2007/08 Soccer Thread - Euro Fever!

Weekend notes:

England 3-0 Israel, as the Emile Heskey experiment actually turns out well. Also, Micah Richards has achieved new "It-Boy" status in the England team. Also, just drop Lampard. Stop trying to force him and Gerrard to work together, they don't, they just don't.

USA 2-4 Brazil: Well, it wasn't the best of performances from Brazil, and the U.S. wasn't awful, but we're not ready to beat Brazil yet. If anything, the crowd at Soldier Field was pretty boisterous and Pro-USA, which was pretty cool.

ingerland win again.

Portugal draw again at home by conceding a late goal. This then led to Big Phil Scolari trying to punch a Serbian player in the face. I'll try and post a video when I find one its most very funny.

Up go the gunners.

In true spurs fashion they bungled the lead and Arsenal saw them off 3-1. Top the table now with a game in hand on Chelsea and ManU.

ManU stole one at the end vs Everton and Liverpool dropped 2 by tying Portsmouth with Chelsea vs Blackburn still to come.

The Deuce scores again! Huzzah! I think I even called that one at 1-1.

So, with this week begins the battle of TEH CHAMPEENS!

Or, as we all know it, the "Champions and four runners-up from the already rich nations beat the crap out of Rosenborg, Besiktas et al in UEFA's attempt to prevent the big clubs from breaking away and forming that 'Super League' the G8 is always warbling about".

The group stages begin tomorrow, and if you're the luckiest bastard on earth, you'll be able to catch Porto v. Liverpool tomorrow at 2:30 on ESPN2. However, if you're like me, and the rest of America, you'll be at work. Anywho, I know i've mentioned it elsewhere, but if you don't want to watch grainy highlights in Arabic collected on otherwise fine sites like 101greatgoals.com, UEFA.com does have a relatively cheap and useful deal that allows you to stream games live or after they've finished. I know i'm signed up.

If you're unfamiliar with the Favorites/Also-Rans/Slavia Pragues/Steaua Bucharest, ESPN's got a nice, expansive preview up.

Champs league how I love you! Arsenal 3 Sevilla 0 how sweet it is.

http://arsenalclips.blogspot.com/ some highlights.

And in other more shocking news.

Mourinho leaves Chelsea

Chelsea have confirmed that manager Jose Mourinho has left the Stamford Bridge club by 'mutual consent' after three trophy-laden years at the helm.

A club statement claims that the decision was reached after the launch of a new Chelsea documentary - Blue Revolution - at the Vue cinema in Fulham on Wednesday night, where an emotional Mourinho refused to talk to the press.

However, the rumours of his departure began earlier in the day and claimed that billionaire owner Roman Abramovich called crisis talks following Tuesday night's disappointing 1-1 draw with Norwegian minnows Rosenborg in the Champions League, at which the fractious duo had a furious falling out.

Mourinho is believed to have informed senior players of his departure following training on Wednesday and one of those players insists that the manager has not resigned but has been sacked by the Blues.

Mourinho's rocky relationship with Abramovich was public knowledge and despite an apparent thaw in relations last season the duo were again at odds over the role of £30million striker Andrei Shevchenko and the Blues' dour style of football even before Tuesday's result brought events to a head.

The Portuguese manager, who has won the Champions League with Porto and two Premier League titles as Chelsea manager, was the subject of continual scrutiny last season and hinted at an exit last summer when he admitted he 'was a bit fed up with certain things' at the club.

After three-years at the London club the self-styled 'Special One' is expected to attend training for the final time on Thursday, when he will say good bye to his players.

Chelsea lost their title to Manchester United last season and have started this campaign with some lacklustre displays.

Their last two Premier League games ended in a defeat at Aston Villa and a 0-0 draw at home to Blackburn Rovers, leaving them fifth in the table.

Tuesday's draw with Rosenborg Trondheim in the Champions League was watched by just 25,000 fans.

Chelsea's next match is against Premier League champions Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.

wowzers, hes kinda leaving the team in the lurch and dramatic fashion. Can you even consider them in the title race now? finishing in the top 4?

HOLY. sh*t.

