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?

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Germany leaves Luxembourg in Tatters

FREIBURG, Germany (AP) - Germany strikers Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski each scored twice on Saturday to lead the World Cup host to a 7-0 win over lowly Luxembourg.

Torsten Frings scored from a penalty in the first half before substitute Oliver Neuville also notched two in injury time.

The match was the first in a series of three in a week completing Germany's preparations for the World Cup.

Tim Borowksi replaced Germany captain Michael Ballack, who injured his left ankle in practice two days ago and stayed behind in the team's training base in Geneva, Switzerland.

Despite missing its top star, Germany easily dominated its first international since World Cup training started on May 16.

Coach Juergen Klinsmann used 17 players and former No. 1 goalkeeper Oliver Kahn came in at the start of second half for Jens Lehmann.

"It was important to see how we would play after hard training, when the players' legs are tired. We tried to have some fun and score some goals," Klinsmann said. "Podolski and Schweinsteiger were in good form. You could see they have fun while they are out there.

"We applied what we had in mind," Klinsmann said.

Klinsmann added that no one could be sure of starting World Cup games.

Immediately after the match, the German team flew back to Switzerland for two more days of training before it returns home to play Japan in Leverkusen on May 30.

Germany also plays Colombia in Moenchengladbach on June 2, before kicking off the World Cup on June 9 in Munich against Costa Rica.

Its other Group A games are against Poland and Ecuador.

After five minutes, Podolski made a quick break down the left wing and set up Klose, who tapped the ball in from close range.

Luxembourg nearly equalized in the 10th, when Alphonse Leweck beat the German defence to Sebastien Remy's cross but shot wide.

On the other side, Klose shook the crossbar with a header.

Bastian Schweinsteiger earned a penalty in the 19th when he was brought down by Tim Heinz and Frings converted from the spot to make it 2-0.

In the 36th, Podolski chested down a cross from Borowski at the edge of the area and drove the ball into the roof of the net to pad Germany's lead.

Klose notched his second in the 59th, on an assist by Schweinsteiger.

Klinsmann then took off Klose and sent on Gerald Asamoah, who earned a penalty less than two minutes after coming on. Podolski scored from the spot past goalkeeper Marc Oberweis, who had fouled Asamoah.

Neuville used two late lapses by the Luxembourg defence to complete the rout.

World Cup According to Character

In anticipation of each World Cup I spend a few minutes to reread the following article written by Henry Kissinger in 1986. This article is truly classic and timeless, sure add a couple of wins to Brazil, another to Germany Italy and France, but for the most part this article could have been written today not 20 years ago.

World Cup According to Character
The Los Angeles Times
Sunday, June 29, 1986

by: Henry Kissinger

I have been an avid soccer fan ever since my youth in Fuerth, a soccer-mad city of southern Germany, which for some inexplicable reason won three championships in a three-year period. My father despaired of a son who preferred to stand for two hours (there were very few seats) watching a soccer game rather than sit in the comfort at the opera or be protected from the elements in a museum.

Soccer evokes extraordinary passions, especially during the quadrennial World Cup competition ending today in Mexico City. It has been estimated that the Brazilian gross national product suffers a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars for every day Brazil plays, as rabid fans sit before television sets or radios. Statistics in other soccer citadels must be comparable.

Soccer lends itself to a competition of national teams because it requires an extraordinary combination of individual skill, teamwork and strategic sense. Since there are 11 players on each side engaged in continuous action, every game produces tactical necessities to be solved by improvisation on the playing field.

This was true even in my youth when soccer was much less complex and much more oriented to the offense. Then there were five forwards, three midfield players, two fullbacks and a goalie. The offense being numerically superior to the defense, goals were much more frequent then. By the late 1930s, managers sought to overcome this advantage by assigning the center half to shadow the opposing center forward. The creation of three de facto fullbacks constricted the attack which since time immemorial had been built around the center forward.

In the early 1950s, the Hungarians showed how to overwhelm this defense, turning their center forward into a decoy. He would move to the sidelines or toward midfield, drawing the shadowing defensive player out of position, creating an empty space in front of the goal.

