Andy Gray lost his FIFA 12 job too

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Andy Gray lost his FIFA 12 job too

As soon as Andy Gray was fired by Sky Sports for his sexist banter with Richard Keys (and others), it seemed inevitable that he would lose his gig as Martin Tyler's commentary partner in the FIFA video game series as well. And now we know he has.

EA Sports announced that Gray will be replaced by not fired Sky Sports man Alan Smith, which probably won't please the "Get Alan Smith off Sky Sports commentary!!" Facebook group.

From The Sun:

"Alan will bring a fresh, new perspective and insight to FIFA 12, working alongside the trusted [read: not sexist] and well-known voice of Martin Tyler," said David Rutter, senior producer of FIFA 12.

"As one of the top-tier broadcasters on the UK football scene, he brings enormous knowledge and expert analysis to the game so that we can deliver the most authentic FIFA experience this year."

EA also confirmed the introduction of a second commentary team for FIFA 12, with the duo of Clive Tyldesley and Andy Townsend sharing the mic for tournament gameplay.

"The natural chemistry that Martin and I have developed working live matches for TV has transferred very well to the virtual broadcast booth," said Smith.

If EA really wanted to make it the "most authentic FIFA experience," they would make Keys and Gray's off-air and off-color commentary available with a cheat code that also unlocks the ability to fix mat! ches, in sult referees and play a minigame where you have to bribe Carribean officials while feeding lobster tails to Chuck Blazer.

FIFA 12 will be released on September 27 in the U.S. and three days later in Europe. And, for the first time it years, it will actually have fresh commentary to go with its improved gameplay.

Former Argentina goalkeeper Roberto Abbondanzieri recently played in a charity match with his young son on the opposing team. There would be no tender father-son moments, though. Unless you consider vengeful takedowns to be tender moments, in which case you should probably stop reading this and get back to training, Nigel De Jong.

At one point, Roberto's son swiped the ball off him with incredible ease. Instead of laughing it off or applauding his boy out of fatherly pride, Abbondanzieri avenged his embarrassment by tackling his son from behind. He was shown a yellow card. And I'm guessing the car ride home was pretty awkward.

Villas-Boas says he couldve made more money at Porto than Chelsea

Many decisions on where people go in the world of football (and in the world of the world, I suppose) are chalked up to either money or family considerations. Or both. But new Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas revealed in his first press conference that he moved for neither. In fact, he even kind of did it in spite of his family.

From The Mirror:

"I can assure you that Porto could beat that offer," he said. "They were ready to make a competitive offer for me to stay, but I took the challenge.

"I've made some very difficult moves in my life. One of them was leaving a crazy salary at Inter (Milan), as an assistant, to join the bottom club in Portugal (Academica).

"So I just felt it inside me that I should take the opportunity and the move.

"Against the will of everybody, against the will of my family, I took that."

Explaining their concerns, he said: "We have spent seven years moving around from London to Milan to Coimbra to Porto and now to London. This causes an emotional instability in any family."

He added jokingly: "Let's see if we're speaking when I get back. Maybe my bags will be waiting for me at the door..."

Hahaha his family hates him. That's hil-arious.

Jokes aside, this should prove that the intentions of the so far unimpeachable Villas-Boas are good. Even if it might be hard to believe that Porto could have matched the 15 million over the next three years that Chelsea reportedly have agreed to pay him. He ignored bett! er money and familial stability just so he could pursue a new challenge.

Further endearing him to Chelsea fans upon his return to the club, Villas-Boas also announced that former Chelsea player and West Brom manager Roberto Di Matteo will be his assistant. Hopefully Roberto has a futon that Andre can sleep on if/when his family kick him out.

Photo: Getty

Fulham selling Michael Jackson products to go with their odd statue

When Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed put a tacky statue of Michael Jackson outside of Craven Cottage and told anyone who didn't like it that they can "go to hell," the consensus seemed to be that it's his club and his money so he can do what he wants. Though it was certainly strange, at the time, Al Fayed's intentions behind the tribute to his friend seemed positive and (relatively) selfless. Now? Not so much.

And with that said, I present the "Michael at the Cottage tribute collection" now available in the official Fulham clubshop. Let's take a closer look at some of the ways Al Fayed is profiting from his old pal's death...

Fulham selling Michael Jackson products to go with their odd statue

First things first, here is the most expensive item in the collection. A Michael Jackson tribute umbrella. Actually, it appears to be an umbrella in tribute to the statute in tribute to Michael Jackson, but don't spend too much time thinking about that. Michael liked umbrellas. He used them a lot. He would want you to have this one. It can be your! s for 29 .99.

Fulham selling Michael Jackson products to go with their odd statue

How about a book written by another friend of Michael's who is also now trying to profit form his death? And it even comes with the added bonus of "dark side" conspiracy theories. Ooo! It can be yours for 17.99. And if your dead popstar merchandise budget is a little tight, there is also a paperback version available for 14.99. So you have no excuse to not buy this.

Fulham selling Michael Jackson products to go with their odd statue

Sure, no one really needs a lanyard and the only thing Michael Jacksony about this is that it has his name written on it a few times, but come on. It can be yours for 2.99. You should probably buy 10 of them.

Fulham selling Michael Jackson products to go with their odd statue

This is just breathtaking. It's an ugly shirt that features a man wearing an ugly shirt on it. There are multiple dimensions to the ugliness. I'm pretty sure this is how the space-time continuum gets ripped. It can be yours for 16.99.

England somehow ranked ahead of Brazil by FIFA

In case you were somehow duped into believing that the official FIFA world rankings held any semblance of meaning or value at all, this should clear things up for you. In this totally real and not photoshopped screenshot of the latest FIFA rankings, that's England sitting fourth. Ahead of Brazil.

You better take something for your developing migraine before reading this attempt at an explanation from the Guardian:

The rankings, based on the results of all international "A" matches, rate England as the fourth best team in the world, up two places, and behind only Spain, Holland and Germany.

The system was revised in 2005 in an attempt to improve its accuracy, taking into account the last four years of results, with allowances made for the importance of the matches and the strength of the opponents. Fifa said the aim was to combine "transparency and simplicity" with "the reality of world football".

England's last three results were draws against Switzerland and Ghana, and a win over Wales, who the rankings rate as joint 114th in the world, along with the Faroe Islands. my ears are bleeding. So how could those three result help England hop over Brazil, who most recently won a friendly against Romania and had a scoreless draw against second ranked Netherlands? Well, the fact that England two of England's matches were Euro 2012 qualifiers helped si! nce cont inental cup qualifiers are worth 2.5 times more than friendlies in the rankings system (that weighting system explains Mexico's jump into the top 10, too).

Still, if four years of results are accounted for, you would think that the team that won the last Copa America and finished sixth in the 2010 World Cup would still be ranked far better than a team that didn't even qualify for Euro 2008 and crashed out in the round of 16 in South Africa. Between this and London being awarded hosting duties for the 2013 Champions League final after they just hosted it last month, either England has finally started giving football officials competitive bribes or the News of the World has photos of Sepp Blatter with that hooker Peter Crouch was with.

Regardless of all that, Fabio Capello sez...

England somehow ranked ahead of Brazil by FIFA

"Whatever. I'll take it."

