Showing posts with label Australia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Australia. Show all posts

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Watch soccer.

Here is the full final game of the NTC Invitiational, which featured a few names you may see later in my 2018 watch list depth chart thingy.

For those who do not know the result: These two teams were battling for the tourney crown, with the US Under-20's needing only a draw for the title.

- Greg Seltzer

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Netherlands 3 Austraila 2

Another day, another rally. Oranje all but make themselves the first team through to the last 16 by combating a harsh penalty call with two goals in the final 32 minutes. The game also included the big stage arrival of Memphis Depay, a classic volley from Red Bulls star Tim Cahill and the deadly duo of Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie each grabbing a share of the tourney scoring lead. Never let it be said the Dutch will not share the fun (but not the points).

NSC Man of the Match: Robben/Cahill

- Greg Seltzer

Friday, June 13, 2014

Chile 3 Australia 1

Earlier today, while discussing who would recap which game, I whined that Chile-Australia was not even close to a consolation prize for missing the day's heavyweight battle between Spain and the Netherlands.  Because every prediction I seem to make goes horribly (in this case wonderfully) awry, the Cuiaba contest became an engrossing tug-of-war between the two non-European super powers in Group B.

With Spain going down easier than a pitcher of sangria on a warm summer afternoon, Chile was given a huge opportunity to establish itself as a leading contender in a highly-competitive group.  Indeed, Jorge Sampaoli's crew looked set to capitalize on this chance by storming out of the gates and grabbing a deserved 2-0 lead just 14 minutes in.  Energetic pressing and concise interplay in Australia's end saw both Alexis Sanchez and Jorge Valdivia kick the can in a 120-second stretch.

At this point, it seemed the game could take a turn for the savage but the Kangeroos found their footing and made it a contest.  Tim Cahill responded in classic Tim Cahill fashion in the 35th minute and Mark Bresciano offered threatening moments of his own.

The Aussies came out firing to start the second half but a correctly disallowed Cahill header (what else?), a non-penalty on another Cahill header (what else?), and a magnificent save by Claudio Bravo stopped them from ever evening the score.  Eduardo Vargas had a "bumbler" cleared off the line by Andy Wilkinson before Jean Beausejour put the game to rest with Chile's third deep in stoppage time.

It threatened to be a blowout, but credit to Australia for putting up a genuine fight.  They occasionally ran out of ideas in the build up, but Cahill did Cahillian things and that gave them a puncher's chance.  As for the Chileans, there's as much to be happy about as there is to fret.  The South Americans attack looked downright rapacious at times (particularly the opening stretch), yet allowing Australia to almost even the score means there is work to be done before we can pencil them in for the second round.

NSC's Man of the Match: Tim Cahill. A player from the losing team? You know it. Without Cahill Australia wouldn't have traded a single punch.

Spain's loss and Chile's win makes this group very, veryyy interestinggg over the next few weeks.  It's not the Group of Death, but it may very well be the Death of a Dynasty.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Party List

Last night, the number of teams holding invites to World Cup 2014 doubled to 10, and now includes our own USMNT. Let's take a quick look at the field so far, in order of ticket punch:

Brazil (host)
South Korea
The Netherlands
United States
Costa Rica

Do note there is a fair chance one of those Asian teams ends up in the USMNT's group next summer.

And while we're tracking the invites, let's also note that Bob Bradley has now steered Egypt to the final round of CAF qualifying. The Pharaohs were the only African side to run through the second run a perfect 6-for-6 for wins. They will learn their two-leg playoff match-up in Monday's draw. Here's the recap of Tuesday's victory.

