Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Con(found) Cup?

Anyone been following the Confederations Cup at all? I've had to be content with reading the news on the results of the matches, since ART have monopolized broadcasting rights for every sporting event in the world. It might go against my principles, but a man's gotta watch his sports so I might just end up getting a subscription sometime in the near future.

As it stands, zee Germans and the Argies are through after beating two spritely, scrappy teams in Australia and Tunisia. Mexico emerged from the other group after beating Japan and Brazil (after Borgetti missed a thrice retaken penalty he still managed to score the winner later on in the game!), and the second spot is up for grabs as it comes down to that last group game between the Nipponese and the Samba men. The European champions Greece have looked lacklustre throughout, getting destroyed 3-0 by Brazil and getting beaten by the reigning Asian champions Japan by a single goal.

It seems to me that the current version of the cup is taken much more seriously than the previous one, where the (then world champions) French pulled out over a number of different reasons and Germany had to come in as a late replacement. The stadia are sold out for the Germany games and attract a decent crowd for the rest of the teams. Its a good dress rehearsal for the World Cup next year, testing out the facilities and their ability to cope with the crowds expected next summer.

I hate years in between World Cups and European Championships. Not even the Copa America to keep us entertained this offseason. The transfer talk is always interesting, but its still more fun to watch the actual sport. I guess I'll just have to be content with the Formula 1, Lions tour of New Zealand and Wimbledon for now.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

What is with the world of football today?

Honestly, what is going on?

Van Persie was arrested on Rape claims
Steve Finnan was arrested for driving dangerously
Davor Suker was arrested in the killing of his agent/ business partner
George Best was arrested for assaulting a 13 year old

All of this in one day…

Sunday, June 12, 2005

FIFA U-20 World Cup

As I am watching the FIFA U-20 World Cup, I couldnt stop thinking about this....

In football, one of the most important factors of a country's success is its youth programs and its preperation for the young ones to represent their country when they grow up. The best example of this is the French wonder team of 1998-2000, which was a team that almost all graduated from some special school for football setup when they were children!

But how much of a factor is that in later stages? For example, Spain historically has always had a great young team, winning several tournaments in dif age groups, but have always choked when it counts in the real big stage...why?!

Saudi had a great young team which did well and then grew up to reach the second round of the World Cup in 1994! Oman had a great team and we're seeing them now play the best football in the gulf!

Is the U-20 world cup really a measure of how good a team will be 8 years from now?? If so, then things will be very interesting if we look at the results of the first day of the tournament! The US beat Argentina 1-0, China beat Turkey (which reached the final of the U-20 Euro) 2-1, Chile beat Honduras 7-0....

In about 10 mins, Nigeria - Brazil will start, Italy playing same time against Columbia....both very interesting games, especially the Brazil team, which is great to watc hat any level! Games were great yesterday btw, I highly recommend watching these kids play......personally, Im glad to see a couple of Arsenal players playing, Quincy Owuso did great against Japan and Fabregas was his usual commanding presence against Morroco. Spector (ManU), played well for the US against Argentina before leavnig the feild injured. Now Im gonna watching out for Diego and Tardelli specifically, and will update u!

I love football! :)

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

You're Le Boss

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while, but just keep on forgetting…

This is my favorite part of the season: Summer Transfer talk… If you were the coach of your favorite team… what would you do? You’re the gaffer, le boss, Coach, Trainer, Manager, Chief, etc… you’ve got free reign to buy or sell whomever you want... We want to hear about what you would do in the summer to make your team take honors next season…

If I was the boss here’s what the revolutionary fan in me would do – definitely following the need 2 stable players in every position; the beauty of Arsenal is that we’ve got a number of versatile players able to play in all over the pitch… First off: Get rid of Jens – Sell him to Stuttgart for Timo Hildenbrand (A young , strong German goalkeeper – once Kahn pisses off, Timo will be it), keep Almunia in for the carling cup games. Sell Ashley Cole – we have a better defender and player in Gael Clichy (Gael, defends much better than Ash did at that age) + I would only sell him for £18 million or get Trezegoal or Owen for him (depending on where he leaves to) – draft in another left back – there are plenty on the market we can go for, I’m sure Steve Rowley can find us someone good. Sell Lauren as well, I like him but he’s just been caught out on the right way too many times, and he looks all right going forward, but not that convincing. Push Kolo on the right (He’d love to move up and score more goals). Draft in Hoyte and Eboue as stand ins. Keep Sol and Senderoos in the center of defense and sign some Bosman transfer – Kuffour from Bayern, or Nowotny from Bayer. Sell Freddie, we’ll get lots of cash for him now and he’s dipped a little in his form since the days of Red Hair… Buy Wright Phillips from Citeh (I want a Wrighty legacy) and buy this Alexander Hleb (he’s apparently the mutt’s nuts in Germany and has that bad boy image that the gunners like to reform). Keep SuperBob, whatever it takes, this man is a positive role model on the development of our younger stars… keep our 4 midfielders: Gil, Paddy, Flamini, and Cesc (Flamini reminds me of a young French Roy Keane with that work rate and determination, and Cesc – well I don’t really need to tell you he’s going to change the game do I?). up front: Sell Aliadiere (a great player, but hasn’t shown his true worth), Give Titi whatever he wants, and have Robin do his thing… Reyes will get better, and will show us that he will perform on the left wing and up front… Bow down to Bergkamp, because he’s a legend and will teach the youngsters a thing or two… Buy one serious forward… Either trade Cole for Trez or Owen but we need an accomplished striker… That’s the revolutionary fan in me… Or we could keep the status quo and build on what we have…

I was thinking about doing one for my other love in football Barcelona.. but that’s pretty much straightforward: Give Athletico Madrid Riquilme and Saviola for Fernando Torres and buy Rio from United… wait for everyone else to recover…

Ok that’s me, what do you wish for your team?

