Tag Archives: Brazil

A Moment of Brilliance: U.S. Women make the world stand still

By Kevin Koczwara

Abby Wambach never gave up. Neither did her teammates, the rest of the United States Women’s National Team. It seemed like fate was teasing and tormenting the USWNT and handing its skilled opponent, Brazil, all the breaks. But that didn’t stop Wambach or her teammates. Even when things looked dire, when Rachel Buehler was sent off with a straight red card and the Brazilians got two cracks at the ensuing penalty kick, the Yanks never gave in to fate.

The American spirit that the U.S. prides itself on, never left the side, and coach Pia Sundhage — a Swede — got a three course meal of American spirit, and it overwhelmed her. It ultimately helped the U.S. prevail despite being down 2-1 in in extra time with the whistle pursed between the refs lips, ready to blow.

“Getting the red card and going down in extra time is tough. It’s a tough hill to climb,” said Wambach afterwards. “But this team is willing to put their hearts on the line. This team is willing to do whatever it takes to win, and I think it showed tonight.”

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Early observations on the 2011 Women's World Cup

By Kevin Koczwara

Last summer I dreamed of covering the Women’s World Cup in Germany. The men’s version had just ended in South Africa and I missed out on that chance. I knew the odds of covering the World Cup in South Africa was a million to one, and I knew that the one in Germany going to be just about that as well. Both for different reasons.

Women’s soccer is often been neglected by the mainstream media. In all the European newspapers I scourer for soccer news on a daily basis, almost none share any information or coverage of the women’s leagues in their respected countries. The American press barely covers soccer at all, so it’s not a surprise it almost completely ignores the women’s game, specifically the WPS, and barely keeps up with the U.S. Women’s National Team, which is ranked No. 1 in the world, by the way. It’s great to see that this Women’s World Cup in Germany has been getting the proper treatment the game and its players deserve from ESPN and the press.

With all of that said, here are some of my observations so far from watching the World Cup.

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Ronaldinho to MLS Makes Sense, But Why Not New York

Ronaldinho was one of the 2000's most famous player. The Brazilian winger set crowds into a frenzy with his foot-skill and ability, but he hasn't been in the limelight for a while now and a move to the Los Angeles Galaxy has been rumored. (Courtesy Reto Stauffer)

By Kevin Koczwara

The Los Angeles Galaxy have come close to winning the MLS Cup the last two years. In 2009, the Galaxy lost in a shootout in the MLS Cup Final to Real Salt Lake. In 2010, the Galaxy were upset by FC Dallas in the quarter-finals of the Cup playoffs after dominating the regular season and winning the Community Shield – given out to the team with the best regular season record in Major League Soccer.

Los Angeles claimed much of, if not all of, the prime-time television slots the MLS owned this year because the team has the league’s most recognizable faces, David Beckham and Landon Donovan and one of best overall attendance record of any team. The Galaxy had the away average attendance and second best home attendance numbers, (Home: 21,436; Away 18,522) thanks to the team’s high profile players and its winning ways.

Galaxy owner Philip Anschutz and his holding company AEG, Anschutz Entertainment Group, have not shied away from splashing cash around for big-name players and top of the line talent. Anschutz wanted Landon Donovan, he got him. Anshutz wanted to bring in Beckham to boost ticket sales and make the Galaxy the most dominant brand in the MLS. He did it immediately after the MLS introduced the Designated Player rule, aka the “Beckham Rule.”

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Who Will Host The Wolrd Cup in 2018 and 2022

Sepp Blatter announced today the winning bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup host countries. (Courtesy PanARMENIAN Photos)

By Kevin Koczwara

Brazil will host the 2014 World Cup. The South American country won the right to hold the next World Cup in the last round of voting. Brazil will also host the next Summer Olympics in 2012. The Brazilians have some hefty partying to plan, good thing the country is well known for its partying skills already, which should make the transition a breeze — if we are to believe the crime problem many of the major cities pose is being fixed up properly.

This round of FIFA’s World Cup voting was to settle the destination for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Those years may be far off in most peoples’ minds, but the planning needs to begin now if the elected hosts of 2018 and 2022 want to be 100 percent ready for their time in the soccer spotlight.

Allegations of corruption in the FIFA voting committee swirled in the news this week, but the bidding war went on uninterrupted. The bidding nations splashed out the cash on advertising campaigns and presentations. Countries pithed their country as the perfect place to host a World Cup, and as the next best place for the game of soccer to grow and develop in the world.

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What The Soccer Guys Are Reading – August 24, 2010

Arsenal forward Theo Walcott scored three goals against Blackpool om Saturday, which led to comparisons to Arsenal great Thierry Henry by manager Arsene Wenger.

