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14 years Ago

EM: Portugal, Czech Republic, Switzerland and Turkey

Published by marco on

Portugal 3 – Czech Republic 1

This match marks the first equalizer of the tournament, with the Czechs pulling even not long after Portugal shot into the lead. The first half stayed relatively even, but the start of the second half was dominated by Portugal’s offense, which failed to crack the well-organized defense of the Czechs for twenty minutes before Ronaldo put his side’s second one in on a low scorching shot.

Christiano Ronaldo is the Portugese star and it’s amazing to see his... [More]

EM: Spain, Russia, Greece and Sweden

Published by marco on

Spain 4 – Russia 1

It was a miserable day in Innsbruck, but the steady downpour didn’t seem to have much of an affect on either side. There were more fouls early in the match, but far fewer once nerves had settled.

It started out as a pretty evenly-matched contest with both sides showing flair and imagination in controlling the midfield and penetrating the penalty area. Much to Russia’s chagrin, however, it turned into a Spanish clinic on goal-scoring. The Russians didn’t play poorly nor... [More]

EM: France, Romania, Italy and Holland

Published by marco on

France 0 – Romania 0

Beni Thurnheer, whose in-game exclamations usually tend towards the annoying, put it perfectly with this turn of phrase: “Ein unglaublich langweiliges Spiel aber auf einem sehr höhen Niveau”. In English, that’s “An unbelievably boring game, but played on a very high level.” Both sides were good and showed strong defense, but it was a ninety-minute snooze-fest. The French coach walked onto the field after the final whistle, clapping slowly; it was hard to determine whether... [More]

European Championships – Opening Weekend

Published by marco on

At the end of two days of play, both hosts—Switzerland and Austria—have had a chance to play and both, as expected, got zero points for all their effort. So far, the usual suspects—and those rated higher in the FIFA rankings—have won their games, though not without a struggle and not without showing weakness in the form of a soft game or what looked like squads that weren’t ready to run the full ninety minutes.

If a squad can’t play ninety minutes in a Swiss June like this one—15°C... [More]

Baseball in DC

Published by marco on

Sportswriters Swoon Over DC Ballpark by Dave Zirin (Common Dreams) brings news of the opening of the new baseball park in Washington DC in a deal that moved the Montreal Expos south to the USA. Apparently, the mainstream media coverage was nothing short of effusive—gushing, even—about the new stadium, which was almost wholly financed by taxpayer money. From the article:

“$611 million of tax payer money in a city that has become a ground zero of economic segregation and gentrification. $611 million over majority... [More]”

The Olympics have always been Controversial

Published by marco on

The next Olympics will be in China—everyone who’s anyone knows that by now. Some objected to the selection of China a long time ago, citing human rights violations; some objected to the selection of Russia for the next winter Olympics for similar reasons. None of the objecters seem to understand that the marketing—which emphasizes a wholesome gathering of nations striving for peace through competition—is wholly separate from the business of the Olympics, which emphasizes making money for... [More]

15 years Ago

Well-Struck by Barça

Published by marco on

In the world of club sports, advertising is everywhere. Though the US has thus far resisted the urge to plaster corporate logo all over its players, Europe has long since capitulated to this lucrative source of financing. Ice hockey teams look like a unicorn ate too many jelly beans and threw up rainbows all over the ice—potheads would love it if the guys just wouldn’t move so quickly. Football[1] players look marginally better, their team owners usually restraining themselves to a single logo... [More]

16 years Ago

Stevie Y − “The Captain”

Published by marco on

 Steve Yzerman retiresSteve Yzerman has retired from the NHL. He played for the Detroit Redwings all 23 years of his career, leading them to 3 Stanley Cups and 21 playoff appearances. He’s even got an Olympic gold medal, which he won with Canada when they could still play international hockey. ‘Captain’ forever has a place in hearts of Detroiters tells his story.

