UEFA Champions League Video Highlights for Tuesday, September 29, 2009

September 30, 2009

Milan during a soccer training session in Marseille September 14, 2009
“It was another match day in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League. Several of the top clubs were in action including Arsenal, Liverpool, and FC Barcelona. There were a few surprises as Liverpool were shut out 0-2 at Fiorentina and Inter Milan could only manage a draw with Russian side Rubin Kazan. The other top clubs, Arsenal and FC Barcelona, both had 2-0 wins at home. Scottish club Rangers had a very disappointing loss at home to Sevilla FC, losing 1-4.” (The 90th Minute)

Inter shocked in Russia
“Inter Milan were held to a surprise draw at Rubin Kazan in the Champions League but the Italian champions will be relieved to be leaving Russia with a point after ending the game with 10 men. Rubin took the lead in the 11th minute thanks to Alejandro Dominguez but the hosts gifted Dejan Stankovic the equaliser on the half hour.” (ESPN)

Title dreams a long way off for Italy
“The debate has long raged over which is the most well-equipped country to mount a serious challenge on the Champions League title. Is it the English clubs (who have had the most recent success), Spain (with all the summer’s transfer business) or someone else? Well, this year, the calls have been heard loudest from Italy as the country attempts to overcome the loss of their finest players – Kaka and Zlatan Ibrahimovic – to La Liga.” (ESPN)

Miralem Pjanic – Lyon’s New Juninho
“If it is the number 7 shirt at Old Trafford or the number 10 in Argentina that holds special, mythical significance, then the equivalent at Olympique Lyonnais would surely be that of the number 8. For it was once worn by midfield maestro Juninho Pernambucano, the brilliant Brazilian whose style and craft, not to mention jaw-dropping free-kicks, wrote the slick playmaker’s name into Lyon legend. Think of Olympique Lyonnais now and you think of their relentless recent march to seven straight league championships in France. Before Juninho arrived in 2001 Lyon had never won the French title.” (Just Football)

Champions League: Reds beaten, Inter shocked
“Montenegrin teenager Stevan Jovetic struck twice in a 10-minute first-half spell to stun Liverpool in their Champions League Group E clash against Fiorentina. The 19-year-old grabbed his first after 27 minutes after being put clean through, and then he touched home his second from the near post 10 minutes later.” (ESPN)

Barcelona 2 – 0 Dynamo Kiev

September 30, 2009

“Holders Barcelona made it four points from two games in their Champions League group after confidently seeing off Dynamo Kiev at the Nou Camp. Lionel Messi put the Catalan giants on their way with the opening goal in the 26th minute before half-time substitute Pedro Rodriguez sealed a fairly comfortable victory with Barca’s second 14 minutes from time.” (ESPN)

Champoins League 2009-2010 QUALIFIERS
“FC BARCELONA defeated DYNAMO KIEV 2-0 in an interesting & entertaining match. Full credit & praise to Dynamo who went for the game until the end, they even had their chances with a goal being called off-side in the latter part of the 1ºhalf.” (Spanish Football)

FC Barcelona vs Dynamo Kiev Highlights
(All About FC Barcelona)

Liverpool pay heavy price for bad start against Fiorentina

September 30, 2009

“‘Welcome Reds — your story for us is a legend’, read the banner unfurled by the Fiorentina Ultras housed in the Curva Fiesole at the Stadio Artemio Franchi. If that message was one of respect for Liverpool’s past European triumphs, the one delivered by their victorious team was designed to damage the English club’s hopes of adding to their considerable achievements.” (TimesOnline)

Jovetic stars for Viola
“Liverpool’s Champions League hopes took a shattering blow as Fiorentina claimed an impressive victory in a delirious Stadio Artemio Franchi. This was their first away defeat in Europe since the semi-final defeat at Chelsea in April 2008, and only their ninth away reverse in 38 attempts in the competition under boss Rafael Benitez. Montenegro international Stevan Jovetic did the damage with a quick-fire double inside 10 first-half minutes.” (ESPN)

Viola expose Liverpool’s deficiencies
“Fernando Torres’ baby faced smile was replaced with a scowl as Liverpool failed to score for the first time in two and half years in the Champions League. Rafa Benitez looked suitably furious with the performance against Fiorentina as a Reds team that has looked so full of goals came to a grinding halt. Sorry to say this. But I did see it coming. Nevertheless, it’s time for a deeper analytical assessment of Liverpool as their season.”

Rafael Benítez promises ‘very different’ Liverpool for visit to Chelsea
“Rafael Benítez has promised it will be a ‘very different’ Liverpool side that faces Chelsea on Sunday before back-to-back Champions League meetings with the Group E leaders Lyon in the coming weeks. Liverpool must face Manchester United as well in a seven-match spell that includes the Chelsea game, the Lyon double-header and Arsenal away in the Carling Cup.” (Guardian)

Benitez disappointed with Gerrard and Torres
“Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has revealed his disappointment over the Champions League displays of his top two stars, Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres.” (Independent)

As Stan Kroenke Ups Arsenal Share, Will Team be Americanized Before Arsenalized?

