2005/06 Soccer Thread

I've had a week to simmer. I'll still watch the MLS, but I cannot support Red Bull New York. Red Bull's pulled this sh*t before but it doesn't make it right in any way. There is a line for me, and i'm not rooting for some goddamned product.

Anywho, if you're interested in getting replica football kits like I am, and you live in the U.S., you're kind of screwed on the purchasing front. Many sites only deliver to Europe, but i've found two that can help.

Kitbag's selection isn't great, but it's got the biggest teams and a good number of kits, and prices are about on-line with other replica kits for other sports.

There's also SoccerPlus.net, which is where I got my own Roma jersey from. Their selection is pretty vast (Bolivian club teams) and prices aren't that bad.

If anyone else knows a few places to grab kits, feel free to post.

World Soccer Shop not work for you? I've not ordered from them, but they have a ton of team kits and appear to have no problems delivering in the States.

The Red Bull thing isn't as big a deal for me, as I don't really care about the NY team. I do find it offensive and am certainly praying it doesn't start a trend (can you imagine what the sportscasts will sound like if every team goes down this route?), but the only time I'd notice would be when they played the Crew. You know, the Huntington Bank Columbus Crew.

I have no idea how I missed that Wounder. Really, such an obvious website name, and I swear this is the first time i've seen it.

So, let's round up.

Barca won.

Portsmouth won again, meaning that they're getting that much closer to avoiding relegation. As long as they don't do it at the expense of Cookie Coleman, Brian McBride and Fulham, i'll be happy.

Now, those of you who may have watched or heard the League Cup final know that Ruud van Nistelrooy was left out of the starting 11 in favor of Louis Saha. He's been left out more than once recently, which is surprising given Ruud's scoring record for United. Soccernet has an interesting article on the whole thing, and frankly, Saha's scoring has earned him a place. Sure, a brace against West Brom isn't exactly thrilling, but it's still two more goals.

And, to my own personal enjoyment, Arsenal won again.


D'oh! Still 9 points ahead, though

Oh look, April Fool's day came early this year!

This ranking system just gets more ridiculous with every update. I have no problem in saying that I am a complete "Homer" when it comes to the U.S. and Portuguese National teams. I admit that I have a bit of a blind spot, when it comes to those two teams, but not even in my wildest fantasies can the U.S. be legitimately ranked that high. It really pi**es me off that FIFA expects me to believe the U.S. should be ranked higher than Spain, England, Italy or even France. At this rate, by the time the WC gets here, the U.S. will overtake Brazil for the #1 spot. If we can manage to actually beat both Italy and Czech Rep., in the WC group stage, then the argument can be made the U.S. deserves to be somewhere between 5 and 10. And it will still be one hell of an argument.

/end rant

Noone really regards the FIFA rankings as anything other than ridiculous. I love the U.S. MNT, but I wouldn't put us ahead of England, France, Spain or Italy at this point.

But, as I said, I don't take them seriously because they're, largely, a joke. The Czechs aren't the 2nd best team in the world, and ranking Italy 12th is a joke.

If the U.S. makes it out of its group, it'll have a legitimate claim to the top 15, top 10 even. Right now, there are a bunch of teams that I think can outleg us.

Wednesday night will be a nice game, although, once again, it won't mean anything as far as prospects for the World Cup. Germany is a side that has fallen from the game's elite, even with their 2nd-place finish in 2002. The German media is already trying to suggest that if Jurgen Klinsmann loses this game, he'll be out of a job. Meanwhile, while a win would be great for the U.S., it won't prove all that much. These are two nations making their final tweaks for the World Cup, so it's not like we're playing Argentina or something.

dejanzie wrote:

D'oh! Still 9 points ahead, though :-)

Oh, I don't expect anyone to catch them. I just thought it was fantastic that Fulham won, and that "The Special One" continued Poutapalooza 2006 in his own inimitable style.


For my fellow Americans, you can listen to World Soccer Weekly podcasts (really, just a tape of the show) on iTunes, so that's nice.

Also, i'm hearing that apparently, ESPN and ABC have hired a Baseball Announcer (please don't say Joe Buck) to lead the announcing team for the World Cup. As annoying as Tommy Smythe may be, this is probably going to be worse. I happily await hearing about teams "taking a freekick from the corner" and the Brazilian star "RoonaldinHO."


