Torres at double for Reds

September 19, 2009

Peter Paul Rubens 1577 – 1640, Abraham Meets Melchizedek
“Fernando Torres scored twice as Liverpool held off a brave fightback from West Ham to earn a deserved victory in a five-goal thriller at Upton Park. Torres put the Reds in front in the 19th minute with a fine solo goal before debutant Alessandro Diamanti equalised from the penalty spot. Dirk Kuyt’ restored Liverpool’s lead in the 40th minute but Carlton Cole levelled again a minute before the interval. It was the irrepressible Torres, though, who settled a pulsating contest when he headed home from close range in the 75th minute.” (ESPN)

West Ham 2 – 3 Liverpool
“Fernando Torres scored twice to help Liverpool overcome battling West Ham. Zavon Hines hit the post before Torres poked in the opener, but Alessandro Diamanti scored a debatable penalty that he appeared to touch twice. Dirk Kuyt stabbed in Steven Gerrard’s header and West Ham fought back with Carlton Cole nodding in Mark Noble’s corner just before the interval.” (BBC)

West Ham United 2 Liverpool 3: match report
“It must make Rafael Benitez shudder to wonder what he would do without Fernando Torres. Liverpool were stumbling towards two more dropped points now before the Spaniard contrived one of his extraordinary sleights of hand, ghosting through West Ham United’s defence for a headed winner that his team scarcely merited.” (Telegraph)

Liverpool’s Fernando Torres kills off West Ham resistance
“Liverpool and their supporters came close to departing east London despondent about ending the 20 years of title torment they are constantly reminded of. Until Fernando Torres gave them late victory and three vital points it seemed Rafael Benítez would be forced into more fast talking about why those hopes are so quickly going wrong.” (Guardian)

Fernando Torres rises to secure victory for Liverpool
“LIKE the nation’s other all-red institution, normal delivery has still not resumed at Liverpool. Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard are back in their most creative places, the goals and the wins have started flowing again, but there is something fundamentally awry with a Rafa Benitez team that defends like Postman Pat.” (Times)

Old Firm embark on European campaign

September 19, 2009

“Scotland’s remaining European representatives Rangers and Celtic suffered mixed fortunes during their latest continental charges. While the debate about Scotland’s failure to reach the World Cup finals continues to rumble on the Old Firm are expected to restore some much needed pride for the country.” (ESPN)

The Monday Miscellany

September 19, 2009

“Will England win the World Cup? Frankly, who knows? It is pointless, nine months before the competition begins, to speculate based on the present strengths and weaknesses of the side and their main rivals. In 2006, Brazil were regarded as runaway favourites, based largely on the way they slaughtered Argentina – plus ça change – in the 2005 Confederations Cup Final in Frankfurt. Come the tournament they were laboured, with Ronaldinho hopelessly ineffective and the strike partnership of Adriano and Ronaldo looking unfit.” (Footballing World)

VIDEO: El Clasico to the Old Firm – Top 5 derbies in world football

September 19, 2009

“The cities of Manchester and London will be divided this weekend as two of England’s most fiercely contested and eye-catching derby matches capture the attention of football fans around the globe. But Manchester United v Manchester City and Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur pale in comparison to some of the most bitter derbies fought around the world. As part of the build-up to another ‘Super Sunday’, ExtraFootie takes a look at the five greatest derbies in world football.” (Extra Footie)

A Week is a Long Time in Serie A

September 19, 2009

“After three days of play, the Serie A table is full of early season surprises. Juventus top the table with 9 points, along with Sampdoria and Genoa. Inter and Fiorentina follow on 7 points, while Milan are still on 4 points after a draw against lowly Livorno. In a warm up for the impending Champions League both Inter and Juventus earned a relatively comfortable 3 points, but the story of the weekend was the impressive performance of the Genoan teams — Genoa beating Napoli 4-1 at home and Sampdoria winning 1-0 against Atalanta in Bergamo courtesy of the skill of Antonio Cassano.” (First Touch)

Hungary v England, 1988: Video Flashback

September 19, 2009

“The latest video flashback takes us back to 1988 when England was a terrible football team despite finding glory just two years later in the 1990 World Cup. This video features Brian Clough and Brian Moore. Cloughie makes a flub in the beginning of the analysis but doesn’t seem to care, which is followed by commentary from the legendary Brian Moore and Trevor Francis in this match which ended 0-0.” (EPL Talk)

