Italy soccer dispute becomes national case

May 7, 2010

“Italy is the land of divisions: North vs. South; left vs. right; religious vs. secular. In soccer, perhaps no division is as bitter as the one between fans of the two Rome teams, AS Roma and Lazio. Now, a dispute between the two teams over a crucial match Sunday has spilled into politics and become a national case. On Sunday night, Lazio lost 2-0 at home to Inter Milan, the club that is locked in a fight with Roma for the Serie A title.” (Google)

Totti Cuts Loose
“Yesterday afternoon I watched the final of the Coppa Italia, a match between Inter Milan and Roma, Serie A’s two top teams, at an Italian soccer café on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Despite being ’emblazoned in the gold and burgundy hues of Rome’s soccer team’ and offering ‘a restroom emblazoned with oversized trading card pictures of the team players,’ the café attracted only three native Italian speakers for the match, all Inter supporters. The game was shown on some sort of jerry-rigged glorified computer monitor. The sound system blared volume from an English Premier League match being shown on the proper high-definition, flat-screen TV above the Italian game. It seemed only fitting that the Coppa Italia final turned out to be the ugliest match of the 2009-2010 European soccer season.” (Vanity Fair)

Totti Vs. Balotelli: Italy’s Double Standard
“We’ve written a bit about the issues facing Mario Balotelli in Italy. While many have been quick to direct blame squarely on the youngster, Francesco Totti’s actions yesterday went a long way towards showing the double standard that exists in Italian football when it comes to the treatment of its petulant football stars. For those who didn’t see the horrific incident near the end of the Copa Italia final, below is a clip of Totti’s attack on Balotelli.” (Nutmeg Radio)

Inter Milan vs. AS Roma (footytube)

23 for 2010 – Argentina: World Cup Squad analysis pt.1 (Keepers & Defenders)

May 7, 2010

“How do you begin to predict the Argentina squad for the 2010 World Cup? Who knows what goes on inside Maradona’s head? Maradona used 37 players in his 8 South American qualifying matches, and many more in friendlies. In the last 12 months alone Maradona has called up a whopping 79 players, some of which were admittedly for friendlies in which Maradona selected Argentina-based players only.” (Just Football – pt.1), (pt.2 – Midfielders & Strikers)

Letter from Lagos

May 7, 2010

“The World Cup is not being hosted by ‘Africa’ but by a country in southern Africa, the Republic of South Africa. Nigeria is not hosting this year’s World Cup, but late last year it hosted FIFA Under-17 World Cup. I watched the Under-17 matches in Lagos with my family. Enthusiasm was slow in building, but once Nigeria progressed in the tournament, people got into it, and you began to see clusters of young men around television sets in cafes and canteens.” (Vanity Fair)

Liverpool post £54.9m loss as debts continue to rise

May 7, 2010

“Liverpool’s parent company posted a huge loss of £54.9m for the year ended on 31 July 2009 as debt interest payments and severance costs hit hard. The loss was 34% worse than 2008’s figure as £40.1m went on servicing the club’s £351.4m debt to Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and US firm Wachovia. Pay-offs to senior staff, including former chief executive Rick Parry, accounted for a further £4.3m.” (BBC)

Benitez meeting offers no hints to Liverpool future
“The future direction of Liverpool hasn’t become any clearer after the first in a series of meetings between Rafael Benitez, chairman Martin Broughton and managing director Christian Purslow on Thursday.” (ESPN)

World Cup scouting: Miroslav Stoch (Slovakia)

May 7, 2010

“Loan spells tend to go one of two ways. More often than not they are merely anecdotal footnotes in a player’s career, such as David Beckham’s five-game stint at Preston North End in 1995 or Jermain Defoe’s record-breaking achievements at Bournemouth, but occasionally, as with Joe Hart’s time at Birmingham City this season, they can be the making of a player. Miroslav Stoch’s move to FC Twente unquestionably falls in the latter category.” (Football Further)

Improved fitness and technique exposes the specialists

May 7, 2010

“The increased conditioning and speed of the game means the technical level of players will be forced to improve thereby exposing the specialists. Juventus’ problems started with their over-reliance on Diego and Felipe Melo. That, some would argue, is justified given that they were big money summer signings but the Old Lady’s woes should not be entirely blamed on the Brazilian pair. Diego, in particular, is not a traditional ‘trequartista’ as he likes to drop deep but Juventus were expecting him to play as one.” (Arsenal Column)

Brazil, Campeonato Série A: 2010 season, with average attendances from 2009

May 7, 2010

“At the upper right on the map page is a list of 2009 atendances of all the clubs in Brazil’s 2010 Campeonato Série A season. Reigning champions are Flamengo, the giant club from Rio de Janeiro, who had last won the title in 1992. The final match of the season at the Maracana drew 80,000, to see a 2-1 win over Gremio. São Paulo had an uncharacteristic stumble in the run-up, losing away to both Goiás and Botofogo in the weeks leading up to the finish. That massive gate pushed Flamengo to the top of the average attendance list once more.” (billsportsmaps)