Posts Tagged ‘Italy’

Sócrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Souza Vieira de Oliveira: 1954 - 2011

As you are well aware by now, the legendary Sócrates has died this morning, December 4 2011; from septic shock.

I have never seen Socrates play apart from clips through documentaries and Youtube. Clearly, he was long before my generation had even come into fruition. What I have heard however, from those who lived in his era, was that Socrates was a timeless personage – both on and off the pitch.

He captained the much acclaimed Brazil team 0f 1982 – widely regarded as the best team to never win a World Cup.  Although they fell at the hands of Paolo Rossi’s Italy in the final, that Brazilian team was ridiculously entertaining to watch.

And off the field, he was just as charismatic.

From The Guardian:

Sócrates was one of the very few qualified medical doctors to play the game at the very highest level, captaining Brazil in the 1982 World Cup, widely recognised as one of the best teams (along with Hungary in 1954 and Holland in 1974) never to win the tournament. His style of play was unmistakable; elegant and effortless almost to the point of nonchalance, and with a penchant for the back-heel that prompted Pelé to remark that Socrates played better going backwards than most footballers going forward.

At a time when most people were still afraid to speak out against the regime, he politicised football in a way no other player has even attempted, before or since. And he was as proud of his team’s valiant contribution in helping dismantle the dictatorship as he was his considerable football achievements. At the end of 1982, Corinthians won the São Paulo state championship with “Democracia” printed on the back of their black shirts. Sócrates said it was “perhaps the most perfect moment I ever lived. And I’m sure it was for 95% of [my teammates] too”.

• Sócrates (Sócrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Souza Vieira de Oliveira), footballer, born 19 February 1954; died 4 December 2011

I send my condolences and prayers to the family of this legend, and to the entire nation of Brazil.

 

To Golden Goal or not to Golden Goal?

FIFA can’t seem to be able to make up their mind about the golden goal rule. It was a rule that was introduced at Euro ’96 which meant that that team who scored the 1st goal in extra-time of a knockout game would automatically win the match and advance to the next round. A crude way of losing which Italy found out the hard way in the Euro 2000 final:

By 2004, the golden goal rule was completely scrapped. The reason being that it ‘promoted’ defensive football as both teams would stay safe and avoid being scored on before the penalty shoot-out after 120 minutes.

And now, after 6 years and a sup-bar World Cup in South Africa (during the group stages anyway); Sepp Blatter is considering re-introducing the golden goal rule.

Blatter wants more goals. That is evident. But his view is misrepresented and his plans are untenable. His concern seems to be directed at critics from non-football fans who deem the sport boring. Although the World Cup in South Africa started off quite sluggish, it was transformed dramatically into a tournament of incitement and turmoil.

Aside from being a World Cup which saw a new champion, the tournament will be remembered for its controversy, drama, and bad officiating rather than its aridity. It’s an area of concern which Blatter should focus more on instead of of tinkering with the unbroken rules of the game. We need goal-line technology. It’s time to stop living in Di Stefano’s era and time to start bringing ourselves in line with modern thinking:  Hence taking advantage of technology that is there to be used. It’s much more important to have a fair outcome, than an exciting outcome.

Whether we like it or not, there is absolutely nothing wrong with defensive football. It’s a style of play and a strategy that suits certain teams more than others. The World can’t expect every team to play like Spain, Argentina, and Brazil (my apologies if your country wasn’t on this list). Every team plays to its strengths.  Some are strong in attack, and some are strong at the back. What’s evident is that the game is always changing and tacticians are becoming more masterful at what they do. As much as some people enjoy ‘Tiki-Taka’ Spanish football more than Catenaccio football; I must admit that I always enjoyed the way Nesta and Cannavaro made defending look like an art for Italy.

I’m not particularly against the golden goal rule. However, if Blatter wants to promote attacking football over defensive football, bringing back this rule will not entice teams to come out of their defensive shell just because they have to score first before the penalty shootout.

Taken from Time Magazine:

South Korea

United States

Greece

Italy

Japan

Honduras

Chile

Brazil

Uruguay

Ghana

Zizou, El Buitre, Figo

It was nice seeing Zidane and Figo doing 1-2 combos like the good old days. It was a charity game between the Real Madrid legends and the AC Milan legends which consisted of Paolo Maldini, Zidane, Figo, Rui Costa, Mcmanaman, Baresi and Butragueno among others.

A whopping 70, 000 fans showed up at the Bernabeu for a friendly game that aimed to help research focused on sudden death syndrome.