Arthur Wharton

September 19, 2009

“Arthur Wharton was the world’s first Black professional footballer. Despite his sporting prowess, he was never fully accepted and died a forgotten man. Arthur Wharton was born in Jamestown, Accra, Gold Coast (now Ghana) in 1865.” (David Patrick Lane), A Burning Black Star (DPL)

Italy’s place in South Africa looks assured

September 19, 2009

“Italian football received a badly needed fillip in early September when Marcello Lippi’s World Cup winners left some unimpressive recent performances behind them with a convincing 2-0 World Cup qualifying win over Bulgaria. This win meant that Italy could then travel to Dublin in October for what might otherwise have been a very difficult qualifier with the comfortable cushion of a four-point lead over Giovanni Trapattoni’s Ireland.” (WorldSoccer)

On Diving: Soccer’s Integrity Is at Stake

September 18, 2009

“Cesar R. Torres is an associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology, Sport Studies and Physical Education at the College at Brockport, State University of New York. He is also president of the International Association for the Philosophy of Sport.” (NYT)

The Rise, Fall and Rise of Clydebank FC

September 18, 2009

“As a footballing metropolis, Glasgow and its environs more or less have it all. There is Celtic, Rangers, Partick Thistle, Hampden Park and Hamilton Crescent, where the first ever international match was played. Not far away are clubs like Motherwell, St.Mirren and Hamilton Academical. Glasgow has had its European champions, its fan tragedies, glories and financial disasters and, as we’ll look at today, clubs who have come, gone and returned again — such as Clydebank FC.” (Pitch Invasion)

John Cameron on Training 1908

September 18, 2009

“I’m extremely excited to find that the book written by the man who to me most epitomizes the history of British football is available free online. John Cameron was a Scot who began his career playing for the great amateur side Queens Park. He went on to star for Everton, then won the FA Cup with Spurs in front of 114,000 people at Crystal Palace. He coached in Germany before World War One and was interned at the Ruhleben camp in Berlin alongside, amongst others, Steve Bloomer.” (More Than Mind Games)

Scandalized Chelsea retakes No. 1

September 18, 2009

“We now return you to your regularly scheduled Rankings. Sorry for the near month-long lapse, but it’s been a busy few weeks of international play. What we’re left with here is a funny window of time early in the season in which some of the power clubs are taking their time to warm up, while other teams are making early shots across the bow of their respective leagues. That’s why you’ll find, for instance, Manchester City up high this week, yet Arsenal and Liverpool — both winners in their Champions League openers — are missing due to some dodgy league results. In the meantime, we’ve got a couple of clubs on here that aren’t at the summit of their leagues, but sometimes, you’ve just got a feeling. As usual, give me an earful here, and enjoy this week’s rundown.” (SI)

This post does not compute

September 18, 2009

“Life without a home computer isn’t as bad as you might think. Life, does in fact, move on without minute-by-minute status updates, viral videos and Yahoo! top news. Thankfully, while Dell computers and customer support are lacking, at least they sent a technician to my home to replace my faulty motherboard and processor within a couple days of its failure.” (Thats On Point)

The Worst Transfers

September 18, 2009

“Our list of some of the worst transfers in football (you may also find some of these in our list of the best and the most bizarre transfers)… ” (MidfieldDynamo)

Ultimate XI: Singing Their Own Songs

September 17, 2009

“In the 1970s, John McDermott started taking pictures of the North American Soccer League, photographing players like George Best, Franz Beckenbauer and Pelé. He became a regular contributor to Sports Illustrated and Newsweek, and has covered every World Cup since 1982. He was a member of the FIFA Photographers Pool at the 1998 and 2002 World Cups. In his second Ultimate XI for the Goal blog, McDermott puts down the camera and grabs his headphones to listen to the tunes that make being a soccer fan anywhere in the world a treat (or not) to the ears … the best soccer songs on the planet (in order of preference).” (NYT)

Avoiding the Group of Death

September 17, 2009

“Germany, Serbia, Ecuador. December 4th is a day I’m dreading. It is the day of the World Cup draw, and those three teams are the average group that the USMNT would be drawn into. Throw in the USA and you have current FIFA ranks 4, 11, 13, and 36. The worst case scenario is Brazil, Netherlands, Australia or 1, 3, and 14. That first group is close to a group of death, the second one surely is.” (Match Fit USA)

