I have mixed feelings about this. The game I started supporting all those years ago is no longer the same, but it hasn't been for some time and we have to be able to compete in this brave new world ...
posted by walrus at 01:44 PM on February 06
Can I hear the sound of brittle confidence?
posted by walrus at 07:34 AM on January 11
The goal creation stats for La Liga, AFAIK, include scoring, assists, and making the last pass before an assist. It's a measure which I haven't heard of being commonly used in other leagues, but a good one for looking at who is involved in the final move. I'm not sure where you would find them online, I'm told they're commonly used in the Spanish football press in publications such as Marca or AS, and the info about Beckham's being high was told to me by a couple of Spanish Liverpool fans I know online. Morientes, in my opinion, had his fair share of play for Liverpool, making 61 appearances in 18 months but disappointingly scoring only 12 goals. By the time he came to us he had reprised his role at Monaco as a second striker, and commonly played this role for Liverpool, playing most often behind Crouch to link the midfield and attack. As such we might have expected less goals than he scored for Real Madrid, and he was by no means bad, featuring as high a games won percentage as any other player in the squad during that time. He was still a disappointment in many ways though, having been bought as a proven goalscorer and an intelligent player. He never really got used to the pace of the league or the bite of defenders, and seemed always to want the ball to feet rather than a yard or two in front. This is an essential difference between the service forwards get in England as opposed to Spain. He also said recently that he could not get used to having so little time on the ball as in England you get one touch before the defenders "eat your legs". Veron had an excellent reputation as a footballer in Italy as an advanced playmaker, prompting Ferguson to pay somewhere in the region of £30M for him and Chelsea to part with half that two years later under Ranieri, even though he had been perceived as a failure in the league.
posted by walrus at 04:40 PM on January 10
You'll have to excuse me for not being at all familiar with the style of play in the MLS. It's football which we simply don't get a chance to watch in the UK. Or at least, I've never seen a game advertised. I'm curious: which league would you compare it to? Does it most resemble the blood and guts, pacy passion of the English, the languid, cultured style of Spain, the defensive, tactical style of the Italian league, or the expansive, skilled style of South American football? There are others, but those seem to encapsulate the main trends in the game. I think Beckham these days would be most suited to Spanish or perhaps Italian football. He lacks the pace to beat a man, or the tricks on the ball to survive long in England or Brazil. His best asset is his placement of a long pass or cross, either from space or a dead ball situation. This is why he's been (for me) a success for Real Madrid since losing much of the pace that served him so well at Manchester United. I think if you look at the stats for goal creators in Spain, in the seasons when he has played enouhg games he has been one of their most prolific players in that department. It goes without saying that he's been a huge financial success, paying back his transfer fee in shirt sales and image rights within the first calendar month of arriving. For him to be a footballing success somewhere though (and for him to continue to be a financial asset he will have to pay a filip towards prowess on the field), it depends on the league he plays in and the role he's given. I honestly don't see him being worthwhile any more for an English team. If the MLS allows a player time on the ball for a few touches, and the space to pinpoint a cross, then he could make a big difference out wide, collecting the ball and ranging it in, or as a pivot-style player, a la Pirlo for Milan. We've seen a number of older players used to the Italian or Spanish game fail in the UK though, through needing the ball to feet and wanting more than one touch on it. The best examples of high profile players failing in the English league in the last ten years being Veron and Morientes, with Shevchenko looking likely to go the same way. Like Morientes, I believe firmly that Shevchenko would flourish again through going back to the league where he shaped his game, but is perhaps too old to adapt to a new league at an age where experience counts more than physical fitness. Beckham of course has experience of the English league, but his lack of pace would be his biggest weakness here and I think he would end up playing a peripheral role, as he would in Germany where the Bundesliga is perhaps closest to the English style. If he's to succeed in the MLS on the field, it may only happen for him if the pace is similar to Italy or Spain or if the quality of defending is similar to Holland, France or Portugal. South American teams likely couldn''t afford him and in any case I'm not convinced he's tricky enough on the ball.
