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Podolski Sucks November 25, 2011

Posted by michaeltomlinson in European soccer, German soccer.
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ehhhh

Oh Hey

In case you missed it Koln was dismantled 3-0 today by Gladbach. If anyone questioned if Lucas Podolski’s heart was still in it, i’m not sure he even has a kidney involved in the equation at this point. Not too sure how that statement makes sense but I enjoy the way it sounds. Just like the word Endoplasmic Reticulum.

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EURO 2012 Preview #4: Del Bosque tries to add even more central midfielders November 16, 2011

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in Euro 2012, Spanish soccer.
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Spain is a team for purists. I’m not having this participation by the likes of Sergio Ramos and David Villa. Look it up: they are not central midfielders. For the pure expression of Spain’s style, you need more than they’ve been playing. Pep Guardiola’s experiments with six central midfielders are brave, but they’re not enough. Spain needs more. Vicente Del Bosque knows this. This is what he has in store:

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EURO 2012 Preview #2 & 3: Which of Denmark and Sweden will be more fun at Euro 2012? November 15, 2011

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in Euro 2012.
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It’s pretty obvious that either Denmark or Sweden will be the most fun team at the coming European championships. Spain basically tries to pass teams to sleep. France, England, Poland, Ukraine and Russia are too deeply enveloped by self-loathing to be truly enjoyable. As I’ve already said, Holland is punching well below its weight.

So we need to turn to either Denmark or Sweden for enjoyment. Every logical indicator points to Denmark:

  • More crafty vets (this is the Jacob Welcker category). Dennis Rommedahl is a 33-year-old speed merchant. Lars Jacobsen, 32, is a fixture in the team at right-back despite never really having been good. Martin Jorgensen is 36 and Thomas Sorensen is 35. Christian Poulsen doesn’t qualify because nobody would accuse him of being crafty, but there’s no logical explanation for a 31-year-old who does not know how to play soccer still being a fixture for the Danes. If Per Kroldrup, a 32-year-old center back who does not know how to head the ball comes in too, so much the better. Sweden only really has Anders Svensson and the creaky center back pairing of Olof Mellberg and Daniel Majstorovic, all of whom have, let’s face it, been in their mid-thirties for a decade anyway.
  • Christian Eriksen. Just look at how much fun he is.
  • Far more fun in the center of defense. Majstorovic and Mellberg are your traditional Scandinavian center-half pairing. One is bald, one is hairy, both are extremely slow. Hulking, consistent, journeymen. Yawn. Daniel Agger and Simon Kjaer are the improbable central defenders the whirring disorientation of the 21st century promised us. Cultured left feet. Enough bad tattoos to fill an entire coffee table book of questionable Nordic body art. Unfeasible sweatiness. Bad hair. Despite the fact that each is the size of a small rhinoceros, both of them look like tousel-headed schoolboys up to no good. Any team with those two at the back is going to be an utter thrill ride.
  • Nicklas Bendtner. At some point, he will be crushed under the weight of his own hubris. That will make for wonderful viewing.
  • No Zlatan.

Nonetheless, I can’t avoid the impression that I will like Sweden more

Ten purely sexual football managers, part 1 November 15, 2011

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in Hair.
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I recently read this list of “purely sexual footballers.” It is a disgrace. For one thing, there is nothing erotic about soccer players. For another thing, putting the words “sex” in the same paragraph as the words in the following paragraph should be a crime.

Gareth Bale.

Soccer managers, on the other hand …

Anyway, take note. This is how you do it.

PART 1: the male gaze

Whenever I read a list of the supposed sexiest women in the world, it always seems to devolve either to complete objectification or to a kind of discreet sidestepping of complete objectification, i.e. “My discussion of her recent directorial endeavors is a transparent stand-in for my desire to discuss her titties.” It’s a bit disgraceful. I feel no list of this nature is compete without a bit of shameful objectification. Here goes.

5. Mark Hughes

I’D LIKE TO JUICE A GRAPEFRUIT ON THAT JAW! LOOK AT THOSE CALVES OF HIS! I BET HE HAS A VERY FIRM BUTT! I’M NOW EXTREMELY HOT UNDER THE COLLAR!

4. Frank Rijkaard

EVEN IN SPITE OF THE FORMAT OF THIS LIST, I CAN’T QUITE BRING MYSELF TO MAKE THE RACIAL COMMENT THAT I MIGHT, BUT JUST CONJURE IT UP IN YOUR HEAD! SUCH A BIG MAN! LIKE A MONSTER! I AM FROTHING AT THE MOUTH WITH DESIRE!

3. Slaven Bilic

THOSE ARE SOME FULL LIPS! MY GOSH, I BET HE HAS AN ABDOMEN LIKE MASONRY BRICK! I AM FINDING IT DIFFICULT TO CONTROL MYSELF!

2. Jurgen Klinsmann

JUST THINK OF HOW HYPERFIT HE IS! I BET THERE IS NO BODY FAT ON HIM! HE COULD PROBABLY GO FOR DAYS! ALSO, A NICE SUNTAN! I AM GOING TO EXPLODE!

1. Avram Grant

Don’t act like you don’t want it.