Videos: Soccer Fans in Turkey

September 17, 2009

“Here’s a few videos of the dedicated, loud, and fanatical supporters of Turkish soccer. They definitely know how to create an intimidating home atmosphere in Turkey.” (The Best Eleven)

Organised Inter Holds Barca to a Goal Less Draw

September 17, 2009

“FC Barcelona started their UEFA Champions League defense with a goal-less draw at San Siro. This is never a bad result but with the chances we had we could have come out with three points with ease. It was a clash of the best atatck in the world against one of the most organised defense in the world. This was billed as the match-up between Eto and Ibrahmovic. Eto never had a sniff of our goal but Ibrahmovic wasted some golden oppurtunities.” (All About FC Barcelona)

Eto’o and Ibra fail to hit the target
“Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Samuel Eto’o were both kept under wraps by their former team-mates as Inter Milan held Champions League holders Barcelona to a goalless draw at the San Siro.” (ESPN)

Inter vs Barca Player Rating
(All About FC Barcelona)

UEFA: we’re about coulda, not shoulda

September 17, 2009

“Whether you like them or not, you have to give UEFA credit sometimes, for despite their overwhelming inconsistency of action, there’s one thing about which they’re unbelievably consistent: being utterly stupid. One minute, they’re accidentally reinforcing an arbitrary new law that might actually help rid the game of a modern-day scourge, and the next, they’re deliberately backing down and making themselves look wimpish in the process.” (UnprofessionalFoul)

Extra officials in the Europa League

September 17, 2009

“Tonight’s Europa League matches have generated more media interest than is usually given to Europe’s secondary club competition but it has nothing to do with the new league format and silly name change. The games will be watched with keen interest because they will involve two extra officials stationed behind the goals.” (WSC)

Kuyt settles tie as Reds labour

September 17, 2009

“Dirk Kuyt’s 12th goal in 35 Champions League games for Liverpool saw the Anfield men claim an opening Group E victory but there was nothing to suggest a Madrid final in May is on the cards.” (ESPN)

LFC 1-0 Debrecen: IN PICTURES
“Dirk Kuyt fired to earn Liverpool three points from their Champions League opener with Debrecen. We got some great snaps on the night – here’s our best.” (Liverpool FC)

Balance of Power Swings Spain’s Way

September 16, 2009

“Cristiano Ronaldo’s transfer from Manchester United to Real Madrid is a landmark transfer in many ways. Financially speaking, at a credit crunch-busting £80 million it is the most expensive transfer in world football history. In terms of precedent it is huge. As one of the biggest clubs in football it is almost unheard for a player at the top of his game to want to leave Old Trafford, let alone for Sir Alex Ferguson to allow it. But Ronaldo’s move to the Bernabeu is also ground-breaking in another sense. It is hugely important in terms of what it represents for world football because it symbolises a new era, a seismic shift. In terms of worldwide glamour and appeal it represents the passing of the baton from England to Spain.” (albion road)

Playing the long game pays off for FC Barcelona

September 16, 2009

“I caught Joan Oliver one recent Saturday lunchtime, when he had found a rare bit of peace in his empty office in Barcelona, away from the madness of football’s transfer market. FC Barcelona’s chief executive is presiding over an off-the-field achievement as remarkable as the club’s European and Spanish titles on it. Barça is poised to become the club with the highest revenues – about €400m. Better yet, in an industry that burns money, they have made profits for six consecutive years. The team that starts its defence of the Champions League on Wednesday is also a proper business.” (FT – Simon Kuper)

Morbo, ‘El Mega Duelo’ and Mourinho

September 16, 2009

“The undoubted eye-catcher of the opening round of the Champions League group stages is Barcelona’s visit to Inter Milan. With a cast of stars of the world game and characters like Jose Mourinho basking in the limelight, it’s a game that has, as the Spanish would say, plenty of morbo about it. As Phil Ball said in his excellent book with the same title that came out a few years ago, it’s a word that entails a lot of slippery little notions that just won’t rub shoulders with a convenient English synonym.” (BBC)

Cider with noises

September 16, 2009

“I’m writing this from Oviedo, in the region of Asturias in the north of Spain. It took me seven hours to get here by bus on Sunday, and when I arrived my host unfortunately (but very kindly) took me on a tour of the city which was actually en fiestas – specifically the Fiestas de San Mateo in which people were making the habitual amount of noise, and eating and drinking as if the word ‘recession’ were some kind of myth associated only with the rest of Europe.” (ESPN)

