25 June 2010

know your foe - ghana

"Do you know what "nemesis" means? A righteous infliction of retribution manifested by an appropriate agent. Personified in this case by an 'orrible cunt..."

After beating Algeria in dramatic fashion in their final group match, the United States faces Ghana Saturday at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg, South Africa. The multi-use stadium was site of one of the American's greatest victories, when they beat Egypt three - nil a little over a year ago in their final group match at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup. 'The Revenge in Rustenburg' (stolen from the twitter account of Ives Galarcep) is also a rematch of the 2006 World Cup final match which saw Ghana defeat the US 2-1 to prevent the Americans from advancing out of the group of death into the round of 16. Thus far in 2010, Ghana is the only African team left standing after group play; finishing second in group D after beating Serbia 1-0, drawing Australia 1-1, and a 0-1 loss to zee Germans. The United States enters the match having gone undefeated in group play, and winning their group for the first time since 1930, drawing England 1-1, Slovenia 2-2, and defeating Algeria 1-0.

The word Ghana means Warrior King and was the title bestowed upon the kings of the medieval West African Ghana Empire which sits approximately 500 miles north of present day Ghana. Like much of the 'cradle of fucking civilization' the land occupied by Ghana has been inhabited since 1500 BC. It remained the Ghana Empire until the Portuguese came in search of, what else, gold, ivory, and slaves in the late 1400's. The Portuguese found so much gold that word quickly spread and they were joined by the French, Dutch, Swedes, Danes, and Brits. The French nicknamed the area 'Cote d'Ivoire' and today Ghana is bordered by the Ivory Coast. At one point the Europeans built so many forts along the Gold Coast that it contained the highest concentration of European military architecture outside of Europe. By the end of the 19th century only the Dutch and British remained and following the withdrawal of the Dutch in 1874, Ghana became a British colony. Following the end of World War II, there was an increased movement towards independence in Ghana, and finally on March 6, 1957 Ghana became the first democratic country in Africa to gain its independence. Present day Ghana encompasses over 92,000 square miles, has a population of around 24 million, and is the world's second largest producer of cocoa.

Having been inhabited by Europeans, Ghana was introduced to soccer in the 19th century. Prior to gaining it's independence the Gold Coast Amateur Sports Council was founded in 1952. Ohene Djan fought his way to power in the Sports Council and when Ghana won it's independence in 1957 he was charged with creating the Ghana Football Association. Under his leadership he created what is now the Ghana Premier League as well as convincing former Leeds United forward George Ainsley to become the National Team's first head coach. Since it's inception Ghana has appeared in 17 African Nation's Cups winning four (1963, 1965, 1978, 1982) and are currently appearing in their second World Cup Final. Their first World Cup Finals appearance, 2006, saw Ghana drawn into the group of death along with the United States, Italy, and the Czech Republic. The Black Stars lost their opening match to Italy two - nil, before beating the Czechs two - nil. Ghana and the United States both entered the final group match needing a win to advance. Haminu Draman scored in the 22nd minute giving Ghana a 1-0 lead. When Claudia Reyna went down in the 40th minute, and none other than Ben Olsen came on for the US, it appeared the Americans were poised for a come back win and in the 43rd minute Clint Dempsey notched the only American goal, and ensuing cha-cha, of the tournament drawing the US level. After the break, a phantom call on Gooch, in the 47th minute led to Stephen Appiah converting a penalty against Kasey Keller and a 2-1 win for the Black Stars. They lost in the round of 16, drawing group F winners Brazil and falling three - nil. Ghana's U-20 team exacted their revenge, beating Brazil on penalties in the finals of the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

Flag, National Anthem, & Nickname
The Flag of Ghana was designed by Theodosia Okoh to replace the British flag upon their independence in 1957. It features red, gold, and green horizontal stripes as well as a five pointed black star. The red represents the blood of those who died in the country's struggle for independence, the gold represents the mineral wealth of the country, the green symbolises the country's rich forests and natural wealth. The black star, also the team's nickname, pays homage to the Black Star shipping line founded by Marcus Garvey in the early 1900's. 'God Bless Our Homeland Ghana' has served as the Black Star's national anthem since gaining it's independence. It originally contained the line 'The gay star shining in the sky', however that was a little to homo-erotic for the Africans and has since been changed.

