Tag Archives: Rafael Van der Vaart

Poor showing in Madrid leaves Champions League strategy in shambles for Spurs

By Michael King

Effectively, Tottenham’s Champions League hopes have ended; for both this year and next. The Spurs gambled on making a deep run in the competition would out-weigh failure to qualify for next year’s tournament via a Top 4 English Premier League finish.

And now they have little to show for it.

It’s perhaps unfair to argue this position with the ability of hindsight in light of Tuesday’s dreadful performance against Real Madrid. The 4-0 loss in Spain during the first quarterfinal leg puts the London team in an insurmountable hole. Overcoming a four-goal deficit on aggregate is beyond the capability of this team, especially given its most recent performances.

This was not the same Tottenham team that twice appeared the better side against Inter Milan in the CL group stages and defeated AC Milan last month in Italy.

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Clint Dempsey, the American Model for European Success

Since moving to Fulham, Clint Dempsey has enjoyed a productive career and become a fan favorite at Craven Cottage. (Courtesy Nick Sarebi)

By Kevin Koczwara

Clint Dempsey, Texas native and one time New England Revolution player who set the Major League Soccer record for transfer overseas, $4 million, scored the United States only goal in the 2006 World Cup in Germany. He became the second American ever to score in two different World Cups, joining Brian McBride, this summer when he brought the U.S. men’s national team level with England in Rustenburg, South Africa.

Yet, since winning the 2006 Honda Player of the Year Award, given to the best American soccer player and voted by journalists, Dempsey’s path to success has almost fallen on deaf ears because he plays for a semi-small club in England, Fulham, not the domestic MLS, a huge club in Europe, and he isn’t named Landon Donovan.

Donovan has been a great ambassador for the game of soccer in America. There is no doubting that. But, what Donovan hasn’t been able to do, and this is partially because the MLS won’t let him, is ride out his career overseas in one of the world’s top leagues. Yes, Donovan had a great short loan spell with Everton last year, and he should look to do it again this year, but that was a quick spell where he fit into the team’s plans perfectly. Neither side had much to lose. Everton was skidding, and Donovan was still a star in the U.S. with the Los Angeles Galaxy. There was no risk because Donovan knew he would still be star when he returned to Los Angeles.

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Tottenham Fight Back Again, Lennon Seals Victory

Jermaine Defoe came off of Tottenham's bench after Rafael Van der Vaart picked up in an injury in the 11th minute. Defoe has been moved to the bench since the arrival of the Dutchman, strenghthening the Spurs bench. (Courtesy Darren Walters)

By Ryan Fleming

Even when not at their best, they continue to find ways to win, putting the struggles in the match behind them. Essentially, Tottenham Hotspur always look forward.

When Rafael Van Der Vaart left Sunday’s 2-1 win over Liverpool in the 11th minute, the Spurs lost a real talent. Since the Dutchman’s arrival at White Hart Lane, the midfielder rose to the platform of one of Spurs’ best players, some say the best. Instead of panicking, Tottenham, along with Van Der Vaart’s substitute Jermain Defoe, continued to press deep into the Liverpool showing their opposition that even without one of their best players, they still field a quality side.

Only 25 minutes later Younes Kaboul picked up a knock and was substituted off for Sebastien Bassong. Last weekend’s hero, Kaboul gave Spurs the go-ahead goal, completing a miracle, two-goal comeback in the season’s first North London Derby with Arsenal at the Emirates.

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What The Soccer Guys Are Reading — Sept. 20

Holland international Rafael van der Vaart caught on quick to how important the Tottenham and Arsenal rivalry is to the players and the fans. Courtesy Paul Blank

Sky Sports — Rafael issues Gunners taunt

Tottenham’s new boy Rafael van der Vaart wasted no time in joining in on the Spurs rivalry with Arsenal. The London clubs face off this week in a Carling Cup tie, and van der Vaart already knows the importance of the Spurs and Gunners match. This is for the right to boast about being the better club in the city, something every fan and player wants to be able to do. The Dutchman has issued his warning, calling Spurs “the bigger club,” after Spurs 3-1 win over Wolves on Saturday.

The Guardian — Roma lacking testicular fortitude as press gets under Ranieri’s skin — by Paolo Bandini

Roma was many pundits favorite club to challenge Inter Milan, and even dethrone the five time defending champions. Doesn’t look like Roma will be mounting a surge anytime soon if they continue to play like a bunch of aging stars with no heart. Claudio Ranieri decided to have a temper tantrum this weekend before Roma’s match with Bologne, and it didn’t do him much good because his squad didn’t back up his word. Instead, the team threw away a two goal lead late in the game and is still searching for its first win of the season.