Photo: Getty

Random musings of footballers before they fall asleep

Sir Alex Ferguson

That's right. Honorary doctorate. ... Now everyone will have to call me Dr. Sir Alex Ferguson. ... It doesn't get anymore awesome than that. ... Dr. Sir Alex Ferguson sounds like the kind of man who carries a sword and dresses in those baggy Renaissance clothes. ... Maybe I should start doing that. ... No one will mess with Dr. Sir Alex Ferguson. Not even Dalglish. ... We'll see who Boyzone invites to their concerts now...

Random musings of footballers before they fall asleep

Neymar's Hair

I feel dirty. ... dirty...

Random musings of footballers before they fall asleep

Kim Su-Gyong

OK, this is not going well. ... We're going to need a good excuse or the Dear Leader will do to us what he did to the men's team last summer and make us watch the Green Street Hooligan movie on repeat until we believe Elijah Wood could actually beat up another human being. ... The horror. ... Anyway, excuses. ... Well, we could say that our team is just too young and lacking the necessary resources to succeed. But that probably wouldn't go over so hot. ... We co! uld also say we were all struck by lightning three weeks ago and that's why we lost. ... Yeah! That's the ticket! ... Lightning. Yeah...

Random musings of footballers before they fall asleep

Tim Howard

It's time for the disgraces!!! ... First, Spanish. I hate Spanish!!! Even if the primary broadcaster is a Spanish-language network and you do actually mix in some English, medal ceremonies in the USA should not be in Spanish!!! That's a bilingual f***ing disgrace!!! ... Second, Jonathan Bornstein. Why does he keep getting to play?!?! Whenever I see him in my backline, I have the sudden urge to step in front of a speeding bus filled with the Ebola virus!!! That's a soul-crushing f***ing disgrace!!! ... Third, there's Bob Bradley. He's always staring at nothing!!! That's a disturbing f***ing disgrace!!! ... Finally, there was that time Mexico beat us in the Gold Cup final after we were up 2-0. That...that was a...

Photos: Reuters, Getty

In this match against Welling United, Dorchester Town's Gary Bowles doesn't let the referee's whistle or the pile of bodies near him stop him from lunging at his opponent's ankles. This is an impressive level of focus and determination in seeing out his objective. The objective itself wasn't that great, though. He was sent off.

Andrei Arshavin conducts greatest Q&A ever, part XX

It is time once again -- the 20th time, in fact -- to dip into the mind-bending world of Andrei/ey Arshavin's official website and the readers who ask him questions on it. Repent.

2. From GavrilovaJulia
Andrey, what was Artem's first word and how old was he when he started talking? What about Yana? Thank you in advance for your reply.

To be honest it's hard to remember it now. I should ask Julia.

Keep in mind that Andrei's kids are five and three years old. It's not like they're 68 and 72. Might be time to start taking the ginkgo biloba.

6. From Arshavin26
Hi Andrey, I am your greatest fan! It seems to me that you should come to the city of Penza Penza Penza in the summer time and sort out the situation with our football, please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can come, but the other people should take care of this situation.

Even Artur Boruc thinks that many exclamation marks was just excessive.

8. From nikita28
Hi Andrey! I live in the city of Novokuznetsk. I'm your fan and watch all your games for Arsenal. I'm an Arsenal fan also))). Andrey, could you please send me your football kit with your autograph?
Here is my E-mail *** @

If I came up with an idea of sending parcels via mails, I would be really pleased with myself and would send to you, honestly;)

This isn't the first time Andrey has attempted to dodge an auto! graph r equest by pointing out that it is impossible to send items through email, but it is the first time that he has referred to emails as "mails."

9. From d158k71
Hello, Andrey Sergeyevich, I'm 12 years old. I love football
: Good boy.

That's not a question, d158k71.

10. From Moonray
Andrey, what question would you like to hear? N.
: I's hard to tell. You guys always come up with something funny yourself.

Don't forget scary. They always come up with something scary, too.

11. From Moonray
Andrey, have you ever been to Turkmenistan? You should come - it's always warm here ;))
: No

That's cold! Even with the promise of warm weather and a winking, double smile emoticon, and Andrei just shuts it down. You asked what question he wants to hear, Moonray. Well, it wasn't that.

14. From SvetlanaQi
Hi, Andrey)))
I have only one question:
Will you ever grow a mustache??
Thank you))) Good luck)))
: If I decided to do it, it would take a year and even then I don't know what would come out of it.

I know what would come out of it. Unicorns. Maybe candy.

15. From reso1995
Hello Andrey, everybody say that I look like you and play like you. What should I do? I was offered to play for a club that is 500 km away from my home and my parent don't want to let me go as I'm only 14.
: The choice is yours.

Two things here. 1) Of course the person who looks like Andrei is 14 years old. And 2) I don't think that choice is totally reso1995's, Andrei. His parent(s) might have something to say about that decision, too.

16. From AbusheevBair
Hello Andrey!
I asked you a question and now I can't find it. Tell me plea! se in wh ich order they are posted.
I have no idea:)

Andrei can't even remember his kids first words, AbusheevBair. There's no way he remembers in what order these questions are posted.

17. From Brakamonte
Hello Andrey I am a big fan of your talent. I have been supporting you for a very long time, even back when you were in Zenit. I am from Tajikistan, the city of Isfara. All my relatives work in St. Petersburg. This is the most wonderful and beautiful city in Russia. Good luck and good health.
: I agree. My relatives also work in St. Petersburg ;)

Again, no part of that is a question. It did give Andrei a reason to use an emoticon, though, so I guess we'll allow it.

21. From Sashok
Hello =) Dear Andrey, please tell me your skype)) with love Sasha)
You are welcome. Try to play with my name and surname, and maybe you'll find the right answer.

First DT reader to figure out his Skype wins a prize. The prize? Knowing Andrei Arshavin's Skype handle.

22. From Yazvochka
Hello, Andrey. I would like to ask this: what do you think about plastic surgery? Is it possible that you'll change something in your appearance in the future and why?

Andrey is as likely to get plastic surgery as he is to go to Turkmenistan.

27. From ruslan1979
Andrey, you are a very busy man, your job is to make millions of people happy ...and then you also answer questions of your fans, you probably don't have enough time for everything, here is a deal I can answer your questions, let's say for a week it will be fun for you to read your own answers!
Get your own page, ask yourself questions and read them yourself.
Funny, isn't it?

I knew it. This has just b! een Andr ei asking himself question all along. It all makes sense now.

28. From sashaalikin23
I have a lot of injuries from childhood = (and they don't allow me to play football because of them ((if you can, help me please =) you are my idol =)
If only I could heal people .....

Yes, if only you could heal could probably grow a mustache, too.

Photo: Getty

All the stuff being covered outside the unfriendly confines of the award-winning Dirty Tackle...

The Colorado Rapids made the traditional MLS champions visit to the White House and presented Obama with the No. 10 shirt. Barry then proved that he knows who Lionel Messi is. [101gg]

Brazil stars will make you jealous with all of their Nike swag. [The Beautiful Gear]

If you have heartstrings, "The Little Team" are about to yank them. [KCKRS]

Kasey Keller pantsed his teammate. [Kickette]

On being Mexican-American and picking sides in the Gold Cup. [Good Men]

Gallery: George Best at Ipswich. [IBWM]

Someone stole Fiorentina manager Sinisa Mihajlovic's sunglasses. I hope it wasn't Artur. [Unprofessional Foul]

The Liverpool/Man United interface. [Surreal Football]

Mexicos Copa America team robbed, suspended for prostitute party

As Retired Ronaldo would be quick to tell you, footballers bringing prostitutes back to their hotel rooms can only lead to bad things. This is a lesson that eight members of the U-22 team that will represent Mexico at Copa America learned the hard way.