UEFA Champions League 2009-10, Group Stage, with clubs’ average attendances from their domestic leagues

September 16, 2009

“2009-10 UEFA Champions League Group stage begins 15th and 16th September. The headline-grabbing match on Tuesday the 15th is Olympique Marseille (France) v. AC Milan (Italy). The marquee matchup on Wednesday the 16th is Internazionale (Italy) v. FC Barcelona (Spain). The matches involving the 5 clubs from Great Britain…15th Sept., Besiktas JK (Turkey) v. Manchester United (England); Chelsea (England) v. FC Porto (Portugal). 16th Sept., Liverpool (England) v. Debrecen (Hungary); Standard Liège (Belgium) v. Arsenal (England); VfB Stuttgart (Germany) v. Rangers (Scotland).” (bill sports maps)

Champions League: Rivalries and New Starts

September 15, 2009

“The UEFA Champions League group stage begins today with an interesting series of matchups and rivalries. Here is a brief look at three big ones that jump out from this week’s fixture list…” (NYT)

Catching up with GK Tim Howard

September 15, 2009

“The U.S. has produced some world-class goalkeepers over the years, none more accomplished than Brad Friedel and Kasey Keller, two ageless lions who are still prowling the pipes at, respectively, Aston Villa and Seattle. But if there’s one American who reminds me the most of Hatch, the fearless Allied keeper played by Sylvester Stallone in Victory, it’s Tim Howard.” (SI)

10 Players To Look Out For – Champions League 2009/2010

September 15, 2009

“The 2009/2010 UEFA Champions League proper gets underway this evening as the 32 teams that made it into the group stages begin the long battle ahead on the route to Madrid. No matter your thoughts on the competition, one thing for certain is that the Champions League brings together most of the best players in the world. But we all know about the Ronaldos and the Kakas of this world already. What about the star players who are perhaps lesser known by the competition’s wide viewing audience? Here presents 10 players for you to keep an eye on in this year’s edition of the Champions League…” (Just Football)

Radio review: 5 Live Football League

September 15, 2009

“The BBC’s increased coverage of our division this season is by no means restricted to the visual medium. There has been an encouraging upping of profile on Radio too and one of the best examples of this is a new magazine programme titled, with bounteous imagination, ‘5 Live Football League’, an hour long meander through the issues of the week in all three lower divisions, on Monday nights at 9pm.” (thetwounfortunates)

The Differing Faces of Emotion

September 15, 2009

Crossing of the Rhine by French Troops in 1672, (1699). Joseph Parrocel
“After a week of professional and methodical International football, the passion of the Premier League happily returned this weekend and amidst the action also helped to display the ambiguity of emotion. Manchester City’s Emmanuel Adebayor is possibly the greatest exploiter of this word after he explained away the unnecessary boot force used on Robin van Persie’s face by pleading emotion was the cause.” (Three Match Ban)

Cameroon revival masterminded by Paul Le Guen

September 15, 2009

“It has taken but a month for Paul LeGuen to engineer a remarkable turn around in fortunes for Cameroon, placing one of Africa’s most consistent performers back on track for World Cup qualification. After failure at Rangers and the two seasons of contrasting fortunes at Paris Saint-Germain, the star of the taciturn French coach looked to be fading – his three successive Ligue 1 titles with Lyon dimming in the distance.” (WorldSoccer)

Plenty in reserve

September 15, 2009

“The news that Premier League clubs are to face squad restrictions continues a debate that has been going on for years. In WSC 197 (July 2003) Barney Ronay was concened about ever-growing top-flight playing staffs” (WSC)

A World Cup Finals Without Argentina?

