Caf decision over Togo makes no sense

January 31, 2010


“Not since Buckingham Palace took so long to respond Princess Diana’s death in 1997 has an organisation so badly misjudged the mood of the public. For the decision by the Confederation of African Football (Caf) to expel Togo from the next two Africa Cup of Nations – following their Angola 2010 withdrawal after their team bus was machine-gunned (with two team officials dying) – is simply jaw-dropping. Before we get into the whys and wherefores, let’s just clarify why the Togolese have been suspended. In the statement they released on Saturday, Caf said the following… ” (BBC – Piers Edwards)


South Africa’s cup is failing to set the world on fire

January 31, 2010

“According to the wonderful American humorist Dave Barry, who has long marvelled at Miami’s ability to attract visitors despite notorious gun and crime statistics, the city’s official tourism slogan is: Maybe You Won’t Get Shot. There is no truth in the rumour that South Africa is considering a similar sales pitch for the World Cup this summer, yet listening to Jérôme Valcke, the secretary general of Fifa, pleading for more favourable media coverage in advance of the tournament and blaming low ticket sales on unfounded security concerns, it was tempting to wonder what sort of people his organisation imagined would flock to a distant country with a reputation for violence.” (Guardian – Paul Wilson)


Super-sub Gedo lands Egypt title

January 31, 2010

“Super-sub Mohamed Gedo scored the only goal five minutes from time to help Egypt defend their African Nations Cup crown with victory over brave Ghana. The Pharaohs, who struggled to create many openings through the game, looked unlikely to score as the game drifted towards extra-time – until the Ittihad striker struck his fifth goal of the competition to break the resilience of their opponents.” (ESPN)

Ghana 0-1 Egypt
“Egypt secured a record seventh Africa Cup of Nations title, after beating Ghana 1-0 in a tense final in Angola. Substitute Mohamed Gedo scored the only goal of the game, playing a neat one-two before curling a superb shot past Richard Kingson in the 85th minute.” (BBC)


Forward! Barnsley

January 31, 2010

“Mark Robins would have more than a case for being the best manager of this Championship season but his players let him down today. The former C. D. Ourense and Panionios man has been scathing of his players in his post match comments and little wonder: they didn’t muster a shot on goal in the 1-0 reverse at the Madejski Stadium and such meek capitulation to a team occupying the penultimate slot in the table will not be countenanced in future.” (thetwounfortunates)


Celtic still 10 points behind, Hibs keep up fight for 2nd place

January 31, 2010


Scott Brown
“Rangers are still 10 points clear at the top of the Scottish Premier League after a 3-0 win over Falkirk at Ibrox. In honesty, it was a pretty flat game with the class of Steven Davis playing a big part in deciding the result. The Northern Irish midfielder scored the first for Rangers after 18 minutes with a superb free-kick from 25 yards out. Davis then notched his 13th assist of the season with a lovely pass across the face of goal for the on-rushing John Fleck who managed to sneak the ball into the net.” (Soccer Lens)

A 10 point-gap in the SPL: is the season over?
“Travelling back home through Gatwick last night, I quickly checked the football scores before switching off the phone for the flight. At the time, Rangers where winning 1-0 against St Mirren and Celtic where 1-0 up against Hibs. Nothing unusual in that I thought, but as an illustration of the fragility of the Old Firm this season, by the time I landed in Rotterdam, Celtic had somehow managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, and websites across the nation decreed the end of the Scottish football season for 2009/10.” (Inside Left)

Hamilton 0 – 1 Celtic
“Morten Rasmussen bagged his first Celtic goal to set up an unconvincing win at Hamilton Accies. The Danish striker immediately marked his arrival as a substitute with a sharp turn and shot on 67 minutes. Prior to Rasmussen’s strike, Celtic had toiled to break down stubborn, if unadventurous, opponents, with little goalmouth action to excite the fans.” (BBC)


Soccer plays a critical role in Africa

January 31, 2010

“The Africa Cup of Nations is traditionally fought tooth and nail as regional rivals duke it out to claim continental bragging rights. This year’s competition, now at the final stage, has felt sorely lacking; more Maui Invitational than March Madness. The play of local Ivory Coast, Cameroon, and Nigeria has been particularly uneven, triggering a rush of critics to downgrade bullish predictions made so confidently after the World Cup draw.” (ESPN)


Pedro seals Barca win

January 31, 2010

“Pedro’s goal proved enough to give Barcelona their 16th league win of the season as Pep Guardiola’s side edged out Sporting Gijon at El Molinon in the Primera Division. The Tenerife-born winger struck after half an hour to give Barca the lead. Both sides had missed decent opportunities before that, but Guardiola’s side were superior virtually throughout.”>(ESPN)

Sporting Gijon vs Barca Highlights, on 30/01/10
(All About FC Barcelona)


