While some might simply point to a miserable experience for anyone rooting for the USMNT as the main reason for disparaging CONCACAF after the most recent Gold Cup, the entirety of the tournament still showed that the international soccer in this region is broken…and needs fixing. Even as Mexico fans attempt to balance victory with the recent departure of their extremely expressive manager, the entirety of the area’s fan-base has to be aware that there are a host of changes that need to happen before the Gold Cup (or, even WC qualifying) rolls around again.
The issue that immediately springs to mind is the referees. Sure, there are very few decent referees at any level, but no region has given more credence to the possibility of fixed games and paid-off officials like CONCACAF. A baffling decision or two per tournament is a given, but two or three horrendous calls A GAME just screams for a readjustment. The best display of this was certainly seen in the Panama/Mexico semi-final. While social media and comment sections on websites show some viewers being blinded by fandom, the game was an atrocity. Panama should not have been reduced to 10 men, several yellow cards for simulation would have better suited the game over what actually happened, and the penalty in the dying embers of the game for an absolutely amazing defensive play (completely devoid of any penalty dictating issues) ruined the game and tainted the final.
Since refs don’t grow on trees, CONCACAF definitely needs to put more of a focus in this arena or even research what it would take to convince FIFA to allow non-CONCACAF region refs to officiate major games in the region.
The second problem is the scheduling and thought process behind several of the games for the most recent Gold Cup. A tournament as short as the Gold Cup shouldn’t span more than a few stadiums, and certainly shouldn’t have teams spending most of their off-days in airports/airplanes. The semi-final also showed some serious lack of foresight by whoever was planning the games. With the gates opening at 5 pm, the first game starting at 6, the second game starting at 9, and the high likelihood of fans imbibing a massive amount of alcohol between the gate opening and the second game, the ridiculous nature of the crowd as seen by anyone watching/attending was to be expected. Perhaps taking a cue from events with alcohol tickets to limit drunkenness…or just separating the games…is it really that hard?
There are far too many issues with CONCACAF, and the current turmoil with some of the higher ups shows that there might be some time before any problems are truly resolved. While fans want to start seeing the countries from the region compete at the highest stage, it genuinely feels like fixing some of the issues closer to home might be the best springboard to execute that…right?
Pepsi has unveiled details of their superstar 2014 football squad, bringing together an unprecedented wealth of international talent to create one of the most jam packed, multi-talented and iconic lineups ever. 19 of the world’s greatest players, spanning five continents and nearly 20 countries, are uniting with Pepsi to inspire fans the world over to “Live For Now” in 2014.
Record breaking football superstar Leo Messi, Argentinian international striker Sergio Agüero and young British talent Jack Wilshere will be joined by Brazilian defender David Luiz, prolific goal scorer Robin van Persie and Spanish great Sergio Ramos as part of the global Pepsi lineup. These super six will be bolstered by additional footballing greats from across the globe representing their home countries, including: Juan Guillermo Cuadrado (Colombia), Clint Dempsey (USA), Tarik Elyounoussi (Norway), Maynor Figueroa (Honduras), Mario Gomez (Germany), Vincent Kompany (Belgium), Kemar Lawrence (Jamaica), Victor Moses (Nigeria), Peter Osaze Odemwingie (Nigeria), Oribe Peralta (Mexico), Andriy Pyatov (Ukraine), Mohamed Salah (Egypt) and Gylfi Por Sigurðsson (Iceland).
“Football has been my passion since I was a little boy and it’s certainly one of the things I live for now. I am so proud to be partnering with Pepsi again and representing the brand globally as part of this star-studded team,” says four-time player of the year and Argentinian captain Leo Messi.
When the team was announced, the Pepsi players took to social media to unveil the entire roster in an exciting digital relay that reached fans across the globe.
David Luiz, Premier League player for Chelsea and vice-captain for Brazil’s national team, comments:
“I’m excited to be teaming up with Pepsi and proud to be part of such a great team. For me, playing football is about making the most of every second on the pitch and showing your love and character for the game – and for the fans. I can’t wait to join fans from across the world and celebrate football.”
The global player announcement also kicked off a series of exciting year-long activities as part of the 2014 Pepsi Football campaign. Not only will the players star in Pepsi’s global television commercial released later in the year, a selection of the players will also be featured on limited edition, eye-catching packaging and point of sale across the globe, designed to bring to life their flair and enthusiasm for the game. Special commemorative packaging featuring the global Pepsi players will start appearing in market in March, while integrations with music, art, digital, interactive experiences and additional special products will be unveiled throughout the year. Throughout the years, football has been a strong driver of growth for PepsiCo, with both its global beverages and snacks brands activating robust programs in 2014.
Kristin Patrick, Pepsi Global Chief Marketing Officer, PepsiCo Global Beverages Group comments:
“Pepsi has had a tremendous relationship with football, going back nearly 15 years. For this, our latest incarnation, we’ve brought together our most impressive Pepsi football roster yet, comprised of players who truly embody our brand spirit and excite and electrify us every time they step on the pitch. Our players know how to live for the moment, and throughout the year we’ll be collaborating with them to bring our fans exciting and engaging content, products and experiences – bringing fans closer to the game they love.”
