Sunday, July 30, 2006


Bayern arrive in Japan for lucrative friendly

URAWA, Japan, July 30 (Reuters) - German champions Bayern Munich arrived in Japan on Sunday to begin their pre-season with a lucrative friendly against Urawa Reds.

Around 300 fans turned up to greet the Bayern players upon their arrival following a 13-hour flight before Monday's match with J-League side Urawa in Saitama.

Many of the Bayern side played at the World Cup, including new signing Lukas Podolski, whose goals helped hosts Germany to reach the semi-finals.

"We've just had two and a half weeks on holiday so conditioning-wise we've still got some way to go," the former Cologne striker told reporters.

"It won't be an easy game under the circumstances but we've come here to win it obviously."

Midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger acknowledged Bayern were still a little rusty after their lay-off.

"As you saw in practice today some of the shots were flying all over the place," he smiled.

"What we did at the World Cup is in the past. We need to get back to maximum strength quickly."

Monday, July 17, 2006


Doubts About Klinsmann Starting in the U.S.

reports have been surfacing claiming Klinsmann will replace Arena as the next head coach of the U.S. national soccer team.

You have to admit, he has shown he can play, now he has shown he can coach, and to top it off he has spent more then the past decade living in the U.S. so he also has some understanding of american soccer and the English language.

This article reminds us of the doubt by the Germans just months ago of their now beloved "Klinsi".

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


How The Beautiful Game Is Being Ruined "Italiano tuffo"

Diving has entered the game worse than before and the greatest offenders at this World Cup are the Italians. First they got away with a win against the Americans, then the Australian's, then the Germans. Using their cheating tactics puts fear into their opponents and causes hesitation to make the tackles. Fear of even breathing on the Italians might cause a yellow card or penalty kick.

When will FIFA step in? It is already late, other countries will look at the tapes of the Italians this World Cup and you can bet there will be at least 5 countries using these tricks at the next World Cup.

Something has to be done, I don't know if they need officials up in a box watching video replays as the game is being played and calling down divers to be removed for X minutes, or if a player goes down writhing in pain they should be removed for Y minutes and the game continues, or why not just issue more yellow cards to divers?? There has to be something or else everyone will follow the Italians lead and dive their way into the Finals like the Italians.

As the game went on the Germans pressed for a win even though you would think they wouldn't need to due to their great shootout record and Italy's terrible (0-3) shootout record but instead we saw the opposite - Italians went into their defensive posture, then when they got the ball near the Germans net of course the Germans were reluctant to tackle the Italian (for fear of all the diving and whining and writhing in pain) and allowed an opening.

According to this Globe and Mail story he tries to explain why the Italians dive so much:
"When English players see Italians dive or beg the referee, they think it's not sporting. But to the Italian, it's not a sport or a game; it is part of the profession."
If the Italians want to dive and carry on with all the whining that's fine if they do it in their own league, but to carry on and bring this to the World Cup where all the world is watching is just plain ol' not right. With Italians being renowned for their diving and still not being called by the "neutral" FIFA officials what this directly says to all the other nations is "diving is allowed and another way to get to the Finals". Don't believe me? just watch what happens hereon (in both the rest of this World Cup 2006 and in 2010 it'll be worse).

How is the Italians with their Diving any better than the what happened at the Winter Olympics when the Canadians were originally denied the Gold medal by the French judge?

The following post from here is another view of the Italians diving:
William Vander Wilp from Kingston, Canada writes: #6 Any Italy game which doesn't involve seveal Italian players being red carded for blatant diving is a game is which the refereeing is suspect. If Italy wasn't the soccer equivalent of an 'Original Six' team they would be called a lot more.

On the other hand it is possible FIFA uses the diving to control who proceeds forward in the World Cup. FIFA is rigged how else can you explain what is happening?


Video of Italians Practising Their Diving

How did we know this was going to be the Italians diving? How can they not be ashamed?

Maybe too much Soprono's?


Next Vacation to Italy Learn To Dive and Whine

Does FIFA actually think nobody notices what they're up to? Just because Italy lost to Korea in World Cup 2002 did they owe Italy or something? First the calls all went Italy's way most of this tournament (remember Austrial vs Italy in the dying minutes?), now in the Germany vs Italy game either the ref was completely fooled by all of Italy's continous diving and whining or it was premeditated by FIFA and their refs. That's all it could be, in fact you would think the refs would know ahead of time that the Italians dive. Come on, everybody knows the Italians dive.

How many yellow cards or even warnings were issued to Italy for their diving? In case you missed it let me fill you in - Italians were issued 0 zero nada null yellow cards for their couple of dozen dives.

Hey nobody's complaining about the Italians played a great game but FIFA and their refs are destroying the game by allowing this. What do other nations learn from watching the Italians proceed further and further in the tournament - they learn that diving is necessary and can get you very far.

If the Italians were really hurt each time they went down why/how were they able to get up each time? Watching the Italians roll around on the field after diving you'd think their leg was broken in 3 places and you look at the opponents and they're still standing. THe last time I checked the Italians opponents are all humans too, how is it that each time the opponents aren't writhing in pain too? Are the Germans, Australians, Americans, Czechs made out of steel or something? Or is it not possible that Italians are the masters of diving.

