Soccer Weekly: EURO 2012 Surprises and Fufilled expectations

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The biggest continental tournament in my opinion is EURO. This is where most great clubs get their players, their stars, and this is the one time that Cristiano Ronaldo doesn’t have a price tag on him – like he does august through may.

But, some things have gone differently than expected, while others have been predicted. Let’s take a look at those.

Robin van Persie and the Netherlands’ fall

This was my pick, by the way. I thought after a world cup final loss they would be pumped up and come out of the gate flying. How wrong could I be? They lost to Denmark, the one team that didn’t seem deathly in the group of death, they lost to Germany, and have only scored 2 goals in 2 and 1/2 games. Portugal and Denmark are the nine and ten teams in the world. Holland is number 4. Germany is three. They have been dominated in possession, goals, and shots on goal. Robin Van Persie, after a dominating season at Arsenal is only with one goal and has not been very effective. I thought this was the year, but I was wrong. VERDICT: SURPRISE

Mario Gomez and the Germany domination

Germany was (unsurprisingly) a favorite. But we didn’t think they would be this dominant. There have been 3 goals for Mario Gomez, who, unlike many other players, can be good in club and international seasons (WOW!). The defense and goalkeeping has, as always, been top-class. Germany came in strong and look to finish strong – if not in first. VERDICT: EXPECTED

England and France play strong

We thought they were dead. We thought it was over. After losing to at the time 74th ranked South Africa, barely getting a win over the USA, and falling on and off the pitch. Then they came out running. Tying England, beating Ukraine at home, and maybe showing hope. After a great season at Real Madrid, Kareem Benzema is not playing incredibly, but the rest of france is picking up his slack. England, after losing some of their best players to injury and suspension, gets Wayne Rooney back tuesday, and have played well and only need a draw to advance. VERDICT: Surprise

On to the quarterfinals!!

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Soccer Weekly: England bleeds – blue?

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Check out the new England away jerseys…  Blue. Blue. Blue. (And white). But it seems as if blue is becoming a theme in english soccer.  Chelsea just won the UEFA Champions League, Manchester City just won the Barclays Premier League – and teams like Man U and Liverpool are falling fast. (And when Man U tried to jump on the Blue boat, it just proved how powerful blue was

The point is that now the two most powerful teams in england right now are Chelsea and Man City. They are playing incredibly well, and the managers are managing well.

This changes a lot, because it used to be Arsenal, Man U, and Liverpool, and Chelsea and Man City were afterthoughts. But now it’s all them. Some of it could be money. Some of it could be luck. But it was due. Except for one season, it was Man U, Liverpool, and Arsenal at the top of the table. But like in baseball, superpowers change, and it went from red to blue. It’s as simple as that.

Except for the downfall of Liverpool, I’m actually enjoying this. It’s gotten boring seeing Man U, Man U, Man U, Man U, and – let me guess – Man U? Wow!! I must be psychic!! England has shifted, and all we can do? Is wait and watch.

 

Soccer Weekly: Homegrown talent taking over

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Wigan is on a roll. A steamroll, actually. They have beaten two of soccer’s superpowers – Manchester United and Arsenal in their past two games. And yet, none of them this year have more than five goals. How do they do it? Homegrown talent, no room for superstars, and moneyball style.

More and more, these types of teams are taking over your superpowers – Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City.

But, it’s extremely important to keep the talent where they are. For instance, Andy Carroll was sold to Liverpool FC for 35 million pounds, and at Newcastle scored 14 times in 19 games. At Liverpool, he’s scored 4 goals in 31 games. Yowch.

These homegrown talents need to stay where they were, because there, the focus is on them. Elsewhere, it’s not a major focus on them.

What really annoys me, is when things like the Andy Carroll sale happen. While I am a Liverpool fan, it always annoys me to have a team woo a player with great money from his place.

It’s not just a trend in soccer, it’s a trend in baseball – (Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth), football, (Ladainian Tomlinson and Matt Hasselbeck) and basketball (Chris Bosh and Rashard Lewis).

Think about those guys… How have they done?

This is why it’s always fun to see teams like Wigan win.

 

Soccer Weekly: Is a Barca VS Real Madrid Uefa Cup Final good or bad?

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Two games. That’s all that seperates the UEFA Cup Final, Barcelona, and Real Madrid. It would be another derby day, just on one of the biggest stages in soccer and for a whole lot more than bragging rights and playoff position. Unfortunately, there are two sides to this. One side says that it builds american soccer following, but another says it’s how the La Liga should end, not how UEFA Cup should end.

I am taking the side of the american soccer following. I have a bit of an S.O.S for soccer in the U.S – Save our soccer. In the U.S, soccer followers are few. But, most soccer followers are fans of these three teams – Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Manchester United. Having two of those square off for the european champions league would create the soccer version of a sonic boom for soccer in the US.

Now, the U.S will never be devoted to soccer, or futbol as much as the european countries will be. Yes, we have the MLS, but I have to admit, it is kind of a joke. Players are old, players are new, but no players in their prime. The attendance level is never past 18,000 on average.

Putting two of the favorite clubs together makes soccer a more followed sport, which if the U.S wants to stay in the soccer business, is needed.

Also, Lionel Messi VS Cristiano Ronaldo will be a great matchup, for all you soccer purists.

But, it may not be this – which could kill it, because it could be Bayern Munich VS Chelsea. Even though that’s a great game, soccer needs Barca VS Real.

New segment: Soccer Weekly

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Alright, so I promised soccer. And I have to say, I haven’t given much – only two posts out of my 58. Whoops. But, I’m trying to stay on top of myself, so bear with me here as I introduce a new segment: Soccer Weekly.

Basically, soccer weekly is my take on the biggest soccer story of the week. So let’s try this.

This week, I’m going to to talk about Liverpool winning the Carling Cup. It was a truly great match – Cardiff City had surprised nearly every team in the tournament, but Liverpool found a way to top them and hoist the trophy.

Now, Liverpool did not play incredibly, and I’ll admit that. In fact, they didn’t play well. Even though they scored two goals, they gave up two goals. Also, Pepe Reina didn’t really save the penalty kicks – they were all misses.

They also got very lucky with the ending situation. Cardiff had two chances, and the pressure got to them. Plus, Luis Suarez wasn’t able to take a leading role and score goals. Cardiff City played very well for an Npower league team, but I guess the better team won – and that was Liverpool.