While this weekend's football extravaganza in the city of Barcelona made for instant
gratification, a more intriguing story developed as England's bid for the 2018 suffered a huge
blow. Â The strangest thing about it was that it wasn't delivered by one the nations against which
England is competing; it came from the BBC.
After the most recent edition of El ClÃ sico, I've heard lots of pithy statements about Spanish
football. Â The best was, "Mourinho should punish Sergio Ramos by forcing him to play as a
defender." Â Most people praised Barcelona's incredible football. Â The Spanish speaking
commentators I listened to repeatedly called the Blaugrana's style a dance; it was hard to
The winners of the last two World Cups, Germany will begin their defence of the trophy on home soil
against Canada next June. The draw (Group A alongside Canada, Nigeria & France) will buoy the hosts
as they have absolutely destroyed both Canada and Nigeria in recent friendly matches.
For the past 15 years or so, we have seen Portugal, a nation of little more than 11 million
people, be very competitive on the global stage.Â They have had two consecutive "Golden
Generations" -- one led by Luis Figo, and the current one, spearheaded by Cristiano Ronaldo.
In the next few years, we may see a similar thing happen to Belgium, another nation of around 11
It's a strange proposition, encouraging La Albiceleste coach Sergio Batista to study an Italian
team containing zero Argentines. Â It's even stranger when you consider that AC Milan's biggest
rivals, crosstown Internazionale Milano, have been possibly the most Argentine team in Europe for
the past several seasons.
The USA bid to host the 2022 World Cup has some powerful allies including former President Bill
Clinton, who governed the country back when it last hosted the event in 1994.
And, as excitement builds for the crucial day of judgment on Dec. 2, when FIFA makes the
decision for both the 2018 and the 2022 tournaments, Fox Soccer Channel is making its own bid -- to
be the go-to name for soccer coverage within the United States.
Andrea Pirlo has been Italy's best offensive player over the past 5 years at least. Â Forget
Totti or Del Piero, and especially forget the host of pretenders who have made up Italy's frontline
since the 2006 World Cup. Â While "Er Pupone" and Alex Del Piero are champions and some of Italy's
finest, they had their hour and peaked before the 2006 glory in Germany.
Amid the sort-of joy and sort-of pain that comes with the wins and losses of international
friendlies (barring of course, the big rivalries that were played out on Wednesday --
Argentina/Brazil, Spain/Portugal, England/France, etc.), FIFA managed to slip in an innocuous
report on their website, complete with a link to a 23-page PDF evaluating the candidates for the
2018 and 2022 World Cup.
As I mentioned previously, FIFA noted in its bid evaluation report that shouldÂ the United
States 2022 win the right to host the World Cup, "FIFA's legal risk appears to be medium."Â The
bids from Japan and Holland/Belgium were also marked as medium risk.Â All three bids were given a
rider after this wrist-slap and were told that the "experience in supporting the hosting and
staging of major sports events" that the four nations all have is a boon.
Let's hope that Qatar's 2022 World Cup bid has better aim than Fahad Khalfan, the 18-year-old
Qatar striker who created one of the worst misses ever in soccer as you can see from the above
video. Why on earth he didn't use his right foot is beyond me!
ESPN Releases First Video To Promote World Cup 2010 ESPN has released its first video to begin
Croatia beat Malta, no surprises there. Â The only reason I start with this match is its status
as a qualifier. Â And to talk about Niko Kranjcar. Â Harry Redknapp is unappreciative of the
obviously gifted Croatian and the rumors are flying that he's looking to leave.
Cristiano Ronaldo was furious Wednesday night after a sensational goal he scored was disallowed
because the referee felt that Nani ran from an offside position to head the ball into the back of
the net. Ronaldo believed the ball had already crossed the line before Nani headed it.
Needless to say, the goal was disallowed but Portugal had the last laugh after they cruised to
an impressive 4-0 win against their arch-rivals.