What really gets me is when they accuse their opponents of diving. Have you ever heard the old tip on telling what's someone's really thinking about but doesn't want to show by listening to what they bring up? Examples:

Diving + Whining = Italians

Monday, July 03, 2006


Pope's Money is on Germany to Win, Rome is Aghast

The Pope is German, but his office is in Rome (Italy). If Germany wins, the Pope stands to win big against his fellow colleagues, but if Italy wins the Pope may have to take on an additional mortgage on the Vatican.

Sorry, I just couldn't resist :-)


Italy vs Germany

Some of the comments here are predicting Italy to win the game.

However I believe the following will be the deciding factors in the Germany vs Italy game:

1) Italy will face difficulties with Germany's ability to get the ball into the corner and create cross passes finished with headers

2) Fitness level, as the Italians will inevitably play defense-first strategy and the game goes longer the Italians will start to think about Germany's shootout record and Italy's shootout record. The Italians are 2nd worst only to the English in shootout records. The Italians will need to open the game up at some point but face Germany's faster speed up the flanks.

3) Home crowd advantage


Torsten Frings out of Germany vs Italy

This image clearly shows Torsten Frings needed to defend himself. Certainly the punch did not come before this otherwise the Argentine player would have a much different look. So this further raises the question of why Torsten Frings will not be allowed to play in tomorrow's Germany vs Italy game?

Other reports have indicated that it was the Italians who submitted tapes to FIFA complaining about Frings. If you think this is a sneaky tactic by the Italians wait until tommorrow's game.


World Cup Odds

Most recent Odds of Winning the World Cup


The Conversion of a Panzer to a BMW Roadster

Converting an imprenetable slow moving panzer to a thrilling speedy roadster is by no means easy. In this case the mechanic is none other than Juergen Klinsmann and his vehicle is close to 100 years old. Throw in factors such as incredible pressure, intense scrutiny, filling in the shoes of a highly successful predecessor, with very limited time and you have the makings of a highly interesting saga.

In the last World Cup Klinsmann's predecessor of Rudi Voller took a team that was not regarded highly to the World Cup Finals then stumbled slightly 2 years later at the European championships and was put under such intense pressure he had no choice but resign. Finding a replacement and having him succeed was not an easy task. As it turns out, the replacement found has brought on some major changes in the style and strategy, possibly paving the way for the future of German football very bright.

Although Germany have conceded just 3 goals in 5 matches, this German team has clearly been converted from defense-at-all-costs approach to a fast all out attack - somewhat akin to how Klinsmann himself played the game. Clearly, the German team have looked impressive in all of their games so far.

Add to this typical of German strategy, where clever schemes are devised to play the ball to the positions that they want, and attack their particular opponent where their opponents are strongest. One of the most obvious points are the corners. There is a stark contrast between the English team which seem to more heavily focus direct attacks on the net as compared to the more often indirect attacks by the German team by putting the ball into the corners where the opponents more easily surrender position and then later put across crisp crosses. I've often noticed the English media always seem to believe that the Germans are simply great at headers, but I wonder if this is a forest through the trees thing. The German teams may focus their practising on crosses knowing that this might be the one aspect others pay less attention to and therefore provide better probabilities.

The German press and media ranks up there for criticzing their team and coach. It is quite interesting to note that the man the Germans call "Kaiser" - Franz Beckenbauer and his allies have been and are able to escape the same criticsm. Take the ongoing saga of Klinsmann selecting Jens Lehmann ahead of Oliver Kahn - who was himself was selected as the most valued player by winning the Golden Ball Award at the last World Cup. So far, Lehmann looks like a pretty good choice. If Klinsmann decided that Kahn and Lehmann were pretty much even, then perhaps the decision was based on Lehmann would be less scouted (I concede this argument is not strong due to Arsenal and EPL are typically much more available). More likely Lehmann was selected due to more hunger (waiting on sidelines watching Kahn for 2+ World Cups). Another likely factor in the Lehmann decision was chemistry - Kahn is much more vocal and commanding then Lehmann, once Ballack was selected as captain Klinsmann may have wanted to avoid potential conflicts with Ballack and Kahn both being strong personalities.

Klinsmann himself was well aware of the pressures from the media and fans: "If we lose against Argentina Friday, then the debate will start all over: wouldn't it be better to play more cautious? First secure the defense? Wait for a counterattack? That is why it is so important that we advance to the final."

Now in place are all the factors needed to provide the match of this World Cup. Germany versus Italy has the potential makings of a classic and it's happening this weekend. The 2nd Finals before the Finals (Germany vs Argentina was the 1st Finals). Either of these 2 teams could win it all. Surprisingly, the odds are indicating Germany will win this massive battle.

The German media have now changed their position. Before the Germany vs Argentina game, if Germany were to have lost that game then Klinsmann and his changes would have taken the brunt of the heat. Forgotten would have been the media and press criticsm on Rudi Voller to force him out and that no-one else wanted the job of coaching the national team. Forgotten would have been the fact Germany has not exactly played well in the past half a decade. Forgotten would have been the fact Germany went into this tournament as an underdog. Forgotten would have been the German team winning their first 4 games and thereby providing their most impressive start in 30+ years. Is it any wonder whoever took the job would not jump at the chance of moving back from the U.S. to Germany?