EDIT: It's David O'Brien apparently, who, while interested, knows nothing about the game. An Article On It

EDIT to an EDIT: Mind you, i'm not talking about Lingo differences, I really don't care if they call a Clean Sheet a Shutout, i'm just talking about crappy, crappy announcing.

Germany 4-1 USA.


Well, in our defense, it was a game that Germany, apparently, "desperately needed", and they didn't look that good, except for that strech where they scored all the goals.

Poor Alan Shearer. 10 years at the Toon, no silverware to show for it. A shame.

I'm relieved it wasn't any worse for Mr. Shearer and company. Although Fulham's example earlier made for a glimmer of hope.

And no, Germany did not look good, particularly with all the blatant dives/pratfalls/hystronics they were going on with.

Anybody purchasing Worldwide Soccer Manager 2006? For PC or for XB 360?

Edgar_Newt wrote:

Anybody purchasing Worldwide Soccer Manager 2006? For PC or for XB 360?

I've had it for PC for a while now. Whadda ya need to know?

Nothing about the PC version -- I've already ordered that (and you sent me a great, detailed PM regarding your experience -- thanks again). I had just read that they were coming out with a 360 version and that there was going to be an Xbox Live component to it. Was interested in determining interest in the community for the 360 version....

Guess Who Lost

Guess Who Won

Guess Who's Still Annoying

Chelsea really is fast-becoming the most dislikable team in the PRemiership. A cheating, not-worth-the-cash striker, a whining manager, John Terry and Lampard are the only respectable things they have.

Because it's always fun to play the part of Executioner, i'll ask you all, in the EPL (or whatever league you follow closest), which Managers won't make it until the World Cup in charge?

My votes...

David O'Leary - Aston Villa
Steve Bruce - Birmingham (If they're smart).

I saw an interesting discussion about the schwalbe yesterday on MotD2 on the Beeb. Apparently, Drogba in his dubious engrish admitted to diving occasionally: "Sometimes I dive, yeah." Presumably he meant "I fall sometimes", I don't expect any refreshing honesty from him

Debate ensued about how to tackle this issue. Punishment? A referee has to be absolutely sure there was no contact, and there often is some. A player going down easily is not the same as a schwalbe and thus not punishable (if that's a word).

Only if the players involved are put to shame by the public will this end. Not only by outsiders, but by the own team (players AND staff) too. But this will not happen unless all clubs join the party. It may be utopian, but would it be impossible for the G14 clubs to agree to disapprove this behaviour in their own team? If only to extend their reputation beyond that of a money-grabbing conglomerate.

I've reread my post. It is utopian.

Utopian, but it'll never happen, which makes me sad. The first rule of managing players these days is "never go against your own player in the press". I mean, how many times have we heard Wenger say that he "didn't see the incident in question"?

It's not good, but at least it's not Spain, where it's an art form.

Don't forget Italy, especially Fillipo Inzaghi. It makes me sick to see him celebrate a stolen penalty. Wanker.

As I'm sitting here at work, wishing I was in the West Stand of the Lane watching Spurs v the Baggies, I'm following it on the internet. Which makes me wonder - what tools do you guys use to follow the games on the net?

My preference is Gamecast Soccernet. The

Beeb's isn't awful either. Especially for keeping track of several games at once. (I also use it for the excellent cricket coverage.)

Generally, if I can't listen to live commentary, it's the Guardian's Minute-By-Minute match reports or nothing. Even with the bi-weekly "HURF DURF AMERIKKKANS R DUMB" commentary.



2-0?!?! 2-0?!?!?

2-0 and Vieira, Zebina and Camoranesi will be missing for the return leg. The ball's in Arsenal's court, but rest assured, Juve will give them everything they can handle.

And did anyone else see Barca's inexplicable 0-0 draw with Benfica? The game should've ended 4-3. Between Barca's suddenly inept shooting and Benfica having that legitimate handball turned down.... what a fixture.

Perhaps it's my lack of knowledge of the sport, but for some reason, I can't justify people calling Milan's win over Villareal a "comeback". They were down 1-0 and Diego Forlan scored after 45 seconds. It's probably just me.

Anywho, there's an interesting article from The Guardian by Niall Quinn on the G14. For those not in the know, the G14 are a collection of some of the most powerful clubs in European Football, who can be... well, they're acting like a bunch of asses, basically. Greedy asses. And they're demanding more. Mind you...

