French Player to Coach: Go **** Yourself

The 2010 World Cup has turned out to be an absolute disaster for the French team. They had a scoreless draw with Uruguay in their first game and then they were shutout 2-0 by Mexico in their second game. At halftime of the Mexico game, French coach Raymond Domenech called out striker Nicolas Anelka who responded with some expletives. According to French reporter Erik Bielderman of L’Equipe who repeated the cuss words on ESPN, Anelka told the coach go f*** yourself and you son of a b****.

Anelka was thrown off the team because he refused to apologize for his profanity to the coach, and that led to a firestorm. The French team refused to practice and train on Sunday, resulting in team director Jean-Louis Valentin resigning. Fitness coach Robert Duverne got into a fight with team captain Patrice Evra and that had to be broken up by manager Domenech. Oh yeah, this team still has another Group A game to go against South Africa. Here’s a video of Patrice Evra’s argument with coach Robert Duverne and the team leaving the field:

French Reporter Keeps it Very Real on ESPN [You Been Blinded]
France continues infighting, refuse to train, director quits [Dirty Tackle]

FIFA Should Ax US-Slovenia Ref Coulibaly

On Friday the U.S. beat Slovenia with a final score of 3-2. Oh wait, no they didn’t. In the 86th minute of the match the U.S. scored but the goal wasn’t counted because of a mystery foul. Referee Koman Coulibaly still hasn’t explained who the foul was on or even what the foul was. Hmmm.

First off, I believe that the ref should have to announce what the foul was immediately after it happens. If he just got whistle-happy and can’t actually justify what was wrong with the play, then there should not be a foul. The U.S. had an amazing comeback on their hands and should have won the game. Instead they had to settle for a tie.

FIFA has pretty strict rules about reffing, especially in the World Cup. The referees for each game are required to hand over a post-game report which includes fouls and penalties. If Coulibaly’s mistake is indeed determined to be a game-costing error for the U.S., it’s likely that we won’t see him officiating any more games.

I don’t see any other option here really. I’m no soccer nut but I have re-watched this clip over and over trying to find something that would have justified the call. I am really looking forward to the official word on the incident and Coulibaly’s reasoning for the call. I have one thing to say to him though: If Jim Joyce can be a man and apologize for blowing Galarraga’s perfect game then Coulibaly should do the same.

Source: U.S.-Slovenia ref gets poor rating [Yahoo! Sports]

Wayne Rooney Upset With England Boos

Along with Spain and France, England has been one of the biggest disappointments at the 2010 World Cup. In addition to tying the U.S. 1-1 last weekend, the Brits wound up in a scoreless draw with Algeria on Friday. The two draws have England tied with the U.S. for second in Group C but luckily still in control of their destiny. Striker Wayne Rooney, already grumpy in South Africa, lashed out at England’s fans after the match. Here’s the video of Wayne Rooney calling out England’s fans as he exited the pitch:

In case you couldn’t catch Rooney’s words amidst the vuvuzelas or because of the accent, he said “Nice to see your home fans booing you. That’s loyal supporters.” I didn’t see enough of the match to know whether or not the boos were warranted, but England is under a lot of pressure from their fans and they haven’t played well so far. If Rooney’s upset that they were booing after a tie with Algeria, he better not be around to see the reaction of the fans if his team doesn’t even reach the knockout stage. Thanks to LBS tipster Blackjack for the heads up.

Video Credit: YouTube user JimmyTankMan

Ref Blows Call in U.S. vs Slovenia Match

Is it just me or are blown calls affecting the outcome of a ton of games lately?  Not long ago we had Jim Joyce’s missed call at first base that cost Armando Galarraga a perfect game.  Then, we moved on to the NBA Finals where there was an exceptional amount of whining going on by either side — much of it warranted.  On Friday, we saw a blown call on arguably a bigger stage than some of the others.  After trailing 0-2 against Slovenia at halftime, it appeared the U.S. World Cup squad was headed for a loss barring an unbelievable comeback.  The comeback they mounted was nothing short of that, as they knotted the game at 2-2 in the 82nd minute on a Landon Donovan score.