Liverpool 2 Bolton Wanderers 0

January 30, 2010


“Liverpool kept up the pressure in the race for fourth place in the Premier League with a 2-0 victory over Bolton at Anfield.
Dirk Kuyt’s 49th strike for the club and Kevin Davies’ own goal either side of half-time eventually proved enough in a performance that was lacking a touch of class if not endeavour.” (ESPN)

Liverpool 2 Bolton Wanderers 0: match report
“Uninspired, unconvincing, but not quite unacceptable. The green shoots of Liverpool’s revival may not be in full bloom, but the longer they survive, the stronger their roots will be. Rafael Benitez’s side may have only squeezed past Bolton Wanderers, thanks to goals from Dirk Kuyt and a deflected Emiliano Insua effort, but so deep is the crisis which has engulfed Anfield that any win will do.”” (Telegraph)

Rafael Benítez ‘proud’ of Juventus link as summer move looks possible
“Rafael Benítez has kept the way clear for a summer move to Juventus by confirming his Liverpool future is linked to the club’s search for new investment and that he is flattered by the approach from Turin. As expected, Juventus dismissed Ciro Ferrara as coach yesterday and contracted the former Milan and Udinese manager Alberto Zaccheroni to take charge until June.” (Guardian)


Fan Diary #22: A Quick One Before Liverpool v. Bolton

January 30, 2010

“Liverpool v. Bolton. Alright. As I’m starting this it’s nearly 2am here on the east side of America so I’m going to reel off a few hundred words before bed. Sorry for the brevity compared to my usual output, but kickoff is eight hours away and this writer needs some sleep. But I do want to get my pre-match thoughts in.” (EPL Talk)


Football Weekly Extra: United prevail over City in the battle of Manchester

January 30, 2010

“Barry Glendenning, Paul Doyle and special guest Ben Clissitt join James to wrap up a busy midweek of football. While the red half of Manchester celebrate victory over the blues, the pod discuss the coin-throwing incident and disgraceful chants directed at Emmanuel Adebayor. No one wants to see these in football, but how do you stop them? … Paul gives his verdict on the standard of the Africa Cup of Nations so far and explains why Algeria shouldn’t be taken lightly by England in the summer. The pod also wonder why on earth Juventus would want Rafael Benítez as their new manager, discuss the Salvador Cabañas shooting and preview the Premier League fixtures at the weekend.” (Guardian – James Richardson)


Behind José’s madness, a method

January 30, 2010


“Here’s a little game you can play at home. Type the words “Mourinho” and “referee” in your search engine. When I do it, I get more than 3 million hits. Here are some random headlines…” (SI)


Nigeria 1-0 Algeria – Recap and Video Highlights – CAF 2010 Africa Cup of Nations 3rd Place – Saturday, January 30, 2010

January 30, 2010

“Nigeria and Algeria, who both lost in the semifinals, played for third place in the CAF 2010 Africa Cup of Nations on Saturday, January 30, 2010. While it was a disappointment for both sides to not reach the final, a third place victory would be a good accomplishment. The match was in front of 15,000 spectators at the Abuja Stadium.” (The 90th Minute)


Could Guardiola really follow Fergie?

January 30, 2010

“Josep Guardiola is being linked with the job at Manchester United, which may be up for grabs at the end of this year or next. The contractual chicanery between him and Joan Laporta suggests he could well have designs on a position elsewhere, and in the very least, Guardiola has evinced an unwillingness to commit longterm to the Catalan giants. It’s rumoured he favours a move to England and the Premiership – a league he is reportedly a fan of.”> (Soccer Lens)


Soccer Takes a New Look at Replay

January 29, 2010


Mountainous Landscape, Lucas van Valckenborch
“European soccer’s stance on video technology is officially under review. More than two months after Thierry Henry’s infamous handball helped France eliminate the Republic of Ireland in a World Cup qualifying match, Sepp Blatter, the president of soccer’s governing body, FIFA, has reopened the debate on whether the sport should introduce video footage of the goal line to aid referees.” (WSC)


African Cup of Nations online coverage review

January 29, 2010

“I’ve been watching this year’s African Cup of Nations in a weird twilight kind of world. As the games are on during the afternoon and early evening, I’ve been recording them, and trying to watch them ‘as live’ late at night. This is taking Bob and Terry’s task to new heights, as it is pretty damn hard to avoid the scores when you work in a news organisation that is doing minute-by-minute coverage of the key matches. Nevertheless, at the moments when I have been up-to-date with the scores, I’ve been looking at the online coverage of the event.” (currybet – 1: UK, 2: African newspapers, 3: African newspapers, 4: British and American online newspapers)


The Glazer Protests: Where Do They Go From Here?

