Sunday, May 30, 2010

World Cup Group B Preview

Group B

Argentina 9/1 Milito (Inter), Aguero (Athletico Madrid), Carlos "Ugly Betty" Tevez (Man City), Messi (Barca), Higuain (Real Madrid)

Nigeria 80/1 None

South Korea 125/1 Park Ji-Sung (Manchester United)

Greece 66/1 The Whole Panathinaikos Team

My friendgirl at work really loves Argentina saying the guy who got them in our World Cup pool has already won. It's easy to see why someone would say this if you look at the key players on the team: Top scorer of Champions League winning Inter, best player in the world, top scorer for Real Madrid. However, if you look closely, all their best players are strikers. Can't play them all, right? Along with a crazy coach that's obviously in over his head, Argentina will come out of this group, but won't get past the second round of the knockout stage. I have a special place in my heart for Nigeria, and they're very athletic, but this group has two strong teams in Argentina and Greece. "GREECE?! WTF, PATRICK?!" you say? Greece is awesome. I know none of you have heard of their players because they all play in their local teams, but trust me when I say that their ranking isn't a lie and a team with mostly players from the same team will count for something. South Korea's odds are well-placed and only have a chance to tie with Nigeria. SUPER EAGLES!

Friday, May 28, 2010

World Cup Group A Preview

12 days until the World Cup and it's time to rumble. I'm dressing in my colonial outfit with my 6 homies and going to the English pub to start shit during USA/England. I'm in charge of hitting drums. What are you going to do?

Group A

South Africa (Odds to win cup) 80/1, Key Players: None, they suck

Mexico 80/1 Carlos Vela (Arsenal), Giovani dos Santos (Tottenham), Johnathan dos Santos (Barca), Cuah Blanco (Veracruz), Rafael Marquez (Barca), Luis Michel (Chivas)

Uruguay 66/1 Forlan

France 16/1 Anelka (Chelsea), Thierry Henry (Barca), Malouda (Chelsea), Jérémy Toulalan (Lyon), William Gallas (Arsenal), Anthony Réveillère (Lyon), Éric Abidal (Barca), Bacary Sagna (Arsenal)

As you can see by the odds, a pretty weak bracket. If France was in any other bracket, they wouldn't get out of the group stage. But they get lucky with a cheap ass hand ball to qualify, then they get the group with the host team from Pot 1 (Pot 1 is host team + 7 best teams in the world). Uruguay has Forlan from Athletico Madrid and not much else. South Africa is full of local club players. I like Mexico and France to get out of this group. Mexico still has a LOT of teamwork issues, but they're tuning up against tough teams, and I love the talent on their team. France is loaded, but they come off real soft to me considering they all need to sit on the toilet to pee.

Final Tune Ups For World Cup

It's been a busy week on the international stage as the World Cup Finalists get their final tune ups in for the impending extravaganza. Here's how they shook out...(teams in the tournament are in bold, each team's Coca Cola Rating is shown before them, so you can put things in some context).

- #20 Australia and #78 New Zealand hold the all important fate of Oceanic Football in their hands this year. Although they are in different groups in the tournament, they squared off to test their mettle on Monday, or maybe over there it was Tuesday, I don't really know. AZ Alkmaar's Brett Holman scored in stoppage time to give Australia a 2-1 win. The Socceroos trailed 1-0 at the half and were booed off the pitch by their home fans, who also were throwing boomerangs at them. Good thing they won or they would have been fed to the kangaroos.

- #83 South Africa may have a hard time getting out of a group that includes Mexico, France, and Uruguay. They put forth a decent showing in their tuneup this week against #39 Bulgaria. They managed a 1-1 draw thanks to an early goal by Siyabonga Sangweni.

- #45 Japan's manager Takeshi Okada had his request to commit ritualistic seppoku denied by the Japanese football authorities following their shameful 2-0 home loss to #47 South Korea.

- #3 Portugal limped to a bizarre 0-0 draw at home against the Cape Verde Islands. It wasn't that they rested all their stars. They didn't. They had Cristiano Ronaldo starting and still couldn't score against the #114 Cape Verde Islands. My God.

