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Friday, December 4, 2009

Group Stages Set For World Cup, but which is the "Group of Death"?

Group A
Team
South Africa
Mexico
Uruguay
France

Group B
Team
Argentina
Nigeria
Korea Republic
Greece

Group C
Team
England
USA
Algeria
Slovenia

Group D
Team
Germany
Australia
Serbia
Ghana
See the entire group stage results here.

Group E
Team
Netherlands
Denmark
Japan
Cameroon

Group F
Team
Italy
Paraguay
New Zealand
Slovakia

Group G
Team
Brazil
Korea DPR
Ivory Coast
Portugal


Group H

Team
Spain
Switzerland
Honduras
Chile

Friday, September 11, 2009

World Cup 2010 begins to take shape can the US play with the big boys?

After the US collapse in the final ten minutes against Mexico to snatch victory for the jaws of victory their ticket to South Africa was in doubt, but now they appear to have righted the ship and will be sailing south next year as they lead the group going into the final set of matches. With that said two major questions remain; will they go in as a group winner? If you’re a fan of the NCAA tournament then imagine the difference between a number 1 and number 9 seed. That how big winning the group stage is. Even so, if they do get the largest tournament on the planet, how long will they stay? If you look at how the best countries in the world are playing right now compared to the US, one has to inquire if we’re even going to get out of the group stage, ON the big stage?

North/Central America and Caribbean Group Stage Results
Team..........MP........W.....D.....L.....GF.....GA.....Pts
USA............8........5.....1.....2.....14......9.....16
Mexico.........8........5.....0.....3.....12......9.....15
Honduras.......8........4.....1.....3.....14......8.....13
Costa Rica.....8........4.....0.....4......9......13....12
El Salvador....8........2.....2.....4......8......10.....8
Trin N Tobago..8........1.....2.....5......8......16.....5

A case in point, England and Spain have cemented their domination of Groups 5 and 6 respectively when they sauntered to their eighth wins in eight games to join the Netherlands at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. Switzerland, Serbia, Slovakia and holders Italy look poised to follow them to the finals after picking up valuable results in their respective groups. It's not often that a European nation goes through a FIFA World Cup qualification campaign without dropping a single point, but that is exactly what England, Spain and the Netherlands have done. The Oranje have now completed their eight-game schedule, while the Three Lions and La Roja play their final two matches next month also looking to make a clean sweep. Each of the three traditional heavyweights have impressed in their own right. The Netherlands were the first to qualify back in June, brushing aside their opposition on the back of a remarkable defensive effort that has seen their goal breached just twice.
So, will the US National team be home before their postcards arrive or will they show us all something and find another level? Which of the dominating European sides looks the best to advance? Is this the year Brazil re-claims the title of world champion? Let us know here or in any of the quick links:

Monday, August 24, 2009

EPL season kicks off with one major surprise

The EPL season is underway with many of the usual suspects at the top of the table but one major infiltrator, Spurs. Sitting atop the table from a perch they’ve never seen, Tottenham (3-0) have Premiership lead based on goal difference over familiar Champions League participants Chelsea and Arsenal. Ok, it’s only three games in and some clubs have only had one taste of competition thus far but you are already hearing the rumbles of the argument that the EPL has become a two-class system. Where the clubs at the top of the table are so far removed from the bottom half that the only drama left in the league is the shuffling of players, and positions among the top four clubs. In fact since 2006 Chelsea, Man U., Liverpool, and Arsenal are the only clubs to break into the exclusive club of the top four. There has been more drama at the opposite end of the spectrum with plight of the regulation/promotion experience. I realize it’s blasphemy to every correlate the ‘beautiful game’ to an American sport but not specifically speaking, is it time for, (do I dare?), a salary cap? It would give the other 13 clubs not threatened by regulation something else to play for rather than the subject of toast at “spoiler rallies” for the any of the big four who for fortunate enough to have someone else take care of their business for them. Does the EPL need to level the field for the smaller markets? Let us know here and in the World Sport chat rooms or EPL Sport page. Complete EPL up to date standings here.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Yang breaks the mold, and Tiger's streak with comeback win

After we were less than a couple of minutes away from calling the Arizona Cardinals “World Champions” I’d thought I had seen everything but seeing Tiger caught AND passed in the final round of a major makes me feel like I should go out and buy a lotto ticket. YA Yang is youir 2009 PGA Champion, ranked number 110 in the world, took it to Tiger on the final round and won his first major. Tiger’s putter, that is normally more reliable than a golden retriever, suddenly didn’t come when he called and didn’t return all day. An amazing eagle chip for Yang on 16, following a par-5 that Tiger didn’t bird, put Yang in position to shock the golf world. Even with that TW had his chances as Yang bogeyed 17 only to have Woods do the same. After that it was clear that the Woods streak of going 14/14 in majors when he held at least a share of the lead would be over. It was like watching Bill Walton’s fade away fall short in South Bend when UCLA’s 88 game consecutive streak came to an end, you were just waiting for overtime or in this case and extra hole or an amazing ace from Tiger to win it. But the buzzer has sounded and now the headlines from Seoul to Southern California will read the same. In the end, it was Yang that was poised under pressure, and had all the right stuff. Hats off to the new Champion. So has Tiger lost his mystique? Let us know here and in the World Sports Chat Rooms.
View the final leaderboard here.

