Tuesday, May 25, 2010

World Cup Favourites Win Their Friendlies

Two World Cup favourites played friendlies on Monday night and got the results they wanted. England beat Mexico without playing particularly well and Argentina clobbered Canada without Messi, Milito and Samuel.

After announcing Argentina's squad of 23 last week, Maradona had this to say after winning 5-0 in Buenos Aires.
"I am encouraged that we made people happy. What I value most from the players is the desire they have to prove they can do this and much more," he said, as quoted by Spanish publication AS. "The Argentine people can be calm because we have good players that we can put on the team, when the time is right."

The five goals were scored by Maxi (2), Tevez, Di Maria and Aguero. An impressive attacking display which shows that the Argentinians are gathering form and confidence. Going into the World Cup with 3 goalkeepers, 7 defenders, 7 midfielders and 6 strikers, Maradona has no worries at all in the attacking department. What was more controversial and surely would be a mistake is the omission of Esteban Cambiasso.

Nike World Cup Ad Viral - Write The Future

Let's face it, Nike advertisements are renowned to be some of the most creative and memorable showpieces designed. Nike launched their World Cup ad campaign with a catchy slogan "Write The Future" viral during the 2010 Champions League final and it's impact has got everyone excited.

Directed by renowned Hollywood director and producer Alejandro G. I├▒arritu (21 Grams, Babel), this epic football journey unfolds through a match of goal line clearances, game-winning tackles and lightning footwork that literally send a ripple effect across the world.

The Nike Write The Future advertisement depicts how everything revolves around events on a football pitch. Kinda like a "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" movie but a lot classier and a whole lot easier to relate to.

The video for Write The Future can be seen from the Nike Facebook page here. Be sure to visit the site during the course of the World Cup for more video visual and footages.

Hyundai's World Cup Competition - What Would You Trade For...?!

Being the official World Cup partner, Hyundai is pulling out all stops with some great competition. This really sets the mood for football fans anticipating a carnival like atmosphere in South Africa. Particularly enticing is Hyundai's "What Would You Trade...?" competition for UK residents. It's enticing because it is possibly the only competition which offers tickets, accommodation AND flights to South Africa!

This is a video sample of what football fans in the UK would trade for essentially a all-expense paid trip to watch the greatest show on earth.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Diego Milito - Man Of The Hour

Inter Milan simply had too much in their back pocket for Bayern to contain. Inter's superb performance in the Champions League final is down to three factors,

1. Too many Bayern players froze at the Santiago Bernabeu
Bayern fans would always be wondering what if Thomas Mueller had scored...what if Howard Webb had blown for a half way line foul before Milito's brilliant 2nd goal. But the fact remains that Schweinsteiger, Lahm, Demichelis and co succumbed to the pressures much like Manchester United the season before. Playing at the Bernabeu do have that effect on teams, La Liga teams regularly roll over for Real Madrid.

Friday, May 21, 2010

2009/2010 Barclays Premier League Season Review

This season turned out to be a really interesting one. Being World Cup season, I was worried that some players would burn out before South Africa. What was worse were players not trying hard enough, hoping to conserve energy for the World Cup. Steven Gerrard could be accused of that this season while Fernando Torres' numerous persistent injuries meant that El Nino again had upset Liverpool's title plans this season. On the other hand, Wayne Rooney is already looking tired and stricken by injuries in a season where he singlehandedly took an ordinary Manchester United to second spot in the Premier League.

With Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur building deep and quality squads, the Big 4 clubs status were seriously threatened. In the end, Liverpool lost their place among the elites of the league. Arsenal continued to impress this season, especially as most pundits opined that Arsenal were the club most in danger of losing their Big 4 status.

Here are my seven memories of the season gone by,

1. Chelsea's record breaking season
What more can you say about Chelsea? 103 goals, seven goals or more in four matches, Didier Drogba,  is back to his menacing self. Lampard has had his most prolific season thus far, scoring 22 goals. The Premiership double also added more gloss to a fantastic season. Carlo Ancelotti's special skill of extending the playing styles of veterans are now paying dividends. Next season will be challenging for Chelsea when the Premier League imposes squad limits and player regulations.

Liverpool Was Treble Winners Twice!

The Independent also took a look at the other European sides to lift three trophies (including a European cup) in a season, but made up of a different combination of trophies.

