I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
This is too funny not to share. A fellow MGoBlogger previously posted the excuse that the North Koreans didn't advance because several players were struck by lightning, but now that FIVE of the North Korean women have tested positive for steriods at the World Cup, we have a pure gold excuse...
FIFA has already met with a North Korean delegation and heard arguments that the steroids were accidentally taken with traditional Chinese medicines based on musk deer glands to treat players who had been struck by lightning on June 8 during a training camp in North Korea.
The gland in question comes from musk deer living in a large swathe of Asia from Siberia to North Korea. The hairy 4-centimeter gland is usually cut open to extract a liquid that is used for medical purposes.
Even if that is sort of true, I find it hilarious.
Anyway, I'm excited for tomorrow. GO GO USA!
Well, with the Red Wings eliminated, and not being a baseball fan, my thoughts turn to the women's World Cup in Germany this summer, starting 6/26 @ 9AM Eastern (group stage match schedule). Earlier this week coach Pia Sundhage named 21 players to the team: 3 goalies, 7 defenders, 7 midfielders, and 4 forwards (listed below). They are all professional players in the WPS, with the exception of Ali Krieger, who last played in Frankfurt and is not currently with a club.
Pia Sundhage quotes are excerpted from "Pia Sundhage and Select Players Discuss the USA's 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup Roster"
We have not picked the 21 best players. I would like to emphasize that. We have picked the 21 that will do something fantastic together and bring out the best performance from each other.
I haven't remembered to watch the WNT the past few months, having been focused on other sports, so this post is more informative than analytical. I read they struggled a bit in qualifying. The 2-1 CONCACAF qualifying tourney loss to Mexico in Cancun on 11/5 put them in a hole. They had to beat Costa Rica to get to a two-game playoff with Italy, and they won all three games (3-0, 1-0, 1-0) to qualify. (2010 results)
My glass is half full. I look at it in a positive way. When I look back, I look at the Mexico, Italy and other games where we struggled a little bit, and it gave us a chance to play under pressure. If we can deal with that pressure, which we did against Italy, that’s amazing. We came out stronger after those games.
2011 opened with a loss to 2-1 Sweden in the Four Nations Tournament in Chongqing, China, but the USWNT then beat Canada 2-1 and China 2-0 to win it. March was the Algarve Cup in Portugal, where they beat Japan 2-1, Norway 2-0, Finland 4-0, and Iceland 4-2 to win it. They lost to England 2-1 in London on 4/2.
There are three remaining tune ups for the World Cup: two against Japan, this Saturday at 6:30PM Eastern in Columbus, OH (Fox Soccer), and Wednesday at 7PM Eastern in Cary, NC (ESPN2); and finally 6/5 at 2PM Eastern against Mexico in Harrison, NJ (ESPN2). (2011 Schedule & Results)
Every game teaches you something ... Games are very important. I would like to emphasize that we talk about the gold medal, we talk about this and that. For me it’s winning the next game and win it in such a way that you learn from that game, and you have a bigger chance to win the next game.
ROSTER ("w" indicates previous World Cup team, "o" Olympic team)
Nicole Barnhart (w,o), Jillian Loyden, Hope Solo (w,o)
Rachel Buehler (o), Stephanie Cox (w,o), Ali Krieger, Amy LePeilbet, Heather Mitts (oo), Christie Rampone, captain (www, oo), Becky Sauerbrunn
Shannon Boxx (ww, oo), Tobin Heath (o), Lori Lindsey, Carlie Lloyd (w, o), Heather O'Reilly (w, oo), Megan Rapinoe, Lindsay Tarpley (w, oo)
Lauren Cheney (o), Alex Morgan, Amy Rodriguez (o), Abby Wambach (ww, oo*)
*named to team but missed 2008 Olympics with broken leg
The WNT Wikipedia page shows the players' ages, caps and goals. Christie Rampone is the oldest player at 35 (36 just before the tournament starts) and has the most caps at 234. Abby Wambach has 154 caps and by far the most goals with 117. Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo Portage Central High) has 124 caps and the second most goals at 32. Alex Morgan, who scored in the 4th minute of stoppage time in Italy, is the youngest player at 21. The average age will be 27.9 when the tournament begins.
GROUPS (World Rank as of 3/18)
Germany (2), Canada (6), Nigeria (27), France (7)
Japan (4), New Zealand (24), Mexico (22), England (10)
USA (1), N. Korea (8), Colombia (31), Sweden (5)
Brazil (3), Australia (11), Norway (9), Equatorial Guinea (61)
Group of Death? Probably A, which has #2 Germany, host team, favorite, and winners of the last two World Cups, #6 Canada & #7 France. Although C has #1 us, 2007 3rd place winner, #5 Sweden, and #8 NK, which advanced in 2007, but lost to Germany 3-0 in the quarters.