September 30, 2009

“During the summer, members of the Arsenal board and Arsene Wenger announced that the club’s stadium, The Emirates, would go under a process of redecoration three years after its opening. This process became known as “Arsenalisation” with many new features being added to the stadium.” (Bleacher Report)

Benítez minds the back as goals flow

September 29, 2009

“Liverpool FC manager Rafael Benítez has called on his free-scoring side to find the right balance between attack and defence as they travel to ACF Fiorentina looking for a second straight victory in Group E. The Reds have scored 16 times in their past four Premier League games but have also looked uncharacteristically vulnerable at the back, and Benítez would no doubt be delighted with the same 1-0 scoreline his side achieved against Debreceni VSC on Matchday 1 when they meet the Viola. After losing their first match at Olympique Lyonnais, Fiorentina coach Cesare Prandelli must now contend with an in-form Fernando Torres without his own star striker Alberto Gilardino, who is suspended.” (uefa)

Juventus-Bayern Munich: Five Questions for Bianconeri Glory at The Allianz
“For many fans, Juventus’ Champions League opener at home against French champions Bordeaux was a disappointing result to say the least. So many things that the team had been doing well weren’t executed whatsoever—the defense struggled, the strikers couldn’t score, and the midfield, who had been the anchor of the team, failed to impress. The result against Bordeaux started the current string of three draws in the last four matches. In that span, Juve have seen their perfect streak in Serie A snapped with a tie against Genoa a week ago and a so-so showing against Bologna this past Sunday.” (Bleacher Report)

Stimulating the Champions League
“Since introducing mini-leagues to replace the quarter-finals in 1991 and rebranding it the Champions League a year later, UEFA has tinkered endlessly with its premier club competition. Like an indecisive householder rearranging the front-room furniture, the suits in Switzerland have shifted group phases here and amended entry criteria there, changing beyond recognition a tournament that had gone untouched for the first 37 years of its existence.” (WSC)

Financial boost
“The European Club Association met recently in Geneva and the uefa.com Magazine caught up with some of the representatives to find out just how revenue generated by the UEFA Champions League is helping clubs, both large and small.” (uefa)

Testing times for Van Gaal at Bayern
“The Champions League game between Bayern Munich and Juventus on Wednesday may ultimately prove to be one of the defining moments of Louis van Gaal’s career. It’s a bold statement to make considering that the notoriously authoritarian and rather taciturn 58-year-old Dutch coach, who took over at the German giants at the start of July, guided Ajax to the 1995 Champions League title.” (BBC)

UEFA Champions League and My DVR
“Now that the football gods have decided to share their love with satellite broadcasting there is a glut of high-level football to be had from the safety of one’s own home or favorite watering hole. The problem is that time zones, work hours, and weekend plans tend to interfere with one’s ability to sit down and watch games.” (albion road)

“The top two teams from each UEFA Champions League group go into the first knockout round in the spring, with the third-placed clubs to enter the UEFA Europa League Round of 32.” (uefa)

The view from the press box

September 29, 2009

“At some point early in the second half, Cristiano Ronaldo sets off from just over the half-way line and shoots a quick glance left and right to see if there is anyone worth sending a pass to. Deciding, as he often does, that a solo gallop into enemy territory might be the better option, he accelerates alarmingly into a pack of blue-shirted Tenerife defenders, who are vaguely assembled around the centre of their own half of the pitch.” (ESPN)

Grafite poses threat to Man Utd

September 29, 2009

“Manchester United might find themselves up against a striker with a point to prove when they take on Wolfsburg in the Champions League on Wednesday. Grafite almost certainly woke up last Thursday morning hoping that it would be his day. Coach Dunga was about to name Brazil’s squad for the final two rounds of World Cup qualification, away to Bolivia and at home to Venezuela, and with a place in South Africa already booked, there were likely to be some experiments.” (BBC – Tim Vickery)

Newcomers Give Champions League Exotic New Venues

September 28, 2009

“Four relatively unknown teams from remote corners of Europe will host their first UEFA Champions League group stage games. Debreceni VSC, Rubin Kazan, F.C. Unirea Urziceni and APOEL Nicosia are competing with the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester United for a share of more than $1.5 billion and the most coveted title in European club soccer.” (NYT)

UEFA Champions League Video Previews, Predictions, and USA/UK TV Listings: Sept 29 and Sept 30
“The UEFA Champions League has its second set of group stage matches on Tuesday, September 29th, and Wednesday, September 30th. Some of the key matchups included Manchester United v VfL Wolfsburg, Bayern Munich v Juventus, and Real Madrid v Marseille. Several of the matches will be televised throughout the world including in the United States and United Kingdom. Here are a list of predictions, some video previews of specific matches and USA and United Kingdom TV listings for UEFA Champions League Group Stages matches for September 29th and 30th.” (The 90th Mintue)

Pretenders march on as rivals flounder
“While Real Madrid CF, FC Barcelona and Manchester United FC continue to cruise along nicely at home, several of their UEFA Champions League rivals approach Matchday 2 with much to ponder after weekend setbacks.” (uefa)