It is quite possible that no one has changed the German teams look in the past 50 years as has Klinsmann - possibly for the better, and this fact cannot be understated. One needs to look no further than the gutsy decision Klinsmann made to stick with the youngster Podolski through thick and thin. Indeed the Podolski decision has recently only paid off the past couple of games. Even a relatively young player like Michael Ballack's has criticized Klinsmann's strategy of not enough focus on defense:
“Jurgen Klinsmann has put together a very young team over the last two years and we are always making the same mistakes and we have the same problems in defence,” Ballack said on the eve of Germany's final warm-up against Colombia. We have a very, very attacking style as we showed against Japan but we are losing too much possession. The coach knows what I think as well as what other players think. We have already spoken about this but it's up to him to make the final decisions.”

Through all of this pressure Klinsmann has remained cool and collected and remarkably clearheaded. If Klinsmann is able to pull this team together with the unprecented changes made he will surely go down in history as a fabulous underdog story.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Watch As the Germans Prepare

There are several factors that should play an important rule in deciding who will win today's game between Germany and Argentina, most importantly:

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Paris Hilton In Love With Lukas Podolski

Reports are out that claim Paris Hilton has been taken by World Cup fever - the Lukas Podolski kind.

Paris says she finds the blond wunderkind “magical.” and "glamorous". Paris continues to say she wants to get to know Cologne.


The Real Reason for Klinsmann Choosing Jens Lehmann over Oliver Kahn

Like Oliver Kahn has pointed out - we've never actually heard Juergen Klinsmann's reasons for dropping the winner of the last Golden Ball Award in 2002 for his understudy Jens Lehmann.

I submit the following alternative possibility:

If Lehmann goes down then what better backup to bring in then Kahn? You know Kahn will be ready no matter what. In fact, German supporters might even cheer when Kahn comes in. And don't forget for a second how team morale would be affected by having Kahn come in - it would surely not be depressed or let down and at a minimum stay even keel (if not improved).

Now imagine the alternative, Lehmann who has been playing abroad for some years, is somewhat unknown to many of the other German players who play in the Bundesliga, and is then brought in if Kahn were to go down. It would not be a stretch to imagine things could suddenly go wrong if this were to happen between games or in the middle of a game.

There you have it, the real reason Klinsmann may have selected Lehmann first - it's easier to go this route then the alternative.

Saturday, June 24, 2006


Germany through to quarter-finals.

Klinsmann continues to prove his ability of converting the impenetrable panzer to a speedy BMW roadster with his team winning 2-0 over Sweden.

Podolski scored 2 goals, however he was not man of the match. That should go to Klose or even more so Ballack. Klose did a lot of digging to create the chances for Podolski. Ballack had about half a dozen pretty good chances himself.

Next Germany faces Argentina in what will almost surely be a classic match of 2 super powers.

If there was any disappointment with Germany's play today it may have been Bastian Schweinsteiger did not look as fantastic as he has in some of the earlier games or with Bayern Munich. Knowing Bastian this was simply just not his day, he'll roar back with superb play in some future games.

When will Gerald Asamoah see his chance to play?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


England and Sweden play to a tie

In group play today Sweden tied up the game at 2-2 in the 90th minute after dominating much of the 2nd half.

Monday, June 12, 2006

War and Soccer

Alternet has an interesting article that backs up the points made in the "World Cup According To Character" - by Henry Kissinger.

The last World Cup final pitted Brazil against Germany, teams that represent global North-South polar opposites in the way the game is played. As Muhammad Ali was celebrated not just for his unique skills in the ring but for his iconic resistance to the racial order, so the universal popularity of Brazil is based not only on its exquisitely poetic style -- the "Joga Bonito" (beautiful game) -- but also on its role as a proxy representative of the Global South.

The German game epitomizes the industrialized West: physical power, relentless drive, unshakable organization and a machine-like efficiency in punishing opponents' mistakes. It's a kind of Blitzkrieg -- the modern German game, as Simon Kuper has noted, had its roots in Nazi sports culture and the militaristic virtues it lionized -- that overwhelms opponents with physical power on the ground and in the air, often winning "ugly" by a single goal. The best-known German players of the past half century have been goalkeepers, field commanders in defense and midfield, as well as clinical if artless goal-poaching forwards. There has never been a Pelé on the German team; in Brazil, by contrast, each year brings a new crop of awesomely talented teenagers from the favelas whose audacious skill and flair inevitably anoints them as "the next Pelé."

Brazil's style is more akin to advanced guerrilla warfare in which the insurgents have the momentum and the confidence. They combine impossible skill with breathtaking audacity and guile, an ability to shoot from great distances and apply boot to ball in a manner that improbably "bends" its trajectory. The telepathy with which they are able to anticipate each other's movements allows them to dazzle both the opposition and the crowd with the fluidity of their passing movements and their propensity for doing the unexpected. The adversary literally never knows where the next attack will come from, or what it will be. And the smiles of the Brazilians, even in crucial games, tell you that they're enjoying themselves. On the field, you'll rarely see a German player smile.

