International Soccer

Trip Them Up in the Box, Kick ‘em When Their Down

It seems that in the soon to be sunken island nation of Tonga, soccer has a big following, and matches are played regularly. But they must have had my youth coach teaching them how to play, because they seem to have taken one of his pearls of wisdom, “Lads, if you can’t kick the ball, for God sake kick the man who has the ball.”

Posted by: Matthew Wall, editor,

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Maradona Can Sing Too….

We all know Diego Maradona can play football, managed, and emulate the facial expressions of the best LOL cats. But did you know he can sing too? Apparently, back when eh was playing in Italy in the 80′s, these brave presenters asked to hear his angelic voice. The results speak for themselves.

Posted by: Matthew Wall, editor,

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Nike Brazil Authentic Home Jersey 2011

2011 Authentic Brazil Jersey Review

The brand spankin’ new 2011 Brazil jerseys are in the shop, and I’m definitely on board. It makes sense that they’ve parted ways with the design from last season, owing to the disappointing finish in the World Cup. Oh, and there was also that red card given to KaKa during the match against Côte d’Ivoire, which can only be described as absurd and probably shameful for both the referee and Keita. I’m sure Keita’s acting classes were worth more than he paid for in that moment. ANYWAY, let’s talk about the jerseys that will provide the team with a fresh start en route to the 2014 tournament.

Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity. That seems to be the hallmark of the 2011 Brazil jersey, almost like something straight out of Thoreau. Nike has scrapped the old shoulder design and kept the jersey clean and simple for the most part. The only visual design elements on the jersey reside on the chest. On the left, you have the easily recognizable Brazilian crest with 5 green stars stitched above it, and “Brasil” stitched below. Opposite the crest is the just as classic Nike swoosh in green. Underneath these two elements is a wide horizontal green bar that really brings balance to the shirt. In the words of the great Lebowski, it really ties the shirt together. This literally rounds out the visual side of the shirt. It’s minimal, but it’s keeping in tradition with previous jerseys. The Brazilians are known for their flashy style of football (which may be on the way out, but that’s another discussion), not their flashy jerseys. In any case, the jersey is easily recognizable as being Brazil with its yellow and green color scheme, and I for one welcome the change from last year.

As for the jersey’s construction, you have a shirt that is made of 100% polyester, so, while maybe not as soft as cotton, it’s definitely more durable and more flexible. Nike has also decided to go with a crew neck for the soccer jersey, which I believe seems to be the trend these days. Another sweet feature (and probably my favorite) implemented by Nike is the mesh design for the sides of the abdomen and underarm. Everybody needs a good amount of airflow to those areas, am I right? If you decide to wear this bad boy to a pick up game or an intense match where you’ll be cheering constantly, you’ll want the ventilation to keep the jersey from sticking to your body.

Overall, this year’s jersey is definitely an upgrade from last year. I’m not very big on shoulder designs anyway, so this fits in perfectly for my taste. It’s going to cost you the pretty much standard price of $149.99, but, just as every other Nike jersey, you’ll get what you pay for. That means you’ll have a durable and comfortable jersey that will definitely have classic appeal as years go by. If you haven’t already, I’d suggest pre-ordering one of these bad boys until they hit the store February 9th!

Written by: Kris Dyer,

Sepp Can You Hear Me

FIFA to Test Goal-line Technology

FIFA have announced they will carry out tests on goal-line technology from various companies next week in Zurich. Each system under review will have to demonstrate they meet the following criteria in order to be considered for implementation during the March 5th meeting of the International FA Board at Celtic Manor. They must be 100% accurate and be able to relay the decision automatically to referees within a second. These criteria may seem to be steep, but when you think about the speed at which a computer keystroke registers on the screen, or an internet site pulls up on a high-speed connection, its not so unreasonable. As for the 100% accuracy, honestly whats the point of having technology that is more fallible or equally as fallible as the refs we have now. My money is on the companies who got their start working with ice hockey’s goal line technology, as the speeds are higher and the puck is very hard to fit a chip in.

Its expected that if some of the systems meets the criteria, they will be considered for approval, at least in principle at the meeting in March, however implementation may be weeks, months, or years away. The logistics of actually fitting the equipment on every soccer goal alone are a big concern, along with the impact it might have on the game itself. Here’s what the balls may look like if the technology were to be approved, courtesy of the first time this was tested by Adidas

For my part, I’m happy to see FIFA begging to overcome their deeply rooted technophobia and move into the 21st century. Less errors will be better for everyone, and safer for the referees. The men in Manchester United jerseys should be relieved to see this coming into force, along with Tottenham, Ireland’s national side, and many others who have been slighted over the years by faulty refs and absurd rules. Now they’ll only have Keys and Gray to worry about.

Written by: Matthew Wall, editor,

Umbro Launches New Canada Kit

Umbro have launched the new 2011/12 Canada kit and I’m not write sure what to make of it.

What do you think? Love it or hate it?

Posted by: Matthew Wall, editor,

How not to Have a Cup Draw….A Primer from the Irish FA

Now much has been said of the Irish FA in recent times, not much of it good, but they did provide this important learning experience for all other FA’s to go on. The lesson is this, make sure that when you appoint someone to read the balls out of the drawing cup they can read.

