Recent Comments by Errant

An Offensive Survey!

I knew I'd seen something like this before. The Army Hurt Feelings Report Form.

posted by Errant at 03:15 PM on November 15

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Reminded me of the Chinese Olympic football team and QPR going crazy a few years back. Video.

posted by Errant at 01:39 PM on August 19

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

"Cook fails to outscore every Indian who has ever played the game put together: England in decline?"

posted by Errant at 08:05 PM on August 12

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Cook should have gotten his triple-century, that was simply an unbelievable performance. India have been absolutely dire this whole series.

posted by Errant at 02:16 PM on August 12

Football's Back!

Maybe once we sell off our whole first team to Barcelona and Man City, we can finally field Wenger's XI XI-Year-Olds.

posted by Errant at 02:15 PM on August 12

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Wigan 13th? He's quite mad, but that was entertaining anyway. Wigan barely survived before they sold off N'Zogbia. It's Blackburn, Wigan, Norwich down for me.

Spurs' season will depend on how disaffected Modric is after not getting his transfer, but they still haven't bought the striker they need and their defense is still suspect (not Arsenal suspect, just suspect). Friedel will at least be a calm presence in the back. I don't see them finishing above Arsenal, but they certainly could; it's going to come down to whether Arsenal is more hopeless than Spurs are hapless. I wouldn't be surprised to see both squads missing out on the Champions League regardless.

Here's my out-on-a-limb prediction: Liverpool will finish higher than Man City.

posted by Errant at 04:09 PM on August 09

World Cup 2014 Qualifying Draw

Sure, I could see 5.5 from Asia and 3.5 from CONCACAF, although I think that does a disservice to emerging nations like Honduras, Costa Rica, and Jamaica, and overstates the strength of B-list Asian teams. Maybe 5 and 4 is a better way to go. If the metric is "likely to qualify for the second round", though, we might as well go back down to a 24-team tournament, because there's no way there are 5, or even 3, likely 2nd round qualifiers in Africa, and there's no way there are 8 from Europe, never mind 13.

posted by Errant at 04:48 PM on August 03

World Cup 2014 Qualifying Draw

Places in the tournament are ostensibly awarded not based on number of entrants within a confederation but instead on relative strength of the teams in that confederation, as defined by world rankings and recent success in the tournament.

I was however slightly mistaken: I'd forgotten that Brazil have an automatic berth and aren't counted towards qualifiers, so in fact South America have 5.5, which is better. Africa in 2010 had 6 spots including the host, which is absurd when compared to performance; 4 or 4.5 seems more justified than their current 5, comparable to Asia. Europe should probably lose 1 spot. My preferred placement would look something like this:

Africa: 4.5 Asia: 4.5 Oceania: 0.5 Europe: 12 N./C.America: 4.5 S.America: 5

Total: 31 (+ hosts make 32)

posted by Errant at 03:59 PM on August 02

US Hires Juergen Klinsmann to Coach Men's Soccer Team

Yeah, I think Michael Bradley will be fine. I was one of the people shouting "nepotism" when he first showed up in the squad, but he's proven to be a solid midfield candidate. He could really use a good season at Aston Villa this year to elevate his profile, I think he's generally underrated.

posted by Errant at 01:11 PM on August 01

World Cup 2014 Qualifying Draw

It continues to be an absolute travesty to me that Africa has 5 spots compared to South America's 4.5. And Europe has too many places also, at 13. It makes total sense when you look at where the FIFA governing board hail from, but that doesn't mean it's not silly.

posted by Errant at 01:09 PM on August 01

US Hires Juergen Klinsmann to Coach Men's Soccer Team

5 years; he was appointed after WC 2006. I agree with you on the staleness, though, and while I think Bradley made decent tactical changes during matches to systems that weren't working, he too frequently got his teams into those bad spots in the first place. Plus he was just a little too conservative in his thinking for me.

I would have liked him to go after WC 2010, actually. One win from 4 games is poor, silly refereeing decisions aside, and we had an unexpectedly clear path to the semifinals after winning the group that the team really squandered, thanks in part to Bradley's poor initial setups.

posted by Errant at 02:50 PM on July 29

Man City Pulls Striker When Backheel Backfires

In a competitive match, there is no way Mancini would have wasted a sub at 30 minutes for this, and in a competitive match, Balotelli would have just scored. So it is sound and fury with no real purpose.

