2005/06 Soccer Thread

Those poor, poor Samoans.

In other, notably less exciting news, the Czechs are headed to Germany, as are the Spaniards (where they will surely get eliminated in the first knockout stage).

Australia defied expectations by beating Uruguay in a penalty shootout to reach Germany 2006. Not to be a killjoy, but the last time the Australians went to the World Cup in 1974, they got a single point.

Turkey misses out on another major tournament, this time losing on Aggregate thanks to that pesky Away Goals rule. The Turkish fans reacted rather unfavorably, and a brou-ha-ha broke out between the Turks and the Swiss (no really!) after the match.

Trinidad and Tobago also qualified, which is news to me.

Aaaaand the L.A. Galaxy are your 2005 MLS Cup winners. I put this last because I watched the final, and for the most part, it sucked. Shades of Milan v. Juve in 2003.

EDIT: A little extra...

Football365's "Team of the Season So Far"

And some letters praising/criticising England's victory over Argentina.

Ooh, and Robert Hoyzer's in jail. It's a long story.

So, where to start?

Well, in an acrimonious end to what had been a great relationship, Roy Keane has left Manchester United. I'd get into the whole thing here, but with a little searching, I think you can get all the details yourselves. Suffice to say, during ManYoo's "crisis" he had a... "outburst" on the team's official media channel, MUTV, wherein he derided and criticized a number of players. Factor this in with an apparent argument with Alex recently and things are done and dusted with. Supposedly, he's off to Celtic, but Soccernet's Norman Hubbard asks if he's a good choice for anyone right now.

Barcelona and Real Madrid played this weekend, a game which saw Ronaldinho personally destroy Madrid and lead Barca to a 3-0 win.

I'm thrilled that I can actually show you all three goals here, thanks to FCB-Videos.com.

Samuel Eto'o makes it 1-0.

Ronaldinho makes it 2-0.

Ronaldinho is really, really good.

And Of Course, Sid Lowe has an opinion.

Anywho, back in England, Legendary striker George Best is in bad shape medically. Do a Wikipedia search on him, learn yourself a little something about the game's greats.

As for the scores from this weekend...

Wigan just weren't quite good enough to defeat Arsenal.

Life without Roy Keane began nicely for ManU, beating Charlton handily, although questions can still be asked of them.

Everton isn't anywhere close to last year's super play.

Everyone understands that Chelsea's not invincible, and while they spent 45 minutes looking lacklustre, they're still Chelsea.

Liverpool > Portsmouth

And Peter Crouch still can't score.

And lastly, Fulham lost. Okay, so that concerns only me.

Anywho, enjoy the midweek Champions League fixtures as we near the end of the Group stages. With only two games left to be played, both Manchester United and AC Milan need wins to allow them to progress to the knockout stages. For both teams, not doing so would be disastrous.

Oh, and Dejanzie, I doubt Anderlecht's getting that elusive point quite yet. On the upside, Club Brugge could actually qualify for the next round. Not likely, but they could!

I have nothing to say. It's just that I'm the last person to post in the last 8 Sports threads, and I want to extend my name's dominance further down the page.

In case you missed it....

Manchester United lost 2-1 to Benfica, meaning for the first time in a decade, ManU won't be involved in European soccer after Christmas. Bad times at Old Trafford. General consensus is that Sir Alex will be out of a job at the end of the year, probably. There's a bunch of great commentary on the loss, and what it means for ManU and Alex Ferguson, but I'm too lazy to post it right now, so go, use your newfound soccer knowledge and find it yourselves.

For You, Dejanzie

That was a great game, but talking about Sir Alex Ferguson being done is, in my opinion, insane. Yes, ManU is having a rough year... but the qualifying phrase everyone seems to be leaving out is "for ManU". For damn near any other team on the face of the planet, they're having a respectable season. Plus, I have yet to hear anyone suggest a coach who could do better. For that matter, I'm not sure I'd be willing to take that job, regardless of how much money ManU offered, because I don't see how you could ever be considered successful, short of winning the domestic league championship and the European championships.

The info on how much money ManU "lost" due to their early loss is both interesting and frightening. That kind of pressure can't be good for anyone involved...

Here are the results of the World Cup draw:

Group A
Germany
Costa Rica
Poland
Ecuador

Group B
England
Paraguay
Trinidad and Tobago
Sweden

Group C
Argentina
Côte d'Ivoire
Serbia and Montenegro
Netherlands

Group D
Mexico
Iran
Angola
Portugal

Group E
Italy
Ghana
United States
Czech Republic

Group F
Brazil
Croatia
Australia
Japan

Group G
France
Switzerland
Korea Republic
Togo

Group H
Spain
Ukraine
Tunisia
Saudi Arabia

Looks like the U.S. has got their work cut out for them, especially with the first game being against the Czech Republic. I would even say we ended up in the toughest group.