UEFA Champions League Power Rankings: Tuesday, September 22, 2009
“The 90th Minute Soccer Blog is glad to announce the UEFA Champions League Power Rankings that will be released after each set of group stage matches. The rankings are based mainly on teams performance in the Champions League and not necessarily a reflection of their form in domestic or other competitions. This means that a team could theoretically be 3rd or 4th in their domestic league table but 1st or 2nd in the overall Champions League power rankings.” (The 90th Minute)

Inter bring glitz and glamour to Kazan
“FC Rubin Kazan coach Kurban Berdyev likened FC Internazionale Milano’s visit to ‘a public holiday’ in the Tatarstan capital as the Russian champions await their first UEFA Champions League home game in Group F on Matchday 2.” (uefa)

Martens identifies tonic for AZ ills
“AZ Alkmaar have lost three Eredivisie matches in a row, but Belgian international Maarten Martens hopes the extra motivation of the UEFA Champions League will spur them into life against R. Standard de Liège on Tuesday.” (uefa)

Bougherra aims to shut out Sevilla
“Madjid Bougherra is relishing the prospect of pitting his wits against Frédéric Kanouté and Luis Fabiano as Rangers FC prepare to take on Sevilla FC in Group G on Tuesday.” (uefa)

Cypriots Find Way Into the Richest of Candy Stores
“The great and the good, the richest of the rich of the global game were gathering in this tax haven on Thursday. They came to honor Lionel Messi. He and his Barcelona pals, who won almost everything in Europe and Spain last season, will play here Friday when they take on Shakhtar Donetsk, winner of the UEFA Cup, to decide the European Super Cup.” (NYT)

Matchday 2 number crunching
“As Wayne Rooney prepares to make his 50th appearance in UEFA club competition and Olympiacos FC aim for their first competitive win on English soil, we check out the facts and figures behind this week’s fixtures.” (uefa)

Football abandons the fantasy that it is a business

September 28, 2009

“‘The debt comes from players’ salaries. Nothing else. It doesn’t come from soccer balls,’ Francisco Roca, who runs the Spanish league, told the men who run football. We all have fantasies about discovering the roomful of people who control everything. In football, that is the International Football Arena. The conference’s yearly meeting in Zurich looks like the headquarters of a global conspiracy. Agents, club bosses and lobbyists gather in Swiss suburbia to chart the future of the football business. Earlier this month, sports economists gathered in a dingy Parisian office block. The two gatherings brought one stark realisation: hardly any football clubs will ever make profits. Football is abandoning the fantasy that it is a business.” (FT – Simon Kuper)

Middle Classed Out

September 28, 2009

“The other day I was reading something about the historic 19-year ineptitude of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The once proud Bucs, who can recall a rich history dating back to the 1800s and fielding such all-time greats like Honus Wagner, Roberto Clemente and Mike Lavalliere, aka Spanky, are now the undisputed laughingstock of North American pro sports, especially since the Detroit Lions snapped their 19-game losing streak Sunday.” (That’s On Point)

Revierderby Madness: A “Wembley Goal”, Celebrating in Front of Opposition Fans, and a Possible Backwards Headbutt

September 28, 2009

“Plenty of drama in the Revierderby this weekend, where FC Schalke 04 won 1-0 at BVB Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion. First there was the ‘did it cross the line?’ moment when BVB’s Lucas Barrios long range strike hit the underside of the bar and bounced down either inside or outside of the goal. The YouTuber who posted the above vid called it a “Wembley Goal”, which I’m assuming is a reference to the infamous Geoff Hurst goal from the 1966 World Cup Final.” (The Offside)

Tat’ll Do For Footballers In Search Of Style

September 27, 2009

“The hairdresser responsible for Jack’s cut has defended the style, calling it ‘very popular’ with footballers.” DailyMail
“Style is something we all aspire to have, whether it is of the time or a style all of your own creation and footballers are no exception to this. In the past players have expressed their flamboyance with the aid of an outrageous hairstyle or perhaps with the help of some fetching facial hair. This though is seemingly not enough for today’s super-rich style conscious modern footballers as all tend to sport rather straight laced and middle-of-the-road haircuts. Instead, the must have fashion accessory for footballers is the tattoo and lots of them.” (Three Match Ban)

Should The Old Firm Join The English Premier League?

September 27, 2009

“I work with a man from Edinburgh. He’s a Hearts supporter. More importantly to me: he’s the one guy at work who will talk football. He’ll talk about any aspect any match any controversy any player you like. He keeps up with the English Premier League and though he’s never shown allegiance to any English side, he’ll always chat about the Liverpool result with me, showing an enthusiasm for our wins. I know his positivity is only on my behalf. It doesn’t matter to him directly if Liverpool wins or not. But I still like that moment where the Scotsman gives me a thumbs up and congratulates me on that last-minute goal from Gerrard, Torres or Benayoun, as if I’d somehow contributed – shouting from a pub in New England – to the glory and the points.” (EPL Talk)

Early Floodlighting Technology

September 27, 2009

“Because I know less than you do about electricity and electric lighting, I’ve always been guiltily confused about the three or four 1878 experiments in football floodlighting. These took place, as you’ll recall, in London, Sheffield and Edinburgh. Two aspects of the experiments had me puzzled. On the one hand, they took place just before the controversial Swan-Edison patents for the incandescent light bulb. As I was unaware of any pre-incandescent light bulb means to effect electric lighting, I had to imagine that pre-patent bulbs were being used. But how would any number of nineteenth century light bulbs provide sufficient illumination for a game being played on a 100yd pitch?” (James Hamilton)