- Greg Seltzer

Monday, May 28, 2012

Terrence Boyd, A Goodie Saga

This mini-serial has a new episode today. The exposition points:
  • Thanks to sources, I can now definitively confirm that there will be no loan spell for hot USMNT topic Terrence Boyd. Borussia Dortmund have decided they are amply stocked with strong prospects at that position. They are only accepting buy offers and he will definitely be leaving the Bundesliga champs this summer.
  • So does that mean loan bidders and Europa league entrants Rapid Vienna are no longer in the race? Honestly, I do not yet know. It's not just a holiday in America this fine Monday, but also one in Europe, so I'll try to dig into this aspect tomorrow. What I do know is that they could spring a few hundred thousand Euros on a player if they really wanted to.
  • Finally, last week, I reported one Boyd suitor had moved into serious talks. Now, we have multiple clubs getting serious. I don't have any new club names to divulge, but at least one of the latecomers will play in the Bundesliga this coming season.
Today's cliffhanger? I'm told he could have a new employer by the weekend. Stay tuned...

- Greg Seltzer

Monday, August 1, 2011

Through The Looking Glass

The Under-20 World Cup is always an enjoyable tournament as the world’s top prospects usually showcase a combination of raw hunger and youthful abandon that makes for some genuinely intriguing soccer. While the best and brightest strive to either justify their absence from their club’s pre-season or attract richer suitors, the tournament also offers a glimpse into the future. With that in mind I’ll attempt to read the tea leaves of three teams taking their respective programs in very different directions - or none at all - based on their opening round performances.

For those of you hoping the Spanish success of the past few years would fade away with its current crop of superstars should probably stop reading. Greg has asked me to keep an eye out for a tournament Best XI and at this point I’m considering nominating the entire Spain attack. Costa Rica are no slouches, but the likes of Romeu, Rodrigo, and Pacheco ran circles around the young Ticos for vast portions of the game and could have made the score even more unflattering than the 4-1 final.

Despite at times struggling to cope with the athletic Costa Rican attack, the Spaniards put in a performance that would have made their senior side proud. One can expect the struggles of the Spanish defense to become less frequent as the team matures into maintaining even more possession and beefing up as full-grown men defenders. Scarier still is the fact that Spanish academies are stocked with equally worthy players - some of them just won the U19 Euros - and are equipped with a proven system to continue churning out world-beaters.

Tiki-Taka is here to stay, and if this opening game is anything to go by, so too is this edition of La Furia Roja.

Anyone who has played youth soccer has lined up against a kid who was bigger, stronger, not that skilled, but because of his premature pubescence was better than everyone else on the field by a country mile. By the time puberty hit for his peers he was no longer anything special due to having relied on a physical advantage for far too long. While that fate could well be the future of the Ecuadorian national team, it seems Australia’s is similar but less athletic.

Tidy players such as Cahill, Kewell, and Viduka have entertained Aussies and neutral audiences alike in the past decade with heart-wrenching displays of gutsily composed soccer. Unfortunately the Australian U20s seem to be less skilled and less creative than recent editions of the full Aussie national team. Consequently Ecuador was made to look at times unflappable and solidly better the rest of the time. If not for some shameful finishing, Ecuador would have run away with this game.

Credit is due for hanging on and snagging an equalizer off of a very pretty free kick from Thomas Oar in the 89th, however Australia showed themselves to be a less athletic version of their technically uninspiring opponents. Both teams may very well advance to the knockout phase, but Australia especially more closely resemble the mostly hollow promise that American youth teams have been shelling out for years than the silky skill of the young Argentinian teams that have gone on to deliver well into their adulthood.

There is hope as the Soccerroos do boast some skill players - Mustafa Amini is eye-catching in more ways than one - but the general trend is less than encouraging.

Meanwhile, hosts Colombia razzled, dazzled, and otherwise undressed France in their opener in Bogota. Though the game was delayed an hour due to a wet pitch, the Colombians made it more than worth the wait.

France were far from undeserving when Arsenal starlet Gilles Sunu put them ahead in the 21st minute, but Colombia displayed an extra touch of polish from the outset. When James Rodriguez converted from the penalty spot 30 minutes in, a cascade of well-designed goals had begun.

The young Cafeteros - yes, coffee-growers - thrilled the home crowd with an attacking style that combines the relentless athleticism of Ghana with the daring skill and creativity of the Brazilian samba. Of course no attack is complete without a thoroughly confident and equally uncompromising striker. Lucky for Colombia, Luis Muriel seems to be just that. His stated target before the competition was to win the Golden Boot. Muriel left the game in 87th with two goals to his name and well-deserved ovation in his ears seemingly well on his way to accomplishing his goal.