Frenchman Claude Le Roy led Ghana to a #14 overall FIFA ranking in 2008 before abruptly resigning to coach....Oman? Really? After a brief search for a new head coach, former Red Star Belgrade manager Milovan Rajevac was named gaffer in August 2008. As a player, he was a defender at Red Star Belgrade, capped by the former Yugoslavia and in the squad that reached the 1979 UEFA Cup final. While his appointment as manager of the national team was met with some skepticism, most fans calling for a home grown leader, and with his english skills so poor that he speaks to players through a translator, his stock soon soared as Ghana won it's first four matches under his watch with out conceding a single goal. His allegiances were called in to question when Ghana was drawn into the same group as his native country, Serbia, however a one-nil defeat in their opening group match quickly answered any questions Black Star's fans may have had.

The Black Stars are captained by US Nemesis Stephen Appiah. Appiah has had the arm band since qualification for the 2006 World Cup and converted the penalty kick against the US that ultimately put them out during the tournament's group stage. Appiah began his playing career at Hearts of Oak in the Ghanian Premier League before stints at Udinese Calcio, Juventus, Fenerbahçe S.K., and currently Bologna of Serie A. Prior to transfering to Bologna Appiah was a trialist with Tottenham, however, the Spurs declined to sign him after questions concerning his fitness arose. Appiah has long suffered from knee injuries, combined with his poor fitness he's only appeared in two matches for Bologna since signing in 2009. Despite this, Appiah has remained a main-stay for the Black Stars, earning 66 caps and notching 16 goals since his first team debut as a 16 year old in 1996.

Ghana plays very defensive-minded footie. Since his appointment as manager Rajevac has reversed their trend of conceding cheap goals and likes to pack the midfield, typically employing a 4-5-1 formation. He has at times experimented with more attacking and more defensive line-ups, and even the 4-5-1 tends to look more like a 4-4-2 when they are on the attack, but the emphasis is generally on the centre of the field. The majority of the Black Star's current roster were not on the roster that beat the US 2-1 in Nuremberg, the average age of the squad is a young 24. The most notable omission from their roster is Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien who tore a hamstring in December of 2009 at the African Cup of Nations and has yet to regain full fitness. Starting in goal is vice-captain and back up goal tender for Wigan Athletic, Richard Kingson. Kingston has appeared in 81 matches for the Black Stars and even notched a goal in the final minutes of a draw with Tanzania going end to end to head in a free kick by his brother, mid-fielder - Laryea Kingston. The defense is anchored by John Mensah (Lyon), not to be confused with Jonathan Mensah (Granada CF - Spanish Segunda), who is of no relation to "John Mensah", wears Jonathan on his kit to avoid confusion, and Hans Sarpei (Bayer Leverkusen) at central defense. On the right side former West Hammer, and current deuce teammate at Fulham - John Paintsil. Paintsil was heavily criticized after pulling an Isreali flag from his sock and waving it following the team's 2-0 defeat of the Czech Republic at the 2006 World Cup, leaving local newspapers to claim he was a "Mossad Agent"(Painstil played his club ball for Hapoel Tel Aviv in the Israeli Premier League at the time). At mid-field: Kevin-Prince-Boateng (Portsmouth) who grew up in Berlin and is a distant relative of West German hero Helmut Rahn who scored the winning goal at the 1954 World Cup. Despite playing for the German team at a youth level, Boateng was left off the senior German roster making him eligible to appear for the Black Stars; Nephew of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan - Anthony Annan (Rosenborg BK, Norway); Kwadwo Asamoah (Udinese); and son of legendary Ghanaian striker Abedi Pele André 'Dédé' Ayew (Marseille) who captained the U-20 Black Stars to the gold medal in the 2009 African Youth Cup. At striker Ghana typically pairs, club teammate of Carlos Bocanegra, Asamoah Gyan (Rennes) with Prince Tagoe (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim). Gyan poses the biggest scoring threat having notched 21 goals in 42 starts for the Black Stars, most recently scoring twice in the group stages of the tournament.

