soccer

Soccer never rests. Neither does Richarlison

Featured image American pro sports have extended off-seasons. The National Football League, for example, doesn’t play any games that count during more than half of the calendar year. It maintains fan interest through events like the scouting combine, free agency, the draft, mini-camp, and pre-season games. International soccer is a different story. With the regular league seasons, international club competitions, and international nations’ tournaments — the World Cup, Copa America, the Euros, »

U.S. women’s soccer team loses in Olympic semi-final

Featured image Canada defeated the U.S. 1-0 in women’s soccer at the Olympics today. The defeat came in the tournament semi-finals. Thus, a bronze medal is the best the U.S. can do in this sport this year. This is only the fourth time in 62 matches that Canada has beaten the U.S. women. There have been seven draws. Today’s result isn’t terribly surprising, though. The U.S. lost to Sweden in the group »

Euro 2020 all-stars

Featured image By any reasonable account, Euro 2020 was a success. The fact that it was played at all, in venues across Europe from Glasgow to Baku, is an accomplishment. The willingness of many teams to attack rather than just sit back, the innovative tactics, the closeness of the semi-finals and finals, and the quality (for the most part) of the refereeing were all significant plusses. Some commentators are calling Euro 2020 »

Soccer, South American style

Featured image Normally, South America’s big soccer tournament, Copa America, isn’t played the same year as the European Championship. But because Euro 2020 was pushed backed to 2021 due to the Wuhan coronavirus, this year the two tournaments took place during the same period. There are only so many hours in the day and slightly fewer that can be devoted to watching sports. Therefore, I saw very little of Copa American — »

Did Southgate finally get it wrong?

Featured image Italy defeated England in the Euro 2020 final today on penalty kicks. The score was 1-1 after 120 minutes. The penalty kick tally was 3-2 in favor of Italy. The two teams combined to convert a substandard 50 percent of their spot kicks. Gareth Southgate, England’s manager, has done a great job with the English team. In 2018, he took a squad of chronic underachievers — bounced from Euro 2016 »

Gareth gets it right, again

Featured image Denmark’s national soccer team accomplished little of note until the early 1980s. In 1983, a strong Danish team had a great campaign attempting to qualify for Euro 1984. Qualification turned on a match against England at Wembley Stadium. In the build-up to the match, one English soccer pundit commended Denmark for its qualification efforts but predicted that, after England thrashed them, the Danes would return to doing what they do »

Previewing the Euro semifinals

Featured image The Euro 2020 semifinal matchups are set. Italy will play Spain tomorrow. On Wednesday, it will be England against Denmark. Both matches will be played at Wembley Stadium in London. There has been some grousing about the fact that England will get to play all of its matches except one (the quarterfinal against Ukraine) at home. The grousing is ridiculous. Every two years, there is a major international soccer tournament »

A look at the Euro 2020 quarterfinalists

Featured image In my view, there are five teams left at Euro 2020 with a realistic chance of winning the tournament. (Full disclosure: I never imagined that Greece could win Euro 2004 until the Greeks made it to the final and even then I doubted their chances). The five teams, in no special order, are England, Spain, Italy, Belgium, and Denmark. England has been the best defensive team at the Euros. The »

England 2 Germany 0

Featured image England defeated Germany today in a round of 16 match at the European Championship. It’s the first time since the 1966 World Cup final that England prevailed over West Germany/Germany in the knockout stage of a big tournament. At the 1970 World Cup, West Germany gained revenge for the 1966 result. The Germans also knocked out England in the semi finals of the 1990 World Cup and Euro 1996 (both »

What lineup should England use against Germany? [UPDATED]

Featured image It’s understandable if, at the start of a soccer tournament like the World Cup or the Euros, the manager of a national team doesn’t know which players make up his best eleven. After all, these teams don’t play regularly and their composition changes every time they gather for a tournament. After three matches, though, most managers know their best eleven. And if one or two of its members are unavailable »

Looking ahead at Euro 2020

Featured image Euro 2020 has reached the knock-out stages. They will begin in a few minutes with a match between Wales and Denmark. All of the eight teams we identified as the elite of the tournament have advanced. Denmark, a popular choice for “dark horse,” also made it. The Danes overcame the near death of their best player Christian Eriksen. Of the six teams we identified as “minnows,” only Wales has made »

England to play Germany at Wembley Stadium

Featured image The first soccer match I ever watched was the 1966 World Cup Final between England and West Germany. It was played at Wembley Stadium in London and broadcast by ABC’s Wide World of Sports (thank you Jim McKay). England won that match 4-2 after extra time. Since then, Germany has pretty consistently gotten the better of England in soccer. Of particular note are Germany’s two wins in major semifinal matches »

What’s in a song?

Featured image I’m a fan of soccer and of nationalism. Thus, I relish soccer tournaments that pit national teams against one another. Euro 2020 (being held a year late due to the pandemic) is such a tournament. Before the kickoff of matches in these tournaments, the starting players line up on the field and the national anthems of their countries are played. The camera pans on the players and microphones pick up »

Soccer star deals blow to Coca-Cola

Featured image Soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo made news in two ways on Tuesday — one soccer-related, one not. In soccer news, by scoring two goals against Hungary, Ronaldo became the all-time leading soccer in the history of the European Championship tournament. No player from any nation has scored as many goals in this major competition as Ronaldo. In other news, Ronaldo snubbed Coca-Cola. He removed two Coke bottles from the table at »

Finally—Some Real Excitement at a Soccer Match!

Featured image Power Line’s sports desk (Paul) is covering the Euro 2020 soccer tournament, but at the risk of annoying him with my soccer denialism, I want to bring to readers’ attention some real excitement yesterday in Munich, when a Greenpeace stuntman seriously injured two spectators, and ripped up the overhead “spidercam,” with a parachute jump into the stadium ostensibly intended as some kind of incoherent climate protest. The Daily Mail has a »

Euro 2020 so far

Featured image Euro 2020 was delayed a full year due to the pandemic. Was the wait worth it? The jury is still out after the first round of matches, as the teams round into shape. Six of the eight teams thought to make up the top tier won their opener. The exceptions were Spain, which, despite a strong first half, only managed a goalless draw with Sweden, and Germany, which lost 1-0 »

Euro 2020 kicks off

Featured image As I write this post, Euro 2020 is set to kick off. A year late. Today’s opening match features Italy and Turkey. It’s not a matchup to send one’s heart racing — both countries normally play a “pragmatic” style of football. Yet, on paper this is an above-average group stage contest. That’s because, with 24 teams, the tournament has been badly diluted. It was a great tourney when it featured »