Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday supplement

Japan are the kings of the East after beating Australia in the Asian Cup Final in Doha, Qatar.

The Socceroos missed a number of chances but should do better next time, when they host the Cup in 2015. The final was watched by 37,000, but earlier 'official' crowds as low as 2,000 did nothing to dispel jibes about FIFA's 114th-ranked nation hosting the World Cup. Nippon capped a fine few months after defeating Cameroon and Denmark at the World Cup and can now look forward to the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil.

*The British press confirms Bradley will soon be a true Villan.

*One to watch - Napoli's Uruguayan hitman Edinson Cavani bagged his second hat-trick this month to top the scoring charts in Serie A with 17 in 21. He's 23 and was a fringe player at the World Cup in South Africa.

*After the Skygate scandal, dinosaurs still roam the British earth.

*With Mount Mourinho still threatening to erupt
, Real Madrid lose to lowly Osasuna!

*World Soccer magazine derides FIFA's Messi decision

*Murdering/improving John Denver in Manchester; spot the slugs at 1:49

*When you're injured you rely on the stretcher-bearer to get you off-field fast

*J.D. Salinger
was a soccer fan, or at least enjoyed watching Italia '90, according to letters he wrote to an old friend, soon to be available to be public.

I wonder what the creator of 'The Catcher in the Rye' made of that tournament, though probably not much of the US return after 40 years away, the Caliguri goal v Czechoslovakia apart.

Here, Peter Vermes makes an interesting analogy, while the now departed David Vanole gives his verdict on the local nosh...Mind you, the 1-0 loss to the hosts remains a respectable result.

The World Cup arrived with Italian football on a crest of the wave with a Serie A clean sweep of Europe's three cups. To the soundtrack of Pavarotti and pals, it was as grand and theatrical as any opera, though the football failed to hit the right notes, ending in an ugly final like in 2010.

The tears of Gazza and Maradona, Rijkaard & Voller's spit-spat, Roger Milla's shimmy and Rene Higuita's madness, Cameroon mugging the flying Claudio Caniggia, the unstoppable Germans and the Irish fairytale. Then there was Baggio's dribble and Toto Schillaci, the Sicilian assassin with the face of a saint...Italia '90 left many of us emotionally drained but with an album of memories. I'm not surprised it made Salinger pick up a pen.

-Sean O'Conor

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