September 14, 2009

1930 World Cup Final ball Argentina
“Now is not a particularly good time to be an Argentinian football supporter. Not only have their most loathed opposition – Brazil and England – already qualified for the finals of the 2010 World Cup, but there is a serious likelihood that the Albiceleste themselves might not even qualify for next year’s tournament in South Africa, and coach Diego Maradona is receiving hitherto unprecedented criticism in his home country.” (twohundredpercent)

Serie A: Lazio 0-2 Juventus

September 14, 2009

“Italian football returned from the international break today, and the Saturday evening game took place in Rome, where Lazio hosted Juventus. Both had won their first two games and were looking to preserve their perfect starts. Juventus made most of the early running but the Biancocelesti started to find their feet halfway through the first half. Gianluigi Buffon had to be at his best to parry Aleksandar Kolarov’s drive after a glittering run from the Serb.” (Two Footed Tackle)

Time for George Burley to walk away

September 14, 2009

“George Burley has been an unfortunate Scotland manager, but also an unconvincing one. Each damning statistic dilutes an initial instinct to be sympathetic to him. Scotland took just one point from a possible 12 against Holland and Norway without scoring a single goal in four games against the two sides who finished above them in Group Nine. Burley should have had greater backing from his players, particularly those who undermined him with their misbehaviour, and his employers at the SFA, who presented him as a “unanimous” appointment but failed to present such a united front when the going got tough. Yet Burley the victim simply doesn’t wash. Ultimately, it is a lack of results rather than any media agenda or the humorous mistakes he makes with players’ names which will lead to his demise.” (TimesOnline)

European Soccer’s Top 20

September 14, 2009

“Here it is, the first edition of European Soccer’s Top 20, a weekly ranking intended to engage and hopefully amuse. A word of caution before hitting the launch button: This is a subjective ranking based on one person’s opinion — mine. It is not democratic and does not pretend to be. Feel free to disagree, preferably politely. That said, every effort will be made to be fair. There are rough guidelines. The teams in the five top leagues — alphabetically England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain — carry more weight than those in, for example, Portugal, the Netherlands or Turkey.” (Los Angeles Times)

Just another topsy-turvy day at Anfield

September 14, 2009

“The interlull would have been fatal, were it not for the successes of England and the USMNT over the past fortnight. Thankfully, my beloved Reds took the opportunity to explode into the headlines the day before the EPL kicks back up again, and as with all things Liverpool, it’s an utterly mixed bag.” (unprofessionalfoul)

The Three Amigos: Money Well Spent

September 14, 2009

“Normally, a massive transfer fee is a good omen for future. Big money means big abilities and this usually translates well. However, this is not always the case – Andriy Shevchenko says hi – and even if the money does ring true, it doesn’t always happen right from the start. But when you put three huge money transfers into one big bowl, one of them should surely flop, right? Not so for the case of this summer’s La Liga boys, who’re already rewarding their employers with plenty of stat sheet fillers.” (The Offside)

Subcommandante Maradona

September 13, 2009

“Paraguay have qualified. Chile can choke. Ecuador too. Argentina are at home to Peru next. Uruguay have superior goal difference. Venezuela are lurking. Colombia cannot be ruled out just yet.” (the other football)

A Tale from the Second City

September 13, 2009

“I caught my first glimpse of West Brom yesterday, and I was mildly impressed by what I saw. After warming up for my first ever trip to the Hawthorns in the delightfully hoppy Wellington in Birmingham’s centre, I inevitably entered that myopic state where three pints transform a bunch of aimless wastrels into a squad of dynamoes, and my irrational expectation seemed inspired when Jamie Mackie, Argyle’s heart and soul, squeezed a low shot past England’s No. 6 Scott Carson to put the winless Pilgrims ahead for the third successive away game.” (thetwounfortunates)

Two things

September 13, 2009

“I’m still struggling to blog properly due to various things (new flat doesn’t have internet access for starters and won’t have for a few weeks). Firstly, I think this is a pretty clever move from Hibs. Miller probably shouldn’t have moved from Celtic all those years ago as he never really managed to gain a foothold there but he seems like a quality player. I’ve no idea why the Old Firm didn’t make a move for any of these players…. Secondly, and in much more depth, it looks increasingly likely that George Burley will continue in charge of the Scotland national team. Even the noted Graham Spiers is suggesting that we stand by our man.” (Left Back In The Changing Room)


September 13, 2009

George Utley leads Sheffield United out for the 1915 FA Cup final.
“Sheffield United, led by Ernest Needham, won the First Division championship in the 1897-1898 season. William Foulke only missed one game and the team had the best defensive record in the league and one journalist described Foulke as the ‘greatest goalkeeper in the world’. In a game against Liverpool in November, 1898, George Allan tried to intimidate Foulke. The Liverpool Post reported that ‘Allan charged Foulke in the goalmouth, and the big man, losing his temper, seized him by the leg and turned him upside down.'” (Spartacus)