It is very exciting for us here at the Center Circle to see an American be included in this campaign and we look forward to seeing what Pepsi has in store for this impressive campaign.
This is the last match the U.S. national team will play before facing Honduras Feb. 6 in the final round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualification. The U.S. will need to perform much better than they performed in the previous round of qualifying. The remaining six teams are the United States, Costa Rica, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico and Panama. Out of these six teams, the top three qualify for the 2014 World Cup and the fourth place team goes to a playoff. Americansoccernow.com has a fantastic page dedicated to the final round of qualifying and is worth a look.
It will be interesting to see whom the U.S. plays tonight and how the team looks going into a difficult final round of qualifying. If you are looking for something to keep you occupied before actual lineups are announced, ProSoccerTalk and Bleacher Report take their best guess of the starting lineup tonight.
After the match, make sure to check out the site again for post-match thoughts and comments about the performance.
Written By: Eric Stoyanov, Contributing Writer, soccerprose.com
The Japanese are known for inventing and loving wild and zany sports, but they may build a bridge too far with their latest creation, binocular soccer.
This man is braver than I am, and lucky he didn’t get caught by any of the patrons of these fine establishments as they would have surely exacted a heavy price for turning off the tele during the match. I have to say its a fairly funny prank, and Holland went on to lose the match anyway, but nevertheless we can’t recommend trying this one at home.
What happens when two countries quietly fighting a war face each other in a World Cup qualifier, exactly what you’d expect to happen. For the majority of the match both sides held their nerve and there was little trouble in and what seemed to be a jovial atmosphere prevailed in the stands as Algeria scored a lovely goal to go 1-0 up. Libya were never really much of a threat to the Algerians from that point onward, but it was by no means a dirty match until after the final whistle.
At that point tensions stemming from Algeria’s role in supporting the former Libyan government of international tent resident Mommmar Gadhafi boiled over and mayhem ensued. Its not really certain who started the fight, but I’d expect both sides to receive some sort of sanction from FIFA over the behavior, and I doubt they’ll be playing any friendlies soon.
Tonight the United States National Team will be taking on Mexico in the latest installment of the fierce rivalry. After that, the team will be trying to get ready to qualify for the World Cup. A major player for the United States National Team as they look to qualify for the next World Cup will be Clint Dempsey. He is coming off a superb season for Fulham and is looking to continue his wonderful form for his national team.
Nike has released the Nike USA libretto shorts to help show your support for the national team. These shorts are extremely soft and feel great. They feature Nike’s Dri-Fit technology to help keep you dry and comfortable. Whether you are training for your own team or cheering on the national team, these shorts are great to wear.
In addition to being extremely comfortable, they also feature the United States National Team crest pressed on the right thigh. They also feature Dempsey’s number eight that is pressed on the left thigh above the Nike swoosh. These shorts show the national team colors. They are predominantly blue with red accents throughout.
Right now is the perfect time to grab a pair of these great shorts to show your support and also emulate the skills of Dempsey when you are playing. These are currently available at SoccerPro.com, so head over and check them out today.
Written By: Eric Stoyanov, Contributing Writer, soccerprose.com
Official tournament are known for being useless and repetitive dance numbers, but German group Oceana have managed to set the bar that much lower with their song “Endless Summer.” A hip and peppy club number the song itself is alright for the first few bars, and like the first few bites of a new flavour of ice cream you give it a chance to get good. But like a poorly designed soccer jersey About a minute in is where I realized by dream of a flavourful experience was in vain as my ears where thrashed with the same lyrics of “Oh, Oh Endless Summer” and same three notes at very pitches on the beat. You can give a butchers yourself below, but to be honest, even Shakira would be ashamed of this one…
Written by: Matthew Wall, editor, soccerprose.com
Gordon Ramsay Poleaxed by Teddy Sherringham, Will Ferrell Gets an Assist, and Guitarist From Kasabian Scores a Cracker During Annual Soccer Aid Match….(Video)
So its that time of year again, when Old Trafford backs to the breaking point with fans young and old for the annual Soccer Aid Charity match that features England greats against a Rest of the World celebrity team. This year anchorman Will Ferrell, foul mouth chef Gordon Ramsay, and that scruffy guitarist from Kasabian were all on show as the side managed by Kenny Dalglish managed to put one in the goal before being played off the pitch by England. Dalgish may not have had the longest run at Liverpool of late, but his side put on a famous display, especially Sergio Pizzorno, the guitarist for Kasabian, who managed to beat David Seaman with a lovely pearler on the run.
The other moment of wonder from the match had Teddy Sherringham poleaxing former footballer and foul-mouthed chef Gordon Ramsay. Poor Gordon must have said something to Sherringham as he stuck his Nike Legends firmly in the thighs of poor chef Ramsay who had to be stretchered off the pitch on oxygen. I imagine he’ll be hearing about this one for sometime, but to his credit Sherringham did all for a good cause, and its still not the worst tackle ever seen in one of these matches. That honor goes to Tory nitwit and mayor of London Boris Johnson and can be seen here.
Posted by: Matthew Wall, editor, soccerprose.com