- #7 Argentina inspired coach Diego Maradona to threaten us all with running around naked if his team wins the World Cup, thanks to their 5-0 thrashing of #63 Canada.

- Leave it to #8 England to flagellate themselves for not playing well enough and being convinced they are doomed even though from where I am sitting they looked fine in a workmanlike 3-1 home win over #17 Mexico.

- In a matchup of the 2 worst governed nations on Earth, there fittingly were no winners. #13 Greece and #105 North Korea played to a 2-2 draw. An interesting result though for a North Korea team that nobody knows anything about, playing a top 20 team to a draw.

- #19 Cameroon's Indomitable Lions weren't domited by #120 Georgia, but they didn't inspire a lot of confidence either as they sleepwalked to a 0-0 draw.

- #21 Nigeria was another African Nation in this watershed event for the continent that failed to impress in their prep this week, 0-0 against #66 Saudi Arabia.

- #41 Ireland was famously robbed of a spot in this tournament thanks to some goofy officiating in their qualifier against France. They took it out on #31 Paraguay, beating them 2-1 in Dublin.

- The #14 United States didn't play their A-lineup against the #33 Czech Republic, but still it's hard to take anything positive out of the 4-2 loss they suffered in Connecticut against a non-qualifying nation.

- #18 Chile bumbled to a 0-0 halftime score at home against #71 Zambia, but finally found their game after the break to cruise to a 3-0 win.

- #17 Mexico had a really busy week, just 2 days after facing England they turned around and took on #4 Netherlands. 2 goals from Robin van Persie in a driving rain gave Holland a 2-1 win. A pretty demanding preparation week for Mexico though, going across the ocean and playing 2 games in 3 days against top 10 teams. We'll see if that helps them when the games count in a couple of weeks.

- #36 Denmark looked like a team that could sneak into the 2nd round in a draw that includes Japan and Cameroon, who both failed to impress this week. They topped #75 Senegal 2-0.

- #16 Uruguay has a pretty favorable draw, and they looked like they have the intention of taking advantage of it when they battered #25 Israel 4-1 in Montevideo.

- #9 France continues to sputter. They fell behind #40 Costa Rica early before bouncing back to win 2-1 on a late goal from OM's Mathieu Valbuena. Valbueno!

- Not that anyone is expecting big things in South Africa from #38 Honduras, but they really looked like easy pickin's in a lackluster 2-2 draw against #82 Belarus.

- All 3 goals of #83 South Africa's 2-1 win over #35 Colombia were scored on PK's.

Group A- Uruguay, South Africa
B- South Korea, Argentina
C- England
E- Denmark
G- North Korea

Group A- France
B- Nigeria, Greece
C- United States
D- Australia
E- Cameroon, Japan
F- Paraguay
G- Portugal
H- Honduras

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Essien Out of World Cup

It was confirmed today that injury plagued Chelsea star Michael Essien will be kept out of the World Cup by a knee injury suffered during the African Nations Cup earlier this year. The hope was that he might be able to be back from the tournament, but that won't happen.

Ghana's in a very difficult group with Germany, Serbia, and Australia, and this injury severely hampers their chances of advancing out of it.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Nicky's UEFA Top 10- Season Ending Edition

1. Inter Milan- UEFA Champions, Serie A Champions, Coppa Italia Champions
2010 will be remembered as the year Jose Mourinho took the football world by the nutsack and said, "I am the Special One. You must all bow down, and kiss my butt". Inter had won 2 UEFA titles in its history, in 1964-65. A long ass time ago. Mourinho brings them a third this year, and now rides off to Real Madrid with the seemingly insurmountable task of motivating Real's perennial menagerie of semi-retired bajillionaires to excellence.

2. Chelsea- English Premier League Champions, FA Cup Champions
Chelsea is probably better than Bayern Munich. In fact, they are almost certainly better than Bayern Munich.They had the misfortune of running into an Inter team that was not going to lose in the Champions League in the Round of 16, and if that hadn't happened it probably would have been them meeting Inter in the finals or somewhere in that neighborhood.They came on strong at the end of the season to return to the top of the Premier League, denying Manchester United a 4-peat(we'll set aside that Man U lost Wayne Rooney at the end of the season, injuries are part of the game, especially in England). They did all this against the backdrop of a tabloid circus surrounding John Terry, so extra points for degree of difficulty.