Match Report and Highlights:

MATCH REPORT:
4 – Real Madrid Veterans: Buyo, Chendo, Fernando Sanz, Sanchis, Garcia Cortes, Gallego, Karembeau, Zidane, Figo, Butragueño, Santillana -starting eleven-, Contreras, Jaro, Rojas, Ramis, Rubio, Sabido, Julio Llorente, Ivan Perez, McManaman, Amavisca, Velasco, Victor.
3 – Milan Glorie: Rossi, Cafu, Costacurta, Baresi, Maldini, Evani, Boban, Serginho, Simone, Rui Costa, Massaro -starting eleven-, Nava, Contra, Weah, Papin, Braglia, Fuser, Galli, Panucci, Lentini, Carbone, Eranio.

Goals:
0-1
(4′): Simone
0-2 (6′): Rui Costa
1-2 (11′): Butragueño
2-2 (37′): Amavisca
3-2 (52′): Alfonso
3-3 (57′): Rui Costa
4-3 (85′): Alfonso

– Realmadrid.com

Never gets old. In my opinion, the smoothest player since Zinedine Zidane.

World Cup commercials are back. Nike’s latest work:

ROME — Marco Materazzi plans to be touring the United States in a motor home with family and friends during this year’s World Cup.

 

The Italian defender says he’s still so angry over Zinedine Zidane’s head butt during the 2006 final that he won’t even watch this year’s tournament in South Africa. Materazzi told La Repubblica on Monday he’s still waiting for Zidane to apologize.

Zidane said he head-butted Materazzi during overtime after the Italian insulted his sister. Zidane was ejected, and Italy went on to win the title on penalty kicks after a 1-1 tie.

Materazzi told the newspaper the head butt, as well as Thierry Henry’s hand ball against Ireland that sent France to a fourth consecutive World Cup appearance at Ireland’s expense, showed the “disgusting” side of soccer.

He said he was particularly incensed that while he was disciplined for alleged unsporting behavior in 2006, Henry hasn’t been sanctioned in any way.

“I was treated like a delinquent: After Berlin they wouldn’t even let me go on vacation for two days so they could question me,” he was quoted as saying.

Materazzi stressed that he idolized Henry and that the hand ball in November was an instinctive mistake. But he added: “If you’re talking fair play, there’s a precedent — mine — and so they should have taken measures against Henry. But instead, I see they didn’t even bring him in to question him.”

Earlier this year, Materazzi extended his contract with Inter Milan until 2012.

Well, as much as Materazzi bleeds with hypocrisy on a consistent basis; we have to be fair here. The man has a point. We see so much cheating in the game today. From handballs, to dives. Henry’s last handball knocked Ireland out of the World Cup and nothing was done to sanction him. Although Materazzi is a filthy player, admittedly his un-sportsmanlike conduct overshadows everyone else’s cheating unfairly.

Just in case you live under a rock and don’t know Materazzi’s game:

David Silva

First of all, I am going to apologize to all my fans for not being around in the past couple of weeks. Believe it or not I have somewhat of a busy life. However, summer is over – which means school is starting – which means you will see more blog entries from me – which means I have excellent priorities.

Right on.

World Cup Qualifying

The World Cup and the finalists are finally taking shape. This week was host to some outrageous events. Starting in Tbilisi, Georgia hosted Italy looking for their first win. Pretty tough task when you have to play against the defending World Champions (admittedly though it’s a much weaker Italian side than before, but their consistent luck makes them a threat against anyone). Now we’ve all have heard about the calciopoli scandal, but is it too much to say that Kahka Kaladze was offered some kind of expensive automobile to purposely lose the game? Italy won the match 2-0 from two outrageous own goals by Kaladze:

Portugal – All but out.

For a team that was a favorite to win the World Cup, failure to qualify didn’t even cross anyone’s mind. That dream of even being considered a favorite is all but shattered now. Portugal now lies fourth place in their group behind Denmark, Hungary, and Sweden. Carlos Quieroz seems to have completely lost the plot. Portugal’s starting line-up against Denmark consisted of: Pepe, Raul Meireles, Tiago, Deco, Simao, and Cristiano Ronaldo. I know Portugal has lacked a good striker for years, but this team doesn’t even have one in the line-up! Add to the fact that Pepe most certainly should not be played as DM (as great as he is).

