Digital Headbutt

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Archive for the ‘soccer’ Category

Miracles Don’t Start in June for Euro Teams

Posted by Mike on June 26, 2008

Euro 2008 has been a fantastic tournament so far. So many games coming down to the wire, the Dutch spanking of the Group of Death, Russia’s rise, Spain finally making serious noise in an international tournament, and especially Turkey’s miracle run. But as fans watch in admiration of the teams that made it to Euro, keep in mind that this tournament could have looked much different.

Seven teams in five groups were within three points or less of second place in the final standings, and a berth in this month’s tournament. England’s missteps are infamously well documented, and ultimately led to the dismissal of Steve McClaren. However six much smaller teams had an equal or easier opportunity to get within reach of Euro 2008, had they taken care of games that they should have won.

Norway would have been in Group A instead of Turkey had they not drawn at home to Bosnia. With a win instead of a draw at home, you would have seen the likes of Serbia’s Nemanja Vidic or Finland’s Jari Litmanen instead of Cristiano Ronaldo in Switzerland. (Jari Litmanen?) Bulgaria and Scotland would have entered the Group of Death instead of the Netherlands and France had they won games against Albania and Georgia, respectively. And Isreal would have entered Euro for the first time with a win at Macedonia.

So what did we learn from this little exercise? First, don’t mess with Caucasus or the Balkans. Nearly all of the national teams to play spoiler were from these regions. Second, many of the teams in Euro 2008 owe their berth to a bit of luck. And by luck, I mean someone else had to screw up.

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Posted in Euro 2008, Qualifying, soccer, Turkey | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

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.

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 »

Cristiano Ronaldo Has Been Hanging With the Wrong Crowd

Posted by Mike on May 20, 2008

Sir Alex Ferguson is slightly concerned about his star striker’s recent off-field activities ahead of the Champions League Final.

“Wot is yurr prahblimm, man?”

Posted in Champions League Final, Chelsea, EPL, Manchester United, soccer, UEFA Champions League, Unfounded Speculation, what is this hyperbole of which you speak? | Tagged: , , | 5 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 »

Norway Bracing For Hostile Takeover Attempt From Liverpool Fans

Posted by Mike on April 23, 2008

Ready to fight...or just devour the artery clogger du jour.

For the next six days and possibly beyond, the federal government of Norway has declared a national state of emergency. The nation fears that at an attempt at their sovereignty may come from Liverpool FC fans in the wake of countryman John Arne Riise’s own goal for the Reds in the first leg of their 119th consecutive UEFA Champions League semifinal matchup against Chelsea (1:15 mark).

The Norwegian Defense Force has been mobilized and is now in full force patrolling the country’s coast, airports, and border with Sweden. The government has made public their fears about the size and organization of Liverpool fans, and how ugly their response could be should Riise’s own goal in extra time ultimately become the goal that keeps the Premier League side from Moscow.

“Right now we’re preparing for the worst”, said Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg. “If there’s too much cheap beer flowing in northern England on the 30th and Liverpool stays out of the final by that one goal, retaliation against our people would be a near certainty.”

When asked about his government’s plan to slow down the potential onsluaght, Stoltenberg said: “At that point the only way we could stop them would be with a strategic supply of poisons at choke points. That means fried Snickers bars in Glasgow, Thorramatur from Iceland in Copenhagen, plastic marijuana leaves in Amsterdam, and ocular herpes in Hamburg. We hope that will weaken them enough that the Lutefisk on our shores will incapacitate them and end the threat.”

He added his worst case scenario. “Of course, we have no idea to what extent, or even if this plan will work. We could be just kidding ourselves. They eat the cuisine of Northern England; they may as well be vultures. My point is, that’s pretty much the only viable option we have. This is the same fanbase who may become the first group to completely overthrow an American capitalistic system. Meanwhile, two heroin junkies from Bergen with a pistol and a Jetta station wagon stumbled out of an Oslo museum with The Scream. If 70,000 determined hooligans make it to our shores, we’re pretty much screwed. At this point, I’m just hoping Avram Grant doesn’t show up in the aftermath looking for fresh brains.”

Brrraaaiiinnnsss...

Riise could not be reached for comment, but we’re guessing he’s hiding out in Bill Buckner’s Idaho ranch right about now. So if you’re a Reds fan in the western US with nothing better to do, go…TP his hideout or something.

UPDATE (4/24): When even the UK-wide sports announcers lose it upon sight of the own goal, Norway is in it deep.

Posted in AHHHHH!!! MY EYES!, Chelsea, Liverpool, Norway, Skit Ocska!, soccer, UEFA Champions League, Unfounded Speculation, When you least expect it...EXPECT IT! | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

US Soccer Federation Determined to Make Fans Ignore The National Team

Posted by Mike on February 4, 2008

UPDATE: It appears that FIFA is behind the scheduling of US national team friendlies, and not the USSF. That makes much more sense. Thanks to commenter Michael H for pointing this out.

adu_bradley.jpg

This Wednesday, The U.S National Soccer Team has a big friendly match against heated rival Mexico. The game will feature many of America’s best young stars, including Freddy Adu, Jozy Altidore, and Michael Bradley (pictured above w/ Adu), who now holds the record for most goals in a season (16) by an American-born player in a top-flight European league. In addition, some of our top European players (including Dempsey, Bocanegra, Tim Howard, and Heath Pearce) will be on the roster. Many American soccer fans, myself included, are looking forward to watching this exciting match.

There’s just one problem. The US Soccer Federation FIFA, in its infinite wisdom, has scheduled the match at exactly the same time as one of the most important college basketball games of the year: Duke vs. North Carolina, Wednesday, February 6th at 9 pm. Most casual soccer fans and/or die hard college basketball fans will choose watching Duke-Carolina over this friendly. As a UNC grad, I fall into the latter category. Even diehard US soccer fans will have to decide whether or not to watch a game which, while exciting, is just a friendly.

I understand that the game needs to be in the middle of the week, but must it be the same day and same time slot as on of the most important games of another American sport?

My problem with the USSF FIFA is that this is not this first time they have questionably scheduled exciting U.S. friendlies. The major September friendly against Brazil directly conflicted with the opening week of the NFL season. The last friendly against Mexico was last February, on a Wednesday…at the exact same time slot as UNC-Duke.

If the USSF FIFA wants these games to be more relevant, the organization needs to go out of their way not to conflict with major dates in other major sports. Let’s assume, for example, that the game can only be on a weeknight due to the seasons in Mexico and Europe. If the USSF had scheduled the game at a 7:00 EST time slot for Wednesday, they would only have to compete with Texas vs. Oklahoma. While that is a major Big 12 matchup, it doesn’t command the same national attention drawn to UNC-Duke game. If they has chosen to play the game at 9:00 EST on February 19th, the biggest competing game would be Bradley vs. Drake. A major international friendly would command the attention of many more casual fans at either of these times.

There cannot be any doubt that the U.S. National Team is a rising power in the world stage. However, it is the responsibility of the US Soccer Federation FIFA to help promote national team matches not act in a vacuum. In order to make these competitive friendlies more accessible to casual American fans, the USSF FIFA cannot hurt themselves U.S. soccer by ignoring the rest of the American sport environment.

Posted in GOOOOOOOLLLLLL!!!, Mexico, Skit Ocksa!, soccer, Things that are more fun in foreign dialects, U.S. National Team, USA! USA! | 8 Comments »