World Cup Special: Glenn Hoddle – “Hand of God” Story

September 13, 2009

“Glenn Hoddle tells us about “THAT” Maradona goal during the World Cup Quarter Final, in Mexico ’86. Still makes you want to cry even now!! Glenn Hoddle was speaking at the launch of Championship Manager 2010.” (Channel Bee)

La Liga: Ibrahimovic stars as Barca down Getafe

September 13, 2009

“Cristiano Ronaldo came off the bench to seal a 3-0 win for Real Madrid away to Espanyol in La Liga on Saturday, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic provided the inspiration for Barcelona in a 2-0 success at Getafe. Esteban Granero struck to give Real the lead just before the break, Guti made it 2-0 and Ronaldo wrapped up the victory in added time.” (ESPN)

Continuing The Great Start; Getafe-0, Barca-2
“FC Barcalona continued with their excellent start to the season with a 2-0 victory away at the Coliseum Alfonso stadium in Getafe. Goals from Ibrahmovic and Messi took Barca to a not so convincing victory against a tough Getafe side. This victory has taken us to the top of the table and we will be looking to hold onto that top spot no matter what. I may not have predicted the scoreline correctly but I did predict that Ibrahmovic will score in this game; so I got some predictions right.” (All About FC Barcelona)

Ibrahimovic on target again as Barca go top
“Barcelona’s record signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic made it two goals in as many games as the Spanish champions moved to the top of the table with a 2-0 victory at Getafe on Saturday.” (SoccerNews)

Getafe vs Barca Highlights on 12/09/09
(All About FC Barcelona)

Review of the week

September 13, 2009

“On the day The Beatles entered the world of gaming, it was Lennon who took centre stage at Wembley. The boy from Tottenham is getting better all the time, tearing Croatia to pieces with an all-action display as the Capello revolution continues apace. Following the famous win in Germany eight years ago, the chant was: ‘5-1 – even Heskey scored” but the striker went to extraordinary lengths to ensure there would be no repeat of that this time.'” (BBC)

Liverpool 4 Burnley 0: match report

September 12, 2009

Titian“Slowly, the haze is lifting, the wounds are healing. Liverpool’s woes are well-documented, their early season troubles endlessly picked apart. They may have been written off as title contenders from inside and out, but if their last win, against Bolton, showed their spirit, this destruction of Burnley detailed their class. Rafa Benitez’s side are not yet finished.” (Telegraph)

Aurelio ready to return
“Liverpool expect to have Brazilian full-back Fabio Aurelio back in their squad for the first time this season against Burnley, after his recovery from knee surgery in the summer. Aurelio has played in two practice matches in recent days and will at least be on the bench for the Barclays Premier League match at Anfield.” (ESPN)

Liverpool 4 – 0 Burnley
“A Yossi Benanyoun hat-trick inspired a dominant Liverpool to a comfortable victory over Burnley at Anfield. The midfielder cut inside Graham Alexander and slid in a shot across keeper Brian Jensen for the opener. Jensen could only parry Benayoun’s shot at the end of a swift counter-attack and Dirk Kuyt slotted in the loose ball to extend the Reds’ lead.” (BBC)

Rafa: Yossi is an Example to Others
“Rafa Benitez labelled Yossi Benayoun an example to the rest of his squad after the Israeli struck a hat-trick to sink Burnley on Saturday. Dirk Kuyt was the other scorer in a deserved 4-0 win – but it was Benayoun who Benitez singled out as an example of how those on the fringes can go on to play a crucial role. The No.15 spent the first half of last season on the peripheries but is now a central figure at Anfield.” (Liverpool FC)

Yossi Benayoun overwhelms Burnley with second Liverpool hat-trick
“On the eve of this match, Pepe Reina had described Liverpool’s chances of winning the title as being “unrealistic”. That may be the case but on a sun-kissed day at Anfield, the hosts’ attempts to at least remain contenders this season continued to warm up. Gone here were the horrors of Liverpool’s last league match at home – the 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa – and instead Rafael Benítez’s side displayed the relentlessness and deadliness to suggest they can better last season’s second-place finish. Bar a first-minute strike from Martin Paterson that slide just wide of Reina’s near post, Liverpool were rarely threatened by the visitors.” (Guardian)

