World Cup Group H Preview: Should Spain be the favorite to win it all?

spain

Group H is the group of similarities. For starters, three of the four teams (Spain, Honduras and Chile) are Spanish-speaking countries. This means that both teams will be able to comprehend “yo mama” jokes, which may lead to more Zinedine Zidane-like headbutts.

Another similarity is the fact that some of the most accomplished coaches are in this group. Spain is coached by Vicente del Bosque, who has won two Champions League titles, two La Liga titles and one Intercontinental Cup. Switzerland’s coach, Ottmar Hitzfeld, also has two Champions League titles along with two Intercontinental Cups and seven Bundesliga championships. Chile’s coach, Marcelo Bielsa, won the Olympic Gold in 2004 and is the only coach in this group with World Cup experience.

by Justin Mertes-Mistretta

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World Cup Group F Preview: Can Italy defend their title?

italy soccer

For those who want to see fast-paced, high-flying action, look elsewhere, because Group F is made up of grind-it-out teams. Italy, the defending World Cup champs, have always been known for their defense and counter-attacking. Paraguay only scored 11 goals in their past 11 World Cup games. Slovakia is a team who looks to get an early lead and sit on it. That leaves us with New Zealand, who’s only other World Cup appearance was in 1982, where they only scored two goals.

Some are thinking, “great, as if soccer wasn’t boring enough, we have to watch a group that doesn’t even score goals.” Not so fast (literally for this group). Though it won’t be high-scoring, there may be more drama in this group than all the other groups combined.

by Justin Mertes-Mistretta

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World Cup Group G Preview: Who will survive the “Group of Death”?

group of death

Every year there is a “group of death”. This year’s “group of death” is hands down Group G. Three of the four teams are some of the world’s best (Brazil, Portugal and Ivory Coast). Unfortunately, only two can advance. Not only are there great teams in this group, there are world-class players as well. In this group, are the 2007 and 2008 FIFA World Players of the Year, Kaka (Brazil) and Christiano Ronaldo (Portugal) respectively.

Though there are great players in this group, there are also some stars that have been left out. Most notably left out is the aging Ronaldinho of Brazil, who has been the face of Brazilian soccer for years. Brazil’s Alexandre Pato, a man who left his family at age 11 to play soccer, was a surprise cut from the roster. He was not only expected to make the team, he was thought to have a large role. Also, Questionable to play in this year’s World Cup, because of a broken arm is Ivory Coast’s Didier Drogba. He is one of the most potent scorers in the world and would be sorely missed for Ivory Coast.

by Justin Mertes-Mistretta

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World Cup Group D Preview: Same old, same old from the Germans?

germany soccer

Germany

Overview: Germany is to soccer as Michigan State is to college basketball. They are the kings of consistency. It seems like every World Cup there are question marks with Germany, but they do nothing but prove people wrong. They made it to the final in the ’02 World Cup and lost to eventual champions, Italy, in ’06. More recently, they finished runner-up to Spain at Euro 2008. Germany has won four out of five friendlies, their only loss to a strong Argentina squad.

By Justin Mertes-Mistretta

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World Cup Group B Preview

diego maradona

If I could pick between: seeing the Chicago Cubs win the World Series before I die or never seeing Argentina’s coach Diego Maradona naked, I would choose the latter. I think I would rather go to a Justin Bieber concert by myself than see that.

Earlier this month, Maradona claimed that he would go streaking through the streets of Buenos Aries if Argentina won the World Cup. Either the man is a free spirit or he is THAT convinced Argentina won’t win.

by Justin Mertes-Mistretta

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Mexican National Team soccer match at Soldier Field sells out

team mexico

Chicago’s Soldier Field has sold out for the international soccer match featuring the World Cup-bound Mexican national team and the African nation of Senegal, scheduled for this upcoming Monday, May 10 (9 p.m. ET), organizers announced today. The second consecutive sell-out in “El Tri’s” May tour matches prior to traveling to South Africa, over 60,000 fans are expected to attend the game in the Windy City.

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U.S. Soccer Star Injuries Revealed

Daviesdavies

By Alex Simon

After 5 hours of surgery, it has been revealed that USMNT forward Charlie Davies has fractures to the right tibia/femur, left elbow, facial fractures and a lacerated bladder.

Davies injuries were the result of a fatal 3 am crash Tuesday morning in Virginia.

Davies was in the passenger seat when, the driver whom they did not identify, apparently lost control of the vehicle, which hit a guard rail and split in half.  The other passenger in Davies car, Ashley J. Roberta, 22, was killed in the crash.

The U.S. soccer team was at an all-time high coming off of last Saturday night’s victory over Honduras in World Cup qualifying.  The win guaranteed the U.S. a spot in next year’s World Cup in South Africa.

Aware of the news, USMNT coach Bob Bradley spoke after a national squad training session in preparation for Thursday night’s World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica.

“Obviously, as a team we are saddened to learn this news.  Our thoughts and prayers are with Charlie and his family, as well as the people in the car and the families of the others involved.  As a team, we are relying on each other in a moment that has for sure hit us all hard.”

Given the extent of Davies injuries, the initial thinking is that Davies will not be ready for South Africa next year.

In the last year, the 23-year-old Davies has emerged as the team’s starting forward. Davies has also been a regular for his new team Sochaux, a division 1 team in France.

With Davies late form as well as his chemistry with teammate Jozy Altidore up top, Davies was a lock to be a starter for the U.S. team in the 2010 World Cup.  Davies is without a doubt the fastest player on the USMNT and has scored some vital goals for his country of late, including a goal in the Confederation Cup against Egypt, in addition to scoring against Mexico in Azteca.