It turns out that while Gio Dos Santos was chipping in his goal to beat the U.S. in the Gold Cup final, younger brother Jonathan and seven of his teammates -- Israel Jimenez, Nestor Vidrio, Jonathan Dos Santos, Marco Fabian, Jorge Hernandez, Javier Cortes, David Cabrera and Nestor Calderon -- were partying with prostitutes and having their valuables stolen.

From Terra:

The manager of Hotel Quito in Ecuador told ESPN that they have videos showing women entering the rooms of some Mexican players.

"We have videos of females visiting (at least three), entering with the baggage of the team into the area of the players' bedroom," claimed Roberto Ramia.

"In one of the rooms, the National Police found a garbage can with the keys to five of the rooms (they used) and used condoms were also found," Ramia alleged in the program Los Capitanes.

The manager claimed that the keys and condoms were found in room 109, which was used by Nestor Vidrio and Jonathan dos Santos.

This version of events seems to reinforce the theory that the people who robbed players of the Mexican team ! in Ecuad or were able to get the room keys from four prostitutes who allegedly entered the hotel with the players.

On Saturday, computers, iPads, cellphones, documents, and cash were stolen from the rooms of Mexican players in the hotel.

National team director Hector Gonzalez Inarritu announced on Tuesday that the eight players had all been suspended for six months and fined after they confessed to what they did. He also said he would "not go into details of what happened."

So when it's not tainted chicken, it's hookers and thieves trying to hold back Mexican football. Temptations: They come in many forms.

Photo: Getty

North Korea blames loss to U.S. on players getting struck by lightning

A couple of second half goals gave the U.S. a 2-0 win over North Korea and a strong start to their Women's World Cup run. The 8th ranked North Koreans have the youngest team in the tournament with an average age of 20. Still, their discipline and skill gave the U.S. a lot of trouble in the first half before controversial starter Lauren Cheney justified her selection by heading in the first goal in the 54th minute and defender Rachel Buehler scored a second in the 76th minute.

After the match, North Korea manager Kwang Min Kim shocked the congregated press by revealing that his side isn't just the youngest team, but they are also the only team in the tournament that's been struck by lightening.

From the BBC:

"When we stayed in Pyongyang during training our players were hit by lightning, and more than five of them were hospitalised," said coach Kim.

"Some stayed in hospital and then came to Germany later than the rest of us. The goalkeeper and the four defenders were most affected, and some midfielders as well. The physicians said the players were not capable of participating in the tournament.

"But World Cup football is the most important and significant event for a footballer, so they don't want to think about anything but football.

"The fact that they played could be called abnormal, the result of very strong will."

Given the secretive nature of the North Korean team, we may never know if this is true or not. The players aren't allowed to speak to the press, their training sessions are protected by security guards and closed to outsiders and their public appearances regularly get canceled. If it is true, a lightning strike that injured four defenders and disrupted their training could explain why their back line seemed to fall apart in the second half after holding the U.S. scoreless in the first. But even if it's not true, it's still a tremendous excuse that others might now try in everyday life.

Match highlights right this way...

Photo: Reuters

Future News: Messi vows that even his ghost will play for Barca

Following Lionel Messi's recent statement that he will only leave Barcelona to retire in Argentina, the Ballon d'Or winner has taken his devotion to the club a step further by announcing that even his ghost will only play for Barcelona.

At a press conference at Argentina's Copa America training base, Messi tried to dispel any uncertainty about where he will play in the afterlife.

"When I eventually pass on, I will only play ghost football at Barcelona. I am happy there. No amount of spirit money will tempt me," he told reporters.

In recent weeks, there have been reports that Real Madrid would make a big money move for their rival's top scorer on the other side. Messi was clear that such a bid would not sway him.

"Real can offer whatever they want, but I will not go. My ghost will play for Barcelona forever. Maybe it will fly around in the clouds for fun sometimes, but it will never scare people and it will never play for another club."

Photo: Getty Images

U.S. play Womens World Cup in kit resembling nurses uniform

The U.S. began their campaign for their first Women's World Cup title since 1999 on day three of the tournament and they did it in a new kit. Although they are once again in their usual all white home strip for their opening match against North Korea, the new design already has fans saying that it looks like a nurse's uniform.

When the new kit was first revealed back in April, Dr. Jennifer Doyle of From a Left Wing summed up the problem critics have with it:

A USWNT shirt can always be distinguished from the USMNT shirt by the two stars that the women's shirt prominently displays over the USSF badge - one star for each World Cup trophy they've won (1991, 1999). That difference is not enough for Nike and the USSF. They want you to know, for sure, that this is a not a man's shirt. So the FIFA #1 ranked women's team will go to Germany in a nurse's uniform.

This is quite simply the ugliest women's football jersey I have ever seen. It's central problem is the line someone has drawn down middle of the shirt - a purely decorous gesture meant to create the impression that the USSF would like its women to play in an open necked blouse.

The Nike press release says, "The kit is designed specifically for the female athlete, to enhance the range of motion and create a uniquely feminine silhouette." But for anyone fearing that the nurse look isn't intimidating enough for a side aiming to win the World Cup for the first time in 12 years, the black ! away kit (which has the same design) is "inspired by the beautiful but deadly Black Widow spider." So, deadly Black Widow nurse spiders. Got it.

Here are a couple of pictures of the two shirts on their own...

U.S. play Womens World Cup in kit resembling nurses uniform

U.S. play Womens World Cup in kit resembling nurses uniform

Top photo: Getty Images

Violence is always lurking when Mexico and the U.S. play each other and Saturday night's Gold Cup final was no different. The skirmishes weren't limited to just the players, though, and they didn't stop when the final whistle blew.

During Mexico's celebration after the match, the media battles began, with cameramen jockeying for position to get the best shots. While chasing the players as they ran around with the trophy, a TV cameraman mercilessly knocked a peer with a piddly little still camera out of his way. It definitely deserved a booking, unfortunately the referee didn't see it. Nor did he have authority over cameramen.

The new Arsenal away kit that Arshavin compared to jockeys clothes

Back in April, in one of our excursions into the weird that is our attempt to chronicle Andrei/ey Arshavin's ongoing Q&A sessions with the readers of his official website, there was a question that was actually normal. It didn't ask for Arshavin's home address or an opinion on the macroeconomic policy of Honduras or his feelings about erotic stories written about him. No, this reader just wanted to know what Arsenal's kit will look like for their 125th anniversary season.

And Andrei gave his usual honest answer.

12. From Nkitabozhok
Hi Andrey, Do know what your new Arsenal uniform will look like?
: I know, and I'll tell you. Our guest [away] uniform next season will look like jockey's clothes.

As always, it looks like Andrei was right.

Another pic of the new away kit right this way...