Spain have strolled to the Wold Cup finals

September 27, 2009

“If no news is good news then it’s tempting to conclude that good news is no news at all. Not when it’s this familiar, anyway, because when it’s this familiar, the extraordinary becomes ordinary. Spain have already qualified for next summer’s World Cup finals, securing their place in South Africa with an eighth successive victory. A 3-0 win against Estonia in Merida followed a 5-0 hammering of Belgium in La Coruna and offered yet another demonstration of the seleccion’s talents. But Spain have a problem: they are just too good. They’ve become boringly brilliant.” (WorldSoccer – Sid Lowe), (2)

Ibrahimovic’s scoring streak continues

September 27, 2009

“Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Gerard Pique came off the bench to inspire Barcelona to a fifth straight Primera Division win over a hard-working Malaga side. Ibrahimovic was left out of the starting line-up after picking up an ankle injury in Tuesday night’s 4-1 win at Racing Santander. But the Sweden striker has been making good progress in his recovery and was called upon after Thierry Henry was forced off through injury just short of the half-hour mark.” (ESPN)

LA LIGA 2009/2010 – ROUND 5
“The Spanish Clubs participating in Champions League had their Round 5 games of “La Liga” down for tonight with four matches full of goals. Here is a quick summary of events, results & the scorers.” (Spanish Football Sports)

Fernando Torres Hat-Trick

September 27, 2009

“SFS enjoys keeping an eye out on Spaniards overseas. Watch VIDEO of Hat-Trick & Livepools other 3 goals (& the goal from Hull, of course)… (Spanish Football Sports)

Terrific Torres mauls Tigers

September 26, 2009

Pietro Berrettini
“Liverpool striker Fernando Torres scored a brilliant hat-trick to blow away struggling Hull at Anfield. The Spain striker scored twice in the first half either side of Geovanni’s equaliser and added a third soon after the interval. Captain Steven Gerrard scored a fourth just before the hour and substitute Ryan Babel added two late goals as Liverpool made it four league wins – including 16 goals – in succession.” (ESPN)

Fernando Torres stars as Liverpool increase pressure on Hull City
“A sublime hat-trick from Fernando Torres showed why at the age of 25 he can already be considered one of the great Liverpool centre-forwards. The Spaniard snuffed out Hull’s game attempt at resistance almost single-handed and ensured that since their last visit to Anfield in December, the Yorkshire side have taken seven points from 28 games.” (Guardian)

Liverpool 6 Hull City 1: match report
“No matter how virulent the chants, how iconoclastic the protest or how furious the revolt, actions speaker louder than words. Liverpool’s fans, inspired by the sight of co-owner George Gillett entering Anfield for the first time in months, staged an ad hoc demonstration at his perceived penny-pinching, his alleged desire to make money from the club without spending anything on it.” (Telegraph)

Liverpool 6-1 Hull
“So much for struggling to beat the teams that just want a draw at Anfield. 13 goals put past Stoke, Burnley, and Hull – and Liverpool dropped points against Stoke and Hull last season. It didn’t look like it’d end 6-1 at halftime. A 12th minute goal by Torres appeared to initiate an avalanche, but defensive blunders crept back in to postpone the rout. Liverpool had started the brighter, and when Riera found #9 in the box, Torres deftly shifted onto his left past Sonko and slotted in the far corner. I think he might have found his form.” (oh you beauty)

Pro Vercelli: The Boneyard, Part I

September 26, 2009

“This is a story about an honest, fair-minded, and well-meaning football club, and how they were pushed to the limit by a group of thugs, cheats, and bullies. It’s an old story. It’s a story that happens all over the world—whenever a kid who’s good at computers is forced to eat leaves by a kid who isn’t good at computers; whenever a beloved professional wrestling champion climbs into the center of the ring for a spontaneous awards ceremony only to be taken down by a folding chair from behind. Today, it’s our story. And it’s the story of our quest for vengeance.” (Run of Play)

Top 10 Teams Who Didn’t Win the World Cup

September 26, 2009

“It’s a cliche that ‘everyone forgets who comes second’. It’s rubbish of course, every schoolboy knows that Buzz Lightyear was the 2nd man on the moon. Here we salute the great sides that fell short in football’s greatest contest. Strangely, only three of our choices were actual finalists.” (midfielddynamo)

UEFA Investigating 40 Cases of Match-Fixing

September 26, 2009

“UEFA is investigating 40 cases of suspected match-fixing in the Champions League and UEFA Cup, mostly involving eastern European clubs. The number of matches being scrutinized for suspicious betting patterns has risen from 25 in the last year, Peter Limacher, head of disciplinary services for European soccer’s governing body, told The Associated Press on Friday.” (NYT)