World Cup Champions for a Day

September 11, 2009

“A handful of amateur carpenters, fisherman and laborers, in amongst a few professionals, won a football game yesterday. It wasn’t a big game, or a particularly meaningful one in the grand scheme, but it was an official game, and that’s something. For a tiny island nation of 48,000 it means the first competitive victory since 2001, and one of only a few in their history.” (WorldCupBlog)

Faroe Islands national football team
“The Faroe Islands national football team is the national football team of Faroe Islands and is controlled by the Faroe Islands Football Association. It is considered one of the weakest members of UEFA and has never advanced to the finals of any major international competition.” (Wikipedia), (W – Faroe Islands)

Faroes – Aland 7-1. 1989 Island Games final. 2nd half. “…Bergur Magnussen!!!” (YouTube)

The Ugly, Diving Duckling

September 11, 2009

“Eduardo has been sentenced to a 2 game ban for ‘diving.’ UEFA could not write a diving specific prohibition because the offense is too amorphous. Thus, Platini relied on an ambiguous and long unused snippet of statutory text. Technically, Eduardo was convicted of ‘simulation.’ But the legal logistics are not exactly what bothers me.” (futfanatico)

Brazil’s World Cup worries

September 11, 2009

“‘I’m happy. You may not believe it but I’m really happy,’ beamed Brazilian coach Dunga following his side’s 4-2 win over Chile in Salvador on Wednesday night. Dunga, unlike his Argentine counterpart Diego Maradona, should have reasons to be cheerful. World Cup qualification was guaranteed by Brazil’s dismissive defeat of Argentina last weekend and his team are the current Copa America and Confederations Cup holders. But Dunga rarely seems happier than when he is locked in battle with his country’s demanding fans and press corps – and neither side is contemplating a truce in the conflict.” (WSC)

Ugly Soccer Shirts: Germany

September 11, 2009

“Here is a picture list of ‘Ugly’ German soccer shirts from the past 20 years or so. As with any ‘Ugly’ shirt post, some of these straddle the fence between being interesting/unique and being plain ugly. If you know of more shirts from Germany that deserve to make the list, let me know and I’ll add them.” (The Best Eleven)

England’s Emphatic Win Places Me In Unfamiliar Territory

September 11, 2009

“In the run up to England’s World Cup qualifier with Croatia on Wednesday I was filled with hope that the Three Lions could avenge the nightmare of two years ago and qualify for the World Cup in the process. This though only represented half of my thoughts. I also harboured feelings of dread, images of England once again failing to put in a performance when it mattered and visions of Scott Carson making a nightmarish return to the England team. I was astonished and delighted then to witness a clinical and ruthless England comfortably sweep aside Croatia and cruise towards the World Cup with two games left to play. Does this now mean that England are a genuine hope at the World Cup or am I just hopping on the bandwagon of expectation that rides around every two years at tournament time?” (ThreeMatchBan)

Road to South Africa

September 11, 2009

“It is time to take a look as time runs short in the current cycle of World Cup qualifying, with most teams around the world having two games left to play. Rather than going through it region by region, the focus is on the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking and how it is most likely to affect World Cup seedings when the draw is held in December. A top seeding in a finals group gives a country a good chance to advance and the best chance to avoid a so-called group of death (FIFA also factors in other criteria, such as a country’s performance in recent World Cups).” (NYT)

Paul Le Guen’s formula puts Cameroon on threshold of the World Cup

September 11, 2009

“Remember Titi Camara? Of course you do. The former Liverpool and West Ham player is currently manager of his native Guinea, where he has accused the country’s football association of racism because it refuses to pay him €10,000 (£8,800) per month. ‘It’s because I’m black and African,’ reckons Camara. ‘If I were a white European they would have no problem paying me at least that much.'” (Guardian)

England Routs Croatia and Qualifies for World Cup

September 10, 2009

Le Nain Four Figures at Table 1630s
Le Nains, Four Figures at Table, 1630s
“England demolished Croatia, 5-1, at Wembley Stadium in London on Wednesday and stormed into next year’s World Cup finals in South Africa after making it eight wins out of eight games in Europe Group 6.” (NYT)

Fabio Capello says England’s World Cup qualification is ‘only first step’
“After qualifying for the finals with a perfect record and two matches to spare England have been installed as third favourites, behind Brazil and Spain, to win the first World Cup to be held in Africa. Capello has overseen a dramatic turnaround in England’s fortunes since he took over in the wake of Steve McClaren’s ill-fated spell as national team manager.” (Telegraph)

