Premiership unfinished business for Celtic striker Scott McDonald

April 30, 2009

“He’s not about to barrel out of Celtic Park, but it is something that is on his horizon: the Premiership represents unfinished business for Scott McDonald. The Celtic striker, who struck his 18th goal of the season against Aberdeen on Saturday, insists he sees his immediate future in Scotland, but can’t hide an ambition to prove himself south of the border.” (tribalfootball)

Iran’s coach to focus on psychology before vital World Cup games (m&c)
“Iran’s new coach Afshin Qotbi said Thursday he would focus on the psychological rather than technical and tactical status of the national football team before the team’s three remaining World Cup qualification games.”

Silvio Berlusconi: An Italian Mirror (TIME)
“What do Italians make of Silvio Berlusconi? Easy. Most think: ‘He’s one of us.’ He loves his family, his football, his friends, his food. And his money, of course.”

South America: Ronaldo the Comeback Kid (Soccer By Ives)
“It doesn’t seem too long ago when many were calling on Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima to call it quits after suffering a serious knee injury early last year while playing for A.C.Milan, who let his contract expire and released him. The injury was the third such setback he suffered in his illustrious career.”

Brian Ching’s Ultimate XI (GOAL)
“He has surprising skill for a big guy (6 feet 1) and remains in the mix as the United States national team sets its sights on the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.”

Carmelo Valenica Learns Honesty is Not Always the Best Policy (The Offside)
“Watching the replay (above) it’s pretty obvious that Millonarios striker Carmelo Valenica took a deliberate tumble in the big Colombian derby vs Santa Fe last Sunday. Millonarios equalized from the spot and Santa Fe keeper Agustin Julio was sent off.”

The Big Decision Webb and the Media Missed

April 29, 2009

“Sitting at the opposite end of the pitch, there was no way I could see Michael Carrick deserving that penalty. The direction of the ball changed, something all media commentaries have picked up on, meaning Gomes had made a save. But at 2-0 down and our title challenge hanging in the balance I’d happily take it.” (SoccerLens)

Common ground for Argentine duo (FIFA)
“The meeting of Paraguay and Chile in the South American qualifiers on 6 June is one of the most eagerly awaited of Matchday 13. Not only are the two teams major contenders for berths at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, but the showdown in Asuncion will also pit against each other two coaches with a shared history.”

Striker Boyd slams door on Scotland return (ESPN)
“Kris Boyd today slammed the door on a Scotland return under George Burley after the manager once again extended an olive branch to the Rangers striker. Boyd made a dramatic exit from the international stage in October after becoming frustrated with a lack of opportunities under Burley.”

Super Eagles names squad for Ireland, France friendlies (CAF)
“Nigeria coach Shuaibu Amodu has named a 29-man squad for upcoming friendly matches next month. The Super Eagles play The Republic of Ireland in London on Wednesday, May 27 in London and five days later engage France at Saint Etienne.”

FC Barcelona – 0, Chelsea – 0

April 29, 2009

“For the first time in this season, FC Barcelona were unable to score a goal at the Camp Nou. A boring but disciplined Chelsea held FC Barcelona to a goal less draw, now they have the advantage of playing the next match at their home. Both the coaches had earlier promised an open encounter but Hiddink realised early that attacking against Barca at Camp Nou can be of dangerous proportion.” (All About FC Barcelona)
FC Barcelona Player Rating against Chelsea on 28/04/09 (All About FC Barcelona)
Barcelona 0-0 Chelsea (BBC)
Live – Champions League (BBC)
Power intimidates art as Chelsea hold firm (Guardian)
Chelsea v Barcelona Champions League reactions – Video(Guardian)
Disciplined Chelsea frustrate Barca (ESPN)
Chelsea show defiance of the highest order (Times)
FC Barcelona – Chelsea (0-0) Champions League, Highlights 28.04.09 – Video(Mighty Football)

Quarantined Vela rejoins Arsenal squad

April 28, 2009

“Mexican striker Carlos Vela has rejoined the Arsenal squad ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final against Manchester United after spending a day in quarantine due to fears over the swine flu outbreak. Vela, 20, was told to stay away from the Gunners’ training session following a visit by some friends from Mexico, where more than 150 deaths have been blamed on the virus.” (ESPN)

Young targets South Africa (FIFA)
“Aston Villa winger Ashley Young has set himself the target of getting in England’s 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ squad after giving Fabio Capello a reminder of his talent over the weekend.”

