Soccer – The Most Important of Life’s Unimportant Things

July 10, 2006


by @ 12:32 pm.
Filed under World Cup

Reuters is reporting that sources say Marco Materazzi called Zinedine Zidane a “dirty terrorist” just before Zidane head-butted him during extra-time in Sunday’s World Cup Final in Berlin.

I suspect the report is accurate. Materazzi is a thug of the worst kind on the field. Dirty and dishonest. This would be in character.


by @ 11:59 am.
Filed under World Cup

July 9, 2006


by @ 8:35 pm.
Filed under World Cup

Aren’t you just dying to know what Materazzi said to Zizou. It must have been awful, because the man just snapped.

Go watch the video here.

Does anyone read lips, and understand Italian? If so, leave me a comment as to your best guess.

July 1, 2006


by @ 12:02 pm.
Filed under World Cup

I kind of lost interest in blogging for a few days, as I mourned for the USA crash-out. I’m still a bit weak from the grief, so the best I can offer up is a few lame observations about the England/Portugal quarterfinal:

* I have this theory that Wembley Stadium is built over the former site of some druid burial ground, and this is the reason England are cursed when it comes to penalty kick shootouts. It’s only a working theory. I don’t have any, like, facts or anything.

*Somebody needs to take Cristiano Ronaldo aside and tell him his bright shiny red boots make him look like Judy Garland in the Wizard of Oz.

*Wayne Rooney will come to a bad end someday. Only the wisdom of the ancient Stoic Philosophers can save him from this eventuality.

*By the time the Premiership starts back up, will Rooney and Ronaldo be on speaking terms?

*The guy that got cleated in the, ahem, the “personal region” by Rooney – this guy should get a medal from the King of Portugal or something. That’s quite a sacrifice to make for your country.

*Does Portugal even have a king?

June 23, 2006


by @ 2:59 pm.
Filed under US National Team, World Cup

Markus Merk is the worst dentist since Olivier in “Marathon Man”.

– Dan Loney

June 19, 2006


by @ 12:26 pm.
Filed under World Cup

It’s been a good World Cup in terms of seeing repressive, women-hating, Christian-incarcerating, Islamo-fascist dictatorships get their pathetic tails kicked up and down the pitches of Germany.

Iran are out before the third game of the group stage even takes place, which is good for the German government; had that nutjob President Ahmadinejad decided to make the trip from Tehran to see the round of 16, German President Mrs. Merkel would have had to decide whether to roll out the red carpet, as international protocol demands, or to have the bastard thrown in jail, which German law requires when dealing with Holocaust deniers. I know what I would have voted for.

The Saudis, while not mathematically eliminated, suffered a 4-0 humiliation at the hands of Ukraine today, and have to face Spain in the next match. Heh heh heh. Go home and drown your sorrows in over-priced crude, fellas. See ya.

June 18, 2006


by @ 11:54 am.
Filed under World Cup

Sometimes I think my wife should be writing this blog.

We’re watching Brazil-Australia today, and this is what she says about Ronaldinho:

“He’s like a little kid, running around out there trying to see what he can get away with.”

Can’t describe him much better than that.

June 14, 2006


by @ 12:44 pm.
Filed under World Cup

The Good: BBC’s animated highlight feature. You can replay each goal from multiple angles, speeds, and viewpoints. If you’re truly a glutton for punishment, watch the Jan Koller goal against the USA over and over again from different points of view.

The Bad: Massimo Bussaca doubly screwed up on the third Spanish goal against Ukraine today. Not only was Fernando Torres not fouled, but sending off Vladislav Vashchuck has to go down as one of the worst calls in the history of the World Cup.

The Ugly: I think you know where I’m going here, but let me just go ahead and say it: The USA’s non-appearance against the Czechs was one of the ugliest perfromances I’ve ever seen from the boys. And I’ve been following them religiously since 1989. Of course, a good thrashing of Italy (heck, a lucky win against Italy, who am I kidding?) and all is forgiven.

June 12, 2006


by @ 11:57 pm.
Filed under US National Team, World Cup

Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the U.S. Team that had their shiny shorts taken down by the Czechs today the same group that just 18 months ago went on strike? Isn’t this the same group that wasn’t getting enough money, love, and/or recgonition from the United States Soccer Federation? Isn’t this the same group of players that nearly forced Bruce Arena to bring a group of replacement players for a World Cup Qualifier?

I was within a hair’s breadth of giving up on the team completely back when that happened, as were many of you. But like me, I think, you decided to let it pass as a temporary bit of ugliness that had to happen as American soccer evolved to the next level. Forgive and forget, that’s what I say.