posted by walrus at 02:01 PM on January 10
Some thoughts from three players who played the game in one of it's more violent and uncompromising phases: Ian St. John: "Rightly or wrongly, he thought he could put Cech under pressure but as he ran at him it was clear he got his feet wrong. In those circumstances if a striker is trying to do 'the goalkeeper' he leaves his foot in - not his knee. That is fraught with all kind of risks, especially to the striker. Mourinho said he 'dropped' his knee. Believe me, a striker does not drop his knee. That is an invitation to serious injury - a striker dropping his knee is an unnatural act." John Giles: "When it is the intention to hurt the goalkeeper the boot goes in - not the knee. I don't know how bright Hunt is but no one playing professional football over any length of time could be so stupid as to try to use his knee in that situation. It would be a form of professional suicide. No one who ever played the game for a living would dispute this." Bobby Charlton: "t wasn't a good challenge and you have to feel sorry for the goalkeeper but I have to say I didn't think it showed any intention to cause injury. It was one of those unfortunate things that are always going to happen in football." Only someone who has never played football at any decent level could argue that Hunt intentionally went to hurt the keeper. Like his comments about Essien after one of the most horrific and deliberate tackles I've witnessed on Hamann, like his comments on Messi diving when it was clear he was trying to avoid Del Horno's challenge, like much of what Mourinho says , a manager who has never played the game at any kind of decnet leve, his comments on Hunt smack of arrogance, overprotectiveness, and a complete misunderstanding of the game. He's a classless, whining pratt who has yet again courted controversy rather than honesty. Like his comments about the ambulance, which he claims took thirty minutes to arrive ... BBC Radio Five Live sports news correspondent Gordon Farquhar said: "We understand from the ambulance trust it was Chelsea's doctor who asked for the ambulance to be called when he realised Cech's condition was perhaps more serious than may at first have been the assessment." "At 5.45pm it was decided that an ambulance should be called. It arrived at 5.52 - seven minutes after the call was made - and at 11 minutes past six he was in hospital. So 26 minutes after the call was made to the ambulance, he actually arrived in hospital."
posted by walrus at 01:26 PM on October 17
I think the umbrella associations should be looking at having adequate insurance to cover players, not the national associations. Something has to give as injuries on international duty can seriously knacker a clubs chances and the clubs pay the players wages out of our hard-earned ticket money.
posted by walrus at 07:33 PM on October 16
The divot wasn't from Robinson's kicks, it was the Croatian keeper in the first half.
posted by walrus at 07:30 PM on October 16
His knee drops because he's trying to pull his foot out. How anyone can say it's deliberate is beyond me. Mourinho should back his players, but comments like that are uncalled-for and if I was Hunt I would be looking to see if I had a case for defamation of character.
posted by walrus at 07:28 PM on October 16
Think this is great, but what's not clear is how long the logo is on the shirts and whether they're selling any with it on.
posted by walrus at 05:30 PM on September 16
Very silly concept. Interesting read though.
posted by walrus at 05:29 PM on September 16
"Yeah, he just needs to ask his sister." Careful fella. Zizou's gonna get you ...
posted by walrus at 03:03 PM on September 05
All the Chelsea fans I know are saddened and upset by this statement by the club, regardless of what happened. The episode is behind the club, and this can only sully both their reputation and a great servant of the club for many years. Even if the remarks were made, we can't know what the context was, and this washing of dirty linen in public is verging on the obscene.
posted by walrus at 03:01 PM on September 05
Only change I've made so far is Saha for Bellamy, which made me feel a little dirty, but I think Rafa's rotation policy is going to reduce the points for a lot of Liverpool players this season. Thinking of taking Pennant out for my next free transfer, but I've got to convince myself there are midfield players for the same money who will perform as well over the course of a season, even if Jermaine doesn't play every game.
posted by walrus at 06:37 AM on August 29
"What does "gates" mean there?" Attendance. How many fans show up.
posted by walrus at 02:53 PM on August 25
The press love to sensationalise. AFAIK Keane made a public statement after the spat with Quinn that he held no grudges and hoped the incident would not affect their professional relationship. I suspect Quinn feels the same way. Whether the crucible of taking on a club who are effectively in freefall is the best start for Keane in management is moot. It's a make or break appointment for him. Sunderland fans get a lot of respect from me for their gates in the Championship, and for their backing of Liverpool when the Mancs booed the minutes silence on a Hillsborough anniversary and were drowned out by the Black Cats singing a defiant version of YNWA. I hope he does well. Even though he played for the Old Foe.