Y'know, I was among those who thought he'd be gone by the end of last year, but they stuck with him, and I thought he'd get through the year. If anything, I think it's pretty obvious what happened. He wasn't playing the kind of football Abramovic wanted, he wasn't playing Ballack and Shevchenko, Abramovic's personal picks, and he didn't have the Champions League trophy yet.

I want to make this perfectly clear. I think this is a massive act of hubris and a enormous mistake by Abramovic & Co. They completely undermined and alienated Mourinho, and it'll bite them in the ass. They'll finish in the top four, but they won't get any of the trophies Abramovic wants. I see them going trophyless this year now.

EDIT: Well, I don't know if this is the be-all-end-all. Obviously, Real Madrid have done something similar, firing Fabio Capello after winning La Liga for not playing stylish enough Football, and they're not doing badly (thanks in no small part to a smart transfer offseason) but I feel like Abramovic is beginning to get real Football and Football Manager mixed up.

Prederick wrote:

HOLY. sh*t.

Yeah, that was my reaction, too. Except I was asleep when it happened, and I didn't notice.

This is either the best thing to happen them or the worst. My guy says 'Worst', my head says, 'Maybe its not so bad.'

Mourinho may be the one who made those early years happen, but they have a side to beat anyone in the world, and they didn't capitalize last season. Given the fact that Mourinho's a primadonna and Abramovich is meddling, it had to end some time, so sooner rather than later, right?

Though the Grant appointment could be that of an Abramovich Yes-man.

I think this can work for Chelsea.... if it didn't happen 1 month into the season with the only Manager without a job right now to fit the bill being Cappello.

I cant see Mourinho jumping into another club just yet he must be mentally drained after this debacle. I could see him sitting on the fence driving every manager with a job paranoid that if they slip up the media will link him with their job and start the cycle. What I really wish is he would replace Scolari now as his tactics and player selection have become ineffective.

It's true that Mourinho is full of himself, but Scolari has a pretty big ego too.

jowner wrote:

I think this can work for Chelsea.... if it didn't happen 1 month into the season with the only Manager without a job right now to fit the bill being Cappello.

There's a better option. He's Italian, he also managed Juventus, he's expressed interest in one day managing in England, and he's got a Champions League and World Cup winner's medal.


That'd be Marcello Lippi.

What I really wish is he would replace Scolari now as his tactics and player selection have become ineffective.

Rumor has it it's almost a done deal already, which, would leave three huge managers unemployed and on the market (Capello, Lippi, Scolari) and another surely on his way out (Juande Ramos). This is going to be a fun few months.

Interesting weekend ahead folk. Chelsea - Man U, Fulham - Man City (Deuce to score again!), Blackburn - Portsmouth, Bolton - Tottenham...

...and Arsenal should put at least four past Darby.

Also, I just discovered BBC Radio Five Live's Fighting Talk, which is Around the Horn, if it didn't suck and had British accents, which make anything better.

Been watching the US Women playing England free via the BBC's website. We've just gone 2-0 up, playing some decently attractive football.

Why can't the Men's team play this way?

In the course of writing, make that 3-Nil on a goalkeeper's bobble. Classy long-ball there to start that off.

Prederick wrote:

...and Arsenal should put at least four past Darby.

Called it.

Its a good time to be a Gooner!

I'm thinking maybe ill get a new jersey. Toure on the back, defenders never get enough respect.

Chelsea lose in a foul marred game. I actually agreed with the red. Mikel is a clumsy idiot. Thats the type of tackle that can break ankles, harsh from the ref but then again not out of line.

and apparently Arsenal don't need a sugar daddy and the growing pains of moving to the emirates was worth it. http://www.teamtalk.com/football/story/0,16368,1766_2752001,00.html 70m cash on hand all available to Wenger if he wants it. Kinda funny to offer him that much as anyone who knows anything about Wenger he wont spend any of it unless he spots the next Pele or something.

US women's coach pulls blunder of all blunders in pulling goalie Hope Solo in the semifinal match against Brazil. Result? US gets lit up four - nil.

Manchester United is bounced out of the Carling Cup against mighty Coventry 2-0.

First loss to a lower division club at home in over 10 years and 75,000 were there to witness it. Ouch.

jowner wrote:

Manchester United is bounced out of the Carling Cup against mighty Coventry 2-0.

