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Monday, June 02, 2014

OT: The Soccer Thread June, 2014

It’s go time!

June 12th Brazil v Croatia

June 13th Mexico v Cameroon, Spain v Holland, Chile v Australia

June 14th Colombia v Greece, Ivory Coast v Japan, Uruguay v Costa Rica, England v Italy

June 15th Switzerland v Ecuador, France v Honduras, Argentina v Bosnia-Herzegovina

June 16th Iran v Nigeria, Germany v Portugal, Ghana v USA

June 17th Brazil v Mexico, Belgium v Algeria, Russia v South Korea

June 18th Cameroon v Croatia, Australia v Holland, Spain v Chile

June 19th Colombia v Ivory Coast, Japan v Greece, Uruguay v England

June 20th Italy v Costa Rica, Switzerland v France, Honduras v Ecuador

June 21st Argentina v Iran, Nigeria vs Bosnia-Herzegovina, Germany v Ghana

June 22nd USA v Portugal, Belgium v Russia, South Korea v Algeria

June 23rd Cameroon v Brazil, Croatia v Mexico, Australia v Spain, Holland v Chile

June 24th Greece v Ivory Coast, Japan v Colombia, Costa Rica v England, Italy v Uruguay

June 25th Ecuador v France, Honduras v Switzerland, Bosnia-Herzegovina v Iran, Nigeria v Argentina

June 26th Portugal v Ghana, USA v Germany, Algeria v Russia, South Korea v Belgium

June 28th Group A winner v Group B runner up, Group C winner v Group D runner up

June 29th Group B winner v Group A runner up, Group D winner v Group C runner up

June 30th Group E winner v Group F runner up, Group G winner v Group H runner up

 

Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: June 02, 2014 at 10:03 AM | 9133 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: soccer, u-s-a u-s-a, world cup

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   101. J. Sosa Posted: June 04, 2014 at 01:09 PM (#4718812)
flip
   102. Topher Posted: June 04, 2014 at 01:25 PM (#4718819)
I don't disagree with you Shooty. But I think it is way too easy for a reporter to look at the risk/reward calculation and decide that it is not in his/her personal interests to ask the hard questions. Schaap has the advantage of not being a soccer reporter. And that Panorama piece was a BBC production so there was some distance there as well. Heck, even the most recent corruption allegations came from the Sunday Times. There are plenty of reporters that are closer to the scenes that could likely produce the same damning evidence and likely could top it. They choose not to do it. I'd love to say that I'd rise above that if I were in their position but I'm not going to presume I would ...
   103. J. Sosa Posted: June 04, 2014 at 01:26 PM (#4718821)
Serious topic:

I've mostly stayed away from the Qatar topic previously because it tends towards the political and this thread over the years has generally been among the most politics free threads on site. But I will say that my feelings on the subject are close to Shooty's. I would like to think that the inaction thus far is due to ignorance. I saw Wilbon embarrass himself on this issue on television recently. I had previously seen the piece by Schaap and he deserves credit. It is an issue that more people need to be aware of, especially in media and his report is one many of his coworkers could stand to watch. To their credit, IIRC, people who don't even follow the sport that closely like Rusillo and Van Pelt brought it up. It was brought up in the context of wink, wink, this is a slow news day, but they did bring the report up. Until more people in the main stream bring the subject to light, nothing is going to happen. Sports media would be a good place to start.

As for the US taking action, I don't mean to be negative, but would a U.S. boycott do anything? I'm not speaking in a moral sense, because a strong argument could be made that morally we should not participate (although weaker arguments could also be made for not endorsing other dubious hosts by attending), I'm speaking purely in terms of impact. Nobody cares what the U.S. does. But if say England, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands also said they would take no part, something would have to be done. I'm all for us taking a stand, I just don't think it will move the needle without some help. I think part of it is that the UK and Americans are sensitive to accusations that they are sore losers and lost out on hosting.

The whole thing from top to bottom is just ugly. It says something about the extent of the ugliness that a man like Blatter was probably the one behind the document dump.
   104. J. Sosa Posted: June 04, 2014 at 01:30 PM (#4718822)
Frivolous topic:

I think Can to LFC is more likely than not to happen at this point. For one, Rodgers evidently has links to the agent of Can (as he did Sahin and Yesil). Leverkusen has also gone on record as saying an approach has been made, so I think it might get done.

For those of you who watch Bundisliga what are your opinions on Can? The matches I saw him play were in the CL, and I think he was playing out of position most of the games I saw him IIRC. I also saw some games he played for Germany youth teams. I remember thinking at the time "gee, it sure would be nice if LFC could sign some of these guys..."
   105. Howling John Shade Posted: June 04, 2014 at 01:30 PM (#4718823)
The World Cup just seems like the perfect opportunity for FIFA and the international community to pressure Qatar into abandoning their ###### up labor practices. I'm sure they would have done it had it been a condition for winning. They have plenty of money, it's not like they can't afford to pay workers or treat them like fellow human beings. But of course FIFA couldn't give a rat's ass.

I'm torn between hoping the 2022 cup gets moved and hoping that there's a big enough stink that Qatar makes real and meaningful changes to how they treat foreign workers.

I wonder whether anyone has tried to get the American Outlaws or Sam's Army to take a stand on this? USSF might begin to care if they announced they would officially boycott the world cup. But really, getting advertisers to drop ads is probably the only way to make them care, and I don't think that sort of pressure will have much effect until we get a lot closer to 2022.
   106. DA Baracus Posted: June 04, 2014 at 01:34 PM (#4718827)
I don't mean to be negative, but would a U.S. boycott do anything?