The new Arsenal away kit that Arshavin compared to jockeys clothes

But if yo! u think being dressed like a jockey is a bad thing, just look at how much joy they bring to Andrei:

The new Arsenal away kit that Arshavin compared to jockeys clothes

Then again, he does appear to be laughing at the jockey more than with him.

Bottom photo: Getty

Real Madrid want Neymar, but not his hair

Though Santos president Santos president Luis Alvaro de Oliveira Ribeiro claims/hopes Neymar will stay with the Copa Libertadores winning club, some of Europe's biggest clubs are still trying to acquire his services. Real Madrid have been in pursuit for a while now and they apparently like their chances of landing the 19-year-old enough to start thinking about how they can stomp out all of his youthful indiscretions.

According to Mundo Deportivo, one of Jose Mourinho's preferred directors at Real will travel to Brazil to urge the people close to Neymar to change his image. That change supposedly includes tighter control over who he hangs out with so as to avoid bad influences, a warning about avoiding brawls like the one that followed the Copa Libertadores final and a new haircut that shows a "greater seriousness."

In other words, it sounds like they really don't want him to be like Robinho.

Photo: Reuters

We're only two days into the Women's World Cup and there has already been a few tremendous goals -- all of which Monica Ocampo topped with her booming shot from distance to give Mexico a 1-1 draw against England in their first group stage match. And it's worth noting that Mexico not only earned this result with Ocampo's golazo, but with 16-year-old goalkeeper Ceci Santiago starting for them.

Opposing goalkeepers should consider this a warning of Ocampo's impressive range. Corner flags should also consider her celebration a warning of her karate skills.

Though it ended in a scoreless draw, Saturday's match against San Jose proved to be an eventful one for LA Galaxy midfielder Mike Magee. When first choice keeper Donovan Ricketts left the match in the 23rd minute with an injury and backup goalkeeper Josh Saunders was shown a straight red for throwing an elbow at Steven Lenhart just before halftime, Magee put on the goalkeeper gloves and maintained a clean sheet for the final 47 minutes of the game (highlights here).

As for the red card on Saunders, you might be inclined to forgive his attempt to connect with an elbow to the face after seeing how annoying Lenhart was being with his headbutts and attempts to get a cheap goal, which earned the San Jose striker a yellow for his efforts.

After the game, even Magee wondered why he volunteered to take over (via ESPN):

"I have no idea why I nominated myself," Magee said. "When I first went in there, I wasn't nervous at all. I only thought I had to make it 10 minutes, and then we'd have a great plan at halftime where I'd be back on the field. Then we got back in (the locker room), and it started hitting me that I was going back in goal. That was pretty nerve-wracking."

Yet, he overcome those wracked nerves and now Spurs might have just found their next goalkeeper.

River Plate relegated, fans riot

Sunday, June 26, 2011

On the 15th anniversary of their second Copa Libertadores win, River Plate and their record 33 Primera Divsion titles were relegated in front of their home fans with a 1-1 draw in the second leg of their playoff against second division champions Belgrano. River lost the first leg 2-0 and several of their own fans invaded the pitch to shove them around. Those phsyical attacks didn't propel them to turn things around, though, and they now face life in the second division.

Once their fate was sealed, the 60,000 fans in attendance went mental to the point where the referee didn't even add stoppage time so everyone could flee. Fire hoses were employed to try and drive them back in order to keep them from storming the pitch. Belgrano players had objects thrown at them as they scurried to safety and the River players had to be completely surrounded by a human shield of police officers. They were then hurried into an inflatable tunnel that protected them on their way to the dressing room.

There's a good chance the riots that will surely go on through the night will make Vancouver look like a Disney adventure.

As hosts and back-to-back champions, the Germans were pretty much expected to dominate the 2011 Women's World Cup so completely that they would have to invent a new word for it. But on the first day of matches, Canada gave the rest of the field a sliver of hope by ending Germany's surreal record of not allowing a World Cup goal since the 2003 final against Sweden (which they still won 2-1).

After Germany got out to an early 2-0 lead in front of a sell-out crowd of 73,680 at Berlin's Olympic Stadium (a new European attendance record for women's football), everything seemed to be going according to plan until the game's first scorer, Kerstin Garefrekes, produced an unbelievable miss on an empty net from point-blank range and Canada's Christine Sinclair remembered that she can pretty much score at will.

Sinclair, who missed a golden chance early on to give Canada a lead and later took an elbow to the nose, executed a perfect free kick in the 82nd minute to end Germany's clean sheet record at 678 minutes (according to Opta). And of course it was Sinclair, who is Canada's all-time leading scorer with 117 goals (their second leading scorer has 13 goals) who was able to finally do it. Still, Canada couldn't end Germany's other impressive record of remaining unbeaten in the World Cup since getting knocked out of the quarterfinals by the U.S. in 1999.

You could say this shows that Germany aren't invincible after all. Or you could say they were just being welcoming hosts before breaking out the steam roller from here on in.

Tim Howard pulls a Drogba, calls Gold Cup ceremony a disgrace

One might think that losing 4-2 after starting a cup final against your biggest rival with a 2-0 lead would be sole focus of any and all post-match rantings from the losing team. But U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard found time to do his best Didier Drogba impression over the language in which CONCACAF conducted the post-match trophy presentation after his side did just that.

From ESPN:

"CONCACAF should be ashamed of themselves," Howard said. "I think it was a f***ing disgrace that the entire postmatch ceremony was in Spanish. You can bet your ass that if we were in Mexico City, it wouldn't be all in English.

"But that's not why we lost the game. They've got some special players who put us in some bad situations."

Howard is right, though. They wouldn't have conducted the ceremony in English if the final was played in Mexico City. Because, like most everyone in the predominantly Mexico supporting crowd at the Rose Bowl on Saturday night, people in Mexico City speak Spanish.

At the same time, Howard is also wrong. Though the ceremony was mostly done in Spanish by emcee and Univsion commentator Fernando Fiore, he did use English throughout. Particularly when presenting the U.S. with the runners-up medals.

But who is to blame for CONCACAF's marginalization of English speakers? The same man who sparked Drogba's rant by helping Barcelona past Chelsea in the 2009 Champions League semifinal: Tom Henning Ovrebo. (Probably.)

Fan at Gold Cup final asks Chicharito to donate his seed

We can't see the face of the person who took this sign to Mexico's 4-2 win over the U.S. in the Gold Cup final on Saturday, but I'm willing to bet it was USSF president Sunil Gulati. Or a representative of any of Manchester United's Premier League rivals.

Whoever it was, their sperm doodles probably made Home Depot regret giving fans the space to write/draw whatever they wanted above their company's name.

Photo: Getty Images

The U.S. came up with two goals in the first 22 minutes of their third straight Gold Cup final against Mexico, but Mexico, who were the better team throughout, proved it by piling on four goals after that to win 4-2.

It wasn't quite as bad as the U.S.'s 5-0 loss to Mexico in the 2009 Gold Cup final, but that's not saying much. An early injury to Steve Cherundolo, giving Bob Bradley the chance to put the panic-inducing Jonathan Bornstein into a shaky U.S. defense didn't help at all. The terrible defending on display in the video above gives a sample size of what Tim Howard had to work with.

Scoring the game's final goal with a flourish, Mexico's Gio Dos Santos controlled the ball in the box as Howard flopped around behind him before finally chipping the ball over Eric Lichaj's head and into the far corner of the goal. Dos Santos made a number of threatening runs throughout the match, only to come up with nothing, so for him to finish one like this was a dagger.