Looks like its gonna be another great World Cup no matter what. Can't wait for June 9th to get here.

VicD714 wrote:
Group E
Italy
Ghana
United States
Czech Republic

That sound you'll be hearing in Germany next year is America's renewed interest in soccer dying a quick death after the team gets their asses whooped. What a lousy draw. Is Spain willing to trade spots?

Yeah, it is a tough draw. I am a big supporter of Holland and it looks like they should be able to advance to the tourney without much trouble. Dam, this thing is still like 7 months away. Why must they tease?

Indeed, the U.S. is patently screwed by this draw. Ghana we can get past, but Italy and the Czech republic are perennial favorites and dark horses, respectively. The only hope we have is that the Italian camp is once again too split from infighting and bickering that they end up underachieving again like in Euro 2004.

This shouldn't have happened this way, but somehow Mexico got seeded over the U.S. and Holland, which makes no sense.

Wounder wrote:
That was a great game, but talking about Sir Alex Ferguson being done is, in my opinion, insane. Yes, ManU is having a rough year... but the qualifying phrase everyone seems to be leaving out is "for ManU". For damn near any other team on the face of the planet, they're having a respectable season.

See, you're looking at this like a sane person. ManU is a lot like Real Madrid. 3rd place is not good enough. Only 1st place will suffice. Anything less is failure. Plain and simple. They don't regard themselves as "any other team". They're Manchester United.

Plus, I have yet to hear anyone suggest a coach who could do better. For that matter, I'm not sure I'd be willing to take that job, regardless of how much money ManU offered, because I don't see how you could ever be considered successful, short of winning the domestic league championship and the European championships.

But it's a hugely prestigious job, and there aren't many coaches who wouldn't take it. The expectations are sky-high, yes, but it's Manchester United. That trumps everything. Also, I think Alan Curbishley might be good, just as an example.

The info on how much money ManU "lost" due to their early loss is both interesting and frightening. That kind of pressure can't be good for anyone involved...

The biggest turn off to ManU right now is the Glazers, I think. Noone knows what the hell they want from the club, and this can't have been in their plans.

Prederick wrote:
For You, Dejanzie

Thx, honeypie The relief is immense among Anderlecht supporters, even though it wasn't a glorious victory. But a turn-the-tide victory rarely is. Ironic that the a-team was left on the bench, apart from Kompany (goal scorer) and Goor (assist)

In abscence of Belgium at the World Cup (first time since 1982) I'll be rooting for Holland (ORANJE BOVEN!!!). Holland vs Argentina is one mighty fine fixture But they probably won't win the cup, the team is not balanced enough. Right now Brasil seems to be favourite, but a lot can change in nine months.

Prederick wrote:
Wounder wrote:
That was a great game, but talking about Sir Alex Ferguson being done is, in my opinion, insane. Yes, ManU is having a rough year... but the qualifying phrase everyone seems to be leaving out is "for ManU". For damn near any other team on the face of the planet, they're having a respectable season.

See, you're looking at this like a sane person. ManU is a lot like Real Madrid. 3rd place is not good enough. Only 1st place will suffice. Anything less is failure. Plain and simple. They don't regard themselves as "any other team". They're Manchester United.

Then again, in between 1967 and 1992 (3?) ManU didn't score one Premiership title. And they "only" won the Champions Cup two times, once with George Best (may he rest in peace), and one in 1999 - remember the miraculous breathtaking ending of the final against Bayern Munich! They are not like Real Madrid, who have won the CC like seven or eight times, and become Primera Division champs at least every three years or so.

Good points, but i'm not talking about the overall historical here, I mean the deranged mindsets both teams have. Thanks to Ferguson, the mindset at ManU is "We Must Win". It's the same at Arsenal, and Liverpool have only recently begun to understand that they've become also-rans in the Premiership (Champions Cup heroics excluded). If this was 1978, sure, but this is the Modern Age of Soccer, and Manchester United is...

Alex Ferguson wrote:
The biggest club in the universe.

Titles are expected. At least European football after Christmas.

Also, are we taking bets on when Spain inevitably gets knocked out? I'm voting first knockout stage.

You're right about the mindset, and ManU still is the richest club in the world. But such is the way of all at the top of the food chain... Anderlecht thought they could play some kind of role in the Champions League too, although they of course never thought they'd win it. Luckily, in soccer money does not automatically mean glory - even moreso than in other team sports. ManU will learn to be modest, the hard way

Prederick wrote:
Also, are we taking bets on when Spain inevitably gets knocked out? I'm voting first knockout stage.