BTW, you may remember Group C from such groups as 2007 B: USA, NK, Sweden & Nigeria. We drew 2-2 with NK in the 2007 opener (and open with them again on 6/28), and won the other games (2-0 over Sweden, 1-0 over Nigeria) to finish 1st. NK beat Nigeria 2-0, but lost to Sweden 2-1. NK & Sweden had the same 1-1-1 record, but NK placed 2nd on goal differential (+1 to -1).
Assuming 1st place group finishes for us, Brazil and Germany (and other appropriate wins), we avoid Brazil in the quarters and don't see them until the final, if we get past a semifinal with Germany.
We haven't won the World Cup since 1999, losing in the semis to Germany 3-0 in 2003, and to Brazil 4-0 in 2007 (and winning 3rd place both times). So hopefully the new team will get some payback and make their own mark by winning it all. (At least we can say yay for Olympic gold in 2004 and 2008.)
It will probably be the most difficult World Cup to win ever. The reason for that, and we think it’s a very good thing, is that FIFA started the World Cup for the U-20s and now we have one for the U-17s as well. So many countries have started to put money behind their programs for girls and women. If you look at a team like Colombia for instance, they played last year in Germany with the U-20s and did well, and now they qualified for this year’s World Cup. So it will be harder and harder, which makes it even better for us, because it’s challenging, and we’re all up for the challenge. It’s good for the women’s game. I absolutely love it.
There has been a bit of talk around these parts about soccer lately, some giving reasons as to why it will never catch on in America. I have read in a few places, FIFA’s reluctance to implement something like instant replay as a reason American’s will be hesitant to embrace to sport on a constant basis (I've also heard other, more prominent reasons, nonetheless).
My feeling on the matter is that instant replay in soccer is, for the most part, a mistake. Soccer is a very fast paced game, and things such as offsides have a similar essence as balls and strikes do for baseball. Offsides has always had a bit of a human element of the game, and while that does not make for a great argument (saying it should stay that way because it has always been that way is a terrible argument), I believe that more arguments can be made for how stopping play to review offsides can hurt the game. First off, stopping soccer at anytime other than half or final seems like calling a TV timeout after a bucket is scored in basketball. It really hurts the pacing of the game, which is such a huge thing for soccer. Also, what happens when a play is overturned? He actually was offsides, ok, easy, but what if he wasn’t and was called offsides. Do you give the team a free kick from the spot of the miss-called offsides? This can lead to some very unfair free kicks. I think this is very complicated and there isn’t a better way of handling it.
The only replay I would consider, instead, would be for moments on goals, such as in the England/Germany game. And in this case, what I'm proposing isn't even replay. Perhaps have a camera focused on the end line, and if the ball is clearly in the goal (whole ball clearly passed the end line) then the forth referee, or whoever is watching the camera (maybe a fifth ref), turns on a red light or something immediately to indicate a goal. This isn’t really replay, but it uses technology to determine things so detrimental to the game without slowing it down. Again, you only indicate goal when it is clearly scored (not objective to the naked eye in real time).
I also heard at at least one point during the World Cup that some are in favor of having two more referees at each end line, to help determine on things like goals and penalties on free kicks, corners, and other what-nots that happen in the box. This I think is the best approach, but how realistic is it to have two more referees for each game. In all honesty, it seems a bit much, and the complexities of the referees working together with the center man would need to be fleshed out.
Anyway, those are my feelings on replay in soccer (or use of technology, not necessarily replay). I would like to hear what others think about this. Beyond soccer, what do people think of replay in other sports, what works, what doesn’t. I think for the most part, college football seems to keep a relatively equal pace to what it used to, so replay hasn’t hurt it too much, and the benefits seem to outweigh any negatives. Replay in basketball on the other hand has at times gotten out of hand (here’s looking at you last two minutes of at least one of the NBA finals games, just to determine who the ball went off of). So any input, on any replay, technology, whatever, futbol, football, soccer, hockey, baseball. Let’s me hear the extent people think this should be implemented into sports.
Or those that want to see it again........
Yeah, I also linked the video in the "wooooo" thread, but it deserves it's own topic.
I'd like to wish all the luck in the world to England for their match against Germany... hehe douchebags!
I just finished watching the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary "The Two Escobars," and I thought it was the best so far. I know a lot of people liked the edition "June 17, 1994," which was the last in this series, and "The U," which was my favorite before tonight's edition (for its pure comedy), but for me, this one was incredible.
It brought about emotions of happiness (in the beginning, for the team), anger, and sadness (if you saw it, these are easy to figure out). I think it's pretty rare for a sports documentary about a team I don't follow in a country I've never visited to elicit such emotions in this viewer. Although the stuff at the end about "this would've never happened if Pablo was alive" wasn't necessarily my cup of tea (not that there isn't some truth to that idea), I still thought the piece was well-crafted, detailed, thorough, and very heart-wrenching. I especially liked the fact that we got to hear from the players on the team, the coach, and other involved parties in-depth, with hardly any other narrative added or needed. They had excellent source material.
Anyone else see it and have any thoughts?