The G-14 clubs are spread across seven different countries, and have won around 250 national league titles between them. They have won the European Cup/Champions League in 40 out of 50 seasons.


In other, completely irrelevant yet juicy news: Edgar Davids is a real-life pitbull too. Or so claims Catherine McQueen, English supermodel. Apparently when Davids played for Juventus they had a five hour long fingerbutt session, which she thoroughly enjoyed. Hooray for nandrolon!

dejanzie wrote:

In other, completely irrelevant yet juicy news: Edgar Davids is a real-life pitbull too. Or so claims Catherine McQueen, English supermodel. Apparently when Davids played for Juventus they had a five hour long fingerbutt session, which she thoroughly enjoyed. Hooray for nandrolon!

Hooray indeed. He must have put the 'Spurs' to her! Ahahahaha...ha...ha.... oh... Sorry. That was awful. What's wrong with me today?

More to the point, Pred, I'd like to see some more digging done into what effect the G14 clubs have on the outcome of the national leagues. What if, shock and horror, Arsenal don't make the Champion's League?

Speaking of, what do we think the final table's going to look like in the EPL? And who's going to the top of the CL?

Things i'd never wanted to know about Edgar Davis for $200 Alex.

There've been other great articles i've seen about the G14 and their impact on the game, but i'm too lazy to look for them right now. Suffice to say, the groups existence makes me happy about parity in American sports.

The EPL Finish? The top 5 looks like this to me...

1.) Chelsea
2.) Manchester United
3.) Liverpool
4.) Tottenham
5.) Arsenal

I don't think Blackburn will stay in the top five, and I don't think Arsenal will quite get it together enough domestically to sneak back into the CL. Although it's completely up in the air as to whether they'll win it right now.

For those of you who may like the ads, Nike's got a fun slate of ads for their current "Joga Bonita" campaign. They're not hard to find, ship over to NikeFootball.com or NikeSoccer.com.

I'm an Anti-Corporate hippie, at least to a certain extent, but it's kind of sad that the only people saying that the game needs to move forwards and put less emphasis on "DEFEND DEFEND DEFEND DEFEND" are a freaking sneaker company.

There's a reason my favorite players are Theirry Henry and Ronaldinho. Because they make the game a joy to watch. Because Henry is so fluid in his movements, so cool, so controlled. Because Ronaldinho plays with this ebuillient joy that I pray i'll never see snuffed out.

More importantly, you don't have to be a Striker to play good, entertaining, skillfull football. You don't have to be Brazilian either, despite what Nike's campaign might make you think.

People are all up in arms about Diving now, and while I want it stamped out as much as anyone else, the furour reminds me of an old saying from baseball. That being, "If you're not cheating, you ain't trying."

The next-to-insane level of competitiveness it takes to be a successful professional athelete almost requires cheating. You're trying to get whatever edge you possibly can, however you possibly can, usually within the rules, and outside of them, if you don't get caught. It's the way of professional sports. Nevertheless, there's a way to fight for that advantage without just being a tool.

Anywho, in addition to asking about who we think will finish where in the EPL (or in whatever league you follow closest [Who is on top in Belgium Dejanzie?]) i'll add on another. What's your "The Beautiful Game" team?

Not the 11 players you think are the best neccessarily, but the 11 players you'd happily pay to watch play.

Anderlecht's on top after defeating archrival Bruges last weekend, but yesterday they managed to drop two points against Lokeren at home. The abscence of Nicolas Frutos (bought during the winter, scored 9 goals in 10 games) was no stranger to the draw, undoubtely. So now our opponents get a chance to crawl back in what has to be the weirdest competition in decades. If Anderlecht had as many points as last season (in which they ranked second place) at this point, they'ld probably be the champion by now!

Ok, so here are my 11 players (4-4-2):
GK Oliver Kahn, cause assh*les are fun to watch
DL Roberto Carlos, for his smile, shot, and technique
DC Vincent Kompany, for his flair
DC John Terry, for his aggression (sp?)
DR I honestly do not know. Could Edgar Davids play here?
DMC Claude Makelele, he's simply the best
AMR Christian Wilhelmsson, flair and he has fun
AML Christian Ronaldo, dribbling wonder
AMC Frank Lampard, he's so in the game
SC Wayne Rooney, cause assh*les with technique are even more fun to watch
SC Ronaldinho, cause he actually enjoys the game

You may not like him, but Simon Jordan, owner of Crystal Palace puts up an occasional article up on the Guardian, which is fantastic because he's just vicious in his honesty. A wonderful change of pace from the Berlusconis, Laportas and Ruiz de Lopera's of the world.

