Archive for the ‘World Cup’ Category

Zombie Collina has no patience for your diving, Didier.

The thirty referees who will handle South Africa’s World Cup matches were announced over the weekend.

And yes, “handle” is being used in a punny sense here as Swedish whistleman Martin Hansson is the most controversial inclusion. Hansson missed Thierry Henry’s clear handball in France’s victory over Ireland that secured their place in South Africa, an event we covered extensively at PhillySoccerPage. The full list is after the jump, courtesy of worldcupblog.org.

Two Mexican referees will run World Cup diagonals, including Marco Rodriguez. Wikipedia says this about the Mexican ref: “He is nicknamed “Chiquidrácula” by the Mexican press due to his resemblance to a childish image of Count Dracula.”

The United States was shut out. Should the MLS be represented? By whom?

Another notable inclusion is Roberto Rosetti of Italy, who is routinely assigned to the top Serie A matches and routinely turns in mediocre performances. If there are any Serie A fans reading this, give us your thoughts on Rosetti in the comments. And if you believe that his stellar reputation is built in part on his emphatic free kick gesturing and sprinting to the spot of a foul, just write, “Here, here!” or its Italian equivalent.



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After a week of rampant speculation in the British press, Fabio Capello announced today that John Terry is out as captain of England.

It all started over the past weekend when, after a super-injunction brought about by his lawyers was overturned by a  British high Court, the news broke that England The Brave captain John Terry, who has a wife and two children, had had an affair with the estranged partner of England teammate Wayne Bridge. The British press went into what at first seemed to be an all too predictable case of the vapors with an explosion of stories wondering if Terry was fit for the captaincy of either the England team or Chelsea. Scoring the winning goal against Burnley last Saturday, Terry stoically did not celebrate, barely acknowledging the congratulations of his teammates, some of whom must have been thinking, “If he’s on the pitch with me then he can’t be shagging my girlfriend.”

Which is of course the point: while some decried Terry’s promiscuity in the usual entirely ridiculous moral terms – “He’s supposed to be a role model, gasp! Blah, blah, blah . . . ” – the real concern was one of team unity. A team captain hopping into bed with his teammates ladies does not bode well for the kind of team spirit that wins World Cups, particularly when you remember that both Terry and Bridge are defenders. If you had just learned Terry had shagged the mother of your child, might you not be just a little bit slower to back him up when, say, Lionel Messi is on a run up the middle? (more…)

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Thierry Henry will not be punished for the handball that FIFA President Sepp Blatter called “blatant unfair play.” The FIFA disciplinary committee acknowledged today that it could not retroactively punish a player for an infringement that is not covered in FIFA rules.

While a handball to deny a goal is considered a “serious infringement” as defined by article 77a of the FIFA Disciplinary Code, a handball that leads to a goal being scored is not.

“The disciplinary committee reached the conclusion that there was no legal foundation for the committee to consider the case because handling the ball cannot be regarded as a serious infringement as stipulated in article 77a of the Fifa Disciplinary Code . . . There is no other legal text that would allow the committee to impose sanctions for any incidents missed by match officials.”

Thierry’s handball, which seems to have been seen by everyone on the pitch, in the stands and watching on television other than the match official, prevented the Republic of Ireland from qualifying for this year’s World Cup. The FAI, the governing body for Irish football, demanded that a replay be allowed in the aftermath of the controversy and then asked to be allowed to attend the World Cup as the 33rd team. Both requests were denied by FIFA.

As a result of Henry’s unsporting play, calls increased for the use of extra officials or video technology to assist match officials in the lead up to the World Cup draw, but FIFA announced that it would have to study these options before deciding whether they could be implemented. Neither option will be in place for the World Cup in South Africa.

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American international Clint Dempsey limped off  in the 63rd minute of Blackburn’s 2-0 win over Fulham on Sunday, ESPN reports. Fulham manager Roy Hodgson said Dempsey would have a scan on Monday to determine the extent of the injury, but claimed “it might be a posterior cruciate knee ligament which would be very bad for us and he would be out for a while.” Dempsey has been in terrific form for the London side recently, pairing up with striker Bobby Zamora who has also been forced from the Cottagers line up with an injury . The versatile American, who can play both as a forward and in the midfield, is seen as a key contributor for the national team as they gear up for South Africa.

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Philadelphia made the final cut for the United States’ bid to host the World Cup in 2018 or 2022.

The USA Bid Committee narrowed down its cities to 18 today, the second set of cuts that brought it down from the original 58.

Along with Philadelphia, the cities to make the cut are: Atlanta, San Diego, Phoenix, Dallas, Seattle, Denver, Tampa, Indianapolis, Baltimore, Nashville, Kansas City, Houston, Miami, Boston, New York, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C.

Eleven countries are competing with the U.S. for the right to host World Cup. They include: Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands, England, Japan, Russia, Spain, Portugal, South Korea, Indonesia and Qatar. Spain and Portugal are putting in a join bid, as are Belgium and the Netherlands.

FIFA is expected to select a host for the two World Cups in December. Typically, each city would host four to six games during the month-long event.

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It’s very easy to conflate futebole with the widespread euphoria of the holidays, especially when you’re sitting in a church service given entirely in the beautiful language of Portuguese, a language which I have a very tenuous grasp of at best (with special thanks to Manu Chao and Little Joy, the latter helmed by the frontman of Brazilian band Los Hermanos). The mind can drift during a mass in my native tongue (i.e. pre-Die Hard-style attacks rebuffed during the many grade school masses that played out in perfunctory fashion, perfunctory like the torture that my Catholic school slacks put to my crotch,), so it was quite easy to alight upon the idea of this jocund congregation’s spirits being roused by the exploits of Cristiano Ronaldo et. al. in a few months rather than the birth of Jesus (good luck getting out of that group, Portugal).


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Animal Sacrifice Proposed At World Cup Stadiums

The Makhonya Royal Trust, which promotes traditional South African cultures, has called upon FIFA to allow the ritual slaughter of a “beast” at each of the

african cows
Daisy and Buttercup await FIFA’s decision.

World Cup stadiums before the start of the tournament. The South African traditional affairs minister, Sicelo Shiceka, reportedly supports allowing the rituals, which involves cutting the throat of a cow with a knife or an assegai, a traditional short spear.

South Africa’s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA), which has said that it “does not condone or support the proposal,” has requested that FIFA allow it to participate in discussions with the South Africa 2010 Organizing Committee about the proposed animal sacrifice. The NSPCA enforces South Africa’s animal welfare laws.

FIFA has made no comment on whether it will allow the animal sacrifices to go ahead.

Premier League Manager Caught Leaving Brothel

The Sun, that pinnacle of British journalism and noted defender of morality, has reported that a Premier League manager was caught leaving a brothel located in an industrial park.

The manager, who was not identified because of British privacy laws, was observed entering the brothel and then leaving an hour later. The Sun reported, “We confronted him and asked him to confirm his identity. He did – and smiled as he agreed he knew he had been in the company of hookers. Asked if he knew the building was a brothel, the soccer boss smiled and replied: “Yes.” (more…)

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