There is no reason to think the US can't win this match. Ghana has failed to score a goal in the run of play, relying on penalty kicks to score both their goals in group play. The question is whether the US can recover from the emotional roller coaster that saw them three minutes shy of not reaching the round of 16, and ensuing dog pile/stanky leg celebration of Landon Donovan's strike in the 91st minute of Wednesday's match. The US is completely capable of exacting their revenge against the team that sent them packing in the 2006 finals by pouring on three or four goals, but will we see the team that looked like world beaters in the second half against Slovenia? Or the team that got off to slow starts in all three group stage matches? Bradley will have the team ready, and I'm going to say the US prevails 3-1.

24 June 2010

two gentlemen enjoy a footie match

Since the foggy monocle is out of business apparently, here's what happens when two gentlemen are forced to watch the all too pivotal third group stage match at work. WARNING - pants will be ruined:

5th minute

Rob Gordon: chippy start
Celluloid Hero: jesus just finish this shit
and fucking bornstein?!
Rob Gordon:yeah dude, positive thinking, positive thinking...
Celluloid Hero: i'm trying to remain calm
Rob Gordon: yeah, we shall prevail
12th minute
Celluloid Hero: listened to metallica's "don't tread on me" on the way in! im pumped!
thats right yellow card!
Rob Gordon: #19 for algeria is swole the fuck up!

Celluloid Hero: he looks like the original bruno
20th minute
Rob Gordon: the deuce!
how did gomez miss that?
22nd minute
Rob Gordon: deuce!!!!
we get fucked again
Celluloid Hero: offsides?
fuck england scored.
Rob Gordon: was it wazza?
Celluloid Hero: another botched call by the refs
31st minute
Celluloid Hero: what the fuck dude. this is pathetic.
Rob Gordon: we're a second half team - keep the faith
plus i've got jozy scoring in about 3 minutes
Celluloid Hero: haha
nice moves by Stevie C!
34th minute
Rob Gordon: yessir
we'll get one don't worry
bocanegra is so dreamy
Rob Gordon:
dempsey great chance
poor finish Celluloid Hero: i have the sound all the way up on my phone!
Rob Gordon: haha
35th minute
Rob Gordon: that would have been jozy in the 35th!
open fucking net
Celluloid Hero: fucking fred sub in?
Rob Gordon: haha
45th minute
Rob Gordon: our first touches have been awful
Half Time
Rob Gordon: does bradley make half time changes?
dempsey at striker?
feildhaber for obama?
let's hope this pays off
46th minute
Celluloid Hero: fuck i'm stressing out
Rob Gordon: never, ever thought i'd type this:
but I would have liked to have seen buddle in the first half
Celluloid Hero: oh definitely. he and jozy play well together.
49th minute
Rob Gordon: donovan needs to get involved
we play best when he's going box to box
Celluloid Hero: who doesnt like going box to box?
Rob Gordon: haha
unless it's at an atlantic city strip club apparently
Celluloid Hero: oh god that was foul
im just sticking to vegas strip clubs or none at all.
56th minute
Celluloid Hero: W-T-F
Rob Gordon: ughh
landon hasn't been involved in the match at all
64th minute
Celluloid Hero: about time buddle comes on
67th minute Rob Gordon: mother fucker!!!!!
71st minute
Celluloid Hero: lil joe cole in for rooney
74th minute
Rob Gordon: how many sitters can we blow?
75th minute
Celluloid Hero: now i'm just hoping for slovenia to go level.
82nd minute
Celluloid Hero: love how the ref misses the elbow to deuce
91st minute
Rob Gordon: i just came!!!
Celluloid Hero: holy fucking shit dude
Rob Gordon: group winners!
Celluloid Hero: saturday. 2:30
Rob Gordon: holy shit man!
talk about a nail biter
Celluloid Hero: holy fuck, i need a lucky strike right about now.
Rob Gordon: i need to go jerk off
Celluloid Hero: i need to celebrate tonight!
Rob Gordon: i want to start a damn riot!
Celluloid Hero: hmm..let me look up the algerian embassy
Rob Gordon: haha
wow, man - that was the longest 91 minutes ever
Celluloid Hero: its in adams morgan. actually right down the street from cypress hill
Rob Gordon: holy shit dude
these nips could cut a diamond right now
Celluloid Hero: yeah dude. i was about to put a noose around my neck and produce some ejaculate
great day. emotional day. i wonder what Robert Evans would think

23 June 2010

officially retiring 'landy cakes'

Countless blown chances, a disallowed goal by a questionable call, and ninety-one minutes to become champions of group C. Donovan had a quiet game before scoring the game winner in stoppage time against Algeria, and I'm officially removing the term 'Landy Cakes' from my vocabulary. Be Champions!