January 29, 2010

“It was one of the stranger sights of the season, for sure. During the League Cup semi-final between Manchester United and Manchester City on Wednesday night, a large number of (what to the untrained eye may have appeared to have been) Norwich City supporters seemed to have infiltrated Old Trafford and were sitting in their seats, cheering on Alex Ferguson’s team. It was, of course, nothing of the sort.” (twohundredpercent)


Bored of the Transfer Window

January 29, 2010

“News reaches this desk about Gordon’s capture of Celtic and Scotland defender, Stephen McManus, on loan until the end of the season. A deal looked like it was anything but on the cards a couple of days ago, yet the Boro manager greased wheels and pressed palms in order to make it happen. That’s a big weight of our minds in terms of our tottering defence, a unit that hasn’t kept a clean sheet since Boxing Day, and it could be the start of a flurry of incoming players before the window closes.” (Smog Blog)


Brazil hurt by its power structure

January 29, 2010


Adriano
“We don’t yet know where the World Cups of 2018 and 2022 will be played. But some of the bidding countries have already worked out which cities they will use to stage matches if the circus does come to town. It’s unfortunate Brazil wasn’t so quick off the mark.” (SI – Tim Vickery)


Haiti’s Goal

January 29, 2010

“There have been goals in Benguela, Cabinda, Luanda and Lubango, but no goals are being scored in the Stade Slyvio Cator in Port-au-Prince. Haiti’s goalposts don’t exist anymore. Angolans paused for Haiti before every Quarter Final, the carnage of their own wars against colonialism and as proxies in the Cold War never far from their thoughts. A nation blessed by the curse of geology showing solidarity with their brothers and sisters, torn asunder by the earth’s crust, an ocean apart.” (Football Is Coming Home)


Algeria 0-4 Egypt: Sweet Revenge / How To Lose The Plot Completely

January 29, 2010

“Sometimes football can throw up the most appropriate of metaphors. A red rag to a bull almost couldn’t describe Egypt’s 4-0 thrashing of Algeria any better, from the suave matador-like performance of the holders to the mad angry rage of the Algerians. And, as if to hammer home the point, Egypt played in red. The bull ring parallels here are perfect.” (Just Football)

Algeria 0 – 4 Egypt“Defending champions Egypt strolled into the final of the African Nations Cup as eight-man Algeria bowed out in ignominious fashion. The game was evenly poised until Rafik Halliche felled Emad Moteab in the box eight minutes before the break, earning a red card for his troubles, and Hosni Abd Rabou converted the spot-kick. Mohamed Zidan added a classy second after 65 minutes before Nadir Belhadj saw red for a horror challenge on Ahmed El Mohamady five minutes later.” (ESPN)

Algeria 0-4 Egypt
“Egypt strolled through to their third successive Africa Cup of Nations final, overcoming Algeria 4-0, with their great rivals finishing with eight men. Hosni Abd Rabou put Egypt ahead from the spot, after Algeria’s Rafik Halliche was sent-off for the foul. Mohamed Zidan doubled the lead, before Mohamed Abdelshafi made it three and Mohamed Gedo completed the rout.” (BBC)


Stone Cold Friday: Why Arsenal Can Do Without Another Striker

January 29, 2010

“January has to be the most depressing month for football journalists. The pressure to concoct player transfer rumours is so relentless it easily qualifies as working under duress. The suits upstairs are squeezing their Editors chuffers to ensure that they fill news columns and air waves. There’s a very fine line between exclusive breaking news and faecal matter you can only read whilst pinching your nose to avoid the stench.” (A Cultured Left Foot)


DVD review: The Damned United

January 28, 2010


“David Peace’s work has been a modern day staple of visual adaptations for the past year or so and the author is one of those writers whose books can often be found on the shelves of those who, as The Daily Telegraph might term it, ‘don’t read books’, an explorer of yoof issues to cast alongside Irvine Welsh, Howard Marks and Nicholas Blincoe. In truth, and without wishing to denigrate those authors, Peace’s ambition extends beyond this.” (thetwounfortunates)


Fans on Edge Before African Cup Semifinal

January 28, 2010

“Just as the general sense of outrage and anger that followed Egypt’s 0-1 loss in a decisive World Cup qualifying match against Algeria was starting to fade, both teams are now set to face each other in the semifinal of the African Cup in Angola on Thursday.” (NYT)


Donny gone (again) – AJ to follow?