Swedish Championship, Svenska Cupen, Uefa Cup
The only Scandinavian country to ever win a European cup did it in style by also winning the two premier domestic competitions as well.

Football League First Division, League Cup, European Cup
If it had been the FA Cup rather than the League Cup, Liverpool could have added their name to the list of ‘perfect winners’. Joe Fagan’s side overcame Roma’s advantage of playing the European Cup final in their own stadium to record a win on penalties at the Stadio Olimpico.

Turkish Premier Super League, Turkish Football Cup, Uefa Cup
The dominant side in Turkey won their only European trophy in 2000 when they beat Arsenal on penalties in the final. They also won their two most prestigious domestic tournaments.

The Perfect Treble - Bayern Or Inter?

When Bayern Munich and Inter Milan battle it out in tomorrow’s Champions League final, not only will they be fighting for Europe’s top prize, but will also be aiming to complete an historic treble. Both Bayern and Inter have already won their league and domestic cup, and clinching the Champions League would mean adding their names to an exclusive group of treble winners. Whoever wins, it will be a first for the country they hail from.

Five teams have completed the ‘perfect’ treble - winning the league, main domestic cup and the most prestigious European cup all in one season. These five clubs are:

CELTIC, 1967
Scottish Football League, Scottish Cup, European Cup
Celtic became the fi rst British team to win the European Cup after they beat Inter Milan in the final. As well as the two most prestigious domestic trophies, they also picked up the League Cup and Glasgow Cup as they swept aside all before them.

AJAX, 1972
Eredivisie, KNVB Cup, European Cup

A Look Back At The Last 10 Champions League Finals

Here is a look back at the last 10 Champions League finals and a short recollection on how they ended.

1999-2000: All Spanish Encounter
Real Madrid 3
Valencia 0
Stade de France, Paris
This is the first time two domestic rivals contested a final. Real dominated from start to finish, clinching their second title in three years. Steve McManaman won his first Champions League winners' medal, justifying his move to Real Madrid.

2000-2001: Goalkeeping Hero
Bayern Munich 1 (5-4 on penalties)
Valencia 1
San Siro, Milan
Bayern goalkeeper, Oliver Kahn held on to Mauricio Pellegrino's spot kick to claim Bayern's first European success in 25 years.

2001-2002: Zizou's Wonder Goal

Two Down, One To Go! Mourinho and Van Gaal's Treble Quest

Come May 22nd, either the master (Louis Van Gaal) or the apprentice (Jose Mourinho) would have achieved two milestones in their career. One, Inter Milan or Bayern Munich will have captured the unique treble (domestic league, domestic cup and continental cup). Two, either manager will become only the third manager to have won this prestigious tournament twice with two different clubs.

Everyone knows the history behind Van Gaal and Mourinho. It was Van Gaal who spotted the potential of Mourinho and offered him the chance to work with him. Mourinho calls Van Gaal his "teacher" and with good reason, as Mourinho's demeanor seemed to mirror the arrogance and aloofness of Louis Van Gaal. The tough taskmaster attitude towards their players are remarkably similar.

The similarities in team preparation have also been acknowledged by Louis Van Gaal when he spoke to Soccernet,

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Best Saves And Top 50 Best World Cup Goals

Here are the top 50 best World Cup goals and also best saves video.

Top 50 best World Cup goals from footballars

West Ham 2009/2010 Premier League Season Review

It was hard to find positives in a pretty disastrous season for West Ham. But hey, at least WE ARE STILL IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE!! That's cause enough for celebrations. Fortunately for the Hammers, there were three other teams which performed worse than us....marginally.

The 2009/2010 season was all about these five major incidents:
1. The Wolves away win
That opening win remains West Ham's ONLY away win for the recently concluded season. That match at Molineux was the only time that West Ham ever showed any real cohesion in attack, defence and midfield. Sadly, that win moved all West Ham fans to expect great things for the season. That faith appeared misplaced now as I look back at how much West Ham have underachieved in the 2009/2010 season. Perhaps the sale of Collins and injuries to Cole and Collison were valid reasons for the struggles.

Brazil Sweats Over Kaka's Form!

It's been a hard season for Kaka at Real Madrid. So hard that there are murmurs that he has been a flop at Madrid and that he has been saving his best for Brazil in the coming World Cup. Kaka has never looked like the player who carried AC Milan on his shoulders season after season. Perhaps not being the focal point of the galacticos had taken the edge off Kaka's game. The persistent groin and thigh problems have blotted his Real Madrid career. Still he remains the best playmaker in the game and a player that undoubtedly rises to the occasion.

