soccer

World Cup update: Colombia dazzles, England disappoints

Featured image So far, the 2014 World Cup is living up to the hype. And no team is living up to it more than Colombia. Yesterday, in one of the best games of the Cup so far, Colombia defeated a good Ivory Coast team, 2-1. Earlier, they overran a good Greek defense to win 3-0. But the real story is the flair with which Colombia plays, a flair reminiscent of the wonderful »

World Cup update — our cardiac kids do it again

Featured image There was a time when the World Cup was a boon for United States soccer. Indeed, the 1994 Cup, which America hosted, gave raise to Major League Soccer, our professional league. These days, though, U.S. soccer is a boon for the World Cup, as our men’s team continues to provide some of the event’s most dramatic moments. Yesterday, the U.S. upset Ghana 2-1 on a goal in the 86th minute, »

World Cup update — a fast start

Featured image After eight matches, involving half of the field, it’s way too early to say whether this World Cup will live up to the hype. But it’s certainly off to a good start. The eight matches have produced 28 goals, more than twice as many as at the corresponding point in 2010. Not only have there been no goalless draws, there have been no draws at all. And the only 1-0 »

Evertonians at World Cup 2014

Featured image Everton is well-represented at this year’s World Cup. Six players who were with us at the end of the season made World Cup rosters. They are: Tim Howard — USA Phil Jagielka — England Leighton Baines — England Ross Barkley — England Kevin Mirallas — Belgium Romelu Lukaku — Belgium (on loan from Chelsea) Bryan Oveido would certainly have made the Costa Rican team but for his broken leg. In »

World Cup preview

Featured image Jurgen Klinsmann has come under fire for saying that the U.S. soccer team, which he coaches, cannot win the World Cup. Michael Willbon even declared that Klinsmann should “get the hell out” of America (though this may have had more to do with Klinsmann saying, not without justification, that the Lakers are overpaying Kobe Bryant). One can debate whether Klinsmann should have disparaged the U.S. team’s chances to that extent, »

What’s wrong with the World Cup?

Featured image The World Cup kicks off tomorrow in Brazil. I’ll probably put up a preview of sorts between now and then, but today I want to focus on the event in general. Sir Alex Ferguson says there hasn’t been a good World Cup since 1986. I don’t agree. However, I concede that no World Cup has lived up to the hype since then, and I doubt that this one will. The »

Okay, Maybe I’ll Watch the World Cup

Featured image Normally I leave the soccer beat to Paul.  Actually, normally I leave soccer to anyone.  But this two minute video promoting the World Cup is almost enough to get me to tune in.  Almost. »

Landon Donovan’s World Cup exclusion — is it wise?

Featured image Earlier this week, Jurgen Klinsmann named his squad for the upcoming World Cup. Landon Donovan, the face of American soccer and for my money the best player we’ve ever produced, was not included. Did Klinsmann make the right call? I doubt it. There’s no question but that at age 32 and with 156 games played for the national team, Donovan isn’t the player he once was. Klinsmann is almost certainly »

Spain’s soccer triathlon nears its climax

Featured image Certain competitions — a pennant race, for example — are sometimes described as a marathon, not a sprint. The cliche certainly applies to European soccer league competitions, which last from mid-August to mid-May. But the most competitive leagues can more aptly be described, for the top teams at least, as a triathlon. The likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Chelsea may find themselves competing simultaneously in their respective »

Without Everton’s help, Liverpool may walk alone [UPDATED]

Featured image As the English Premier League season winds down, Manchester City and Liverpool are battling for the title, with Chelsea still in the mix. City will claim the crown for the second time in three seasons if it can win its last three matches. Anything less, and Liverpool will be champions if it can win its last two. Of City’s three remaining matches, only tomorrow’s contest at Everton looks problematic. The »

Was Piers Morgan right after all?

Featured image Everton comprehensively defeated Arsenal today, 3-0 at Goodison Park. With the victory, the Toffees move within one point of the Gunners for the final Champions League place, and have a game in hand. Everton outworked Arsenal all over the pitch. We also had a clear edge in tactics, thanks to our manager, Roberto Martinez. The Gunners legendary manager, Arsene Wenger, seemed unaware of the threat Everton poses down the left »

World Cup preview — The champions impress

Featured image Spain is the reigning World Cup and European Cup champion. Its string of successes — Euro 2008, World Cup 2010, and Euro 2013 — is unprecedented in the history of international soccer. But Brazil roundly defeated Spain in Brazil last year. That result, coupled with other recent successes and the fact that the 2014 World Cup will be played in Brazil, means that the Brazilians are justifiably favored to win »

There’s only one Wayne Rooney

Featured image Wayne Rooney produced a magical goal today for Manchester United — a lob of West Ham’s goalkeeper from 51 yards out: David Beckham — Man U legend and boyhood West Ham fan — was at the match. Beckham burst into the spotlight 18 years ago with a similar strike against Wimbledon: Beckham’s goal was from a little bit further out. But Rooney struck his on the half volley, making it »

World Cup Preview — The favorite impresses

Featured image Brazil, host of this year’s World Cup and favorite to win it, warmed up for the task earlier this month with a 5-0 victory over a mediocre South African side in Johannesburg. Brazil has now won 13 of its last 14 matches, including a 3-0 victory over Spain, the reigning World and European champion. Neymar, who has arrived at the super-star status long predicted for him, produced three goals. The »

World Cup Preview — a tough outing for the U.S.

Featured image Last week, the U.S. soccer team suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Ukraine. The match was supposed to take place in Kharkiv, but the political crisis imposed by Russia caused it to be moved to Cyprus at the last minute. Consequently, the stadium was almost empty. I enjoy such matches (typically they occur when the home team is forced to play in an empty stadium as punishment for »

World Cup preview — England tunes up with win over Denmark

Featured image Years ago, before a big match between England and Denmark, a chauvinistic commentator predicted that the Danes would take a beating at Wembley Stadium and then go back to “doing what they do best — drinking lager, making sandwiches, and watching English football on the telly.” Instead, the Danes defeated the English and qualified in their stead for the European championships. These days, Denmark is a cut below England in »

A Ukrainian grudge match revisited

Featured image Franklin Foer once wrote a book called “How Soccer Explains The World.” Actually, soccer doesn’t. However, it often reflects the world, and following international soccer sometimes provides insight into various of the world’s pockets. Ukraine is in turmoil and, as John notes, there is talk of partition between the European-looking west and the Russia-centric east. The deep division between east and west is reflected in the soccer rivalry between Dynamo »