January 28, 2010

“I’m a little disappointed to find myself writing this more than a day after Boro’s astonishing 4-1 away win over Doncaster Rovers. As it turned out, I spent my spare time last night watching the Manchester derby, a thrilling League Cup semi-final (you don’t often get to read those words) that contained just about everything you could want from a football match. Yes, even a charged atmosphere that occasionally spilled over into real loathing. I mean, I hate to see any player getting pelted with coins from the stands, but if you could choose just one individual as a target for your fifty pee… Only joking. Or am I?” (smog-blog)


Sympathy for the devil not enough for Milan

January 28, 2010

“It was billed as a contest between strength and beauty, substance versus style and whenever that’s the case the public generally side with the latter. And that’s why you should never trust the wisdom of crowds as Inter showed absolutely no difficulty in dispatching Milan, the overwhelming people’s favourites.” (Soccer Lens)


Barcelona’s record-breaking 2009 will be hard to repeat in 2010

January 28, 2010


“For Real Madrid, the best thing about 2009 was that it did, eventually, draw to a close. For Barcelona, that could be their only complaint. Their task now is to dominate in another year too, to ensure that this is not a one-off, to build a lasting legacy. The cliche says getting to the top is one thing, staying there is even harder; that the second season is even more difficult than the first.” (World Soccer – 1), (2 -Barcelona’s Annus mirabilis will be hard to emulate)


Michael Owen rages against the dying of the light

January 28, 2010

“Oscar Wilde memorably summed up the climax of The Old Curiosity Shop by remarking that “one would have to have a heart of stone to read the death of little Nell without laughing”. The modern reader may well have had the same reaction to Michael Owen’s exclusive interview with the Guardian at the weekend.” (WSC)


Gyan goal seals finals berth

January 28, 2010

“Asamoah Gyan scored the only goal to help a well-organised Ghana book their place in the African Nations Cup final with a battling victory over regional rivals Nigeria. The only goal came midway through the first half when a Kwadwo Asamoah corner caught out the napping Super Eagles defence and the in-form Rennes striker applied the finishing touches.” (ESPN)


Liverpool deflate like a balloon when missing Gerrard and Torres

January 27, 2010


Capriccio with ancient ruins, Francesco Guardi
“Steven Gerrard was the Footballer of the Year last season, not because he was particularly outstanding but because Liverpool were generally impressive and over the course of his career their captain had been generally excellent. In a season without an obvious, stand-out candidate, in other words, the award went to someone who deserved to win something. It would have been somewhat anomalous, it was felt, for one of the best English players of his generation to be overlooked when the opportunity presented itself to acknowledge his overall contribution.” (Guardian – Paul Wilson)

Steven Gerrard says draw with Wolves proves Liverpool are progressing
“In what is becoming a familiar refrain at Anfield this season, Steven Gerrard has declared Liverpool have “turned a corner” in the wake of the goalless draw at Wolverhampton Wanderers. Rafael Benítez used the same phrase two months ago only for his team to subsequently regress but Gerrard believes that a fifth consecutive Premier League match without defeat represents genuine proof that Liverpool are moving in the right direction.” (Guardian)

Reds foiled by Wolves
“Liverpool suffered a severe blow to their hopes of securing Champions League football as they were frustrated by Mick McCarthy’s side in a goalless draw at Molineux. The Reds actually moved above Manchester City on goal difference into fifth spot with a share of the spoils but have played two games more.” (ESPN)

Wolves expose sheepishness of Rafael Benitez’s troubled team
“Liverpool may have failed to capitalise last night on an opportunity to move closer to the top four in the Barclays Premier League, but Wolverhampton Wanderers should be kicking themselves for missing out on a deserved victory. Mick McCarthy’s team do retain the fourth place they covet, however — fourth from bottom. Should the West Midlands club manage to build on this encouraging performance, and add greater penetration while lifting themselves for less glamorous occasions such as a trip to Hull City on Saturday, salvation can be theirs.” (TimesOnline)


A Good Defense Isn’t Enough

January 27, 2010

“The old adage about defenses winning championships is starting to look outdated. Across Europe’s leading football leagues right now, the major title contenders have ditched the defensive mindset traditionally associated with success in favor of a new adventurous line of attack, in which teams are far more interested in scoring goals than preventing them. The result has been a deluge of goals that has delighted supporters and sent statisticians scurrying to check the record books.” (WSJ)


Fierce rivalries set to dominate semi-finals

January 27, 2010


“Many spectators attending Sunday’s quarter-final in Luanda were surprised to be handed condoms upon entry – with the donors perhaps mindful of how an earlier victory had prompted some Angolans to parade naked through the streets. Either way, the message seemed to be – ‘Make love, not war’ – which, even though the Ghanaians punctured their hosts’ happy bubble, was timely. For last night, Egypt beat Cameroon 3-1 to set up a repeat of their intense World Cup play-off against bitter foes Algeria, a game that sparked outbreaks of violence and enormous tensions across the Arab world.” (BBC)

Egypt-Algeria rivalry spills deeper
“Hosni Mubarak isn’t a man accustomed to defeat. The Egyptian president, after all, has been in charge for more than 30 years, outflanking regional and global rivals with consummate ease. Even Egypt’s electoral process offers him scant chance of coming second: He romped during the 2005 elections with almost 90 percent of the vote.” (SI)