Historically speaking, it was not all that long ago when Carlos Valderrama and co. were a dynamic force to be reckoned with. Having missed out on the last two World Cups however, Colombia has since been largely forgotten. Yet if this group of youngsters continues to display the kind of talent the French are still attempting to digest, the rest of the world will soon be vividly reminded of Colombia’s capabilities.

Check back in a few days for continued U20 WC coverage.

-- Jacob Klinger

Friday, July 8, 2011

Previewing the WWC knockout stage: Marta invades

For all the style points the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team accrued over its first two sleek Group C wins, they rolled back nearly all of them in 90 lackluster minutes against Sweden in Wolfsburg on Wednesday. Luckily for the U.S., there was always going to be another game to play. Unfortunately, that game is now against Brazil.

Starting tomorrow, the Women’s World Cup enters the venerable knockout stage. After three group games apiece, eight teams will be pared down to four by the end of Sunday, sending a fresh crop toward the 2011 Women’s World Cup final in Frankfurt. While the U.S. faces Brazil on Sunday, three other matchups take place this weekend: Germany-Japan, Sweden-Australia and England-France. Here’s a sneak peek at all four.

I am indeed making predictions today. I'll stand by them only if you understand that I'll be admonishing myself for my stupidity far earlier than you are.

- USA vs. Brazil: The U.S. is a two-time World Cup champion, two-time defending Olympic gold medalist and the No.1-ranked team in the world. It is surprising, then, that they have such a difficult task in front of them so soon after the group phase. Blame the Swedes.

The U.S. defeated Colombia and North Korea a combined 5-0 in the first two group games, and there was talk that with Abby Wambach and a selection of up-and-comers, this might be the perfect melding of feisty youth and guileful veterans, a must for title hopefuls. On Wednesday, Sweden dealt the U.S. a 2-1 defeat to win the group with a perfect record. It was Sweden’s second win over the U.S. this year and refocused the U.S. supporters' thoughts from parades to survival.

The leviathan known as Brazil awaited the loser, and now the U.S. must deal with the challenge posed by the irrepressible Marta, the five-time reigning FIFA World Player of the Year. These teams share a comically deep history. The U.S.’s worst loss in its history was a 4-0 dusting by Brazil in the semifinals of the last World Cup. Brazil’s most lopsided defeat was a 6-0 loss to the U.S. in the 1999 World Cup.

For reasons that escape Brandi Chastain, the U.S. has owned Brazil in the Olympics but can't seem to hop over the Brazilians in World Cup play since that beating in '99. Beats me, but it does inform my prediction.

I'd expect an open, fluid match. Much like their male counterparts, Brazil plays the Joga Bonito with aplomb, flipping acrobatic passes over defenders and juggling through traffic with an ease that belies its difficulty. The U.S. knows this and will likely attempt to keep pace if challenged by an early goal. Fat chance.

Call me a pessimist if you must, but the U.S. has some unanswered questions that Marta is eager to exploit with her cronies. The U.S. has never finished lower than third, but they've not won a World Cup since Chastain’s infamous shirt twirl in 1999. I’d expect that drought to extend another four years. Blame the Swedes.
Prediction: Brazil 3, USA 2

- Germany vs. Japan: If there’s such a thing as a mid-tournament favorite, Germany is mine. The hosts are the two-time defending champs and strike a terrifying figure in this tournament. The Germans took all nine points from their group, polishing it off with an all-too-easy 4-2 win over title hopeful France on the last day of the group.

In Germany, a soccer country starved for titles, signs erected this month in Berlin read, “Third place is for men," and, "Boys, we will avenge you.” It is a reference to the 2010 World Cup in which the German men finished third. Further, it is a nod to the women’s team, which has won the last two World Cups and the last five European Championships. If the men’s team carries most of the support, it is the women’s team that carries home the titles.

This may or may not be Germany’s strongest women’s team, but they have the backing of an interested country. A full 14.1 million German viewers watched Germany’s World Cup opener, a record in that country. Whatever Japanese fans make the trek are sure to be shouted down.

