Category: Sport

Pic of the day

seppblatter moneyball

Fifa president Sepp Blatter is showered with cash by British comedian Lee Nelson, who interrupts a news conference in Zurich. Nelson, whose real name is Simon Brodkin, gained entry to the Fifa headquarters in Zurich and poured dozens of fake dollar bills over the stage, suggesting the money go towards a North Korea World Cup bid.

Har.

Lloyd hat-trick inspires U.S. Women to World Cup victory


Click to enlargeReuters/Michael Chow

The United States won the Women’s World Cup for the third time, crushing Japan 5-2 on Sunday with striker Carli Lloyd scoring the tournament’s fastest ever hat-trick, including a spectacular goal from the half-way line.

The American captain struck three times inside 16 minutes as the U.S. stormed into an unexpected and unsurmountable 4-0 lead over their shell-shocked opponents.

Japan, winners four years ago, were utterly stunned as the U.S’s deadly finishing ensured they added to their 1991 and 1999 titles, and became the first nation to win the Cup three times…

No team had ever scored more than two goals in a Women’s World Cup final but the brilliant Lloyd went one better all by herself — and within just 16 minutes…

And got her the Golden Ball for the tournament.

Japan restored a little bit of pride in the 27th minute when Yuki Ogimi turned Julie Johnston in the area and fired past Hope Solo to make it 4-1.

The Japanese have been widely praised for their short-passing game but it was an old-fashioned route that brought them, temporarily, back into the game early in the second half.

Aya Miyami’s long free-kick into the box was aimed at Sawa and Johnston rose for the ball but could only deflect a header past a helpless Solo.

The glimmer of hope flickered for just two minutes, however, when a U.S. corner fell to Morgan Brian beyond the far post and she did well to find Tobin Heath, who confidently fired home to make it 5-2 and effectively end Japan’s hope of a comeback.

Bravo! The US Women’s team proved their worth, demonstrated that a nation that still hasn’t grown to full participation in the world’s most popular sport can grow through school programs and amateur leagues to play at the best professional level.

FIFA officials arrested on corruption charges

The world governing body of football, Fifa, was plunged into an unprecedented crisis on the eve of its congress in Zurich after Swiss authorities arrested a string of officials in a dawn raid and opened criminal proceedings over the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

More than a dozen plainclothed officers descended on the five-star Baur au Lac hotel on Wednesday, where officials had gathered for Fifa’s annual meeting.

The arrests were made on behalf of US authorities, after an FBI investigation that has been ongoing for at least three years. The US Department of Justice said authorities had charged 14 officials, nine of whom are current or former Fifa executives. Those arrested in Zurich face extradition to the US…

Separately, Swiss federal prosecutors said they had opened criminal proceedings in connection with the award of the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar. These decisions have been shrouded in claims of bribery and corruption ever since the vote in December 2010.

The Swiss authorities seized “electronic data and documents” in a raid on Fifa headquarters. Bank documents had earlier been collected from various Swiss financial institutions. Police will question 10 members of the Fifa executive committee who took part in the World Cup votes. The 10, all still current members of Fifa’s ExCo, include senior vice-president Issa Hayatou of Cameroon and Vitaly Mutko, Russia’s sports minister who is head of the country’s 2018 World Cup organising committee. The others are Angel Maria Villar Llona (Spain), Michel D’Hooghe (Belgium), Senes Erzik (Turkey), Worawi Makudi (Thailand), Marios Lefkaritis (Cyprus), Jacques Anouma (Ivory Coast), Rafael Salguero (Guatemala) and Hany Abo Rida (Egypt).

In a statement, the Swiss attorney general’s office said the executives were being questioned on suspicion of “criminal mismanagement” and money laundering. It said the timing of the operation was deliberately co-ordinated with the arrests on behalf of the US authorities “to avoid any possible collusion” between suspects and because a large number of those involved in the voting for the two World Cups were present in Zurich, where Fifa president Sepp Blatter was expected to be re-elected for another four-year term on Friday.

At a later press conference at Fifa headquarters, spokesman Walter de Gregorio denied Blatter was in any way involved with either investigation and said blah, blah, blah, blah.

I shan’t wander off into the scumbag details, now. RTFA. The tale is global. Corruption, bribery, payoffs, money laundering, kickbacks and profit from all of the above fill in the broad strokes of an outline of FIFA history for the last couple of decades. Money remains the most useful tool of corruption.

I am no longer shocked. Cynicism is not a necessity, it is a result. It is derivative.