Cameroon fury as Hassan ‘goal’ helps Egypt progress
“Defending champions Egypt became the third team to reach the semi-finals of the Africa
Cup of Nations last night, overcoming Cameroon 3-1 after extra time in a match marred by a controversial third goal in Benguela.” (Independent)

The Footballl History Between Egypt & Algeria
“Tomorrow is the African Nations Cup’s semifinals match between Egypt and Algeria and everybody is already tensed about this (pay back) match for the Egyptians and (survival for the fittest) match for the Algerians. I just hope this will pass with no violence between the two teams or among the supporters.” (DailyIntake)

Revenge not an issue for Gomaa
“Wael Gomaa insists defending champions Egypt are not thinking about revenge ahead of their African Nations Cup semi-final against arch rivals Algeria. The two north-African giants meet in Benguela for the right to face either Ghana or Nigeria who will clash in the other last-four clash, a derby from the west of the continent.” (ESPN)

Angola players back coach Manuel Jose to stay on
“Two senior Angolan players have told BBC Sport that they want Manuel Jose to continue as coach of the national team in the wake of their elimination from the Africa Cup of Nations. The Palancas Negras were beaten 1-0 by Ghana in the quarter-finals on Sunday, leaving several players in tears in front of their home crowd.” (BBC)

Amodu confident of Nigeria success
“Shaibu Amodu admits traditional rivalry will be an added incentive when Nigeria come up against Ghana in the African Nations Cup semi-final but is confident his team can prevail. The two west African giants clash in Luanda in one of two final-four derbies – the other seeing Egypt take on Algeria in the battle of the north – as the tournament reaches its closing stages.” (ESPN)


UEFA’s New Financial Controls: Some Clarification

January 27, 2010

“UEFA’s plan to introduce a Financial Fair Play initiative in time for the 2013-14 season whipped up an enormous amount of speculation, including claims that evil Frenchman Michel Platini was deliberately targeting English clubs to get them excluded from European competition.” (Pitch Invasion)


Plot strands coming together

January 27, 2010

“As we have hinted at in our new series Championship Letters, the resemblance between a league season and a great work of literature is marked, and the form with which the easiest parallels can be drawn is the long, winding novel, full of unexpected developments and richly portrayed characters.” (thetwounfortunates)


Ghana v Nigeria: The media view

January 26, 2010


“Fierce west African rivals Ghana and Nigeria are preparing to face each other in the semi-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations, in one of the biggest games between the two in recent years. Here, we ask our reporters in the two countries to gauge the contrasting moods in the Ghanaian and Nigerian press ahead of Thursday’s crunch tie.” (BBC)

‘Match of Hate,’ Renewed
“With the taste of World Cup defeat still lingering, Egypt will have a chance to face down its archrival Algeria — again — when the teams play in the African Cup of Nations semifinal Thursday in Benguela, Angola. The two North African teams played two fiercely contested matches late last year to determine the final spot in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The meetings were marred by violence and controversy.” (NYT)

Algeria plan to airlift fans to Angola for Egypt semi
“The Algerian government says it has plans to airlift hundreds of its fans to Angola for the Africa Cup of Nations semi-final against Egypt. Thousands of Algerian fans were flown into Sudan last November as they beat Egypt 1-0 in a World Cup play-off game. The minister of foreign affairs Mourad Medcli says plans are already in place.” (BBC)

Super Eagles edge through after shoot-out
“Vincent Enyeama was the hero for Nigeria saving one penalty and then scoring the crucial final one to help his side seal a place in the African Nations Cup semi-finals with a shoot-out victory over Zambia. The Super Eagles, outplayed for large parts of the clash in Lubango, looked to be heading for the exit door after struggling in the face of their determined opponents, who did everything apart from finding the back of the net during the 120 minutes of open play.” (ESPN)

African Nations Cup 2010
(ESPN)


Genuine fans should not enjoy Liverpool’s problems

January 26, 2010

“I can’t remember whether it was Brian Glanville or Danny Baker but somebody once said that Britain needs a strong pound and a strong Liverpool. You do not hear booing very often at Anfield but the crowd’s reaction to last night’s capitulation to a team lying perilously one place above the Championship relegation zone any real football fan – whatever their club loyalty – should have felt a slight shudder.” (Footballing World)


They Might Be Giants

January 26, 2010


“Since Scottish league football began in the 1890’s, the game north of the border has been dominated by the two Glasgow giants, Rangers, with 52 titles, and Celtic, with 42. This dominance is partly due to the size of Glasgow itself, and the Greater Glasgow area, which boasts approximately 2.3 Million people, around forty percent of Scotland’s population. Also the size of their respective fan bases rightly puts them among the biggest and most well supported clubs in Europe, indeed the world.” (First Touch Online)

