03 July, 2010

Spain v. Paraguay highlights

Highlights of the 7/3/2010 World Cup Quarterfinals.

Video: fotanju6

Germany v. Argentina highlights

Highlights of the 7/3/2010 World Cup Quarterfinals.

Video: fortanju6

World Cup of Zork

This is just straight up funny. Click the link and enjoy a world cup flashback from the view of word game "Zork". Simply awesome.

"I do not understand your command."

"Click link"

Ruh Roh Shaggy

Uruguay won in a shootout yesterday. In the waning seconds, Uruguay's #9 Luis Suarez handled the ball in the box and turned the momentum from Ghana's favor to a Uruguay win. In doing so, Suarez received a justly deserved red card which means he is out of the next match.

Or is he? For semifinalists in the World Cup, two more games are guaranteed; the semi final game and either the final (if they win the semi) or the 3rd/4th place game. Fifa is making the decision to review the red. Usually, in the case of "harsh" referee decisions, teams will protest a card after the game and have it reviewed, sometimes resulting in a reduction of a ban. In this case, Fifa is looking to extend the ban through the end of the World Cup as they view the foul to be egregious.

WAG matchup: Paraguay vs Spain

Today's WAG matchup promises to be as good as the action on the field.
Representing Paraguay, by popular demand, model and superfan Larissa Riquelme

And, representing Spain, the lovely main squeeze of Iker Casillas, the man with the best hands in all of Spain, we have the beautiful and talented sports reporter Sara Carbonero.

Regardless of the results of today's match, we're all winners.

Riquelme Photo:
Carbonero Photo:

02 July, 2010

The Jinx of a World Cup Commercial

Wow, okay, so like me, you were annoyed to hell and back by the same 5-6 commercials during breaks in the matches so far. Well, there is good news. I can't seem to find a single company that seemed to do well or hype a player that actually performed well in the Cup.

For example, Knight and Day hit box offices this last weekend after commercials ad nauseum. You'll be happy to know that it pulled in ~$20mil on it's opening weekend. This wasn't even half of what Grown Ups (yeah, can't make me go see that) and almost 1/3 of what Toy Story 3 did in it's 2nd week.

How Could You Be So Heartless

Kayne West once sang, "In the night I hear them talk, the coldest story ever told. Somewhere far along this road he lost his soul..."

Thirty seconds. That's all that was left of the game and Ghana would have been the first African team through to the World Cup semis. Instead, Luis Suarez ripped the heart out of Ghana and danced on it at the mouth of the Uruguayan goal.

Now, granted, he obviously and rightly received a straight red for his actions, but the denial in the dying seconds put all the pressure on Ghana's Asomoah Gyan. Gyan's penalty shot smacked the crossbar with the force of a heavy handed pimp.

Uruguay vs. Ghana Matchup

Well, it certainly wasn't easy to find volunteers for this crucial quaterfinal matchup. However, Diego Forlan's girlfriend is a close friend of ours at TSI (although technically Argentinan) and graciously agreed to enter into competition against a very worthy opponent from Ghana. Of course, the winner will be in a subdued mood knowing that her work is cut out for her against the Holland-Brasil winner! Besides, who here isn't really rooting for Ms. Riquelme and the Paraguay side?


Brazil v. Holland matchup

In the left corner, weighing in at... who cares. Holland's very own Yolanthe-Cabau van Kasbergen (wife of Wesley Sneijder). And in the right corner, Wife of Kaka, Caroline Celico. And.... Fight!

Photos: and

01 July, 2010

Kids, try this at home

Wow, this guy is sick. And the video "how to" breakdown is one of the best. Props to Carilho90.

Video: Carilho90

Uruguay will eat your baby too

Coming off a dismantling of South Korea, showed us Uruguay's grill. We aren't talking platinum or diamond here. We're talking corn, chicken and steak. Damn. I could make the obligatory "sausage fest" remark, but these guys are living the high life and Ghana should be worried.

Photo: AP

Your EPL Pre-season Schedule is out

Wondering where/who your team is playing this year before the season starts? Here it is, courtesy of the Guardian. And for you Hull City fans out there... no one cares about your schedule because you were relegated.


Go USA Bid for the World Cup

Get your vote on.

