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7 posts from June 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Mamma Mia! Italia!

Italy scores first! Mario Balotelli header puts Italy ahead of Germany 1-0 in 20th minute.

on ESPN. Now.

MAMA MIA! Balotelli scores AGAIN! This time an amazing blast from his right foot to upper right corner. Italy leads Germany 2-0 in 36th minute!

No wonder they call him "Super Mario''!

Balotelli, 21, plays for Manchester City and has a cult following there. He was born in Sicily to Ghanian immigrants (his birth name is Burwuah), and given to an Italian foster family when he was 3 years old because he suffered from medical problems and his parents couldn't afford to help him. When he was 18, he sought Italian citizenship. Italians are happy he made that decision !! Germans not so much.

Second half underway...buckle your seat belt.

61' Free kick Germany. Can they close the gap? Reus takes beautiful high curling shot, but Buffon leaps and makes the save.

69' Super Mario Balotelli out. DiNatale replaces him.

Bad news for Germany: They just said on TV that Italy hasn't allowed a goal in 300 minutes. Impressive!

Italians keep attacking. This could easily be 4-0.

91' Ozil scores for Germany. Too late. Not enough.



Is Spain boring? Will GER or ITA win?

Hard to believe Spain, defending Euro and World Cup champions, and home to one of the best (the best?) pro league in the world, has to defend its playing style. But that's what is happening. Critics are complaining that the Spanish ticky-tacky short passes are boring. The crowd looked bored, or at least dispassionate, as Spain and Portugal played 120 minutes of scoreless soccer before Spain won Wednesday's semi in a penalty kick shootout. Perhaps Ukraine and Poland were not the best choices to host Euro 2012. It is the farthest East they've ever been held, and fans there don't seem as crazed about the tournament as folks are in England, Spain, France, Italy, Portugal and Germany. Or, maybe they really were bored by Spain, good as they are.

So, we have two questions for you...1. Is Spain boring? 2. Who will Spain play in the final? Vote below! And share your comments.

Also, if you don't want to watch today's game alone, here are some soccer-loving spots:

Where to Watch:

Fritz and Franz (Coral Gables and Ft. Lauderdale),
Churchill's (North Miami), Fado Irish Pub (Mary Brickell Village), Sports Grill
(South Miami, Kendall, Sunset, Bird Rd.), Waxy O'Connors (Miami Beach),
Playwright (Miami Beach), Finnegan's (Miami Beach), Novecento (Brickell), George's (South Miami)


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Who'll make Euro final?

And so, we're down to four.

Italy beat England in penalty kicks and advanced to the Thursday semifinal vs. Germany. Spain plays Portugal (Oh, my!) in the Wednesday semifinal.

Who do you think will win? Vote here...


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Euro quarters set! Messi's Miami visit.

Been on furlough the past week (cruising in the Caribbean)...watched Euro 2012 aboard the Allure of the Seas ship, which was very cool. Many of the passengers -- and the crew members -- were soccer fans.

So, the QFs are set: Czech vs. Portugal, Germany vs. Greece, Spain vs. France, England vs. Italy.

Thoughts? Biggest underachievers were the Dutch. I expected more.

If I had to guess, I'd say Portugal, Germany, Spain and Italy will advance. You agree?

You can vote below. Closer to home, Lionel Messi comes to Miami's Sun Life Stadium on Saturday for an all-star exhibition called World Masters Tour. Also includes Diego Forlan, Falcao, Didier Drogba, Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, Dani Alves, Alessandro Nesta, Carlos Bocanegra and more. This is a rare chance to see Messi up close. Don't miss it! Tickets on sale through Ticketmaster and stadium.




Thursday, June 07, 2012

Poll: Who will win Euro 2012?

Sounders roll, Red Bulls ousted...

Oh, well...Eric Wynalda's Storybook Team was fun while it lasted...Cal FC, an amateur team thrown together and coached by former US star and TV analyst Wynalda, was the feel-good story of the US Open Cup after reaching the fourth round with a shocking win over the Portland Timbers. But the Seattle Sounders brought them down to earth...Read the AP account...

TUKWILA, Wash. --  As Osvaldo Alonso and Fredy Montero saw things, it was just a matter of time.