Celtic pick up their own ‘Duncan’
“Celtic manager Tony Mowbray’s bid to freshen up his squad has taken another step forward as Danish striker Morten ‘Duncan’ Rasmussen sealed his £1.8 million move from Brondby following the obligatory medical check in Glasgow.” (ESPN)

SPL Team of the Week – January 25
“MARC-ANTOINE FORTUNE (Celtic): The cynics claimed that he was a waste of money, but the best way for any striker to silence the doubters is to do his talking on the pitch and Fortune conjured up a quite superb goal to level matters against St Johnstone, before adding to his tally as the Celts shrugged off their initial torpor.” (ESPN)


A Brief Post on Post Post Colonialism

January 26, 2010

“So, many have heard the news about Liverpool fans getting arrested for ‘racism’ after complaining about ‘Yank’ owners. While the Deficit Hawks (not GOP affiliates) in Manchester continue to protest against the Glazers, they at least have focused squarely on the family in question. At least as of late.” (futfanatico)


Sepp Blatter’s Moronic Statement about Indian Women’s Football

January 26, 2010

“I just came across this tidbit in an interview with Sepp Blatter about FIFA’s “Win with India in India” program (initiated in 2007)…” (From A Left Wing)

Blatter backing football in India
“Joseph S. Blatter has touched down in India and will be exploring the country between now and 18 April, as he pays his first official visit since taking over as FIFA President. He previously travelled to the world’s second-most populous nation in 1978, taking in Madras (Chennai) and Bangalore as FIFA Director of Technical Development Programmes, and then returned for the Asian Games in 1982.” (FIFA)


A Tale of Two Cities: Gloom Over Liverpool & Turin

January 26, 2010

“Liverpool and Juventus have endured miserable seasons so far with both teams crashing out of the Champions League and struggling to make the top four. So what went wrong for these two sides?” (Bleacher Report)


Sympathy for the devil not enough for Milan

January 25, 2010


“It was billed as a contest between strength and beauty, substance versus style and whenever that’s the case the public generally side with the latter. And that’s why you should never trust the wisdom of crowds as Inter showed absolutely no difficulty in dispatching Milan, the overwhelming people’s favourites.” (Soccer Lens)


The dilemma of a football moralist

January 25, 2010

” In what sense is watching football a moral activity? It may seem an absurd question, but when we remove the partisan blinkers obligatory to following our own club, we all have reasons for backing one team or another when we watch a game as a neutral.” (WSC)


Football Weekly: Robinho packs his bags and Rooney runs riot

January 25, 2010

“Another Football Weekly, and it’s a show as packed as Cristiano Ronaldo’s Armani underpants (more on him later). James Richardson is joined in the pod by Sean Ingle, Barry Glendenning and Barney Ronay,and they begin by analysing a mixed weekend for Manchester United and Manchester City ahead of the second leg of their Carling Cup semi-final. City’s Robinho appears to be heading back to Brazil, and – with a little help from Fernando Duarte – we discuss whether this is a case of good riddance to bad rubbish, or has British football’s most expensive import just been badly managed?” (BBC – James Richardson)


Another late surprise in the Africa Cup of Nations

January 25, 2010

“When Ivory Coast winger Kader Keita scored from long range in the 89th minute it looked as though the pre-tournament favourites would reach the Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals. But Rangers defender Madjid Bougherra headed in two minutes later, before Hameur Bouazza of Blackpool won it three minutes into extra time. Algeria will face Egypt or Cameroon on Thursday. If Bouazza represents his country in the summer’s World Cup he will become to first Blackpool representative in that competition since Alan Ball in 1966.” (WSC)

Egypt 3 – 1 Cameroon
“Two goals in five minutes at the start of extra-time helped defending champions Egypt book their place in the African Nations Cup semi-final with a battling victory over Cameroon. The game, though, was marred by a controversial third goal by Pharaohs’ captain Ahmed Hassan which was allowed to stand by referee Jerome Damon despite replays showing the ball had clearly not crossed the line.” (ESPN)

Caf president Issa Hayatou defiant over Togo attack
“The Confederation of African Football (Caf) will never give in to “terrorism”, the ruling body’s president Issa Hayatou has said. The Cameroonian was speaking to assembled media for the first time since an attack on Togo’s team bus killed two of their delegation as well as an Angolan driver, while Togo goalkeeper Kodjovi Obilale continues to recover in hospital.” (BBC)

African Nations Cup 2010 Fixtures/Results
(ESPN)


A Chilly Proposal for Russian Football

January 25, 2010

“It’s been a rough winter for football fans across Europe. The unusually chilly temperatures in December and January raised havoc with swathes of matches, as ice and snow left fields unplayable and traveling conditions for supporters impossible. In England, only seven out of 41 matches were played on Jan. 9, while down in the country’s fifth division, Wrexham had eight fixtures in a row canceled during the Christmas period, stretching back to mid-December.” (WSJ)


