Day: June 24, 2009

The Confederations Cup: Spain 0-2 USA

Yes, yes, yes. Spain had an off night. It has been a long season and their players may have been tired. And so on. Let’s drop the excuses, here. Spain, the European champions and, if you read the print media in much of Europe, already the World Cup winners a year before the tournament, were beaten by a better team on this extraordinary evening in Bloemfontein. This evening, the USA were better organised, more committed and took their chances when they were presented to them. The question now is whether they can translate a result like this into something more concrete. It’s the biggest surprise in the latter stages of an international competition since Croatia dumped Germany so royally out of the 1998 World Cup. The USA team’s next job is to work towards this sort of a result not being a surprise any more. For the first couple of minutes Spain swarmed forward, but the pace of the game was soon being dictated by the Americans. They had wondered aloud what may happen if Spain didn’t properly turn up for this match, and the game plan was clear. Run, chase, tackle. Don’t give them time or space to stop and think. It was as much as they could do, but it was enough. This wasn’t the blanket defence of the minnow playing the major nation, it was deep...

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Be Prepared For The Worst Football Kit Designs Ever

Criticism of Newcastle United has long since passed from being some form of sport into being a sadistic ritual, but their new change kit for next season is surely worthy of some comment. The two-tone yellow striped number from Adidas has already been described as “custard and cream with yellow shorts” (When Saturday Comes), “the worst football strip ever” (The Sunderland Echo, perhaps unsurprisingly and a “garish orange and yellow stripe number” (The Sun) but, whilst it may well be the worst offender of the summer, it certainly isn’t the only terrible football kit that has been designed over the last few months or so. Bolton Wanderers, for example, have managed this monstrosity, in an apparent attempt to out do their extraordinary vomit-coloured change kit from last season. Chelsea’s new kit, depending on who you talk to, has either got a built in training bra or gladiator style breast plates. There’ll be a full review of what the Premier League will be wearing next season on here at some point next month (by which time they will have all been released), but what is becoming apparent is that there must be some reason for this sudden rash of appalling fashion decisions, and one particular design trend is already raising eyebrows – the return of the chevron. The manufacturers Puma have clearly decided that chevrons are the way forward and,...

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The Telegeddon Fall-Out – 10 Reasons Why Setanta Failed

Few people were expecting Setanta to fail quite this quickly. By the middle of this afternoon they had entered into administration and by six o’clock this evening the plug had been pulled on this brave but misguided attempt to challenge Sky’s hegemony in the football marketplace. There are numerous reasons why Setanta failed, but we’ve taken the time to list ten reasons – which range from basic miscalculations to external factors that they couldn’t control because they weren’t in a position to – why the company ended up going to the wall. 1. They bidded massively too much for the contracts that they bought: Obvious, really, and the key reason behind the company’s failure. They didn’t just bid too much for their Premier League package, though. If the figures being thrown about of every Blue Square Premier club being out of pocket by £85,000 and every Blue Square North and South side being out of pocket by £15,000 are anything like correct, then that means that their non-league matches alone were costing them £2.5m per season alone, which is an insanely large amount of money for a league of that status. 2. They bought these contracts on a misguided premise: Setanta seem to have genuinely considered themselves as being potential competitors to Sky Sports, and buying Premier League rights as being their foothold in that long term aim. What...

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