After a foul, the Americans were awarded a free kick at around the 85th minute in a spot that gave them a legitimate chance to take the lead.  Donovan placed the ball perfectly in front of the net and Maurice Edu nailed it in for what appeared to be the go-ahead score.  The goal was nullified after referee Koman Coulibaly called a foul and waved it off.  Check out the video of the blown call in the U.S.-Slovenia game that would have given the U.S. the lead, courtesy of Twitter user Dan Levy:

Not only was that not a foul on the U.S., but the American players were being severely held during the kick.  It’s huge that the U.S. was able to come away with a tie, but if not for poor officiating they would have ended up with one of the biggest comeback victories American soccer has ever seen.

Video Credit: Twitter user Dan Levy

World Cup Should Free the Vuvuzelas!

If you have seen any coverage of the 2010 World Cup, you have probably seen a vuvuzela — one of those really long horn things that make an extremely obnoxious noise. Well the World Cup has added another audio feature so that we will no longer think a swarm of bees are coming out of the TV. I for one think this is just stupid.

Although I am not the biggest soccer nut in the world, I do wish I had the opportunity to go to South Africa and catch a game or two.  But since I can’t, I have the next best thing — my TV. When I’m watching one of these games some of the highlights to me are the chants and vuvuzela sounds. And now they want to block that out? Those are the kinds of things that give you the “at the game” feel.

Yes, the vuvuzelas are annoying and obnoxious. I probably wouldn’t want to be sitting in front of the guy who had one unless I had one too, but they are part of the game. The fans obviously love them otherwise no one would have one. And who would the players be playing for if the fans didn’t buy tickets to the match or turn on their TV to watch it? That’s right, no one. You anger the fans and your revenue will be effected and then everyone looses.

Most importantly the vuvuzelas are a piece of African tradition. And since the WC is being hosted in South Africa, it’s only right to respect their customs and traditions. So I say let the vuvuzela buzz away and anyone who doesn’t like it can buzz off.

Host Broadcasters to ‘filter’ noise [ESPN]

Denmark Scores Goal on Itself

In soccer in general, and the World Cup specifically, scoring goals is a rarity and each one should be treasured. Because scoring is infrequent, the last thing you want to do is help out an opponent by scoring on yourself. There is World Cup precedent for this issue: Andres Escobar of Colombia did it on his own team at the 1994 World Cup and was killed less than two weeks later. Let’s hope the same fate does not await Simon Poulsen who headed the ball off teammate Daniel Agger and into Denmark’s net, giving The Netherlands a 2-0 lead. Here’s the video of Denmark scoring on its own goal:

I would like to say that Denmark will bounce back the way the Sharks did against the Avalanche despite Dan Boyle’s untimely goal, but that would not reflect my feelings. The Danish team is screwed. Unfortunately this is just the latest incident in a mounting line of blunders at the 2010 World Cup.

Video Credit: YouTube user Kyoxruler

British Goalie Robert Green on the Take?

The 2010 World Cup has opened with several blunders leading to critical goals. The biggest mistake of the tournament has been the goal allowed to Clint Dempsey by England goal keeper Robert Green. Dempsey was making a simple kick on goal and the ball went right to Green who completely muffed and mishandled the ball. The ball trickled past Green giving the U.S. a 1-1 tie with England and a point in Group C. Even though we’ve seen Green make dumb mistakes in the past, allowing a goal on an easy kick like that, especially on this stage, is inexcusable. So how did it happen?

Well, you could just say that Green’s butterfingers gave him a Buckner moment, or you can do a little math. This year’s World Cup was expected to be the most bet on event in Britain’s history with more than a billion pounds being wagered. Then, there’s the notion that the only winners in England following the 1-1 tie were the bookies because hardly anyone bets on a draw. Couple that with the knowledge that Green wants a new contract from his Premier League club, West Ham, and you have yourself a convenient little conspiracy theory. Think about it: do just enough so that the team doesn’t lose, but just enough to cash in big under the table. Hey, not saying that’s what went on, but the goal he allowed was so bad it made me ponder the issue. Here’s a video of the goal allowed by Robert Green on Spanish TV where they call him butterfingers:

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