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.

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