Friday, August 14, 2009

US keeps the dubious streak going

In similar fashion to the Confederations Cup Championship Game where the US just couldn’t stand too much good fortune, the US National Soccer Team kept their dubious winless streak at Azteca Stadium rolling with a 2-1 come from ahead loss in a World Cup qualifying match. We’ve all been made aware of the plethora of obstacles that the US faces when traveling down south, the altitude, the smog, 100k plus fans shouting obscenities that we can’t understand and throwing plastic bottles at our players as they attempt to take corner kicks. We know. But that doesn’t change the reality of having a 1-0 lead in the first five minutes or a tie with less than 7 minutes to go. Once they started to fathom what they were about to pull off, the couldn’t pull it off. They were way to content with stopping Mexico then kicking it deep and letting them come right back down and try to score again. Way too many turnovers and lack of ball control. Mexico controlled possession at an incredible 67% clip. No one, especially us, can stave off that kind of pressure. So, we can take solace that we’re still in second place in the group and have a good shot of advancing to the South Africa next year, but if the US doesn’t learn how to close on the big stage they’ll be home before the postcards.

Monday, August 10, 2009

TIger drives 65 for the entire weekend then cruses into Minnesota

Tiger Woods was an overwhelming favorite to win the British Open and embarrassingly missed the cut at a major for only the second time in his illustrious career. So with everyone contemplating if he had finally become mortal and come down to earth TW responded by winning two straight tournaments including the WGC-Bridgestone this weekend. After a typically normal first two rounds, Woods shot 65-65 on the weekend to win for the fifth time in 12 starts this year and second in a row heading into the year's final major, the PGA Championship, which begins Thursday at Hazeltine National in Minnesota. With the change in scenery the questions arises will Tiger win a Major this year? As usual the odds makers think so, pitting Tiger as a 3/2 favorite with the next closest being Lefty at 20-1, a separation as wide as the lake that Hazeltine boarders. Despite is performance in the last two tournaments is that kind of respect deserving? Well, for a guy who judges himself by his performance on the big stage probably not, but does anyone else have enough game to challenge him right now? No. His only competition has been himself since the injury and if he can put together a complete tournament like his final 28 wholes then take 3/2 “for fun”. He’s played the last 28 holes -10 with 10 birds and an eagle, and as everyone knows, Tiger’s equivalent to kryptonite are his tee shots and off the peg he was 78.6 greens in reg, which means his iron-work comes into play and on the felt he was 23/23 inside 10 feet. Riding that kind of mo’ 20/1 seems to be about right. Will TW get his major this year? Let us know here and in the World Sports/Golf chat rooms. Also see the quick links
See the final Bridgestone leaderboard here.
See the betting PGA Championship betting lines here.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Tiger rebounds after missing cut

Tiger had the lead going into the final round of the Buick open which pretty much means the tournament is over and indeed it was, with Woods winning by three strokes and not really being challenged. It wasn’t the tournament before a major this time as TW has one more before the PGA Championship, the last major of the year. Ironically Buick is one of Woods’ many sponsors was quite pleased to see Tiger doing his thing as the PGA Tour event had a 167 percent ratings boost over last year, when Woods was recovering from knee surgery and did not play. As a 2-1 favorite to win the British, which to compared to football he was supposed to win by 3 touchdowns, a course supposedly suited to Tiger’s game tamed him and he missed the cut. The PGA will be no different as TW is an early fav. Is Tiger going to get his major this year or get shut out? Let us know here and in the World Sports chat rooms. Also see the final Buick Leader board here.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

100-meter time ‘suits’ Phelps just fine

As if Michael Phelps had anything to prove after the Beijing Olympics but the recent non-direct banter between he and Milorad Cavic who popped off after breaking Phelps’ world record in 100 meter butterfly the semi-finals of the World Championships stating “if Michael wants an Arena, he just has to say. Or if he wants and Jaked and they don’t want to give it to him for free, I’ll buy it for him”. Firstly, the key word there was “semi” next, in the future perhaps you don’t want to tug on Superman’s cape or suit in this case. Because when the chips were in the center of the table, and the money was on the line, in the FINALS, in was Phelps who answered the call. With a defiant performance in a supposedly inferior suit, Phelps stayed close over the outward lap and rallied on the return to become the first swimmer to break 50 seconds in the 100-meter butterfly, beating the Serbian with a time of 49.82. Cavic also broke 50 seconds, but 49.95 was only good enough for silver. He wasn't nearly as close as last year's Beijing Olympics, when Phelps famously won by one-hundredth of a second and Cavic always maintained that he actually touched first. When Phelps saw his time at the Foro Italico, he hopped up on the lane rope separating him and Cavic, threw up his arms and let out a scream toward his mom and sister in the stands. Needless to say, he was pumped for this. Showing as much emotion as he ever has, Phelps also slapped the water and tugged at his Speedo LZR Racer swimsuit -- no doubt in reference to Cavic offering to get Phelps one of those supposedly faster polyurethane suits so he wouldn't have any excuses. Was this what the sport needed to keep it in the spotlight until the London games, or are the Olympic sports different than football and basketball where the chirpin’ is part of the game?

