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Archive for the ‘Futbol’ Category

Roman Abramovich Secretly Replaces Manchetser United Midfielder Park Ji-Sung With Rain

Posted by Mike on May 21, 2008

It’s the latest step that the Russian is taking to make sure Chelsea wins the Champions League Final (after Man U’s special Tuesday night room service and sending Cristiano Ronaldo down the wrong path). Will anyone in Moscow notice the switch between the midfielder and the King of K-Pop?

Uhhhhh…probably.

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Posted in Blinded by Ambition, Champions League Final, Chelsea, Futbol, Manchester United, Roman Abramovich, soccer, UEFA Champions League, Way More Tags Than This Post Merits | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

The FA Cup Final Was Today

Posted by Mike on May 17, 2008

I was rooting for Cardiff City to become the first non-top flight team to win the FA Cup since 1980, but it wasn’t in the cards today. Premier League side Portsmouth won 1-0 on Kanu’s goal in the 37th minute. Still, it’s the first time a non-Big Four team has won the FA Cup since Everton in 1995, and any time that a team outside of the Big Four wins a title in English soccer, it’s nice to watch.

More importantly however, Robbie Fowler was in the initial 18-man roster for Cardiff City (albeit he didn’t play in this game), and that’s a good enough excuse to post a video of Robbie and the greatest goal celebration ever:

That will never cease to make me laugh.

Posted in FA Cup, Futbol, Great Moments in Stupidity, Portsmouth, Robbie Fowler, soccer | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

UEFA Champions League Knockout Stage Storylines

Posted by Mike on March 4, 2008

As we hit the second leg of the UEFA Champions League knockout stage this week, let’s look at a few of the “storylines” on the road to Moscow.

1. The defending champion, AC Milan, is owned by Italian business tycoon/politician/controller of all media/midget Silvio Berlusconi. He cares so much about the knockout stage of the Champions League, he’s going to reanimate the cryogenically frozen body of Paolo Maldini just for the occasion.

So many different and funny ways that you could have made fun of AC Milan. You had Ronaldo…you had Gilardino…you had at least two players whose names had some variation of “ca-ca”…and yet you chose the “Paolo Maldini is old” joke. I am so disappointed.

2. In the history of UEFA Champions League, only two teams not from Western Europe have won. This year, two such teams made it to the knockout stages: Olympiacos FC (Greece) and Fenerbahce (Turkey). To see either of these teams advance and loosen the death grip that Western Europe has on futbol would be fantastic.

In a completely unrelated story, the bettors have Chelsea and Sevilla winning 6-0 and 8-3 on aggregate “based on a hunch.” The G-14 lives!

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Above, members of the “defunct” G-14 football confederation hold an emergency meeting about the growing threat of Slavia Prague.

3. There is only one reason, I repeat, one reason why I know anything about Celtic. And that is because my mom has had a crush on their goalkeeper, Artur Boruc, after seeing him play for Poland in the World Cup.

4. Rumor has it that Rafa Benitez might be leaving Liverpool after a disappointing Premiership season and fallout with the team’s American ownership (and in turn, the ownership’s fallout with fans). The reality is that Rafa already left during the summer, and Bizarro Rafa Benitez has been coaching the Mersysiders this entire season. Haven’t they taught you anything about goatees and evil parallel universes?

One of the tell-tale signs that the goateed Rafa is a fraud: he no longer has the ability to control your television.

 

5. For all the fuss about AC Milan, it is actuallly Inter at the top of the Serie A table right now. Inter has the Champions League’s inly two Colombian players, Ivan Cordoba and Nelson Rivas. They have earned a spot on their roster in part due to their talent, but mostly to help support owner Massimo Moratti’s massive cocaine habit.

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I mean, look at him. If that’s not the most coked-up old Italian man you’ve ever seen in your life, then I’d like to know who is.

6. Barcelona’s primary sponsor is UNICEF. In the true spirit of the UN, the team is going to make a ridiculously frivolous purchase and blame Fulham for their early Champions League exit.

