Saturday, July 17, 2010

MLS Sign Record Holder in Post-World Cup Frenzy

Major League Soccer has dipped their pen into the summer transfer market by signing two record holding players. Both players appeared in the 2010 FIFA World Cup tournament in South Africa.

Switzerland's Blaise Nkufo (above), who actually signed for the Seattle Sounders before the World Cup, comes to America as the all-time goal scorer for FC Twente of the Dutch League. (114 goals in 223 appearences) He should be a good addition as the possibility of Freddy Ljungberg leaving are near.
The rumors came true as France's World Cup dream turned into a nightmare ... but that should not tarnish the illustrious career of former Barcelona striker Thierry Henry who heads to New York. A big NBA fan and friend of both Stve Nash and Tony Parker.
Before moving to the Spanish giants, Henry set the scoring record at Arsenal (174 goals in 254 appearences). Although his controversial handball eliminated Ireland from qualifying for South Africa, he will be best remembered as a back-to-back winner of both the World Cup in 1998 and the European Cup in 2000 with France.

Nkufo is coming to a struggling Seattle side who are experiencing the sophmore jinx. Meanwhile, Henry joins the New York Red Bull who are thriving in the new arena and under new manager Hans Backe.

Let's hope that both enjoy their careers in MLS and feature on a few nice trading cards during their stay.

Monday, July 12, 2010

WORLD CUP CONTEST - Winners & Prizes

Well the tabulations have been made and the results are in ... who knew it would be so much @#$%^ math to figure this out (I sure did't when I offered the contest.

However, it really came down to an interesting finish as actually 4 entries went down to the wire. Here are the results :

1. roofgod - 61 pts.
2. dayf - 43 pts.
3. Dan - 37 pts.
4. Captain Canuck - 32 pts. (tie)
4. Beardy - 32 pts. (tie)
5. Darkship - 14 pts.
6. Mttelkjel - 10 pts.
roofgod's pick of Hunduras' lows propelled him to the top. With two players in the goal scoring hunt for the golden boot, and both teams with the chance of a top scorer - it was neither that made the difference. (Villa and Sneijder)

So here are the prizes - (keeping in mind we are in a ressession) I will allow the first place winner to pick first choice, the second place pick what is remaining, and the third to take the left-overs (sorry I cannot offer more).

A. (20 different) 1990 Panini World Cup stickers (Italia 90) - won't tell you which they are, but you do the homework. Help finish / start your vintage Panini collection.
B. One unopened pack of (France 98) 1998 Panini World Cup stickers and ...
one 1998 Panini World Cup card.
C. One unopened pack of 2010 Panini Adrenalyn cards.

A, B, or C, That's it folks ... email your picks (in order of preference) with your addresses.

Thanks for playing.

I have thought about taking up the side bar (where the contest standings is listed) with a "hot top 10" soccer cards - both current and vintage. These would be updated weekly or monthly. Let me know your thoughts.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Holland or Spain ... 3 horses left - World Cup contest

There are three entries who still have the possibilities of winning the Chuck's World Cup Contest. As Spain and Holland play for this trophy ...

... er, um ... oops - that was stolen in Brazil and melted down for its gold contest ... so they are actually playing for this ...
Good luck to the three finalist as well as Holland and Spain ... ABC television 2:00 PM (EST)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

FUTERA is on FIRE ...

The hits just keep coming ... and I am really smitten with the product that FUTERA has been putting out. Now most high-end trading cards are sold in exclusive tins or boxes. However, FUTERA's online series, sold in regular packs, can result in some major mojo ...
as this pack pull proves. The same card (but different player code) just sold on ebay for $153.77.

Futera, if you can find them in the USA market, retail at the suggested price of $3.99 to $4.25 per pack.

The other feature I like about the FUTERA cards is that they are like travelers checks - redeemable world-wide. If you are seeking specific national teams or players, you can post your wants on the FUTERA Trading Forum. the chase cards of HEROES and the powerful LEGENDS are highly desired for the virtual game.

This enables you to play their online soccer manager game while putting together your dream team. So while I'm not a big fan of Ronaldo, I can swap him for a player of his value and a star that I admire more.