3. Barcelona- La Liga Champions
A dizzying array of talent, led by Lionel Messi, the consensus Best Player In the World. They won a very prestigious domestic league, and yet I think the final verdict on this season is that it was a disappointment. They looked helpless in the Champions League semisagainst Inter, despite being the more talented squad. The only explanation there is that they were outcoached, but against Jose Mourinho that can happen. In the long run, Barca coming up short may be a good thing for them and us as fans, as they will now be pushed to improve. They've already started the process by going hard after Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas.

4. Bayern Munich-Bundesliga Champions, DFB Pokal Champions, UEFA Runner Up
As an 8 year old whippersnapper in 1983, I fell in love with the Chicago White Sox. They made theirfirst postseason appearance in 24 years that season and did it by "Winning Ugly", a phrase coined by an opposing manager to describe that team's penchant for winning and not looking very impressive doing so. The same can be said of Bayern Munich this year. They didn't exactly mow down the competition in the Champions League, leaving a path of destruction in their wake. In fact, were it not for the away goal rule they would have exited in the round of 16 at the hands of a very ordinary Fiorentina squad. However, they kept finding ways to advance, thanks mostly to their scoring firepower. They killed a giant in Manchester United, won the German Cup,and returned to the top of the Bundesliga despite a shaky final two months of the campaign.

5. Manchester United
A big fat nothing next to their name. No titles this year of any kind. Their season was far from a Liverpoolesque disaster, but bringing home nothing is not a good season for Man U. The first inkling of trouble came when they got knocked out of the FA Cup in a 1-0 loss to Championship club Leeds. But OK, upsets happen in the FA Cup, that's why it's so popular. Then Wayne Rooney got hurt and things really went south. They bowed out of the Champions Leaguein the quarterfinals, losing to a Bayern Munich team they had no business losing to. You can maybe blame it on a 2-1 loss to Chelsea at Old Trafford just 4 days earlier, another huge match, but that's the price the English clubs pay for playing in the best league in the world I guess. It just seemed like a year that whenever they were put to the test, Man U couldn't come through.

6. Real Madrid
The perennial Champions League underachievers came on strong at the end of the year to make the La Liga race very interesting. They ultimately came up short, but there's really no shame in going 31-4-3 in La Liga. In fact, it's pretty damn impressive. Cristiano Ronaldo had a solid 26goal season, and Gonzalo Higuain put in 26. Mourinho is most likely coming, and will no doubt be accompanied by at least one of Real's annual big money signings. I think big things might be in store in 2011 for Real.

7. Marseille
Ligue 1 Champions, Coupe de la Ligue Champions
The French league acquitted itself very well in the Champions League this year. Yes, I realize that it was Lyon and Bordeaux doing the acquitting, not Marseille. Those teams finished well up the track behind Marseille in Ligue 1 though, who finished a commanding 6 points ahead of Lyon to bring OM their first Ligue 1 title since 1992. Pulling off the double in a league that raised its level of play this year puts this team firmly in my top 10.

8. Lyon
Mixed results for OL this year. Yes, they vaulted themselves into the spotlight on the world stage by advancing to the semis of the Champions League.However, a second straight year with no additions to the trophy case can't really be considered a successful campaign. Their knocking off of Real Madrid did put a nice feather in the cap of both their club and their league though, and earns them a spot here.

9. AS Roma
The Giallorossi served the function of being Inter Milan's stablemates and boogiemen for the latter part of the season, and in doing so not only helped keep the eventual European champs on their toes, but of course enhanced their own reputation as well. Roma came up just 2 points short of winning Serie A, and were the runners up in the Coppa Italia. To paraphrase Hurley to Ben Linus in the LOST finale, they were a great number 2.

10. CSKA
They are Russian Men of Mystery, but they knocked a pretty good Spanish side out of the Champions League in Sevilla, and played Inter as tough as anyone in the tournament, losing a pair of 1-0 grind it out decisions.