KAKA

I’ve always been one of his biggest fans even when he was in Milan; and now that he’s a Madridista I think I might just be in love him. For me, this guy is easily the smoothest and most elegant player in the World right now (I still believe Messi is the best player in the World.. But Kaka is just a joy to watch). Kaka has always been awesome for Brazil and fantastic against Argentina. The World Cup Qualifyer against Argentina this week showed that he hasn’t slowed down one bit, he was running past players and setting people up and completely overshadowed Mascherano and Messi. Maradona needs to get Argentina sorted out – and quick. Argentinians don’t like to lose 3-1 at home against their biggest rivals. Highlights (and check out Kaka’s incredible pass for Brazil’s last goal):

David Silva y La Furia Roja

David Silva is on fire right now and definitely one of the most in-form players in the World. The guy is so underrated it’s not even remotely funny. Silva and David Villa made up for 4 of Spain’s 5 goals against Belgium. I still can’t believe how much Valencia have struggled having those two in their team. Spain is a machine right now, they look absolutely unstoppable. The scary thing is that Iniesta and Ramos are still injured and did not play this game. Just sit back and enjoy the kings of Europe doin’ their thang:

The three best player compilations I have seen. Awesome soundtracks, visuals and editing:

Kaka

Ronaldinho

Zidane

 

Raps beat Cows in a thriller
Raps beat Cows in a thriller

Why are the Raptors on a four game winning streak? Don’t they understand that the more they lose, the better draft pick they’ll have this year? I mean, do what you want with the pick, but get the highest pick possible! Now that the season is tanked, they’ve decided to play ball, beating teams that they have no business beating.

Well, maybe this last stretch of the season is a sign of things to come for next year. Marion is finding a flow, and maybe we’re seeing the team gel finally. Emphasis on the ‘maybe’. The Raps have a solid starting five. If Colangelo can re-sign Marion, and add some much needed depth to the squad in the off season, we might see a resurgence.

  • Jose Calderon is on course to have one of (if not) the best free throw shooting season(s) in NBA history. He had a monster line against the Bulls today; 21 points and 19 assists.
  • If I had to build my team around a point guard for the future, I would seriously consider picking Derrick Rose, and not Chris Paul (discussions welcome).
  • I was obviously kidding about the Raptors tanking the season and getting a high draft pick. They should always try to win every game they can no matter what the circumstances.
  • Seriously.. Please tank the season and lose every game from now on.

Now that we got that rant over with, let’s move to another rant:

Ali Daei Sacked
Ali Daei Sacked

 Football legends very rarely become successful coaches. It was a mistake to bring in Daei in the first place; we should have taken Clemente when we had him in Iran, but completely blew it. I’m not here to make a massive list of Daei’s tactical shortcomings as a coach, I just want to point out that he’s lost alot of respect from many Iranian’s around the World. His response after the loss to Saudi at home in front of 100, 000 fans:

“I will not leave my job as Iran boss. Iranian football officials cannot fire me. You were not the ones who offered me the job. Accordingly, you cannot ask for my departure. It was not Ali Daei who was defeated today; it was Iran’s national football team which was [defeated]”

Daei, who has dropped a couple of Iranian stars in his brief era with Iran as coach due to personal disputes, also commented on the absence of former Asian player of the year Ali Karimi in the squad:

“Karimi was in no shape to shine at Persepolis match against Saudi Arabia’s al-Shabaab earlier this month. I talked to Persepolis manager and I found out that he had not attended training sessions for 25 days,”

Right. Evidence shows that Karimi has clearly been to his training sessions. He’s also been in top form for Persepolis all year.

Daei, you are one of the best players in Asian history, and you hold the FIFA International goalscoring record. Thank you for everything, but with all due respect; you are not the man for this job.

Not all is lost in the football World though.

Piqué FTW!
Piqué FTW!

Spain 1-0 Turkey. The European champions played against a stubborn Turkish defence without Cesc, Iniesta, and Puyol. Turkey played a great tactical game at the Bernabeu, but in the end, La Furia Roja were too much. Their passing game is like a slow torture for opponents. They ooze confidence and produce free flowing football that is unmatched in International football. Pure art, and they aren’t even at their best.

  • Holland 3-0 Scotland. Klaas Jan Huntelaar can’t stop scoring. He’s like a mini Ruud. Big shoes to fill, but he is a very intriguing prospect.
  • Portugal 0-0 Sweden. Both countries are in jeopardy sitting 4 points behind Denmark and Hungary. Hungary and Denmark also have a game in hand.
  • Montenegro 0-2 Italy. Huge win for the Azzuri in Eastern Europe. The World Cup Champs are one step closer to defending their crown in South Africa.

Thanks for reading. Why was this post so awesome? I was listening to this the whole time:

Now go back and read this post again. But this time, listen to the song while doing it. It makes it alot more dramatic.