22 June 2010

know your foe - algeria

After a thrilling come from behind draw against Slovenia, in what should have been a 3-2 win, if not for a mugging at the hands of Malian official Koman Coulibaly; the US finds itself in a must win situation when it takes the pitch tomorrow at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa. The final match of the group stage pits the Americans (0-2-0, 2 points) against Algeria (0-1-1, 1 point). The Algerians opened group play losing one nil to group leader Slovenia (4 points) before drawing the English in a snoozer of a match zero - zero. Both sides will be looking for all three points as a draw or loss eliminates Algeria, the US on the other hand can still advance with a draw provided the English draw Slovenia. A loss for the US will send them packing for their second consecutive World Cup after a strong showing in 2002 where they advanced to the quarterfinals.

In early times Algeria was very transitional, a halfway point for people moving west to Europe, or the heathens moving west to the Middle East. As the saying goes, Africa is the 'cradle of fucking civilization!' and present day Algeria has been inhabited since around 900 BC. In AD 24 the area was annexed by the Roman Empire and Christianity was spread until the arrival of the Arabs (no doubt looking for that oil) and ensuing spread of Islam in the eighth century. Algeria would remain Islamic until they tried to conquer the Spanish empire in the 1400's. Algeria along with Tripoli, and Tunisa were known as the Barbary states of the Ottoman Empire and their wide spread piracy of American merchant ships drew them into the first and second Barbary Wars with the United States(both battles won handily by the US). The modern day borders of Algeria were established by the French who invaded and seized Algeria in 1830 and it remained under French rule until the Guerre d'Algeria (Algerian War) in 1954. Algeria eventually was granted it's independence from France on July 5, 1962. Current President Abdelaziz Bouteflika came to power after the Algerian Civil War in the 1990's aided by the military, and has since pushed for a constitutional revision removing term limits and allowing him to run for a third term, an election which he promptly rigged, and won by a landslide.
The governing body of Algerian football, Fédération Algérienne de Football, was established the same year they gained Independence from the frogs and their first international match was played January 3, 1963 - a 2-1 defeat of Bulgaria. Algeria qualified for the 1982 World Cup, hosted in Spain, and despite beating runner up West Germany in their opening match 2-0, failed to move out of group play despite winning two of their three matches. After qualifying for the 1986 Finals in Mexico, Algeria was drawn into a group of death that included: Brazil, Spain, & Northern Ireland. After drawing Northern Ireland 1-1 on a goal from Djamel Zidane (no relation to Zinedine Zidane, despite his parents having emigrated from Algeria), they lost to Spain 3-0, and Brazil 1-0. Algeria and Egypt finished qualification for the 2010 World Cup Finals with identical records following a 2-0 defeat by the Egyptians in which three Algerian players were injured in Cairo from a mid-evil style stoning when fans stormed their bus,. The ensuing playoff was dubbed by some as 'the mother of all matches' given the tumultuous history the two countries share. Algeria ultimately won the match 1-0 in neutral Sudan to reach the tournament finals for the first time in 24 years. The Egyptians however, would get their revenge, courtesy of a 4-0 win in the semi-finals of the 2010 African Cup of Nations, a tournament Algeria won in 1990.

Flag, National Anthem, & Nickname
The National flag of Algeria consists of two equal vertical bars, green and white, with a red star and crescent (a symbol of Islam and the Muslim community) in the center. The white color represents peace; the green, the beauty of nature; the red, the blood of those killed fighting for independence in the Algerian War (1954 to 1962) and the star and crescent represent Islam. Although I've been told that Islam is a religion that preaches 'peace' I have a hard time believing it given that the first line in the Kassaman, the Algerian national anthem, goes a little something like this:
"We swear by the lightning that destroys, By the streams of generous blood being shed". It goes on to call France a bunch of pussies, something which I think we can all agree on, and a few uplifting lines about writing history with the blood of martyrs. Very inspiring... The nickname Les Fennecs or desert foxes comes not from German Field Marshall and war criminal Erwin Rommel, but the Fennec Fox which are indigenous to the northern Sahara Desert which runs through Algeria.

