World Cup Final set

Spain advanced to the World Cup final on a late header from Carles Puyol this afternoon. They will meet the Netherlands on Sunday in Johannesburg for the 2010 World Cup.

These guys are Dutch, so am I (sort of). They will face Spain in the World Cup Final on Sunday.

While almost my entire family is Irish, my last name is Dutch. Therefore, I get to root for my “ancestors” come Sunday evening.

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Early goals eliminate USA

The United States soccer team put the entire nation on their backs and took us for a 3-week ride through the World Cup.

Unfortunately, weak links defensively and a penchant for allowing early goals finally caught up with the Yanks in their second-round match with Ghana.

Landon Donovan nets a penalty kick goal in the USAs 2-1 loss to Ghana this afternoon.

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The worst part of the World Cup

The vuvuzelas aren’t that bad. If you watch enough games you get used to the din of the South African horns. In fact, I think it is cool that the host country has a cool tradition like this and I’m glad it is being embraced…sort of.

I could handle vuvuzelas all day compared to some of the ads being run this year.

The worst part of watching the World Cup is having to watch the awful, and I mean AWFUL, commercials that Nike and Adidas have put out for the tournament. Now, I have to give Nike credit because of their use of Homer Simpson in their Ronaldo ad, that bit was very funny. But, the rest of the “Write the Future” ads are terrible. The worst of the bunch comes at the beginning of the video posted below. Tell me why the Ivory Coast would celebrate as a nation before Drogba’s goal was in the net? And, tell me why Nike thought that idiotic Cannavaro song and party was a good idea?

The Adidas “The Quest” are equally bad. This commercial is lame, strange and over the top. I just didn’t like the commercial from the minute I saw it. Overall I was creeped out by it and I think Adidas should have reevaluated before giving final approval on the ad.

I’m sure both companies were looking at a visionary approach to putting out their products. But, I think they went a few steps too far in taking the next step. Maybe these commercial would have been better suited for the 2014 World Cup.

Azzurri a-bye-bye

The defending World Cup champions have been ousted. Italy fell to Slovakia 3-2 today and finished last in group F. The Azzurri join 2006 finalists France as powerhouses to not make it through to the second round. It is the first time in the history of the World Cup that this has occurred.

Italy was bounced from the World Cup today, marking the first time the defending champions have not advanced to the second round.

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USA advances!

It appeared the goal would never come for the United States. Another questionable call denied the Yanks an early goal and numerous chances as the USA pressed late painted a picture of futility. But Landon Donovan netted the deciding goal in the 91st minute on a counter attack keyed by Tim Howard and Jozy Altidore.

Landon Donovan celebrates his 91′ goal that sent the US through to the second round.

Howard made a key save and immediately started the counter-attack as Donovan came forward with Clint Dempsey, Edson Buddle and Altidore. Altidore put the ball across the box and Donovan scooped up the rebound off Dempsey’s redirect to, not only, put the United States through to the second round, but make the Yanks the group C winner.

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Mr. Coulibaly, you have a companion

Mason Coulibaly’s disallowed goal in the USA/Slovenia game will most likely be the worst call of the 2010 World Cup. To date, it is heads and shoulders above the rest. But that didn’t stop Stephane Lannoy from attempting to top his counterpart.

Kaka is sent of by French referee Stephane Lannoy after his second yellow card. Drawn on a dive by an Ivory Coast player.

I only saw bits and pieces of the Brazil/Ivory Coast match this afternoon but, it seems as if I missed quite a bit. In the short period that I viewed, I didn’t see any goals or fouls but, I did see the highlights later. From what I could tell, this guy was awful.

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More thoughts on the FIFA muck-up

Its a day later and there isn’t much more info out regarding the foul that cost the United States the winning goal against Slovenia on Friday.

This ESPN story has two good videos on the matter, including coach Bob Bradley’s comments. The fact that he so adamantly calls the goal a good one shows the calamity of this situation. Watching the overhead shot in the second video on that page makes me think in very extremes, fixed game extremes.

It was an opportunity for the US to complete an outstanding comeback and put themselves in a fantastic situation to advance. But, they had that taken away. Watching Maurice Edu run through the box almost unmarked and receive a foul is nothing short of embarrassing. For me, it really makes me think that Coulibaly was out to keep the US from winning that game, that is how big of a phantom call that was.

Literally, the only call that could have been made would have been to award the US a penalty for a foul committed on Michael Bradley. Instead, the US a clinging to second place in group C and must beat Algeria on Wednesday to advance.

The U.S. had a victory stolen. Plain and simple.

I truthfully don’t know how to sum up my thoughts on the obvious missed call by FIFA referee Koman Coulibaly in today’s USA vs. Slovenia World Cup match.

Nothing, short of wild profanity, sums up the call. Terrible, brutal, awful atrocious – none of them really cover all of the bases.

Can you pick out the US foul in this picture? Didn’t think so.

The fact of the matter is, this guy screwed up. In fact, he robbed a victory from the US. This was a near must-win for the US and they didn’t get the victory. Partially because of the no call and partially because the US did not come to play in the first half.

Despite trailing 2-0 after 45 minutes, the US showed outstanding resiliency as Landon Donovan scored early on in the second half and Michael Bradley scored the equalizer on a beautiful play later in the half. That set up the now infamous play. Donovan layed a cross into the 18-yard box that was finished by Maurice Edu to give the US the apparent winning goal. But, Coulibaly called the US for a foul, but no one knows what for. The most apparent foul being committed was on Bradley, not the other way around. Continue reading

Clearly Europeans haven’t done their homework

You don’t call out the United States. Particularly in sports. Bulletin board material is such a no-no in North American sports, you would think it would be the same in Europe.

Tim Howard didn’t really buy into what Andrej Komac had to say. Now Howard must lead the US past Slovenia tomorrow morning.

Apparently not. Slovenian midfielder, Andrej Komac, decided he would put a guarantee on the table. He said his side will defeat the United States Friday in their World Cup match. Now, the Americans are considered to be the favorites, but I don’t know how much faith I have in our side in international play. The game has certainly come a long way in the US, and it seems like our national program is making leaps and bounds. But, I don’t know if we are a team that can go out and win no matter what.

That being said, American athletes are some of the most pride-filled men and women you will ever meet. Putting that kind of guarantee out there is a dangerous move on Komac’s part. While soccer isn’t a sport that allows for serious retribution, see football or hockey, this should give the United States more than enough motivation to win tomorrow.

However, goaltender Tim Howard took the high road (sort of) when asked about the comments. Continue reading