But as in military strategy every offensive maneuver in soccer evokes a compensating defensive move. The answer to the roving center forward was a zone defense; defensive players were required to cover a certain area regardless of which player was attacking. Total soccer was invented soon thereafter; all players had to be able to defend as well as attack and to shift from one mode to another with extreme rapidity.

The modern style of soccer in fact emphasizes defense — with few exceptions like Brazil, Argentina and France. The basic alignment has become four defensive and four midfield players; the forwards have shrunk to two. Massed defenses can in general be overcome only by rapid thrusts involving very accurate passing. The result is a very tactical game, its complexity becoming a fascinating reflection of national attitudes.

The styles of leading soccer powers like West Germany, Brazil, Italy and England illustrate this point.

West Germany, a finalist today, is, with Italy and Brazil, the most successful team of the modern era. West German soccer entered the postwar era with no particular legacy. Postwar Germany's newly professional soccer being as novel as the frontiers of the state it represents, it could adopt total soccer with a vengeance. The German national team plays the way its general staff prepared for the war; games are meticulously planned, each player skilled in both attack and defense. Intricate pass patterns evolve, starting right in front of the German goal. Anything achievable by human foresight, careful preparation and hard work is accounted for.

And there have been great successes. Of the last six prior World Cups, Germany has won two, was second twice, third once and out of the running only in 1978. At the same time, the German national team suffers from the same disability as the famous Schlieffen plan for German strategy in World War I. There is a limit to human foresight; psychological stress on those charged with executing excessively complex maneuvers cannot be calculated in advance. If the German team falls behind, or if its intricate approach yields no results, its game is shadowed by the underlying national premonition that in the end even the most dedicated effort will go unrewarded, by the nightmare that ultimately fate is cruel — a nightmare reinforced by the knowledge that the German media are unmerciful when high expectations go unfulfilled. The impression is unavoidable that an outstanding national soccer team has not brought a proportionate amount of joy to a people that may not in its heart of hearts believe joy is the ultimate national destiny.

Brazil suffers no such inhibitions. Its national teams are an assertion that virtue without joy is a contradiction in terms. Brazilian teams display a contagious exuberance; Brazilian fans cheer them on to the ecstatic beat of samba bands. Brazil always has the most acrobatic players, the individuals one cannot forget whatever the outcome of the match. But, as in Brazil's political institutions, this individualism is combined with an extraordinary ability to make the practical arrangements required for effective national performance. As a result, Brazil has appeared in more World Cups and won more than any other team. It was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the current competition partly as a result of an egregious seeding placing Italy, the old World Cup holder; France, the European champion, and two potential champions — Brazil and West Germany — in the same half of a sudden-death elimination round, while the other half contained only one team, Argentina — today's other finalist — that has ever been in the final four.

To be sure, the Brazilians, being human, cannot avoid some weaknesses. The players sometimes are so intoxicated by their brilliant maneuvers that they occasionally forget the purpose of the exercise is to score goals. And I have never seen an outstanding Brazilian goal-keeper. Perhaps the task is too lonely; the goalkeeper after all has to stay put while his teammates enjoy themselves tracing clever pass patterns on the turf. Or perhaps the only purely defensive assignment on a team offends the Brazilian self-image.

Yet a Brazilian team on the attack — which is most of the time — looks like a dancing band at carnival. Wave after wave of yellow shirts roll against the opposing goal until the opposition is overwhelmed without being humiliated; it is no disgrace to be defeated by a team whose style no one else can imitate.

Italy's record places it among the top teams of world soccer although it fell victim to the same absurd seeding as Brazil. The Italian style reflects the national conviction, forged by the vicissitudes of an ancient history, that the grim struggle for survival must be based on a careful husbanding of energy for the main task. It presupposes a correct assessment of the opponent's character, paired with an unostentatious and matter-of-fact perseverance that obscures many intricate levels on which the competition takes place. The initial objective of Italian teams is to force the opponent out of his game plan, to wreck his concentration and to induce him to abandon his preferred style. In the early stages of a match, the Italian team tends to look destructive and purely defensive — a style achievable only by extreme toughness and discipline. But once the Italian team has imposed its pattern, it can play some of the most effective, even beautiful soccer in the world — though it will never waste energy simply on looking good.