When Ronaldinho, currently rated the greatest player in the world, spotted the English goalkeeper David Seaman two yards off the goal line in their 2002 World Cup clash, he unleashed a 40-yard free kick that looped over Seaman's outstretched gloves, wickedly dipping and curling into the top corner of England's goal. So thunderstruck were the English TV commentators that they insisted the strike was a fluke, a pass that went fortuitously awry. It's for such moments that the soccer fans of the Global South live.

Australia Scores Their First Ever Goal, and Second, and Third!

Drama, action, goals, yellow-cards, change of leads, kangeroos, samurais - the Australia vs Japan game had it all! 6 Yellow cards, 4 goals, Japan gets the first goal, Australia ties it up and then goes on to score another 2.

Talk about an action packed game, folks if you missed it then look for the replays or TIVO.

Australia Scores Their First Ever Goal, and Second, and Third!

Drama, action, goals, yellow-cards, change of leads, kangeroos, samurais - the Australia vs Japan game had it all! 6 Yellow cards, 4 goals, Japan gets the first goal, Australia ties it up and then goes on to score another 2.

Talk about an action packed game, folks if you missed it then look for the replays or TIVO.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Next Matches: 12-Jun-06
9:00am - Group F - Match #12
Australia vs. Japan
12:00pm - Group E - Match #10
United States vs. Czech Republic
3:00pm - Group E - Match #9
Italy vs. Ghana

Here is a full list of matches.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

English Lack Attacking Focus

With all the stars England have, they did not look strong at all. None of the English forwards looked like they had a killer instinct or wanted to take charge of the game. The English defence and goalkeeper looked like they were stronger components of their team. If the English want to beat Sweden they will need to play with more drive up front like they are capable of.

In fact looking more closely the world has flip-flopped.
Germany looked like the creative force up front but lacking defense, and England looked like traditional Germany with stronger defence.

Friday, June 09, 2006

World Cup Fashion - German Style

Let's take a break from all the seriousness and take a look at fashion. For those not in the know, the following dresses are called a "Dirndl".

Polish Hooligans?

have always been a problem at football. Alcohol is often involved, leading to violence. The British hooligans were the first to travel abroad to matches throughout Eurpoe. For this World Cup more than 15 countries have worked together with German forces to prevent hooliganism.

In fact the problem of this World Cup may not be terrorism or racism but rather Hooliganism. All it takes is one day, one small confrontation could erupt into something much larger. Sitting in the heart of Europe, Germany could see hooligans crossing its borders from all sides.

Experts say this year the English hooligans may not be the worst but rather the
Polish hooligans.

Last November a massive fight involving over 100 Polish and German hooligans brawled in a wooded area in the middle of the night near the Polish border. The rumble was organized by both sides using text messaging. Even members of a motorcycle gang were involved.

German police are especially concerned about a match between Germany and Poland on June 14 in Dortmund.

Reports have surfaced that a small number of English hooligans have made it into Germany ahead of the World Cup.

Another 200 to 300 more hooligans from Sweden may be inside Germany.

It's worse, not just Poland and England, but there is a budding hooligan culture in Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy too. All countries within an easy train ride by young adolescent inebriated males looking for an adrenaline rush.

For the 1990 World Cup in Italy, many English hooligans — then regarded as the worst—didn't even bother buying round-trip tickets. They knew they would be deported, which would be cheaper.

For some hooligans they see this World Cup as a chance to prove that they are the "best" hooligans in the world. British hooligan expert Dougie Brimson warns that English fans will be a "prime target" for foreign firms out to seize England's former reputation for producing the most dangerous supporters.

Pele + Claudia Schiffer = SuperstarModel

What could be better than seeing all-time soccer greatest Pele and Claudia Schiffer together?

Together as in carrying in the golden World Cup trophy to open up the World Cup.

Hosts Fight Through Pressure

Missing Ballack but still coming out with a decisive win, hosts Germany have shown the depth of players they have. Phil Lahm and Bastien Schweinsteiger are 2 notables, Podolski came close. Both of the Costa Rica goals were questionable, the 2nd clearly offside.

FIFA World Cup Group A
Lahm - 6
Klose - 17
Klose - 61
Frings - 87
4 - 2 Costa Rica
Wanchope - 12
Wanchope - 73

Latest Photographs:




Latest Commentary

By Timothy Collings

MUNICH, June 9 (Reuters) - Highlights of the opening World Cup match between hosts Germany and Costa Rica on Friday:

90 + 3 FULL TIME - Germany get the perfect start on home soil with a convincing win over the central Americans.

90 + 1 SUBSTITUTION (Costa Rica) Randall Azofeifa comes on for striker Ronald Gomez.

90 + 1 SUBSTITUTION (Germany) Bernd Schneider hands the captain's armband to Frings as he is replaced by David Odonkor.


Frings fires a powerful curling right foot shot into the top corner from about 30 metres giving Porras no chance

80 ACTION - German defender Per Mertesacker's powerful header is saved from point blank range by Porras

79 SUBSTITUTION (Germany) - Klose gets an ovation from the crowd as he is replaced up front by Oliver Neuville.

78 SUBSTITUTION (Costa Rica) - Cristian Bolanos comes on for Mauricio Solis in midfield.


Wanchope grabs his second goal to give Costa Rica hope as he cleverly flicks the ball past Lehmann from what looks an offside position after latching onto a through ball by Walter Centeno.