Monday, July 27, 2009

US loses all momentum from Confederations Cup

The US Men’s National Team was riding high after playing two of the best games in the Nation’s history then followed it up by laying an egg in Mexico, allowing five second half goals en route to an embarrassing 5-0 loss. The US had actually owned Mexico on US soil going 9-0-2 since a March 1999 loss at San Diego. The youth of the US club was more than evident when the pressure was on before an overwhelmingly pro-Mexico crowd of 79,156 at Giants Stadium, after an offensive onslaught in the second half. Captain Gerardo Torrado scored on a penalty kick in the 56th minute, on a bogus call, but then the inexperienced U.S. squad came unglued. Even though the United States was fielding a raw squad after the top team finished second in the Confederations Cup last month, one would hope they could put a club on the pitch that could at least represent, as any respect the US might have earned after beating the world’s best team last month was returned with interest in the Gold Cup Final. Was the Confederations Cup performance an aberration? Is the US ready for the 2010 World Cup? Let us know here and in the World Sports and World Soccer chat rooms.

Match Stats
United States Mexico
Shots...........3(1) 12(10)
Fouls...........7 9
Corner Kicks....4 2
Offsides........3 3
Time of Poss....0% 0%
Yellow Cards....3 2
Red Cards.......1 0
Saves...........5 1

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Contador ushers Tour de France into a new age

It was set up to be the classic incumbent veteran Lance Armsrong coming back for one last title defense against the up and coming challenger Albertro Contado, the only question was would be Ali v. Liston, or Holmes v. Ali? The six-time champion called his shot stating that he would not make his move until stage 15 when they move to hills, his domain. However it was well appearent after stage 15 that the 37-year could not quite put the kids to bed the way he used to. In the end it was the Holmes jab that dominated the entire fight and although he was not laying on the canvas Armstrong was dominated and a convincing unanimous decision went to Contador. Not only did LA not predict the round, he didn’t dominate in the hills, in fact he did not even win a single stage the entire race, and never tasted the mustard jersey once. This was not about what LA didn’t do but what Contador did do. It was clear after stage 1 that Contador had no intention of walking in the shadow of LA and figured his time had come. He then went on to smoke the field by 4:39 leaving no doubt who the new king was. Even Armstrong had to give him his props as in defeat he stated that “His performance this year would have beaten my performances in 01, 04, and 05”. Is this the end for the greatest TDF champion of all time? Should LA come back next year and give us a “token run” or simply ride off into the sunset? Let us know here and in the World Sports chat rooms.
View the complete final team and individual leaderboard here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Armstrong making huge effort but 37-year old may not have enough in the tank

Lance Armstrong may be in his strongest element of the Tour de France however instead of making up ground LA has lost a step after once again not finishing in the top three of a mountain stage Armstrong finds himself in 4th place overall 3:55 back. Frank Schleck won the 17th stage of the Tour de France in the ski resort of Le Grand Bornand as Alberto Contador cemented his grip on the yellow jersey. With five mountain passes during the 169.5km Alpine stage it was seen as a pivotal day of the race and 2007 champion Contador responded with a commanding performance, coming home sandwiched between Frank and Andy Schleck, the two brothers from Luxembourg. Frank was allowed the victory by Contador for his hard work and he moved up to third on general classification in the process with his younger brother and Saxo Bank team-mate Andy climbing to second overall, two minutes and 26 seconds behind Astana's Contador. It was thought this may be the final curtain call for the 37-year old Armstrong but it was announced yesterday that he has a new sponsor starting next year and plans to race on on the tour in 2010. However for this year's TDF it appears nature has finally gotten the upper hand. Not just the mountains but father time as well. Is the amazing run of Lance Armstrong over and is he just looking to pick up a check? Let us know here and in the World Sport chat rooms and blogs. Also see all of the action from each stage here as well as the overall standings.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Watson’s heroics help British Open get out of the Woods