No discussion of national soccer styles can be complete without reference to England. Before World War II and for nearly a decade after, England was clearly the dominant power. I say England, because for purposes of international soccer, the United Kingdom fields four teams: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. A single United Kingdom team using the best players from each would be even more formidable.

The decline in the fortunes of the English team is, in my view, primarily caused by a refusal to adapt to the tactics of the modern era. Before World War II, the English team overwhelmed its opponents with speed, power and condition. But as defenses massed, the English quick-breaking style lost much of its effectiveness; as most of Europe went over to professional soccer, the advantage of superior conditioning eroded. Yet England refused to adapt its tactical plan to the passing game needed to break open the modern defense.

The English national team had never lost a game at home until 1954, when Hungary prevailed with its roving center forward. Since then, the English team has gradually declined. It is steady, reliable, tough. It never yields to panic. It is never defeated one-sidedly. It achieves everything attainable by character and tenacity. Regrettably — because I thought the pre-World War II game was more fun to watch — it has also been somewhat pedantic, as if in nostalgic thrall to a bygone era. England has never won a European championship; it has prevailed only once in the World Cup and that was 20 years ago playing before its own fans. All of us who enjoy England's muscular game hope that England's relative success in the current matches heralds a real revival.

The World Cup arouses passions because it involves both an athletic competition and a contest of national styles. It can be no accident that the most offensive-minded and elegant European team is France, only recently become a soccer power; that no team from a communist country (except Hungary, in 1954) has ever reached the World Cup finals or semifinals. Too much stereotyped planning destroys the creativity indispensable for effective soccer.

Soccer has never taken hold in the United States partly because neither a national team nor a national style has been encouraged. Still, as an unreconstructed fan, I hope for another attempt to popularize the sport, perhaps by holding the next World Cup slated for the Western Hemisphere (1994) in this country.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

World Cup 06 Winner Predicted by Simulation

The analysts at UBS Wealth Management Research have caught World Cup fever, and have made some interesting prognoses about how this year’s soccer World Cup will pan out.

Based on a simulation, the analysts have determined that Italy will win. The simulation was carried out using scientific methods comparable to those used by the experts to make predictions regarding the economic and financial sectors. The model developed by analysts was then tested for reliability by applying it to past football World Cup and European tournaments, with remarkably precise results: the simulation correctly predicted 89 percent of all of the semi-final winners of the previous nine World Cups.

The simulation
According to the UBS simulation, further results will be as follows: Germany will lose to Argentina in the 3rd round and Italy will beat France at the same stage. They will be closely followed by the Netherlands, who will send England home. In the fourth pairing, the Brazilians will dominate the Spaniards. The semi-finals will then be down to the favorites: the Netherlands will draw the short straw against the Brazilians, the Italians will beat Argentina. In the final, the Brazilians will be forced to accept the fact that the Italians are the better team in this tournament.

Many influencing factors
Along with "football fever", the team around UBS Wealth Management Chief Economist Klaus Wellershoff was interested to find out what variables are important in predicting World Cup success. In doing so, they discovered that many things that appear to be obvious are, in fact, not crucial to winning the World Cup. An example of this would be the size of a country's population, which is often incorrectly correlated to the amount of potential athletic talent. The FIFA rankings, which list the top national soccer teams, also prove to be of limited use when it comes to making a prediction: the FIFA list compiles the sporting success of the individual teams but assigns equal value to all wins, no matter how strong the opponent.

Reality wins
The creation of the World Cup prediction was an intellectual change of pace for the UBS analysts, but it also delivered additional insights. The exercise, for example, gave the experts the opportunity to demonstrate the flexibility of their methods outside their typical parameters.

Of course, there are also limits. According to the model, Greece would never have become European champion in 2004. Sports do still follow their own rules - and are more attractive than any simulation.

