Something Great

Arsene Wenger cobbled together starting lineups with spit and duct tape and Denilson and somehow the team dragged its ass over the finish line in third or fourth.

Friday, May 30, 2008

France Must Fail

On June 9th, the end of a confusing, awkward, and conflicting era must begin. The French national team, managed by sociopath Raymond Domenech, faces Romania to open their Euro2008. They must lose.

It's not just David Trezeguet either, it's Guily and Pires, Clichy and Flamini. But more so, it's the principle. A significant crop of players of our generation are not allowed to play on the biggest stage. The Champions League pales in comparison to the World Cup, or to Euro. Ask any player that has contributed to their national team whether they would rather win the Champions League or play in the group stages of the World Cup - the answer has to be the latter. The catch is that Domenech has left these players out purely for personal, or even more insane, astrological reasons. From a sports perspective, it cannot stand.

My bias is written all over this blog for Trezegol, but even if you hate him, you must respect good players. If Arsenal beat Liverpool without Gerrard, or ManU without Ronaldo, it wouldn't be as satisfying. If Uruguay beat Argentina without Messi, or Brasil without Ninho, it wouldn't be as satisfying. I'm not saying Trezeguet is the best player on France, but right now, he is in the top three - Ribery, Trezeguet, Vieira.

Treze is accused of not being a team player - watch him celebrate after goals. You've never seen him slide to the corner flag by himself, or stop and pose for the crowd. Why is that? Well it's because he points at his teammate who passed him the ball, and tries to hurt him with happiness. It's not just when he scores, it's when anyone scores. He mauled Salihamidzic, tackled Del Piero and even hunted down Camorenesi. And he does it every time. It's actually one of the reasons why I love him so much.

Treze is also accused of being a choker. Hogwash. His golden goal in the finals of Euro2000 won it all for France and his PK in the World Cup hit the inside of the top crossbar. Oh and by the way, Trezeguet has won more for France than Domenech has... I'll give you a second... think about it... oh... oh... yeah, Domenech hasn't actually won anything for France.

Guily, besides being a Scorpio, was left out because he was rumored to have sent Domenech's girlfriend a text message.
<-- She's pretty hot so I can understand that. Wanting to play young players, I can understand that. I quite obviously cannot understand Domenech. I'm not the only one either. The French Soccer Federation gave Domenech an ultimatum for the World Cup 2006 that France must make the final or he would be fired. Damn. This gives me hope however that if France gets embarrassed in Euro, Domenech is gone. And when Domenech leaves, France will finally be free of his tyranny and fans like you and me (pointing at you) can see the stars that we watch in Club Football every weekend finally play on the biggest stage. Join me and root for Romania June 9th and Holland four days later. It's the only way France can be free.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

England USA. Minutes 31-half

30' - Apparently my "tabs" aren't showing up, so I'm resorting to dashes. James' punt finds Rooney who is fouled.

31' - Onyewu and Defoe just outside the box from a long ball tussle. Good no call.

32' - Foul outside the box right side. Beasley to take again. I missed the memo apparently. He hits the first man again. Beasley is my favorite. Or rather, England's favourite. Hahaha, get it?

33' - From a deadball. Contested header falls to Rooney who plays through to Gerrard with speed. Gerrard passes/crosses to Defoe, he hits it just wide. Real scoring chance there. Our midfielders aren't really marking very much.

35' - Dempsey fouls Cole. Bad call. You know to take, he plays through to Lampard wide, except the Lamps wasn't running. He turns and throws his arms up a Beckham. Becks looks confused and Lamps is probably to blame.

37' - another foul. Brown is brought down. Becks to Terry who heads it beautifully down and past Howard. It was well placed and snapped down. Terry unmarked. Closest defenders were Dempsey, who is not a defender obviously, and Bocanegra, who is more likely to be at fault. It's hard to tell there though who is to blame on these plays because only the players in the box know who they took.

39' - fuck. Defoe cuts back Onyewu after a Cole pass and Iguch fouls him. Right outside the box, at the left half-circle. Not looking forward to this one. Hargreaves present. Becks touches to Gerrard who blasts the wall.

