Tag Archives: World Cup

Soccer Roundup (9/16/2012): The Weekly Boot

Photo courtesy of bleacherreport.com. Graham Zusi (pictured above) was one of the key contributors in the victory over Jamaica this past Tuesday.

By Ben Liebing

When ESPN’s British commentator Ian Darke hailed the U.S. Men’s team by saying their first half play “was verging on brilliant,” I knew that I wasn’t just a blindly elated fan.

This week, on September 11th itself, the men’s soccer team took the field in Columbus, Ohio to play their second World Cup qualifying match in as many weeks. Having lost to Jamaica in Kingston (for the first time ever), just the week before, there was a lot of that “must win” talk circling the TV waves during the usual pre-game formalities.

I was skeptical. Every fan that pays much attention to U.S. soccer learns to live with a certain level of anxiety. It doesn’t matter if we’re playing Brazil in a final or the island dot called Barbados in a qualifier – for every match in recent memory, you’re just never sure what kind of American team is going to show up. Sometimes they’re great, other times they look like a junior high team trying to keep up with the varsity boys in practice. Continue reading

Soccer Roundup (9/9/2012): The Weekly Boot

Photo courtesy of goal.blogs.nytimes.com. Dempsey (left) and Messi (right). Two greats, together in pursuit.

By Ben Liebing

Let’s start with the little man, Lionel Messi:

It’s only fair that we start with the best, and end with the rest. Having been the butt of criticism over the past several years that he performs miraculously with his club team, but bombs while playing for his own country, Lionel Messi did just a bit to quiet the naysayers down.

This weekend, while playing a World Cup qualifier against rival South American country Paraguay, the “little man” from Argentina netted yet another feat of footballing genius. By now commonly regarded as the best player in the world, and by some (Argentinians, and myself) regarded as the best player of all time, Messi this weekend showed the international community once again what all the hype is about. Continue reading

Three-peat is sweet

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Abby Wambach (left) and Hope Solo (right) were two of the key cogs for Team USA as they defeated Japan for Olympic gold yesterday.

By Josh Kramer

It had been 389 days since Japan shocked the United States in penalty kicks at the World Cup.  The bitter taste of the heartbreaking loss stayed with Wambach, Morgan, Solo, and the rest of the USA National Team up until the final whistle of yesterday’s outstanding gold medal match.  On July 17, 2011 in Frankfurt, the United States women suffered the most painful defeat in team history.  Redemption was on the mind of every Team USA player. Continue reading

What to watch for at the 2012 London Olympics

Image courtesy of olympic.org. The 2012 London Summer Olympics are here. All eyes will be on London for the next 16 days.

By Nick Craddock

After years of planning and preparation, the world’s eyes are on London for the 2012 Olympic Games.

London 2012 represents the 30th edition of the Games (that’s including both the Summer and Winter Games) and will certainly represent some of the best drama sports has to offer. Just as the city of London has been preparing for many years, so, too, have the more than 10,000 athletes from 204 nations expected to compete over the course of 16 days.

After the British attempt to top the Chinese spectacle of 2008 in Beijing at tonight’s Opening Ceremony, here are some storylines to follow during the Games:

1. Michael Phelps—The soon-to-be star of Full Medal Jacket Continue reading

Deschamps the natural choice to lead France

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Will Didier Deschamps (pictured above) be able to restore order with French soccer?

By Nick Craddock

The French football team has found itself in what is becoming a familiar predicament: In shambles following a major tournament.

Enter former national team hero, Didier Deschamps, introduced as the manager of France over the weekend to salvage the national side from the guillotine of the soccer world’s critics and naysayers. The only man capable of doing so.

Deschamps, captain of France’s 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 championship-winning teams, was the natural choice — the only choice — to lead France back to respectability following another disappointing major tournament, this time at Euro 2012. As a result, Deschamps’ former national teammate Laurent Blanc took the fall for the team’s poor performance and stepped down as the France manager. Continue reading

Euro 2012 Final Showdown: Spain and Italy

Photo courtesy of zimbio.com. Mario Balotelli (pictured above) stole the show in the semifinals. Will he put on another big time performance against Spain?

By Nick Craddock

Spain or Italy has won each of the last three major tournaments (2006 World Cup, 2008 European Championship, 2010 World Cup) and either Spain or Italy will have its named etched onto the European Championship trophy after today’s title game.

Coincidentally, fate seems to have brought both teams to the cusp of a championship yet again.

Much like the 2006 World Cup, the Italian national team entered this tournament amidst a gambling probe into the top flight of Italian soccer, where all but three players on the national team play their trade during the course of the season.

Rather than succumbing to the pressure of the media scrutiny and the off-field distractions, the Italians, much like the 2006 Italian squad, have come together to play a solid team game and to manage a surprise or two (Remember, it was host Germany which the Italians defeated in the World Cup semifinals in 2006 and a heavily-favored German team which the Italians beat to advance to this final).