posted by walrus at 01:32 PM on August 25
"I’ve heard Carrick described as a ‘poor man’s’ Alonso. That’s being kind. He’s more of a ‘homeless bum, drinking windolene, begging for change and eating from bin’s’ Xabi Alonso." - TLW
posted by walrus at 02:08 AM on August 03
It's a ridiculous amount of money when you consider Xabi Alonso went for £10.6M and Carrick is not even half the player of Alonso. The kind of money I would expect the best in the business in that role to go for, if Pirlo were for sale and anyone but Chelsea were bidding. Just goes to further strengthen the argument that young English players are massively overpriced and that buying foreign, whilst not always popular with the fans, represents far better value for money. I think players such as Riquelme would have been available for considerably less, and would have been able to provide much more succinct passing than Carrick, who will need an enforcer alongside him just as Riquelme would, neither being at all defensively minded. You can make the youth over beauty argument, but United badly need immediate reinforcements in their increasingly soft centre, and whether adding Carrick to an ailing midfield can make up for the loss of a guaranteed twenty goal a season striker: well I sincerely doubt it, but I suppose it remains to be seen.
posted by walrus at 08:12 AM on August 01
"Rafael Benitez has stated that Liverpool will not go to Haifa to play Israeli champion, Maccabi, in the first round of the Champions League". Erm, no he hasnt? "Should not go", I would have given you.
posted by walrus at 08:56 PM on July 28
Referees decision is final, HATER.
posted by walrus at 08:12 AM on July 27
By the way, I believe the real reason the sentences were cut is that the clubs had threatened to sue for compensation in the European courts. With the flimsy evidence against three of the clubs, and with Juve transparently guilty, this is risk reduction by the Italian FA. Still very wrong.
posted by walrus at 01:44 PM on July 26
Still guilty. But officially condoned. Nice ...
posted by walrus at 07:39 PM on July 25
Budweiser is shite. Budvar, on the other hand ...
posted by walrus at 01:57 PM on July 25
The reason Barca don't need sponsorship by the way is that they have a 100,000 ground capacity, one of the two biggest football stadia on the planet, and they are also uniquely owned by the fans, who put money into the club every year.
posted by walrus at 03:02 AM on July 25
Changed my team name to "The Red Mist", cuz I'm also in a Liverpool forum league. Thanks for the tips, Texan.
posted by walrus at 03:20 AM on July 24
Also, what does the substitute priority indicate?
posted by walrus at 12:42 PM on July 23
Ok I'm in. Never tried these fantasy football thingies before, so if I don't get relegated it will be a miracle. What difference does it make who's your captain? I think I understand the rest of the concepts involved.
posted by walrus at 12:28 PM on July 23
You might be interested in this story: I threw my mates ashes over the Istanbul crowd. Personally I think it was funny as fuck, but it's caused many Liverpool fans to take offence. Loads of ashes get scattered on the Kop or on the hallowed turf, but for some reason a lot of people get very squeamish about the idea of a bit of carbon getting in their hair ;-) Here's some reaction from the Liverpool fans.
posted by walrus at 07:42 AM on July 22
My point being that the concept of local loyalty is nonsense. It never existed: even in the late 1800s people used to travel to watch the team they fancied rather than the closest one in the city.
posted by walrus at 02:50 AM on July 22
By the way, when Zidane called Jorge Larrionda a "son of a bitch" during the semi-final, was he insulting his mother, and would the ref have been justified in headbutting him? I think we should be told.
posted by walrus at 02:38 AM on July 22
Well that was entertaining.
posted by walrus at 01:29 AM on July 22
I'm not disputing that verbal abuse and violence are common in football psmealey. I'm lamenting the elevation of the first to the level of the second.
posted by walrus at 02:46 PM on July 21
The sad thing about the incident for me is the precedent FIFA have set with regard to punishing Materazzi and being lenient on Zidane. Expect lots of players trying to mitigate their violent actions and get other players punished by arguing that they were verbally provoked. FIFA have introduced a whole new level of cheating with this and the ramifications will further damage the sport.