I recommend following The GUARDIAN through the coming days unraveling the corruption that is FIFA. No one in the world of journalism has struggled longer and harder to bring that sporting body to a principled change.

SuperMané gets fastest hat trick in Premier League history

Mane #3
Click for the videosorry about the commercial

Sadio Mané scores the fastest hat trick in Premier League history

Remarkable. Incredible. Amazing. There are perhaps no words to sum up what happened in under three minutes at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton on Saturday.

Sadio Mané scored the quickest hat trick in Premier League, as Southampton’s Senegalese forward netted three times in 2 minutes and 56 seconds of Southampton’s game against Aston Villa…

We couldn’t believe it while we watched it live, this morning.

Poor Tim Sherwood. One of our favorite managers – and Aston Villa performing like defense hadn’t yet been invented.

NFL investigating Atlanta Falcons for fake crowd noise — Huh? Wha?

The Atlanta Falcons are being investigated by the NFL for creating artificial noise in their stadium for home games. The team confirmed the investigation’s existence Sunday after the league started looking into the noise level of the games the past two seasons.

The Falcons are accused of piping in noise while the opposing teams huddled to discuss plays.

Excessive noise, such as a rowdy crowd, can make it difficult for a team to run their offensive line, and thereby theoretically damaged their plays. Both the Seattle Seahawks and the Kansas City Chiefs have broken the record for being the loudest stadiums. Natural crowd noise is not considered a violation of the rules, but creating noise could be considered a competitive advantage…

The tactic, if used, did not help the Falcons. They were only 6-10 at home over the last two seasons and 4-12 away.

If the Falcons are found guilty, the punishment will be steep and could lead to losing a draft pick.

Um, OK. Home field advantage and crowd noise is even more distinctive in proper football. What Americans call “soccer”.

Supporters of visiting teams are often limited to a very small percentage of seats. Often as low as 5%. Tie that in with the global tradition of supporter songs and chants – louder than many Americans may ever experience – and you have serious supportage.

In most countries the only amplification ever allowed is for cheerleaders. Not the crowd. Cripes, I’d hate to imagine what it would be like in a tight noisy stadium like Stoke City’s Britannia Stadium. Supporters often reach 83db – though Liverpool’s Anfield has been measured recently at 97db.

That’s equivalent to modern “quieter” jetliners taking off.

Pic of the Day


Click to enlargeSHUJI KAJIYAMA/AP FOTO

The photo is from this weekend in Suzuka, Japan. The Japanese Gran Prix. It rained.

These two cars are driven by teammates who also happen to hold the top two positions in the world championship with four races left in the season. At that moment they were separated by a hair, a couple of points.

The driver on the left is Nico Rossberg. Catching him on the right in Lewis Hamilton. Competing with each other for the world championship truly is more important than team victories. Mercedes would not like it to be that way – but, it is and cannot be any different.

In the rain, slowing from perhaps 200mph to take this turn around 60 mph, braking in the rain, Lewis Hamilton is about to pass Nico Rossberg on the outside of the curve they are entering and go on to win the race.

Understand all of that in Shuji Kajiyama’s photograph.

Real Madrid and Manchester United shatter American attendance record for proper football

Michigan Stadium
Click to enlargeLeon Halip/Getty Images

A small town in Northern Michigan had the eyes of the soccer world watching it with the largest crowd in American history on hand to witness Real Madrid and Manchester United at Michigan Stadium. A grand total of 109,318 were in the stands to witness the event. The game was broadcast around the world in up to 40 countries, with an estimated economic impact of $15-20 million on Washtenaw county…

As expected, the atmosphere inside the stadium was even louder and more energetic than the one created outside of it leading up to the match. Fans had descended onto Ann Arbor from around the world, and once the game kicked off, it was easy to forget that the match was only a part of a preseason tournament. Nonetheless, Manchester United, only needed a point to reach the final in Miami, and Louis Van Gaal wanted his team to be there…

The game on the pitch was rather action packed, but it was those watching the match in the stands that really made it such a special occasion. Saturday afternoon in Ann Arbor was proof that soccer has made it in North America.

Major League Soccer continues to grow in strength, reputation and competitive level. Reflecting not only the growth of proper football in the United States; but, the reputation and ability of teams throughout our regional association CONCACAF.

Today’s record attendance broke the existing record by almost 10% – and that was a match between Brazil and France. Not in Michigan.

The match was fun BTW. Man of the Match was Mr. Potatohead – which is not a negative in my mind for Wayne Rooney from Man U.