It is hard to get a handle on the Japanese. They are ranked No. 4 in the most recent world rankings and dazzled in a 4-0 win over Mexico led by Homare Sawa’s three goals on only four shots. But a 2-0 defeat to England in the final group game puts Japan and its pass-heavy system in an uncomfortable place.

Simply put, if the Japanese back line isn’t sliced to ribbons, it’ll be a good day.
Prediction: Germany 3, Japan 1

- Sweden vs. Australia: This is the matchup the U.S. could have had. Sweden will gladly take the honors instead.

It’s not that the Australians are pushovers. Far from it, in fact. But they are not Brazil. The Swedes are riding a wave of optimism after a well-deserved group-clinching win over the U.S., while Australia is the lowest-ranked team left alive and carries in an unhealthy 1-7 all-time record against Sweden. Australia had to come from behind for a shock 2-1 win over 1995 champs Norway to sneak into the knockout stage. Don’t expect the organized Swedish back line to suffer the same fate.
Prediction: Sweden 2, Australia 0

England vs. France: A rematch of the Battle of Agincourt almost 600 years in the making (yes, I went there). It may be painting an obvious face on this match, but these sides share very little respect for one another. England’s industrious offense will run up against a Les Bleus back line licking its wounds after being whipped up in the German tornado. England has shown improvement in each game, progressing from a draw to one and then two-goal margins of victory.

France may not have the better World Cup record this year, but they have a decided edge in skill. With Louisa Necib, dubbed the female Zinedine Zidane by the French sporting press, England will struggle to find the grit to outgun their French nemeses.
Prediction: France 1, England 0

- Will Parchman

Monday, January 17, 2011

Who likes goals?

Say it with me: Once again back is the incredible...

Let's begin with Melbourne Hearts' Alex Terra, who dazzles with what is sure to be among the goals of the year when all is said and done.

Please get your computer volume way down and your eyes wide open for Carlito's way.

szólj hozzá: Mc2-1Wo[]

While Corinthians star Roberto Carlos may not have quite the physical acumen, his mind obviously remains very sharp.

While we're having fun watching drowsy keepers, check out the abuse this one receives from Villarreal's Cani.

And finally, even being shoved facing the sideline when off-balance using his weaker foot, Zlatan = crack-uh. What a silly, sick genius.

- Greg Seltzer

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Not a G'Day....

Spare a thought for Australia, whose ambitious bid, (check out the video at 22 mins) ticking all the right FIFA boxes for 'legacy' and 'new lands', came in dead last for 2022 with only one vote, even worse than England's 2018 shipwreck. They had been expecting six in the first round.

Soccer is Oz could have done with a World Cup as it is still considered an immigrant sport by many fans of the longer-established Aussie Rules and Rugby League & Union. Socceroo legend Johnnie Warren encapsulated the game's fight for respect in his book - 'Sheilas, Wogs and Poofters'.

The eleven team A-League, six years old, has seen average crowds fall 45% in the past three seasons, ranging from Melbourne Victory's 14,101 to Gold Coast United's 2,812 in 2010/11. But FIFA chose Qatar.

"The most fundamental mistake we made was that we played it clean,"
bid member Peter Hargitay commented.

2022 Bid leader Frank Lowy went further, saying of the Ex.Co. members: "Quite a number just outright lied to us."

Les Murray, an Aussie on FIFA's Ethics Committee fumed, "That Qatar should hold the World Cup is a notion that borders on the ludicrous. FIFA is in big trouble. Nobody will believe that Qatar won this process legitimately - people will probe away asking questions."

* FIFA have cleared it all up though. On Tuesday General Secretary Jerome Valcke was propagandist-in-chief with the breathtaking claim that the World Cup vote was “perfectly organised, perfectly transparent and perfectly under control”.

But who was that big, hairy stooge sat next to Valcke, echoing his FIFA hogwash:

"I was satisfied when I left the voting room that the vote had been held democratically, that people had voted their own conscious (sic)"
he blazed. "I feel there is a need for a closed ballot at FIFA...I certainly never disappointed anyone."