Alonso and Montero each scored a pair of goals in the second half, and the Seattle Sounders tallied five times in a span of 20 minutes on Tuesday night to end Cal FC's run through the U.S. Open Cup with a 5-0 fourth-round victory.

Andy Rose also scored for Seattle, which was kept off the board for nearly 50 minutes by the amateur side from Thousand Oaks, Calif., before Alonso converted a penalty kick.

"The first half was a hard half because they were very strong in their defense," Alonso said. "But the second half, we entered the field feeling happy and positive about the fact that if we scored the first goal, then the next goal and the next goal and the next goal were going to come."

That's precisely what happened. Montero ran onto a long through ball from Cordell Cato and ripped it into the back left corner late in the 58th minute. Rose got the last head on an airborne ball in the box and sent it into the right side midway through the 66th minute.

Montero curled in a 25-yard direct free kick from beyond the top left corner of the box midway through the 68th -- a goal that initially was called offside, but then allowed. Alonso finished it with a straight-on 35-yard blast late in the 70th minute.

"It was like just waiting for us to score a goal," Montero said. "Lucky for us, it was a penalty. We knew the diffrerence was going to be the first goal."

The Sounders, going for an unprecedented fourth straight U.S. Open Cup, will be on the road for the quarterfinals on June 26, visiting Major League Soccer rival San Jose. Seattle is 15-0-1 in Open Cup play since joining MLS as an expansion team in 2009, but has played just three road games during that time: two in 2009 and one in 2010.

Cal FC, coached by former U.S. national team star and television analyst Eric Wynalda, went further than any other U.S. Adult Soccer Association (fifth-tier) team in the modern era in the Open Cup (1995-present). Despite being together for barely a month, it was the first USASA team to knock off an MLS side when it beat the Portland Timbers in overtime last Wednesday in Oregon, 1-0.

"All in all, if you look at the goals we set for ourselves, we did exceed a lot of people's expectations," Wynalda said. "They recognize what happened tonight. That first goal really was a punch in the gut. When we had to make the switch to try to get more forwards on the field, it opened up and (the Sounders) showed their quality.

"We just wanted to get to about the 60th minute and throw some forwards on the field," Wynalda added. "But we never got there."

Meanwhile...on the other coast, the USL Harrisburg City Islanders contintued their unlikely run with a 3-1 overtime win over the MLS Red Bulls...

Islanders 3, Red Bulls 1

HARRISBURG, Pa. --  Sainey Touray had two goals, and Lucky Mkosana added another as the Harrisburg City Islanders defeated the MLS New York Red Bulls, 3-1, in overtime on Tuesday night in the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

Via the upset, Harrisburg City, of the USL Pro Division, advanced to the quarterfinals, where it will face another MLS club, the Philadelphia Union on June 26 in Chester, Pa.

Connor Lade scored for the Red Bulls. It was unassisted, and his second goal of the tournament. New York will return to MLS play on June 17, against Chicago.

Harrisburg has knocked off five MLS teams since 2007.

Other US Open Cup results...

Kansas City 2, Rapids 0

KANSAS CITY, Kan. --  Teal Bunbury scored in the 79th minute, and Sporting Kansas City beat the Colorado Rapids 2-0 on Tuesday night to advance to the quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

Sporting will host the Dayton Dutch Lions of the third-tier USL Pro on June 26.

Colorado goalkeeper Matt Picken was charged with an own goal in the 28th minute, giving Kansas City a 1-0 lead. Pickens deflected Aurelien Collin's header off a free kick, but the ball deflected off Pickens, hit the post and rolled into the net.

Colorado, which came back from a 2-0 deficit to force a 2-2 home draw last month in MLS play, had several chances to equalize after the miscue. Tony Cascio shot just wide in the 36th minute, and Jaime Castrillon hit the crossbar in the 52nd.

Union 2, United 1

BOYDS, Md. --  Antoine Hoppenot scored in extra time Tuesday night to give the Philadelphia Union a 2-1 win over D.C. United in a battle of MLS teams in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup.

Brian Carroll scored in first-half injury time for the Union. Josh Wolff netted for United, also in first-half injury time.

Hoppenot's goal came with an assist from Freddy Adu early in the first extra period.