The form and fitness problems at Real Madrid have prompted Kaka to declare that he will be 100% in South Africa. This should allay Brazil's fears.
I'll be at 100% for the World Cup," Kaka told AS.
"I had a difficult season but there have been many cases of players who have had a bad year and then shine on the World Cup. I'm not worried at all."
Kaka was the most valuable player in the Confederations Cup last year, and that should be a reminder of the elegance and class from the "Athlete of Christ". assistmaster9 captures this succintly in this video (once you get past the dorky interview!).

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Cheeky Forlan Flick Wins It For Atletico!

Fulham could not cope with the striking duo of Forlan and Aguero in the mind. A valiant fightback from Fulham amounted to nothing as Forlan's flick ended Fulham's fairytale run in Hamburg. This is the extra time winning goal as it happened.

graphics by malay mail

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Top Ten Best World Cup Final

Only 30 more days to go, all the World Cup finalists are in the midst of naming their provisional squads. The anticipation and excitement are building up as we speak. Work and relationships take a backseat for a month as we witness and experience the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Here are the top ten best World Cup final.

Let the games begin!

Europa League Final Preview: Can Fulham Pull It Off?

After a glorious European adventure which started in July last year, Fulham step into the Europa League Final knowing that whatever happens, they have made all of Europe sit up and take notice. The resilience and fighting spirit shown by the Fulham players against Juventus and Hamburg truly were amazing. Fulham fans through the Europa League have had enough memories to last a lifetime.

Some say that Fulham's name is on the cup this season. After those great comebacks against Juventus and Hamburg, who is to deny them this bit of glory? I look forward to seeing Roy Hodgson and his motley crew of journeyman players lifting the trophy in a few days time. Roy and Fulham have proven that the Europa League can be a happy hunting ground for English clubs. Aston Villa and Everton have, in the past, given up on this European competition to focus on the league. If Fulham wins, it might interest even Mancini and Benitez to take this competition seriously.

Loew Plans Assault On World Cup And Landon Donovan Talks Thrash!

German coach, Joachim Loew have named six strikers in Germany's provisional World Cup squad. This included the likes of Lukas Podolski and Miroslav Klose. There hasn't been a world-class striker in the German squad since Klinsmann. So the lack of quality may have to be compensated by the quantity. What I am wondering is why Kevin Kuranyi still not in Loew's plans.

These are the six players Loew have named for South Africa...

The Scouser And The Memory Man

Great joke, hilarious!

A scouser is on holiday in Arizona USA. He's staying in a remote frontier type town and walks into a bar. He orders his drink and sits down at the bar when he notices a native American Indian, dressed in full regalia, feathered head dress, tomahawk, spear, the lot, sitting in the corner under a sign saying 'Ask me anything'.    
The scouser is intrigued and asks the barman about him.

"Oh, we call him the memory man, He knows everything." says the barman.
"What do you mean he knows everything?" asks the scouser.
"'Well, he knows every fact there is to know and he never, ever forgets anything"
"Yeah right" says the scouser.
"If you don't believe me, try him out. Ask him anything, and he'll know the answer"
"Alright", says the Scouser and walks up to the Memory Man.
"Where am I from?"

Saturday, May 1, 2010

West Ham To Get Second Away Win At Craven Cottage?

West Ham look to build on a good result at Wigan last week with an equally good performance against Fulham. Roy Hodgson's team will be physically exhausted after a tough Europa League semifinal win over Hamburg.

A tight passing game maintaining possession will be a great strategy to wear down the Fulham players and allow West Ham to dictate the tempo of the game.

David Sullivan said that all except Parker has a price tag and therefore there is added incentive for the players to produce good performances in the last two matches before they are put in the shop window.

The excellent understanding between Ilan and Cole automatically makes them the preferred striking partnership for the last two Hammers matches.

The Invincible Bastion Of Anfield Awaits Chelsea

Chelsea faces Liverpool in a Sunday match that both teams must not lose. Chelsea have a tough task ahead of them at Anfield. Liverpool have not lost a Premier League match at Anfield since Arsenal beat the Reds in December 2009. That's 10 matches unbeaten, eight of which have been won in style by Liverpool.

Chelsea have a great record against any of the Big Four clubs, having won all five encounters.

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