Don't Play Thailand: Many football fans will be scratching their heads to see Switzerland among the top seeds at next year's World Cup finals, while thoroughbreds like the Netherlands and Italy are not. The truth is that it could be down to the choices made by football administrators, not players.
How the NFL Fleeces Taxpayers: Easterbrook lights into the NFL and politicians.
Dos a Cero, Again: The US Men's National Team beat Mexico 2-0 for the fourth time in a row in Columbus last night and, with Honduras getting a draw against Panama, became one of five teams to qualify for the World Cup Finals next summer. With the loss, Mexico assured themselves of a tough road simply to qualify.
Joining the US in Brazil will be Argentina, Costa Rica, the Netherlands and Italy, while Jordan won a playoff to, well, playoff against the fifth place team from South America. Fomer USMNT coach Bob Bradley's Egypt side finished their AFC group stage a perfect 6-0 with a 4-2 over Guinea.
EPL Fantasy Football: Just a reminder since the league starts Saturday morning. If you were in the SpoFi league last season you're automatically re-entered once your team is setup.
R&A will look at gender issue after British Open: TL;DR: Ain't no big thang, chums.
The Special One returns to Chelsea: After more (Inter Milan) and less (Real Madrid) spells elsewhere, Jose Mourinho signed a four year deal to return to Stamford Bridge. One wonders if he'll get on any better with his billionaire boss and how much change he'll ring before the season kicks off--speculation's already out there that Torres and Terry are goners and Essien will return to take the DM spot from Obi-Mikel. And maybe CR7? My main hope is that BetFair continues to back Special1 TV!
Bayern Munich shed the loser tag: After withstanding strong early pressing and a half dozen shots on goal from Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich switched up their formation and won the 2013 Champions League final 2-1, easing the pain of losing two of the previous three finals (Arjen Robben especially). The audience were treated to a lively match, a real change from the past few years when at least one side were determined to park the bus.
MLS announces expansion team New York City FC: Manchester City and the Yankees partner to pip Cosmos to the NYC MLS franchise, which will play in a purpose-built stadium in Flushing Meadows Park, Queens, starting in the 2015 season.
6 Things Your Business Can Learn from My Rookie Year in the NFL : Given Fleener is a Stanford grad, not too surprising that he looks at sport as a business. "One of the many “knocks” on the Colts team last year was our youth. We had a very young team by NFL standards. The media mistook young age for low maturity levels, and while it’s hard to argue that correlation doesn’t equal causation in that regard, it is too much simplification to say that youth = immaturity."
Reebok signs 15-year-old hockey phenom to huge endorsement deal: The "next Sidney Crosby", only the third 15 year old allowed to play in the OHL, signs a multi-year, multi-million dollar deal with the Reeb. Hopefully there will be an NHL for him to play in before the contract term finishes.
Champions League may have 64 clubs & Europa League scrapped: Seven English and five Scottish clubs would make the expanded field if M. Platini's latest, er, brainstorm becomes fact. At least it would end all those Thursday nights away requiring dark o'clock flights home from the Continent.
SpoFi Holiday Giving Project: One World Futbal: Inspired by images of Darfur child refugees playing soccer using trash instead of a ball surrounded by barbed wire, amid hovels made of plastic, cardboard and sticks Tim Jahnigen developed a ball made of a closed-cell foam that makes it durable, doesn't need a pump to inflate and has a "cap" that allows the ball to re-inflate, even if punctured. Since so many of us are soccer fans I thought we might band together to buy a few balls for the project as a group holiday project. The cost is $25 per ball and I'd like to try to raise $500.
NFL eyeing bigger plans for London?: A year ago West Ham had the inside track to move into the Olympic Stadium after the Games but it's looking less and less likely, with the latest contender being American Football. London mayor Boris Johnson has launched talks with the NFL that could result in 10 games a season being held at the 80,000 seat stadium, which will already host two next season.
UCI claims 'moral authority' to lead cycling: Agreeing that wrong-doing uncovered by other investigators after years of denial (and possibly coverup) enables one to retain "moral authority." Mmmkay!
Ryder Cup 2012: Medinah miracle comes to pass for Europe: Unbelievable collapse by the Americans with, once again, Mr. T. Woods leading the way. From the scoreline: "T Woods: Played 4 Won 0 Lost 3 Halved 1"
In Stadium Building Spree, U.S. Taxpayers Lose $4 Billion: Quantifying what has long been a sore point on SpoFi. Includes a nice contrast between Jerry Jones' public palazzo and the even more expensive but privately financed new stadium in the Meadowlands.
Transfer Deadline Day, not much nonesense yet: Dimitar Berbatov providing the most amusement so far, flying to Italy but returning to England without meeting anyone from Fiorentina after the move was hijacked by Juventus and the player instead signing instead for Fullham. And of course from that same club Clint Dempsey still sits and waits, spurning offers from Aston Villa and Sunderland in hopes that Liverpool or Arsenal will yet come in for him. Mancini has been busy on the blue side of Manchester, selling notorious chest-stomper Nigel de Jong to a vastly changed AC Milan and buying Scott Sinclair and a some would say past his sell by date Maicon. Liverpool have done some business, selling Charlie Adam to Stoke (who also brought in American Maurice Edu) and loaning Jay Spearing to Bolton, after loaning(?!?!?!) lost boy Andy Carroll to West Ham last night.
Premier League season starts Saturday: The transfer window has been quiet so far, enough so that Mancini went public at the lack of funds, though judging by their beat down of Chelsea in the Community Shield they may not need anyone new. My Reds have made two buys, ManUtd brought in a Japanese playmaker (and IPOed), Chelsea bought three quality attackers (but let Drogba go to China), and Arsenal paid big money (overpaid?) for Podolski. Robin van Persie, Luca Modric and Clint Dempsey sit by their phones waiting for news that their moves to, respectively, Juventus/Manchester/Spain (??), Real Madrid and Liverpool have come through.
PS: Remember to pick your fantasy team before then.
Euro 2012 Fantasy League final standings: Nik Olsen won by a good margin while I edged out Holden, BS Johnson(?) and tselson by a hair for second.
USA 5-1 Scotland: Led by Landon Donovan's hat trick and a brilliant blast from Michael Bradley, the US dominated a listless Scotland side. Klinnsman's strategy showed its coming together nicely around what may be the deepest roster the Americans have yet produced; Dempsey, Altidore, Ream, Kljestan and Holden were just five of the players not even on the team sheet while Fabian Johnson showed he may finally solve the left back position, Terrance Boyd was value in his first start and Joe Corona got his first cap.
SpoFi 2012 Fantasy Premier League Final Table: Props to Holden for winning by a strong margin and to all 18 who went the distance. Table inside.
Jose Mourinho rewarded for patient approach at Real Madrid: The Special One (man I miss that puppet parody show!) won a seventh league title across four different major leagues in his last eight seasons of managing. As little as I care for his style and tactics, he finds a way to get the job done in recent years about as well as anyone this side of Ferguson or Guardiola.
Pep Guardiola to end reign as Barcelona coach in summer: Guardiola is the most successful coach in Barca history, with three league titles, two Champions Leagues and a Copa del Rey among his haul--plus the chance to win a fourth in a few weeks--and will be succeeded by current assistant Tito Vilanova. "The reason is simple: four years is enough," said Guardiola.