Posts Tagged ‘Saudi Arabia’

Ramos and co. didn't really try. But it was enough.

 

There are some worries in the Spanish National camp as the reigning European champions don’t look as focused as they did last summer. ‘La Furia Roja’ struggled to beat non-World Cup dwellers Saudi Arabia 3-2 in Innsbruck, Austria  on Saturday.

The Saudi’s surprisingly went up 1-0 in the 16th minute as Osama Hawsawi headed in a corner that Spanish keeper Iker Casillas failed to punch clear. 14 minutes later, Barcelona striker David Villa scored to level the match. At the half, the Saudi’s looked more impressive than the Spanish.

After the half-time break, Spain came out with more sloppy play; and although Xabi Alonso gave Spain the lead in the 57th minute with a precise shot from outside the box, Saudi Arabia leveled the match in the 73rd minute with a freak goal which deflected off of Al Namare and past the helpless Casillas. The game ended with substitute Llorente heading in a Xabi Alonso corner in virtually the last kick of the game to give Spain the 3-2 win.

It’s clear that Spanish coach Vicente Del Bosque needs to have his team more focused when the World Cup comes around. Although this Spanish team is much deeper and better on paper than the one that won the Euro (inclusions of Pique, Valdes, Pedro, Llorente and Navas are fantastic) they do not look as sharp. Former Euro winning coach Luis Aragones formed an organized cohesive unit which we haven’t really seen under 2-time Champions League winner Del Bosque. The ‘moustache’ as they call him, is still awaiting the return of 2 of his key players in Cesc Fabregas and Fernando Torres from injury.

International Friendly results and highlights organized for viewing for your pleasure:

Spain 3-2 Saudi Arabia

Ireland 3-0 Algeria

Slovakia 1-1 Cameroon

Serbia 0-1 New Zealand

Sweden 4-2 Bosnia Herzegovina

Ukraine 3-2 Romania

Hungary 0-3 Germany

USA 2-1 Turkey

England 2-1 Japan

Belarus 1-0 Korea Republic

Paraguay 2-2 Ivory Coast

Gambia 1-5 Mexico

Nigeria 1-1 Colombia

Tunisia 1-1 France

Chile 1-0 Northern Ireland

Other Results:

Norway 2-1 Montenegro

Moldova 2-3 UAE

Poland 0-0 Finland

Iceland 4-0 Andorra

Azerbaijan 1-3 Rep. of Macedonia

Venezuela 1-1 Canada

First of all, I would like to introduce the new ‘chat widget’ on the right hand side of my blog. I will be on-line from time to time, so if you catch me at the right times, please drop me a line! I have already met a couple of very nice people!

Now enough small talk, let’s cut to the chase. What has changed since my round 1 post? Absolutely nothing.

The Matrix playing like a man possessed in the Raptors win streak.
The Matrix playing like a man possessed in the Raptors win streak.

 I came home late from class tonight, logged into nba.comas usual, and was pretty surprised to see that the Raptors had beaten the Magic 99-95 IN Orlando. That’s 5 in a row now. Clearly, Jay Triano did not read my blog post about how the Raptors should tank the season to get a good draft pick. 

Now whats even more important than this game, is what happened at half-time (from The Associated Press):

In an April Fool’s joke that left everyone but the contestant laughing, the Magic made a fan think he was shooting a half-court shot for $100,000 at halftime. The fan was blindfolded, and the crowd was told beforehand to cheer as if he made the shot. The young contestant, named Dan, missed badly but believed he won and danced around the court in a frenzy. Before being told it was a joke and showed the replay he said, “I just got laid off at work.” He was given a 100 Grand Bar of candy instead but was not laughing. …

Wow. Life is cruel isn’t it? Moving on..

Turkey 1-2 Spain

Riera FTW!
Riera FTW!

 I was watching this game on my laptop in the back of my class today. Yes, how straight are my priorities? It was 1-1 till the very last minute, when Danny Guiza creates an opportunity out of nothing and passes to Riera who slots it home. I’ve never heard Turkish fans so quiet in my life. You could have heard a pin drop in that stadium. Especially considering they are some of the biggest fanatics in the World. The most ironic thing about this whole situation was that Guiza, the man who has been horrible for Fenerbache all year, was the man who finished Turkey off.

In all honesty, I felt bad for the Turks. It was a heart breaker for them and even the most hardcore of Spanish supporters could feel for them. They played well, and now they have it all to do sitting third place in the group.

The Hunter is a machine
The Hunter is a machine
  • Huntelaar still scoring! Klaas scored a beautiful goal today against Macedonia.
  • Bolivia 6-1 Argentina. Yes, that scoreline is 100% real. I guess the Argies are not too fond of playing in high altitudes.
  • South Korea 1-0 Korea DPR/Saudi 3-2 UAE. It’s not looking good for Iran.
  • France 1-0 Lithuania. I’ve been really unimpressed with France lately. For the players they have: Lassana, Ribery, Benzema, Evra, Toulalan and co.; they should be making alot more noise than they are.
  • Brazil 3-0 Peru. A double from Luis Fabiano. But this Brazil team is nothing compared to their past sides.

I can’t wait for the World Cup.

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.