Is any other Ex.Co. member suspected of voting against their own country's bid?

Chuck him out too.

-Sean O'Conor

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The finest Swiss cheese

*Too little, too late - We now learn Switzerland's sports minister had ordered an investigation into "corruption in sport" a month before the controversial World Cup hosting decisions.

"It is clear that Switzerland is obliged to do something,"
Ueli Maurer announced in response to the growing allegations of FIFA wrongdoings, which led to the suspension of two Ex.Co. members and a further four FIFA officials before the vote.

Around 50 international sporting organizations including the big three of FIFA, UEFA and the IOC enjoy the fresh Swiss air, exemption from anti-corruption laws and an understanding that the government will not interfere in their work. But don't hold your breath. Maurer said any changes could take "two or three years" and last year he described Sepp Blatter as "an outstanding representative of the nation and football."

*But all's well at FIFA, according to General Secretary Jerome Valcke:

"We haven't sat down to discuss reform of the voting system," he told the media yesterday. No surprise there. But what is this -

"Yes, it is a political decision," Valcke said of the World Cup hosting vote, "but overall I think reactions were positive. The decision was fairly well received by football fans." - Come again?

It would have been nice if FIFA had told the aspiring host nations before submission deadline in March 2009 that geo-political factors would matter most. And I haven't met many fans relishing the Qatari heat or the 1,500-mile trek between Kaliningrad and Ekaterinburg, free train tickets or no.

Valcke also swatted away questions about bent Ex.Co. members:

"The matter is closed," he said. "We reacted well to the situation...There is no need to be ashamed." Except that FIFA has yet to act on the allegations hanging over Grondona, Hayatou, Leoz, Texeira and Warner.

*Former FA chief Lord Triesman has called for an inquiry into the 2018/2022 decisions. Triesman resigned in May over kiss-and-tell allegations, which also revealed his belief in collusion between Spain and Russia, two football nations which did rather well in 2010...

*Russian bid member Vyacheslav Koloskov has told Moscow's Sport-Express that Vladimir Putin met with "at least a third" of the Ex.Co. and that these meetings were followed up "on a daily basis." This is in marked contrast to Putin claiming he did not attend the vote because he didn't wish to place any "external pressure" on the Ex.Co.'s "impartial" decision. "They must have an opportunity to work calmly, without any pressure from anyone," Putin had said.

*Australian bid strategist Peter Hargitay has told SBS television that he was approached after the voting had finished by two Ex.Co. members to confirm they indeed had backed the Aussies for 2012. Only thing was, Australia only got ONE vote.

Hargitay described the FIFA Ex.Co. animal thus -

"You are dealing with a very special type of person who will shake your hand, look you in the eye at five o'clock in the afternoon before the day of voting and say 'I'm with you'."

*N.Ireland's Jim Boyce, who is expected to join the Ex.Co. next year, is open to change - "It should be an open ballot where no-one has anything to hide. I would have no problems with people being made accountable for the decisions they have taken."

*Man U boss Alex Ferguson agrees loosening the FIFA Ex.Co.'s grip on the World Cup invoves climbing a Swiss mountain - "Do you know how difficult that is? It is a new word for FIFA - democracy."

Blatter is up for re-election in 2011 but I don't hold out much hope in potential replacements Mohammed Bin-Hamman or Chung Mong Joon. For now we'd better get ready for Russia and Qatar and hope for cleaner, fairer things for 2026.

Russia's winning bid videos:

Ex-Nats coach Bora stars in Qatar's presentation:

-Sean O'Conor

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A few things...

Okay, I need to say something. It is really making me grind teeth that so many observers keep claiming that the U.S. had some wondrous shot at the semis. I hate to be that guy, but... I never imagined we could beat Uruguay. I'm sorry, I don't think we matched up well. With Charlie Davies on song and Gooch match fit, then maybe. As is? Sorry, there was no primrose stroll to the final four available. That storyline, my friends, is a unicorn...

#1 - My usual summer snooping has turned up a bit of potentially juicy transfer news about Clint Dempsey.