This Italian team’s version of Mario and Luigi is not exactly identical to the mustached, overall-wearing Italian brothers who morph by eating mushrooms with faces, but, weird mushroom diet aside, striker Mario Balotelli and goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon are responsible for forming what has been a prolific one-two punch.

Just ask the Germans. Continue reading

Food for Thought 7-19-2011

Photo courtesy of caringmedical.com.

By Josh Kramer

This past weekend was absolutely wild in the sporting world resulting in some Twitter records (compliments of USA Today).  There was some great soccer, great golf, and of course great baseball as is always the case in July.

The following is what has caught my attention.

The USA Women most definitely choked Continue reading

Weekly Nickel 7-18-2011

Photo courtesy of myhero.com. How many people pay attention to cycling in the post Lance Armstrong (pictured above) era.

By Josh Kramer

We watched Japan shock the USA in the Women’s World Cup final yesterday.  In addition, we got to witness a first time Major champion in Darren Clarke at Royal St. George’s.  Lastly, baseball came back in a big way following a dismal All Star Break.  It was a fantastic past week.

Here is what to watch for this week.

5.  The NBA shenanigans will continue.  Do not expect anything substantial to occur in terms of negotiations, but do expect to possible watch some stars entertain the prospects of playing in Europe.  Sadly, this is what the NBA has come to.  With an outstanding playoffs in the rearview mirror, the future prospects of the world’s greatest basketball league do not look great.  We now have to watch for players to sign contracts.  But these contracts will not be with NBA teams, they will be with international squads. Continue reading

Miracle on Grass

Photo courtesy of icepictures1.com. The United States had their "Miracle on Ice" in 1980 at the Winter Olympics. Could today become Japan's "Miracle on Grass?"

By Josh Kramer

Most of the American sporting world is very well aware of one of the greatest sports triumphs in our country’s history that occurred in 1980 at Lake Placid.  And if they were not aware, after the major motion picture “Miracle” came out in 2004, they became in the known.  Of course the “Miracle on Ice” revolves around a young US hockey team that shocked the supposedly unbeatable Soviet Union hockey team in the semi-finals of the 1980 winter olympics.

Now I obviously am pulling for Abby Wambach, Hope Solo, and the US ladies to bring home the World Cup title tomorrow.  But the American women are heavily favored over a little known Japanese squad that has an entire country on edge.  What if the Japanese were to shock the Americans?  Would Japan start referring to July 17th, 2011 as the “Miracle on Grass?” Continue reading

“Death of Gillette?”

This summer truly seems to be marking the end of an era.  A definite changing of the guard.  And with the end of this era, could possibly come the end or a new beginning for the major personal hygiene brand within P&G called Gillette.  For those of you who do not remember.  Gillette has had some major commercials over the years.  These commercials have featured mega stars such as Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, and Thierry Henry.  Many have come to associate Gillette with “greatness.”  And rightfully so, with the likes of superstars like Woods, Federer, and Henry as the major ambassadors of the brand, until recently. 

These 3 major Gillette ambassadors (Federer, Henry, Woods) are no longer the mega stars that they once were. It could be the end of an era for Gillette and the sporting world.

Tiger Woods is now the most well-known homewrecker in the world.  He is almost as recognizable for his sexual exploits as he is for his amazing golf accomplishments, which include 14 Major Titles.  Last week he shot an abysmal 18 strokes over par earning the worst finish of his career at Bridgestone and will need a top 16 finish next weekend to even hope to make the Ryder Cup team.  Can he come back in a similar fashion to the way Kobe Bryant did after his similar type of marital issues?  Roger Federer has now fallen to his lowest ranking in nearly 7 years (#3).  He also has been unable to make the semifinals in his 2 Grand Slam appearances this summer (French Open and Wimbledon).  Federer is now 29, which is close to dinosaur age on the ATP.  Thierry Henry has been under a microscope of speculation since his “hand ball heard around the world” to help France survive a very tough contest against Ireland in November.  This highly disputed match helped clinch a birth in this past summer’s World Cup.  And we all know how the World Cup went for France this year as the team due to inner turmoil thoroughly embarrassed the proud country.  Henry has since retired from international competition and recently signed with the New York Red Bulls of the MLS.  

So as you can tell, these Gillette ambassadors have struggled as of late.  Should they stop using or representing the Gillette product?  Should Gillette stop using them for their promotional ads?  Could Derek Jeter be the next major Gillette star to fail? I mean he is getting married in November, which will mark the end of a completely different type of era.  All I know is, these 3 superstars are no longer the superstars of yesteryear.  Times are changing.  It is definitely the end of an era.  

Who will be the next big superstars?  Should Gillette possibly start utilizing Lebron James, Rafael Nadal, Lionel Messi as their big time ad men?  

Maybe Federer, Woods, and Henry should start using the Schick  Quattro.  

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.  

-TheSportsKraze