Rabah Saâdane has been head coach of Algeria no less than five separate times since initially becoming the boss in 1981. A former defender for French club Rennes his career was cut short by a car accident in 1973. Saâdane was an assistant coach during Algeria's 1982 Finals appearance, as well as head coach during their 1986 campaign. As part of his motivational techniques he reportedly had his players watch The Battle of Algiers, a 1966 film depicting the Algerian war against the French, following the sides 1-0 defeat by Slovenia. The US Government has also used the film to illustrate the problems the military faces in Iraq screening the film in 2003 with the headline: 'How to win a battle against terrorism and lose the war of ideas. Children shoot soldiers at point-blank range. Women plant bombs in cafes. Soon the entire Arab population builds to a mad fervor. Sound familiar? The French have a plan. It succeeds tactically, but fails strategically.' Sounds like a very inspiring flick.

The Desert Foxes are captained by mid-fielder, Yazid Mansouri, despite him not being a starter. The 32 year old has never scored in international play - appearing over 67 times in all competitions. The son of Algerian immigrants, Mansouri was born and brought up in the French town of Reims, the home to the champagne industry. Legend has it that he was spotted playing football in the street by a scout from the Le Havre club, who signed him on the spot. Yazid plays for FC Lorient in French Ligue 1, where he has notched an amazing one goal in 112 appearances. Following a disappointing result against Slovenia in the opening match, Yazid threatened to quit the team and went as far as returning to his hotel room to pack his bags, upon hearing the decision of head coach Rabah Saadane to not play him in the team's next match against England. Team officials were able to calm him down and despite being team captain for 10 years he has yet to appear in either of the desert foxes two matches.

Goal Keeper Faouzi Chaouchi made his first start with the national team in the decisive playoff match with Egypt, earning a clean sheet as well as helping the team qualify for it's first World Cup appearance in nearly a quarter century. The defence is anchored by central defender Antar Yahia from VfL Bochum in the second Bundesliga. Yahia achieved instant hero status in Algeria after his fortieth minute strike against Egypt carried the desert foxes to South Africa. He's joined in the back by Rangers defender and Maurice Edu/DeMarcus Beasley teammate Madjid Bougherra. Bougherra, who won the Scottish Premiere League goal of the season award for a solo effort during a 7-1 thrashing of Dundee United in December 2009. Rounding out the defense is Nadir Belhadj most recently returning from a loan at Portsmouth which saw him notch three goals in 32 appearances, and Rafik Halliche who plays in the Portuguese League for C.D. Nacional. The Algerians play a 4-5-1 formation so look for CD9's teammate from Sochaux Ryad Boudebouz, Medhi Lacen (Racing de Santander), Karim Matmour (Borussia Monchengladbach), Hassan Yebda (Benefica), and Karim Ziani (Wolfsburg). Algeria has yet to start a true striker up top using Foued Kadir who plays midfield for his club team, Valenciennes of French Ligue 1, as the lone attacking forward.

The US has yet to put together a consistent 90 minute performance. They've shown time and time again that they are capable of playing with and beating the best teams in the world, but seem to have a problem getting off to a good start, playing from behind in both group matches. There is no reason in the world the US shouldn't get three points from this match. That being said, it's not going to be the four - nil rout that everyone is hoping for. US 1 : 0 Algeria. Jozy gets on the score sheet in late in the first half, and Bradley packs it in during the second half.

12 June 2010

the world cup is just for countries

But Jose is champion of an entire continent. Special1TV is back bitches! Sven is king of the pimps, Rafa is a scrap merchant, Tom Cruise is recruiting golden balls to Scientology, given the 'burden of expectation' on the Brits - the boy Rooney has risen to an entire new psychological level, and ahead of USA v England - all is right in the world. Enjoy, but more importantly - Be Champions!

09 June 2010

know your foe - england

The United States faces off against England in group stage action of the World Cup final Saturday at Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg South Africa. Recently in friendly tune up matches, the English beat Mexico 3-1, and needed two own goals by Japan to beat them 2-1. The US enters Saturday's match having beaten Australia 3-1 with two goals from Buddle and an injury time score from Pachuca stand out and Barrack Obama look-a-like Herculez Gomez and a come from behind defeat of Turkey 2-1. The match will mark only the tenth time the two teams have played each other, and for me will be a cause for a riot regardless of the result.