Hosts braced for knockout football

January 24, 2010


“Extra spice is rarely needed in knockout football but Sunday’s main course – the opening quarter-final between hosts Angola and World Cup finalists Ghana – was given a heady dose yesterday as tempers flared in the capital. Like other journalists, I was calmly awaiting a Ghana press conference in central Luanda’s Hotel Presidente when it all, quite literally, kicked off. Downstairs, it turned out, an accredited Ghanaian journalist was not just being denied access to the conference but also, he says, being hit and kicked by security forces at the hotel.” (BBC – Piers Edwards)

Angola 0 – 1 Ghana
“Asamoah Gyan scored the only goal to help Ghana dump hosts Angola out of the African Nations Cup and become the first side through to the semi-finals. The Rennes striker found the target in the 16th minute, ending a sweeping counter-attack with a clinical finish to stun the near 50,000 crowd at the Estadio do Novembre 11 in Luanda.” (ESPN)

Crunch time for Ivory Coast at Nations Cup
“The time has come for Ivory Coast’s talented generation to deliver when they face Algeria in a clash between World Cup-bound teams in the quarter-finals of the African Nations Cup on Sunday. “This generation will be playing for high stakes in the coming week. We lose all or we win all. It’s money time,” coach Vahid Halilhodzic told a news conference ahead of the game at Cabinda’s Chazi Stadium. With an average age of about 28, this year represents an excellent chance for Ivory Coast to win the tournament for the first time since 1992.” (ESPN)

Ivory Coast v Algeria
“Ivory Coast know that underestimating Algeria in their last eight clash could lead to an early Nations Cup exit. The Desert Foxes pulled a surprise when they edged out giants Egypt to qualify for the 2010 World Cup.” (BBC)

Egypt v Cameroon
“Alex Song is keen not to get too caught up in the past and concentrate on the present which is a meeting with Egypt in the African Nations Cup quarter-finals. Much has been made in the build-up of the clash turning into a grudge match following the Pharaohs’ triumph over their opponents in the final two years ago in Ghana.” (ESPN)

Zambia v Nigeria
“Peter Odemwingie believes Nigeria must beat Zambia in the African Nations Cup quarter-finals if they are to take any positives out of the competition. Two years ago the Super Eagles were dumped out by hosts Ghana at the same stage but they are keen to make amends when they come up against this year’s surprise contenders.” (ESPN)

Africa Cup of Nations: The story so far
(BBC)


Barca make history with Valladolid victory

January 24, 2010


“Barcelona crushed Real Valladolid 3-0 away to move eight points clear at the top of La Liga on Saturday, reaching the mid-point of the season unbeaten for the first time. Xavi, Daniel Alves and Lionel Messi scored to round off a positive week for the champions, in which coach Pep Guardiola ended speculation over his future by agreeing to a one-year contract extension.” (ESPN)

Real Valladoid vs Barca Match Highlights, 23/01/10(All About FC Barcelona)


A Brand History of the European Championship

January 23, 2010


“Mountains. Flowers. Hearts. Stars. These are not elements of a new children’s breakfast cereal, but visual signifiers of the world’s second-most prominent international football tournament. Since 1996, UEFA and the local organizing committees have commissioned ever-more elaborate (and expensive) brand identities to define the European Football Championship.” (Pitch Invasion)


Common sense prevails

January 23, 2010

“So Dunfermline, somewhat against the odds, manage to salvage their Scottish Cup campaign as their expulsion from the competition is successfully overturned on appeal. A replay and a massive fine are the end result, one which, given the circumstances, is probably the correct one. For Dunfermline, preparations for the replay can begin but the club must feel the pressure as the stakes where raised considerably once the verdict was announced.” (Inside Left)


‘England’s bigger than Michael Owen anyway’

January 23, 2010

“Michael Owen knows the question is ­coming. It always does. ‘England, ­England, England,’ he says, with sadness and affection, as if talking of a far-off place. The intelligence that has always burned behind his diplomatic exterior confronts its biggest test when the conversation turns to Fabio Capello’s policy of ­excluding the country’s fourth-highest scorer from the England squad.” (Guardian – Paul Hayward)


Seedorf Responds: 10 Answers From Milan’s No. 10

January 23, 2010

“Clarence Seedorf, the A.C. Milan midfielder, participates in a monthly exchange with New York Times readers. On Friday, two days before his team will take on Inter Milan in the season’s second derby at the San Siro, he answered questions about Milan, how club’s can better manage their business affairs and the World Cup. Previous discussions can be found here.” (NYT)


