Friday, December 4, 2009

2010 World Cup Draw

Here are the videos (sound might be a bit low but the picture is good)

If you haven't see the videos or know the results, spoilers are below!

Pictures of the Groups:

You could hear the gasps in the crowd when both Cote D'Ivoire and Portugal went into Brazil's Group. South Africa is also unlucky to draw both Mexico and France, arguably the top teams in their respective Pots.

American fans didn't get Group A but must be fairly pleased to be in with weaklings Algeria and Slovenia. Even though Bradley is not impressed.

Italy and Spain in absolute cupcake groups. Should be easy.

Here's the bracket for the 2nd round.

Assuming it's chalk and the top seeds win their groups:

South Africa (A) VS B2
England (C) VS D2
Holland (E) VS F2
Brazil (G) VS H2

would be the top half

Argentina (B) VS A2
Germany (D) VS C2
Italy (F) VS E2
Spain (H) VS G2

would be the bottom half

Bottom half seems stronger at the moment.

If you finish 2nd you move to the other side of the draw.

Some juicy 2nd round matches possible like


More analysis from ESPN

And Skysports

What are your thoughts of the draw? How did your favourite country fare?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

World Cup Seeding Announced!

Sacre Bleu! No seed? Zis is an outrage!!

Source: Guardian

FIFA had determined it's seeding for Friday

Pot 1: South Africa, Argentina, Holland, England, Italy, Brazil, Spain, Germany

Pot 2: (CONCACAF/Asia): USA, Mexico, Honduras, South Korea, North Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand

Pot 3: (South American/Africa): Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Cote D' Ivoire. Algeria

Pot 4: (Europe): France, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Denmark, Switzerland, Greece, Serbia

Some thoughts:

FIFA decided not to use any complex formulas this time around. They simply took the Oct 2009 rankings.

As anonymous stated in the previous post, FIFA is protecting South Africa ensuring they get one of the weak South American teams and 5/8 chance of getting a weak Asian.

Brazil and Argentina MUST draw an African team.. if they get an strong European team as well, that would be a Group of Death.

USA's only hope is to:

A) Be the first team picked out of Pot 2 and go directly to South Africa's Group

B) Draw a South American instead of an African because US has a 5/8 chance of drawing an African and if they do so 2/5 chance that that Group will have someone named Brazil or Argentina in it.

If the US draws a European team they may survive. If they draw Brazil or Argentina then they must draw another european and african, they're toast.

Overall this draw might screw Brazil and Argentina more than anyone. America fans may feel slighted again but I know for sure there are 24 teams right now shaking in their boots that they don't draw USA.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

World Cup 2010 Seeding

The news the last few weeks after all 32 teams have qualified is how will FIFA manipulate the seeding for it's own benefit.

The formula in 2006 was taking the last two World Cups, with the more recent one double the value, and the last 3 years FIFA year-end rankings. This prove to be very fair as the 8 seeds were Argentina, Brazil, England, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, and Spain, with USA just missing out. Amazingly if Denmark had qualified, they would have been seeded ahead of Argentina because Denmark made the quarters in 1998 and the 2nd round in 2002. Argentina didn't make the 2nd round in 2002.

Making the quarterfinals and beyond of a World Cup puts a country in a good position to be seeded in the next tournament.

I have complied a spreadsheet using the exact same formula for South Africa 2010.

I believe this is very convenient for FIFA as 2006's formula gives them the 8 seeds they want, I would think. The host South Africa, 6 former World Champions (Argentina, Brazil, Italy, England, France, Germany) and the European Champions Spain.

So FIFA would luck out and get brownie points for being consistent and having the big teams seeded. Proving to the media that they did not manipulate anything.

I would also say that FIFA lucks out again because there are exactly 8 European teams remaining. (Portugal, Holland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Denmark, Serbia, Switzerland and Greece). Thus there is no controversy like in 2006 of putting a team (Serbia) in a special pot or anything. The remaining European teams go into Pot 2.

Of the remaining 16 teams, 5 are African, 5 are Asian (I'll make New Zealand Asian), 3 are South American and 3 are North American. FIFA is lucky again because 5 and 3 make 8 so it's easy to geographically make 2 pots of 8.

But the question everyone is asking is... which 3 go with which 5? Because the Asian Confederation is by far the weakest, whichever Group of 3 goes with the Asians would feel very unlucky. Rankings wise, the 3 CONCACAFs are stronger with powerhouses USA and Mexico, consistant World Cup participants. So they should go with the Africans.

Another thing to look at is Brazil and Argentina cannot play a fellow South American. So if the 3 South Americans were to be Grouped with the 5 Africans than and African team MUST be in Brazil and Argentina's group. FIFA tends to like giving Brazil easy draws and with the tournament in Africa, perhaps FIFA wants the Africans to do well... and you do well by avoiding Brazil. Another reason CONCACAF should go with Africa.

So I believe CONCACAF/Africa will be Pot 3 and South America/Asian will be in Group 4. This ensures Brazil gets an Asian team and easier road, which FIFA likes.

Here is my somewhat radical suggestion, I would only have 3 pots. Pots 1 and 2 would be the same as above with Pot 3 being all 16 remaining non-European teams. The 16 teams would simply be drawn left to right while avoiding countries of the same confederation. So using Brazil again, they could get an Asian and an African, an Asian and a CONCACAF or and African and a CONCACAF, like Nigeria and USA. This would make it more exciting I think and no one would be able to complain that seeding wasn't fair cause they're all in the same bowl.

I made a mock draw using my system and and got the following

Group A: South Africa, Holland, USA, Uruguay
Group B: Argentina, Denmark, North Korea, Cameroon
Group C: Germany, Switzerland, Chile, New Zealand
Group D: Brazil, Portugal, Japan, Honduras
Group E: Spain, Slovenia, Ghana, South Korea
Group F: France, Slovakia, Cote D'Ivoire, Mexico
Group G: Italy, Greece, Australia, Algeria
Group H: England, Serbia, Paraguay, Nigeria

What would be your format?