The Football Association, governing body of all English Football competitions, was founded in 1863. Prior to it's formation clubs from different regions of the country all played by different sets of rules. Ebenezer Cobb Morley who is regarded as the father of modern day association football, was the FA's first secretary and author of the original 'laws of the game' which continue to govern the play of soccer. The current president of the FA is none other than Aston Villa fan and future King of England, Prince William of Wales ...pretty tough gig. Since the inception of the World Cup in 1930, the English have appeared in 13 of the 16 tournaments, winning their only title in 1966. Acting as hosts for the 1966 tournament, the final played on July 30th at the old Wembley Stadium was a re-match of World War II. The Brits ultimately defeated the West Germans 4-2, with striker Geoff Hurst scoring a 'technically perfect' (that is a goal with both left and right foot plus one headed) hat trick. Hurst would go on to play for the Seattle Sounders of the NASL in 1976. After failing to qualify for the 1994 World Cup played in the United States, the British reached the round of 16 in '98, and the quarterfinals in both '02 and '06. Their loss to Portugal in 2006 saw both an injured David Beckham leave in the 53rd minute and a wound up Wayne 'Wazza' Rooney get sent off in the 62nd minuted for stomping on the genitals of Portugal's Ricardo Carvalho. After 120 minutes of scoreless action, Portuguese goal keeper Ricardo saved penalties by Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, and Jamie Carragher en route to a 3-1 victory. Aside from their victory in 1966, they added a fourth place finish in 1990, as well as two Olympic gold medals in 1908 and 1912. Their strongest showing in Europe being third place in 1968.

Head to Head Record
Despite going undefeated (1-0-1) in armed conflicts (great result in the Revolutionary War and I'll call the war of 1812 a draw) against the British, the US has not fared as well on the pitch. The US and England have faced each other a total of 9 times through out the years with the Brits claiming 7 of the 9 wins. The most famous victory for the Americans, of course, being the 'miracle on grass' one - nil defeat of the Brits in the group stages of the 1950 World Cup featuring Mighty Joe Gaetjens scoring for the Yanks in the 38th minute. All time, the Brits have outscored the Americans by a tally of 35 to 8. The last time the two sides played was in a friendly match at Wembley Stadium - May 28th 2008, the English won easily led by goals from John Terry and Steven Gerrard. The only American on the roster to have scored against England is none other than Clint Dempsey who scored the US's only goal in a 2-1 defeat at Chicago's Soldier Field in May of 2005. You have to go all the way back to 1993 for the last Yank win in the series when Thomas Dooley and Ginger bastard Alexi Lalas scored, with both goals being set up by Tab Ramos, in a 2-0 friendly defeat of the red coats at Foxborough Stadium.

Flag & National Anthem
The St. George's Cross, is the official flag of England when not competing as the United Kingdom. The more widely known Union Jack flag represents the United Kingdom, however, in International football the UK competes as four separate entities: Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and England. St. George became the patron saint of England in the twelfth century following a legend of St. George slaying a dragon which originated in the twelfth century. God Save the Queen is the national anthem of the United Kingdom. In one of the earliest available examples of sampling and covering, American Samuel Francis Smith re-wrote the lyrics, leaving out the silly idea of a constitutional monarchy, called it My Country, 'Tis of Thee and it went quadruple platinum.

After, then English manager, Steve McClaren's side lost to Croatia in the final qualifying match to lowly Croatia 3-2 in front of a packed house at Wembley Stadium in 2007 it was clear the Brits needed a coaching change. The loss meant that the English failed to qualify for Euro 2008, the first time they had failed to qualify for the European Championship in 24 years. McClaren was sacked the following day after having been at the helm for only 16 matches. The natural choice to right the ship was clearly, the special one, but after José Mourinho with drew his name from consideration Fabio Capello, despite his tenuous grasp on the English Language, was named manager on December 14, 2007. The retired midfielder notched a modest 45 goals in over 300 starts with Roma, Juventus, and AC Milan; winning Serie A three times, as well as two Coppa Italias as a player. Capello has managed some of the biggest football clubs in the world, two stints with AC Milan and Real Madrid as well as spells with Roma and Juventus. As a manager he had won seven Serie A titles, before having to vacate two amidst the Italian match fixing scandal of 2006 which saw Juventus relegated to Serie B and stripped of all honours. Under Capello's management the Brits have posted an impressive 75% win percentage over 24 matches; winning 18, losing only 2, and drawing 4 during his tenure. All of this clearly couldn't be less important as it was recently brought to my attention that no world cup champion has ever been managed by a foreign born coach.