Tom Watston was on the cusp of making history, again. His “duel in the sun” with Jack Nicklaus was replayed so many times over the weekend that I could have sworn I saw a ‘Lite Beer from Miller’ commercial (as it was called in the day) with Rodney Dangerfield at one of the brakes. However, he almost topped it in 2009 as he was caught from behind on the 1-yard line as he going in for the winning score, and then lost in a four hole playoff. Ironically, he did everything right. His approach at 18, when a par would have won him the tournament, landed on the green but “missed by an inch” according to playing partner Mathew Goggin, and ended up in between two cuts of fringe for a bogey 5, a playoff, and a heartbreaking loss. For Watson. The big winner was ABC who thought their ratings were headed south to Ibiza for the weekend until what turned out to be the golf story year with the highest TV ratings other than the Master’s, even with the time difference. Oh yea, did we mention that Steward Cink won the tournament and his first Major? No worries neither did Sports Center or most newspapers until page 2, but with Tiger at home in Florida that’s kinda’ what you would have expected. With Lefty’s attention focused on more important matters, Tiger’s game less than proficient, and no real consistent contenders to the grown, is it going to take a “feel good” story every tournament to save golf? Who should we be looking to take the reigns if Tiger suddenly becomes human again? Let us know here and in the golf chat rooms.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Tiger misses cut at British Open, as Watson now takes center stage...agian

As one of the first to report how this year’s British Open at Turnberry was suited to the game of Tiger Woods and how he was a prohibited 2/1 favorite, and all but gave him the “Jug”, we have to post our first ever reprint as Tiger Woods has missed the cut for only the second time as a professional, with the first coming in 2006 U.S. Open following the death of his father. TW had a pair of double bogeys on 10 and 13 that all but sealed his fate. While Tiger was using his machete to battle out of the ‘triple rough’ granddad Tom Watson (59) is still right in thick of things, and I don’t mean the rough, as he shot an even par 70 and is tied for the lead at -5. What Watson has done has been simply amazing as he has battled his nerves and a bad day of weather to lead going into the round that separates contenders from pretenders. Fear not ABC another there’s another great story looming other than Watson, the comeback of John Daily, who is five shots back at even and with his power with the steel, could be a factor down the stretch if he can keep his mental game in tact, but that’s a big IF. Unfortunately, although great fodder, historically based on when TW was out with his knee injury TV ratings plummeted without him in the mix so ABC will be scrambling through the garbage for old footage of when Daily was good and archives when Watson battled Nicklaus, so if you’re going to watch get ready for a steady dose of it, but it’s only two days. View the complete leader board here.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tiger’s power makes him the favorite, but Turnberry may have other ideas

In addition to being the world’s number one player, the main reason why Tiger Woods is a 2/1 favorite to win the British Open is how the course is suited to his game. Although it is his first time playing Turnberry, the course should fit Tiger like a driving glove. In practice rounds TW only needed to bust out the Big Dogs on three holes, meaning he’ll be playing irons off the tee, and as you know if Tiger stays out of the tall stuff he’s impossible to beat. For all of his dominance, he ranks 11th in driving and that’s how he gets into trouble, if you take that out of the equation it could make for long days for rest of the field. Now the great equalizer for this tournament is always the weather which can bring the snowmen out in July, also the craters they’ve created that they call bunkers are worse than hazards because they’re so steep and deep. If you’re gonna’ miss then miss by a lot because if you just short you’ll find yourself on an embankment that is almost vertical, (not in a good way) and by the time you get out you wished you would have hit a hazard. So despite the 50/50 shot the odds makers are giving TW don’t hand him the jug just yet as the course may have something to say about it. View the complete British Open Leaderboard here, also see the odds for each player to win the tournament here.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Armstrong calls his shot, says not making move til’ stage 15

Either Lance Armstrong recent statement will exponentially add to is legacy by ‘calling his shot’ ala Babe Ruth or he’s just given the cyclers from around the world, who already don’t like him a whole lot, more motivation to rise up and take him out. Armstrong was recently quoted as saying that he was going to wait until stage 15 to “make his move” is pretty much saying that he can win this thang any time he decides to step his game up. After stage 10 LA finds himself 8 seconds behind the leader and his team Astana has four of the top five racers. Now, under normal circumstances you would wrap this one up for the ‘pole sitter’ for a team that is running that top heavy as the other team members would be setting him up, letting him ride their draft, and then sprint to a championship, but needless to say there hasn’t been a lot of brotherly love shown on team Astana lately. Moreover, what does that say about the sport if a 37-year old can call out the youngsters, then punk them in a seemingly effortless way? If LA can pull this off AGAIN for his eighth win what does that say about the future of this sport? It would be like Michael Jordan coming back and dunkin’ on Kobe or LeBron (well that’s already been done but you get the point). Check the stage leaders and overall leaders here. Also chat about the Tour de France and other world sports in the World Sports chat rooms.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Inner-team turmoil headlining a close Tour de France