Photo: thesoccerinsider

30 June, 2010

Know your Quarterfinalists

Admit it. You didn't know anything about Keisuke Honda until now, and you definitely didn't know he played for CSKA Moscow. In fact, I had recently looked at the CSKA Moscow roster, and in retrospect, now that I think about it, I saw K. Honda of Japan, but at the time, the name didn't mean anything to me and I promptly forgot all about it. Then I saw Keisuke Honda in the World Cup and wondered "Who is this guy and why haven't I heard more about him?" So I had to look up where he played...oh yeah, K. Honda of CSKA Moscow. No wonder they were so good.

On that note, how well do you know the professional teams of the starting eleven of the eight quarterfinalists? Answers appear in the comments. No peeking!

1. Which quarterfinalist starter plays for Wigan Athletic in the EPL?

2. Two Dutch starters play for Ajax, Maarten Stekelenburg and Gregory Van Der Wiel, and one other team boasts of two Dutch starters. Name the team and the players.

3. An Ajax player who is not Dutch is starting in the quarterfinals. Name him.

4. The entire Spanish starting lineup comes from Real Madrid, Barcelona, and two other La Liga teams, plus Fernando Torres of Liverpool. Name the other two La Liga teams and the Spanish starters who play for those two teams.

5. A pair of brothers are in the quarterfinals and are probably both starting. Name them and their professional teams.

6. Only one Brazilian starter does not play in Europe. Name him and identify his club.

7. One Paraguay starter plays for a club in Paraguay. Name the player, bonus points if you can name the club.

8. How many members of Champions League winners Inter Milan are starting in the quarterfinals? Name as many as you can. Bonus: How many are on the bench for their respective quarterfinalist nations? Again, name them if you can.

If I made any mistakes, please feel free to point them out in the comments.

Walk it off son, walk it off.

For my viewing entertainment... and yours.

Video: via

How do you spell pimp?

I spell it S-p-u-r-s
. Damn. This is looking retro-phat. It's still just a rumor, but thanks to for the heads up on the supposed Tottenham home kit for 2010-11. Now they just gotta find a good sponsor and hopefully it isn't another of those damn online betting sites.

LA Galaxy takes on Real Madrid August 7

Hard to even think about MLS while the World Cup is in full swing, but just got a message from the LA Galaxy. Seems that Inter Milan winning the Champions League has made them too good for the Galaxy, so they cancelled their scheduled friendly at the Rose Bowl. The Galaxy needed a new opponent and will have to "downgrade" the friendly match to...get this...Real Madrid!

The game will be August 7 at the Rose Bowl, 7:30 pm Pacific. As a Barcelona supporter, I will be rooting for the Galaxy. Not that I love the Galaxy, but I always root for whoever is playing against Real Madrid. I have to wonder if Tristan Bowen will continue to dismantle international competition or if he will lose his starting spot with Edson Buddle returning from South Africa.

If you didn't know, Tristan Bowen is 19 years old, made his first start with the Galaxy on May 20 against Dallas, assisting the game's only goal in the 17th minute, and was named Man of the Match in a 1-0 Galaxy win. Then Bowen made his second start in a friendly against Boca Juniors May 23 and scored the game's only goal in the 83rd minute to lead LA to a 1-0 win.

Why you should want Paraguay to win the World Cup

Larissa Riquelme has stated that she will get naked if Paraguay win the World Cup. You might remember her as the Paraguay fan smuggling the cellphone between her breasts in many recent pictures from South Africa.

The catch? According to the Daily Mail Online, she'll paint herself in the national colors of Paraguay should they win the final on July 11th. Color me a Paraguay fan.

Photo: AP

"F" is for FIFA

FIFA has now stated that it is investigating the Football Federation Australia for paying the way of the Trinidad & Tobago U20 team to an international tournament in Cyprus.

One, I don't think FIFA will do diddly squat (i.e.- see FIFA investigation of the disappearance of the WC player money from their team's appearance in Germany for the 2006 World Cup, or the almost complete control of all of T&T's block of World Cup tickets that year and their subsequent repackaging through Warner's wholly owned subsidiary SIMPAUL to be resold at higher prices with travel and board).

Two, isn't it interesting to hear this as the US is bidding on WC 2018 and WC 2022? Jack Warner holds an approximately 1/3 of all FIFA's votes for deciding where the World Cup will be played. Thanks for the support Jack.

Rebuilding by not playing

Yeah, I don't get this either. Word has come down that Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) President Sani Lulu Abdullahi has apologized to the Nigerian people for their national team's failure at the World Cup.

At the same time, Nigerian president Goodluck Johnathan has stated that there will be a banning of the national team for 2yrs of international play and has dissolved the NFF.