Monday, May 22, 2006

World Cup Ticket Scandal?

FIFA always has to have their hands in everything don't they.

Sponsors such as Coca-Cola, Budweiser and McDonald's will have one in six of all the tickets - 490,000 in total. The 15 World Cup sponsors receive up to 25,000 tickets each.

The percentage is not calculated from the stadium's capacity for a Bundesliga match but Fifa's 'saleable capacity' - about 20 per cent less. The other seats go to the media, VIPs, TV cameras and for security.

People are complaining that ordinary fans get too few tickets while sponsors and corporates have too many.

Slogans of the World Cup Country's

Angola - “Angola lead the way – our team is our people”
Argentina - “Get up, Argentina are on the move”
Australia - “Australia Socceroos – Bound for glory”
Brazil - “Vehicle monitored by 180 million Brazilian hearts”
Costa Rica- “Our army is the team, our weapon is the ball. Let’s go to Germany and give it our all”
Côte d’Ivoire - “Come on the Elephants! Win the cup in style”
Croatia – “To the finals with fire in our hearts”
Czech Republic – “Belief and a lion’s strength, for victory and our fans”
Ecuador – “Ecuador my life, football my passion, the cup my goal”
England - “One Nation, One Trophy, Eleven Lions”
France – “Liberté, egalité, Jules Rimet”
Germany - “We are football”
Iran - “Stars of Persia”
Italy – “Blue pride, Italy in our hearts”
Japan - “Light up your Samurai spirit!”
Korea Republic - “Never-ending legend, united Korea”
Ghana – “Go Black Stars, the stars of our world”
Mexico - “Aztec passion across the world”
Netherlands – “Oranje on the road to gold”
Paraguay – “From the heart of America… this is the Guarani spirit”
Poland – “White and red, dangerous and brave”
Portugal – “With a flag in the window and a nation on the pitch. Força Portugal”
Saudi Arabia - “The Green Hawks cannot be stopped”
Serbia and Montenegro - “For the love of the game”
Spain – “Spain. One country, one goal”
Switzerland – “2006, it’s Swiss o’clock”
Sweden – “Fight! Show spirit! Come on! You have the support of everyone”
Togo – “A passion to win and a thirst to succeed”
Trinidad and Tobago - “Here come the Soca Warriors – the fighting spirit of the Caribbean”
Tunisia – “The Carthage Eagles… higher and stronger than ever”
Ukraine – “With our support, Ukraine cannot fail to win!”
USA - “United we play, United we win”

Illegal 1966 World Cup Extra Time Goal Reviewed

Will Germany ever be able to forgive England over the 1966 World Cup Finals extra time goal that should not have been allowed?

In 1995 after reviewing the video footage Oxford University concluded that the goal should not have counted. Since the 1966 World Cup Final, a controversial goal resulting from a shot bouncing off the crossbar is called a Wembley-Tor (Wembley goal) in Germany.

Some feel there is a good chance of England and Germany meeting in this years World Cup and the fact that someone such as Michael Ballack comes out and states that it would be good if Germany and England met in the World Cup seems to allude to this soccer history.

Germany has won 3 World Cup titles, England 1, Brazil 6. Perhaps this should be 4 0 6?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Injured Vieri to miss World Cup

Christian Vieri Vieri has scored three goals in seven games since joining Monaco. Italy striker Christian Vieri has been ruled out of the World Cup. The Monaco forward injured his left knee when he collided with Bernard Mendy during his side's 1-1 draw with Paris St Germain on 26 March. Italy coach Marcello Lippi said: "I now have a clear idea of my 23 players for the World Cup because Vieri has already had an operation and is not available."

The Italian squad will be announced on Monday, which is also Fifa's deadline for World Cup squads.

The 32-year-old played for Italy at the 2002 World Cup and moved to the French side in January.

Vieri had strong hopes of making the squad, although coach Marcello Lippi has chosen to play Luca Toni and Gilardino up front in recent matches.

Vieri moved from AC Milan to Monaco in January in a bid to get more first-team football to boost his chances of making the Italy squad.

He has scored 23 goals in 49 matches for Italy.