Phil Brown under pressure

September 26, 2009

“If a week is a long time in politics, a year can be an eternity for a football manager. Just ask Kevin Keegan, Tony Adams or Juande Ramos. Phil Brown, the so-called ‘Primark Jose Mourinho’, is another boss whose fortunes have tilted dramatically in the past 12 months. This time last season, Brown’s Hull City became only the second team to beat Arsenal at the Emirates. A wonder goal from Geovanni and a fair bit of luck in their own penalty box added up to give Brown ‘the best day of my life, without a shadow of a doubt’. He is now fighting for his job.” (WSC)

What a Dreary Dish to Set Before the Fans

September 25, 2009

“Sometimes even the Champions League takes the fans’ money under false pretenses. Wednesday night at the San Siro was meant to be a classic, and turned into a goalless stalemate between Inter Milan and Barcelona in front of 77,321 customers. The same 90 minutes in Belgium provided five goals in which Arsenal came from two down in the opening minutes to beat Standard Liege, 3-2. Goals, it’s true, do not by themselves denote quality. But they are the purpose of the game, and as much as Liege has nothing to show for it by way of points, its players at least sent the fans home with the knowledge that they tried, they dared to take on superior foes, and they just ran out of stamina and luck in the end.” (NYT)

Case for the defence

September 25, 2009

“With players at the peak of fitness and apparently expertly drilled, early-season encounters are supposed to be cagey affairs. That theory, however, may have been destroyed by results such as Everton 1 Arsenal 6, Bolton 2 Liverpool 3 and Manchester City 4 Arsenal 2. Not to mention the most recent: West Ham 2 Liverpool 3 and Manchester United 4 Manchester City 3. It means that, at this embryonic stage of the campaign, the Premier League is providing an average of almost three goals per game.” (ESPN)

Five paths to salvage Argentina’s road to the World Cup in 2010

September 25, 2009

“With Argentina on the brink of elimination from the 2010 World Cup, which would be the first time it missed out on the finals in 40 years, immediate measures need to be taken. Diego Maradona, who will remain the coach for Argentina’s final two qualifiers versus Peru and Uruguay next month, will need to pick up positive results to avoid the embarrassment of elimination.” (SI)

Liverpool found severely wanting from set-pieces

September 25, 2009

“A Spain goalkeeper who plays for one of Europe’s top clubs was recently so disappointed with his team’s defending from set-pieces that he told the press: ‘If you look at the goals we have conceded, it’s true you could say we are a disaster at dead-ball situations.’ With Real Madrid having shipped four such goals in their opening La Liga fixtures, it was easy to understand why Iker Casillas was so displeased. What Pepe Reina, his compatriot and fellow goalkeeper at Liverpool, made of the comments is anyone’s guess, but the chances are that his opinion is not too dissimilar after conceding nine times from set-pieces this season.” (TimesOnline)

Genoa-Juventus: Controversy at the Marassi Over Shared Spoils

September 25, 2009

“The highly anticipated clash between Juventus and Genoa promised to be both entertaining and intense. The expectations were high as the crowd watched the two of the most in-form teams of Serie A walk out onto the pitch of the mighty Stadio Marassi.” (Bleacher Report), Juventus: This Week In Black and White (Bleacher Report)

Nicaraguan children eye football glory

September 25, 2009

“Every day, Victor is out football training in the centre of Managua. Like many, he dreams of representing his country, the small Central American nation of Nicaragua, in South Africa next year. But Victor will not be playing for an adult team in the Fifa World Cup due to start in June next year.” (BBC)

The Damned United

September 25, 2009

“I’m tempted to say it was dark, but it wasn’t; it was just darker than I expected. The book was dark. The book was a kind of mildewy cave of rhetoric that, like Brian Clough himself, could have happily contained your wine collection. The movie was…well, it was a celebration of friendship. Only it was a celebration premised on the fact that one of the friends was an asshole. The other friend, who seemed to exist largely as a giant, floating source of love for the first friend, was cuddly and morally infallible. Like I said. Not dark.” (The Run of Play)

The Interesting Case Of Theo Walcott

September 24, 2009

The Maiden And The Unicorn, Domenico Zampieri
“I was interested by the piece on youth development by Chris Green in The Observer Sports Monthly (link not available online). I think he makes some very telling points – the way football clubs treat children in England and Scotland is absolutely abominable. I’ve blogged about this before but not in the depth that Green covers (and I intend to buy his book at some point).He makes, like I have, the point that the Dutch system is probably preferable to the one we have. Voices in the English and Scottish games (including David Ferguson in The Scotsman a few weeks ago) will often denounce this by saying that the Dutch system couldn’t be replicated for any number of reasons.” (Left Back In The Changing Room)

“A Beautiful Country… helped by football”

September 24, 2009

“I’ve always had a certain amount of time for Craig Bellamy. On the sports field, I had an ego, a short fuse, a red mist and a strong tendency towards violence. That was twenty years ago and I’m too old for team sports now. I still have a temper on me at times, but I can appreciate how different someone can before and after the whistle goes.” (James Hamilton)