Gulati is on the FIFA Executive Committee, so comments by him might cause a stir, but probably not. And he won't do it.

The best, and to me the only, way for someone's boycott to make an impact is for a major sponsor to back out, and even then it won't do much if someone steps in and fills the financial void. Money is what got FIFA to this point, and money is what is going to get it out of it.
   107. DA Baracus Posted: June 04, 2014 at 01:37 PM (#4718828)
I wonder whether anyone has tried to get the American Outlaws or Sam's Army to take a stand on this?


They couldn't properly organize cheering at the 10 minute mark to honor Donovan. And USSF wouldn't care, a group of fans has no say on anything they do. The only thing that makes sports organizations move, whether it be individual teams or a league, is either money or monumental pressure from the media.
   108. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: June 04, 2014 at 01:38 PM (#4718829)
As for the US taking action, I don't mean to be negative, but would a U.S. boycott do anything?

I don't know. If I were a betting man I'd put my money on it not making a difference. At some point, though, don't we have to do the right thing? AS for the politics...I'm loathe to bring politics into this thread as well as I think we're probably the most congenial thread on the site, but...people are dying. I'm not asking Qatar to become a democracy or for Obama to try to score some diplomatic points with this or whatever, or for Qatar to become more "western" in its attitudes towards gays or women, I just want those workers to stop dying. They're spending over 200 billion dollars on this idiotic tournament. Spend 10 billion more and pay the workers and make their conditions safe.
   109. AuntBea Posted: June 04, 2014 at 01:38 PM (#4718830)
I would like to think that the inaction thus far is due to ignorance.


Conceivably this is true for someone like Wilbon, who cares little for soccer. However, Qatar labor conditions have been in the news for months and anyone who regularly covers the sport surely knows the story by now. Certainly all serious international soccer fans do. I also don't believe this is primarily a matter of reporting, though I suppose it would be helpful having reporters refuse to drop the issue until someone with more authority pays attention.

A U.S. boycott would mean nothing from a sporting perspective, but would be extremely powerful politically. I doubt the accusations of "sore loser" would mean much at this point. I also very much doubt the U.S. will boycott.
   110. I am going to be Frank Posted: June 04, 2014 at 01:41 PM (#4718834)
You need Brazil and two "big" European countries to make a stand. The only thing a threatened US boycott would do is piss off Fox. I think that Rupert Murdoch isn't going to risk pissing off the gravy train of anyone who has any power in world soccer. That's the only leverage the US has - the US rights generate the most money.

Blatter is still bitter that he got outmaneuvered by Platini (he wanted a US World Cup). He still wants to win a re-election so he can't overtly expose all the FA heads that got their money.

Also, A longish article about Klinsmann.
   111. DA Baracus Posted: June 04, 2014 at 01:47 PM (#4718843)
Belgium's manager used too many substitutes and so yesterday's game against Luxembourg has been taken off the books. Whoops.
   112. Howling John Shade Posted: June 04, 2014 at 01:53 PM (#4718847)
Diego Costa completes his medical at Chelsea, according to the Guardian.
   113. AuntBea Posted: June 04, 2014 at 01:55 PM (#4718849)
Belgium's manager used too many substitutes and so yesterday's game against Luxembourg has been taken off the books. Whoops.


So I guess I was wrong in my description of the substitution screwups in the Mexico game last night as being unique.

From that article on Klinsmann:

[Klinsmann] has never understood the American coaching custom of deferring to a team’s stars.


Is this really an American thing? I had always thought this was rather universal.
   114. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 04, 2014 at 02:06 PM (#4718858)
Diego Costa completes his medical at Chelsea, according to the Guardian.


Considering his injury situation it seems like it would be smarter for Chelsea to wait until after the World Cup for the physical. Of course I suppose they run the risk of losing him or having to pay an additional premium but did they get a discount for signing him now rather than in July? Doesn't seem like it.
   115. DA Baracus Posted: June 04, 2014 at 02:12 PM (#4718862)
Is this really an American thing? I had always thought this was rather universal.


Never bring facts into a fluff piece.
   116. J. Sosa Posted: June 04, 2014 at 02:13 PM (#4718864)
*sigh*

Costa is perfect for Chelsea, that fee seems a bit low to me. I'm not that familiar with Costa's representation, are there some third party payoffs involved?

re: 112

Thanks for the link. I don't know, I've been largely agnostic on Klinsmann. I'm not convinced regarding his methods, although I would be happy to become convinced if that makes sense. If pressed, I guess I would say his vision of Americans playing abroad is not likely to come to fruition. It is human nature, is an English player going to play in Italy if the money is close? If the money in MLS is close for an American player, I don't think it is realistic to expect that he will go abroad to challenge himself. That may happen, but if MLS continues to grow and the money for top players is competitive, why would a player chose to leave the comforts of home? I think we have started to see this a little bit already with Dempsey and Bradley. It remains to be seen if it is a long term trend, but if a guy gets more money, more playing time, and is a demi god amongst fans here, why would he go be backup on an excellent team like Roma?

Personally I'm not convinced that is an all together bad thing, as it would mean the MLS is growing and healthy. It may be bad news for the USMNT, but for the long term health of the sport overall in the U.S. I'm not so sure. Selfishly I prefer seeing how guys like Donovan, Bradley, and Dempsey fare against the best of the best, but it is not my life. Klinsmann finds that type of view heretical, which is likely going to be an ongoing problem. I don't think it is strictly an American view as he supposes, for the most part if the money is good people like staying in country. This can be seen in places like Brazil. Would all those guys be globe trotting for developmental purposes if the money was equal at home? As the money gets better, the answer is pretty clearly no I think.
   117. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: June 04, 2014 at 02:14 PM (#4718867)
I think deferring to a team's stars is more like a "the entire world except Germany and Holland" thing.
   118. I am going to be Frank Posted: June 04, 2014 at 02:20 PM (#4718876)
Isn't Chelsea just paying the amount for the buyout clause?