40' - England still possesses in our half. Hargreaves crushes it over.

41' - So does Defoe.

42' - Juan is no longer enjoying this game. He hates England. Right as he is typing that, John Arne Risse scores for Norway on a freekick. The wall jumped and he kicked it under. Juan is even more furious. Anyone but gingerballs and he wouldn't be so mad.

43' - Yellow card to Cherundolo who mauls Defoe. Beckham on the pass that threatened. Freekick again just outside the box. Beckham hits the wall.

44' - Hargreaves and Clarke talk shit to eachother. Owen signals that Clarke hit him in the chin. Clarke doesn't know what he's talking about. No call.

45' - One minute of stoppage time. Rooney slides really hard into Clarke from behind on a bouncing ball and gives everyone the "it's ok" hand up so that he doesn't get a card. Half


We'll see if I continue to do this. Uruguay finishes tied with Norway 2-2 and the US is down 1 nil to England, in case you only read this line.

The Nike Take it to the Next Level add comes on. That makes me smile for a moment in the midst of my general malcontent. Suarez is limping a little bit. Hopefully he's not too hurt. Yeah, I'm not gonna post unless something good happens - posting garbage news is awful.

England USA. Minutes 16-30

16' Rooney just barely missed Defoe on a through-ball. It hit some USA's heel.

17' The jerseys really do look green sometimes. And no, its not my TV. Cherundulo giveaway to Rooney, he splits him and another and gets fouled at midfield. England possess.

18' Cherundolo misplays a ball that Gerrard eventually finds. Becks at the top of the box rips a bouncing ball way over. USA long ball again. Goddamnt. Hargreaves eventually gets the kick and is fouled just past half.

19' Becks to take. Terry and Ferdinand forward. Onyewu saves the day. I tell you what, assume its David Beckham taking the freekicks for England unless I specify otherwise.

20' Wolff dispossessed. Back to James. The long ball sees Defoe who plays nicely a give and go. Defoe eventually cleats up to Bradley, foul on Defoe.

21' My favorite player Beasley runs up the sideline and Wes Brown kicks it off him.

22' Becks elbows Pearce in the head. Remember when I said Wolff cleared inexplicably, it was Pearce. Rooney WALKS around 2 defenders after a giveaway. Bocanegra mostly at fault. Rooney passes low to Gerrard in the box, it was behind him, his eventual shot is blocked. Phew

23' Ashley Cole pushing (theme?) and was fouled. Uruguay scores, holler. Beckhams freekick is like a corner but 10 meters closer. He picks out Gerrard on a set play. Gerrard was WIDE open and his curler heading top left was blocked. Gerrard seems upset.

24' Beasley fouled. His freekick is long. I'm confused as to why he took it. Terry's header clear is hit to Eddie Johnson and he chips too far again past the goal again.

25' Eddie and someone have a good give and go. Eddie passes it to James. He is seen yelling "F&^K!"

27' Wes Brown fouls Dempsey. He seems to disagree. Dead center of the field, 35 out. Beasley taking it again??? He hits the 2 man wall.

28' Cole streaking again (I just realize I don't have to specify which one, that's nice). Gerrard with some steam. Nothing results. Another Eddie Johnson siting on the counter. Also nothing results.

29' Terry giveaway looking for Becks. The US cross is untouched. Another US eventual cross from Pearce is deflected, goes to James.

England USA. Minutes 1-15

1' Ok, it only appeared to be really dark green, I now see it's dark blue. Phew.

2' Becks puts some pressure on and we eventually head back to the goalie
3' Foul on Gerrard. He decked Cherundolo pretty hard
4' Lot of long ball giveaways. No shots and hardly any offensive possession for either team. Off of a James punt, Defoe settles and passes to Rooney who is offsides by a step, otherwise he was clear.

5' This just in, Eddie Johnson still has yet to get off the plane from the World Cup 2006. He may still be in Germany somewhere? Wolff inexplicably clears it directly up the middle of the field. England can't control, could have been really bad.

7' Becks foul 30 meters out on the side. Free-kick never threatened and headed out.