End Of An Era – The Phasing Out Of Ceefax

September 24, 2009

“The BBC’s text service Ceefax celebrates its thirty-fifth birthday today, but it’s a celebration that is tinged with sadness as it is to be the last significant anniversary celebrated by the antiquated service, which is to be phased out in line with the stopping of the analogue television signal in Britain in 2012. Ceefax holds a special place in the affections of football supporters of a certain age. Who amongst us hasn’t spent at least one Saturday afternoon feverishly hitting the buttons on the remote control trying to find out the score?” (twohundredpercent), (BBC)

U.S. World Cup Match May Move From Honduras

September 24, 2009

“With political chaos continuing in Honduras, the possibility exists that the United States’ crucial World Cup qualifying match, scheduled there on Oct. 10, will be moved to another country. Honduras’s ousted president, Manuel Zelaya, has furtively returned to Tegucigalpa, the capital, and entered the Brazilian Embassy. The crisis has led to the closing of all Honduran airports, a curfew and roadblocks. The only way into the country is by land through El Salvador.” (NYT)

Football Fails to Feed Families

September 24, 2009

” Football was never a ticket to fabulous wealth in Zimbabwe, at least not for players who stayed in the country. But the economic situation has made it ever harder to play simply for the pride and pleasure of pulling on local team colours. Before the economic downturn in the late 1990s, the simple pride of appearing for the local team inspired many young Zimbabwean footballers, who were not necessarily choosing soccer as a career to earn a living.” (IPS News)

Videos: Training with Jay-Jay Okocha

September 24, 2009

“I must admit, Nigerian legend Jay-Jay Okocha was one of my favorite players of all-time to watch when he was in his prime. He was tricky, skilled, entertaining, and most importantly, good. I’m really surprised he never won African Footballer of the Year in the late 90’s/early 2000’s. I stumbled upon these youtube videos this morning of Okocha explaining how he pulled off some of his signature tricks and moves in a training session.” (The Best Eleven)

Quota could mean Liverpool cull

September 23, 2009

“As he trotted along the touchline at Anfield last Wednesday, Andriy Voronin was greeted with generous applause. It probably had something to do with the fact that, a matter of metres away, the rather more popular Javier Mascherano was also warming up. Nonetheless, it was a moment the Ukrainian may want to savour.” (ESPN)

Introducing Just Football TV – Football Highlights Galore

September 23, 2009

“As you may or may not have noticed we have been running a new video feature down the sidebar of late. Well, now is the time to formally introduce Just-Football TV, a new section on the site we hope you will enjoy. Hidden somewhere deep amidst the colossal, maze-like pixellated jungle that is Youtube I’ve become increasingly aware lately that there are some absolute gems out there as far as football videos go.” (Just Football)

Adventures Of A Premier League Fan Near Harvard University

September 23, 2009

“The missus and I were in Boston this past Saturday afternoon with some time to kill, so I thought we’d try and find a place to catch the West Ham v Liverpool match. Our journey began in Cambridge, around Harvard Square. Perhaps it’s because the kids at that institution are too busy planning winter break ski vacations in Austria or copying MySpace to make millions or splitting the atom or whatnot, but there aren’t too many bars in the yard.” (EPL Talk)

Which players have attacked fans?

September 23, 2009

“‘I noticed in this weekend’s Observer that a Colombian player was sent to prison earlier this year after shooting a fan,’ wrote Ed McMillan last week. ‘Other than the obvious Cantona kung-fu kick, are there many other example of players attacking supporters, particularly their own?’ Eric Cantona is by no means alone in his aggressive attitude toward supporters. Javier Flórez was the Colombian midfielder who went too far after losing in a local tournament final earlier this year. The Atletico Junior player shot at a group of supporters, killing one, who chanted ‘weak, weak, weak’ at him as he drove past. Flórez explained he was ‘drunk and angry’ when it happened, following his release from prison on a £45,000 bail.” (Guardian)

Rampant Barca at Santander; Racing – 1, Barca -4

September 23, 2009

“FC Barcelona continued their excellent run in the league with a 4-1 demolition of Racing Santander at El Sardinero stadium. Two goals from Messi and one each from Ibrahmovic and Pique was enough to see Barca comfortably past Racing. Like the weekend it was a sensational first half display which put Barca in command. Now Barca has moved three points clear and the pressure will be surely on Madrid to respond against Villareal.” (All About FC Barcelona)

La Liga 2009/2010 – (VIDEO MESSI)
“RACING DE SANTANDER lost to an overpowering FC BARCELONA 1-4 as Barça continues on its merry way of total dominance of the ball & play.” (Spanish Football Sports)

Racing Santander (1) vs Barca (4) Highlight (All About FC Barcelona)

Real Madrid: What’s Better 4-2-4, 4-2-2-2 or 4-3-3?