posted by walrus at 02:04 PM on July 21
Doesn't matter what Materazzi said, unless it was actually racist (and both players denied that in the hearing), professional footballers will use any edge they can to wind up opponents and goad them into a sending off. There isn't a player in the world who hasn't used a bit of verbal in this way. The fact that Zidane reacted with violence is no surprise. He's trampled players and headbutted them in the face before in his career, and he's no stranger to the red card. The funniest thing about this whole incident is the people who obviously don't follow football who had evidently not realised what kind of a player he can be ... sublime one moment and vicious the next.
posted by walrus at 01:19 PM on July 21
"Oooh, burn." Well, I might be being unfair ... etagloh might live right next to the Riverside. But I've heard that "support your local team" line so often from "scouse" reds who then turn out to live on the Wirral that I get suspicious about it ;-)
posted by walrus at 02:43 AM on July 21
Oh, and that tired old sectarian bullshit about Everton being a Catholic club and Liverpool a protestant one is just that. There used to be a chant on the Kop before the games a while back, where some would shout "Rangers" and others would reply with "Celtic". The split was about fifty-fifty. Same with Everton supporters. Neither club has any sectarian affiliation, and they never have had. It's largely a family thing which club you support, but many people support the opposite club to their family as an act of defiance.
posted by walrus at 02:15 PM on July 20
Just to carry on the logic in my previous post: Liverpool fans would only come from L4, Manchester United fans would only come from Old Trafford, Arsenal fans would only come from Finsbury Park, and etagloh would be supporting whatever conference or non-league team is closest to him in Middlesbrough. Many people support the biggest team which could be considered local. Others follow the team their father and grandfather followed, no matter where they are brought up. Some follow the first team they saw live, others have an affinity to a certain club and decide to follow it because it appeals. The only rule is to never change your club. That "follow your local team" nonsense only applies to a tiny minority of football supporters living in an ivory tower.
posted by walrus at 02:08 PM on July 20
"Fun column. It's easy if you're English: you support your local team unless there are strong enough extenuating circumstances to hold up in a court of law." Nonsense, there would be a lot more people supporting the likes of Barnet, Oldham Athletic and Tranmere Rovers if that were true ...
posted by walrus at 01:36 PM on July 20
"I thought Hiddink was committed to Russia Abramovich already?" Yep.
posted by walrus at 03:03 AM on July 17
It will mainly be loan deals or cut-price with a buy-back clause for Juve players. Cannavaro is the only one likely to go for big money IMO.
posted by walrus at 11:43 AM on July 15
This thread has restored my faith in human kindness.
posted by walrus at 06:21 AM on June 29
These people obviously don't have very exciting sex.
posted by walrus at 06:18 AM on June 29
"is he better than George Best? is he better than franz bechembauer (Sorry for spelling)" Never seen them play, but from looking at grainy videos, no he isn't. He is, however, a better finisher than either.
posted by walrus at 02:15 AM on June 28
"Ronaldo has 205 goals in 262 league matches (1 every 1.27 matches)" Those figures are a year out of date, the current figures are 219 league goals in 276 games (1:1.3).
posted by walrus at 01:54 AM on June 28
I think it's a non-starter to say Ronaldo is the greatest footballer of all time by the way, or even top ten. But I still think he's probably the greatest finisher ever. There's a subtle distinction.
posted by walrus at 05:13 PM on June 27
I'd put Zidane in the same sentence as Platini (he's actually a similar player in many ways) having seen both play. Cruijff and Maradona were different class again and incredible to see live. And Pele is the best player I've ever seen, albeit only on TV and only in the latter years of his career. My all time favourite, of course, is Kenneth Mathieson Dalglish.
