Special, but Not in La Liga

With the apparent quinary of Clasicos, it is obvious that the single greatest managerial statistic is going to end this month. Since his relatively humble days in Portugal, sometime back in 03, the self-proclaimed Special One began a streak of records. Records that will never be replicated again. Undefeated at home for almost 8 years, Jose Mourinho did not lose at home in his last season with Porto, at all at Stamford Bridge, the San Siro, and for now, at the Santiago Bernabeu.

His streak of tactical genius might just end here with a sad halt in Madrid. His roster of high profile, head strong, fame-driven footballers might just be his downfall. Maybe a little optimism is needed, but what’s the point when you’ve got a roster of national team 7s, 9s, and 10s that just can’t cooperate? If only he had a pair of central midfielders that he could build a team around.

We all know the tactical prowess of The Special One, but what of the tactics themselves? Standard flat-back four with at least one reducer to move around, while the rest move up and down as 3-4 just sit back and clean up. He loves this, chess, and answering questions with questions, or at least ending sentences with interrogative tones. Makelele, Deco, Costinha, and the well-aged Cambiasso and Zanetti did it for him. Hung around and just cleaned up the mess that everyone else created. Why not? Can’t score if you can’t pass or even move. In Madrid, he has the fake German, Sami Khedira, and the folically well-endowed Xabi Alonso who hasn’t hit a signature long pass since leaving Anfield. What’s wrong? He has 8 other forwards to watch over, while Casillas sits and hopes a defender will remember to stay in a flat-back four. I hate watching them whine. It sucks. Why can’t professionals just be professional? If there is a new way to trim your sideburns, I am sure CR has already done it. I can’t watch another no look pass, I’ll die.

Being second to Barcelona isn’t really that bad, but at least allow a Special attempt at winning something. I don’t need another manager to tell me that he will bring home silverware and forget after 4 years that luster looks better in cabinets. It isn’t exactly Italy or England where tactics are easier to establish, but create your own ‘philosophy’ as the Catalonians call it and just win without flare.



R9 – Real Ronaldo retires today. Thank you

It will be decades before we find ourselves another player like Ronaldo. None better at carving through defenses for the sole purpose of scoring goals. Joga Bonito started with this man and today it has grown to another level because of him.

Thank you, with a smile on our faces –

FIFA’s World Cup 2022 – Qatar?.. Right

If you are like me and the rest of the sporting world, you are feeling an assortment of negative emotions. Of all four of those countries you decided on Qatar? If corruption was not the first thing that came to mind when you saw Sepp Blatter open that last envelope then you probably tried to figure out something about Qatar. Today, I bet I am just like the rest of the world (apart from any one with ties to the Middle East or the Islamic world) and learned their first trivia questions about this tiny country.

The entire nation - no need for panarama

The average temperature in Qatar is 115 degrees Fahrenheit. If I remember correctly, the players complained about the heat in the 1994 World Cup held here in the USA.  If they thought heat was unbearable back in 94′ then let us hope this oil hungry nation can air condition every square inch of their land.

If you are a tree hugging environmentalist you’ll hate this next thing. Qatar has the highest carbon-dioxide emissions per capita – 55.5 metric tons per person. That is higher than the USA and neighboring Kuwait. Want to know why? – Their #1 consumption of energy is due to AIR CONDITIONING. I really hope Sepp Blatter and the remaining 21 committee members plan on wearing bathing suits in this country. Oh and the nation is approximately 75% Islamic.. try getting away with wearing revealing clothing or doing anything that deviates from the strictly enforced rules of the religion.

Now let’s think about the size of this country. Compared to Connecticut, it has a population of around 1.5 million people. Yes, it is occupied by a 7 digit number. The USA held the World Cup in 9 different cities, does Qatar even have that many soccer fields? I’ll be honest, I have seen the potential fields and ideas that the people of Qatar are thinking of building and they look nice. Really nice:

Good, so they have fields. Can such a small nation hold the capacity of the massive numbers of tourists that plan on coming to Qatar? The World Cup in South Africa saw 400,000 tourists and if my math is correct, Qatar’s population will temporarily increase by over 26%. This means they will need to have enough hotels, restaurants, road ways, parking, food, workers, etc to hold at least 26% of their country at one time. I am sure Qatar gave it some thought before proposing to hold the World’s BIGGEST event.

They have listed their 6 highest populated cities and #1 – Doha holds just above 99,000 people. That alone will be a rude awakening when a potential 400,000 flood the streets. What might be a bit disturbing is their 6th most populated city Mesaieed. It has a population of just under 10,000.. wow. That is the size of a small town, but Welcome to Qatar.

The one thing Qatar has on the USA is history. Oh well.. like history is going to get you through the biggest event that country has and probably will ever see.