Charlize Theron to co-host World Cup soccer draw

Source: CBC

South African actress Charlize Theron will serve as co-host of Friday's World Cup draw in Cape Town, FIFA announced Tuesday.

Theron, who won the Best Actress award at the 2004 Oscars, will join FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke as co-host of the 90-minute show that will be televised live to an estimated global audience of more than 200 million people in 200 countries.

The draw, which is expected to be attended by around 800 media representatives, will determine the eight first-round groups and the match order for the 32 teams who will contest the FIFA World Cup from June 11 to July 11, 2010.

Theron is just one of a number of dignitaries who will take part in the draw. Others include soccer star David Beckham, South African President Jacob Zuma, and Nobel Peace laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Frederik W. de Klerk

Former South African president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela, who played a major role in bringing the World Cup to Africa, is expected to address the celebrities and soccer officials via video message.

Looks good. Anyone but Pele! I'm tired of him always being at the draws. Somehow he always gives Brazil an easy group!

Monday, November 30, 2009

World Cup 2010 Song

The official video of the " FIFA World Cup 2010" Anthem by Somalian artist K'naan

First impression is that it's so-so. Doesn't really catch World Cup fever yet.

Here's are some other from previous World Cups. My favorite is from 1998.

2006 - Toni Braxton & Il DIvo - The Time Of Our Lives

2002 - Voices of Japan/Korea - Let's Get Together Now

1998 - Youssou N'Dour & Axelle Red - La Cour des Grands

1994 - Sounds of Blackness - Gloryland

1990 - Gianna Nannini & Edoardo Bennato - Un Estate Italiana

1986 - Stephanie Lawrence - Hero

Sunday, November 22, 2009

MLS Cup 2009

Before the start of the game, I wasn't sure who to support. The 3 big galaxians (Arena, Beckham, and Donvan) have all won loads already. Plus, Becks is a bit of a muppet with an awful haircut. RSL is the 8 seed, a plucky side with a white, neo-Rastafarian captain, an ex-Galaxian forward, and a young manager. However, as a USMNT fan looking forward to the World Cup, it has become clear that Landon Donovan is the best US player, and I wouldn't mind seeing him do something fantastic to win it.

As soon as I started to think that I didn't like the neutral site, the fans began a deafening "Sound-ers" chant. It made it feel slightly less sterile than a Super Bowl. While the Seattle fans are great, they don't have a true rooting interest. Home and home has to be a better option if MLS fans will not travel for the Cup final.

The other major problem with the game being held in Seattle is the field turf. It is an awful surface for soccer. Players were falling, the ball acted more like a ping pong ball, and both teams passing was off.

The game started pretty sloppy with neither team looking like they had trained on the artificial surface. Other than Clint Mathis coming on for the injured (and crying) Javier Morales, there wasn't much to report until the Galaxy's fantastic first goal. Beckham led Donovan well, and Landon played an inch perfect pass to Magee to tap in on the left side of the goal.

Salt Lake had to put Ned Gravaboy (best name in MLS) on for Will Johnson to begin the second half. Both sides got their sea legs in the second half, and the play on the field increased significantly. Robbie Findley got clear on the right and came in hard as Donovan Ricketts came out to challenge him. The two came together in a collision that initially appeared to hurt both players equally. However, it became apparent that Ricketts' right hand got the worst of it. Minutes after play restarted, Findley slotted home Real's equalizer.

Ricketts had to go to ground once before Findley's goal, and it appeared that he had a hard time using his right hand to help himself back up. He also didn't fully extend his arm in his attempt to save Findley's shot, and wisely pulled himself off after giving up the game tying goal.

For as much as the first half was relatively bad to watch, the second half offered a great deal of excitement for the American soccer fan. It wasn't a particularly well played half, but between the collision, injuries, and the game tying goal, there was enough drama for even a non-devotee.

Each team had a few chances at the end of regular time, but neither could convert. As the extra 30 minutes went on, it was clear that these players were not in shape to run as much as they had earlier. The field turf had to play a part in their fatigue.

When the match went to penalties, Real was the favorite. While L.A. had fantastic attacking players in Beckham, Donovan and Buddle, Salt Lake had Nick Rimando. One week ago, Rimando's work in penalties in Chicago got RSL to the MLS Cup final.

Each team began by converting their first two penalties. Then each side missed their next attempt before Landon Donovan Roberto Baggio'd his shot over the crossbar, to leave Salt Lake with the advantage. They would lose it shortly thereafter when Andrew Williams' meek attempt fell right to Josh Saunders. In the seventh round Edson Buddle's shot was saved by Rimando, and Robbie Russell converted to give Real their first MLS Cup.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Van Persie

The current international break may hit Arsenal the hardest. With Chelsea about to face the loss of all of their African players, ManU not in sync, and Liverpool playing laughable football, Arsenal looked to be the favorite for the premiership this league. Robin Van Persie going down early in the friendly versus Italy has to knock the Gunners back a bit. That's a shame, considering how entertaining they have been this season.

Luckily, some woman's placenta will not be eaten, or buried in the yard, or needlessly thrown away, but rather used to massage the Royal Dutch ankle. I hope Kate Gosselin and octomom aren't paying attention to this new therapeutic technique.

UPDATE - Apparently, the placenta treatment didn't take, and Robin will have to undergo surgery.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Barnsley fans Vs. Manchester United

Another example of security asleep.

This isn't funny. Security were still standing around, didn't even chase them! What if instead of them kicking the ball, they attacked Foster?