South Africa still has questions to answer

January 23, 2010

“The stadia may be there or thereabouts and the police are confident about security. However, it is transport and accommodation that remain the great unknowns ahead of this summer’s World Cup in South Africa. Fans who are able to travel and find places to stay between June 11 and July 11 will enjoy some of the venues: the steel and concrete giraffes which hold up the stadium in Nelspruit, the enveloping calabash at Soccer City and, above all, the magnificent Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.” (World Soccer)


The African Cup Of Nations – The Story So Far

January 23, 2010


Ghana
“Mark Murphy has been slumped on his couch watching the African Cup of Nations for the last couple of weeks. He peeled himself away to bring us up to date with the goings-on in Angola.” (twohundredpercent)


U.S. Soccer Player Is National Hero (in Honduras)

January 23, 2010

“With the United States trailing by a goal in the waning seconds, Jonathan Bornstein looked at his fellow defender Steve Cherundolo as the team prepared to take a corner kick.” (NYT)


Arsenal, AC Milan come charging

January 23, 2010

“You can blame the weather, I suppose. England’s deep freeze has wreaked havoc on the Premier League calendar, which is great for U.S.-based fans — there have been midweek (and therefore, mid-day) games galore, like Wednesday’s Liverpool-Tottenham showdown of underachievers. In the meantime, both the FA and Carling Cups have been raging on, and selected other European action — mixed in with some awesome African Cup of Nations games — have made mid-January a smorgasbord of excellent soccer. Plus, with everyone finally off winter break, we can start picking apart the leftovers again. Enjoy this week’s rundown — we recommend you nuke on high for two minutes, flip, then zap for another two minutes on medium.” (SI)


South Africa still has some questions to answer

January 23, 2010

“The stadia may be there or thereabouts and the police are confident about security. However, it is transport and accommodation that remain the great unknowns ahead of this summer’s World Cup in South Africa. Fans who are able to travel and find places to stay between June 11 and July 11 will enjoy some of the venues: the steel and concrete giraffes which hold up the stadium in Nelspruit, the enveloping calabash at Soccer City and, above all, the magnificent Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.” (World Soccer)


The Stirling Albion Supporters Trust Get It Wrong

January 22, 2010


“Since the start of the age of the commercialisation within football, supporters have been pretty tolerant of much of the ‘progress’ that has been made. Sponsors names on shirts and grounds, kick-off times being switched to suit television audiences and matches being put onto pay-TV have all been tolerated when they benefitted no-one but those that stood to make a profit from it. There is, however, a line in the sand that seems beyond the pale in football in much of Britain (the Welsh Premier League seems to be an exception) comes with the naming of clubs themselves. This week, however, there has been a serious attempt to cross this line, and it came from an unexpected source.” (twohundredpercent)


Media, Death, Life, Change, Business, Blah

January 22, 2010

“The NY Times has announced a new ‘metered model’ for 2011, showing that Rupert Murdoch is not the only publish magnate struggling to cope with the ‘internet.”’ While the Times has avoided confronting Google, a wise move given the current cooing of this monopolistic privacy shredding behemoth, the ‘metered approach’ brings to mind two things: 1920’s prohibition and the maginot line.” (futfanatico)


Maley And McGrory – Two Managers Alike

January 22, 2010

“A postscript to this mini-series on great players you never saw by going on a tangent and looking at two great managers probably unknown to the rest of you. Today’s subject is about two men who managed Celtic and between them won everything. These two gentlemen are a large part of the club’s history and are now legends…” (Football and Music)


Weiss Has the Name and Pedigree to Boost Slovakia

January 22, 2010


“Vladimir Weiss has the name and pedigree to be a top European soccer player. The 20-year-old Slovakian wing has inherited his father’s and grandfather’s sense for the game and brings his own talent to bear whenever he has the opportunity. Those chances have been few and infrequent at Manchester City, where Weiss came up through the youth ranks. But with an eye on the World Cup in South Africa — Slovakia’s first finals appearance since the Velvet Divorce split Czechoslovakia — Weiss secured a loan deal Friday to move to Bolton where he hopes to boost his game before the quadrennial championship.” (NYT)


Chipolopolo shoot down Gabon

January 22, 2010

“Zambia reached the African Nations Cup quarter-finals as a dramatic final day in Group D saw Gabon – top before kick-off – miss out on qualification. Goals from Rainford Kalaba and James Chamanga earned Herve Renard’s side a deserved victory in Benguela despite substitute Fabrice Do Marcolino’s late consolation. But it came at a price, with both Kabala and centre-half Kampamba Chintu collecting bookings which rule them out of the last eight clash.” (ESPN)

Lions out for Egyptian ‘revenge’
“Cameroon midfielder Geremi says his team will seek revenge against champions Egypt in the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations. The two meet in the last eight on Monday in a repeat of the 2008 final, when the Pharoahs came out on top to clam their second title in a row.” (BBC)

African Nations Cup – 2010
(ESPN)