First loss to a lower division club at home in over 10 years and 75,000 were there to witness it. Ouch.

Well, at least they beat West Ham to that dubious honor this year.

You know, after seeing that video of Hope Solo's comments, I think she's gotta be the female version of Terrell Owens. Killin' her coach, killin' her teammates, baring her ego for all to see? I wonder if eHarmony can match her profile up with TO's.

I was with her with being pissed off at her coach, because it was a ridiculous, idiot move. You always ride the hot goalkeeper. Always. But throwing Brianna under the bus in the process of it made it very slimy.

Got up today to watch the Chelsea - Fulham fixture. In a word, GNAARGH.

Both teams had reasonable penalty claims turned down in the first half, as I'm officially getting off the Andriy Shevchenko bandwagon. I've tried to defend the dude, I think when he arrived, the pace of the Premiership threw him off, and that he was used to a much different/better service at Milan.

But he's awful. He's lost a step, he's astonishingly wasteful in posession, he's horrible. Mourinho was totally right to never play him, and I hope Abramovic's determination to play him comes crashing down around his ears, because he's just awful. If nothing else, Shevchenko desperately needs to leave, probably back to Italy, and get his confidence and form back.

Fulham battled wonderfully at the back and midfield, with Chris Baird sliding around the pitch like it was a slip-and-slide. Chelsea pressed hard at the end of the first half, as Fulham looked like they were going just for a point, since, apparently, they opted to keep the same kind of gameplan they had when McBride is fit, namely, hoof it towards the American. Problematically, the American in this case was Deuce Dempsey, who, while tall, ain't Brian McBride. Still, a little more luck and he might've scored in the first half on a header.

I was a big fan of Seol Ki-Hyeon last year, but I wanted to kill him today. Ambled around the pitch for some 70 minutes. I saw him run once. Maybe.

Chelsea probably should've scored early in the second. Kalou and Cole were killing Fulham along the wings, but they just couldn't put it in, and Fulham were doing a heroic job of defending, surprising, since prior to this Bocanegra had been playing like a drunk. Keller had to make a amazing reflex save to deny Kalou (to be honest, the ball just ended up bouncing off Keller) and Cole barely missed.

Then Didier Drogba tried to kill Chris Baird.

Honestly, I don't think it was intended. Both were jumping from the ball, but Drogba contrived to get his leg so high as to get it on level with Baird's face. Which, I don't care where you're from, or what you meant, is dangerous, and a card. A second yellow for Le Drog, as he'd been booked for petulance earlier.

Cue some actual attacking nous from Fulham and a nervy end to the match, that featured Petr Cech making a fantastic save after Konchesky had nipped the ball away from Alex. Then Kamara caused me to want to kill him, opting to stop a quick-break dead before starting again, and then missing a damn sitter. And then Deuce nearly won it, but Alex made a great block.

So, a point. A point's great, especially from Chelsea. But it really could've been three. That said, Chelsea can say the same thing.

Liverpool 0-1 Marseille dropped points at Anfield which is going to hurt as their group is far from easy.

Chelsea pull one out vs Valencia 2-1 for their first post Mourinho win.

2-1 Celtic over AC Milan, 3-0 Rangers over Lyon. The Scots go marching on in the Euro and Champs league!

Arsenal 1-0 Bucharest... Undefeated so far this season 9 wins in a row. Next three games are all at home vs Sunderland, Bolton and Slavia Prague. So they could be easily going into Anfield on the 28th riding a 12 game win streak while Liverpool will be returning from Turkey 4 days earlier from playing Besiktas in the champs league. I cant wait.

International week cya later for awhile as the updates will be too boring to post.

Arsenal sit at the top of the Prem after they edged out Sunderland at home 3-2. ManU thumped Wigan 4-0 to keep the pressure on while Liverpool dropped more points with a 2-2 draw to Spurs. Chelsea scrapped a 1-0 win over some team I'm too lazy to check.

News from other leagues.... too lazy to comment.