72 SUBSTITUTION (Germany) - Sebastian Kehl replaces Tim Borowski in midfield.

68 ACTION - The impressive Lahm romps forward again down the left beating two defenders but his weak toe-poked shot from close range is easily saved by Porras.

66 SUBSTITUTION (Costa Rica) Jervis Drummond replaces the injured Gilberto Martinez at right back


Klose gets his second goal and Germany's third when he follows up to score from close range after his header is saved by Jose Francisco Porras following Lahm's cross from the left.

47 ACTION - Costa Rica missed a chance when the unmarked Fonseca sent a diving header wide from inside the area after a right wing corner by Walter Centeno

45 + 1 HALFTIME - Germany lead 2-1

40 ACTION - Germany striker Lukas Podolski curls a freekick just over the bar from 25 metres.

30 YELLOW CARD - Costa Rica's Danny Fonseca is booked for ungentlemanly conduct after failing to move back 10 metres to allow Germany to take a free kick.


Miroslav Klose puts Germany back in front from four metres with a tap in at the far post after being set up by Bastian Schweinsteiger. Klose celebrated the goal on his 28th birthday. 12 GOAL - GERMANY 1 COSTA RICA 1

Paulo Wanchope equalises after breaking the offside trap and calmly slotting the ball past goalkeeper Jens Lehmann from the edge of the area having been fed by Ronald Gomez.


Left back Philipp Lahm curls a right foot shot into the top corner that goes in off the far post after cutting in from the left and shooting from just outside the area.

3 ACTION - Germany's Torsten Frings fires a shot just over the bar from 20 metres.

KICKOFF - Costa Rica kick off the 18th World Cup finals tournament at the Allianz Arena.


1-Jens Lehmann  18-José Francisco Porras 
21-Christoph Metzelder  3-Luis Marín 
3-Arne Friedrich  4-Michael Umaña 
16-Philipp Lahm  20-Douglas Sequeira 
17-Per Mertesacker  5-Gilberto Martínez 67 
19-Bernd Schneider 91  8-Mauricio Solís 78 
18-Tim Borowski 72  6-Danny Fonseca
8-Torsten Frings  12-Leonardo Gonzáles 
7-Bastian Schweinsteiger  10-Wálter Centeno 
11-Miroslav Klose 79  11-Rónald Gómez 91 
20-Lukas Podolski  9-Paulo Wanchope 


23-Timo Hildebrand  1-Alvaro Mesén 
12-Oliver Kahn  23-Wardy Alfaro 
6-Jens Nowotny  15-Hárold Wallace 
4-Robert Huth  2-Jervis Drummond 67 
2-Marcell Jansen  17-Gabriel Badilla 
5-Sebastian Kehl 72  22-Michael Rodríguez 
15-Thomas Hitzlsperger  16-Carlos Hernández 
22-David Odonkor 91  7-Christian Bolaños 78 
13-Michael Ballack  14-Randall Azofeifa 91 
14-Gerald Asamoah  19-Alvaro Saborío 
10-Oliver Neuville 79  13-Kurt Bernard 
   21-Víctor Núñez 

Match Info

FIFA World Cup Group A- FIFA World Cup Stadium Munich- 17:00
Referee: Horacio Elizondo (Argentina)
Attendance: 59000

Rooney is In, Ballack is Out

It appears everyone was focused on the wrong star to miss the first game. Rooney is fit and will play, Ballack is out. Yesterday it was announced a nagging calf injury has caused Ballack to not play in today's game. Today Ballack has announced he is ready to play. This is fast turning into the Ballack Saga.

''It seems Michael Ballack cannot play against Costa Rica,'' Germany coach Klinsmann announced at a media briefing on Thursday afternoon. ''He only trained for 30 minutes on Wednesday and then had to pull out. We wanted Ballack on board as he is our captain and leader but it's important he recovers.

''We want him to get back to full fitness so that he can be fit for the other games in the competition.''

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

All of the world is waiting to hear Rooney's test results

No not drug test - the test results from the broken bone in his foot.

England's Coach Sven-Goran Eriksson has been adament saying Rooney will play in the World Cup.
But today he like everyone else is waiting for the results.

Rooney has flown back to England to take the test.

Recently Franz Beckenbauer has suggested if Ivory Coast can make it out of the Group stages then they stand a good chance of making it to the Finals.
First of all I completely agree, but for reasons of a mathematical nature and instead I will raise the question of whether this is really as bold of a statement as it first sounds.

Ivory Coast are in a group with Holland and Argentina. If they manage to beat 1 of those teams and beat SerbiaMontenegro then they face the knockout stage and if they make it past that then they go on to the quarter-finals. If Ivory Coast can beat one of Holland or Argentina then they have proven they are already a good team, and furthermore if they can beat or draw the other match (Holland or Argentina) then they will most likely finish first in their group and play the 2nd place of another group further making it easier in the knockout stage. Once a team gets into the quarter-finals they are 2 wins away from the Finals.