September 23, 2009

“Too much of a good thing, this maybe the dilemma that is rattling the mind of REAL MADRID Coach Pellegrini as he figures out how to balance & create a clock working team. The observations & the experience up till now show a potential dependence on midfielder Xabi Alonso as ‘Director of the Orchestra’ & a lack of a stable ongoing tactical set up in the team’s line-ups.” (Spanish Football Sports)

Reds edge past impressive Leeds

September 23, 2009

Sébastien Bourdon (1616-1671)
“David Ngog struck the only goal as a much-changed Liverpool side sneaked past a fired-up Leeds 1-0 in the Carling Cup tonight. The Premier League giants were outplayed by the League One leaders for much of the third-round tie but Ngog netted against the run of play after 65 minutes.” (ESPN)

Leeds United 0, Liverpool FC 1: Reds exorcise Carling Cup ghosts of the past
“THEY came to relive the old times at Elland Road last night. Thankfully for Rafael Benitez, however, the same did not apply to his team. Liverpool began the process of exorcising the ghosts of the recent Carling Cup past by claiming narrow victory at Leeds United. Dismal defeat in this competition at Tottenham Hotspur last year, along with previous capitulations against Arsenal and Crystal Palace, had sparked debate over the strength in depth of his squad and the effectiveness of the Academy.” (Liverpool Daily Post)

Leeds restore pride in defeat
“LEEDS UNITED ultimately lost this tie but, along the way, Simon Grayson’s charismatic League One pace-setters will surely have gained a whole load of new friends. If last night was a throwback to compelling contests of yesterday when Leeds, and not just Liverpool, were major football powers in the land there was none of the gratuitous snarling or snide tackling of old from the men in white.” (Irish Times)

VIDEO: Leeds United 0 – Liverpool 1
(Liverpool Kop)

Video Highlights from the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, and Ligue 1: Sunday, September 20, 2009

September 22, 2009

“There were some crucial matches on Sunday in the top European leagues such as Manchester United v Manchester City in the English Premier League. All the top leagues were in play including the Italian Serie A, Spanish La Liga, German Bundesliga, French Ligue 1, and of course the English Premier League. Here are video highlights for all of the matches.” (The 90th Minute)

Turkish big-boys continue to assert dominance

September 22, 2009

“Last year all the talk in the Turkish league was of how lowly Sivasspor could break the established order at the top. The start to this season, however, has proved that fairytales do not happen and that the power of the big clubs in the country will continue to trump the plucky underdogs as long as the quality players remain. Two of the country’s biggest, Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray, have begun the season in flying form. With 100% records after six games, they have opened up a six-point gap over their nearest challengers, Eskisehirspor, and look like pushing each other all the way to the finishing post.” (ESPN)

The Best, at Any Price Necessary

September 22, 2009

“Florentino Pérez, president of Real Madrid football club, will accept nothing short of the biggest, brashest and best football club that money can buy. And therein lies the problem for this soft-spoken, besuited, self-made billionaire. While Real Madrid fans are enjoying the start of the Champions League with new hope and a bevy of superstars, critics are accusing Mr. Pérez of ruining the sport.” (WSJ)

Football Cup Primer: The Football League Cup

September 22, 2009

“Regular readers of Avoiding the Drop may recall the inaugural entry in the ‘Football Cup Primer’ series from a couple weeks back. That entry discussed the FA Cup, one of the oldest and largest competitions in the world for any sport. The Football League Cup is not that competition. The confusion between the League Cup and the FA Cup is easy to understand. A big part of this confusion comes from the fact that the matches that are most easily watched – the third round of the League Cup and the ninth round (or ‘Third Round Proper’) of the FA Cup – tend to feature the same set of teams; by that point in the FA Cup, there are usually only one or two non-league sides remaining, and the League Cup’s only drawing from teams in the Football League.” (Avoiding the Drop)

Englischer Fussball: Othering the English

September 22, 2009

“Raphael Honigstein makes his living as a football interpreter. Best known in the English speaking world for his columns on German football in the Guardian and participation in that newspaper’s well-known football podcast, he plays the reverse role in his home country, acting as English football correspondent for the Suddetsche Zeitung. This dual role – explaining German football to the English and English football to the Germans – puts him in a fairly unique position among football journalists. And it left him well placed three years ago to find a German publisher for ‘Higher, Better, Faster, Stronger’, a guide to English football which has just been re-issued in English as Englischer Fussball.” (Pitch Invasion)

The 15 minutes that shook the world…

September 22, 2009

“What Rafa said at half time….. Then a quick reminder of the Liverpool AC Milan Istanbul 2005 story…” (SoccerBlog)

Italy: 2009-10 Serie A

September 22, 2009

“The map shows the clubs in the 2009-10 Serie A season. It is the 78th season of the competition. Reigning champions are Internazionale. In the gallery below are the top 6 drawing clubs from the 2008-09 Serie A season. Stadium names, locations, and their capacities are listed, along with the clubs’ average gates.” (Bill Sport’s Maps)

Capello eyes World Cup HQ

September 22, 2009

“Where England lay down roots in South Africa next summer could be key to their hopes of winning the World Cup. That’s why coach Fabio Capello has been so exacting in choosing the base for his team. The Italian wants a private and secure hotel that boasts excellent training facilities and is based at altitude. After looking at sites in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Polokwane, attention has focused on the Royal Bafokeng Sports Campus in Rustenburg.” (BBC)

Player Profile: John Lukic

September 21, 2009

“I can not remember John Lukic ever making a save. Through the fog of the many mistakes that littered his career, Lukic enjoyed two spells at Arsenal and Leeds during his 23 years as a professional that saw him pick up three league title medals, twice as a Gooner and once with Leeds. Not a show-off, he was a keeper who got the job done with the minimal of fuss, but when he got it wrong he did so with considerable commotion and this greatly overshadowed his abilities between the posts and unfortunately for him this was a relatively common occurrence.” (Three Match Ban)

Can World Cup help to bridge SA’s racial divide?

