Posts Tagged ‘ Seleção ’

MatchDay Memory–Summer 2013 Part Two: International Competitions

As for televised games, Mid-Michigan United had great turnouts for the USMNT qualifiers against Jamaica, Panama and Honduras.  The Americans secured all nine points and are all but assured of a spot at World Cup 2014.  Jozy Altidore reclaimed his spot as the top forward and the defense held firm, only giving up one goal in 270 minutes.

Next up was the Confederations Cup, and my interaction with the competition was spotty at best.  Tried to check in on matches and watch highlights when I could.  The Final was the Spain versus Brazil game that the world had been anticipating for four years.  And it wasn’t even close.  Spain got thrashed.  Bayern, Chelsea, Italy and now Brazil have shown the way to defeating the Spanish/Barca system—an athletic team with fitness and organization.  Of course there were huge momentum swings—David Luiz saving Pedro’s goal in the first half, an early goal from Fred in the second half and Ramos’ missed penalty.  All those world class forwards and you let a center back take the kick?  By the way Ramos needs to go back to right back.  He’s not awesome in the middle and Arbeloa is lost and truly the weakest link.

Just before the European club season kicked off, the Gold Cup wrapped up.  I admit at the outset I was not interested at all.  The US sent a B team to a second rate competition in substandard region.  I got together with a couple of MMU guys and watched the last group game against Costa Rica.  Brek Shea scored his first international goal as the Stars and Stripes finished the group stage with maximum points.  The next game I took in was the semi-final against Honduras.  A solid performance took the Klinsmannschaft to the final against surprise package Panama, who dispatched a struggling Mexico.  I was only to catch the first half of Final, due to an over 30 game.  That was awful 45 minutes.  In the end the US won and now have at least half a chance of playing in the 2017 Confederations Cup.

The National Team got a lot out of the competition.  They were able develop the player pool, reintegrate Donovan into the team and get Jurgen a piece of silverware.  With the squad all but in the World Cup and with Mexico struggling, the US is back on top in the region.  Everything now should be developing a balanced team that can progress from the group and have a legitimate shot to do damage in the knockout.  Again it will be down to the draw.

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Old Futbol Buffet–Long Live the King

Eric Cantona signed 20 years ago for Manchester United.  I wasn’t even following football at the time, so my first real memory of him was the 1994 FA Cup Final against Chelsea, with my favorite recollection of the Frenchman being the 1996 FA Cup Final goal struck in the dying moments against Liverpool.  Watching the match on replay at my parents, I screamed in ecstasy as the ball found its way into the back of the net.  Props to Anton Alfy for putting a video of all 82 goals that Cantona scored for Manchester United.  Well worth 15 minutes of your time.  Viva Le Roi!!

Robert Meakin led the tribute to Cantona on last week’s Manchester United Redcast.  After breaking down the win over QPR, he looked at possible winger replacements as Nani will surely be off in January and Young has struggled to find form.  Cantona’s impact on the club was discussed before moving on Fergie and how long he has at the club and who could replace him?  (Pep and Mourinho were mentioned.)

Speaking of Fergie, Roger Bennett posted on ESPN FC regarding the recent Harvard Business School report on Sir Alex, noting that the secrets to his success are building a foundation, maintaining control, evolving with the times, and evaluating talent.  Would love to get a copy of that.

As for the current United team, a crazy first half saw seven goals in 34 minutes, as the Red Devils went into half time up 4-3.  That ended up being the final score in a game that was full of incident.  Due to supporting my kid’s school, I was working in a concession stand and missed the brouhaha.

Daniele at Red Rants watched another sloppy performance from the United rearguard, and only a strong and swift response from the team earned the Reds the three points.  As he pointed out in his post game notes:

Sure they score goals for fun and they’ve mastered the old club tradition of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat – United have fallen behind 14 times in 22 games this season – but thinking that the “you score four, we score five” approach could possibly lead to a title, is at best naive and at worst downright deluded.

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MLS Cup Final

After watching a couple of La Liga games, I was able to see the second half of the MLS Cup.  The Galaxy took the game to the Dynamo, with Gonzalez equalizing and then LA taking the lead after Clark handled in the box.  Donovan converted and eventually the breakaways paid off as Hall tried to haul down Keane, who kept his feet but the referee pointed to the spot again.  The Irishman scored the spot kick this time to give the Galaxy a 3-1 win and second MLS Cup win in a row.