AC Milan- Finishing 12 points behind the second place club in Serie A is a disaster for this club. The coaching situation is rightly in flux.

Arsenal- England's girlymen look great against inferior competition, but not so good whenever they have to play for anything. Fabregas might be leaving, and they look vulnerable to being next year's version of Liverpool.

Liverpool- What a mess.

Juventus- Ibid, your honor.

AND IN OUR HEMISPHERE...- Toluca defeated Santos Laguna on PK's to win Mexico's PDM Playoffs. Columbus and LA Galaxy are leading their respective divisions in MLS, with the Galaxy being led by breakout star Edson Buddle who leads the league with 9 goals. Corinthians are off to a 3-0 start to lead the Brasileirao, and Argentinos Juniorsand Estudiantes are duking it out at the top midway thru Argentina's season.

WORLD CUP -Patrick and I are laying down the plans for World Cup coverage. We'll be all over that shit.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Inter Milan: A guide to making treble winning teams in today's market

In today's economy, teams are either poor or REALLY rich. You have teams like Portsmouth owing 200 mil and getting relegated, and then you have Man U, Man City, Chelsea, Real Madrid, and Barcelona spending a zillion dollars for players. You may be thinking, "But Patrick, what about Liverpool, Aston Villa, and other high midtable teams? They don't have a lot of budget but do well." If by well you mean "high midtable" then yeah, they do "well." Liverpool gets a bunch of money for the players they lost and didn't buy shit. AC Milan got a bunch of money for Kaka and didn't buy shit. These teams either can't spend the money, or they can't offer up enough money to get the players worth spending a zillion dollars for. But back to the matter at hand, these rich teams leeched all the great players. You know what they didn't leech? A treble. Inter Milan was able to get a treble and manage money wisely. This is a guide on how to make an awesome team based on the Inter Milan model:

1) Defensive coach

Jose Mourinho was fired from Chelsea, not because he lost, but because he didn't win beautifully. Chelsea fans still sing his name. Jose's "teacher" Louis van Gaal was quoted as saying Mourinho just coaches to win, he coaches to play beautiful and win. Essentially, Jose's path to a Champions League title went through the three most beautifully playing soccer in the world: Chelsea, Barcelona, and Bayern Munich. In all three, these teams held a significant amount of possession, 65/35 in their favor, and still were unable to mount victory.

It is not that Jose's team plays ugly to win. They don't bunker. You can't win scoring 1 goal and then playing D all day. Jose's team played a counter style where they played beautifully when they actually had the ball, but mostly just conserved energy on D. How this fits for low budget teams is that you don't need to spend a zillion dollars for a defensive scheme. Jose was able to get a bunch of defenders that he rotated and, thus, was able to maintain a level of quality at all times in the backline. Essentially with a defensive coach, you can pay a little bit of money for B to B+ players for the backline, and still do well because a defensive team depends on the whole team holding their lines and being well-coordinated, which you can see in Inter's game.

2) Overvalue hyped players and use the money to get solid ones

Ibra is a crybaby pussy. The next few sentences have nothing to do with the guide, but I wanted to make sure everyone knew how much of a little pansy bitch Ibra is. Ibra does not want to go to the Premier League because it rains too much. Ibra = C U Next Time.

This does make a nice transition into the guide. Ibra wanted to leave to a "bigger club." He was THE striker teams wanted. Inter sold him for 40 mil and then picked up Eto'o (for free), Motta, Sneijder, Lucio, and Pandev. Besides Pandev (who was supposed to be good), all four of these players were instrumental in Inter's run for the treble, especially Sneijder who was unwanted by Real Madrid (he was willing to sit the bench to stay with them) and Lucio. These were solid players that fit the system. I remember when my friend who was an Inter fan was panicking because they got a "Real Madrid reject." I assured him that Sneijder, while injury prone, is really good. I'm so fucking smart.

You ever had those finger skateboards? I did. I held the sides of the board and sold it to this guy at school in 3rd grade. He gave me the $5 and I gave him the board and the wheels fell off. I said, "As is motherfucker." Patrick N 1 - Dumbass 0. Now replace Patrick N with Inter Milan, Dumbass with Barca, and the finger skateboard with Ibra and you have a perfect analogy.