Anyone want a Cristiano Ronaldo jersey card ?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

As Good As Gold ... D'oro Espana (Spanish Gold)

It's definitely not how I wanted it, but it happened. Spain got to the 2010 FIFAWorld Cup Final with another 1:0 win. They didn't do it with all the hype surrounding their stylish forwards or skilled midfielders - it was a rugged, long-haired defender who did the business.

Carles (don't call me Carlos) Puyols - part of the star-studded Barcelona F.C. team that swept 6 trophies into thier showcase last season, headed the only goal against Germany.

It just so happened that I had this gem (2005 Futera) laying around waiting to be displayed: a 24k gold plated card from FUTERA, numbered to only 111 and containing a "memocell" photo and a two-color swatch from his Barcelona jersey.
That this one is absent of an actual number, means it was used for promotion. They are quite heavy and the player is etched into the metal on the face of the card. Fortunately,  these cards made by the UK company are only rising in value.
What I like about them is that they are truely "hard to find", and are actually limited editions - with runs of about 500 cases world-wide.

So if I have to look for the silver lining (or gold) to Spain's victory, it might as well be this card.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Out on A Limb with Diego ...

Crazy, Loco and just about every derogatory adjective has been used to describe the current coach of Argentina.  He has been banned by FIFA twice and once by his own federation. Yet he has also been attatched to the label "greatest ever".

So today's game has some of the best and potentially, greatest World Cup players involved in the Germany v Argentina match. Lionel Messi (below) has yet to score a goal.
However, Miroslav Klose is near to breaking the record for most goals (lifetime) in world cup play. 
and while the focus on many of the stars like Rooney, Ribery and Messi has added up to zero goals thus far, the spotlight has been on the portly man in the suit on the Argentine sideline. Why ?

Because when all has been said and written, he is the one who has lifted the cup and the hearts of his fellow countrymen. His technical coaching abilities were called into question during qualification and seeds of doubt have been sprouting ever since.

But four wins, and a date with destiny await the blue and whites of Argentina. Make no mistake, Germany is not a walk-over, and given the chance, they will destroy you with a blitzkreig bop ...

But if I were to choose one guy to be on the touchline and on my team it would be this guy ...
The magic of Diego Armando Maradona. from waif to super star ... to understand the connection between the devine and destiny, passion and soccer, a personality that exudes the good, the bad and the ugly in this sacred game.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Look, The Feel of Holland ... South American Power

How much can we put into one look, one action or one picture ? Well, if you examine the talent of past Dutch National Teams - everything. On paper, Holland should have 3 World Cup titles and a case full of trophies. But the scene, behind the scene of infighting, egos and playing below expectations has been the plague of the Orange Crush. So when Robin Van Persie exchanged words with Dutch Coach Bert van Marwijk after being subbed out, it was a feeling of "here we go again".
But is it more damaging than Brazil playing Dunga-ball ? The boring, boring display of the five time Champion is a slap in the face of the magic associated with the Selecao (the selection). Kaka' has been less than spectacular and the rumors of conspiracy against the former World Player of Year are painted to cover the cracks in the midfield. Apologies for his sending off are not warranted as he deserved the first yellow card - which means he was always in danger of a second - rightly or wrongly.
This Dutch side is as deep in talent as ever and have every reason to believe they can be world champions - except for themselves.
This has been the problem for the African teams - shooting themselves in the foot (or both feet). The hosts and their neighbors have the skill and talent, just not the organization and the discipline. This is what the Netherland has - proven by the hundereds of coaches that they have employed all over the globe.

The excuses of the European teams having too long of season will only work as an argument if you don't count the multitude of South Americans playing in Germany, Holland, Italy and England.

Four of the last 8 in this tournament are from Latin America. THAT in itself is a great accomplishment. If even half of them advance, it is a testament to the technical aspect rather than a style that still exists "down there". The money is in Europe, but the desire is South of America ... (does US SOCCER get the hint ?) 

If the Dutch can paste over any cracks in the cake, they will sweep all before them. If not, the Cup will surely find a four year reservation south of the equator.