Doesn’t it seem like every club in Europe is somewhere in the United States over these few weeks, playing warmup matches and making odd publicity appearances? Thierry Henry scoring on Spurs yet again, but this time after “Coming to America” (really MSG?), making a memorable appearance on NY1, and taking the lovely PATH train from Manhattan to Harrison NJ; Sir Alex eating ribs while competing with a gospel choir in Kansas City; Cristian Ronaldo lecturing at UCLA (hat tip for that link to faculty member Steve Lee (although some are pushing him to try out for goalkeer on the 2014 South Korean squad–Be the Reds Steve–literally!)); and hapless Portsmouth on the pre-season tour from hell.
Germany played stylishly during this World Cup, up until they went into a shell against Spain that is. How very different from past teams that seemed so much more mechanical and forceful. Michael Ballack’s agent has some thoughts on the matter:
The agent of midfielder Michael Ballack has planted his fuß firmly in his mund by branding the current Germany squad ‘a bunch of gays’.
Becker is also reported to have suggested that there was a ‘former German national player who was ready to expose a ‘bunch of gays’ within the current squad’.
In summary, Osang added that homosexuality was ‘a synonym for anything that Becker did not understand’ which is sadly a concept that is all-too depressingly familiar.
And now, a history lesson. The Seleção and Selecção never played each other until 1956, but since then they have met 18 times. Brazil emerged the winner 12 times, with 2 draws, though most of the games were played in Brazil. Yet how often do you think these sister nations have clashed in anger? Answer: only once, at the 1966 World Cup … and Portugal won, 3-1.
That match at a packed Goodison Park in Liverpool — the meeting of the all-time greats Eusébio and Pelé — was the group finale for both teams, and it eliminated Brazil while sending Portugal on a path to the semifinals in their first World Cup appearance. Eusébio scored twice, but many remember the game for its hard fouls, especially the one from defender João Morais against Pelé:
Open thread for the 2nd set of games. Here’s some context, lifted from the Group D Summary post:
Here’s who advances in each of the 9 possible outcomes of this afternoon’s 2 matches:
|GER win/GHA loss||GER/GHA draw||GER loss/GHA win|
|SRB win/AUS loss||GER & SRB||SRB & ?||GHA & SRB|
|SRB/AUS draw||GER & ?||GHA & ?||GHA & SRB|
|SRB loss/AUS win||GER & GHA||GER & GHA||GHA & ?|
Lots of ? marks, indicating cases where two teams finish with the same number of points, in which case it goes to the tiebreaker based on total goals (scored?).
Group D fixtures & results:
- Sun June 13 (Day 3): Ghana 1, Serbia 0
- Sun June 13 (Day 3): Germany 4, Australia 0
- Fri June 18 (Day 8): Serbia 1, Germany 0
- Sat June 19 (Day 9): Ghana 1, Australia 1
- Wed June 23 (Day 13): Ghana v Germany
- Wed June 23 (Day 13): Serbia v Australia
Also, after the jump, squad lists..