Fine. I stand by that decision. But now, if it’s all the same to them, I’d like to go ahead and see that next level.

I think that group of poor exploited workers had best put a little fire in their respective bellies before meeting Italy this Saturday. Perhaps they could go ahead and start earning all that money that was so important to them they had to walk out on their country to get it.

If they do not, then, in the words of Don Vito Corleone, “This I do not forgive”.


by @ 8:33 pm.
Filed under US National Team, World Cup

I’ve racked my brain all day to come up with a positive spin for the heinous debacle that was USA v Czech Republic.

Okay, here it is, and it can be summed up in one word: SANDBAGGING.

Bear with me for a moment.

Logically, it must be true that the boys were pretending to be timid, frightened, and totally lacking in both conviction and skill. See, because that way, Italy will take them lightly and WHAM, we kick their paisan butts all the way back to the Eternal City. After that, and a shellacking of their own at the hands of the Czechs, Ghana will fear us, and we’ll cruise past them and into the next round.

Because, don’t you understand, that the only alternative explanation is that the boys really did come out for the most important game of their lives and proceed to play timid, frightened, convictionless and skill-less football in front of the entire world?

And that couldn’t be the answer, could it?

June 8, 2006


by @ 5:48 pm.
Filed under World Cup

When I was young, there weren’t many opportunities to play soccer. It just wasn’t done that much. But I was hooked on the game, and had been since I was five years old, when I saw a snippet of a television show featuring soccer (it could have been a commercial, it could have been a documentary, I really don’t remember, except that I found it fascinating).

On those rare occasions when a soccer ball was available, along with other people who wanted to play, it would break my heart and discourage me to no end to see a plastic soccer ball with glued-on panels. They’re ugly, don’t feel right, and significantly detract from the joy of the game. Not to mention that when it’s cold, they feel like a round brick when they hit your skin.

Everyone knows that soccer balls should be leather, and hand stitched. Maybe, maybe I say, you can get away with a synthetic material for purposes of weatherproofing, as long as there is no glue involved. Glue and soccer balls go together like caviar and peanut butter.

So, the preceding being undeniably true, imagine my surprise when I saw this abomination from Adidas:


That’s right, it’s a plastic soccerball, with the panels glued on. They’re using a plastic soccer ball with glued-on panels to play the world’s biggest soccer tournament.

Now I’ve seen everything.

I’m not saying I want to go back to the soccerballs with laces, okay, but come on. It’s ugly, first of all, and even if it was leather, it would remain ugly. But it’s plastic as well, so that’s a double disgrace. And the glue . . . GLUE! Okay, Adidas calls it “thermal bonding” but I think we all know it’s glue. Paul Robinson, the England goalkeeper, is already on record as saying it’s an awful soccer ball, more akin to a volleyball in weight and feel. Further, he said that when wet, it is slippery to the touch even with goalkeeper gloves on. Please.

All of this, along with some fancy engineering to make the aerodynamics more amenable to bending and swerving shots, is done in the name of making the game more exciting by increasing the number of goals scored. Fine. I think we all agree that we like to see goals. But we don’t need to ruin the basics of the game to get them. Why don’t we just make the goals three feet wider and two feet higher? Why not have the goalkeeper blindfolded for the last fifteen minutes of each half? That would cause a flurry of goals. Well, except for the Galaxy, of course.

But I digress.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m way stoked about the World Cup, and this poor excuse for a ball isn’t going to ruin it. But still, it had to be said.

June 6, 2006


by @ 8:44 am.
Filed under World Cup

Secret video of theĀ  Italian training camp in Germany

June 5, 2006


by @ 11:40 am.
Filed under Media, World Cup

Speaking of NY Newspapers, the Daily News (much more my speed, as compared to the Old Gray Lady) has Filip Bondy over in Germany, blogging about the festivities.

Hier ist ein snippet:

Everybody smokes in Germany, then rubs the Smoke in your Face. I’ve been to Norway, Czech Republic, France, Italy, UK, you name it, I’ve never seen anything like this. These People are proving a Point. By the time I got to the Soccer Session, my Shirt and Pants were stinky for the Duration of the World Cup and I was coughing for the first 10 Minutes of Interviews.

Add Mr. Bondy to your World Cup “must read” list.


by @ 10:50 am.
Filed under Media, World Cup

Because I am undeniably a flyover state bumpkin yayhoo hickboy, I generally don’t have much use for the New York Times.

(Except the obituaries, which they have raised to an art form, much like Roger Ebert has done for movie reviews.)

But having said that, I have to tell you, those boys are gettin’ it done when it comes to World Cup coverage.

Take, for example, Jere Longman’s profile of Bruce Arena. You can’t do much better than that, sportswritingwise.