A couple of thoughts:

  • Ricardo Clark is awful.
  • Not sure if Lalas shaving his mustache at halftime is the grossest or awesomest thing ever.
  • Houston’s jerseys looked like they were claimed from a Goodwill sale.  I thought sublimation was left back in the 90’s.  SB Nation’s Dynamo page posted the particulars on the shirt.  (Rays and energy. Seriously?)
  • Mad props to Donovan for dedicating his goal to a Make A Wish family.  No way I would have even thought of that in the aftermath of a Cup victory.
  • The MLS ball reeked of bargain bin quality.
  • Tally is not a name.  It’s a hunting cry.

The panel on the SI Soccer Roundtable (11/29) discussed the chapter that is ending with Beckham’s farewell and the future of the league as a whole.  Really brought the last five years of the league into the focus.

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Articles and Podcasts

Bira Brasil was Beyond the Pitch in the aftermath of Mano Menezes being axed as Brazil boss.  Bira handicapped the challengers and thought that Tite and Ramalho would be chosen ahead of former coach and World Cup Winner Luiz Felipe Scolari.  In the end Big Phil was chosen.  Can he regroup the team ahead of a home World Cup?  Watch this space.

Tim Vickery was on the Off the Ball last Wednesday to discuss the dismissal as well, blaming politics for the departure of Menezes.  Brazil is at a crossroads, having to choose between reclaiming their heritage or continuing with the current over physical, counter attacking approach.  With the reappointment of Scolari the latter has been chosen, and his task will be build another “family” and lead the Seleção to glory on home soil.

News of an expanded 64 team Champions League hit the interwebs last week leading to the usual moaning and groaning from fans and media.  I think Iain Macintosh’s post on ESPN FC was spot on, identifying the old adage—follow the money.  The loss of the European Cup, UEFA Cup and Cup Winners Cup has brought the game to the point where undoing the last 20 years is impossible.  The fact that this year’s Champions League Group Stages have been interesting just masks the fact that usually they aren’t and that 16 groups of four teams will be super tedious.  If only the group winner progressed, there might be some value, but inevitably the current 16 team knockout will morph into the 32 team knockout, which will start earlier and earlier into each new year, packing the fixture list even more.  This is a horrible idea and will hopefully kill the golden goose, so that real reform can happen.  Doubt it.

Staying with Europe, Christoph recounted German football during the 1970’s on his blog, An Old International.  He recapped the bribery scandal early in the decade, which affected the image of the emerging league but also allowed the country to move forward.  This release led to unprecedented success for clubs and the national team.  Bayern Munich and Borussia Mönchengladbach dominated the league, winning eight of the 10 domestic titles, and also conquered Europe with Die Roten winning three European Cups and BMG winning two UEFA Cups.  Plus the Nationalmannschaft won the 1972 European Championship and then claimed the 1974 World Cup before losing out to Czechoslovakia in the 1976 European Championship Final.  Great read and thanks to Peter Alegi for the link.

Finally, Matt Reece, a fellow member of Mid Michigan United shared this amazing freestyling video on my Facebook timeline.  After watching it, a couple of things struck me.  1. Mind blowing skills, but it does sort of come across as someone with too much free time.  2.  I only take my clothes off for the ladies and never in public.  3.  What the Michael Jackson song???  Anyway give it watch and see if you can even do one thing that guy did.

Strip Club–Brazilian Wax Edition

I was doing ok following my self-imposed kit buying rules until I found the site Beautiful Gear.  If you are not following this site, you are missing out, as it is a wonderful destination for the latest in jerseys and footwear and fashion.  Early in 2011 I came upon this post, which tied my love for footy and Batman in a way I could not have imagined.   So in the spirit of the knights of old, I went on a quest.  I knew I wanted this kit even though it violated my new principles of buying on US Men’s National Kits, but for this one I was willing to make an exception.

However, this journey was a little more difficult than I had imagined, as info and accessibility were sketchy at best.  In my research I found out that Brazil had actually worn white kits in their early history but had put them in the trashbin of history after losing the 1950 World Cup Final at the Maracana, and that a fan contest had created the iconic kit going forward.

I found a couple of more sites that talked about this foreboding jersey but very little in the way of links to purchase.  My research revealed the CBF has put the kibosh on the Dark Knight version but had approved a black kit with yellow highlights.  I can’t imagine the Seleção ever wearing this in a competitive game, but the modified kit is still amazing with the hints of color popping out against the black background. (Pics courtesy of footballfashion.org)

I have a lead on a knock off version of the black kit so I might spring for it at some point.  If anyone knows where to find this one of a kind shirt, please let me know. Yes I already have too many jerseys, but this a true collector’s item, so might have to bend my “rules” slightly.

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