Who Is Tim Matavž, and Why Does He Hate Freedom? November 15, 2011

Posted by michaeltomlinson in International soccer, U.S. soccer.
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With a most glorious two goal lead at half time the United States of America, freedom and gastric bypass looked to roll past Italy’s eastern neighbor and footy juggernaut, Slovenia. Comfortably embracing a 3-1 spot at the end of 45 minutes, stars and stripes were all smiles. Just to clarify I don’t like alliteration, that was an accident, forgive me. Someone who shan’t be forgiven is Mr. Matavž and his flamboyant display of rich talent and total disregard for America’s well being.  As if the soccer rich country of a bustling 2.1 million needed anymore help on the pitch, Matavž tried his best to keep our righteous brothers from the best country on earth from what was rightfully their own, a win. With his tricky footwork and top class positioning, Matavž exploited America’s most abundant natural resource, boundlessly slow center backs.

Matavz

Modern Fascist headdress

Sure Slovenia suffers from a large degree of crippling poverty and corruption but who are they, and who is Matavž to try to ruin our dreams on this day. I’m sure the 10’s of hundreds of people watching it on ESPN, like Alexi Lalas were thinking, why am I such an entitled ginger dickhead and who are these Yugoslavian fools trying to beat us at our arguably 4th most heralded sport. I’m not sure if we can prosecute Slovenian’s living in Slovenia who have never been to the States for Treason, but seriously looking into it is on my immediate agenda. Oh America ended up winning 3-2, but that isn’t the point, what is he trying to prove with a chefs hat and gloves on? Is this some sort of fascist attempt to recruit food service employees for a full on revolution? Probably.

Gallery of ridiculous Nicklas Bendtner images November 15, 2011

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in European soccer.
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EURO 2012 Preview #1: Holland. Dutch team not ridiculous enough. Here’s my suggestion. November 14, 2011

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in Dutch soccer, Euro 2012.
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These are some things I don’t really care about in a Holland team: Winning games, tradition, picking the best players in every position, consistency, sanity.

These are some things I like in a Holland team: As many ridiculous players as possible, complete arrogance, losing the run of themselves, Clarence Seedorf, hopefully a complete meltdown or two.

This is how Bert van Maarvijk should line up if he wants my support at Euro 2012.

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So Newcastle United’s success is just a shadowy conspiracy to shift tracksuits. November 12, 2011

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in English soccer, European soccer, French soccer, Spanish soccer.
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This may look like an urbane midfield prompter, but actually it is a tracksuit billboard.

Daniel Harris on FCF proffered this explanation for Newcastle’s recent French signings:

Mike Ashley owns Sports Direct, whose main European competitor is Decathlon, a French company. Thus Newcastle buy French players, who can then be marketed in France as “Sports Direct”, wearing the tat and speaking in French, allowing Ashley to sell more towelling socks and tracksuits.

Plausible enough, if a bit too tidy:

Also true:

  • Venezuela uses no Qatari oil for some reason. The emirate’s sheikhs are desperate to break into the South American country’s market, so desperate they’ll try anything. Including a multi-million euro takeover of the club that happens to employ the country’s star striker Salomon Rondon, Malaga. Step one: buy Malaga. Step two: capture baseball-mad Venezuela’s imagination with Rondon’s endorsement. Step three: every hip young kid in Caracas is sporting Qatari oil.
  • Like many people, Suleyman Kerimov may one day need to flee Vladimir Putin’s wrath. What’s a Dagestani billionaire to do? Well, maybe pay a king’s ransom to bring Cameroon’s biggest soccer superstar to his personal top-division football club, Anzhi Makachkala. That way, when Putin’s goons come knocking, he’ll have a sunny, reasonably stable African state willing to welcome him with open arms. Goodbye freezing Dagestan, hello sunny Limbe Beach, Douala, Cameroon! Thank you, Samuel Eto’o.
  • Bill Kenwright actually has loads of money stashed away, waiting to invest it in Everton. But the theater producer has a love of the dramatic and, what’s more, his nephew Gus would do an amazing job in the role of David Moyes. The lower the club gets, the better the story. Twenty years down the line, he’ll make it into the biggest play Merseyside has ever known!

SI.com reporter uncovers US Soccer’s player-cloning plot! November 12, 2011

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in U.S. soccer.
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Here’s a quote from Peter Berlin’s analysis of the recent friendly between the USA and France:

For that reason, it doesn’t matter now whether he believes his best midfield pairing involves Michael Bradley or Jermaine Jones or the starters Friday, Kyle Beckerman and Maurice Edu. Edu and Beckerman were both winning only their second caps. It will take a while before Klinsmann knows exactly what he has in them. He needs to find out.

(emphasis mine.)

Kyle Beckerman (17 caps) and Maurice Edu (30 caps) were winning their second caps?

There’s only one explanation for this: Peter Berlin, through dogged journalistic pursuit of the truth, has uncovered a shocking secret: The U.S. Soccer Federation, taking cues from the film Moon, has an infinite store of clones for several of its midfielders. They are periodically incinerated and replaced, really for no reason whatsoever, except possibly the LOLs.

Dastardly. But why does Berlin have to be so coy as to just hint.