May 24, 2019

Lionel Messi Wins FIFA Ballon d’Or

Argentinian soccer superstar Lionel Messi took home the first FIFA Ballon d’Or award earlier today. The FIFA Ballon d’Or is a new award based on the merging of the FIFA World Player of the Year and the France Football magazine “European Footballer of the Year” prize. Messi scored an astonishing 60 goals for Argentina and Barcelona during the calendar year of 2010. Lionel currently has 18 goals (more than seven entire clubs from La Liga) and 12 assists through 15 matches this season for FC Barcelona. Long live Lionel!

More World Cup Controversy!

Yesterday I watched another day of World Cup football, and again there was more conversation surrounding the officiating than there was about the quality of the games. A disallowed Frank Lampard goal in the England v. Germany game changed the complexion of the match, leading to a 4-1 Germany victory.

In Argentina’s 3-1 victory over Mexico, Argentine striker, Carlos Tévez, scored Argentina’s first goal of the match from an obvious offside position. Again, a goal at this stage of a match changed how Mexico played tactically and defended subsequently.

I was chatting with my friend, “Tommy D,” the other day. Like me, Tommy’s a big sports fan, but relatively new to soccer. He explained he started following the World Cup, but was baffled by the officiating. All his points and questions were valid and, unfortunately, I had no good answers for him. What a shame for fans old and new to the game that terrible officiating is the main talking point.

Countries wait four years and go through trying qualifying rounds to reach the World Cup. Players leave their club teams and drag their butt’s around the world to help their country qualify. People spend their hard-earned money to support their teams and to go to games. Fans travel thousands of miles around the globe to cheer their teams in what is supposed to be the pinnacle of sports. This is the planet’s most watched sport. It is not too much to ask that we have competent officiating.

It’s not a complicated sport but—like all world class athletics—challenging to officiate. Nevertheless, FIFA, football’s governing body continually resists sensible changes like goal line technology and extra officials on the pitch. We don’t care how many officials it takes, just get it right, man! Most other international sports adopted these changes years ago. Wake up FIFA! Wake up Sepp Blatter, you jackass.

Footnote:

I believe the best teams prevailed in both matches referenced above, which is important, but we could very well have had more exciting matches were the officiating competent.

God Bless America

U.S. Soccer just pulled off one of if not their biggest upsets ever today in the semifinals of the Confederations Cup against all mighty Spain. The United States beat FIFA’s top ranked Spain 2-0 in Bloemfontein, South Africa and this is the first loss for the Spaniards since late 2006! U.S Soccer was only able to get off 4 shots the entire game, but Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey were both successful in finding the back of the net. This is a huge shot in the arm for the #14 ranked team by FIFA and leads them to their first men’s final ever in a FIFA competition. By all indications it appears the United States will face Brazil who thoroughly embarrassed U.S Soccer earlier in the Cup.

World Cup Viva Italia

World Cup 2006

Italy defeated France yesterday 5-3 in a penalty kick showdown to win the glorious World Cup. Their victory though will forever have two black clouds hanging over it. The odd thing about it is I’m not sure which one will be the bigger one years down the road.

The first black cloud is the HUGE scandal going on with Italian club teams and the accusations of paying off referees. There was eight players in the World Cup final who are on these accused Italian club teams. Juventus is a powerhouse in club soccer and literally could be cast to the minor leagues of soccer if found guilty.

The second one is the red card given to French star Zinedine Zidane. He came out of retirement at the request of the French prime minister to assist “Les Bleus” at World Cup 2006. This is the same man who lead the French to the World Cup in 98′ in a 3-0 win over Brazil. “Zizou” is the quintessential star with class, but he flipped his lid yesterday at an inexcusable time. Zidane ended up headbutting an Italian player and was kicked out of the match with ten minutes left in overtime.

I know you would never give up such an honor, but I’m sure Italy would have preferred to win in a simpler manner.

World Cup Knockout Round

We have reached the final 16 of the glorious World Cup competition so now it’s lose and you are gone.  There were definitely some surprises to make the knockout round with Ghana leading the list of the underrated teams to advance.  Ecuador, Australia and Ukraine were other teams that played excellent soccer and surprisingsly made it past pool play. 

Today the first two games of the knockout round were played and host Germany kicked things off with total domination over Sweden.  German stud Lukas Podolski scored two goals within the first 12 minutes of the game and Germany really never looked back.  Sweden did have a golden chance to get back in the game in the second half, but Henrik Larsson put his penalty kick in the nosebleed section of Allianz Arena and Sweden was a done deal.  Germany won 2-0 and advanced to the quarterfinals of World Cup 2006.

The second game tilt featured heavily favored Argentina versus Mexico.  Mexico defensiveman Rafael Marquez scored five minutes into the game, but Argentina countered via Hernan Crespo only five minutes later to tie the game.  The score remained 1-1 until the first overtime when Maxi Rodriquez scored a phenomenal goal to ultimately lead Argentina to a 2-1 win.  Germany and Argentina will meet in the quarterfinals in what should be a classic battle. 

Host Germany Wins Again

German soccer team

In all reality it is no grand surprise Germany the host country for the World Cup won their second game of the greatest show on the pitch. The shock was how well Poland played them today (easy now…no Pollock jokes) in what was the second game for each team. The German soccer team was able to cruise by Costa Rica in their first game and Poland was upset by Ecuador. All indications certainly led to an old fashioned German flogging, but it took the black, red and yellow until injury time to capture a 1-0 win. Substitute Oliver Neuville scored on a sliding kick off a wonderful pass from another sub, David Odonkor. A big win a close win, it sure seems to me that Germany is going to make a strong case for the World Cup Final on July 9th in Berlin.

USA Tanks in their Opening Game of World Cup 2006

World Cup 2006

This is going to be a very short post or else my venom might spew all over the place.  USA comes into the World Cup ranked #5 in FIFA’s world rankings and lay an egg in our first game.  Yeah yeah, I know the Czech’s are good, but when they score five minutes into the game on us and never look back it just becomes frustrating.  Italy and Ghana are left to go in the pool play so it doesn’t get any easier.  If we don’t make the round of 16 then it’s another classic American display in the World Cup.

World Cup Weekend Wrap Up

World Cup 2006The World Cup is now in full gear and man have the games been good.  The competition has been fierce and it truly appears the teams are more evenly matched than I can ever remember from previous World Cup matches.  I think by far the biggest representation of this came on Saturday when Trinidad and Tobago, a country with only a million people, tied the mighty Swedish team.  Trinadad and Tobago was able to accomplish this feat with a MAN DOWN in the second half due to two yellow cards against one of their players.

The host company Germany kicked things off Friday with a 4-2 victory over Costa Rica then  Ecuador defeated Poland 2-0 in the other match up from this past Friday.  Saturday things got kicked off with England winning against Paraguay 1-0 off an own goal by Paraguay. (OUCH!)  Argentina was able to hold off the Ivory Coast with a final score of 2-1.  Yesterday the Netherlands won 1-0 against Serbia, Mexico worked Iran 3-1 and Portugal held off Angola 1-0. 

Todays games:

Australia vs Japan

USA vs Czech Republic

Itlay vs Ghana