Or think of in "Dumb and Dumber" when they sold the headless bird to the blind kid. It's like that. Yes, if you have never seen this movie, the headless bird sale is as funny as it reads.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Things the American owners could do to make Liverpool better next year

With the end of the soccer season coming, you may wonder (if you're Oli Porter) things that the awesome American owners could do to make Liverpool better. Liverpool is not part of the big four anymore. Chelsea won the double with the FA Cup and the League. Other teams in other leagues did great with less pretege like Inter Milan who did the double and probably will do the treble when they win Champions League. Barcelona repeated as league champions so you may be wondering what Liverpool could do with their limited budget and no Champions League spot to dangle to potential talents for enticement. Luckily, Patrick N is here to give his expert advice:

1. Get new owners

Amazingly enough, one of the easiest ways to solve Liverpool's problems is to get new owners. Now, I'm not talking about just getting super rich owners and buying everyone out. Manchester City did that and they got donkey dick. I mean pay people to become owners. You raise up the prices a little to pay for these new owners that aren't really new owners. They take all the heat and all the blame. Then when they suck so much that they want new owners, you come back and save the day with another push to a Euro Cup spot. Win/win

2. Make sure your team isn't stuck with a pussy striker

If you're trying to have a great season, you need to have your great players everyday. Fernando Torres is a great player, but 1) he was their only striker and 2) he was as fragile as a Frenchman's dick in a hotdog bun. He never played because he was injured from people breathing on him. If you know three years in a row that he's injury prone, why are you not getting 2 more strikers to rotate with?

3. Don't party

So, your team supposedly has no money to build a new stadium you promised or get new players even though you got a shit ton from Real Madrid when they bought you whole defense and defensive midfielder. Then people see you drinking and partying and celebrating. What the fuck are you celebrating? Years of mediocrity? Matthew Broderick celebrates that everyday when he turns around to see his wife, Sarah Jessica Parker.

4. Anything

Why the fuck does Liverpool suck? How do you fuck this up? You just need to get some B+ players with the money you got from Real Madrid overpaying and you're in the money. Now you're stuck with bench players like Babel and Benayoun demanding to start or they'll leave.

So as this season of soccer comes to a close, remember the lesson from the new movie Robin Hood: Even though King Richard was as stupid as George Bush 2, having an asshole like King John is worse because he taxes the rich because the rich lies saying they have no money but of course they do so we should take it; and King John believes no one should own 4000 acres of land so you deserved to be raped but I'll make sure to foreplay first; and Robin Hood only steals and gives back when the government stole grains from the rich, and Robin Hood gives back what was stole from the rich by the government right back to the rich; and fuck King John for wanting to tax the rich to pay for the problems of England. Fill in the fucking blanks and figure out which characters are what because I already told you King Richard represents George Bush 2 because of his misguided Crusades. Figure it out for your fucking selves, assholes. Oh, I guess this applies to Liverpool too where King John is the American owners. That's what I meant. Fuck you.

Friday, May 7, 2010

South Africa is safe if USA loses

Remember when FIFA pres Sepp Blatter was getting agro on everyone for saying South Africa was unsafe? Sounds like South African Police think their country is unsafe as well...if USA wins:

"One challenge is the American president, who is coming, not coming, coming, not coming," Cele said. "It's 50-50 as we stand. ... Our famous prayer is that the Americans don't make the second round. They get eliminated and they go home."

"We are told if they go to the second or third stage, the American president might come," Cele said. "It's one big challenge that we will be facing." -ESPN

Why will it be a big challenge, asshole? I thought your country was safe? You're PRAYING our country loses so you don't have to do your job? You'll be in charge of trying to protect every country and the possible conflicts that may come as baggage, and you're already scared? Let's play hangman and guess what word describes you and your police force:

****SCENE MISSING-Edited by editor who has his real name attached to this site. Look for actual text on DVD Extras.


Man, how did you guess?

Sunday, May 2, 2010