Spain qualify for 2010 World Cup
“European champions Spain booked their place at the 2010 World Cup following a 3-0 win over Group Five rivals Estonia. Goals from Cesc Fabregas, Santi Cazorla and Juan Mata handed the Spaniards their eighth win from eight qualifiers played, with two fixtures remaining.” (BBC)

Argentina drop deeper into the mire as Paraguay seal their World Cup spot
“Argentina’s hopes of reaching the World Cup next year took a further knock tonight after losing to Paraguay, whose victory sealed their own passage to South Africa. For Argentina’s coach, Diego Maradona, it was another disappointing night as his side dropped into the play-off positions, with his own position beginning to look increasingly untenable.” (Guardian)

Should Burley stay or go?
“Defeat by the Netherlands at Hampden on Wednesday night was the final blow to Scotland’s World Cup 2010 campaign. George Burley’s team finished third in Group Nine behind the Netherlands and Norway and so failed to stay in the running for a play-off place.” (BBC)

Scotland’s soul-searching begins
“If they gave out medals for breast-beating and soul-searching, Scotland would be kings of the world across the sporting spectrum. Even before the dust had settled on the national team’s wholly predictable 1-0 defeat against the Dutch at Hampden Park, the knives were out, not just for George Burley, but for a variety of SFA officials, including the hapless George Peat, who seems to believe that Scotland’s failure to qualify for next summer’s World Cup starts and ends with Chris Iwelumo. If only it was that simple.” (ESPN)

Cameroon roar into contention
“Cameroon’s dreams of reaching Africa’s first World Cup finals are back on track after beating Gabon 2-1 in a delayed fixture in Yaounde on Wednesday night.” (ESPN)

World Cup Qualifying – UEFA (ESPN)


Michael Shields Released

September 9, 2009

“The decision to release Michael Shields, made by Justice Secretary Jack Straw this morning brings to a close one chapter of a particularly unpleasant incident in the recent history of English football. It has to be said, however, that it opens a completely new one and it must be hoped that this is a story which will not now be brushed under the carpet.” (twohundredpercent)

Now help the other innocent prisoners
“There must be a few hundred prisoners sitting on their bunks in cells at home and abroad today scratching their chins and thinking, ‘Blimey, I wonder if my mum and dad had a quick chat with that Jack Straw and explained exactly how I had been wrongfully convicted, would I be given a free pardon?'” (Guardian)

Liverpool fan Michael Shields thanks Merseyside after Jack Straw’s shock pardon
“A Liverpool football fan jailed for the attempted murder of a Bulgarian barman four years ago today thanked the whole of Merseyside for its support – as Justice Secretary Jack Straw performed a mysterious U-turn and handed him a royal pardon.” (Times)

Football’s Greatest Clubs

September 9, 2009

“How does one go about measuring greatness in football? I mean real, obvious, blatant greatness; that rarest of qualities. Today “greatness” is such a woolly, over-used term that sometimes we lose its meaning and start labeling all sorts of mundane, workaday things as ‘great. The evolution of language has distilled its meaning, reduced its potency, but we still know greatness when we see it.” (SoccerLens)

Keeping the faith

September 9, 2009

“After hauling off Sulley Muntari half an hour into a Serie A game with Bari last month, Internazionale manager Jose Mourinho blamed the Ghanaian midfielder’s religious beliefs. ‘Ramadan has not arrived at the ideal moment for a player to play a football match,’ said Mourinho, upset after a poor 1-1 draw for the Italian champions.” (WSC)

Video debate: Robert Elstone on investment, funding transfers and the tax threat

September 9, 2009

SOCCER Man Utd 37
“Everton FC chief executive Robert Elstone was the guest as part of the Liverpool Daily Post Business’s live debate on the Business of Football. He was joined by Prof Tom Cannon and sports editor John Thompson in an engaging discussion chaired by business editor Bill Gleeson.” (Liverpool Daily Post)

Against Brazil

September 9, 2009

“What if the legend stops being fact? What if the legend not only stops being fact, but goes on being printed anyway, printed incessantly, at every opportunity, printed and duplicated and reprinted and reduplicated to the point that it becomes an inescapable atmospheric cliché? What if it starts to distort the desire it originally gave expression to? What if it stops even being a legend, and becomes instead a slogan, a logo, a trademark, a campaign?” (Run of Play)