Talent alone isn’t always enough (BBC – Tim Vickery)
“In my last column, I announced that I was on my way to Lima to write a piece on the Peruvian game for World Soccer magazine, and invited comments on the matter from readers.”

African goals in Europe: 25-26 April (BBC)
“Here’s the BBC’s weekly round-up of the feats of African footballers across the European leagues.”

The Joy of Six: European Cup semi-finals (Guardian)
“From the violence of Dundee United’s visit to Rome in 1984 to Milan’s evisceration of Real Madrid in 1989, here are six of the most thrilling European Cup semis.”

Klinsmann Is Out at Bayern Munich

April 27, 2009

“Perhaps now Jürgen Klinsmann can return to a more sedate life in Southern California, where he has lived the past few years with his family. The former German international star who took the host nation to a surprising third-place finish place in the 2006 World Cup, was fired Monday as the coach of struggling Bayern Munich after less than a full season in the job.” (NYT), Bayern call time on Klinsmann experiment (Reuters), Klinsmann sacked as manager of Bayern Munich (ESPN)

All smiles in San Martin (BBC – Tim Vickery)
“Much to my regret, I’m just too young for the 1970 World Cup. I was only five and I’m not sure we had a TV at the time – but I do remember the sticker album like it was yesterday. A neighbour a couple of years older was collecting, and he gave me some of his swaps. The first one I received was a Peruvian, Ramon Mifflin if memory serves me right, staring seriously at the camera in that striking white shirt with the red sash.”

Top 12 Goals of the Week – Video (101 Great Goals)
“There were a couple of candidates who made a strong case to claim the schmuck of the week award this week.”

More arrests expected in Poland (World Soccer)
“More Polish football officials are likely to be detained on suspicion of corruption and the country may have to use referees from abroad to ensure the top league can continue, the sports minister has announced.”

Outcasts United: African Refugees in Georgia, And The Coach Who Created A Miraculous Team (The Huffington Post)
“How does a soccer coach find a practice field for her team? Google Earth. But why, in a town that’s not short of parks, is she looking for a field on Google Earth? Because the mayor keeps issuing what seem like illegal orders to deny her team access to any of the lush local fields. And why would he do that?”

To CONCACAF’s chagrin, subpar club destined to represent at FIFA

April 26, 2009

“Sometime in December, either Atlante or Cruz Azul will line up against some powerful club from some far-off locale in some far-off venue. That’s because on Wednesday, one of the two Mexican clubs will walk away with the CONCACAF Champions League crown, booking a ticket to the FIFA Club World Cup in the process.” (SI)

Dread, Panenka, Cliché, Casquero (The Run of Play)
“The kicker is removed from his usual learnt improvisation and thrust into a situation where he must consciously plot his next move, which will have a consequence far greater than most. Moreover, the extra thinking time allowed by this scenario lulls the taker into contemplating the unknowable variable and the root of the dread—the goalkeeper.”

German Football – The Good, the Bad and the Grafite (SoccerLens)
“Why do we love English football quite so much? We have a Premier League that is consistently contested by just four teams. We have the swanky stadiums but a fundamental lack of fans to fill them. In addition we have clubs being operated by billionaire owners who have little interest in football bar the money that can be squeezed out of it.”

Jozy Altidore: Twitter and Toenails(GOAL)
“I’m back blogging and I’m now on Twitter. Check me out and follow me at JozyAltidore17. I thought it would be a good idea to set something up so I can stay in touch with the fans.”

Valencia 2 – 2 Barcelona

April 26, 2009

Spain Soccer La Liga
“A late equaliser from substitute Thierry Henry ensured Barcelona snatched a point in a 2-2 against Valencia on a dramatic night at the Mestalla. Two goals in as many minutes from Hedwiges Maduro and Pablo Hernandez at the end of the first half turned the match on its head after Lionel Messi had given the league leaders the advantage in the 24th minute.” (ESPN)
La Liga: Late Henry goal saves Barca at Valencia (ESPN)
Draw at Mestalla; Valencia-2, Barca-2 (All About FC Barcelona)
Barca Player Rating against Valencia (All About FC Barcelona)