Lastly, and the most annoying thing to me – What are the real reasons for FIFA’s decision? The first thing that came to mind was the fact that we are having back-to-back Asian hosts. I also remembered that Russia is technically apart of UEFA. The idea of pure corruption was out of the picture, but then I continued reading into it. The Middle East region is an upcoming land and has the MONEY to hold such an important event. That’s all I will say, no implications, but they do have a lot of MONEY.

But at the end of the day, WC 2022 is still in Qatar and all I can do is wish them the best of luck. When the WC committee visits Qatar in mid-July I hope they realize they can’t just renege their decision when they are sweating in their expensive suits. I’ll be watching from my television in a normal climate.

Ann Arbor – The Big House to be World Cup 2022 Site

Today, the FIFA World Cup committee is going to announce the selections from the many candidates that applied and even bribed their way to this day. The USA with 9/2 odds is hopefully going to be selected as the host of the 2022 World Cup, while potentially England, Spain, and Russia could be the site for the 2018 World Cup.

For the sake of the country, I hope by 2022 we will all come to realize the importance of soccer in the world and have people enjoy it rather than embarrass themselves with a lack of understanding.
With that said, the Big House was selected as one of the final 27 locations for the 2022 World Cup. If the USA is chosen as the 2022 host nation, 18 of the 27 locations will be chosen to be the actual hosts of the World Cup Finals matches. At 10am today, if the USA is chosen, I will be ordering an entire booklet of tickets and wearing Maize and Blue underneath my USA jersey for all of July 2022.

The Big House seats 109,901 - Make It Happen

World Cup Bid: 2018 and 2022

Wonder why England is still a top choice ahead of the USA? Because we decided it was a good idea to send Drew Carey as our United States of America representative. We might has well have just told FIFA that we are clearly still incapable of hosting the world’s most prestigious sporting event because we sent a gimp to prove them otherwise. I would rather have sent Mimi than Drew Carey, at least she’s obnoxious. Nothing good has come out of the state of Ohio and certainly not a US Soccer representative that suddenly decided to become a figure in the domestic game.

nice glasses

I’ll be honest, Seattle has been the best city in the entire nation for soccer support, but that does not make it right to send their minority owner as the entire nation’s representative. He knows nothing about the game and is not a big enough celebrity to make anyone do a double take. I would at least say hello to Ryan Stiles.

Even after all the scandals and bribing, England still has the upperhand over the USA. Interest in the game still plays a big role, but we needed to send someone who could at least sell the idea to FIFA that the USA will quickly build a proper following. Looks like I will be waking up very early to watch the World Cup in 2018 and 2022 because Russia and Spain will both play host.

Les Bleus feeling Blue

Maybe it was Blanc’s decision to make his national team sing the anthem that threw them off. Or the fact that the France Football Federation is too arrogant to choose a proper squad. Les Bleus managed to lose their first match under new manager Laurent Blanc. This guy used a typical youth team excuse ‘we weren’t effective in front of goal’. You’re the France National Team. OK maybe you don’t have Anelka or Benzema, but when you have the ability to choose a from Govou, Cisse, Ben Arfa, or Bafetimbi Gomis,

Chelsea's next star

scoring should not be an issue. The FFF better hope Gourcuff is the ‘next Zizou’ because they need him badly. Every team could use a Zidane, but France relied on him for over a decade. Like Barca without Xavi, but Zizou was better… so much better. Tell me how you lose 0-1 to Belarus, actually when you have the French midfield, how do you not destroy Belarus?!

Make Zidane your coach, remove those ridiculous bans on your captain, and call up Gael Kakuta.

Tribute: Francisco Varallo

On August 30th, Francisco Antonio Varallo, the last surviving participant of the inaugural 1930 World Cup Tournament passed away. Varallo passed in his hometown of La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina at the age of 100.

Born on February 5th, 1910, Francisco Varallo grew up in a province of Buenos Aires and made his professional debut at the age of 14. By the age of 18, Varallo was given the nickname ‘cañoncito‘ having scored 11 goals in 3 games for Estudiantes de la Plata. Being denied a chance to join Estudiantes, the little canon joined Gimnasio and had a breakout season earning him a call-up by the Argentinian National Team. At age 20, he was the youngest in the squad and would later find that he was the youngest in the 1930 World Cup. For his work with the national side, Boca Juniors picked up Varallo for a record fee of about 10,000 pesos($8000 US at the time). During his time with Boca Juniors, Varallo amassed 180 goals in 210 games, a record which stood in the club until 2008 when it was broken by Martin Palermo.

For his country, Varallo played in two World Cups earning 16 caps and scoring 7 goals. Throughout his career Francisco Varallo was known as a goal hungry forward and in 1933 was the leading scorer in all of South America with 34 goals in the season. His career came to an end in 1940 when he was forced to retire due to several injuries to his left knee, but continued to be an ambassador for the sport til the day he died.

This week the South American Football Confederation announced that all matches would have a minute of silence in honor of him.