September 21, 2009

“AS THE race debate rages on throughout SA and political parties use race as a sledge hammer to divide constituencies, it is worthwhile casting our gaze back to a previous Soccer World Cup host country that was equally divided along racial fault lines, but emerged united from hosting the Fifa World Cup. Prior to the 1998 Fifa World Cup, the host nation France was riddled with xenophobia and labelled ‘the most racially troubled country in Europe’”. (Business Day)

Premier danger for South America

September 21, 2009

“Regulators can try to push the world in a certain direction. But there is never a guarantee that forces in society will embrace the spirit as well as the letter of rule changes. A case in point could be the ‘home-grown player’ clause that the Premier League clubs have just agreed. The original intention is presumably to ensure opportunities for local talent. A quota of eight squad players will need to have been developed by the club for three years between the ages of 16 and 21. But since no mention is or can be made to nationality, the dangers of an own goal are clear.” (BBC – Tim Vickery)

Stand in the Place Where You Are

September 21, 2009

“Borussia Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion is rarely mentioned in the same breath as Peterborough United’s London Road but both are at the centre of one of the hottest debates among football fans of recent years: the issue of standing at matches. The Taylor Report’s seemingly incontrovertible conclusions sprung up in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster and its preceding long decade of trauma and, in tune with alive and kicking. So, it was with a sense of heady nostalgia that I took up my place against the foremost crash barrier at the Moys End on Saturday. True, just last year, I had had an opportunity to relive my formative years at Dagenham, but this was a fairly high profile league game, just one notch below the Promised Land.” (thetwounfortunates)

Sampdoria give rivals food for thought with flying start to Serie A season

September 21, 2009

“And then there were two. Four games into the Serie A season, nobody should be too shocked to find Juventus top of the table on 12 points. Rather more will be surprised to see Sampdoria, fresh from a 4-1 win over Siena, alongside them. Never in the club’s history – not even in the title-winning season of 1990–91 – have Samp lasted this far into a league season without losing or drawing.” (Guardian)

Brazil’s renaissance

September 21, 2009

“Mission accomplished, Argentina beaten and World Cup qualification achieved. Brazil coach Dunga was reminded, however, that there were times when the press and public had called for his head. ‘They weren’t only after my head,’ he replied. ‘It was head, body and soul as well.'” (World Soccer – Tim Vickery), (World Soccer – Tim Vickery)

Barca rout Atletico

September 20, 2009

“Barcelona continued their superb start to the season and signalled their intentions to reclaim the Primera Liga title with a stunning 5-2 victory at home to Atletico Madrid on Saturday night.
Pep Guardiola’s side got off to the perfect start when summer signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic bagged his third goal in as many league starts after just two minutes at the Nou Camp.” (ESPN)

Barca Thrash Atletico Yet Again; FC Barcelona – 5, Atletico Madrid – 2
“For the second time in a row, Atletico Madrid’s visit to Camp NOu turned out to be a nightmare. But it was better than last time, I mean they score one more and conceded one less too this time around. With this heavy defeat Atletico’s start to the season has gone from bad to worse. First half goals from Ibrahmovic, Messi, Alves and Keita, and an injury time strike from Messi condemned Atletico’s to their heaviest defeat this season.” (All About FC Barcelona)

FC Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid Highlights
“I am not exactly sure whether tehse videos will remain forever. Youtube may remove them soon. Till then enjoy.” (All About FC Barcelona)

Spanglish 104: Arbitrary Arbitroooo

September 20, 2009

“Alright class, it has been brought to my attention from a group of cantankerous students that I have not taught you the darkest of arts- referee complaints. While normally I would bite my thumb at the mere hubris of a student requesting an addendum to my carefully planned curriculum, I realize my oversight has hindered a key aspect of pro soccer enjoyment.” (futfanatico)

Debating Different Types of Fandom

September 20, 2009

“Throughout my life I’ve been both types of fan, loyalist and leach, depending on the sport. There is logic and even romance in each. But as I age I’m attracted more and more to the latter, to the Chuck Klosterman sort of sports fandom that resembles musical taste – polygamous and fickle. I think this is common for a lot of modern sports fans, the mass consumers of entertainment that we are. But such anti-affiliation, although aesthetically pleasing and easy, undercuts some of the most fundamental aspects of fandom no matter how much it tries to objectify a sport.” (Foot Smoke)

Pro Vercelli: Earthquakes Are Anecdotes

September 20, 2009

“Remember how we never win a match at the San Siro? And how, not counting the Champions League final in 2020, which was against Manchester United and thus not exactly at the San Siro, we haven’t done so in this decade, or at all since a highly random 4-3 win over Inter in the Champions League quarterfinals in 2019? And remember how I have a huge psychological hangup about this, and while not exactly intimidated by Inter and A.C. Milan—hard to be intimidated by teams you so roundly excel in most competitions—still go into each new season with the thought that those six points are essentially out of play more or less openly in mind?” (The Run of Play)