Stage 7 was the first stage in the mountains, and the longest stage of the Tour de France, but when the riders had crossed the finish line seven time American champion Lance Armstrong was in third place just behind Alberto Contador and Italian rider Rinaldo Nocentini (team AG2R La Mondiale). Nocentini was part of an early breakaway and managed to stay in front long enough to win the yellow jersey. Rockie Frenchman Brice Feillu (team Agritubel) won the stage on the power of his last 5K breakaway from the summit making him the star of the day and perhaps a new rising star in professional cycling. However the talk of the day was not who prevailed on arguably the toughest day of the cycling event but what was the conversation between teammates Armstrong and Contador in the “party van” after the race as they were both requested to submit to random drug test. Although many don’t consider cycling to be a team sport, the US Mail team that Armstrong used to ride for has been given a large share of the credit for his seven victories. This team may be a different story as there continues to be a disagreement on who is the General and who is the Lieutenant. The cold war continues as Contador doesn’t seem to be yielding or providing much in the way of interference for LA leaving many to believe he has no intentions of stepping aside while Lance gets fitted for a new mustard jacket. The TDF doesn’t really begin until they get to the Alps, LA usually shines, if/when he gets the commanding lead it’ll be interesting to see what Lance has to say as it may be a bigger story than winning his 8th. Do you think Lance Armstrong is a good team mate? Let us know here and in the Cycling chat room. Also view the current up to date TDF standings here.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Tiger follows his friend’s lead and takes care of business

Some of the Sports radio talk over the past week was bout the unique the friendship between Tiger Woods and Roger Federer. Both compete in individually and sit atop their respective sports. As birds of a feather flock together Federer opened the day early with a victory at Wimbledon to take his place as the winner of the most Grand Slam events in tennis history, and Tiger followed up in the afternoon with a win at the AT & T National. Although not a major it’s quickly becoming a prestigious tourney and with the exception of lefty several of the top in the world competed. Tiger overcame major issues with the 11th hole where he tallied a monster +5 for the four rounds. Omit that hole and Tiger wins going away, but it was there and so was Hunter Mahan, who was the clubhouse co-leader at -12 as Tiger had 7 holes to play. After laying up on his first par-5 to conservatively go for the birdie a bad third shot prevented him from getting his shot at a bird. However the 16th was good to him again as he sunk a 20footer (he would have over 100ft of made puts for the day) to provide the margin of victory. See the complete final leader board here. Ok, it’s his third win of year and all of them have come two weeks before a major but he hasn’t won one this year. Are we finally seeing chinks in the armor? Is Tiger 3.0 going to dominate as he has done in years past? Let us know here and in the PGA chat rooms.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

You gotta’ LOVE 15 as Federer sets grand slam record

Last year’s Gentlemen’s Final was arguably the best ever played with Roger Federer on the losing end, tennis fans knew it would be hard to follow such an amazing opening act buy Andy Roddick and Roger Federer came pretty close. In the longest Wimbledon Men’s match in history Federer out lasted Roddick 16-14 in the fifth set tie-breaker. Federer saved his best for last as he had not broken Roddick once all match until the game that gave him the cup some 4hours and 17 minutes later. Because of the ferocity of A-Rod’s serve Federer was playing catch up most of the games helping to keep him at bay. However, surprisingly it was Federer’s who held a decisive edge in aces with 50, to A-Rod’s 27. View all of the match statistics here. Fed clutched up when the chips were in the center of the table taking 7-6 sets in the second and third where the match was up for grabs. Both players showing incredible endurance as neither looked tired in the final set. So where does this put Roger among the all-time greats? Top, top 5, top 10? Let us know here and in the World Tennis chat rooms.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

A-Rod tries to keep Federer from getting #15, Serena dethrones the Champion

The Wimbledon Men’s Final will have two opponents that are all to familiar with each other similar to the ladies side. Although not family Andy Roddick and Roger Federer are not strangers and will square off again on Centre Court to decide the 09 Wimbledon champion. Federer tries to make history and tie Pete Sampras with his 15th grand slam title. Rest assured rocket Rod and his record breaking serve will try to throw the defending champ off his game but it won’t be easy as Federer has owned manicured grass of the All-England Club for quite some time. The sentimental favorite was Andy Murray who represented England’s deepest penetration into the tournament in over two decades still looked overmatched and frustrated by the seasoned Roddick and never seemed to recover from losing the third set tie-breaker. Meanwhile Federer disposed of Tommy Haas with relative ease in straight sets and looks like the clear cut favorite coming into the final match on Sunday. Is RFed due to get his 15th or does A-Rod have game enough other than his serve to rain on his parade? Let us know here and in the Tennis chat rooms.