The saga of the English Captain's arm band reads like a damn soap opera. After the English shit the bed in the quarterfinals of the 2006 World Cup (losing to Portugal on penalties 3-1), David Beckham announced that he would no longer captain the English team. McClaren appointed Chelsea defender John Terry the new captain who held the position until reports of him knocking up English team mate Wayne Bridge's special lady friend surfaced. Ultimately he did the classy thing, and by that - I mean he paid the tab on her abortion, Bridge declined to be included in the English 23 man roster forcing Capello to name Manchester United central defender Rio Ferdinand the squad's captain. During the team's first training session in South Africa Ferdinand suffered a torn knee ligament after a tackle with Aston Villa striker Emile Heskey ruling him out of the tournament and leaving Capello with the task of naming a new captain. Enter widely known Phil Collins fan and scouse bastard...lil' Steven Gerrard. Gerrard, who also captains Liverpool, has notched 16 goals in 80 caps for the Brits.

The English are the only team in the World Cup fielding a squad of players that all appear in their home league, with each of Capello's 23 men playing in the Barclay's Premiership. Absent due to injury David Golden Balls Beckham, Rio Ferdinand, and the biggest shocker - Micheal Owen (who never gets hurt). Perhaps the shakiest position for the three Lions is at Goal Keeper. Most likely getting the start will be 39 year old Portsmouth keeper David 'Calamity' James. At 6' 4 1/2" James was at one time a premier keeper, that time being nearly 18 years ago when he made a rocky debut for Liverpool. James went on to concede 20 goals in 11 matches before losing his starting spot to South African international Bruce Grobbelar. James would later blame his propensity for playing hours of video games for his poor performances. Anchoring the back line will be the Chelsea duo of John Terry and Ashley Cole fresh off of their league and FA cup double. Also likely to start at defense is good old Jamie Carragher who claimed that he was fine with missing his spot try in the 2006 quarterfinals because 'he'd rather miss for England than Liverpool'...I'm sure I know at least one person who shares that sentiment. With the injury to Rio Ferdinand Capello added Hotspurs defender Michael Dawson who has never even sniffed the bench for the national team before having no first team caps. In the midfield you'll clearly see captain wonderful Steven Gerrard, along side former Chelsea and hammer stand out lil' Joe Cole. Vice Captain and star of your favorite Premier League sex tape Frank Lampard is always a scoring threat from midfield dropping 20 goals in his 78 caps for the senior team. At striker you'll most likely see the boy Rooney paired with Emile 'the captain killer' Heskey. Capello only elected to bring four strikers, with Peter Crouch and Jermaine Defoe most likely available off the bench.

Keeping in mind that the US can, and most definitely should, advance out of group play regardless of the outcome of the fixture with England, I think the US actually have a shot at getting a result. If Bradley has the squad playing for a draw England will definitely dominate the match and it could get ugly. On the flip side if the US takes up the mentality of playing possession football and building through their mid-field, clearly their most talented position, they have a great shot at surprising the Brits. That being said, as much as it hurts me to say this, I think England is just too talented to drop this game to the Yanks. I say 2 : 1 England, goals from Wazza and Lampard for the Brits, and Dempsey with a strike for the Yanks.

04 June 2010

the special one is back!

Safe to say: these pants are ruined. Not the best advert ever, but just knowing that Jose will be back in seven days is enough for me.

02 June 2010

beggin' - the new hottness?

Back again bitches...while I'm slaving over several new World Cup posts enjoy Pilooski's 're-edit' of this Frankie Vallie classic. It's a few years old, but I just heard it the other day and safe to say I'm hooked. A world cup absent of fat Ronaldo is going to make it difficult to work in any mention of tranny hookers, but I will find a way...