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The scary part: Brain McBride actually looks like a marionette.

7. Lyon plays in Stade Gerland, the stadium where team USA famously ended their dead-last 1998World Cup finish with a loss to Iran. Little known fact: Ahmadinejad has this game on a continuous loop in every TV of the Presidential Palace.

8. Much like the American presidential system, there’s an unwritten rule that says that any player must be at least 35 years of age to be a goalkeeper for Arsenal. Dammit, that’s the second old joke you’ve made today! That’s not funny!

9. Manchester United has the Champions League’s only Chinese player, Dong Fangzhou. Yeah, United likes Dong. They simply can’t get enough Dong. They…wait…you didn’t think I meant…you’re sick, you know that?!?

hehheh_dong.jpg

Dong.

10. In the event that Chelsea is involved in an aggregate tie, the match will not go to penalty kicks. Instead, Israeli manager Avram Grant will challenge his rival manager to a Krav Maga deathmatch in the middle of the pitch. Or maybe he’ll concede if you just, you know, let him suck your blood.

avram-grant.jpg

Let me get my fang dentures. 

 

11. Germans have actually come a long way culturally since World War II. Just look at who the knockout stage’s only remaining German team, Schalke 04, just signed during the January transfer window:

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Enjoy this week’s second leg of the Round of 16.

Posted in AC Milan, AHHHHH!!! MY EYES!, Avram Grant, Barcelona, Chelsea, Futbol, GOOOOOOOLLLLLL!!!, Manchester United, Roman Abramovich, Schalke 04, Silvio Berlusconi, UEFA Champions League | 4 Comments »

Beckham? We Don’t Need No Stinking Beckham

Posted by Mike on October 8, 2007

We bloggers have a memory which rivals that of a goldfish, but you may remember that this past summer, some English guy with bad ankles played in our country for like a month. Well, after he finally was injured for the season in the August 29th SuperLiga final, you probably stopped paying attention to his team, the LA Galaxy. Who could blame you really? After losing their “star” to injury and already not having won in regular season play for nearly two months, there was no reason to believe that they would even sniff the playoffs, right?

Wrong.

After the SuperLiga final, LA lost to bottom feeders Real Salt Lake on September 1st. Since then, the Galaxy have been on a tear, going 5-2-1 (W-L-D) in their last 8 matches including victories in their last four. Their rise has been in part due to Joe Cannon and their suddenly good defense, who have allowed one or zero goals in their five wins (and conversely, 3 goals each in their two losses) during that span. They’ve also distributed their offense very evenly, getting 13 goals from at least 9 different players; Galvin Glinton leads the team with 3 goals within the stretch. Interestingly enough, they also haven’t had trouble drawing crowds without Beckham; attendance to Galaxy matches have averaged 26,645 fans per match, and their last two games have had at least 30,000 spectators (compared to DC United, at the top of the standings and one of the MLS’ best supported teams, who have not drawn an MLS crowd larger then 25,174).

More importantly is that LA, seemingly dead in the water exactly one month ago, now has the chance to grab a playoff spot, assuming that they can win their remaining three games and Kansas City fails to win their remaining two games. And guess who’s ankles are all better just in time for the playoff push? Yep, you guessed it.

eyeontheprize.jpg

So now this Galaxy team has a problem. Sure, Beckham is a big asset to this team both on the field and in the stands. But the team is already playing extremely well in his absence. So, if you’re LA coach Frank Yallop, do you put Beckham in at risk of team disruption and another injury, hoping that his abilities will help your team get over the top in these last few, key games? Or do you decide not to disrupt team chemistry, leave him on the bench, and hope your hot team comes through to make the playoffs? How Yallop answers this dilemma will likely determine his job security.

Posted in Beckham, Futbol, GOOOOOOOLLLLLL!!!, LA Galaxy, MLS, soccer | 3 Comments »

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.

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

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 »