This didn't work in Iraq as Grand Pooba Sepp Blatter loves interference in FIFA power like Italians hate to dive. At the same time, how is he going to punish a ban on the team? By banning the team from more international play?

The Men in the Middle

I think we all know that this World Cup 2010 is going down in history as the absolute worst errors by referees deciding matches. At least the horrific failures will encourage FIFA to get into the 21st century and use video replay, at the very least, for whether a ball crossed the goal line. Call it the Frank Lampard rule.

In a cosmic sense, the atrocious decision not to allow Lampard's tying goal against Germany is a balancing of the 1966 final, with the game tied 2-2 in extra time, when the linesman (from the USSR) insisted that Geoff Hurst's shot off the crossbar bounced inside the goal line and awarded England the winning goal. Interestingly, Germany had defeated the USSR in the semifinal and perhaps the linesman had a bone to pick. But I digress.

England has won exactly one World Cup, in 1966, and everyone agrees that it was, at the very least, aided in part by the controversial goal line decision in England's favor. Now, the universe has repaid the debt and disallowed a legitimate goal by Frank Lampard. Had the game been tied at 2-2, who knows how much differently the game would have played out? Probably the same way, because England made a critical mistake this World Cup. The mistake was not having a single decent goalkeeper in the entire country. I figured out why Clint Dempsey shoots so much. If Robert Green and David James are the best English goalkeepers that the EPL has to offer, then no wonder Dempsey shoots every time he touches the ball! It works when he is with Fulham, so he tries it with the USMNT, too. English acquaintances insist that Joe Hart is better than both of them, and they truly wonder why Fabio Capello didn't use Joe Hart. Seriously.

Going into this World Cup, I had a favorite referee, Benito Archundia of Mexico, and a least favorite referee, the card-happy, always has to be the center of attention, Jorge Larrionda of Uruguay, who angers me just to write his name. Remember, he was the jerk who gave us two red cards (to Pablo Mastroeni and Eddie Pope) in the 1-1 tie against Italy during Germany 2006 (in his defense, he also red carded Daniele De Rossi for breaking Brian McBride's face). Larrionda did it to us again at the Confederations Cup, red carding Michael Bradley in the semifinal win over Spain (I still can't believe we won that game), which made Bradley ineligible for the final against Brazil and forced us to start Ricardo Clark, and I think we all know now what a liability Clark is against a team with more talent than an MLS squad.

After the awful decision not to allow Lampard's goal, I hate Larrionda even more, if that was even possible. Why does this guy keep working? Oh, wait, he was suspended for six months in Uruguay and dropped as a referee for the 2002 World Cup for unspecified "irregularities"

Anyway, after the series of revolting decisions by the referees in this year's World Cup, I have added two more names to both lists, and I'm not even going to dignify Koman Coulibaly with any discussion. It will just make me mad.

Bad news first. Stephane Lannoy of France, come on down! For allowing the first goal of the Brazil/Ivory Coast game, effectively eliminating Ivory Coast from the World Cup after their scrappy 0-0 tie against Portugal (and how I wish the Elephants had punished Portugal for their "uninspired" play) despite the obvious handball on Luis Fabiano. What disgusted me was when Lannoy, after awarding the goal, laughed with Luis Fabiano and tapped his arm EXACTLY where Luis Fabiano controlled the ball illegally. Obviously Lannoy saw the handball, chose not to call it, and then THOUGHT IT WAS FUNNY. Did you ask for Luis Fabiano's autograph after the game, too? Anyway, as you all know, he then gave Kaka a red card for a phantom foul and dive. Bad referee! This ruled Kaka out of the big group finale against Portugal, which turned out to be a 0-0 draw anyway, but maybe Kaka could have been the one to finally get a goal against Portugal to punish them for their defensive turtle-like play.

The other referee who deserves one of his own red cards is, of course, Roberto Rosetti of Italy. Congratulations, Roberto, you are the worst referee in the world. Koman Coulibaly should send you a nice thank-you note and a box of chocolates for taking the heat off of him as the most awful referee in the 2010 World Cup. Rosetti takes the prize for allowing Carlos Tevez' obvious offsides goal against Mexico. Rosetti consulted with his linesman, they watched the replay on the stadium screen, and then, in an irony only Sepp Blatter could appreciate, Rosetti could NOT disallow the goal because it is NOT ALLOWED to use video replay to overturn an incorrect call. No, rather, an incorrect call must remain incorrect even though play has not restarted yet and technically the referee has not made a final decision until the ball is put into play, because it is ILLEGAL for him to use evidence to make the correct call. It turned out to be moot when Argentina poured on the attack and won 3-1.