Tolle lege y’all.

June 2, 2006


by @ 7:20 am.
Filed under US National Team, World Cup

I know, as a soccer fanatic, patriot, and pundit, that I should be watching the replay of the Czech Republic friendly against Costa Rica.

I should be. But I’m not.

Why? I’m a coward, that’s why. I don’t want to see how good the Czechs are and get all petrified and whatnot just 10 days before we play them in the 1st round of the World Cup. I’m not terribly worried about Italy; apparently without bought-off refs and other help, they’re not that formidable. I’m not worried about Ghana, though I think they’ll be tough.

I’m worried about the Czechs.

So, yeah, I can’t bring myself to watch. I’ll admit it. I’m a mouse, not a man. Okay? That make you happy?

So shut up and tell me how the match went. I need to know!

Just not first-hand, that’s all.

June 1, 2006


by @ 7:56 pm.
Filed under Miscellany, The International Game, World Cup

I’ve liked Peter Crouch since the first time I saw him for Southampton. It’s such an incongruous sight to see this gangly 6′7″ man playing such skilled soccer; you can’t not like him.

Then I saw him so this the other day, after scoring for England in a pre-WC friendly against . . . somebody.

So now, I like the guy even more.

Best. Celebration. Ever.

If you’re a fan of The Chronicles of Narnia, you’ll have to agree that when they make the movie version of The Silver Chair, Peter is a shoo-in for the role of Puddleglum the Marshwiggle.

May 29, 2006


by @ 11:02 am.
Filed under US National Team, World Cup

Jeff Jacobs of the Hartford Courant writes what is, for me, the best article yet on Il Bruce. It is Bruce, seen through the eyes of long-time friend and fellow coaching genius, Geno Auriemma of the UConn women’s basketball program. Here’s a snippet:

“Imagine if a guy from Yugoslavia came over here and was at a clinic with Bobby Knight, Dean Smith, John Wooden and Red Auerbach,” Auriemma said. “And the guy from Yugoslavia comes in and goes, `Hey, you know you guys have been doing this all wrong. Let me show you how to do it.’ The way Bruce is, I think he has a great appreciation for soccer and he is a tremendous student of the game. I think he respects the heritage of the game and all that. But he actually believes when his team takes the field against Italy or Czech Republic, he’s convinced his guys we’re going to win.

Do go read the whole thing.

May 3, 2006


by @ 10:14 am.
Filed under Media, Random Thoughts, The International Game, World Cup

Here’s an interesting phenomenon to keep your eyes on. Go to Google, and type “nike + metatarsal”, then do it once a week over the summer. Let’s see how the number of articles and webpages blaming Nike for Wayne Rooney’s broken foot increase in that time.

I’d like to be a fly on the wall at the offices of Nike’s law firm right now. Sweatin’ a little, are we, boys?

April 14, 2006


by @ 1:29 pm.
Filed under The International Game, US National Team, World Cup

Sure, they call Beckenbauer “The Kaiser”, but, does he live in a castle?

No, I don’t think so.

Now, you take a great like Kasey Keller, he lives in a castle.

Plus, Kaiser alliterates so well with Kasey Keller. I hereby declare Kasey’s new nickname to be “The Kaiser”.

Help spread it around.

March 22, 2006


by @ 5:31 pm.
Filed under The International Game, US National Team, World Cup

I don’t know who hacked my blog and wrote that last drivel about the US/Germany game, but he sure doesn’t know anything about soccer.



by @ 10:59 am.
Filed under The International Game, US National Team, World Cup

A full strength Germany will be able to manage nothing better than a draw with the injury depleted USA in today’s friendly. Thus continuing the irreversible downward spiral of German soccer that began in earnest with Italy’s 4-1 thrashing of the 3-time champions last month.

You heard it here first.

February 27, 2006


by @ 10:46 pm.
Filed under The International Game, US National Team, World Cup

Okay, it’s just a rumor. And, frankly, a rumor that I’ve just started, here in this very forum

But read this quote from il Bruce’s recent interview with, and tell me if it’s a little less outlandish than it might have been just a few weeks ago:

Your record at International level speaks for itself. Do you have aspirations to test yourself in European club football and could we see you managing in the Premiership one day?

I do have aspirations to coach in Europe. I would love to have an opportunity to manage in the Premiership. As with any manager or player, moving to a new club or country requires a period of adjustment. However, I believe with the right club and the right time to adjust, I could be successful.

Hmm…. Manchester United is owned by Americans . . . Bruce has a good World Cup . . . Fergie’s about ready to retire . . . hmm…..

Remember you heard it here first.

(Thanks to the always high-quality du nord for the link)

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