right now, Brazil is dictating possession thanks in part to USa making a few ill-advised passes, preventing them from making a lot of attacks late in this half.

8:39 am, 40th minute: Marta is down after a collision with Osborne. It looks like she’ll be okay, though.

8:42 am, 43rd minute: right now, USA is having a VERY hard time of clearing the ball from their own zone. After a free kick, it takes them over 90 seconds before finally drawing a goal kick.

USA needs a good scoring chance before halftime, particularly for Wambach.

8:45 am, 45+ minutes: Four minutes of extra time.USA’s free kick is eventually cleared by Brazil.

8:46 am: RED CARD, Shannon Boxx. This was an absolutely terrible call. Cristiane actually trips behind Boxx, taking both players down. All the referee sees is both players down, and Boxx is sent off. Cristiane knew exactly what she was doing; she initiated the contact.

8:49 am: We’ve reached halftime, and Brazil leads 2-0. Perhaps more importantly, they will have a one man advantage on this hot and humid night.

The first half could not have gone worse for team USA. i don’t know if they need to make substitutions, perhaps put some fresher players in. But the front line of Wambach, Lilly and O’Reilly haven’t gotten any great chances. Brianna Scurry hasn’t necessarily played badly, but I wouldn’t mind to see Hope Solo in goal for the second half.

Team USA can still win this game with one or two more attacking players. Remember, they score 3 goals in 12 second half minutes against England on Saturday.

9:05 am, 46th minute: The second half begins, and team USA doesn’t seem to have made any substitutions. Let’s see how they play with a man down.

9:08 am, 49th minute: Abby Wabach is given a yellow card for a tackle on Renata Costa.

9:09 am, 50th minute: It’s clear that Brazil are the aggressors right now, having taken the only shots of this second half. It’s not looking good for team USA.

9:12 am, 53rd minute: The Leaky Brain has Babes of the World Cup, if you’re into that sort of thing.

9:15 am, 56th minute: GOAL BRAZIL. Cristiane is left all alone, open in the box. Scurry comes in to make the play, but Cristiane makes the goal easily, and Brazil leads 3-0. This game is pretty much over; team USA can’t come back from three goals and one player down.

9:18 am, 59th minute: It’s a shame. Coach Ryan has made a lot of good decision in this tournament, but he seems to have made one bad decision at the worst possible time.

9:20 am, 61st minute: USA substitutes a striker (O’Reilly) for a defender (Tina Ellertson). This the the opposite of the kind of substitution that they should make.

9:21 am, 62nd minute: USA finally gets a great opportunity, but Lilly fires her shot…right into Andreia’s torso.

Where is Abby Wamabch in this game? I have not seen her get a single scoring chance in this game.

9:28 am, 70th minute: Things are not looking good for team USA right now…they need to sub in an attacking player, and get as many offensive chances as possible, even at the risk of going down even more.

9:33 am, 74th minute: Why is USa putting in another defensive player? They need goals!

USA finally gets a corner kick in the second half, but they can’t make anything of it. Again, Wambach has been shockingly silent in this game.

9:37 am, 78th minute: Even at this stage of the game, Brzil is getting nearly all of the scoring chances, Marta in particular.

9:38 am, 79th minute: GOAL BRAZIL. Wow. Marta made some unbelievable moves, she made several USA defenders look really really bad, and she put her right-footed kick right past Scurry for the fourth goal of the night. Brazil leads 4-0. I don’t think that, in USA’s worst nightmares or in Brazil’s wildest dreams, the game could have ended up like this.

Coach Greg Ryan, who has not lost as team USA’s coach prior to tonight, might not be able to live down his bad decision making in and leading up to this game. Brianna Scurry is one of the best goalies in the history of the Women’s game; it’s a shame for her WC career to possibly end this way.

9:47 am, 88th minute: A potential fifth Brazilian goal hits the post.

Team USA gets a chance on the other end, catching Andreia out of position. Unfortunately, they can’t get control of the ball in time to take advantage.

9:50 am, 90+ minutes: We get two minutes of extra time before this game mercifully comes to an end.

9:52 am, Full Time: The game is over, and Brazil wins 4-0, earning a trip to the final. They absolutely dominated this game, and while The Solo-Scurry controversy was a bit of a mental block, I think that Brazil absolutely dominated this game independent of that decision, and they certainly deserved to win this game. They simply outplayed team USA in every facet of this game. Marta helped to dictate the offensive pace, and Abby Wambach wasn’t allowed to become a factor.

We now get a matchup on Sunday that we would expect for a Men’s WC final: Brazil vs. Germany. That will be an exciting game. Meanwhile, the Americans will have to settle for the third place game against Norway.

Posted in Brazil, Futbol, Live Blog, soccer, USA! USA!, Women's World Cup | 24 Comments »

Huevonazo of the Week: Tottenham Ball Boy

Posted by Mike on September 24, 2007

Granted, the hit was just above the nether region, and the video has been all around the blogosphere this weekend. But how could I not post this huevonazo from this year’s UEFA Cup. An athlete took an intentional hit from a mischievous ball boy; what’s not to love?

Posted in England, EPL, Funny Videos, Futbol, GOOOOOOOLLLLLL!!!, HUEVONAZO!, Patriotism at its finest, Premier League, Tottenham, UEFA Cup | Leave a Comment »