Why Argentina chose ‘ganas’ and ‘pibes’ over winning

October 12, 2009

Van Basten
“Everyone laughs at Argentina, but the point is to understand how they got themselves into this mess. Their football team, coached by Diego Maradona, a peculiar former cocaine addict with no previous successful coaching experiences, might fail to qualify for the World Cup. To get there, the Selección must beat Peru at home on Saturday and probably at least draw in Uruguay on Wednesday.” (FT)

Apparently Argentina Asked Peru to Roll Over. But Peru Didn’t.
“Late late 2-1 win over Peru for Diego Maradona’s Argentina on Saturday night, with Martin Palermo scoring the all-important goal in the 93rd minute (and drawing a magnificent Klinsmann-esque diving celebration from his coach, see the very end of the above video.)” (WorldCupBlog)

Palermo Scores, Maradona ‘Flops’, Argentina Wins
“The hero of Argentina’s sputtering World Cup campaign owns an ignominious place in the Guiness Book of World Records. And now, Martín Palermo, a guy known as el Loco (the crazy one), has staked his place in Argentine soccer history. Few will soon forgot the final five minutes or so of Saturday night’s tumultuous South American World Cup qualifying match between a desperate Argentina and a desolate Peru at Estadio Monumental in Buenos Aires.” (NYT)

To Go or Not to Go: The World Cup 2010 South Africa Question

October 12, 2009

“The US is going to South Africa. As I followed Grant Wahl’s twitter feed of Saturday’s game from San Pedro Sula, an odd experience of using a 2009 technology to get around the 1980 closed circuit, I was surprised, impressed, and pleased with the fortitude Bob Bradley’s men showed in Honduras. Having not been able to watch, I imagine the game to have played much like the Confederation’s Cup this summer: the US offering just enough tactical and technical savvy to complement their most distinctive quality of sheer determination. There are still many questions as to how far that combination can take the US at the World Cup finals, and I’m sure much will be written on that topic between now and next June. But for me the US victory, along with the crystallizing of all the nations that will be at the finals next summer, raises a more difficult question: will I be in South Africa with them?” (Pitch Invasion)

Ireland Aim to Avoid Heartbreak Under ‘Trap’

October 12, 2009

“Heck of a game here on Saturday night: Ireland 2, Italy 2. Italy qualified for the World Cup and the Republic of Ireland was guaranteed a play-off spot. Some of the younger Irish players — guys who toil for Championship clubs in England — played the game of their lives. The odd thing is that even before the thrilling, fast-paced game began, Ireland knew it was certain of a playoff spot. Earlier in the day, Bulgaria had collapsed against Cyprus, losing 1-4, and the hierarchy in Group 8 of European qualifying was solidified.” (NYT)

The travels of Benito Carbone

October 12, 2009

“The town of Pavia, half an hour from Milan, is famous for several reasons. It has a 14th century university, some famous wines and extreme weather with humidity and mosquitos in the summer followed by thick fog in the winter. The local football team, AC Pavia, is much less well-known – they have never played at the top level and their most recent season in Serie B was in 1954-55. The club gets some media attention these days, however, because of a 38-year-old midfielder called Benito Carbone, widely regarded in Italy as one of the potentially great players who never quite made it” (WSC)

Luciano Spalletti had to call it quits
“No one can ever suggest that the 2009-2010 Italian season got off to a quiet start. Within two rounds of matches, Internazionale had already stuffed cousins Milan 4-0 in the first Milanese derby of the season, while consecutive defeats against Genoa and Juventus had prompted Roma coach Luciano Spalletti to resign.” (WorldSoccer)

Welcome to the future of football

October 12, 2009

“Rio Ferdinand is perhaps one of the more unlikely of digital ambassadors. Before yesterday’s online-only broadcast of Ukraine v England, the defender offered his opinion on the unique way the game would be broadcast to the nation. ‘I’m sure it’ll be the way forward and in the future it’ll probably be the reality. I think it’s a good way to gauge how many people are interested,’ Ferdinand told BBC Sport. The Manchester United man’s view was one shared by many online who breathlessly predicted it would change the face of sports broadcasting. Perhaps the digital question was still playing in his head, judging by his performance in the game. (SoccerLens)

World Cup list takes shape

October 12, 2009

“The latest qualifiers came from the Americas, where Chile, the USA and Mexico made sure of places with victories early yesterday. With the five qualifiers from Saturday and 11 other countries, including hosts South Africa, which had qualified earlier, the total is now 19. In all, 32 teams will play in the 2010 World Cup. Yesterday’s qualifiers followed Ivory Coast, Germany, Denmark, Serbia and Italy, who won spots on Saturday.” (Timeslive)

Planting Seeds Of Doubt At The World Cup

October 12, 2009

Teruyoshi Ito
“By Wednesday night the make up of the automatic UEFA qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup finals will be known and it is at least possible, if not likely, that there will be one or two surprises amongst them. Serbia, for example, only need one win from their two remaining matches against Romania and Austria to condemn France to second place in their group, whilst it is almost certain that, in spite of having two comfortable home matches against Hungary and Malta as their final two fixtures, the “lottery of the play-offs” will be the best that Portugal will be able to manage and they might yet even lose out on second place to one of Denmark, Sweden or even Hungary. Even Germany may only finish in second place in their group, a scenario which will become considerably more likely should they lose to Russia today.” (twohundredpercent)