Posted by: Matthew Wall, editor,

Kevin Muscat Storms off

Kevin Muscat’s Horrible Tackle on Adrian Zahra

Normally we don’t mention Australian soccer much, it not cause we don’t value our friends down under, but the time difference is a killer. Today, we bring what is probably the worst, most malicious tackle of the year so far as Kevin Muscat, who is apparently the resident hatchet man for his side, destroys a Melbourne Hearts forward with a ninja kick to the knee. Perhaps the can face Nigel de Jong in a national team match….would be interesting.

Either way, his career looks finished as this is apparently the second consecutive game in which he’s done this kind of thing. Even the club’s own fans have branded him a disgrace.

Posted by: Matthew Wall, editor,

Fabio Cesar

The Dramatic Appearance of an Utterly Artificial Qatari Soccer Team

Much has been made of Qatar’s winning of the 2022 World Cup bid, and the problem that have arisen since. The problems with the idea of holding a sporting competition in a place where temperatures regularly top 100 degrees Fahrenheit, is obvious to everyone along with the massive undertaking of building the stadiums required in time. Not to mention the concerns about the laborers who will actually be doing the work.

But the latest absurdity to befall the Qatar bid has to be the rise of its utterly artificial soccer team. Recently, the Qatari team lost in the quarterfinals of the Asian Cup 3-2 to Japan. They went 2-0 up at one stage of the game, but the Japanese, who were clearly the better side, fought back for a victory with only 10 men. The problem with this team, is its best players are imported from other countries. Now many countries import players, Portugal grabbing from Brazil being the biggest example. However, Brazilian citizens are legitimately entitled to a Portuguese passport due to the colonial legacy involved. There is absolutely no connection between Qatar and Brazilian-born Fabio Cesar Montezine, who scored one of Qatar’s goals, had never set foot in the desert nation until his nationality was changed. The second goal scorer, Sebastian Soria, now holds a different passport to that of his countryman Diego Forlan, but make no mistake, he is a Uruguayan in Qatari colors. While Qatar maybe able to game the international soccer standards this way, it still doesn’t mean they have a soccer culture or nation.

The most absurd thing in the whole spectacle of the match was the shameless political grandstanding of the Emir of Qatar’s son. The Qatari fans carried portraits of him into the stadium, and held them aloft through the whole match, I felt like I was watching a North Korea home game. The Qatari team maybe able to play football, but they have a long way to go before they will be respected on the international stage, both as a team and a nation.

Written by: Matthew Wall, editor,


Qatar 2022 Fiasco Continues

Since the award of the 2022 World Cup to the tiny Arabian nation of Qatar it seems all FIFA can do is turn what was a debate on the environmental conditions surrounding the proposed location to an out right fiasco. One of the major criticisms of the Qatar bid was the fact that such a small country will have a hard time coming up with the resources and manpower to realize the vision of magnificent stadiums and infrastructure required to hold a tournament of the magnitude of the World Cup. Now, in an attempt to allay this fear, Michel Platini of FIFA has suggested that the tournament be shared with other states in the Gulf. Clearly, Platini must be a complete moron, or totally ignorant of the entire region.

To suggest that Qatar could share the tournament is not a dumb idea in and of itself, but when one looks at the countries surrounding it, the full implications of Platini’s suggestion come to light. Qatar’s largest neighbor is Saudi Arabia, a nation plagues by both an authoritarian theocratic government, economic malaise, and one of the lowest literacy rates in the world. It can count among its proudest achievements the greatest number of financial supporters of Al Qaeda and its leader. It’s feared religious police regularly cane women who leave the house unescorted, sever limbs, and execute political prisoners. Not exactly the ideal place to hold a tournament in which western behavior and cultures will be the norm, I can see the headlines now.

A slightly better idea would be the United Arab Emirates, and its crown jewel of Dubai. While it may hold its own citizens to strict cultural standards, it is one of the most tolerant of the Gulf nations and has hosted international events in the past with great success. The problem here is that a flight between the two countries or long ferry ride would be required, as the only overland route runs through Saudi Arabia which I have previously discussed. The UAE does suffer from the same labor problems as Qatar, and a questionable human rights record, but so did South Africa and it was more or less fine.

Another option would be Bahrain or Kuwait, which presents more or less the same problems as the UAE, with less stability and closer proximity to the hellish landscape of Iraq.

Iraq, Lebanon, and Iran are out for obvious reasons of religious intolerance and outright war, as is Israel or Palestine.

Which leaves Jordan, who could conceivably host the tournament and has the cultural tolerance that would welcome all comers, so long as they kept their clothes on and stay relatively sober. Probably the best choice in the Middle East, Jordan would constitute the only real option, but would present the same security concerns as Qatar, and need to undertake significant construction projects in order to be ready in time. Overall, no real good choices present themselves.

Clearly, Mr. Platini should read a newspaper every once in awhile, or leave the decisions on location up someone with a little more experience in these matters.

Written by: Matthew Wall, editor,