Rumor is that Van Gaal wants to pay 30M pounds for Strootman. I guess that's a real midfielder, although he's coming off a torn ACL.
   119. Swedish Chef Posted: June 04, 2014 at 02:21 PM (#4718877)
Is this really an American thing? I had always thought this was rather universal.

It's certainly not something exclusively American (just imagine what kind of status Zlatan has in Sweden's setup), but it's certainly antithetical to what Germany is about. It helps that they only have stars of course.
   120. Manny Coon Posted: June 04, 2014 at 02:22 PM (#4718881)
I don't really like this quote from Klinsmann:

“We cannot win this World Cup, because we are not at that level yet,”

To me that sounds like him absolving himself any responsibility for the results. Obviously the USA is extremely unlikely to win, but at the same time, he needs to get the team motivated to believe they can win any given game, which they can, even if winning all them is unlikely. For guy who is down on Donovan for lacking warrior spirit or whatever, admitting defeat before stepping on the field sounds much worse to me than taking off a few mostly meaningless games to rest or whatever offended Klinsmann so much.

This blurb about him is also annoyed to me:

"The second thing Klinsmann believes is that if the United States is ever going to really succeed at a World Cup, a specific and significant change must occur within the team. That change does not necessarily have to do with how the Americans play; rather, it has to do with the American players being too American. Put simply, Klinsmann would like to see his players carry themselves like their European counterparts — the way he used to."

He basically sounds like your basic American player hating Eurosnob you're find an internet board. Our players don't win big events because they aren't that good, not because mental weakness. If anything mental fortitude has been a strength for the team, a lot of biggest wins for the team have been hard fought come from behind victories, often led by Donovan.

I want to support the team, but I really dislike Klinsmann and have long before the Donovan thing.
   121. Flynn Posted: June 04, 2014 at 02:44 PM (#4718904)
Meh, Beckenbauer and a few other senior team members basically held a coup against Helmet Schoen in 1974. And I could imagine Lothar Matthaeus undermining a coach.
   122. Flynn Posted: June 04, 2014 at 02:48 PM (#4718912)
Obviously the USA is extremely unlikely to win, but at the same time, he needs to get the team motivated to believe they can win any given game, which they can, even if winning all them is unlikely. For guy who is down on Donovan for lacking warrior spirit or whatever, admitting defeat before stepping on the field sounds much worse to me than taking off a few mostly meaningless games to rest or whatever offended Klinsmann so much.


We're not winning the World Cup.


He basically sounds like your basic American player hating Eurosnob you're find an internet board. Our players don't win big events because they aren't that good, not because mental weakness. If anything mental fortitude has been a strength for the team, a lot of biggest wins for the team have been hard fought come from behind victories, often led by Donovan.


One thing that I immediately thought of in regards to that line was how American players prioritize playing time over fighting for a place at a club. It's one thing to know when it's over, but American players will play for a Football Conference side if they get guaranteed PT over pushing themselves to beat out an established player at, say, a Europa League-quality side. It's frustrating - much smaller and worse countries have had many more players play in the last 16 of the Champions League than us because our guys would rather play week in, week out for a mid-table team than fight to get on the bench for a CL game.
   123. DA Baracus Posted: June 04, 2014 at 02:55 PM (#4718916)
American players will play for a Football Conference side if they get guaranteed PT over pushing themselves to beat out an established player at, say, a Europa League-quality side.


For example...
   124. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 04, 2014 at 03:02 PM (#4718930)
I think Flynn is probably right. However I personally would rather have guys play regularly than sitting on the bench. It may not be right but who is better off; Omar Gonzalez playing week in week out for the LA Galaxy or Oguchi Onyewu playing 12 minutes a month for AC Milan? (obviously that's a bit of a reach in terms of the relative quality of the two teams compared to Klinsmann's example.
   125. Howling John Shade Posted: June 04, 2014 at 03:03 PM (#4718932)
Lol. Apparently the England team sheet released to the media includes all of the players' passport numbers. That seems... shortsighted.
   126. ursus arctos Posted: June 04, 2014 at 03:10 PM (#4718942)
   127. steagles Posted: June 04, 2014 at 03:15 PM (#4718949)
would it be possible for the mens national team to create a soviet-era red army style program within the MLS? that way, the team could practice and play year round, which would ensure playing time. it would increase cohesiveness and familiarity instead of the team just being thrown together a month or two before a big tournament. it would allow players to develop alongside similarly talented players instead of everyone being big fish in small ponds.

it might actually help the MLS financially too, because they'd draw big crowds everywhere they go, and MLS would be able to sell a 2nd TV package that features the USMNT, since it would almost certainly draw better ratings than vancouver-milwaukee.
   128. ursus arctos Posted: June 04, 2014 at 03:19 PM (#4718955)
I'm guessing that you aren't old enough to remember Team America (the NASL franchise, not the film).

It was a disaster at the time, but there is an argument that conditions have changed enough that it might be worth a new look.
   129. DA Baracus Posted: June 04, 2014 at 03:22 PM (#4718964)
would it be possible for the mens national team to create a soviet-era red army style program within the MLS? that way, the team could practice and play year round, which would help in a couple ways. it would ensure playing time, it would increase cohesiveness and familiarity, it would allow players to develop alongside similarly talented players.


