Friday, June 25, 2010

The Celebration for This Generation ...

As a sports fan who's been around longer than the internet, it gives me great joy to see what technology that has brought me closer to my sport.

This You tube video was compiled by a college football fanatic ... turned soccer fan. And who can blame him after seeing this WORLD'S REACTION TO LANDON DONOVAN'S GAME WINNING GOAL.

My favorite part is the guy alone on the staircase (about 3/4 way in) ... makes me proud to be an American fan.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Unofficial World Cup cards ... Good or Bad ?

I have to admit that I have a dilema - on the one hand I don't think people who have not paid for the right to do so, should profit from other people's work.

However, on the flip side, if there are people not using something that other people want, then there is no need for waste.

Here is what I am talking about :
Primetime Promos - listed out of Frisco, Texas - has been selling these World Cup cards on the internet. My problems is that look pretty cool and I would mind have a few of them (or the set ?).  They have the WC 2010 logo and nice graphics.A good question to the US Soccer offices and their marketing people: why didn't you market this type of card with some product ? Soda ? Soap ? Cereal ? Potato Chips ? Anything we could consume during the World Cup games ?

This is a major fault for not keeping up with the rest of the soccer world. Sure we got the Panini and Topps Match Attax, but why not just a set of USA players.

I'm not plugging them here, but for past World Cups BP had a mini card set for English WC players. It's the only thing I would ever want released from the oil company of idiots.
But there have been bank coins, grocery chain cards, even a set of large erasers with the Dutch National Team player ...

So while I do not advocate the production of unlicensed collectables, perhaps this will wake up the men in suits who have the opportunity to do so but choose to waste the chance.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

USA Proves To Be World Class

When they listed the players that were expected to star in the 2010 World Cup, a few Americans wanted Landon Donovan added to the list. After all, he featured brightly with Everton F.C. earlier in the year and led the Los Angeles Galaxy to the MLS CUP final last season.
But what many Americans are discovering, and what the rest of the world knows now - the USA can match up with pretty much any soccer power they face.

If you picked Wayne Rooney, Robinho, Cristiano Ronaldo or Didier Drogba to be the top scorer in the Cup, you forgot about one guy. Landon Donovan.

But the victory over Algeria was sweet in so many ways - topping Group C (over England) and doing what so many want to see - score goals. This was no "miracle on grass", but rather the culmination of hard work, a developing soccer league and the emergence of the passion of soccer in the USA. There are more Donovans in America - they just need to be found.

Super Bowls, World Series and NBA Championships are relagated to nights and weekends - while the World Cup could care less when its played ... people are watching it at all hours. So it is a testament to the efforts of America to play the game the rest of the planet does - and beat them at it. No changing the rules, no bastardized version of the game and definately no interference from the NCAA.

Soccer is the world's game - and that is what the USA is winning in so far - The World Cup.

Congratulations USA - on to the round of 16 !

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy (Football) Father's Day !

Celebrating Father's Day watching the World Cup cannot get any better ... or can it ?
For the US National Team Coach Bob Bradley, having his son tuck away the comeback equalizer against Slovenia is a pretty cool early gift  for Dad.
But the Bradleys are not alone, as the father/son, coach/player situtation was also occasioned for Slovakia's match today. Vlademir Weiss - Junior and Senior join their Grandfather also named Vlademir Weiss, who played internationally for the former Czechoslovakia as three generations representing their nation.
To top the Weiss' liniege of internationals, the Mexican family of Javier Hernandez, Jr. can claim a third member who has appeared at the World Cup. Current Manchester United youngster Javier is the son of Javier Hernandez Gutierez, a 1986 World Cup participant. 
Even more fascinating, his Grandfather (Tomas Balcazar) was age 22 when he scored against France in the 1954 World Cup. Twenty-two year old Javier, Jr. came on as a sub in this 2010 World Cup against France and scored !

One of the proudest Dads has to be the father of the Palacios brothers - Wilson, Johnny and Jerry. All three are on the 2010 Honduras World Cup team. Jerry was added late only after the injury to Julio Cesar de Leon. A fourth brother was also a footballer. He was kidknapped for ransom but was later found dead after $150,000 had been paid. The brothers have dedicated their World Cup to him.
Here's to wishing every Father a memorable day during this World Cup. 

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Bad Day For Goliath ... USA Robbed of Victory !

As good as Germany looked after one game, they looked like a different side against Serbia. Putting aside the Referee that was happy to give out yellow cards like candy at Holloween (more officiating ahead), Germany had the chance to at least tie the game on a Penalty Kick - but for this guy ...
Stojkovic who preserved the win. He stopped Lukas Podolski on what should an automatic goal. This card could not have a better byline - GOAL STOPPER.

But while we are on critizing officials (as happens in sport), the man in the middle from Mali - had some hand (or whistle) in the Americans coming up short. To be fair, the Yanks were aweful in the first half, giving up 2 goals in a lackluster effort.