I say 1/8th finals knockout stage. It'll give them hope, after which they get knocked out en whine about unfair referees and such

A friend showed me this video of Ronaldinho last night, and it left my jaw on the ground. Simply amazing! It's scary to think how much talent this guy already has, and that he will most likely keep improving in the years to come.

The wide-angle lens they use there makes me think it's a fake, but quite frankly, i'm not 100% capable of putting that past the boy at this point. He is the most spectacular player i've ever seen, and frankly, he puts Michael Vick to shame. The man's ankles are made of rubber, and if you've ever seen video of him pulling off that little foot-flick, it's indescribable. If you can, find in-game footage of him. The man doesn't lose a step or a trick, and most importantly, unlike Cristiano Ronaldo, his tricks work.

More news from the Guardian today. One, if you think the owners of U.S. sports teams are insane, then you have no idea how tame our guys are. And two, A report from Milan as Juventus are looking like running away with the Italian title.

Y'know, for a team that is in crisis, Manchester aren't doing all that badly. Couple that with a 4-0 win over Wigan at midweek, and they're the only team that even looks like maybe catching Chelsea.

Arsenal, on the other hand...

They're 20 points off the pace. Twenty. Some commentary on that fact.

For those of you interested in the Champions League, the draw for the knockout stages has been announced. Chelsea and Barcelona again, in what everyone hopes will be another titantic match, like last year (if you didn't see those two games, may god have mercy on your soul). Arsenal will play Real Madrid, which should be interesting because both clubs are playing way, way, way below domestic expectations.

And lastly, since EVERYTHING is a transfer rumor in Soccer, Everyone's headed to Barcelona!

FIFA confirms the obvious. In all seriousness though, he has well and truly earned it.

If Brazil does end up winning the WC next year, I'm predicting Ronaldinho will be the main reason. Yeah I know, I'm really going out on a limb with that prediction, huh?

Prederick wrote:
And lastly, since EVERYTHING is a transfer rumor in Soccer, Everyone's headed to Barcelona!

I highly doubt Lampard will be leaving Chelsea for a long time to come, but isn't Henry's contract with Arsenal done at the end of the year? That one might be a real possibility, especially if Barca does well in the Champions League this year. That would give them a nice bit of extra money to lure a player like Henry. Not to mention if they can actually win La Liga.

Oh, Vic, I don't believe any of that tripe for even a moment. I have a hard time believing that Barcelona can find space for Henry in their attack (Samuel Eto'o doing just fine) and there's less than no reason for Lampard to leave Chelsea, given that they're one of the most powerful teams in Europe. I don't think Barcelona can possibly offer more cash.

I totally agree with you about Lampard, he's not going anywhere.

Henry on the other hand, I'm not so sure about. If his contract is up at the end of the season, everyone with money will be looking to snatch him up, which of course, will include Real.

That's the reason I think Barca would make a move for Henry, simply to keep Real from signing him. It wont matter whether or not they can fit him in, it will be all about showing up Real. Now if it comes down to a bidding war, Real will most likely win by default, considering their "no price is too high" mentality.

Now here comes the part where I have to claim ignorance.

If Henry's contract is up at the end of the season and Barca, Real, or any another team, tries to sign him, will that team have to pay Arsenal a transfer fee? The only time a team has to pay a transfer fee, to another team, is when the player is still under contract, correct?

Bottom line though, I agree with you that Barca doesn't need Henry ATM. If Real steps into the picture though, all bets are off.

When a player in the European Union reaches the end of his contract, he may leave without transfer fee since the Bosman ruling of '95. According to UEFA rules, teams may start negotiating with the player about his future club six months before the end of the contract. Which is about now, actually

Interesting story, the Bosman ruling. Typical for the Belgian hillbillie mentality concerning football: the KBVB (Belgian FIFA) completely underestimated the impact of the trial, believing themselves to be above the law. Sheer arrogance rightfully punished by a harsh ruling.

Did I Say "No Chance" Henry Was Leaving?

I still can't see him leaving Arsenal, not yet, but this is forcing me to consider the possibility of a move. With Arsenal doing so atrociously domestically, the possibility becomes a little more real, I guess.

Hey? Remember France? There's a league there too, where Lyon is doing ridiculously well, post-Michael Essien/Paul Le Guen.

Ronaldhino, Soccer God amongst men wrote:
'Henry is a beautiful player and and has got complete technique. I adore watching him. I respect him very much as a man and as a footballer. He reminds me of myself,'

He himself probably considers this the greatest compliment any football player can receive. And rightfully so

Henry is one of those players always trying to improve his game, always looking for a challenge. After over five years at Highbury he might want to sniff some fresh air. The poor results Arsenal is suffering from may just clinch it.

Chelsea win again snnnnnnxxxxxxxxx..................