This marks the second time in three years that the U.S. squandered a 2-0 lead to lose a cup final (the other being in the 2009 Confederations Cup against Brazil). If you're an optimist, you could just say it's great that they're reaching cup finals. If you're not, you might find that embarrassing. And if you're just interested in Freddy Adu, you'll be happy to know that he started this game and set up the first goal after not even dressing for the group stage and playing less than 30 minutes for the U.S. in the last two years.

Artur Borucs Friday Rage List

Friday, June 24, 2011

Artur Borucs Friday Rage List












Medio Tiempo lets you punch Donovan with Chicharitos fists

Violence plagues football both on and off the pitch all around the world, so what better way to let fans release some extra aggression ahead of a cup final between fierce rivals than with an internet boxing game featuring two of the teams' biggest stars? That's what Mexican site Medio Tiempo must have figured when they produced "Soccer Knockout" as a way to get Mexico fans excitedly mashing their keyboards ahead of Saturday's Gold Cup.

You are Chicharito and your nemesis in the ring is Landon Donovan, creating an odd matchup between two of the most easy-going guys they could have used. The game starts out criminally easy, with the player able to pummel Donovan with ease and Landon seems unwilling to punch back while his face turns purple, his teeth fall out and bandages magically appear on his forehead. But like the U.S.'s fortunes on the pitch against Mexico (except for the 2009 Gold Cup final, which Mexico won 5-0), Landon gets progressively harder to beat with each round, inflicting untold damage on Chicharito's angelic (and strangely prepubescent) cartoon face.

It's just a shame they didn't use Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots style head popping.

Spotted on KCKRS

Count me as one who thinks goal celebrations in MLS have been lacking for the past few years. In a similar fashion to the NBA slam dunk contest, the level of creativity displayed by recent goal scorers is troublesome, and if it continues like this it could be detrimental for the future of showboating in our domestic game. We can't compete with the big leagues in Europe if we can't celebrate like them. How many of the same old airplanes, impromptu shirt-strippings, and karate attacks on the corner flag should we be expected to sit through without saying anything? We need Robbie Fowler on line one, because that's a guy who knew how to celebrate a goal with some creativity.

And we also need Roger Levesque to keep scoring goals. Last night at the newly named CenturyLink Field, Red Bull's goalkeeper Greg Sutton received a backpass at the edge of the 18 yard box and completely bugged out once the ball reached his feet. Sutton was unable to find an open pass or any sense of general footballing coordination, allowing the on-rushing Levesque to swoop in, steal the ball, give the Sounders an unassailable 4-2 lead, and cap it all off by pretending to scuba dive off the advertising board. That's what I'm talking about.

Without a doubt the celebration of the year thus far in MLS.

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It's Lionel Messi's 24th birthday, so to mark the occasion, here's a compilation of some of his finest work in evading the futile efforts to bring him down. You can elbow him, you can lunge at him, you can pull his shirt, but in the end, Messi will still find a way to embarrass you and then giggle at how easy it was to do so.

Pele recently said yet again that Leo needs to score more than his 1,283 goals in order to be considered the best ever. But whether he's considered the best, second best or 145th best ever doesn't really matter. And I doubt he'll be counting goals in the hopes of sticking it to Pele. Though 1,283 could be a good target number for next season.

Happy birthday, Lionel. I hope you get the Lego fire station we sent.

Future News: Cesc decides he doesnt want Barca move after all

Following Barcelona's latest bid for Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas after years of publicly stating their interest and two rejected offers last summer, the player has announced that he has changed his mind and doesn't really want a move to the European champions after all.

Despite making it clear in recent seasons that he considered a return to his hometown club his dream move, Fabregas declared his surprising change of heart during a news conference at Arsenal's training complex.

"I just discovered this great tapas place in London," said the 24-year-old World Cup winner. "And, yeah, I've had better back home, but how can I leave now? This place is a find."

This development will come as a shock to the Spanish giants, who were prepared to offer as much as 35 million for the midfielder.

"I recently realized that whenever I'm in London I wish I was home and whenever I'm home I wish I was in London," Fabregas continued. "You know that saying 'the grass is always greener...'? I think I might have that."

When asked if he thought he would change his mind again, Fabregas shrugged. "Once the transfer window closes, maybe. But right now I'm totally over Barcelona. I mean, it must get boring winning all those trophies. Right?"

Photo: Getty

All the stuff being covered outside the unfriendly confines of the award-winning Dirty Tackle...

So why was Wolverine at Wednesday night's Philadelphia Union match? He's apparently buddies with the club's chairman. Also, Stu Holden and his jorts were there too. [Brotherly Game]

Nike France and Brazil polos are pretty nice. [The Beautiful Gear]

Germany are 6-5 favorites to win their third straight Women's World Cup. [KCKRS]

Pep Guardiola: Obsession down memory lane. [IBWM]

Russians still throwing bananas at Roberto Carlos. [The Offside]

The new language of football. [Kickette]

Villas-Boas at Chelsea: New era or deja vu? [Backpage Football]

Abramovich getting impatient as Villas-Boas enters second trophyless day. [News Thump]

DT nominated for an award! Vote for us in the "funniest and most entertaining football website" category here: [Caught Offside]

Pique looking confused in Isreal

Since he has some free time on his hands, Gerard Pique accompanied girlfriend and public make-out partner Shakira on a trip to Israel as part of her work as an ambassador for the UNICEF conspiracy. And pretty much the whole time they were there, Pique looked lost and confused.

That's the couple with Israel president Shimon Peres at the top of the post. While everyone else is forcing themselves to smile, Pique looks like he's watching a lion eat a gazelle. This was only the beginning, though...

Pique looking confused in Isreal

"I wonder what Zlatan's doing right now..."

Pique looking confused in Isreal

"Is that a moon bounce?!"

Pique looking confused in Isreal

"No one told me that my shirt, pants and belt were all supposed to be the same color."

Pique looking confused in Isreal

"Hahaha I had no idea Tony Blair still exists."

Photos: Getty, Reuters, AP

Leeds ban pitch-invading great grandmotherAs Leeds did their lap of honor after their final match of the season, 63-year-old great grandmother Margaret Musgrove invaded the pitch and was promptly escorted away by security (video here) and put in a holding cell. Now, the woman with 13 grandchildren and three great grandchildren has been given an automatic ban of one year by the club because football clubs don't like pitch invaders, even if they're great grandmothers.

From the Yorkshire Evening Post:

Margaret said: "It's not like I am a hooligan. People who do much worse than this get the same ban.

"A suspension from a few games would have hurt, but I already feel like I have been punished enough."

Asked what she intended to do when she ran towards the players, Margaret added: "I just wanted to shout, 'Lads, I love you'.

"I had my Leeds United bag across my chest and a United flag tied around my waste. It was hardly threatening."

She added: "I've followed Leeds for years - I just got carried away.

"I don't go out, Leeds United is my social life."

Sadly, it seems Margaret still doesn't understand why she got the automatic ban. A spokesman for Leeds clarifies that it has nothing to do with being threatening (via the Guardian):

"Mrs Musgrove encroached the gr! assed pl aying area despite repeated pleas throughout the game for people not to do so and it's club policy to suspend people who do this.