The challenge for the next couple of weeks is to make it out of the Group stage. After that the experts and predictors will be saying "If team X can just make it out of the knockout stage then they will stand a good chance of making it to the Finals".

Cliche cliche, I just wish I was as recognized as Beckenbauer to be able to make such "predictions" without really being questioned.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Rooney Rushing It?

Sven-Goan Erikson is risking Rooney's future if he allows Rooney to come back this soon. Rooney suffered a broken metatarsal very recently on April 29th, about 6 or 7 weeks ago. Rooney wants to play in the opening game this week.
With the quality of players England have can they not make it out of the group stages?
If England isn't able to make it out of the group stages missing one player (albeit Rooney), then they've got more serious questions to answer. Is one player really going to make such difference in group stages? Sure in the following stages England will need everyone and Rooney will make a difference at that point.

Would the less risky move not be to rest Rooney for another couple of weeks until at least England make it out of the group stages?
In fact Former England captain Bryan Robson has also suggested this could be a mistake. Then there are Sir Alex Ferguson comments which do not hide the fact that he believes Rooney is his property.

We all know the kind of player Rooney is, coupled with his youth we can imagine his desire to put up with some pain in order to come back and play. Does anyone really believe Rooney of all players would be conservative and if there is any pain or that he would not come back? Come on, Rooney would play with a broken foot, he'll tell the doctors and trainers and coaches whatever it takes to play. Therefore it is up to Sven-Goan Erikson to make the decision and keep Rooney out for at least the group stages, anything else would be a foolish decision.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Germanys Lack of Defense May Cost

This article describes some of the points in the challenges Germany faces in this years World Cup.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Do Not Underestimate European Soil

Here is an interesting item, the World Cup winner is most often from the same continent as where the host country. In fact, 15 of the previous 17 World Cup winners have come from the same continent as the host.

European Soil:
European team: 8
American team: 1
Asian team: 0
African team: 0

American Soil:
European team: 7
American team: 0
Asian team: 0
African team: 0

Asian Soil:
European team: 0
American team: 1
Asian team: 0
African team: 0

Year Winner Runner-Up
1930 Uruguay Argentina
4 - 2
Montevideo, Uruguay
1934 Italy Czechoslovakia
2 - 1
Rome, Italy
1938 Italy Hungary
4 - 2
Paris, France
2 - 1
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
1954West GermanyHungary
3 - 2
Bern, Switzerland
5 - 2
Stockholm, Sweden
3 - 1
Santiago, Chile
1966EnglandWest Germany
4 - 2
London, England
4 - 1
Mexico City, Mexico
1974West GermanyNetherlands
2 - 1
Munich, Germany
1978Argentina Netherlands
3 - 1
Buenos Aires, Argentina
1982 Italy West Germany
3 - 1
Madrid, Spain
1986 Argentina West Germany
3 - 2
Mexico City, Mexico
1990 West Germany Argentina
1 - 0
Rome, Italy
1994 Brazil Italy
0 - 0
Pasadena, California
1998 France Brazil
3 - 0
Saint-Denis, France
2002 Brazil Germany
2 - 0
Korea / Japan

Does this give additional credibility to the prediction of Italy winning this years World Cup?

Ballack Had More to Gain from Chelsea than Vice Versa

When Ballack said this really wasn't about the money he may not be lying. Ballack's decision of Chelsea was a move to:
1) Gain more experience, since he had been playing in the German Bundesliga his entire professional career, arguably the English Premiership is easily as good as the Bundesliga but no one can argue a much different experience (different pressures, different language, more international coverage), therefore will help develop Ballack as a player

2) Perhaps just as important is that Ballack is now free from being pigeon-holed by some Germans of being from East Germany, the following interesting
explains how Ballack was labelled as not having character due to where he was from!
3) Arguable Chelsea is currently a better Champions League contender then Bayern, their most recent history has shown this

Looking at the other way - what did Chelsea gain from signing Ballack?:
1) Solid mid-fielder with excellent playmaking and proven goal scoring (including fantastic headers)
2) Not as reliant on Lampard, now with Ballack it'll be interesting to see what happens with Lampard, but if Chelsea determine they have another hole to fill then Lampard may become trade bait
3) Someone who can will be able to get Drogba the ball, this tandem will be incredible to watch

Therefore I believe Ballack had much more to gain signing with Chelsea than Chelsea stood to gain by signing Ballack.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Top Goal Scorer of The World Cup Germany 2006 Odds

The odds for the winner of the top goal scorer are interesting to look at. Possibly some good picks are:
Michael Owen (ENG) at 15/1 and Frank Lampard (ENG) at 41/1 both could be good bets since England looks like having a strong team and playing on European soil.
Hedging both Miroslav Klose (GER) at 24/1 and Lukas Podolski (GER) at 29/1 also look good for the same reason (Germany as hosts may make it far).
Of course Ronaldinho Gaucho (BRA) at 8/1 is almost a given, although if Brazil make it to the Finals then Ronaldinho may be more competing against his Brazilian counterparts.
An outside smoker may be Didier Drogba (IVY) at 48/1, the way this guy can score and if Ivory Coast could just make it out of the group stage he may already have a good shot for top goal scorer.