They did that in the build up for the 1994 World Cup, but that was because without making essentially a USMNT travel team, the vast majority of players wouldn't have anywhere to play that wasn't the mess that was the US soccer landscape at the time. Now though, players aren't going to go for that.
   130. Manny Coon Posted: June 04, 2014 at 03:29 PM (#4718976)
It's one thing to know when it's over, but American players will play for a Football Conference side if they get guaranteed PT over pushing themselves to beat out an established player at, say, a Europa League-quality side. It's frustrating - much smaller and worse countries have had many more players play in the last 16 of the Champions League than us because our guys would rather play week in, week out for a mid-table team than fight to get on the bench for a CL game.


Who is doing this? Dempsey and Bradley came back for money not playing time. Donovan as far as I can tell played mostly the in USA because he was happier here, particularly when he was married; he seemed more than willing to stay at Everton if a transfer could have been worked out; he gave Munich a shot even though it did't work out. Gooch tried Milan and some other pretty other good teams. Beasley has played in a CL semifinal. Almost any American playing in Europe has passed a cushy gig as a MLS star and most of the ones that haven't tried aren't really that good, you have to get signed by that level of team before you have a chance to win a spot on one.

We're not winning the World Cup.


Not with that attitude. How many of the teams that have pulled of historic upsets entered in the competition believing the cause was hopeless? When the USA made the final of Confed Cup did they think beating Spain was impossible before they went out and did it? Again it's extremely unlikely, but you have the approach it with the mindset that you can do it, especially when that coach is constantly complaining about the players not aspiring to high enough levels.
   131. ursus arctos Posted: June 04, 2014 at 03:31 PM (#4718981)
1994 was a bit different, as there wasn't a major national outdoor league at the time. MLS has been founded in 1993 with the idea that there would be, but it didn't actually start play until 1996.

Team America played a full NASL schedule in their one year of existence.
   132. ursus arctos Posted: June 04, 2014 at 03:33 PM (#4718984)
Has Klinsmann confused the Conference (fifth tier) with the Championship (second tier) in the quote in 130?

I can't think of any UNMNT members who ever played in the Conference, while he is the one picking guys from the 3. Liga.
   133. DA Baracus Posted: June 04, 2014 at 03:50 PM (#4719010)
That quote was by Flynn.

I can't think of any UNMNT members who ever played in the Conference, while he is the one picking guys from the 3. Liga.


Not even, Green plays in the league below that.
   134. The Kentucky Gentleman, Mark Edward Posted: June 04, 2014 at 03:51 PM (#4719012)
“We cannot win this World Cup, because we are not at that level yet,”


You don't really find this kind of bluntness in North American coaching ranks (of any sport, or at least the top four), and I'm kind of curious about whether or not it's a successful motivating factor. IIRC Brendan Rogers basically said the same thing regarding Liverpool's chances of winning the league after they drew with Crystal Palace (at least that's what I got from a Guardian headline I read). I don't follow coach/manager's comments too often in hockey and baseball, but if Joel Quennville said "we're done, series over" after the Hawks went down 3 games to 1 in the Western Conference Finals, it would've been a Big Story.
   135. J. Sosa Posted: June 04, 2014 at 03:52 PM (#4719013)
I try to avoid sweeping cultural generalizations, but I'm going to indulge a little bit in springboarding off Manny's comments.

One of the most jarring things I had to get used to as a red blooded 'Merican when starting to follow club soccer was the stark difference in mentality. Not to go all Sudeikis, but reading anecdotes regarding effort like a conversation Seedorf and Sven had one time was pretty shocking (i.e., all that running about was for little purpose and the crowd was foolish for expecting it, but Sven said he should just to get the fans in his corner). The seemingly defeatist attitude a lot of teams and coaches carry into matches was also stunning.

One of my sons still loves to tell a story about a post season game he played in a few seasons ago. In the regular season his team had played that particular team and lost 5 nil (it wasn't that close). Before the match his coach *cough cough* made some tactical changes and gave a rousing speech about effort and you never know what might happen, etc. etc. My son's team won 1 nil. I lost count of how many shots they had that hit the post. We got one good chance on a counter and scored it. My son likes to say if they played that match a hundred times they maybe would have won once. But they won the one that counts. He always talks about that match whenever he's playing in a game where they are outgunned. The point being, you play like crazy, just in case.

TL; DR, I don't think American players respond very well to a rational approach. We are raised on stuff like Lake Placid and Doug Flutie and Hoosiers and all that crap. Telling us we aren't going to win and that hustle is for suckers doesn't fly. *cue Stars N Stripes, pyrotechnics,Real American*.
   136. DA Baracus Posted: June 04, 2014 at 04:04 PM (#4719036)
Wait, what?

It was time do what their German-born coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, had been exhorting them to do for months: It was time to play soccer like Americans.

Before Mr. Klinsmann took the reins of the American team three years ago, playing like an American meant, for the most part, sticking to an assigned position and reacting to the other team's attack. To Mr. Klinsmann, a former German star and national-team coach who moved to the U.S. in 1998, the strategy struck him as wholly un-American.

Mr. Klinsmann, soccer's Alexis de Tocqueville, wanted to build a winner, but he wasn't interested in teaching Americans how to play like anyone else. He wanted to create a squad that represented what he sees as the defining American characteristic—a visceral hatred of being dictated to.