"In excess of 30,000 fans abided by the message to please to keep off the pitch. For a club suspension she is entitled to appeal, which she has done."

It's a shame this had to happen to such a devoted and well-intentioned fan, but if rules against pitch invasion don't apply to grandmas, then players will be subjected to an endless stream of cheek pinches as they are force fed a variety of delicious pies and cookies.

Down 2-0 in the first leg of their playoff against second division champions Belgrano and staring a once unthinkable relegation in the face (if it had a face), River Plate fans snapped. Their club has more Argentine Primera Division titles (33) than any other and since violence seems to the natural reaction to anything even tangentially related to football there, they handled their grief by attacking the players during the match.

A group of fans slipped through a whole in the massive fence that was supposed to protect the participants from the spectators and shoved and taunted their own players around midfield. The invaders then ran back to the fence, climb up and over the barbed wire around the top. They then joined their peers in beating the crud out of that fence.

The match was suspended for 20 minutes, but it didn't stop River from still being down 2-0 at the final whistle. The second leg will be at home for River and, if they lose, they'll probably have to declare a national state of emergency.

Video via 101gg

Australian amateur footballer sent off for genitalia piercing

In a supremely bizarre scene in Australia, an amateur footballer was shown a red card for a series of events that resulted from him playing with a genitalia piercing. And making it all the more surreal, the referee followed him into the dressing room to make sure he removed it right before sending him off anyway.

The player in question was Old Hill Wanderers captain Aaron Eccleston and during a VicSoccer league match against Swinburne University reserves, the subject of his body piercing (which, as jewelry, is forbidden under the laws of the game) became the focus of attention. The Old Hill Wanderers' official website explains what happened:

During the first half, our player was struck in the groin by the ball, and left the field to receive attention. At this point the referee became aware that the he had a body piercing. He subsequently received two yellow cards, firstly for re-entering the field of play without the referee's permission, and secondly for privacy reasons being unable to prove that he had removed the piercing. At no point during the incident did the player of Old Hill Wanderers expose himself to the referee or to other players on the field.

Old Hill Wanderers FC is satisfied that the conduct of both the referee and our player was reasonable, and accepts that the two yellow cards given to the player were in accordance with the laws of football.

Old Hill Wanderers FC apologises to VicSoccer and the referee in question regarding the negative attention that may have been generated by this unfortunate event.

The video of the incident (with NSFW audio) can be seen here. It clearly shows the referee escort Eccleston into the dressing room, then a short time later the two come out and the ref promptly flashes his red card.

According to the Herald Sun, Eccleston refused to speak about the matter. But he did comment on Twitter. When asked how he feels about all of Melbourne knowing about his piercing, Eccleston said: "I don't think my mum's going to be particularly happy!"

WIthin seconds of winning their third Copa Libertadores title and first since 1963, Santos took on Penarol in an all-out brawl that included a lot of kicking and even more pointing. It was an unfortunate way to end a second leg match that finished 2-1, with all three goals coming in the second half. Neymar struck first (because that was pretty much his destiny) and when the violence subsided, a joyous Pele came out and celebrated with the team.

From the AP:

"A (Santos) fan entered the field and provoked us," Penarol forward Alejandro Martinuccio said. "They have to learn how to celebrate, we had accepted the loss."

A couple of Santos players were hit and stayed on the ground after the fight, but none were seriously injured. Penarol players later calmed down and came back to receive their runner-up medals.

"They were a worthy opponent, but they don't know how to lose," Santos defender Leo said.

So Santos don't know how to celebrate and Penarol don't know how to lose? Sounds about right. Highlights of the two clubs playing football instead of trying to kill each other right this way...

Santos win Copa Libertadores, immediately fight Penarol

Santos win Copa Libertadores, immediately fight Penarol

Pele says: "This trophy belongs to Pele!"

Photo: Getty, AP

With a move he surely must have learned from the erotic teachings of The Continental, Chicharito followed up Aldo De Nigris' extra time goal by scoring one of his own using his crotch/arm in Mexico's 2-0 win over Honduras. Having already scored goals with his face, pancreas, and just about every other human body part, this further proves that Chicharito is capable of scoring with any section of his anatomy at any time.

So, the seemingly inevitable Gold Cup final of the U.S. v Mexico is now set. It's the third straight time we've had this matchup in the final -- the U.S. won 2-1 in 2007 and Mexico won 5-0 in 2009. Will Freddy Adu continue to be the Americans' secret weapon? Will Chicharito score with his earlobe? On Saturday, we will know.

Freddy Adu had not played for the U.S. national team in two years, yet in the Gold Cup semifinals, with the score 0-0 and the team looking unimpressive against a Panama side that already beat them once in this tournament, Adu was put in the game. The forgotten 22-year-old who was unfairly labeled as the "American Pele" at 14 and became the youngest to ever play for the U.S. team at 16 was subbed in because the team needed a spark and, to the surprise of many, he provided it.

He showed glimpses of the speed and creativity that caused the hype and overwhelming expectations years ago and 12 minutes after he entered the game, he found Landon Donovan with a long pass from midfield and Donovan then supplied a great pass of his own for Clint Dempsey to finish at the far post. After the celebration, Dempsey gave credit to both Donovan and Adu for setting him up for the goal that gave them a 1-0 win and a spot in the Gold Cup final.

Though he only played for about half an hour against the 67th ranked team in the world, this will probably cause the urge to once again heap expectations on Adu. And while it's not the time for that, this is certainly a moment for Adu himself to enjoy. Since moving to Benfica from MLS in 2007, he's been loaned out to four different clubs around Europe and struggled to even get playing time. But, as he said after the Panama game, he's never stopped working and last season, with Rizespor in the Turkish second division, he played well and finally did enough to impress Bob Bradley.

He survived the intense pressure forced on him at a young age and though he still has a long way to go, his persistence is starting to pay off and he's no longer a forgotten man.

Pele told Neymar to stop diving

Pele has never been known for handing out the best advice -- especially to young Brazilian footballers looking to make the jump to Europe -- but he has told 19-year-old Neymar at least one thing that was genius: Stop. Diving.

From the AP:

"He is a player with a body that can't take a lot of hits," Pele told a news conference. "A lot of times he will fall because he can't do anything else, but he was overdoing it.

"Even when he is fouled, he can't make a spectacle out of it," he said. "I told him that he really needs to avoid that."

So, Pele acknowledges that skinny Neymar can't take a lot of hits, yet he still decided to try and break him by having the kid carry him and his Velcro shoes a while back. Or maybe that was just some kind of Pele punishment for diving. "Every time you go down easy, you must carry Pele to his doctor's appointments! Tell your biceps to stop snapping!"

Chelsea announced that the incredibly expensive (15 million Porto buyout clause) and incredibly young (33 -- the same age as Frank Lampard) Andre Villas-Boas is officially their new manager on Wednesday. When Jose Mourinho took over as Chelsea boss (and brought Villas-Boas along as his assistant), he promptly declared himself "The Special One." Villas-Boas has already tried to stamp out the inevitable comparisons by declaring himself "The S*** One" (see video below), but in his first Chelsea interview, he starts by saying, "don't expect something from one man." At which point, Mourinho probably started giggling somewhere.

