Bring Technology to Football

Posted in Football, sports, technology, World Cup with tags , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2010 by kemgooner

So far this World Cup has filled with me with plenty of joy, just one instance was watching my home country the United States make it out of their group in dramatic fashion before being knocked out by Ghana, but it has also left me questioning this sport I love so much.  It seems like the real highlights and memories of this tournament are going to be questionable to incorrect refereeing decisions, and that is a shame because while there have been some dull matches, overall this tournament has seen many displays of great football.

I understand that officiating errors have always been part of the game, and I have experienced both sides of calls that have changed and influenced matches.  In the past, there was nothing that could be done about this, but now we have technology that can put another set of eyes on the field and give refs the ability to replay key moments.  Personally, I do not understand why any  fan of the game would not want this, the best games are always the ones with little controversy, where the footballers are the ones who do they talking with the way they play.  If something can be done to help keep the ability to win matches at the feet of the players than steps should be taken to make that so.

One criticism of technology is that it would slow down matches.  However, I would offer yesterdays match between Mexico and Argentina as an example that matches can be stopped by players surrounding officials and berating them for what they felt was a wrong decision as well.  The time it took to get everyone back to their positions was longer than a quick replay would have been.  All that is needed is an extra referee in a booth with a television, it takes about 10 seconds for the replay to be seen on tv, and usually that makes it perfectly clear whether a call was correct or not.  ESPN even has a clever little line that they can pull up to measure where the defender and the attacker are.  If it is not perfectly clear whether the decision should be changed, then all that needs to be done is say the call is too tight and carry on with the match. And if the decision is made to change the call the extra official in the booth only has to send down his decision through the communication that is already used between officials.  This would make decisions such as the one that cost Mexico against Argentina a thing of the past, and all the whining and what ifs that go along with clearly wrong decisions could be left out of the picture.

Another criticism that technology faces is that there would have to be regulation on when it can be used, otherwise everything will end up being looked at.  Goal line technology would obviously be used in situations like its name describes, when a decision needs to be made about whether the whole football has crossed the goal line and a goal should be awarded.  Apparently, this technology already exists in a fashion that it could almost immediately be brought into the game, and if so it really should be.  Having a clear goal ruled out, or having a non-goal ruled as a goal has got to be one of the most infuriating things that can happen in football. Players are left screaming at the officials and fans are left screaming at their tv or computer, “How could you NOT see that!” If a team has done everything right, scored a good goal, and only has it ruled out because a referee and his linesman just simply can not see everything, it is unfair to the team and player affected. The only way to rectify this problem is to implement something that will  take the decision out of the hands of a referee who is only human, and into a technology that can quickly and easily be referenced.

While the players and team that are on the wrong side of a decision are obviously the clear losers of the situation, the referee is as well.  Usually when a controversial decision is made players on both teams will surround a referee or linesman and yell and argue with them. The referee is basically helpless in this situation, left only with the ability to say “that is what I thought I saw” and questioning whether they were right.  They understand fully just what implications their decisions can have, yet they have no way of knowing until they themselves see a replay whether it was the right decision.  Referees have a hard enough job as it is, using technology to make it easier should be an easy decision to make.

Apart from use in goal line decisions and offside/onside calls where a clear verdict can be made, I would say there is no other need to use replay in football.  Red/yellow cards and other disciplinary action is already looked at again after matches, and referees are able to say that if they would have seen something in real time they would have done something different.  Sepp Blatter and others say that the controversy surrounding refereeing decisions is what makes the talking points in football, but I know I would rather be talking about  the magnificent performance of a young German team than a goal that was clearly over the line and should have counted which could have hypothetically “changed everything”. Players, coaches, referees, and fans all want to see technology brought into football, and in the end, the only controversy is why the FIFA officials won’t institute it.

Pre-Season Friendly Report

Posted in Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2009 by kemgooner

CORRECTION Inter Milan AC Milan Soccer

Pre-Season friendlies have begun to kick off around Europe as teams prepare for next season, some teams have started slowly against lower league opposition, while others have taken on other big teams in tournaments around the world.  Already Chelsea have claimed the title in the World Football Challenge, while the Peace Cup is still taking place with teams like Juventus and Real Madrid as just a couple of the major teams participating. This pre-season has also seen the debuts of star players like Cristiano Ronaldo for Real Madrid against Shamrock Rovers, and the introduction of Michael Owen as a red devil.