My head hurts.
   137. Howling John Shade Posted: June 04, 2014 at 04:14 PM (#4719043)
The seemingly defeatist attitude a lot of teams and coaches carry into matches was also stunning.
The built in talent and resource disparities that exist in most soccer leagues don't really have an equivalent in US sports (I guess college sports have some of that). There are lots of soccer fans who root for teams that have no real chance of winning. I think it makes sense that there's more fatalism among the fans, players and coaches.
   138. Mefisto Posted: June 04, 2014 at 04:22 PM (#4719052)
I'm a believer in the "positive attitude" approach. I saw it with teams in my club: my daughter's team (I didn't coach it) had a bunch of kids who always thought they were going to win, regardless of the odds. They pulled off some incredible results. Another team -- with the same coach -- which was objectively a better team, had a bunch of kids who never got used to being behind. If they fell behind, they got frustrated and gave up. I think attitude counts for a lot.

That said, I don't think the US is going to win the WC this year. I'd be pretty impressed if we even got to the next round. But if I were the coach, I wouldn't say that out loud.
   139. AuntBea Posted: June 04, 2014 at 04:36 PM (#4719069)
Sterling and Valencia get red carded. What are the implications for the World Cup?
   140. Howling John Shade Posted: June 04, 2014 at 04:38 PM (#4719075)
Sterling and Valencia both get reds. Reasonably nasty tackle from Sterling on Valencia who got up, chased him down and attempted to strangle him.

Edit: Coke to AuntBea, and I think the answer is: none.
   141. ursus arctos Posted: June 04, 2014 at 04:43 PM (#4719081)
Ah, apologies to Jay Goppingen.

You're right about Green, too; I keep thinking that Bayern II have been promoted, but they always manage to eff it up.
   142. J. Sosa Posted: June 04, 2014 at 04:46 PM (#4719083)
re: 137

That is true to an extent, but like Mark Edward says you don't see stuff like that in North American sports unless it is sarcastic (well, you guys in the press say...). I'll admit to a great deal of cultural bias here, but I do think that type of attitude has an adverse impact on clubs. I know players are often aware of the odds, but I think they could do with a bit more Lloyd Christmas and a bit less realism from the coach.

re:138

The team I mentioned remains my favorite I've ever coached despite being the least talented. They had no business even making that game, to make that game they had to win (draw meant elimination) a match against another team that was much more talented than them. We scored early but conceded two minutes from time to make it 1-1. The team didn't even hang their heads, sprinted back with the ball to midfield, and was able to score on the last play of the match. Just a bunch of hardworking kids that paid attention and would run through a brick wall if you told them to. The players on the team could barely stand after the match they had worked so hard. Some of those kids are really smart, they knew our chances weren't good. But they believed they could do it, and that made a difference.

I know the rah rah stuff tends to get mocked, but it does matter, especially in a one off.
   143. ursus arctos Posted: June 04, 2014 at 04:53 PM (#4719095)
No World Cup implications for the reds in Miami.

Gibraltar has beaten Malta.

Their first international victory over a fellow UEFA member.

And Italy have kept their tradition of miserable friendly performances by only drawing with Luxembourg in Perugia.
   144. Swedish Chef Posted: June 04, 2014 at 05:01 PM (#4719107)
And Italy have kept their tradition of miserable friendly performances by only drawing with Luxembourg in Perugia.

In other words, time to go all-in on Italy winning it all.
   145. DA Baracus Posted: June 04, 2014 at 05:06 PM (#4719112)
#KlinspirationalQuotes on Twitter is pretty good.
   146. Mefisto Posted: June 04, 2014 at 05:10 PM (#4719118)
The team I mentioned remains my favorite I've ever coached despite being the least talented.


My daughter's team was very good, but certainly not a great team. But damn they were fun to watch, and not just because of my daughter. They just had 16 kids who left it all on the field every game.
   147. I am going to be Frank Posted: June 04, 2014 at 05:17 PM (#4719120)
Its strange - in the article it says Klinsmann wants to win at everything yet he says that.

During games it does seem like Klinsmann is an energetic, positive guy unlike a raving angry lunatic like some managers can be.
   148. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: June 04, 2014 at 05:25 PM (#4719129)
I just clicked on ESPNFC for the first time in awhile and you guys weren't kidding, that is AWFUL. It doesn't look like a professional ESPN site it looks like one of those TMZ sites "12 Stars You Didn't Know Had Bad Breath."
   149. zack Posted: June 04, 2014 at 05:48 PM (#4719168)
Maybe its just the way I'm built, but my attitude toward playing and my opinions about the likely outcome of a game never have anything to do with each other. I can routinely say "jesus, we're gonna get killed" and go out and give everything I have all the same. I would imagine most professionals are similar.

If anything, coaches (at least in NA) go out of their way to paint the team as an underdog.
   150. Mefisto Posted: June 04, 2014 at 06:00 PM (#4719186)
Maybe its just the way I'm built, but my attitude toward playing and my opinions about the likely outcome of a game never have anything to do with each other. I can routinely say "jesus, we're gonna get killed" and go out and give everything I have all the same. I would imagine most professionals are similar.


That's my view too, but I saw plenty of kids who, despite being good players, would give up pretty easily if faced with someone better. Obviously, professionals can't have that attitude.
   151. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: June 04, 2014 at 08:08 PM (#4719260)
The World Cup means many things for Brazilians. It's a business opportunity. It's a party. It's a stage for protesting. It's a chance for redemption, for those who remember the 1950 loss to Uruguay. It's a logistical nuisance. And it's a chance to mingle in a swarm of soccer fanatics from 31 other parts of the world.

For this one part of the world, the story of soccer is the story of freedom. The English introduced soccer to Brazil, but when slavery was abolished on May 13, 1888, making the slaves the last in the West to be freed, Brazilians claimed the sport for themselves.