Here are the odds:
Ronaldo Nazario (BRA) 17/2
Adriano (BRA) 9/1
Thierry Henry (FRA) 12/1
Ronaldinho Gaucho (BRA) 8/1
Hernan Crespo (ARG) 16/1
Michael Owen (ENG) 15/1
Ruud Van Nistelrooy (NED) 15/1
Wayne Rooney (ENG) 15/1
David Trezeguet (FRA) 23/1
Andrei Shevchenko (UKR) 22/1
Luca Toni (ITA) 17/1
Miroslav Klose (GER) 24/1
Fernando Torres (SPA) 26/1
Alberto Gilardino (ITA) 32/1
Lukas Podolski (GER) 29/1
Pedro Pauleta (POR) 28/1
Kevin Kuranyi (GER) (Suspended) 37/1
Carlos Tevez (ARG) 36/1
Raul Gonzalez (SPA) 38/1
Milan Baros (CZE) 36/1
Zlatan Ibramhimovic (SWE) 36/1
Roy Makaay (NED) (Suspended) 39/1
Frank Lampard (ENG) 41/1
Lionel Messi (ARG) 38/1
Djibrill Cisse (FRA) 50/1
Christian Vieri (ITA) (Suspended) 48/1
Robinho (BRA) 44/1
Kaka (BRA) 50/1
Fernando Morientes (SPA) (Suspended) 48/1
Michael Ballack (GER) 48/1
Dirk Kuyt (NET) (Suspended) 60/1
Francesco Totti (ITA) 50/1
Didier Drogba (IVY) 48/1
Jan Koller (CZE) 62/1
Jared Borgetti (MEX) 53/1
Dado Prso (CRO) 75/1
Juan Riquelme (ARG) 62/1
Mateja Kezman (SER) 60/1
Antonio Cassano (ITA) 52/1
Luciano Figueroa (ARG) (Suspended) 100/1
Javier Saviola (ARG) 68/1
Alessandro Del Piero (ITA) 78/1
Zinedine Zidane (FRA) 87/1
Pavel Nedved (CZE) 80/1
Cristiano Ronaldo (POR) 70/1
Arjen Robben (NED) 115/1
Roque Santa Cruz (PAR) 120/1
Mark Viduka (AUS) 120/1
Brian McBride (USA) 95/1
Steven Gerrard (ENG) 60/1
David Beckham (ENG) 100/1
Joe Cole (ENG) 95/1
Landon Donovan (USA) 100/1
Paulo Cesar Wanchope (CRA) 300/1
Field (Any Other Player) 3/1

Sunday, May 28, 2006

World Cup African Teams

Which African team stands the best chance at the World Cup 2006?

Ivory Coast (Cote D'Ivoire) have a proven winner in the coach of Henri Michel and superstar Didier Drogba, however face a challenging group of Argentina, Serbia and Montenegro and The Netherlands (Holland). Fortune may be with Ivory Coast since Serbia and Montenegro are in the midst of a vote splitting the countries up thereby causing internal tension, and Argentina are consistenly under-achievers at the World Cup, look for a strong Holland to win the group.

Tunisia has a good chance in their group with Spain, Ukraine and Saudi Arabia. Tunisia should beat the latter two and has good chances against perennial underachievers Spain.

Angola are in a group with Mexico, Iran, and Portugal. Both Mexico and Portugal will be difficult opponents.

Togo may be a surprise but if they do then will have to definitely beat Korea and then one of France or Switzerland, not an easy task. Togo has a couple of things on their side, Korea is playing united which may cause friction, and are well coached with Otto Pfister.

Ghana will have it tough with the likes of Italy, USA, and Czech Republic in their group.

Here are the complete rosters:

Coach: Ratomir Djukovic

Goalkeepers: Sammy Adjei (Mohadon Sports Ashdod, Israel), Richard Kingston (BB Ankaraspor, Turkey), George Owu (AshantiGold)

Defenders: Addoquaye Pappoe (Ashdod Tel-Aviv, Israel), John Painstil (Hapoel Tel Aviv, Israel), John Mensah (Rennes, France), Issa Ahmed (Randers, Denmark), Sammy Osei Kuffuor (AS Roma, Italy), Hans Adu Sarpei (Vfl Wolfsburg, Germany), Dan Quaye (Hearts of Oak), Habib Mohammed (King Faisal), Shilla Illiasu (Asante Kotoko)

Midfielders: Stephen Appiah (Fenerbache, Turkey), Michael Essien (Chelsea, England), Sulley Ali Muntari (Udinese, Italy), Haminu Dramani (Red Star Belgrade, Serbia & Montenegro), Eric Addo (PSV Eindhoven, Holland) Derek Boateng (AIK Solna, Sweden), Otto Addo (FSV Mainz 05, Germany);
Forwards: Asamoah Gyan (Modena, Italy) Matthew Amoah (Borussia Dortmund, Germany), Razak Pimpong (FC Copenhagen, Denmark), Alex Tachie-Mensah (St. Gallen, Switzerland)

Standby: Philemon McCarthy (Fetteh Feyenoord), Aziz Ansah (Asante Kotoko), Yusif Chibsah (Asante Kotoko), Baffour Gyan (Dynamo Moscow, Russia), Baba Adamu (Krylia Sovetov, Russia).