In less predictable news, a report from the winter break in Germany, and Soccernet's team-by-team analysis of the best Premiership players at the halfway mark.

Could Portsmouth Be The New Chelsea?

No. Of course not. But it's fun to speculate.

Man Yoo and Arsenal played. Nil bleeping Nil. Yeah, let's just give the title to Chelsea now.

Fun from Holland

It's time for Pred's BIG, BIG, BIG post because he just happened to find a ton of stuff to post.

So it's January, and the January transfer window has just opened. This is the time of year in Europe where teams routinely spend cash on players who don't pan out or are otherwise useless. It's a joy to watch.

Alex Ferguson is determined to sign as many players as he can that don't player Center Midfield, and is continuing that trend by agreeing to a reported $5.5M deal for Patrice Evra from Monaco. Evra's a fine, young defender, and Manchester desperately have needed someone to play at the left-back position ever since Heinze went down. But Evra is a upper-echelon player. What will Alex do when Heinze is healthy?

The Theirry Henry Rumors aren't going away. And it's becoming a more reasonable notion the worse Arsenal's season gets. That said, moving him to Barca seems dumb unless Barcelona unloads someone. There isn't space for Ronaldinho, Eto'o, Leo Messi, and Maxi Lopez in one team, unless they'd like to be a throwback team and play a 2-3-5.

If Frank Lampard Leaves Chelsea I will eat my shoe.

And Nemanja Vidic is officially a ManU boy. This is an improvement over Wes Brown, because it means Wes Brown won't be playing.

Liverpool swapped Josemi for Jan Kromkamp from Villareal. If you know who Jan Kromkamp is, +25 points fuor yuo.

Laurent Robert also left Newcastle. If there is a team in history who has spent more to be worse than Newcastle, I can't find them. Dear lord. Graeme Souness must weep himself to sleep every night.

And because I love the rest of the continent, here's Roberto Gotta's Serie A half-way report. (Note: I hate Mr. Gotta. He is way better at this than I am. The same goes for James Richardson, Phil Ball and Phil Holland.[/url]

EDIT: Real Madrid bought Antonio Cassano from AS Roma. What. The. Hell.

Prederick wrote:
The Theirry Henry Rumors aren't going away. And it's becoming a more reasonable notion the worse Arsenal's season gets.

Or Is It?

Thierry says he's staying. But if Arsenal finished 8th and gets knocked out in the first knockout stage of the CL, will anyone believe him?

So, for those few of you who have been reading, what's the season so far been for you? Interesting? Boring? Has watching Chelsea, Barcelona and Juventus dominate been cool or painfully dull? And hey, who's on top in Belgium Dejanzie?

Prederick wrote:
So, for those few of you who have been reading, what's the season so far been for you? Interesting? Boring? Has watching Chelsea, Barcelona and Juventus dominate been cool or painfully dull? And hey, who's on top in Belgium Dejanzie?

Since I reside in Leuven during the week, where I have no tv, I missed out on many matches. Including most Champions League games, unfortunately During the weekends at home I get to follow the Belgian competition and Match of the Day on the Beeb - yes, good old English football.

I'm not unhappy, since Chelsea has been my favourite english team since many years - since they knocked our archrivals Club Brugge out of the UEFA Cup in 1995, actually :-). In those days a man I think called Ken Bates ran the club, and Chelsea was frowned upon as he pumped enormous amounts of money in Chelsea buying many foreign players. Those people will now look back onto those days with great nostalgia, Bates was 'only' a multimillionaire!

In Belgium, Anderlecht is running at the top together with Standard. Now Standard is like PSG in France, or Inter Milan in Italy, or Chelsea before Morinhou: always attracts great players, but always fail to get results because of a lack of coherence. But now they seem to be holding up, in a competition with no-one really sticking out. At least the Belgian competition is still exciting, with three teams on a handkerchief.

I can't wait for the competition to start again, actually

Holy Crap!

ManU is held to a nil-nil draw by a fifth division team. That's not a misprint either, a fifth division team!

It's games like this that make the FA Cup so much fun to watch/follow.

Now even though, Gary Neville, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes didn't play, Wayne Rooney & Cristiano Ronaldo did. So it's not like United was fielding a full reserve team. I will be extremely surprised if United doesn't roll over these guys in the second leg, at Old Trafford, but considering the way United has been playing this year, anything is possible.

Roy Keane must be laughing his ass off.

ManU is held to a nil-nil draw by a fifth division team. That's not a misprint either, a fifth division team!

I watched the game Sunday morning and it wasnt even like the other team (Borstal somethingorother??) turtled up and simply played for the draw either.. they made a couple really good scoring attempts in the later stages of the game.

It seemed that ManU would have eventually scored if they had brought in Rooney and Ronaldo earlier than they did..