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Asian World Cup qualifiers....

I came online planning to write about Kuwait - Saudi, then read about Bahrain's game from a Bahraini prospective and decided to write about the qualifiers overall instad.

Asia has never had this much chance in the World Cup. Basically, we have 4 and a half places, where 4 teams qualify and a 5th plays the 4th placed North American team, which will probably be Costa Rica or Guatemala.

After today's games, which were as follows -

Iran 1 - 0 Korea DPR
Uzbekistan 1 - 1 South Korea
Bahrain 0 - 1 Japan
Saudi Arabia 3 - 0 Kuwait

Standings are as follows -

Group A
P W D L F A Pts GD
Saudi Arabia 4 2 2 0 6 1 8 5
South Korea 4 2 1 1 5 4 7 1
Kuwait 4 1 1 2 2 6 4 -4
Uzbekistan 4 0 1 3 4 6 2 -2

Group B
P W D L F A Pts GD
Iran 4 3 1 0 5 1 10 4
Japan 4 3 0 1 5 3 6 2
Bahrain 4 1 1 2 2 4 4 -2
Korea DPR 4 0 0 4 2 7 0 -5

In a sense, every team has more than a 50% chance of qualifying from the beginning! 4 teams and a half out of 8!

Right now, if we take out Korea DPR and Uzbekistan from this formula, its a probably 5 teams out of 6! Realistically, FIFA will never give Asia 5 seats in the WC ever again! Asian teams were very lucky to do what they did, on both playing and refereeing sides. I repeat, it will NEVER be this easy to reach the World Cup!

If things continue the way they have, Group B will have Iran and Japan as 1st and 2nd, and Bahrain 3rd. Group A will have Saudi Arabia and South Korea and Kuwait as 3rd (if we're lucky!!). This will mean a Kuwait - Bahrain game, in which we will get raped by you guys. Then you guys play Guatemala or Costa Rica, and I hope you get back to ur normal fast one touch game with the ball on the ground! Bahrain is by far superior to our sad sad team, and I think can handle themselves against the 4th.

As a side note, Kuwait have the worst team possible for the best time possible, while you guys have the right team for the right time! Our game today against Saudi was an absolute joke, we got our ass kicked by a much much better team! I think I saw their keeper once during the game though! The worst part about it is that you really cant blame the kids for trying (although some of them I wouldnt even pick for a street game). It sucks that we have the most corrupt and incapable football association in the world! We have the mafia brothers' monopoly on football and all sports, and it has gone downhill since Kuwaiti football turned into alfahad brothers' hobby and stepping stone to higher political gains. After our sickening Gulf Cup in Kuwait, Ahmad AlYousif and the football association resigned, only to be voted unanimously as heads of the football association again....Our team is a joke, but this is totally a case of mismanagement, and not only the players' fault! Oh yeah, and we have a great coach, Bob Slobodan! "Who?" you might ask? EXACTLY!!

I really hope Bahrain gets it this time, I doubt you will ever have a team as gifted as this one! Pleeeeeeaase make the most out of it!!

Friday, June 03, 2005

Bahrain v. Japan

I'm currently writing this whilst feeling utterly dejected. I just suffered through 90 minutes of Chinese commentary (and 15 minutes of strange, strange Chinese advertisements) while sitting in my bedroom, all alone, staring at a computer screen. You'd think I would've gotten more in return for the time I invested.

Who the hell are we kidding, thinking that playing 1 striker and lumping long balls to him was going to cut the mustard against Japan? Since when did we turn into a long ball team anyway?! What happened to our slick, one touch attacking football that got us to where we are at the moment (in terms of expectation, we haven't really won anything just yet)? Our defending has improved markedly, probably due to the stricter roles the midfield players and the fullbacks have to play in terms of tracking back.. but it has just sucked the creative force out of the team completely.

If these are what Sidka calls tactics, then I'm missing that turncoat Srecko already.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Champions League Final pictorial.....

What a game! As previously mentioned, I was lucky enough to attend the 2005 Champions League Final game between Liverpool - Ac Milan at Istanbul. I was there to see history! I have alot to say about it, which I will later (I promise)!

I will keep this post limited to pictures. This is a pictorial of the trip in cronological order. There are many more pictures but I will stick to these! These include celebrity sightings since I was sitting next to the media boxes.





Hakan Sukur



Forza Milan (only when they're up 3-0)!!

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