Since someone will ask eventually, I'll just offer up my guesses at the French and Italian 'big clubs" - but let me make it totally clear that this is pure educated guess. This is not any inside info, so don't go tell everyone I reported it as legit news.

Now... just for fun... I'll go with Marseille and AC Milan. I could also reasonably see a couple of other options making sense. I also can see Liverpool in if/when Fulham boss Roy Hodgson takes the reins. Any which way, this MC Deuce situation should be fun to watch.

On this general topic, I can also tell you that it seems IK Start defender Clarence Goodson will soon be off to Odense BK, even if his agent and the club won't say so. The agent would, however, admit that the center back has rejected a move to promoted Bundesliga side Kaiserslautern. My proper report on that should be up soon at MLSS.

- Like the idiot I am, I tried to forecast the 2014 USMNT World Cup roster. This exercise was hard, man. The keepers and forwards were relatively easy. The defense was tough for not having enough solid-as-we-stand choices and the midfield was nearly impossible for having far too many.

Well... not too many, but a helluva lot.

- I was a busy bee today and also got some unhappy injury updates for the Aalborg duo of Chris Rolfe and Marcus Tracy.

- Check out USMNT boss Bob Bradley's visit to The Dan Patrick Show here (mp3 link).

#5 -
NSC pal Jason Davis offers up a first class rant. I do love a good rant.

- We also have a video sitdown with new Anderlecht man Sacha Kljestan.

#7 - Mediaweek throws a ton of numbers at you in a short space, but the gist is: World Cup viewership is a big hit in America.

- Another day, another disturbing FIFA game. Pitch Invasion blows the lid off of Australia's World Cup bid trinkets.

#9 - Tuning the dial to Nutmeg Radio, one can learn that World Cup flop Nigeria has been suspended... by Nigeria.

#10 - Finally, I unleashed my World Cup Team of the Round yesterday at S365.

- Greg Seltzer

Friday, June 11, 2010

World Cup Video Opening Friday

Woohoo!! The tourney has arrived!!

We begin with a long-awaited clip around these parts: John Oliver's first World Cup report for The Daily Show. Here, he visits USMNT camp ahead of the Czech Republic friendly.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
World Cup 2010: Into Africa - Two Teams, One Cup
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

The latest Studio 90 features a World Cup memory with one of my favorite all-time players.

CNN reports on World Cup's effect on restaurant/bar business... in America.

Good ol' Andy Gray joins FSC to preview day one's action, which promises two great matches to kick off the drama right away.

<a href="" target="_new" title="">Ticket To South Africa Preview</a>

ESPN Star checks in with England camp ahead of the big game.

Finally, another wicked World Cup ad, this one from Australia. Yeah... as if they have that kind of team pace.

- Greg Seltzer

Saturday, June 5, 2010

'Nats > Socceroos (updated)

I will improve the reel as better ones surface and you can look for my first U.S. Player Ratings for before too long. Let's start with the soundless first half highlights.

UPDATE: The full Monty has arrived. And a slight change of plans, as I will be doing a different article for MLSS. Do not fear, my Ratings will be there for World Cup.

- Greg Seltzer

A few World Cup Video Saturday things...

Like chocolate and peanut butter, you knew these two mighty forces of deliciousness would one day combine. That day is now and your big Saturday is in motion...

#1 - Here is today's USMNT line-up:

Howard; Cherundolo, DeMerit, Goodson, Bocanegra, Dempsey, Bradley, Clark, Donovan, Findley, Buddle

Am I the only one concerned that Gooch isn't starting?

#2 - It sucks for me that the Suns missed out on the NBA Finals, but this ouster has allowed Steve Nash to file World Cup video reports for CBS. Deluxe.

#3 - HuffPo's Max Bergmann attempts to break down England tactically. Great minds and all that jazz.

#4 - SI's Grant Wahl offers up his own Top 5'er on what the USMNT wants to do against Australia.

#5 - Vanity Fair wonders when somebody will step up and out the shooter of Paraguay's Salvador Cabanas. I've been wondering that myself.

#6 - The Guardian looks at the scouts who unearthed a magnificent seven of World Cup headliners.