Here is a brief summary of pre-season matches so far from some of Europe’s big clubs:

England

Arsenal: vs Barnet 2-2, vs SC Columbia 7-1, vs Szombathelyi H 5-0. Leading Scorer: Bendtner (4).

Chelsea: vs Seattle 2-0, vs Inter Milan 2-0, vs AC Milan 2-1, vs Club America 2-0. Leading Scorer: Lampard (2), Drogba (2).

Everton: vs Bury 1-2, vs Rochdale 4-1, vs River Plate 0-1. Leading Scorer: Jo (2)

Liverpool: vs St. Gallen 0-0, vs Rapid Vienna 0-1, vs Thailand 1-1, vs Singapore 5-0. Leading Scorer: Nemeth (2)

Manchester City: vs Orlando Pirates 0-2, vs Kaizer Chiefs 1-0, vs Kaizer Chiefs 0-1. Leading Scorer: Ireland (1)

Manchester United: vs Malaysia 3-2, vs Malaysia 2-0, vs Seoul 3-2, vs Hangzhou Greentown 2-8. Leading Scorer: Giggs (3).

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Spain

Atletico Madrid: vs Colmenar Viejo 3-0,  vs Benfica 2-1, vs Ajax 3-3, vs Sunderland 0-2. Leading Scorer: Simao (2)

Barcelona: vs Tottenham 1-1, vs Al- Ahly 4-1. Leading Scorer: Bojan (2)

Real Madrid: vs Shamrock Rovers 1-0, vs Al-Ittihad 1-1. Leading Scorer Benzema (1), Raul (1).

Sevilla: vs Juventus 1-2, vs Seongnam 0-0. Leading Scorer: Squillaci (1)

Valencia: vs Den Haag 4-1, vs Udinese 0-0. Leading Scorer: Navarro (1), Gonzalez (1), Michel (1), Alba (1).

Villareal: vs Navata 27-0, vs Vilamalla 10-0. Leading Scorer: Pereira (10).

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Italy

AC Milan: vs LA Galaxy 2-2, vs Club America 1-2, vs Chelsea 1-2, vs Inter 0-2. Leading Scorer: Inzaghi (2)

AS Roma: vs Riscone 9-0,  vs Viktoria Plzen 1-1,  vs Blackburn Rovers 2-2. Leading Scorer: Totti: (3)

Fiorentina: vs Cortina 13-0, vs Belluno 7-0.

Inter Milan: vs Club America 1-1 (4-5 pks), vs Chelsea 0-2, vs AC Milan 2-0. Leading Scorer: Milito (2)

Juventus: vs Cisco Roma 4-1, vs Nancy 1-1, vs Vicenza 1-1, vs Sevilla 2-1.

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Some teams have started off their preseason’s with a bang while others have started slowly. How important are preseason games to how you feel about your team’s chances in the upcoming season?

Cristiano Ronaldo is Presented at the Bernabeu

Posted in 1 with tags , , on July 9, 2009 by LFCJen

FBL-ESP-POR-ENG-REAL-MADRID-RONALDO

Tuesday Player Profile: Oguchi Onyewu

Posted in 1 with tags , , , , on July 7, 2009 by LFCJen

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Full Name: Oguchialu Chijioke “Oguchi” Onyewu
Nickname(s):
Gooch
Birthday:
May 13, 1982
Birthplace:
United States
Position: Defender (Centre Back)

Club Information:
After two years playing for Clemson University in South Carolina where he was nominated for the 2001 Hermann Trophy and named an All-American Onyewu went Pro in 2002, landing in France at FC Menz.  In 2003 he was loaned out to Belgium club La Louviére, and then onto Standard Liége.  The loan to Liége was then made into a permanent deal for the 2004-2005 season.  In January 2007 Onyewu went on loan to English Premire League club Newcastle United, however this loan only lasted for the remainder of the season, Newcastle opted not to make the deal permanent and Onyewu went back to Liége after playing only 11 games for Newcastle.  He then returned to Liége where he continued to improve his game and helped them to two Belgian league titles in a row.  On July 7, 2009 he completed a move to A.C. Milan on a free transfer signing a three year deal.