On the anniversary, Daniel and I drink cans of beer in the sun while watching a concert to celebrate the freedom of the slaves. It's a modest event — a handful of families relaxing on a concrete soccer court. Many of them wear T-shirts that show dark hands breaking free from chains. Behind those hands is a World Cup stadium with Brazil's team competing in front of thousands of make-believe fans. In the run up to the Cup, there is a tie in to everything.

That night Joao, Daniel and I walk through Vila Kennedy.

"Don't step in the water," Joao advises — but it's not water. Stepping around the sewage trickling down the curbs is like playing "lava" as a kid, trying not to step on certain colors on the ground. Except here you never win.

Except when you do. At the end of our lava-hop, we stop at the most exciting soccer game I've ever seen.


Silence in the favela: Love and Soccer in Brazil’s best worst place
   152. J. Sosa Posted: June 04, 2014 at 08:56 PM (#4719282)
This may just be me not liking Man U, but there sure did seem to be a number of teams and players that folded at a whiff of adversity against SAF. I don't think such a thing can be quantified, but I suspect it is part (if only a small part) of the reason his teams performed better than might otherwise be expected. Teams expected to lose against them, and that's what they did.

That's not to take anything away from SAF or Man U, I think many of his latter day teams overachieved. One other recent example that stands out to me is Atleti. IIRC Cox did a piece mid-season questioning whether that level of belief and intensity could be sustained over the course of a full season. I was in the "No" camp, but was proved wrong. Those crazy zealots were down Turan and Costa and came within minutes of taking down Madrid in a Champion's league final. Simeone rarely speaks in anything but clichés, but it is no coincidence that Atleti has broken the hegemony at the top with him as a player and coach. The players and press often spoke of the belief he brought to the club that they could achieve great things. Usually that type of thing is artificial, but not always. True belief is a powerful thing in sports, or at least it is in soccer. Perhaps less so in other sports.
   153. J. Sosa Posted: June 04, 2014 at 09:35 PM (#4719306)
edit not working:

Which isn't to say Zack's point isn't a good one. Players can know the odds and play hard, but truly believing it is something else. At the risk of one too many bad movie references in this thread, the night after that rousing speech I gave the team at practice I had a long talk with my son Henry Winkler/Bobby Boucher style. "Son, you are going to have to do this by yourself, because NOBODY on this team is any good."
   154. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: June 05, 2014 at 09:01 AM (#4719484)
Just because you're paranoid...

FIFA is really ruining international soccer for me. I'll watch this one because I'm pretty invested in it, but after that, I think I'll just drift away from it. I don't really need my distractions from my worries to become its own worry.
   155. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: June 05, 2014 at 09:39 AM (#4719513)
Some old pictures of Tottenham.

About a third are football related.
   156. I am going to be Frank Posted: June 05, 2014 at 09:40 AM (#4719514)
I wonder if Platini and Blatter have gotten to the point where they can't be in the same room together for more than five minutes and don't even bother shaking hands any more.

Back to Klinsmann - do you think the complaints about Green stop if Donovan is on the team instead of Wondolowski or Davis? I say this because the only way the US gets to the next level is if it gets better players. Green has that potential. Yes he's only played for Bayern's 'B' team but he's well-regarded by a lot of people at Bayern who have a history of identifying and developing good players. Even if there is a "deal" in place, if you're the powers that be in the US (or Klinsmann who made the decision) don't you have to take that chance?
   157. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: June 05, 2014 at 09:55 AM (#4719524)
Sadly, if Blatter and Platini can't be in the same room my dream of the ceiling collapsing on the two of them together can never come true.
   158. DA Baracus Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:04 AM (#4719533)
do you think the complaints about Green stop if Donovan is on the team instead of Wondolowski or Davis?


Generally speaking, yes, though people like us would talk about it.

Green has that potential.


Sure, but 45 minutes of playing time in 3 games in the World Cup isn't going to suddenly realize that potential. He'll have the Copa Libertadores, Gold Cup and 2018 World Cup Qualifying to show his worth. In 2014, he's not ready (and I'd argue Brooks as well) and taking a guy who isn't ready is a mistake.

Even if there is a "deal" in place, if you're the powers that be in the US (or Klinsmann who made the decision) don't you have to take that chance?


This is the World Cup. I don't want a guy that I have to entice and then give an unearned roster spot.
   159. ursus arctos Posted: June 05, 2014 at 10:53 AM (#4719584)
Platini says that if Qatar bid corruption is demonstrated, a re-vote would be appropriate.
   160. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: June 05, 2014 at 11:05 AM (#4719602)
Platini says that if Qatar bid corruption is demonstrated, a re-vote would be appropriate.

Which tells me he knows what the report is going to say. Get ready for the Qatar World Cup in the winter of 2021!
   161. DA Baracus Posted: June 05, 2014 at 11:18 AM (#4719615)
Get ready for the Qatar World Cup in the winter of 2021!


I can't think of anything more tone deaf than to make the workers who are in deathly conditions work harder and faster.
   162. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: June 05, 2014 at 11:35 AM (#4719629)
I can't think of anything more tone deaf than to make the workers who are in deathly conditions work harder and faster.

