World Cup Goal causes earthquake in Mexico

❝ Hirving Lozano scoring the lone goal in Mexico’s 1-0 victory over reigning World Cup champion Germany appears to have led to an artificial earthquake in Mexico City on Sunday.

Two monitoring stations in Mexico City picked up the temblor the same time Lozano scored, 35 minutes into the match. Seismologists in Chile also said that their instruments detected an artificial temblor at the same time.

Felt that way to the German team, as well. No doubt. And it was lovely team play right down the pitch.

Tim Howard — heroes do not necessarily triumph

Click to enlargeAP Photo

Tim Howard’s stunning performance against Belgium in Tuesday evening’s epic last-16 contest in Salvador was the talk of the US yesterday after his remarkable, bloody-minded refusal to let the ball past him in the 90 minutes of normal time captured the hearts of sports fans Stateside.

But its true significance may take years to gauge because the preformance, and the reaction, may prove the tipping point which confirm the US as a real football force, establishing the sport as a real rival to American football and baseball.

Howard may have eventually succumbed in extra-time but as the New York Times put it yesterday morning: “All around the country, from coast to coast and through the nation’s belly, sports fans of every kind were inspired by the performance of a soccer goalkeeper. In a loss.”

Howard’s performance was the best statistically by a goalkeeper at any World Cup since 1966. The Everton man made a record 16 saves according to Fifa, starting as early as the 40th second when he denied Divock Origi after the Belgian striker broke through. That was one of four stops in the first half but it was after the break, when Belgium turned up the heat, that Howard came into his own and the American captain transformed into a footballing Captain America. He made eight saves in a gripping second period to keep Belgium at bay – leaping high to paw away two Origi efforts, while using his feet and legs to block a series of low strikes.

It was only with substitute Romelu Lukaku running at a tired American defence in extra-time that his resistance was broken; Lukaku, his team-mate at Everton last season, set up Kevin de Bruyne before lifting one over Howard himself. If Lukaku’s first action at the end of the match was to embrace Howard, it is a feeling shared by millions of Americans.

The goalkeeper’s heroics went viral on the internet in the hours that followed, with the hashtag “ThingsTimHowardCouldSave” inspiring pictures of the 35 year-old rescuing Bambi and the swimmer from Jaws. US vice-president Joe Biden tweeted: “Proud that our guys, just like our country, never gave up. Tim Howard – most valuable player in the World Cup.”

RTFA for more details about the whole team. We’re getting there. Nice to see we can catch up with the rest of the world in an area with social value. Lifetime sports can be a passion for spectator as well as participants.

Thanks, Mike

Brasilia police cancel embarrassing order for World Cup raincoats

They’re safe even if Kaka prays for rain!

Brasilia police have canceled an order for 17,000 raincoats for use at the World Cup because next year’s tournament will be played in the dry season…”The military police made a mistake in listing the product among those to be acquired with a view to the World Cup which will be held in the dry season,” said the Federal District government…

Brazilian media had criticized the plans as an example of wasteful spending by authorities, pointing out that the jackets would have cost a total of $2.66 million.

Rainfall is very rare between May and July in Brasilia and the air humidity often drops to 30 percent.

The Brazilian capital, a planned city founded in 1960, will stage five matches at the World Cup and will also host games at the Confederations Cup in June.

Most of the proper football fans I know are hoping for a successful tournament. What really counts is getting to watch our favorite sport without interference from greedy grasping businessmen and their kissing cousins in politics.

Brazil sets new Lego tower record

Move over Chile, Brazil has the world’s largest Lego tower.

Standing at 31.19 meters the tower in the city of Sao Paulo breaks the previous record set in Santiago, Chile, in 2008 by 25 centimeters, according to Lego’s Brazilian website.

Lego sent designers from Denmark to build the tower, which was completed Saturday in a shopping center parking lot after four days of construction.

Brazilian soccer great Cafu attached the last piece of the colorful tower.

According to Lego, the first such structure was built in London in 1988 and stood just a little over 15 meters (49.21 feet) tall.

OK, we know it’s a publicity stunt for the upcoming World Cup and the Olympics. But, it ain’t a bad way to waste some time.

Beckenbauer admits he’s lost faith in FIFA

Beckenbauer and Sepp Blather

The man who led Germany to a World Cup win both as a player and a coach admits he has lost faith in FIFA due to the way the voting process for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments was handled.

Franz Beckenbauer, a member of FIFA’s executive committee, criticized football’s governing body after the amount of votes each bidder received was made public.

Beckenbauer was one of the 22 FIFA members who voted in the process and claims he was assured that the details would remain private.

Yet soon after it was announced that Russia had won the right to host the 2018 competition, and Qatar had secured the 2022 version, media were reporting that two of the favorites, England and Australia, attracted just two votes and one vote respectively.

It led to an angry reaction from representatives of the England and Australia bid teams and Beckenbauer acknowledges his faith in FIFA has been shaken as a result.

I am disappointed with the way FIFA dealt with the result. The seven losing countries were treated disgracefully, particularly England and Australia, Beckenbauer told German newspaper Bild…

“All of us ExCo members were told ahead of the ballot that neither we nor the public would ever know the exact number of votes for each country. After each round of voting we were told only which country had been ruled out.
“Then, a few hours later, I was hearing from journalists what the exact voting had been. It’s certainly affected my confidence in FIFA.”

There are thousands of ordinary fans who lost faith in FIFA years ago – as anything other than a club for self-seeking, greedy business-turds who happen to have some cachet inside the world of sport. Their opinions, decisions, reek of gold and gravy. They deserve about as much respect and deference as the average con artist on work-release from prison.

All World Cup players for France dropped for Norway friendly

Shh. Don’t tell Thierry Henry!
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

New France coach Laurent Blanc Friday has punished the country’s farcical World Cup squad by dropping each of the 23 players for a friendly against Norway next month.

Blanc’s decision to take action was approved by the French Football Federation’s federal council after a meeting with Raymond Domenech’s successor in Paris.

France suffered a miserable World Cup campaign in South Africa, marked by striker Nicolas Anelka’s expulsion after his foul-mouthed tirade at Domenech, infighting, and the players’ refusal to train.

‘Les Bleus’ returned home in ignominy after failing to win any of their first round games, with Domenech refusing to shake South Africa coach Carlos Alberto Parriera’s hand following the final defeat to the hosts…

France football has endured a woeful year, with Thierry Henry’s controversial handball which put France into the World Cup at the expense of Ireland in the play-offs, their pitiful display in the competition itself, and then the scandal involving international stars Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema who this week put under investigation on charges of having sex with an under-age prostitute.

Phew! How to start a new job, eh?

It’s over for another four years.

Andrés Iniesta breaks everyones’ heart in Holland

A match like many of the World Cup Finals I’ve watched in the past forty years.

Mostly played out in the midfield. Individual attacks, sometimes in pairs or threes; but, never jeopardizing the need for defense. Some of those efforts almost succeeded, should have succeeded. But, that was up to the players on the pitch.

No brilliant field general or Titan of sport. Just twenty-two skilled, talented, disciplined and well-trained athletes giving their all.

I didn’t expect more than that. It was well worth watching.

Netherlands 0 – 1 Spain

Yes, South Africa was a big winner on the day, as well.