Ivory Coast
Coach: Henri Michel

Goalkeepers: Jean-Jacques Tizie (Esperance Tunis, Tunisia), Boubacar Barry Copa (KSK Beveren, Belgium), Gerard Gnanhouan (Montpellier, France)

Defenders: Cyrille Domoraud (Creteil, France), Blaise Kouassi (ES Troyes, France), Abdoulaye Meite (Marseille, France), Etienne Arthur Boka (Strasbourg, France), Kolo Toure (Arsenal, England), Emmanuel Eboue (Arsenal, England), Marc Zoro (FC Messina, Italy)

Midfielders: Didier Zokora (St Etienne, France), Emerse Fae (Nantes, France), Kanga Gauthier Akale (Auxerre, France), Romaric Ndri Koffi (Le Mans, France), Gnegneri Yaya Toure (Olympiakos,Greece), Gilles Yapi Yapo (Young Boys, Switzerland), Guy Roland Demel (Hamburg, Germany)

Strikers: Bakari Kone (Nice, France), Didier Drogba (Chelsea, England), Arouna Kone (PSV Eindhoven, Holland), Bonaventure Kalou (Paris Saint-Germain, France), Abdoul Kader Keita (Lille, France), Aruna Dindane (Lens, France).

Coach: Roger Lemerre

Goalkeepers: Ali Boumnijel (Club Africain), Hamdi Kasraoui (Esperance Tunis), Adel Nefzi (US Monastir)

Defenders: David Jemmali (Bordeaux, France), Hatem Trabelsi (Ajax, Holland), Mehdi Meriah (Etoile du Sahel), Anis Ayari (Samsunspor, Turkey), Alaeddine Yahya (Saint-Etienne, France), Radhi Jaidi (Bolton, England), Karim Hagui (Strasbourg, France), Karim Saidi (Lecce, Italy)

Midfielders: Jawhar Menari (Nuremberg, Germany), Adel Chedli (Nuremberg, Germany), Mehdi Nafti (Birmingham City, England), Sofiene Melliti (Gaziantespor, Turkey), Hamed Namouchi (Rangers, Scotland), Karim Zdiri (Rosenborg, Norway), Yassine Chikhaoui (Etoile du Sahel), Riadh Bouazizi (Kayserispor, Turkey), Issam Jomaa (Lens, France), Kais Ghodhbane (Diyarbakirspor, Turkey)

Forwards: Francileudo Santos (Toulouse, France), Ziad Jaziri (Troyes, France).

Coach: Luis Oliveira Goncalves

Goalkeepers: Joao Ricardo (unattached), Lama (Petro Atletico), Mario (InterClube)

Defenders: Delgado (Petro Atletico), Jamba (AS Aviacao), Kali (FC Barreirense, Portugal), Lebo Lebo (Petro Atletico), Loco (Primeiro Agosto), Marco Abreu (Portimonense, Portugal), Marco Airosa (FC Barreirense, Portugal), Rui Marques (Hull City, England)

Midfielders: Andre (Kuwait SC, Kuwait), Edson (Pacos Ferreira, Portugal), Figueiredo, Mendonca (Varzim, Portugal), Miloy (InterClube), Ze Kalanga (Petro Atletico)

Strikers: Akwa (unattached), Andre Titi Buengo (Clermont Foot, France), Flavio (Al Ahli, Egypt), Love (AS Aviacao), Mantorras (Benfica, Portugal), Mateus (Gil Vicente, Portugal).

Coach: Otto Pfister

Goalkeepers: Kossi Agassa (Metz, France), Nimini Tchagnirou (Djoliba, Mali), Kodjovi Dodji Obilale (Etoile Filante)

Defenders: Yaovi Dosseh Abalo (Apoel, Cyprus), Dare Nibombe (Mons, Belgium), Ludovic Assemoassa (Clermont, France), Karim Guede (Hamburg, Germany), Toure Assimiou (Bayer Leverkusen, Germany), Richmond Forson (J.A. Poire, France), Massamesso Tchangai (Benevento, Italy), Kuami Agboh (Beveren, Belgium), Eric Akoto (Admira Walker, Austria), Afo Erassa (Clermont, France)

Midfielders: Kaka Aziawonou (Youngs Boys, Switzerland), Cherif Toure Mamam (Metz, France), Thomas Dossevi (Valencien, France), Alexis Romao (CS Louhans Cuiseaux, France), Adekambi Olufade (Al Siliyah, Qatar), Yao Junior Senaya (YF Juventus, Switzerland)

Forwards: Emmanuel Adebayor (Arsenal, England), Robert Malm (Brest, France), Abdel-Kader Cougbadja (Guingamp, France), Moustapha Salifou (Brest, France).

Whatever Happened to the Cameroon Indomitable Lions?

The Cameroon team was a powerful team at the 2002 World Cup and was able to win the African Cup several times including 2000 and 2002, this World Cup they weren't able to qualify.

A lot of things have happened in the Cameroon national team since then but arguably the biggest was the scandal where players were not getting paid. Now Artur Jorge and his team are on the outside looking in.

Which African team stands the best chance to go far in the 2006 World Cup?

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?