Dayton 2, Michigan 1

ROCHESTER, Mich. --  Joel DeLass' extra-time penalty kick helped the Dayton Dutch Lions beat the amateur Michigan Bucks 2-1 and advance to the quarterfinal of the U.S. Open Cup.

With the score tied at 1 after 90 minutes, the Dutch Lions were given the penalty kick when Bucks defender Seby Harris brought down Gerrit-Jan Bartels inside the box six minutes into extra time.

Charlotte 2, San Antonio 1

SAN ANTONIO --  Mauricio Salles scored on a penalty in extra time to send the third-tier Charlotte Eagles to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup with a 2-1 victory over the San Antonio Scorpions on Tuesday night.

Ryan Cochrane was called for a hand ball while in the box. San Antonio goalkeeper Daryl Sattler dove left on the penalty kick, Salles blasted the shot into the right corner of the goal in the 116th minute.

Charlotte, which plays in the USL Professional Division will face Chivas USA of MLS -- two levels above USL Pro in the U.S. soccer pyramid -- in the quarterfinals.

Chivas USA 2, Carolina 1

CARY, N.C. --  Juan Pablo Angel scored on a penalty kick in stoppage time and Chivas USA beat the Carolina RailHawks 2-1 Tuesday night in the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

Angel was awarded the penalty kick when Gale Agbosoumonde was called for hand ball in the box, and converted into the lower left corner for the winner.

Juan Agudelo put Chivas up 1-0 in the 31st minute, but Carolina's Mike Palacio tied it in the 79th minute.

Chivas of MLS advanced to the quarterfinals for the second time and first since reaching the 2010 semifinals.








Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Messi, Forlan, Drogba, Dempsey, Falcao in Miami!

The list of confirmed players has been released for the World Soccer Masters exhibition match June 23 at Sun Life Stadium, and it reads like a Who's Who of international soccer...Here is the full list. If you haven't gotten tickets yet, you are not a true soccer fan. Tix start at $25 through Ticketmaster or at 305-943-6311. A portion of the proceeds go to Messi's charitable foundation. The coaches will be Fabio Capello and Dunga.

  • Lionel Messi - Argentina and Barcelona – World’s best player three years in a row;
  • Diego Forlan - Uruguay and Inter Milan - Best player of the 2010 World Cup;
  • Didier Drogba - Ivory Coast’s national captain - Former front-man of Chelsea F.C.;
  • Diego Milito – Argentina and Inter Milan - Champions League winner;
  • Dani Alves  - Brazil and Barcelona -  Two time winner of UEFA cup;
  • Lucio - Brazil and Inter Milan – 2006 Brazil national captain;
  • Antonio Cassano­ - Italy and AC Milan;
  • Alessandro Nesta - Italy - 2006 World Champion;
  • Radamel Falcao - Colombia and Atletico Madrid - top scorer of European League;
  • Juan Silveira dos Santos - Brazil and AS Roma;
  • Gerardo Torrado - Mexico and Cruz Azul;
  • Diego Lugano - Uruguay and Paris Saint-Germain;
  • Edison Cavani - Uruguay and Napoli;
  • Walter Gargano - Uruguay and Napoli;
  • Marco Materazzi - Italy’s national team;
  • Luis Suarez - Uruguay and Liverpool;
  • Jhon Viafara - Colombia and La Equidad;
  • Javier Mascherano - Argentina  and Barcelona;
  • Ezequiel Lavezzi – Argentina and Napoli;
  • Fabio Cannavaro – Italy - 2006 national  captain, participation in four World Cups;
  • Clint Dempsey - USA and Fulham;
  • Jozy Altidore - USA and AZ Alkmaar;
  • Carlos Bocanegra - USA and Rangers F.C. – National team captain;
  • Ariel Ortega – Argentina and Defensores de Belgrano;
  • Marek Hamsik – Slovakia and Napoli;
  • Pablo Daniel Osvaldo – Argentina and AS Roma;
  • Guillermo Ochoa  - Mexico and  Ajaccio –  Goalie;
  • Andre Santos – Brazil and Arsenal;
  • James Rodriguez – Colombia and F.C. Porto;
  • Martin Demichelis – Argentina and Malaga;
  • José Salomón Rondón – Venezuela and Málaga;
  • José Manuel Pinto -  Spain and FC Barcelona, and
  • Julio Cesar - Brazil and Inter Milan – Goalie.