10' Clark fouls Gerrard. Definitely a foul. Freekick 25 out. Becks to take. Uh oh. Ummmm they score. The referee was moving the wall back and so it doesn't count. Beckham again. Low and threatening. Howard does not move. It quite literally almost rolls in. Nice job there Howard.

12' The US throws it in from the sideline out. Goal kick. Eddie Johnson on the chase.

13' Offside Rooney from the deadball. Typical Rooney right now.

15' Ashley Cole pushing gets a good ball from Terry. Heavy touch eventually sees Howard - who ostensibly is alive.


Some dude that is important to England is shaking all the players hands.

Beckham got a pretty weird looking "cap" in a glass case. He seemed marginally uncomfortable.

First announcer mistake - "here is England's national anthem"... followed immediately by the star spangled banner. The microphone keeps cutting out - omg it's terrible. A faint boo can be heard.

God Save the Queen. I kinda like it. Call me crazy, but I really do like it. 4 really hot girls are singing it too. And I found that out after it started. Nice and short. I'm buying it.

I will be watching the first half on mute for a few reasons. One of them is that these announcers suck, Uruguay is also on, but mainly because I don't want any bias.

Here comes the kick...I'll be taking notes all the while.

Scratch that on the USA being in red?? They are wearing dark green? I must be high.

Kick - see you in 15

Friendly: England vs USA Live!! (sort of)

First of all I think it's necessary to note that I'm also watching the Uruguay-Norway friendly online and after every online player/viewer option failed me (of course after every television option failed) I'm on a Uruguayan feed and quality is unbelievably awful. It's not as bad as you'd think because of the Uruguayan announcers. They're great.

Also in case you were wondering - Suarez scored... again. Uruguay 1, Norway 0


England Lineup 4-4-2

Defoe and Rooney up top. Gerrard, Lampard, Hagreaves, Beckham from left to right across midfield. A.Cole, Ferdinand, Terry, Brown from left to right across the defense. James in goal

USA lineup 4-4-2

Wolff and Johnson up top. Beasley, Clark, Bradley, Dempsey from left to right. Pearce, Bocanegra, Onyewu and Cherundolo at defense. Howard in goal.

The teams come out, USA in red, England in white. Beckham looks really sexy. Everyone else is alright.

Live: England vs USA

Later today, The Legend of Carl Awesome will present live coverage of the USA/Eng friendly. Updates will be posted every 15 minutes with summaries and relevant game flow. Here at TLOCA, having a job shouldn't prevent you from enjoying a rivalry that dates back to the Revolutionary War.
So tune in at 3:00 pm et. for line-ups and formations and every 15 minutes after that for in-game coverage to finish out your Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Shalom, Avram

Despite his stunned expression at left, I seriously doubt the firing came as a surprise. In fact, what surprises me is that he lasted the entire year. He may have made some good tactical decisions in Chelsea's victories against Arsenal and United at Stamford Bridge, but for the most part, he seemed out of his depth. Chelsea supporters can angrily point to underwhelming draws (Wigan, Bolton) and failure to control personnel (Drogba's slap, Anelka's refusal to take one of the first five penalties) as the primary reasons they're not celebrating a historic double right now. Though the job was a tough one, and he had some very large boots to fill, he just didn't do enough to justify his retention. And if that's my verdict, than you better believe that Roman Abramovich came to that conclusion within a couple milliseconds of van der Sar's final save.

Now one has to wonder what's next for both Chelsea and Grant. A lot of people have been talking about Frank Rijkaard as his replacement, but I happen to think that's a horrible idea. He'll be coming to a big club, desperate for trophies, willing to spend money, and fielding a collection of some of the best (albeit somewhat overpaid) talent in the world... sounds like a recipe for success, no? Well, I guess it might if Rijkaard weren't leaving the exact same situation at Barcelona, where he couldn't make things work for the last couple years. There's really nothing which suggests to me that his results with Chelsea would be any different. As for Grant, I hear Man City might be looking for a new manager fairly soon. That strikes me as a good match for his level of talent and ambition (and I mean that in the nicest way possible).