So much going on in the world of soccer and yet, so few posts. Sorry to the 5 followers. The posting will be more regular leading up to the World Cup and during the World Cup. I'm going to have to get up every morning at 5 to catch the early game and since I'll be up, I might as well post. Easier said than done. Maybe one of the former contributors will rise from the ashes of the dead and provide a stirring post as well. One can only hope for such company in this lone and dreary cyberspace blog world.
Anyways, like I said, a lot has happened in the world of soccer and I've wanted to comment on many things. Here are just a few quick hits:
1. The near post, upper V goal.
I love these goals. Luka Modric scored one of these goals for Tottenham in their final game of the season. Tottenham has already clinched 4th place so they went out and laid an egg against Burnley. But Modric's goal was just a beauty. It's such a hard goal. Usually a player in that position will go far post on the ground to try and beat the keeper. When a player is coming from the side angle the goalie usually has the near post covered (although not really in this goal since the goalie is shifting over rather slowly) and thus the best option is for the player to shoot low and around the goalie to the back post. Sometimes however, the player chooses the lower percentage, higher difficulty, yet usually more exciting shot right into the top corner of the near post. There is about a 2 foot window above the goalie and the shot has to be hard enough so that the goalie can't even get his hands up in time. The player doesn't always pull it off, but when they do, it's just lovely. (Goal is at the 40 second mark)
2. The Michael Ballack injury.
Seriously such a bummer. Injured during the last game of Chelsea's season and now he has to miss the World Cup. So sad. Worse than the Beckham injury because Ballack is Germany's captain. It wasn't even a guarantee Beckham would have made the squad (although it was likely). But Ballack would have actually contributed to the team's success. Granted, he is a little old in soccer years (33), but he would have helped on the field. Now, he's just there for "moral support." It's also worse than Beckham because this came on the last game of the season. The next competitive soccer game for Ballack would have been the first game of the World Cup.
To add a little drama to everything, the man that injured Ballack - Kevin-Prince Boateng (on the left) - although from Germany, is opting to play for Ghana in the World Cup because his dad is from Ghana. It just so happens that Ghana and Germany are in the same World Cup group and they play each other on June 23rd. Over/under this guy gets elbowed 11 times by all 11 Germany players on the field? Or that he gets a nasty tackle from behind. Just look at this guy. Just looking at him makes you want to elbow him. If it was someone like Deco or Messi, it might be hard to be upset at the person, but this guy? I'm sure the Germany coach will have no problem finding a volunteer to give him a hard foul.
3. Ribery out for the Champions League final.
Franck Ribery was red carded in the first leg of the Champions League semifinal. The Champions League suspended him 3 games for his dirty tackle. Ribery sat out the second leg of the semifinal and then appealed his suspension once Bayern Munich reached the final. Normally, I don't agree with the Champions League on their card policy. I hate the way the Champions League suspends a player for a game because the player gets a yellow card in two consecutive games. I think they should stick to two yellows in one game equal a red card and a 1 game suspension. So if a player has already served their 1 game suspension for a red card, usually I would say that he should play. But I just re-watched the play and it's just gross (the tackle, not Ribery). The extended suspension is warranted.
4. Spain is on the move.
Fabregas and David Villa to Barcelona? Torres to Chelsea? David Silva to Man United or Real Madrid? All of those players could have gone to Man City had they finished in fourth. Oh, what could have been... Anyways, it's not really a surprise that these players might be on the move. Most people expected this. But Torres, you know I love you. So pick your new team wisely. Don't make it hard to love you.