My "Beautiful 11" (4-4-2) -

GK: Gianluigi Buffon - I've never seen anyone better.
DR: Cafu - Even at 34 he can put on a scintillating performance.
DC: Alessandro Nesta - Makes shutting down the opposition look pretty.
DC: John Terry - Gives it 200%
DL: John Arne Riise - On his day, a spectacular force on the left.
DMC: Gennaro Gattuso - Competitive to the point of being dangerous, I choose him over Makelele because Makelele is so robotically good about it i'd like to see someone with a little more zest.
AMR: Joaquin - Every time i've seen him play, his team may not have won, but he was always dangerous along the right flank.
AML: Leo Messi - Seen even less of him, and he's made a huge impression on me.
AMC: Ronaldinho - No explanation neccessary.
SC: Thierry Henry - Probably my favorite player to watch in the world right now, runs like a gazelle, and makes everything look effortless.
SC: Francesco Totti - A talisman in every way the world can be said.

Champions League Wrap-Up:

Milan Sneak Through

Villareal Upend Inter

Barca Wins (Albeit not that convincingly.)

Arsenal Advances

I only really saw the last match, Arsenal v. Juve, and let me say, right now, that Arsenal has every chance to do it, and Juve sucked. God willing, we'll get Arsenal v. Barca in the final, although I fear that might be a mistmatch. Frankly, on paper, any setup for the final is a mismatch (Villareal/Arsenal v. AC Milan/Barcelona). But, I expected Arsenal to lose to Real Madrid, so shows what I know.

Ah, there's nothing quite like the leadup to the World Cup, when everyone immediately decides that their team is utter crap, has no chance, and is destined to failure. Now, that's one thing for the Spaniards, who have turned underachieving in National competitions into an art-form, but it's another thing when you're hearing about how France, England, even Brazil are all doomed to failure.

The team i've heard rehashed a few times as possible early leaders that aren't from South America are Italy, and frankly, I can't really disagree. But that's in theory. In theory, Greece shouldn't have won Euro 2004, and we all saw them win that tournament (albeit in the most painful to watch fashion possible).

Anywho, Manchester United beat Arsenal 2-0 this weekend (no links because i'm feeling lazy) and Tottenham beat Manchester City 2-1, leaving the Gunners in 6th place and five points out of a Champions League place. On the upside, Arsenal have a game in hand, and will play Portsmouth at Fratton Park this Wednesday, and then West Brom on Saturday, which are six points they really should (and, if they want to get the much-needed momentum and get into a better position, must) get. If anything, this Arsenal season will be worth watching for the days between Wednesday the 19th and Tuesday the 25th, when Arsenal will play their two-legged tie against Villareal and take on Tottenham at Highbury in a fixture that may decide who gets the final Champions league spot.

What I do love about all of this Tottenham-Arsenal talk is that it completely forgets poor Blackburn, who sit in 5th place, a point ahead of the Gunners and with as much of a chance as anyone else to make it to the Champions league.

Meanwhile, Chelsea's mini-crisis came to an immediate end, as, after going a man and a goal down, they beat West Ham 4-1. 4-1. From 0-1 down, with ten men. When Jose's men opt to play like they can, they are one of the top 3 teams in Europe. When, mind you.

And hey, Newcastle even beat Middlesbrough 2-1!

And because Inter Milan are a club that... well, they really are beyond any simple definition, i'll allow James Richardson to explain the current situation there to you. Suffice to say, when even Andriy Shevchenko's saying "Let's Get A Grip People". Well, you really have to reevaluate things.

Ah, there's nothing quite like the leadup to the World Cup, when everyone immediately decides that their team is utter crap, has no chance, and is destined to failure.

Well, I don't think Belgium is going to perform well in Germany

Did anyone happen to see the Blackburn/Portsmouth game? That was a fantastic game to watch and while I thought Portsmouth deserved the win, I thoroughly enjoyed that game.

Saw the Chelsea game as well and while it was amazing to watch them play like that, it was actually more irritating to wonder why they couldn't play like that every week. God knows they're paid enough.

And the Magpies win! Solid weekend of EPL, in my book.