Lippi has not been afraid to drop Italy's established stars since taking over as coach and Fiorentina striker Toni rewarded the coach's bravery by finishing as Italy's top scorer in the qualifiers with four goals.

Kahn to Retire

Hamburg - Oliver Kahn will retire as goalkeeper from the German national football team after the World Cup, the chairman of his club Bayern Munich, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, said in an interview published on Wednesday. The announcement means that the 84-times capped Kahn may play no more international matches for Germany. He is the reserve goalkeeper behind Arsenal's Jens Lehmann at the June 9-July 9 home World Cup and Lehmann is also set to play in the final three tune-up games.

Unless he is fielded at the World Cup after all, Kahn's last national appearance will come next Tuesday in a match against a Germany amateur team, Luckenwalde.

'After the World Cup he will quit the national team and fully concentrate on Bayern Munich,' Rummenigge told the Bild daily.

Kahn has so far not confirmed that he will retire from the Germany team after the World Cup. His new contract in Munich runs until 2008.

Kahn, 36, won his first cap 1995 against Switzerland and was a reserve goalkeeper at Euro 1996 and the 1998 World Cup. He then became a starter at Euro 2000, was voted Most Valuable Player of the 2002 World Cup as he almost single-handedly led Germany into the final, and also played at Euro 2004.

His last cap came on March 22 in a 4-1 victory over the United States.

Rummenigge said that Munich were concerned about Kahn when Germany coach Juergen Klinsmann chose Lehmann in late April as World Cup starter, but full of praise for Kahn's swift decision to accept the new role and go to the World Cup as number 2.

'When Klinsmann degraded him to number 2 we were in big fear. Oliver was completely down. But he reacted superbly,' said Rummenigge.

Friday, May 05, 2006

One underrated strength that Germany has always had is great management at their disposal. The following table shows the winning percentages of their managers:

Manager Start EndMatchesWins Draws Losses GF:GA Pct Success
Otto Nerz 1923 1936 70 42 10 18
Sepp Herberger 1936 07.06.1964 162 92 26 44
64.8% World Champion 1954
Helmut Schön04.11.196421.06.1978 139 87 30 22
73.4%World Champion 1974, 2nd 1966, 3rd 1970
Euro Champion 1972, 2nd 1976
Jupp Derwall 11.10.1978 20.06.1984 67 45 11 11 144:60 75.4% World 2nd 1982, 1986, Euro Champion 1980
Franz Beckenbauer 12.09.1984 08.07.1990 66 36 17 13 112:65 67.4%World Champion 1990
Berti Vogts 29.08.1990 04.07.1998 102 67 23 12 203:74 77.0%Euro Champion 1996
Erich Ribbeck 02.09.1998 20.06.2000 24 10 6 8 42:33 54.2%
Rudi Völler 16.08.2000 23.06.2004 53 29 11 13 110:54 65.1% World Runnerup 2002
Jürgen Klinsmann 18.08.2004 (present) 16 9 5 2 41 : 24 72.0%

Thursday, May 04, 2006


The Ballack sage continues. Rumours continue to get stronger of Ballack going to Chelsea. Is this just posturing by both sides (Bayern and Ballack)? It doesn't make sense whether Ballack would want to leave for Chelsea, it doesn't fit his personality or resolve.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

World Cup Stadiums:

The 2006 World Cup Finals will run from 9th June to 9th July, with the opening match in München and the final in Berlin. München and Dortmund will host the semi-finals.

Host Cities:
The twelve host cities are Berlin, Dortmund, Frankfurt, Gelsenkirchen, Hamburg, Hannover, Kaiserslautern, Köln, Leipzig, München, Nürnberg, and Stuttgart.

Eight of the cities will host five matches, while Berlin, Dortmund, München and Stuttgart will each host six -- a total of 64 games.

No team will play in the same stadium twice, during the group stage, and there will be at least two days in between matches played in the same stadium. Each city will also play host to two of the top seeds and no city will host two games from the same group.

The draw for the finals will take place in Leipzig on Friday, December 9th 2005.

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