Having said that: Mario, Mario, Mario. That was one of the worst backheels I've ever seen. Seriously. I think a lot of the outrage is from the unspoken notion that showboating awfully is worse than not showboating at all. He should have gotten pulled and made to stand on the sideline practicing tricks until he got it right, while de Jong tackled him in the chest for each poor execution. That would have been entertaining.

posted by Errant at 02:37 PM on July 25

Thierry Henry is High on Grass

It seems pretty likely that new turf will be laid down for 2012 at Qwest (CenturyLink) Field, especially since UW will start sharing the ground in that year also.

New Playing Surface Likely Coming To Qwest Field In 2012

I don't think anyone really likes turf, but the disadvantages of laid grass on turf were pretty obvious in the weekend's Sounders-Rapids game. The pitch came up in huge chunks and the ball did not move all that well at all. Unless the Seahawks suddenly decide that grass is a sufficient playing surface and they're willing to shell out for a long and expensive pitch reconstruction, it's probably not going to happen.

posted by Errant at 03:49 PM on July 20

Last-Second Goal Helps US Beat Brazil

Yo! My comment that you were responding to had nothing to do with the referee.

Sorry I was unclear. I wasn't responding to your comment so much as using your comment to say "this is what happened" and then "here is why this happened". Based on precedent, it seems exceedingly likely that if the Brazil goalkeeper had saved another one, she would have been busted again. I agree that under the circumstances it was pretty stupid of her to keep doing it.

posted by Errant at 04:50 PM on July 18

Female Soccer Players Do Less Diving

I can't remember if they had her strapped down or not.

They did. Once they were along the endline, Erika sat up, unstrapped herself, and leapt off the stretcher. Pretty amusing.

posted by Errant at 03:42 PM on July 13

Last-Second Goal Helps US Beat Brazil

There was indeed encroachment by a US player, but it was so slight and had so little bearing upon the play that it should have been overlooked, and according to FIFA was overlooked.

While it's true that the referee was somewhat inconsistent (and can someone link FIFA's explanation if they've given one? I haven't seen it anywhere), encroachment is a big deal. There's even a special mark on the field in order to ward against it. The American player was clearly encroaching, therefore the referee was correct to order a retake. If the reason given was that Solo moved off her line, that's obviously nonsense, but the retake was still the correct decision. This wasn't USA-Slovenia all over again.

You're right that defensive encroachment is frequently overlooked, but that's because most penalties are scored. In the event of a defensive encroachment where the penalty is scored, the goal is allowed to stand, as a form of playing advantage. That's why this happened: Did anyone else notice that after getting busted for jumping off of her line early on the first shot of the shootout, the Brazilian goalkeeper proceeded to do it again on every subsequent shot? it just didn't matter since they all went in.

The Brazil keeper encroached to save the first kick, hence retake. The Brazil keeper encroached on all the subsequent kicks, but because they were scored, advantage was played. The referee was actually very consistent here and in line with FIFA procedure (Law 14, pg. 44 of the Laws of the Game 2011/2012). She was absolutely correct. The way she's being vilified right now is pretty absurd.

If you want to argue that "slight" infringements should be overlooked, then I submit that the extremely marginal offside for Brazil's second goal should be overlooked as well. Frankly, I prefer it when benefit of the doubt is awarded to the attacker in a potential offside infraction; it rewards attacking intent.

It should never have been a penalty in the first place, mind you, the referee got that one wrong, and the Lloyd handball goes without saying. I don't think she got as much wrong as apparently the rest of the nation does, though, and I have to give her credit for carding Erika for simulation when she came back on. That's an excellent precedent that I hope more referees will emulate in these situations.

Also, the US women's team came into the World Cup ranked number 1 in the world, with one of if not the best women's professional league behind it. The notion that they are underdogs at any point in this tournament is a little odd, as is the notion that a fix would be in against them.

posted by Errant at 03:40 PM on July 13

Conservapedia: Soccer is Socialism

I've actually thought for a while that one of the barriers to entry for Americans regarding soccer is the unilateral refereeing, which is essentially monarchical or totalitarian. American sports veer towards, if not democracy, at least oligarchy, with multiple referees interacting and often a superseding review process. I think Americans tend to dislike the idea that effort or talent can be obscured or invalidated by the whim of a single person.

posted by Errant at 06:07 PM on July 06