Though he may not have the ego of Jose Mourinho, he does have the confidence. Which he displayed when he was 17 and hounding Bobby Robson at home about football. From the Independent:

"When Mr Bobby Robson came to Porto to be a coach in 1994, he moved into my building. I was a small boy, but because I was so interested in football I went to his flat to try to meet him.

"He liked my passion so helped me to enrol at Lilleshall to take my FA coaching qualifications. I started very young in Lilleshall. In fact, I shouldn't really have been there, because the law doesn't allow a minor to take qualifications. But Bobby [Robson] smoothed the way with Mr Charles Hughes [the former head of coaching at the Centre of Excellence] and I was allowed in to take my Uefa C badges.

"I was the youngest coach there by a mile, but I was so determined to make it that it didn't bother me."

And so, the countdown on Roman Abramovich's "win the Champions League or GTFO" clock begins. Good luck, Andre.

Football Guessing Game: What happened to Allardyces lip?

Welcome to the very first edition of the fastest growing game in the world of football, "What's on Sam Allardyce's lip?!" This week, we have an image of the Big Sam from his unveiling as West Ham's new manager on Wednesday and, as you can clearly see, there's something on his bottom lip. Let's go to the guesses!

-Remnants of the chocolate wedding cake he had for breakfast.

-The result of fighting squirrels in the park.

-Something he got after sharing a glass of wine with a hobo.

-An attempt to one-up David Villa by growing a soul patch on his lip.

-A mark he got from licking Sharpie pens.

-The reason you don't tell Scott Parker that he has "the haircut of a greasy ponce who probably fondles himself to opera music."

-And, of course, there's The Big Sam's explanation.

Thanks for playing, everybody. We'll see you next time on, "What's on Sam Allardyce's lip?!"

[Theme music plays, audience claps, everyone contracts lip fungus]

Photo: Getty

League One manager wants fans to be Twitter scouting system

Most football managers are a bit wary of Twitter since it provides a way for their players to blast out their unfiltered thoughts directly into the eye holes of the public, but the manger of League One side Yeovil Town sees it as his scouting department. Terry Skiverton, who took over as player-manager in 2009 before hanging up his boots in 2010, is 35 years old, yet he looks like he's 12. So obviously he's down with Twitter, YouTube, and wispy Justin Bieber haircuts. And now, he's revolutionizing the way football clubs scout for players. Or something.

From the BBC:

[Skiverton] told BBC Somerset: "It's not a bit of fun for me - it's serious business.

"I can't afford a scouting system. I've got 1,700 followers [he has over 2,000 now thanks to this.] and out of that I've got quite a few names and there's been some interesting ones."

He continued: "There's been so many players who have come through and we are following a couple of those leads.

"There was one or two that I had glossed over, that I've come back to.

"I think it gives the supporters a bit of fun as well as I've had supporters go through non-league annuals, going out and watching games saying 'what about this player?'.

"I'd like to thank the supporters for adding a bit of amateur scouting, it's worked out really well for us."

Skiverton added on his! Twitter page that he's "looking to have deals with one or too from your suggestions." So it looks like this approach is paying off for Yeovil. Or that Skiverton's grammar is as confusing as my own. Also, I now expect him to get inundated with tweets telling him to sign Lionel Messi and/or Mr. T.

Whether the players Yeovil find through doing this actually help the club remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain...Twitter: It's serious business.

All the stuff being covered outside the unfriendly confines of the award-winning Dirty Tackle...

You really should be able to guess the winner of this little accuracy competition before you watch it. [101gg]

A football painting worth 5.6 million. [The Beautiful Gear]

MLS better than attendance. [KCKRS]

Sunderland pronounce Leeds United dead. [IBWM]

Analyzing the 16 Women's World Cup rosters. North Korea's average age: 20.47! [All White Kit]

SportsCenter prepares for Women's World Cup by learning from Sergio Busquets. [The Shinguardian]

New England Revolution have their sweary fans banned and arrested. [TDiF]

The real reasons Chelsea want Villas-Boas. [Surreal Football]

Premier League fixture list announcement day -- as it happened. [The Gaffer]

Maradona rips Neymar/Pele, Messi tries a Hand of God

It's been a while since the last installment of the eternal feud between Pele and Maradona. What better time to revive it than right before Argentina hosts Copa America? Seizing the moment, Maradona continued the old man insult battle and even roped Neymar into it, as well.

Reacting to Neymar's comment that he didn't need a move from Santos to Europe in order to be better than Lionel Messi, Maradona said (via

"Neymar is bad-mannered, just like Pele," the Al Wasl coach told TVE.

"Messi is an exceptional player and I doubt anyone can separate him [from being the best]."

Speaking of Messi, he tried to pay tribute to Maradona on the 25th anniversary of the "Hand of God" goal that helped Argentina win the 1986 World Cup in Monday's friendly against Albania...

He tried to say that he used his head instead of both his hands, but no one bought it. He did score one with his feet and set up a couple of others, but that's no surprise.

Photo: Reuters

Photo of Carroll, Downing holding Liverpool scarf is apparently fake

Rumors have been circulating that Liverpool are chasing Aston Villa's Stewart Downing, so when a picture of Downing and Liverpool striker Andy Carroll posing with a fan and a Liverpool scarf in a bar popped up on Twitter, it appeared someone jumped the gun.

But, before Villa fans could refocus their nuclear rage from Alex McLeish to Downing, the club's official Twitter account declared it was just a bit of photoshoppery.

Photo of Carroll, Downing holding Liverpool scarf is apparently fake

According to Downing, he did pose with Carroll and the fan, but they weren't holding a Liverpool scarf. And so that squashes the latest rumblings of summer transfer related outrage. Unless he's lying.

The picture of Carroll and Kenny Dalgish at a Boyzone concert, however, remains all too real.

BBC Radio 5 live set out on the impossible mission of trying to create a listenable song using only the musical talents (or lack thereof) of footballers. So, they bumrushed players past and present with musical experience and none whatsoever to contribute bits for a song they would put together and try to convince BBC Radio 1 to play. Here's the lineup they were able to put together:

Florent Malouda (Chelsea) - drums & tambourine
Neil Danns (Crystal Palace) - vocals & egg shaker
Gareth Ainsworth (Wycombe Wanderers) - vocals
Alexi Lalas (former U.S. international) - guitar
Paul Mcveigh (formerly of Norwich City) - piano
Jermaine Defoe (Spurs) - triangle
Michael Dawson (Spurs) - giro block
Dion Dublin (formerly of Aston Villa) - 'dube'
Nobby Solano (formerly of Newcastle) - trumpet

The result? A dance track with a trumpet part thrown in there that Radio 1 decided to broadcast. It's not the best song ever, but given some of the musical abominations footballers have created in the past, it's not exactly the worst either. In fact, it kind of sounds like something you'd hear on the radio in Grand Theft Auto 3.

The song, in full, is right this way...

The 5 Live Footballers Song by Stangers

I'm going to predict that Gareth Ainsworth will be the new singer for Creed before the end of the year.

DT Exclusive: Chelseas intense negotiations with Villas-Boas

Andre Villas-Boas resigned from Porto on Tuesday and is on the verge of replacing Carlo Ancelotti as Chelsea manager. The former Jose Mourinho assistant just has the small matter of his 15 million Porto buyout clause and personal terms with Chelsea to settle. The following is a transcript of those negotiations with Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay.