BBC — Berbatov exposes Liverpool decline — by Phil McNulty

The Manchester United and Liverpool rivalry has been well documented, and Sir Alex Fergusson, United’s manager, even went so far as to say that the match-up is the “most important fixture.” Roy Hodgson and Liverpool must not have thought so– except for maybe a few of the players– because the team didn’t really show up until the second half, and even then they just strolled along at a snail’s tempo while United’s Bulgarian hitman, Dimitar Berbatov, was scoring a hat-trick and leading the Red Devils to a 3-2 win over the Reds.

ESPNSoccernet — Back in the big time — by Phil Ball

Xabi Alonso grew up a Real Sociedad fan. He played for the Basque club before being swiped up by Liverpool. He still carries a fan membership card for the club, but now he wears the hated Real Madrid jersey and had to face his old club for the first time this past weekend. Alonso and Madrid got lucky with a 2-1 win. The game should have gone to the hosts and Madrid should have gone home licking their wounds, but Sociedad missed its chances and Madrid made its count. Los Blancos manager Jose Mourinho said this fixture would be Madrid’s toughest of the season as they entered into a hostile stadium against last year’s division two champions, and he was right. It was an impressive performance by the Basque club, but theysquandered too many chances.

Evening Times — No yearning for marquee signings as Anthony Stokes displays his intent… — by Thomas Jordon

Celtic fell behind early to Kilmarnock at Rugby Park, but the Hoops latest signing, Anthony Stokes, earned a penalty kick,  Daryl Murphy slotted it home, and scored the game-winning goal as he found himself in the right place at the right time. Stokes wasn’t Neil Lennon’s first choice signing during the transfer window– Lennon was looking to bring in either Robbie Keane or Craig Bellamy, but was unable to. Yet, the Irish International could be a bargain for Celtic and Lennon, and just the type of player the Hoops need to overtake Rangers and claim back the top-spot in the SPL.

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What The Soccer Guys Are Reading — Sept. 1, 2010

Real Madrid had a disappointing start to the season with a 0-0 draw with Real Mollarca over the weekend, but Mourinho is confident that with time he can make the team into Champions. Courtesy Paul Bence

Sky Sports — Jose – I’m not Harry Potter

New Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho has had to answer plenty of critics this week after the team’s season opening 0-0 draw with Real Mallorca last weekend, and his answer is classic a from the “Special One.” Despite winning 17 trophies in the past 8 years with three teams, Los Blancos fans are still a little skeptical of Mourinho’s tactics after the opening draw. Madrid need to win almost every game this season because their closest rivals are the defending champions Barcelona, and Barca doesn’t drop many points in any league it is in.

BBC — Uefa bans vuvuzelas from European matches

Remember that buzzing sound that came from your television while watching the World Cup? Well it won’t be coming from it during any Uefa sanctioned games, including Euro 2012 qualifiers and the Champions League. Breathe a sigh of relief, I know we are. There was no bigger story from this past summer’s World Cup in South Africa than those horns that can cause hearing  loss and sound like a hornets nest.

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Liverpool Slip (Again) and Madrid Moves Atop

By Kevin Koczwara

Liverpool lost to Wigan this week for the first time in the English Premier League era. It was a sad display from last year’s runner up.With Manchester City, Aston Villa and Tottenham all looking on, they must have been excited to see this uninspired squad.

Liverpool looked flat in their attack. They lacked the finishing touch and didn’t even register a shot on goal.Wigan was playing with 10 men behind the ball, but that didn’t stop Liverpool last year and it doesn’t stop the teams with Champions League aspirations.

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World Cup Part 3: Group E

By Kevin Koczwara

I am writing Group E as one blog post because the Dutch are a tough bunch of players to understand. They don’t live up to their potential or make life easy for themselves–the internal fighting and temper-tantrums never help there chemistry and chances.

This group also poses some other interesting questions: who will overlook the Danish squad and forget that they are one of the most formidable teams in the tournament–they play like the stingy Italians? Can Cameroon repeat their run into the Quarterfinals with their athletic and underrated squad? Is Japan going to surprise everyone and come in second in the group and move on, or will they be the chopping boys of the group?

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