This time the Williams family battle, so often conducted on the lawns of the All England Club, went the way of Serena as she removed the ladies' singles championship from the custody of her older sister Venus. In straight sets, too, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2 in 87 minutes. Serena had been saying from the start of these Championships that it was her turn to win Wimbledon. And since the Williams' have turned this event into a private affair, the only one she really needed to defeat was Venus. The job was accomplished in typical powerful style, with Venus so worn down that her own game collapsed spectacularly from 2-2 in the second set. This was Serena’s third Wimbledon title and 11th Grand Slam and was ample amends for her loss to her big sister 12 months ago. The best thing about this match is that they both competed as if they were facing someone other than a sibling on the other side of the net. When that happens you really can appreciate the greatness each possesses how astonishing it is for two family members to consistently compete at this level. No, mystical hamstring pulls or fatherly interference just the best grass tennis in the world. Do you appreciate the level of tennis the Willams’ sisters compete or would you like to see someone else rise up and take centre court? Let us know here and in the Tennis chat rooms. View the complete Ladies Singles Results here.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Williams sisters make reservations to spend holiday at ‘The Club’

Although the favorite Serena found herself in a war after losing the first set tie-breaker (7-4) but then rallied and took two consecutive sets including a breathtaking 8-6 win in the final set to advance to the finals where she will face a familiar opponent, big sis. Venus, also the favorite but not expected to dominate swept through the top seed Dinara Safina with surprising ease as she dominated not only straight sets, but only losing one game in a 6-1, 6-0 victory. Venus needed only 27 minutes to take the first set, and the defending champion, playing the world number one, Russia v the US, in a perfect setting on a perfect day, had all the makings of an “headline match” that might even top the opening act which was one of folklore, however it seemed nobody except Venus seemed very concerned. So with a day to catch up Serena should have plenty left in the tank to give the incumbent a run for her money. Despite being here before this movie doesn’t get old, with the caveat that they both go at each other the way they competed in the semis. As long as ‘Dad’ stays out of the mix it should be a great final.
View the complete Ladies Singles Results here.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Federer on track for 15, Williams sisters holding serve setting up US/Russia semis

Roger Federer has his eyes on the prize, slam title number 15, and Rafi recovering from injury in Ibiza there appears to be no one standing in his way. After another straight set victory over Robin Soderling, Federer finds himself in quarters again but there are some formidable obstacles still standing in his way. Firstly, how about the “local boy makes good” story of Andy Murray? You gotta believe if he gets anywhere close to Centre Court on Sunday the tidal wave of momentum may be too much even for the MOP (master of patience) to overcome, and homeboy can play, so for those of you that like an upset that may not be a bad call. Also you have the bazooka, Andy Roddick who possesses a serve still faster than the internet, and who should get by Lleyton Hewitt as he as conserved his energy well and has not needed more than 4 sets in any match thus far in the tournament. Lastly, there’s Novak Djokovic the sleeper sitting back at number 4 has won every match in straight sets except for one (4 sets) and looks very comfortable on the turf. Even against that lineup, you’ve got believe that Fed knows this may be his best opportunity to pass Pete, as he owns this tourney, number 1 is at home, and he’s healthy. If he’s anything like his new BMF Tiger, he’ll be wearing ‘blood red’ on Sunday. View the complete Gentlemen’s Singles results here and if you’re so inclined, get the odds for the quarters and semi’s here.

On the Ladies side the sisters are up to their old tricks and although neither are the top seed they find themselves in the semi-finals once again and both matches figure to be worth a flight across the pond as a classic US/Russia showdown is looming. Venus (3) takes on Safina(1) and Serena(2) takes on Dementieva(4) so the cream has risen to the top and now it’s time filter the sediment. Neither sister has lost a set thus far in the dance and both are playing as well as they have in a while so of the possible scenarios the all-family affair looks as good as it has in recent years. This is exactly the kind of semi-finals that the women’s side needed to not only support their case now that the prize money is equal, as the ratings should be equal or higher than the men’s, but also to give a boost to the attention to women’s game. These matches will display how powerful the women’s game is now, as you’ve got four ladies that can bring the heat off the serve, and put plenty of “stank” on forehands. This will not be matches that go well with Sunday whites or strawberries and cream. View the complete Ladies Singles Results here.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

US wilts under Brazillian heat, lets championship slip away

I’ll be the first to step up to the plate when I’m wrong and I called the US Soccer team out after the first to disgraceful losses to Italy and Brazil by a combined score of 6-1. Fortunately the ‘1’ allowed them to advance to the semi-finals under the tie-braking system and given that chance played a game and a half of the best soccer in the countries history. However, the time for “moral victories” came and went after we hosted the world cup in 94’, now we need to evaluate our national soccer team as harshly as we do hoop and baseball. That said, the US collapsed underneath the Brazilian storm after taking a 2-0 lead at half time only to give up 3 goals in the second half to lose in the final of the Confederations Cup 3-2. This game showed exactly how far we need to go to really be competitive when the chips are on the table. It exploited three major weaknesses that will have to change if the US has any hopes of getting out of the group stage next year. First, our inability to withstand constant pressure, the kind we’ll see all during the World Cup next year, as Brazil played with a sense of desperation immediately out of the locker room to start the second half, scoring in the first two minutes and changing the complexity of the game. After that, even though we had the lead it felt as if it was only a matter of time until we succumbed to the heat. Secondly, Brazil exposed our inefficiency in controlling the ball. Even when behind they held a passion lead of 69% to 31% which will get you killed against the Canary Islands let alone the best in the world. Lastly, our inability to take away a teams strength. We knew going in that Brazil scored 75% of their goals on set pieces yet allowed we gave them 9 corner kicks and 24 shots on goal. If this were the Dream Team we’d be saying we played 1.5 good games of soccer, got lucky to advance via a bad tie-breaking system (the team that we beat out in the group stage actually beat us 3-1 on the field), and choked away a trophy in the finals. So are we really ready for the world stage? Let us know here and in the World Soccer rooms. Confederations Cup Chat room/2010 World Cup Chat room.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