FIFA does not care. Honestly, they've been given no reason to care. The money has ALREADY rolled in. Sponsors have signed contracts, tv networks have made their bids. No one is going to boycott jackshit. It's already done.
   163. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: June 05, 2014 at 11:41 AM (#4719635)
Spurs transfer rumors to use as an opiate against the pain of FIFA hegemony:

Spurs are about to sign some teenage "prodigy" named Andrija Balic from Hajduk Split. Chasing the next Modric. Looks like there is mutual interest between Spurs and Dejan Lovren. I can't say what will happen there but Spurs were after him before he went to Lyon and, of course, there's the Pochettino factor. I can still see him at Liverpool, though. As of now, it looks like Lloris and Lamela are staying put. That would be good news!
   164. DA Baracus Posted: June 05, 2014 at 11:51 AM (#4719641)
FIFA does not care.


Yep. I should have added "So of course this will happen."
   165. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: June 05, 2014 at 12:03 PM (#4719653)
Aston Villa have signed Philippe Senderos from Fulham. Why would they do that? I though he was easily the worst defender in the league last year.
   166. I am going to be Frank Posted: June 05, 2014 at 12:13 PM (#4719666)
I guess because he's on a free? A defender that barely played on one of the worst defenses in the league doesn't seem worthwhile. Maybe Lambert is hoping for a World Cup rejuvenation?

BTW Skysports website has also been redesigned to look "tablet-friendly". Ugh... I sound so "get off my lawn." Do people really spend a lot of time surfing the web on tablets? I thought people used tablets for games and watching video?
   167. DA Baracus Posted: June 05, 2014 at 12:15 PM (#4719668)
Do people really spend a lot of time surfing the web on tablets?


Yes, and the preference of tablets over laptops or desktops is only going to grow. These sites should Just make the new look the tablet version. It's not that hard.
   168. Randy Jones Posted: June 05, 2014 at 12:32 PM (#4719680)
The problem is not with having a layout that is more usable for tablets/phones. The issue is ####### shitty, lazy web designers. It's very easy to have a layout for tablets/phones and another for desktops. It's to the point where, with the right tools, it's almost trivial to do so. Not doing so is just ####### poor, especially from an org like ESPN or Sky that has basically infinity money to do this.
   169. Topher Posted: June 05, 2014 at 12:40 PM (#4719685)
At the risk of taking a OT thread off topic ...

I work in higher ed. We have a circa 2011 state of the art usability lab on campus to test various designs and the folks that go through testing have their eyeball movement tracked, slight wrist hesitations that don't cause the mouse to actually move, etc..

As of three months ago, we now have a campus-wide directive that whenever possible there should not be separate layouts for desktops and mobile. And I'm not sure if it was explicit, but the takeaway was to make the site designed for mobile users. In the end it was decided that the preference for a uniform experience for navigating the site regardless of the device being used trumped everything else.
   170. Randy Jones Posted: June 05, 2014 at 12:42 PM (#4719688)
As of three months ago, we now have a campus-wide directive that whenever possible there should not be separate layouts for desktops and mobile. And I'm not sure if it was explicit, but the takeaway was to make the site designed for mobile users. In the end it was decided that the preference for a uniform experience for navigating the site regardless of the device being used trumped everything else.

Whoever made that decision was an idiot.
   171. DA Baracus Posted: June 05, 2014 at 12:43 PM (#4719689)
I just tried ESPNFC again partially out of habit. That habit is over.
   172. Swedish Chef Posted: June 05, 2014 at 12:50 PM (#4719692)
The best part is that these unified designs seldom work well on mobile either.
   173. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: June 05, 2014 at 12:52 PM (#4719693)
Ursus arctos' comment #73 is intensely depressing. They will respond to complaints that the site doesn't work on mobile, and ignore complaints that the site doesn't work on computers.
   174. Swedish Chef Posted: June 05, 2014 at 12:52 PM (#4719694)
When it comes to Qatar, the best hope is probably a bloody revolution before 2022. A long shot, but probably more realistic than hoping FIFA sees sense.
   175. Swedish Chef Posted: June 05, 2014 at 12:57 PM (#4719699)
I guess because he's on a free? A defender that barely played on one of the worst defenses in the league doesn't seem worthwhile.

Well, the Fulham defense became markedly worse when Senderos ran off to Valencia in the winter widow, so there's that. Not an exciting signing anyway.
   176. Topher Posted: June 05, 2014 at 01:02 PM (#4719702)
Whoever made that decision was an idiot.


Tunnel vision might be a more polite phrase?

I think the problem with some of these type of decisions is that having participated in both sides of the mirror for usability testing is that you have predefined scenarios and essentially the design that "wins" is the one that gets you from start to finish the fastest. Nevermind that in many cases the user doesn't actually know what the "finish" is and taking some detours along the way is sometimes a really, really good thing.

For a website that is pure factual information, I think the approach of making it uniform and making it mobile is probably the correct approach. For my situation, it probably is for the best that students (and their helicopter parents) have a consistent approach to find the department pages, lists of faculty, building hours, campus services, etc.. However, for any type of news/media/shopping site, however, I think the approach is pretty flawed.

Sorry -- I'll stop being off topic ...
   177. Sean Forman Posted: June 05, 2014 at 01:42 PM (#4719738)
No please continue.
   178. AuntBea Posted: June 05, 2014 at 01:49 PM (#4719746)
Here is another way to rank the WC teams, based solely upon an aggregate of each player on the roster's club rankings. Probably each player should also be weighted by expected minutes (doesn't seem like that has been done here), but it's interesting nonetheless. For each player's club ranking it uses footballdatabase.com. Link to rankings. The USA and Ghana are tied for 22nd out of 32 teams.
   179. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: June 05, 2014 at 01:57 PM (#4719754)
Jack Colback moves from Sunderland to Newcastle.
   180. DA Baracus Posted: June 05, 2014 at 02:04 PM (#4719765)
Jack Colback moves from Sunderland to Newcastle.