In intresting news http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=471331&cc=5739

FIFA are planning changes to rules on third-party ownership of players as a result of the Carlos Tevez case.

also some bit about looking into goal line technology. I'm all for it if it doesn't slow the game. Hockey does it fairly effective sometimes with the decisions being made by the upstairs judge quickly. Whereas NFL is the worst where they have created a system where coaches challenge for the sake of it and we end up with 3-4 more commercial breaks a game and listening to analysts beat to death obvious replays over the head till you go crazy.

jowner wrote:

also some bit about looking into goal line technology. I'm all for it if it doesn't slow the game. Hockey does it fairly effective sometimes with the decisions being made by the upstairs judge quickly. Whereas NFL is the worst where they have created a system where coaches challenge for the sake of it and we end up with 3-4 more commercial breaks a game and listening to analysts beat to death obvious replays over the head till you go crazy.

Amen. Amen. Amen. you would think with all the time they have between plays anyway that they would have an upstairs referee that would just decide on the damn thing and relay it down if there is ever a challenge. This whole stage production they currently have is silly.

I'm just thrilled that I don't have to worry about missing out with all the posts every week. Going back seven days, did anyone see Rangers thump Lyon? Really great week for Scottish football, bonus points for DaMarcus Beasley playing a fantastic game and adding the final nail in the coffin for Lyon at 3-0.

Oh, and if you have the chance, check some of the video websites for recent Barcelona results. Leo Messi is really, really, really, really, really, really, really good. I mean really.

On the Soccer Game front, if you haven't, i'd advise you check out the review of FIFA 08 over on Gametrailers.com and the demo on XBL. Dovetailing very nicely with Bill Harris's recent post about how useless the reviews for Madden 08 is, GameTrailers's review of FIFA 08 is utterly useless, gives us little to no details about the game. I'd personally pick apart 1UP's review of the title, but that's not what this thread is for.

Either way, it's looking like if you want good Soccer action to play, it's PES 2008 or Football Manager 08. If you're desperate, like me, you can pull the trigger early on the PC version of PES which sees a EU release later this month.

Basically, from everything i've seen, FIFA 08 is soccer for disinterested Americans. Full of 7-4 games, an insane amount of trick-stick BS, tons of half-realized features, et al. And like most of EA's games, getting surprisingly positive reviews from reviewers who really don't seem to have any vested interest in the sport.

This isn't to let PES off the hook mind you. Last year's version for the 360 was possibly the most disappointing iteration of the series i've seen (Non-Existent CPU Attacking AI, Half the features cut out, the continuing sensation that you're playing a difficulty level rather than a team, functionally impossible free-kicks), but god, FIFA 08 seems crappy. I'll post a full review once I get my hands on the whole thing, but our options, again, seem limited.

Dida banned 2 games for his swan dive. Huge kudos to UEFA for jumping hard on this. Its this type of behavior that really crushes soccer in North America in my opinion. How can you expect an American Football fan or hockey fan respect athletes who pull this junk.


whata joke.

To be honest, I could almost care less about England's 3-0 win over Estonia (expected, to be honest). I'm much more interested in Scotland's 3-1 win over the Ukraine that keeps them top of their group, over France and Italy (I know!).

Subplot to the England game however, Lampard was roundly booed when he came on, and an article went up over at the BBC saying that it's wrong.

I think that a lot of the criticism of Lampard is uneccessary, at least, as a whole player. However, in an England shirt, in the past two years, he's been awful. I don't see how anyone can forget his landmark World Cup performance where he took more shots than anyone else, and never hit the back of the net. Somewhat humorously, the only player who shot wide more often than Frank was fellow Chelsea man Michael Ballack.

I don't think it can be argued that Frank should've been dropped from the team ages ago. He and Gerrard obviously do not gel in midfield, and there are better options for the team. Gerrard's international form hasn't been anywhere near his club form either, like Lampard, but Frank's been useless.

Does he deserve the boos? No. And they are a bit ridiculous.

Hear that? its the all England and Scotland crying. England blow a 1-0 lead to lose 2-1 to Russia putting them in a position where if Russia wins out against Israel and Andorra they are out of Euro2008 before it even happens. Too bad really Portugal fans were always happy to have England in the same tournament. Scotland losses 2-0 to Georgia and there goes all the dominance they had in their group with Italy and France chasing. Their qualifying now hinges on a key game heads up against Italy in Scotland. Should be a good one on November 17th 12pm est for anyone who cares.

DOH! Jowner beat me to it.

Stupid job getting in the way of me editing my GWJ posts.