posted by walrus at 05:10 PM on June 27
"From I can tell Ronaldo finishes maybe half the glorious chances he gets. And by glorious, I mean he misses alot of glorious chances." It depends how long you base it on. Ronaldo had two three-month periods out this season and had not trained for forty five days before the cup, so it's as if he's in pre-season at the moment, after a longer than usual summer. He is definitely still lacking a lot of sharpness over the player he has been for the last three years, let alone the player he was before that. Even so he's gaining momentum, and you may see half of his best before the end of the final. Over the course of his career he has scored 219 league goals in 276 games (1:1.3), 34 European goals in 68 games (1:2) and 15 World Cup goals in 18 games (1:1.2). Let alone countless goals in domestic cups, world cup qualifying and confederation cups. Those are absolutely, fantastically, amazingly incredible stats and if anyone can find a living footballer with better ratios I'll be so surprised that I won't be able to think of a suitable epithet. His honours include the following: 1997 Golden boot (Inter Milan) 2002 Golden boot (Real Madrid) 2002 World Cup winner (BRESIL) 2002 World Cup Golden Boot (BRESIL) 1997 Copa America winner (BRESIL) 1999 Copa America winner (BRESIL) 2002 Intercontinental Cup winner (Real Madrid) 1997 Cup Winners Cup winner (FC Barcelone) 1998 UEFA Cup winner (Inter Milan) 2003 Primera League Champions (Real Madrid) 1995 Dutch League top scorer (PSV Eindhoven) 1997 Primera Division top scorer (FC Barcelone) 2004 Primera Division top scorer (Real Madrid) 1996 Dutch Cup winner (PSV Eindhoven) 1997 League Cup winner (FC Barcelone) 2000 Italian Cup Finals (Inter Milan) For me, his soft shoe shot is nonpareiled in all the history of film or television. I've never seen anything like his best placed shots from anyone else. He can shoot from anywhere within twenty yards with either foot, is a great header of the ball, and over the course of his career he has found the net with unerring accuracy. I don't know what his shot to goals ratio is, but this cup is the worst I've seen him play and he's still a big danger for the golden boot. I firmly believe that if his career had not been so blighted by injury he would have outscored Pele by now in all competitions. That's not to say he's the footballer Pele was. But as a finisher I doubt there's ever been better. I could go on, but you probably get the picture. If anyone is in any doubt of how highly I rate this man, as a Liverpool fan I just have to say that he is a better natural finisher than God ;-)
posted by walrus at 04:26 PM on June 27
Just Fontaine was a little before even my time, but I think it's absolutely fair to say that the game was nowhere near the level that it is now. At that time teams were playing with only two fullbacks in defence, in the 2-3-5 formation ... the catenaccio defence caught on in Italy in the late fifties and early sixties, which saw a vast change in the way football was played. Since that time defence has been the order of the day and goals have been a little harder to come by.
posted by walrus at 01:39 PM on June 27
Oh, and this.
posted by walrus at 01:14 PM on June 27
By the way I've got a tenner on him scoring five or more this cup with a mate at work, which I wagered after the first match. Think my money's safe.
posted by walrus at 01:08 PM on June 27
Ireland is a footballing country? Would have thought rugby was the bigger draw. Just OTOH.
posted by walrus at 01:02 PM on June 27
Ronaldo is probably the greatest finisher of all time. Certainly the best I have seen in over thirty years of following footie.
posted by walrus at 01:00 PM on June 27
However, I will also absolutely guarantee that Ivanov will never, ever, appear in a FIFA fxture again, primarily because he turns 45 next Thursday and will be forced to retire from the FIFA list. That made me chuckle anyway :-)
posted by walrus at 03:33 PM on June 26
The first is a mis-timed tackle which happened in a split second. Slowing it down does not make it any worse. He goes for the ball, and his foot is not high. It does not go above waist height, and his studs are most certainly not "up". At the point of contact they are about ten degrees off the horizontal, because he pulls out of the challenge when the ball bounces off Ronaldos knee. There is quite clearly zero intent whatsoever. You can watch it with your eyes. Not going to go over and over this, you clearly have a marked difference of opinion to me and most referees, who would not have given a card for that. In fact most would only have given perhaps five in that game overall, with at most one deserved sending off (incidentally for the incident for which the ref decided to card the player after having his back turned when it happened, so ensuring that due disciplinary process could not be followed). Most of the cards were for clear dives, and a lot of the rest were for fifty-fifties. You can argue until you go blue in the face, but at the end of the day the ref will be punished, and punished harshly for that performance. It was one of the worse refereeing displays I have ever seen, and believe me I have seen some bad ones. That ref will never, ever, appear in a FIFA fixture again, I absolutely guarantee it. If he got the game so right then why would that be?