“There’s not a statistic for heart, but Yzerman would be the unquestioned record-holder. Through the years, he’s had five knee surgeries and lost all his... [More]”

The Goal is Goals

Published by marco on

The last couple of days have been pretty lackluster for football, from the Holland–Portugal disaster, wherein 16 yellow cards and 2 red cards were dished out to the two out-of-control teams, to the Italy–Australia and Switzerland–Ukraine games, which treated us to over 200 minutes of scoreless football. 200 minutes of master class in defense and all of the buzz today is about diving in the penalty box. The day before, Germany took an early two goal lead and sat on it for a further boring 80... [More]

Portugal: All Class

Published by marco on

The team should be congratulated for demonstrating such character. –Luis Figo

 Ivanov did this 4 timesThe article Four off as Portugal send Dutch home (Eurosport) covers a match that looked more like ice hockey on grass than World Cup football. You have to have seen the match to realize just how ironic the quote above is, coming from Luis Figo, who was part of an extremely vicious Portugese side against the Dutch last night.

The two sides—both capable of very fine football—quickly became more concerned with producing and... [More]

Team USA exits quietly

Published by marco on

The U.S. Bows Out With Honor (Time) highlights the last match in the 2006 World Cup for the United States, including the critical defensive error by Claudio Reyna that led to the first goal for Ghana and the questionable penalty call in the 3rd minute of extra time in the first half.

Questionable? No…that’s not it. Ridiculous? That’s more like it. Bruce Arena has this to say about it:

“I think we’d all agree it wasn’t a good call to have that in the 47th minute, after our team worked so hard to get... [More]”

Saturday Night Circus

Published by marco on

The US and Italy squared off tonight in match that started off with a strong American side attacking into an Italian defense that was simply absorbing everything. The Italy that played Ghana using the midfield was gone and the classic counter-attacking Azurri style was back. Though the Americans controlled the run of the play for the first 20 minutes, Italy capitalized on a perfectly executed set play to hammer a headball past star goalkeeper Casey Keller. The US deflated slightly after that,... [More]

Keystone Kops Football

Published by marco on

 Angola vs. MexicoThough there’s been some supremely good football in the first week of the world cup, there has also been some disappointing football. And then there’s the Angola-Mexico match. Now that was so bad, it was funny. The Angolans outclassed the Mexicans throughout most of the match, mostly due to their ability to string two whole passes together where the Mexicans were managing at most one. Mexico must have gotten the mistaken notion that they were good just because they consistently beat the USA.... [More]

Armstrong’s Yellow Jar

Published by marco on

 Lance ArmstrongThe article Armstong cleared of doping charges (Sports Illustrated) brings a sigh of relief to anyone still biting their nails over whether Lance cheated when he won his first Tour de France. The conclusion of this latest bout of shipping 7–year-old samples of Lance’s urine around Europe comes not with exoneration of any wrongdoing, but of the inapplicability of the given evidence. Since it cannot be proved that the samples were not tampered with, they cannot be used as evidence. Furthermore, any results of tests... [More]

How to Build a Ball Club

Published by marco on

The article, Build It, Or Else (Weekly Standard) is about public funding of private gain in an arena other than the military. Sports teams have been playing the “stadium hopping, city-hopping” game for several decades now and its only getting worse. The most recent and egregious instance is Washington D.C. “issuing $535 million in bonds to build [a] stadium” for the Montreal Expos, which are moving in as soon as it is complete. The article lists a litany of other stadiums, from baseball and football stadiums to... [More]

Canada: Worst Day Ever

Published by marco on

The Olympics can be a harsh mistress:

Swiss Men’s Hockey Team Shocks Canada
Coming only two days after their stunning upset of the world champion Czech Republic, 3-2, the Swiss team shut out the defending Olympic champions in a hard-fought battle.
Japan upsets Canada in women’s curling
Curling is more popular in Canada than hockey, if you can believe that. The women’s team is favored to win the Olympics again this year; they lost to Japan today.

‘Nuff said.

Figure Skating Does it Again!

Published by marco on

 Last night saw the Olympics pairs figure skating final unfold in Torino. Unusually, things were going quite well and there had been only one judging anomoly for most of the evening. That one occurred when a Russian couple mysteriously got enough points to maintain their 8th place position over a 9th place Polish couple that outshone them completely. Figure skating is complicated to judge and the most unnoticable things (like which edge you’re using and so on) are quite hard and get marked... [More]

17 years Ago

Thoughts on Athens 2004

Published by marco on

Let’s break tradition and start off with good news first.