The winner in all this is young Mexican goal scoring sensation Javier Hernandez, who scored Mexico's lone goal, to add to the one he scored against Uruguay (the only goal allowed by Uruguay in the entire tournament) which gives the 22 year old 9 goals in only 16 appearances for Mexico. Better get used to him, USA, this kid will be a scoring threat against us until 2022 or so.

OK, enough of the negative. I've also discovered a pair of great referees I never knew existed until now. My new favorite referees include the flawless Howard Webb of England. I love how he not only never falls for a dive (pun intended) but he gets in the face of the diver and yells at them to get up and quit being such a pansy. Maybe it is because he is a cop when he is not working as a referee, but he takes no crap from anyone and is definitely not a sucker. I've noticed Howard Webb in two different games refusing to call a touch foul when the person who was fouled embellishes the contact, almost as if to say he would have called it if the player hadn't made a meal of it, as they say in England.

My other new favorite referee is Hector Baldassi (better than a hairy one...sorry) of Argentina. The guy got every call right in the Spain/Portugal game today. After their lame dives in the group play, Portugal tried that stuff against Spain and Baldassi was never fooled. Soon, Portugal learned not to bother with the dives. Baldassi even reprimanded probable Golden Boot winner David Villa for diving when he was actually tripped, just not hard enough to dive like that. I was very impressed with the sportsmanship after the referee established fair play. Soon, players were helping each other up after hard but fair tackles (remember saying "I got all ball!" when a referee called you for a bogus foul on a legal tackle? Just because the guy went down after you legally stole the ball? Baldassi never called a foul when the defender "got all ball").

So, let's take a moment to acknowlege the men in the middle. No one notices the referee when he does a good job, but everyone notices him when he fails (I'm looking at you, Larrionda/Lannoy/Rosetti. Go home and don't work any more important games). But, let's also try to notice the good ones and give them credit. That's Benito Archundia, Howard Webb, and Hector Baldassi. Good job, guys! Hope to see one of you again at the final, in the middle of it.

29 June, 2010

Duck, Duck, Duck, Duck

June 17th, 2002. That was the last time a US forward scored during the World Cup. We’ve been in seven games spanning two World Cups since then. The last time we had a forward that led the US in scoring was 2002 when Clint Mathis had 7. Yeah, I said it, Clint Mathis. EJ and Donovan scored 5 each in 2004. The rest is pretty dismal and we play against CONCACAF powers such as Barbados and Antigua (read HEAVY SARCASM). So when the head of US Soccer, Sunil Gulati, went on record saying that the US lack of recent scoring forwards was troubling, I snickered.

In a country where sports fans clamor for points, goals and touchdowns, we are relying on our midfield to produce. Now, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to have midfielders scoring, but when they are the primary goal scorers, that’s bad. Someone once said, “What do you call a forward that doesn’t score? I don’t know, but it’s not a forward.”

So, when are we going to find the goose? Our midfield isn’t getting any younger, we've seen the last of pretty much every defender we brought to South Africa, and with Altidore (20) and Davies (24), arguably our two forwards of the future, and no one else in sight, we're in trouble. It begs the question, why aren’t we neck deep in forwards that are scoring like C. Ronaldo at a Paris Hilton party?

Suicide in 5 minutes

I’m sitting here in the comforts of my basement, watching arguably the most boring World Cup game in South Africa in Paraguay vs. Japan. After 120 minutes, finally the excitement. It hits me, the penalty kick sucks. It is perhaps the most lopsided part of the game against the keeper. But is it really?

Landon Donovan has converted more than 80% of all his penalty kicks lifetime. While, granted, he is probably the most efficient 11m kicker of all time (with more than 10 takes from the spot), many other penalty kickers have made more than missed their shots. The Wall Street journal did some digging and found that the conversion rate of most major leagues together converted 78% of their kicks (317 of 407) last year.

Yet, as pressure increases on the shooter, the rate of conversion can go down. Take, for instance, the 2008 Champions League Final. Chelsea’s Van der Sar had a crib sheet of typical places for Man U’s shooters to place their penalties. While the foreknowledge, by and large, didn’t work (only John Terry missed his shot of the first five shooters), Van der Sar pointed to the side Anelka typically shoots, correctly guessing his placement. Or did he?

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