US needs one more miracle as Brazil advances to final

The US must go back to the drawing board and find out how to slow down the masters of ‘the beautiful game’ over the next 48 hours because the rematch of their group play match will be for the Federations Cup Championship on Sunday. Brazil advanced to the final with a 1-0 victory over the host nation South Africa this afternoon. In front of a huge crowd RSA played an inspired game keeping the Brazilians at bay until the 97th minute when a penalty just outside the box gave them a free kick which Daniel Alves, who was recently substituted into the game, promptly banked off the side post and into the back of the net. A perfect strike worthy of the talent of Alves that took all of the euphoria out of the stadium as it was apparent that their hopes of hosting a title victory wouldn’t come to fruition. It was obvious that most interested parties viewed this game as championship match with either side expected to dispose of the US when the money is on the table. With that said, ironically, Brazil is a better draw for the US as they have already pounded them 3-0 and probably won’t make many changes to their lineup or game plan. Over confidence may be their worst enemy (please see Spain and previous post) as opposed to the RSA who would be riding the ether of the stadium and hopes of a nation and, sadly speak, a more dangerous opponent. If the US is going to pull off another upset they’ll need to execute a similar “hold the fort down, then strike when the opportunities arise” game plan and not miss one chance. That’s a lot to ask but after the “miracle on ice” and the “miracle on grass” one more and they are eligible for sainthood. Can they do the unthinkable and will be enough to get US soccer back on the map again?
Let us know here and in the World Sports chat room.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

US Stuns Spain advances to final of Confederation Cup

In a victory that ranks among the best in the history of US soccer, close behind the world cup victories in 2002, where they beat Portugal in the opening round and Mexico in the sweet 16 to advance to their first quarterfinal since 1934. This win was not quite as big simply because it wasn’t in the world cup but when you think about the wave that Spain was riding coming into the game, perhaps it should be in the conversation. The current FIFA World number one hadn’t lost a game since 2006 en route to 35 match unbeaten streak (one shy of the world record), including 15 outright wins in a row (setting a world record), and amazingly not allowing a goal in 451 consecutive minutes. All of these streaks were snapped in the 2-0 loss to the US. In the big scheme of things it could be the best thing for Spain as it defines a “wake up call” ahead of the 2010 World Cup. Next up for the US a spot in the final against either Brazil or South Africa, either one of these would be very difficult foes as Brazil already put a 3-0 beatdown on them and SA are the host. Either way, this team was written off by everyone (present party included) and have done a complete 180 since that debacle in game two. Is this the momentum changer that could be the catalyst to a strong showing in the 2010 World Cup? We think so. Let us know here and in the Soccer chat rooms.

Monday, June 22, 2009

US Open first time winner fits like a Glover

In one of the most improbable Opens in the history of the event where not one of the four rounds began and finished on the same day, a long shot came in that made Name That Bird’s 50-1 return look like a red or black. Lucas Glover, ranked 71 in the world, in his second career win where he never finished a major better than T-20, was your winner. In a script that was rejected by Hollywood because “Tin Cup” was more believable, Glover the pride of South Carolina battle back in the final round to win by two strokes over household names such as Mickelson and Duval, and four strokes over the best player in the world. Still not buying? Just wait, there’s more, Glover had yet to even make the cut at the US Open in his career. How’s that for improbable? If not for the exploits of Glover and Barnes, the comeback player of the tourney would have gone to David Duval who hadn’t been this close to the top of the chart since Bon Jovi was there. So, with all of the no-names at the top of the leaderborad where were the big dogs? Well, the sentimental favorite Mickelson had moments of glory but of course they were often couple with moments of unpredictability as his final round card contained three birds but four bogeys. And Tiger never recovered from playing during the sunami that was the first few hours of round one, shot 69,68,69 over the next three to make it respectable but would love to have those 5 bogeys from the first round back as that was the difference in the tournament. All things considered if you’re a purist then this wasn’t the tournament for you as bad weather forced great players to play poorly and made the final round Sunday which is normally one of the best events in American sports a cloudy Monday afternoon with empty galleries and only closed circuit TV watching. Although the underdogs were a great story, would you have rather seen Phil and Tiger go at it on a sunny Sunday afternoon where it was the skill of the players not the conditions that were the subject of the day? Let us know here and in the US Open Chat room.
Also view the up to date Leaderboard.

