93 Day Until the World Cup

9 03 2010

COLUMN NUMERO DOS IS OUT TODAY AS MY COUNTDOWN TO THE WORLD CUP CONTINUES. I ACTUALLY HAD A PRETTY BUSY PAST WEEK WAS IN THE SOUTH BAY A LOT AND I’LL BLOG ABOUT THAT LATER THIS WEEK, POST SOME VIDEO AND PICTURES ETC. BUT, READ THE COLUMN, HERE’S THE LINK TO THE PAGE http://bit.ly/cfp3X8

Some good news and bad news
March 09, 2010, 01:02 AM By Julio Lara, Daily Journal Staff
The reviews are in for the United States and their performance last week against the Netherlands.

Depending on what you were looking for you can either take a lot of positives from the 2-1 loss or you can infer that the U.S still has a long way to go to be considered as a team that will make some noise in South Africa 93 days from now.

First, the bad: more injuries. Thanks to Nigel de Jong and a reckless foul, Stu Holden, who was having a decent game up until that point, suffered a fractured fibula to his left leg and will be out for at least six weeks — he was replaced by DeMarcus Beasley who came in and assisted in the lone goal for the United States. The Americans’ string of bad luck continues.

As for the game, there were stretches where the United States looked severely overmatched. Arjen Robben and Eljero Elia took the U.S defenders to school on the wings on several occasions early in the game. Keep this kid Elia on your radar in South Africa.

Wesley Sneijder was his usual superstar self. He was aided by a United States defense that gave him all kinds of space to work his magic throughout the contest.

U.S. defender Jonathan Bornstein had a game he’d rather forget, contributing to both Dutch goals (a foul in the box for a penalty and a deflected shot that Tim Howard had no chance on) and should have had a handball in the box called on him as well that could have led to a third.

Did anyone notice if Landon Donovan was on the pitch? He was a no-show in the game (although he’d later tweet that he was feeling ill so maybe that was it).

That said, there was some good news. It was nice to see Beasley seize the opportunity and make the best of his time on the pitch, bringing back memories of his form during the 2002 World Cup.

Some good acting (by Sneijder) and a deflected ball aside, for all the holes the Stars and Stripes showed, they kept a strong Dutch team from finding the back of net (legitimately?).

Jozy Altidore had his moments late, which was much welcomed for a U.S. squad that looked half-way decent when they pressured the Dutch. I tweeted that the United States plays better when they have a chip on their shoulders and is angry. Their best chance in the first half came after Holden’s injury when Jose Torres fired a shot from 35 yards out that just missed going in. The reckless foul seemed to light a spark under the U.S for a few minutes.

Tweet of the Week

The tweet of the week comes courtesy of Holden. It appears that the injured midfielder has been confined to his couch/bed for the time being and was able to catch the Academy Awards. How did he feel about the results? “Watched Hurt Locker last night, must say I thought it was a really good film, but my vote would have still gone to Avatar.”

By the way, the midfielder is fielding movie recommendations because he’s been restricted to bed rest. Apparently he’s going to be watching a lot of television. You can tweet him suggestions @stuholden22.

No Goal

A quick comment on something I found interesting this week. FIFA announced that they won’t implement goal-line technology at this year’s World Cup, or anytime soon for that matter.

There’s been some pressure on FIFA to adopt such technology after France’s Thierry Henry’s blatant handball in a World Cup qualifier against Ireland that sent Les Bleus to the South Africa and the Irish feeling robbed.

A little closer to home, the World Cup in 2002 had its questionable moments for the U.S in its game against Germany in which a pair of shots seemed to cross the goal line but weren’t called goals.

Among the excuses given by the heads of the International Football Association Board: “Let’s keep the game of football as it is,” “I was worried that you would end up with a stop-start situation where you review all decisions and I don’t see that as part of the game,” and “We very much appreciate the human side of the game, the debate, the controversy, that’s why the board has taken this decision.”

Technology in sports will always be a hot issue and while other sports have tried to implement some sort of technology to insure that the correct calls are made, soccer won’t budge as long as the current bosses are at the helm. Call it a generation gap or just plain stupidity, for them the “integrity” of the game would be compromised and no one is going to change their minds.

It’s going to change a shift at the top, with leaders that are more comfortable with the technology aspect to implement a system that works. To the majority of us it’s a no-brainer and what I find curious is how the whole soccer world can be screaming for something and yet the governing bodies always turn a deaf ear as if they know what we want better than we do.

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