Archive for Football

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).

FLB-US-ENG-ITA-CHELSEA-INTER

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).

SPAIN/

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.

SOCCER-SPAIN/

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?

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:

7/4

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 unveiled at Real Madrid

Posted in Real Madrid with tags , , , , , , , on July 1, 2009 by kemgooner

Kaka unveiled at Madrid

Kaka was introduced to around 50,000 fans at the Bernabeu yesterday.  It was revealed that he was given the number 8 shirt, instead of the 5 that many speculated he might receive. In his introduction he said that Florintino Perez’s project to get Madrid to compete with the best teams in Europe was one of the reasons he joined, and that Madrid was the only team he would leave AC Milan for. He concluded saying:

“It’s a great privilege to form part of great teams. I’ve been fortunate to play with great players, and I’m now going to continue doing the same.”

Cristiano Ronaldo has also completed his reported 80 million euro move to Real Madrid and will have his own unveiling ceremony next week.

Breaking News: Karim Benzema has now become the latest player to join Real Madrid, with it being announced that the 21 year old striker has joined from Lyon for 30 million euro.

Germany win U21 European Championship

Posted in U21 with tags , , , , , , , on June 29, 2009 by kemgooner

Germany u21 european final win

Germany U-21’s defeated the England U-21’s today 4-0,  with goals scored by Gonzalo Castro, Mesut Ozil, and two by Sandro Wagner.  It was always going to be a hard test for England who had three players out suspended for the match, two of them strikers, which left Theo Walcott up front on his own. Walcott was isolated most of the game and saw very little of the ball, and England had only one solid chance the whole match coming from a James Milner run and cross which found Adam Johnson whose backheel attempt deflected off his other leg and went wide.

Theo Walcott

Mesut Ozil was the star performer again for Germany, who along with scoring a goal assisted the first goal with a brilliantly placed pass to Castro who lifted the ball over the goalkeeper and into the net.  Ozil, who plays his club football for Werder Bremen in the German Bundesliga, was certainly one of the best performers in this European Championship.  Tomorrow we will profile some of the other top performers in the tournament. And for our readers, which players stood out to you in this U21 Championship?

Finally, congratulations to Germany, winners of the 2009 European U-21 Championship!

Germany U21 winners

And We’re Back

Posted in Welcome! with tags , , on June 29, 2009 by kemgooner

After a long period of inactivity I am happy to say that we are back.  As some may notice our return has come with a name change as well, Off the Post is the new name we have come up with as we feel it will better identify the site. The name change has also come with a slight change in content as well.  We are going to cut down on the match recaps and focus more on the latest news in the world of football, and also have more player profiles and pictures/videos.

So welcome everyone to Off the Post! Tell us what you think about the changes and what you would like to see in the future in your comments.

Pre-Euro 2008 News and Rumours

Posted in Football with tags , , , , , , , on May 29, 2008 by kemgooner

As I sit in my living room watching the third place match in the Toulan Youth Tournament it strikes me how much more I am going to enjoy this summer than last, football wise at least.  Last summer dragged by with never-ending transfer rumours that largely amounted to nothing, and waiting for the start of the new season to begin. This summer we have the Euros, the Olympics, and yes, never ending transfer rumours that will largely amount to nothing. However, some deals have gone through such as Alberto Gilardino leaving AC Milan for Fiorentina, and Chelsea signing Jose Bosingwa for 16.6 million, and some rumours must amount to something (right?!) such as the already getting long saga of Samir Nasri and if he will or will not be moving to Arsenal.

Apart from the transfer rumours we have also had the joy of watching and waiting to see who will be part of the Euros. Teams have now submitted their final rosters, and there are a few surprises.  One of these ‘surprises’ is the inclusion of Antonio Cassano on the Italian squad. Now most probably know what a loose cannon Cassano can be, but for those who do not take in his reactions to be sent off in Sampdoria:

However, while there have been plenty of moments like the one above in Cassano’s career, he is also a fantastic player who could be a wild card for Italy in the tournament. One thing for sure is all eyes will be on him when takes the field.

The other main shock when the squads were named was the exclusion of not only David Trezeguet from the French squad, but also AC Milan’s new boy Mathieu Flamini and Roma defender Philippe Mexes.  All three of whom have had great season’s domestically, and its really surprising that Domenech has left them out. However, none have ever seemed to be in Domenech’s favor in the past, so its not as surprising as it should be.

What makes Euro 2008 different from previous tournaments for fans in the United States? ESPN has deceided to show every match live over its family of networks. Yes, there is no need to pay for those annoying online streams anymore. Please try to contain your excitement, and check out this schedule of matchs here which will be useful for anyone planning on watching the tournament.

 Finally, if anyone is interested in writing about Euro 2008, the Olympics, or just their club’s news in general just drop me a note.