Also, The Independent tips some young players for World Cup stardom and then talks up chances of a first Oranje world title.

And now to the tube...

US Soccer offers up an Australia preview clip and part one of a Studio 90 with Mo Edu.

The AP checks in at the USMNT dairy farm... erm, training base.

Fabio Capello comments on Rio Ferdinand's injury blow, and then the media reacts.

Finally, on the edge of South Africa's World Cup, ESPN's brilliant Outside The Lines series tells us the tale of Robben Island's soccer league.

- Greg Seltzer

Monday, March 15, 2010

Final USMNT World Cup tune-up set

G'day Socceroos!

The USMNT will meet Australia (a splendid "England play-alike" in my book) in Johannesburg on June 5th.

Shrimps and barbies not included. You must go buy your own.

- Greg Seltzer

Monday, January 11, 2010

Who likes goals?

Regulars around here have already seen super strikes from Dempsey, Pienaar, Maccarone and Sneijder this week, so they're not included today...

Let's start off with AC Milan scissor kicker Marco Boriello.

Valencia defender Carlos Marchena goes on the attack like he means it.

I have to admit that I was wrong. I felt Lyon spent way too much on Bafi Gomis, but he's been pretty good. And this weekend, he went plum silly in Coupe de France play. Watch the ball much, defender?

Down in Australia, the Wellington Phoenix have a cat named Eugene Dadi. His knuckle Buster has built him the most bitchingly fast bike ever.

Finally, why not, let's run down MOTD's December Goal of the Month nominess.

- Greg Seltzer

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Running the World Cup numbers (+1)

I'll have some Tuesday TV a little later, but first let's see how everyone is putting the USMNT's chances to advance from World Cup 2010 Group C play:

- ESPN/Nate Silver (48%)
- Castrol Index (73%)
- The mighty, might Voros (64%)
- BigSoccer poster NoSix (63%)

And the "+1" comes in the form of Climbing the Ladder's MLS Plus/Minus season totals.

- Greg Seltzer

Friday, December 4, 2009

World Cup Draw LIVE

The draw for the 2010 FIFA World Cup is set to kick off in about 30 minutes and we will update the proceedings as the groups fill out. After they're done, I will attempt to make the fastest sweet 16 prediction in the world.

Get your refresh button ready, the lottery basket starts spinning at 10 minutes before the top of the hour. Back then...


Just about ready to draw this thing...


Game on!

South Africa

South Korea



the Netherlands

New Zealand

North Korea
Ivory Coast



And there you have it! Not a bad draw at all for the USMNT!

As promised, my instant sweet 16 picks
listed by group (first place, second place): France, Uruguay, Argentina, Nigeria, England, U.S.A., Ghana, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, Slovakia, Brazil, Ivory Coast, Spain Honduras.

- Greg Seltzer

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The dance card is now full

With Uruguay seeing off Costa Rica, the field for World Cup 2010 has been completed.

Africa - Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, South Africa

Asia - Australia, Japan, North Korea, South Korea

Europe - Denmark, England, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland

North America - Honduras, Mexico, United States

Oceania - New Zealand

South America - Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay

And while we're totaling up sums, let's go ahead and list all current or former MLS players with at least a decent shot at taking part (obviously, a good half dozen or more Americans listed won't end up going):

England - David Beckham

Honduras - Roger Espinoza, Amado Guevara, Carlos Pavón

Mexico - Cuauhtémoc Blanco

New Zealand - Andrew Boyens, Ryan Nelsen, Duncan Oughton

South Korea - Hong Myung Bo (manager)

USA - Josmer Altidore, Carlos Bocanegra, Jonathan Bornstein,
Michael Bradley, Conor Casey, Brian Ching, Ricardo Clark, Jimmy Conrad, Jeff Cunningham, Kenny Cooper, Clint Dempsey, Maurice Edu, Landon Donovan, Clarence Goodson, Brad Guzan, Marcus Hahnemann, Frankie Hejduk, Stuart Holden, Tim Howard, Chad Marshall, Heath Pearce, Troy Perkins, Robbie Rogers

- Greg Seltzer