Category Archives: Football (Soccer, you dope!)

World Cup Draw: Cake or Death?

So that’s it, I guess.  The US is drawn into what’s pretty much universally being called the 2014 Group of Death ( a case could be made for Group D, but the presence of Costa Rica pretty much erases that idea). For the uninitiated, ‘Group of Death’ is a phrase coined in 1970 for Group 3 of the World Cup which featured defending champions England, eventual 1970 champs Brazil, Czechoslovakia, and Romania. Thanks to the genius of Eddie Izzard, some have taken to referring to the easiest group in a given tournament as the Group of Cake. Why? Well, watch this and then read on.

Yes, well… So according to FIFAs world rankings (generally derided as bullshit, but not so much that it really matters in this instance) Germany is the 2nd best team in the world and Portugal is #5. While the US is 14th and Ghana 10 places lower, that’s really not much of a difference and the US have been dumped out of the last two World Cups by the Black Stars.

Of course that’s all sports’ equivalent of ancient history. To advance past the group stage in 2014, the US needs to fare better than both Germany and Portugal. Stat guru Nate Silver has Portugal’s chances of advancing as being quite close to those of the US and I guess he figures that both will lose to Germany and both will have a tough match against Ghana. That’s as may be and anything can happen in the next 7 months (maybe Ronaldo decides he would rather paint. What? It could happen!) But still…Ugh.

As for the aforementioned easier group? Well, look no further than Group E, where France is, appropriately, in the Group of (Let Them Eat) Cake.

The groups, courtesy of


World Cup Groups

Repost-Opening Today: Zidane – A 21st Century Portrait

Perhaps the most original and technically striking films I saw at Rotterdam was Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno’s Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait. A truly original style of documentary, the filmmakers trained 17 cameras of various type on one man during a football (soccer) match between Spanish giants Real Madrid and their league opponents Villareal. That man was Zinédine Zidane, the French maestro of the midfield who is one of, if not the greatest, players of his generation.
Read the rest of my review from the 2007 Rotterdam International Film Festival, here.

22 Hours And Counting….C’mon You REDS!

So….it’s about 22 hours until the kickoff of the Champions League Final which for the second time in three years pits the Rossoneri of Ac Milan (Booooo!) against the Reds of Liverpool FC (HUZZAH!). This year the final is taking place in Athens, Greece.
Kick off is at 2:45pm EDT and we’ll be watching it at Nevada Smith’s.
Here’s hoping for a repeat of the following scene:
Winningteam Med

José Has A….Yorkie!?

030576.jpgSo, the manager of Chelsea FC, José Mourinho (full name: José Mário dos Santos Mourinho Félix!) is having dog problems. According to the Guardian newspaper, Gullit, his “beloved Yorkshire terrier” (presumably named after the former-Holland and Chelsea player Ruud Gullit).
So, wait…José Mourinho, the multimp[le title-winning, 6th sexiest man in the world, infuriating, mouthy, manager of Chelsea FC, one of the biggest clubs in English football owns a…Yorkie?
My favorite bit from the story?

A dog warden, Lee Nash, said he had been searching in Belgravia with increasing urgency throughout the day. “I’ve been told to look for a Yorkshire terrier with a red bow,” he said. “I don’t know how big it is – but even a crow could take a miniature Yorkshire terrier.”