Villas-Boas: I'm going to get right to the point. If I'm going to coach Chelsea, I need assurances that I won't be sacked as quickly as the others. I need time to build.

Gourlay: Of course, Andre! I have spoken to Mr. Abramovich about this and I can completely guarantee that you will be given four whole months to win the Champions League before getting sacked.

Villas-Boas: But it's June. Four months from now we'll barely be into the new season.

Gourlay: Exactly! That's a long time, isn't it?

Villas-Boas: No. It's not. I need a firm commitment here.

Gourlay: Andre, baby, we're putting a lot of money into you. Do you think we'd pay your 15 million buyout if we thought you were disposable?

Villas-Boas: Yes.

Gourlay: Fair point. My rebuttal: Roman Abramovich will let you wear his captain's hat aboard his fourth favorite yacht for exactly one hour every year. He will also marry you to whoever you want twice a year.

Villas-Boas: I don't like hats and I'm already married. Anyway, I also want assurances that I will have total control in the transfer market and that the owner won't overpay for his personal favorites on a whim.

Gourlay: Again, nothing to worry about! That will only happen once, maybe twice a year. Three times, tops. So do we have a deal?

Villas-Boas: No part of this conversation has been reassuring to me. Still, I can't resist. It's a deal! Now I just have to fax Porto my resignation...

Gourlay: Oh, don't worry about that. Our special courier will handle it. Putin! Deliver the message to Porto.

DT Exclusive: Chelseas intense negotiations with Villas-Boas

Putin: Right away.

Photos: Reuters, AP

What looks like a young fan of Chinese Super League side Dalian Shide decided he had enough of the referee during a 1-1 draw against Tianjin Teda last week and he wanted to do something about it. So, he hopped over the advertising board and jogged over to the ref with his arms flailing. Once he got close, the wet pitch betrayed him and he slipped. He persisted, though, and continued to run after the ref using far more energy to chase than the ref used to evade.

Finally, he gave up on that mission and decided to just enjoy the moment and go for a pleasure run. So, with his arms still flailing, he tried to outrun the police and he ended up getting tackled by his neck.

In short, this is what a bad idea looks like.

Video via 101gg

Man Utd want you to know that Rory McIlroy is a Man Utd fan

On Sunday, 22-year-old Northern Irish golfer Rory McIlroy won his first major when he finished the U.S. Open with an eight stroke lead. On Monday, Manchester United's official website republished an interview with McIlroy from March that details his love for the club. And how his dad (pictured above) is a Man City fan.

What are your earliest memories of supporting United?
All my mum's side of the family are United supporters but my dad's actually a City fan so we have a few rows in the house! My first memory is the FA Cup final in 1996. I remember the green and white that Liverpool wore and, of course, Cantona's late winner.

Funnily enough, McIlory just so happened to be wearing City colors when he won. And though his clothing is dictated by his sponsor, it's still somewhat surprising that a "diehard United fan" would compete in City colors. Then again, it was Father's Day.

Man Utd want you to know that Rory McIlroy is a Man Utd fan

Photos: Getty

Thierry Henry scored his eighth goal of the season in New York's 3-3 draw against Portland on Sunday, making him the league's top scorer (along with Landon Donovan). That was just the set-up for the joke that was his straight red card in injury time for giving the Timbers' Adam Moffat a firm pat on the back of the head (35 seconds into the video). Moffat responded by shoving Henry, but the two quickly seemed to resolve their dispute before the referee decided that he didn't like the initial touches.

Moffat was shown a yellow card and Henry a red for "violent conduct." Because those slaps to the back of the mellon could've given Moffat a headache or something.

After the initial shock of the strangely harsh punishment wore off, Thierry reacted in Mourinho-esque fashion by shaking hands with his opponents and the referee before walking away.

Needless to say, New York was not happy with the decision and on Monday, sporting director Erik Soler ripped into the quality of MLS officiating on the team's official site:

"We have carefully reviewed the film of our match against Portland last night and I can safely say that the level of refereeing was absolutely below the standards of what is required for a MLS match and completely unacceptable. First, the red card given to Thierry Henry was inexplicable. There was no violent conduct on his part whatsoever and this decision was made by a linesman who was more than half a field away. Second, in any soccer game, there is no way that one team can draw 20 more fouls than the other team, especially in a match where one team drew just five fouls. I have never seen this occur in my 30 years in the game.

We are aware that U.S. Soccer and MLS are working hard to improve the officiating in this country and we support those efforts whol! ehearted ly. However, if we want to continue increasing the level of play, we cannot let these types of refereeing performances occur. We look forward to speaking with the League to appeal Thierry's automatic red card suspension and expect that it will be rescinded so that he is available for our match Thursday in Seattle."

A poll on shows that more than 85 percent of readers agree with Soler that a red card for what Henry did was just plain wrong. But in a season that has already had heavy criticism for the league going soft on a rash of horror tackles that have caused devastating injuries to some of its top players, it almost seems to fit the league's sometimes bizarre logic that a pat on the head would actually be considered violent conduct and get one of MLS's biggest stars an automatic ban.

The good news? After seeing this, Davey Becks will now be far more careful about where he directs his smoldering gaze out of fear that it too could get him sent off for violent conduct.

Germans to hold oracle octopus competition during Womens WC

Spain's magnificent run in last summer's men's World Cup was nearly overshadowed by a now deceased octopus named Paul, who successfully "predicted" their win over the Netherlands in the final as well as Germany's seven matches in the tournament. Now, it's the women's turn to share the spotlight with aquarium dwelling cephalopods.

Germany, which was home to Paul and will host the Women's World Cup starting on Sunday, will also be the site of the search for Paul's successor. It will be an "Octopus Idol" or "The O Factor" of sorts, as the country's Sea Life centers try to recreate the worldwide interest (and money) generating delight that was Paul's massive fame that somehow lasted until his death last October at the age of 2 1/2.

Instead of just one octopus choosing which mussel it would like to eat out of two boxes bearing the flags of nations participating in a given match and having the result called a prediction of who will win that match, there will be eight. And those eight octopuses will unknowingly battle to see which of them will become the next Paul as the German women's team attempt to win their third straight World Cup.

From the AFP:

"We are currently conducting different skills-tra! ining ex ercises with the octopuses in the hope that at least one of them can forecast as well as Paul," said Britta Anlauf, spokeswoman for Sea Life Germany.

In order to ensure a level playing field, each of the eight Sea Life centres in Germany, which is host to the June 26-July 17 women's competition, will have exactly the same equipment, which will be delivered this week.

On the day of every Germany match at 11:00 am (0900 GMT), the octopuses will be put through their paces in Berlin, Hanover, Koenigswinter, Konstanz, Munich, Speyer, Timmendorfer Strand and at Paul's old home in Oberhausen.

The format of the competition is being kept secret. And along with the mysterious "skills-training" exercises (which implies there is not only skill involved in this, but skills that require the octopuses to train) Anlauf mentioned, there is certainly as much intrigue to this as a story about football match predicting sea creatures can have.

Some might advise the participating octopuses to just pick Germany every time if they want to be the next to have a shrine built in their honor, but they're octopuses, so that probably wouldn't do much good.

Photo: Getty

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