The World Champions get shown up by Brazil then shown the exit

In an unbelievable turn of events the defending World Cup Champions got whacked by the conductors of “the beautiful game” 3-0. In what was billed as the tournament's showcase game Brazil effectively ended the clash as a contest at half-time, with all their goals coming in an eight minute spell at the end of the first half. Luis Fabiano helped himself to two goals before Italy defender Andrea Dossena put through his own net to round off the score. Italy manager Marcelo Lippi kept faith in the players who had helped him win the World Cup in 2006 with six players who had started the final in Germany starting on Sunday, but the vets let him down as they couldn’t muster any offense in the second half. After an impressive win vs. the US in game one the Italians finished the pool with two lack luster efforts and now find themselves looking towards the 2010 World Cup with more questions than momentum. On the flip side the US may have gotten the win that US supporters have been looking for, one where the team played with the spirit they didn’t show in the previous two matches, and finally had the offense play to their potential as the blew out Egypt 3-0 (actually should have been 4-0 but an obvious handball was not called). With the win, coupled the afore mentioned improbable Italian loss get the US through on goal differential. A result that could not have seemed more improbable after the match day one, and for their reward the US gets to play Spain who has not lost an international match since a 2006 friendly to Romania. How far can the US go?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Is this really the tournament you wanted to see?

The second round played much like the first with the exception for those who were fortunate enough to get on early while there were still some good scoring opportunities. Ricky Barnes and Lucas Glover ( I know I’ve never heard of them either) were two of those people and took full advantage by shooting a 65 and 64 respectively to sit atop the leader board at the end of the second round. An attempt to get the scheduled third round in was thwarted by mother nature. And that’s my point if you can’t play the rounds consecutively, without delay, and you’re going to have to postpone/extend the tournament beyond Sunday anyway, then why not delay the start until all rounds can be completed as planned. Firstly, the delays alone with all of the starting and stopping, make it impossible to get a rhythm. Moreover, it’s not a level playing field, as the players with the luck of the draw in regards to tee time coincidentally have the best scores and sit in the lead. I’m a terrible golfer but if I got to play with stiff greens, no wind, no rain, and sunny I would beat Tiger and Phil too if they were playing in a torrential downpour. This is not what our nation’s national tournament is supposed to be like. The trophy should have an asterisk engraved on it. Would you delay the start of the tournament? How would you deal with the delays/cancelations? Let us know here and in the US Open chat Room. Also visit the Real Time US Open Leaderboard here.

Friday, June 19, 2009

US Open players get a break in the weather but not on ‘The Black”

The weather has cleared and the current conditions look conducive for a long day of golf as the players will need to complete their first round then play a complete round 2. However what they didn’t get a break on was Bethpage Black, as the course was beating up the best in the world early in the morning as Tiger (+4), Vijay (+2), Cabrera (+4), and Westwood (+2), are among those who can’t find red numbers. Phil Mickelson is on the course completing his first round with cheering galleries on every hole. For the second consecutive tournament Tiger is in trouble of missing the cut as he finds himself eight shots back of the leaders, I know what happened at the Memorial but this course is a whole different animal. There are no guarantees they’ll be able to get the full day in or tournament for that matter as the weather looks dicey at best for the weekend. One thing is for sure if there is a break in the clouds you had better get your scoring in as there has been a distinct advantage for those on the course when the sky is clear. Can Tiger pull a rabbit out of his hat for two tournaments in a row? Can Phil ride the wave of momentum to the top of the leader board? Let us know here and in the US Open Chat room.
Also view the up to date Leaderboard.

US teams arrives late to Confederations Cup

If the past week is a harbinger of how the US Men’s National Soccer Team is adjusting to the atmosphere in South Africa then it does not bode well for US chances in the 2010 world cup as they have failed to show up for their first two matches and face an early exit. Against the defending World Cup Champion Italy in their first game the US actually managed to take a 1-0 lead into the break but then got swallowed by wave of Italian pressure before drowning 3-1. Although it needs to be noted that they were the victim of one of the worst calls ever seen in international play, as a routine mid-field missed tackle was awarded a capricious red card early in the first half, putting the US at a one man disadvantage for most of the match. It was an exercise if futility after that. However there were no excuses for the second match against Brazil, where the US simply mailed it in and got hammered 3-0 setting them up for a quick trip back home. It’s time to call it as we see it, that the way this team is coached, the athletes we have on the pitch right now is not worthy of the number 14 world ranking they currently enjoy, and definitely looks like a team that will not make it out of the round robin come 2010. On their way out they get a chance to salvage some dignity against the surprise team of the tournament, Egypt, on the 21st but that’s all their leave with. What changes does the US need to make to become more competitive on the world stage? Let us know here and in the Soccer chat rooms.

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