International Career:
Onyewu has 47 caps for the U.S. Men’s National Team, his first came in 2004 in a game against Panama. He has  scored 5 goals, his first one being in a match against Honduras in the 2005 Gold Cup.  He started in all three on the United States games in the 2006 World Cup, unfortunately he conceded a penalty in the match against Ghana in which Ghana scored and the U.S were knocked out of the Cup with the 2-1 defeat.  He was a major part in the United State’s second place finish in the 2009 Confederation’s Cup.

Fun Facts:
• His name Oguchialu means “God fights for me”.
• He holds both a U.S. and Belgian citizenship.
• He has four siblings, two brothers (Uche and Nonye) and two sisters (Chi-Chi and Ogechi)
• His father played football in Nigeria before moving to Washington D.C. to attend Howard University.

Back to Work

Posted in 1 on July 7, 2009 by kemgooner

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Players from teams around Europe have slowly begun to report back to their club teams to begin training after their summer holiday. To the fan, this means the start of preseason training matches and being able to see their teams new signings in action.  But most importantly, it means that the long and sometimes unbearable summer without football is starting to draw to a close, and the start of the new season and the hopes and dreams that come with it is at hand.

arsenaltrainging2(pictures from arsenal.com and liverpoolfc.tv)

Gold Cup Preview

Posted in Football, Internationals with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 3, 2009 by kemgooner

Gold Cup

This weekend marks the start of the Concacaf Gold Cup with two matches today and two more on Saturday and Sunday.  As usual the two top contenders for the trophy are going to be the United States and Mexico.

The United States are the defending champions of the Gold Cup, and are coming off a Confederations Cup performance that saw them beat then World number one Spain and get into the final, which they lost 2-3 to Brazil, the team which took Spain’s number one ranking. However, coach Bob Bradley has elected to bring very few  members of that squad to the Gold Cup, opting to give chances to more domestic based players instead.

Players to Watch:

Goalkeeper- Brad Guzan– a member of the Confederations Cup squad that beat Egypt 3-0 to shock everyone and make it out of their group, Guzan plays his club football at Aston Villa and will be looking at the Gold Cup as an opportunity to show he can do more than just back up Tim Howard.

Midfielder- Benny Feilhaber– another member of the Confederations Cup squad, Benny scored the winner in the last Gold Cup final against Mexico. Currently playing for Aarhus in Denmark, he will be looking to perform well to perhaps make a move back to a bigger league.

Forward- Freddy Adu– while Jozy Altidore is another US attacking player to watch, Freddy Adu is the player who needs to perform in this tournament.  Adu went as an unused substitute at the Confederations Cup and is coming off two disappointing club seasons at Benfica and Monaco.  A good performance in the Gold Cup could go a long way to seal his spot in the US team ahead of the World Cup and also put pressure on his club side to play him more in the future.

Mexico is coming into the Gold Cup after two warm up friendlies against Venezuela and Guatemala, the first of which they won 4-0 and the second they drew 0-0.  Before this Mexico were going through a challenging period of internationals which means they are just fourth in their World Cup Qualifying group.  A win in the Gold Cup could go along way to boast the team’s and their fans confidence ahead of next summer.

Players to Watch:

Goalkeeper- Guillermo Ochoa– the talented young Mexican keeper who plays for Club America in the Primera Division of Mexico is going to be hard to beat in the Mexican goal.

Attacking Midfielder– Giovani dos Santos- dos Santos scored his first two goals for the Mexican national team in their friendly against Venezuela and will look to continue scoring in the Gold Cup.

Forward- Carlos Vela– the  forward became just the second Mexican player to score in the Premier League when he scored for Arsenal against Portsmouth in May, he will look to add to his 5 international goals playing aside Omar Bravo up front.

While no non-North American team has ever won the Gold Cup there are several other teams to watch that are going to hope to change that.

Costa Rica– Los Ticos are leading their World Cup qualifying group and have recently defeated the United States showing they have what it takes to cause an upset.

Honduras– Another team putting in a strong WCQ campaign, they will hope to use a strong Gold Cup performance to keep in them in the hunt for South Africa.

Matches:

The Gold Cup kicks off today with Canada taking on Jamaica and Costa Rica facing off against El Salvador. The following games this weekend are:

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Honduras vs Haiti

Grenada vs United States

7/5

Panama vs Guadeloupe

Nicaragua vs Mexico

The full Gold Cup schedule can be found here.

Kaka Goes To Madrid; U2 Goes To Barcelona

Posted in Barcelona, Real Madrid with tags , , , , on July 2, 2009 by LFCJen

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