posted by walrus at 03:00 PM on June 26
Mr Bismarck: they were mistimed tackles, and many refs would not have given yellows. In fact I very much doubt you would have seen yellows for those in a premier league match. There was little intent, but a player got injured in one of them: that does not mean an automatic yellow card. The two worst injuries I have seen in the last few years both happened to the same player when he got his studs caught in the turf during a completely innocuous challenge. No need to talk them up, we've all got eyes and brains which can form independent opinions. It's a contact sport and people get injured, often completely by accident. The ref is supposed to determine intent or recklessness before producing a yellow card. A mistimed tackle should result in a free kick and a firm word. I've reffed at amateur level, and if you book every hard challenge you'll have no players left at the end of the game and you won't get asked again. Just to confirm that this is not only my opinion, but that of many experienced pundits: Russian referee Valentin Ivanov set the tone for his performance by booking players from the start for late tackles that he could have given free-kicks for. - BBC. There could have been a yellow card for the referee. He was not at the same level as the players. 'This was a game of emotion, with high drama but the referee was not consistent - Sepp Blatter. Russian referee Valentin Ivanov was given a resounding vote of no confidence by players, coaches and even FIFA president Sepp Blatter after he lost control of Portugal's 1-0 win against the Netherlands on Sunday. - Sydney Morning Herald The Russian referee set the tone when booking Mark van Bommel for a foul on Cristiano Ronaldo inside two minutes. A talking to would probably have sufficed, but by brandishing a yellow card he set himself a benchmark to work from. - Sky Sports I could give plenty more examples, but I guess I'm preaching to the converted.
posted by walrus at 01:19 PM on June 26
"I think if all four clubs are relegated it'd be the biggest match-fixing scandal to hit Italy, if not Europe in the last few decades. I stand open to correction though." It could be the worst in twenty four years, certainly. If all four go down it would be the worst in my memory, but I have a feeling only two will be relegated at most.
posted by walrus at 08:36 AM on June 26
I firmly disagree with much of what's being said about the Portugal v Holland game. The ref gave two silly yellow cards early on, which was a signal to the players to dive as much as possible. The more mistaken cards he then gave, the more it gave out the signal to dive. In addition to that, the more cards the ref gives out, the more players are likely to foul because they believe the ref will not want to blot his copy book by giving out too many in the game. Erroneously in this case, as the ref seemed determined to get his name in the history books, but it's a natural reaction from the players and I've seen it a thousand times. I've said it before and I doubtless will again, but a card-happy ref has no place in this sport. A couple of firm words in place of the first couple of cards and a strong yellow to the first player to dive would have shut down most of the dirty play early on. The ref could then have given out cards for the few incidents which would have really deserved them.
posted by walrus at 08:30 AM on June 26
Bit surprised by the Germany v. Ecuador result. Ecuador's defence had looked good so far. Germany have this annoying knack of coming right at the right time though, kind of like Brazil, but at the other end of the spectrum of what wins football games. England v. Sweden was a predictable result (a draw) but a better game than predicted. Looking at Owen's knee when he went down I think his cruciate is done. Four months minimum. I hope I'm wrong.
posted by walrus at 03:56 PM on June 20
Good point Dallas, I don't come on here slating Basketball, Baseball or American Football ;-)
posted by walrus at 03:53 PM on June 20
Maradona's was a great individual effort, but Owen's against Argentina made up for it. Platt's was a lucky volley ;-) Still Brazil for me.
posted by walrus at 07:05 PM on June 19
Speaking of the World Cup's best ever goals, here's Brazils effort against Italy from 1970, finished by Carlos Alberto. Some are saying Cambiasso's effort betters it, but I think Alberto's has absolutely everything which is beautiful about football. Some of the passing under pressure is sublime, the mazy dribble through the Italian midfield, and what a finish!
posted by walrus at 06:42 PM on June 19
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