It’s make or break for Argentina

August 27, 2009

“In a little more than a week, we’ll likely know if Argentina is a contender for the 2010 World Cup or a pretender, and a serious risk to miss out on South Africa altogether. Diego Maradona’s squad has little option but to claim all three points on Sept. 5 when it takes on archrival Brazil in a decisive South American qualifier.” (SI)

The summer was all about Real Madrid. The new La Liga season will be too
“Fifty-seven channels and there’s only one thing on: Real Madrid. This summer, Álvaro Negredo became the most expensive footballer in Sevilla’s history, Nilmar became the most expensive player in Villarreal’s history and somehow David Villa didn’t become the most expensive Spanish player in anyone’s history. Instead, Valencia busied themselves getting taken over by a company that got its logo from a kiddies’ colouring-in book and its ‘money’ from a fairytale, ditched them, got rid of the man who sunk them, issued €95m (£83m) worth of new shares and grabbed a lifeline. But no one seemed to notice.” (Guardian)

With Their Minds Possibly on the Fires at Home, Greeks Lose Tamely
“When your home, or that of friends and neighbors is burning, it puts a different perspective on playing sport, even in the Champions League. As Panathinaikos went down 2-0, and without much of a fight in Madrid on Tuesday, the television cameras focused on the extremes. Once again, Atletico Madrid’s victory was adorned with a goal of magical quality from Sergio Agüero.” (NYT)

Platini Wants Teams to Balance the Books or Else
“For at least as long as the global financial crisis has been wreaking havoc on economies and firms around the world, soccer clubs have been struggling with financial problems, many self-inflicted. And now Michel Platini, the president of UEFA, has had enough. European soccer’s governing body has warned teams to get their balance sheets, well, balanced or face a ban from the Champions League. Platini is not just targeting small clubs struggling with debt, but he also appears determined to get big clubs with deep-pocketed owners to operate in the black without incurring obscene debt.” (NYT)

English Premier League: Altidore, ESPN, Liverpool and Spector
“I’ve had multiple column ideas bouncing in my head the last couple days but haven’t been able to focus on one thing. So, to solve this, I’m just going to write about everything.” (Intelligent Soccer)

Pro Vercelli: Comets on Commas
“I spent €125,000,000 on one player during the January transfer window. Meet Alessandro Polenta, 23-year-old Italy left winger, ex of Barcelona, and in my estimation, The Best Player In The World. Here’s Alessandro Polenta’s transfer history, just to give you a sense of the shape his career has taken. He started as a 15-year-old at the youth academy of Novara (technically one of our fiercest rivals, though as they play in Serie C1 it’s been a while since we thought about them).” (Run of Play)

Law makers need to kick this hooligan scum out of football for good

August 27, 2009

“The police will be standing there, arriving to arrest those caught on CCTV cameras causing mayhem at Upton Park. So now it is down to the magistrates. Only by properly punishing Tuesday’s trouble-makers, and that means with custodial sentences, can an enduring cancer, albeit one that has been largely undetected in recent years, begin to be excised.” (Telegraph – Henry Winter)

British Soccer’s Hooligan Violence Stokes Old Fears
“Hooliganism was a staple of British soccer from the 1960s through the ’80s. Marauding fans wreaked havoc on cities and stadiums across Europe, sometimes with fatal consequences. The Hillsborough Disaster, in which 96 Liverpool fans died in 1989, was the nadir of this period, and all of British soccer.” (WSJ)

Football should not beat itself up over violence
“Say what you like about football; at least the blood is real. And concern about last night’s riots at Upton Park will be authentic too, not just in the corridors of the FA’s new Wembley headquarters but in Downing Street, for the Government are firmly behind England’s bid for the 2018 (or, if that fails, 2022) World Cup.” (Times)

Everyone knew West Ham game was going to kick off
“A certain element smiled when West Ham and Millwall were drawn together, while the rest of football held its head in its hands. When those two teams meet it goes beyond football and the game should not be punching itself on the nose over what happened.”> (Guardian)