Whatever half time speech Coach Bob Bradley made, it was enough to inspire this guy ...
Landon Donovan, who scored on a cranker to get the USA back on track. The coaches' son, Michael Bradley added the equalizer to make the game a nail-biter.

The USA appeared to take the lead on Maurice Edu's tally from Donvan's free kick - only to have the man from Mali blow for an infraction that no one saw. No offside, no foul, nothing except a goal - NOT.

To make the day completely interesting, all the star power of England - Rooney, Gerrard, Terry, Lampard and Co. - could only muster a 0:0 draw with Algeria - deservedly so, as the Africans dominated the passing and ball work that put the group into a log jam.


We've been playing pack wars with our Panini sticker packs: each player picks a country that would give them 3 points, and a team that would be minus 1. All foils count for 1 point. You can also pick a star wild card (player) that would be a 5 point bonus if you get him. Rip and play.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Who Needs Defense ... Not Argentina

As anyone who follows the "beautiful game" knows, that how a team plays is as important as winning. The Brazilians have made an art of this idea. The addage "the best defense is a good offense" has been Argentina's rallying cry at this World Cup tournament.
The critisism of the great Diego Maradona as coach of the blue and whites, was put to rest as Gonzalo Higuain open the flood gates of scoring 3 goals against South Korea. Higuain, who plays his club ball at Real Madrid, has been overshadowed by Argentina's other strikers - Carlos Tevez and Lionel Messi - tallied the first hattrick of 2010 South Africa.

I said it before, and I am sticking with it, that this Cup will be won by a South American side. Uruguay's Diego Forlan (who I blogged about before) began the multi-goal perfomances with two against the host South Africa.
The sympathetic support may be there for all the African teams, but the reality is that they are their worst enemy. I will be surprised if one of the 6 African squads makes the quarter-finals.

Panini America has been good enough to heed my complaints and send me samples of their 2010 World Cup products. I will be reviewing them shortly, not only the traditional stickers but also the Panini Adrenalyn XL cards (example of Higuain above).

World Cup fact: The very first hattrick in World Cup history was scored by American Bert Patenaude (Fall River Marksmen) against Paraguay in 1930.

I managed to complete three sticker squads in the Panini virtual album despite my late start. Heavy trading yesterday resulted in finishing USA, Mexico and England - therefore obtaining the Federation badge for each. 

Monday, June 14, 2010

FIFA / Panini virtual collection - new group

Thanks to Cardboard Junkie - I am addicted to spending my non-game watching hours collecting, and swapping virtual Panini World Cup stickers.

Since Panini America has been absolute crap in getting the REAL things into the hands of collectors - this Panini virtual site will have to do.

I tried to join dayf 's swap group but it was already full. So I created a group:

group name: Cup Quest
password: goal

I will swap any of my stickers at this point. If I find a team that I think I can complete, I might reserve a few.

Incidently, except for Germany's goal glut - with 4 different strikers scoring goals - almost all the firepower has come from the midfield.

That means so far, no goals from Rooney, no Van Perse, no Henry, no Messi, no Altidore. Man. United's Korean midfielder (above) - Park has scored one of the best so far.

So far no player has more than one goal.

I will be updating the contest tallies after every team had played at least one game.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Where Were You ?

What was I doing yesterday ? Where were you ? The headline says it all to our pompous know-it-all fans across the Atlantic (and especially the ones who live here in America). If not for the lucky bounce off the post, Altidore's shot would have sunk the mighty England.
After going down a goal within 4 minutes, the Americans battled back to tie it on Clint Dempsey's gutsy strike which turned round England Captain Steven Gerrard like a balarina.

Lampard - nil
Rooney - nil
Lennon - nil

"Don't Tread On Us" ... not then ... not now. GO USA !

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

HAWKS or FLYERS ... which decade ?

It has been  almost 50 years since the city of Chicago won hockey's most coveted of prizes - the STANLEY CUP. The swingin' sixties were right for Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita.
The heavy seventies were right for fighting - and that is the last time the Philadelphia Flyers hoisted the silver cup. Bernie Parent minded the nets for the orange bruisers.

Who will win it ? Game # 6 tonight.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Baseball, Beer and Sick Days ... World Cup News

News out of the World Cup arena has the country of Brazil worried about running of beer during the tournament in South Africa. Brazil, the 4th largest consumer of beer (behind USA, German and China) has gone to the measures of importing copious amounts of the brew to quench their thirsty soccer fans.

Meanwhile, in England, the governament has advocated having televisions put in offices and factories to make sure production does not decreased. The thought process is that if workers can watch the games, it will prevent them from calling in sick and preventing a greater slow down of work.

Lastly, while many of the great stars will be attending the 2010 World Championship,  Brazilian magician - Ronaldinho - will not be there. However, he is on the tour of North America with his Italian club AC Milan. Here is throwing out the first pitch of the Chicago Cubs day game prior to his night match against the CHICAGO FIRE.