Newcastle actually signed someone and they aren't French? I don't believe you.

Here is another way to rank the WC teams, based solely upon an aggregate of each player on the roster's club rankings.


Interesting, but to me not indicative of much. It kind of ties in with the earlier discussion of which is better, to be a bench player in a better league or a key player in a lesser one?
   181. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: June 05, 2014 at 02:07 PM (#4719766)
   182. I am going to be Frank Posted: June 05, 2014 at 05:32 PM (#4719952)
Isn't there a fairly famous religious festival (I want to say in Spain) where people dress up in outfits similar to Klansmen?

   183. ursus arctos Posted: June 05, 2014 at 06:13 PM (#4719998)
Si, senor.

Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Sevilla, and more particularly the "White Penitents".
   184. ursus arctos Posted: June 06, 2014 at 10:39 AM (#4720305)
Deschamps just confirmed that Ribery is officially out of the tournament, which is a significant blow for France. Reserve midfielder Clement Grenier is also out.
   185. jmurph Posted: June 06, 2014 at 10:41 AM (#4720307)
Making the Nasri snub a real disaster for them.
   186. Shooty Is Disappointed With His Midstream Urine Posted: June 06, 2014 at 10:58 AM (#4720326)
Making the Nasri snub a real disaster for them.

Maybe, but Cabella and Schneiderlin are good players to be able to plug in.
   187. DA Baracus Posted: June 06, 2014 at 11:12 AM (#4720336)
Making the Nasri snub a real disaster for them.


Nasri--and his GF--made his own bed.

--------

Clarence Goodson disagrees:

Klinsmann claims to have told every player in the national set-up from the under-14s upwards that they can reach out to any of the coaching staff, including Klinsmann himself, to clarify the expectations for them. “By email, by text, by Twitter, by Facebook, whatever, you want to do we’ll be there. So you can’t say a couple of years down the road, ‘Oh if I’d known that’.”
   188. DA Baracus Posted: June 06, 2014 at 11:36 AM (#4720347)
   189. Howling John Shade Posted: June 06, 2014 at 01:19 PM (#4720439)
Sucks about Ribery. On his game, he's a lot of fun to watch.

Sounds like Cesc to Chelsea, and Rakitic to Barcelona are close to happening. Blah. Surely Arsenal will try and block the Cesc transfer?

Red Star Belgrade has been excluded from the Champions League due to unpaid debts. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch.
   190. jmurph Posted: June 06, 2014 at 01:22 PM (#4720442)
Sounds like Cesc to Chelsea, and Rakitic to Barcelona are close to happening. Blah. Surely Arsenal will try and block the Cesc transfer?


There was talk last year they had a buy-back clause, but of course Cesc would have to want to return there. I don't think that would be a particularly good use of ~30 million for them, given their need for 1-2 strikers, depth on the backline, etc. Also, he's the worst, and since I'm more sympathetic to Arsenal, I'd prefer he played for a less likable team. Hopefully he ends up at United.
   191. DA Baracus Posted: June 06, 2014 at 01:42 PM (#4720456)
Ronny Delia named manager of Celtic, this is noteworthy mainly for the photo at the top of the article.

Grant Wahl: Why Fifa changed their election rules after I stood to be their president
   192. AuntBea Posted: June 06, 2014 at 02:17 PM (#4720478)
Is the Ghana friendly against Guatemala being shown anywhere?
   193. Tike Redman's Shattered Dreams Posted: June 06, 2014 at 02:17 PM (#4720480)
Keep the articles coming! I enjoyed this long-form ESPN piece on Suarez.
   194. ursus arctos Posted: June 06, 2014 at 02:28 PM (#4720488)
   195. DA Baracus Posted: June 06, 2014 at 02:36 PM (#4720499)
Obviously nobody here needs to read it, but this is a really good article on explaining soccer to people who want to but don't understand it.

David Villa will be going on loan in the fall. To Melbourne City, Man City's other team. You might remember them from being rebranded from Melbourne Hearts but were unable to change to sky blue because Sydney FC blocked them.
   196. AuntBea Posted: June 06, 2014 at 03:07 PM (#4720516)
I just found an article from April saying the Ghana friendly today was cancelled long ago.
   197. frannyzoo Posted: June 06, 2014 at 03:20 PM (#4720531)
I guess I'm the only one here watching the Novara/Varese Serie B relegation first leg. My more precise guess is that I'm about the only one in the entire world watching the Novara/Varese relegation first leg. Novara down 0-1 at half, at home. I still remember that field turf hosting Inter, Juve and Milan not so long ago. Sad, but I love relegation, because it's sad.
   198. I am going to be Frank Posted: June 06, 2014 at 03:23 PM (#4720533)
Grantland takes a stab at explaining soccer tactics. It mixes too many sports but its a decent enough try to explain the basics. They did miss an opportunity to link to MCoA's analysis in the "Shot Selection" part.

I was just checking the scores to see when the US played (ESPN doh!). There is still Serie B going one?

Edit: Oh so that's what the Serie B game is about. Wasn't Novara in Serie A a couple years ago?
   199. frannyzoo Posted: June 06, 2014 at 03:33 PM (#4720544)
Frank: That's what so sad/incredible..yup, Novara was in Serie A not long ago. Still 0-1 Varese.
   200. Howling John Shade Posted: June 06, 2014 at 03:41 PM (#4720551)
The espnfc site actually seems to have gotten a bit better since the last time I looked a couple of days ago. However, they claim to be displaying game times in ET, but the times listed are in PT (for me at least).
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