ESPN Soccer – Hat trick draws Henry comparisons for Theo

After scoring three goals in Arsenal’s 6-0 thrashing of everyone’s second-favorite Premier League team Blackpool, Theo Walcott has drawn perhaps the ultimate compliment from manager Arsene Wenger. While Wenger praised his future as a striker, he also compared the 21-year-old Englishman to former Arsenal legend and current New York Red Bulls striker Thierry Henry. Walcott has struggled to find regular playing time since joining Arsenal, but with his manager’s backing 2010-11 could be a huge season for the youngster.

The Guardian – Liverpool reject €15m bid from Barcelona for Javier Mascherano – James Callow

Despite his refusal to play on Monday in a 3-0 loss to Manchester City, Liverpool is still holding strong on its financial demands for midfielder Javier Mascherano. The Argentine has already agreed to terms with La Liga side Barcelona, as part of his family’s goal to get the hell out of Liverpool. While Liverpool respects his wish to leave Merseyside, it will not agree to any contract that does not provide any financial benefit. Roy Hodgson will need a lot of motivation to start Lucas 36 more times. Continue reading

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Bradley Should Stay in Charge of USMNT

U.S. Men's National Team coach Bob Bradley guided the team to a the knock-out stages of the World Cup this year. Courtesy USSOCCER.Com

By Ryan Fleming

Those who watched last week’s United States, Brazil friendly may have seen Bob Bradley’s last game in charge of the U.S. Men’s National Team.

Despite the Yanks’ 2-0 loss to Brazil, the headlining story was whether or not Bradley had coached his last game for his country’s team. Bradley has been linked with various positions in Europe this summer, such as Fulham and most recently, Aston Villa.

The former Aston Villa skipper, Martin O’Neill left his post earlier this week under mysterious circumstances. The former Celtic boss, we now know, left his post because he didn’t agree with the team’s transfer policy.

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Mr. Blatter, Something Needs to Change

FIFA President Sepp Blatter announcing the 2014 World Cup host winner Brazil. Courtesy Ricardo Stuckert

By Joe Meloni

Being a soccer fan in the United States means learning to deal with a few things. We understand a portion of our friends, co-workers and anyone else likely to stumble upon our Facebook pages thinks soccer is boring, un-American game. It is, after all, predicated upon not screwing up more than it’s about trying to strike as frequently as possible.

Unfortunately, the World Cup provided more ammunition for my narrow-minded cohorts as overworked officials continually failed to make proper calls or keep matches — even Sunday’s final — in line. Naturally, the blame falls on their shoulders rather than the FIFA officials consistently placing too heavy a burden upon them.

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What the Future Holds for the USMNT

By Kevin Koczwara

It has been over a week since the United States Men’s National Team was humbled by a young Ghana squad – the youngest team in the World Cup Finals – in extra time at the World Cup in South Africa. I have had enough time to soak in the pain, the misery and the confusion of seeing my country lose at the World Cup when I truly thought it could advance in the tournament and make major strides, you know, kind of like how the Italians, Argentines and Brazilians must feel right about now.

Then I got to thinking about the future of U.S. soccer and how bright it may be. The squad that went to South Africa was a good mix of veteran players and up-and-coming talent. The roster manager Bob Bradley took with him had a good mix and set a good framework for the next World Cup – 2014 in Brazil.

The Yanks will have major questions to answer during the qualifying for the 2014 World Cup: who will their core defenders be? And who will supply the much needed goals?

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Oranje Overcome Their Demons

By Ryan Fleming

When I originally made my pick before the World Cup started, I chose the Netherlands to topple the best teams in the world. I thought the Oranje would overcome the deadly attack of Argentina, to get past the young and enthusiastic Germans and even deal with the fiery Spanish, if it ever came to it.

If I knew then that they would come up against Brazil in the quarter final, I would have picked the Brazilians to repeat history and continue to haunt the Dutch, kicking them out of the month-long tournament for the third time in a little over 10 years.

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Grow up Robin, Your Country (and I) Need You

Courtesy Florian K

By Joe Meloni

(Before I get into the body of this piece, I must fully disclose that I am an Arsenal fan. I have a vested interest in Robin van Persie being happy and healthy and productive – even though I don’t think I’ve ever seen him in a state worthy of those three adjectives simultaneously.)

The scoreboard said 2-0. His country was celebrating, while he and his teammates finished off an easy win over Slovakia and sealed their place in the quarterfinals of the World Cup. No, there really wasn’t anything for Robin van Persie to be angry about on that chilly South African evening. So as Dutch manager Bert van Marwijk beckoned to Robin van Persie to exit the game, he probably expected the Arsenal striker to trot off the field with grace as he saluted his Oranje-clad countrymen clamoring in the crowd. Not so surprisingly, van Persie opted, instead, to throw a fit – disrespecting his manager and disgracing himself in the process.

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