Non-US coverage is quite good

 Whereas many of you in the States might be suffering from the same wonderful NBC (prime-time … I’ll get to that) coverage, those in other parts of the world are faring a bit better. Has NBC Turned The Olympics Into Will And Greece? is a discussion that runs the gamut of complaints about NBC coverage. There are the stories of crass commercialism:

  • Athletes not allowed to carry or display any brands that... [More]

20 years Ago

Refereeing at World Cup

Published by marco on

 If you’ve been watching the World Cup, setting your alarm for 2:30 in the morning and dragging yourself out of bed to watch Andreas Cantor scream at you in Spanish on Univision, you’ve seen a lot of questionable refereeing. Probably the most often-miscalled play is offsides, in which the linesman always seems to err for the defense.

There have been other game-changing calls, though. Probably the first was in the first round of games in the group stage, in which Turkey was robbed of a tie and a... [More]

Rivaldo Fined for Faking

Published by marco on

 FIFA World Cup News is reporting that Rivaldo fined for fake injury, which occurred (or didn’t, in fact) during Brazil’s match against Turkey. Apparently, the fine was assessed in lieu of an outright ban from the tournament, as FIFA is admanant about preventing fakery from dominating soccer. From the looks of some matches, this is almost definitely a losing battle, as there has been quite a bit of excess flailing and extreme acrobatics again this year.

“Rivaldo admitted after the match that he... [More]”

Zidane’s Wonder Goal

Published by marco on

Real Madrid won the European Champion’s Cup for the ninth time on Wednesday, on a goal from Zinedine Zidane that was simply amazing. Goal.com (UK version) has Zidane wonder-strike clinches Real´s ninth European Cup, which has the best coverage I could find.

“Roberto Carlos sent a speculative looping cross into the area and the French international midfielder showed wonderful balance and composure to lash an unstoppable volley into the top corner.”

I didn’t find a video, but this is pretty... [More]

Olympics 2002 Wrap-up

Published by marco on

Zoloft

So, now that we’ve all learned how to become Olympic champions (eat at McDonald’s, drink Budweiser and chug Zoloft, which, by the way, shouldn’t be a surprising sponsor of the Olympics, since Study Finds Utah Leads Nation in Antidepressant Use). Mark Morford reports in Numerous Mormons On Prozac that Utah has twice the national average in anti-depressant usage.

Other states with high antidepressant use were Maine and Oregon. Utah’s rate of antidepressant use was twice the rate of... [More]

Want to Sire an Olympic hopeful?

Published by dianavb on

The LA Times has another Olympics story, called Want to Sire an Olympic Hopeful?…, with a humorous look at creating your very own Olympic athlete that you can cheer for in some embarassing way that NBC will be sure to zoom in on way too close and broadcast to the nation for what seems like several painfully long minutes.

The Olympic Games depress me, so I am glad they are over. I don’t need to be reminded every four winters that I married a woman who comes from a family of oafs, which... [More]

A Toast to a Host With the Most

Published by dianavb on

Steven Bradbury: A mastermind in the sport of short-track speedskating, he was well-positioned in the men’s 1,000 final, way behind the pack, waiting patiently for the other four competitors to wipe out so he could cruise home for the gold. My kind of Olympic champion. The wily Aussie is now forever a part of the sporting lexicon: Whenever an athlete succeeds through nothing more than dumb luck, it’s now called “pulling a Bradbury.”

Wayne Gretzky: He snubbed Patrick Roy, he left Joe Thornton... [More]

Throw the Olympics

Published by marco on

In a little-reported press conference before the Olympics, SatireWire reports that Bush Asks Non-U.S. Olympians to Unite…

… We have a problem because the enemies of justice, the enemies of liberty and prosperity, would like nothing more than to see America’s weaknesses exploited. They would like nothing more than to celebrate our humiliation on the international stage that is the Olympics. You must not let this happen. You must help us strike another blow against the forces of tyranny... [More]

Swiss Double-Gold!

Published by marco on


CNN/Sports Illustrated has the latest on Simon Ammann in Gold Again…. Switzerland has changed gears in the winter Olympics from the ski hills to the ski-jumping hills. Simon Ammann comes out of nowhere to take both of the individual events in the ski-jump, the K90 and the k120.

The 20-year-old Swiss, who looks as if he could pass for 14, joined Finland’s Matti Nykanen as the only jumpers to win events on both hills in the same Winter Olympics. Nykanen did it in Calgary in 1988. …... [More]